Author David Moody created an online sensation when he published his horror novel, Autumn, via the Internet, racking up more than half a million downloads and spawning a series of sequels. When he published Hater, producer Mark Johnson (the Narnia films) and Guillermo del Toro (director of Hellboy 1 & 2, Pan’s Labyrinth) asked David for the rights to make it into a movie. How’s that for success right out of the chute? Hater is a modern-day zombie story, sans the zombies. A genetic difference in one-third of the population awakens, causing them to violently attack those around them, out of the fear that if they don’t act, they’ll be the ones who get killed.
For reasons I cannot adequately explain, even to myself, I prefer to read fantasy over science fiction, but I prefer SF movies over fantasy. So I don’t actually read a lot of true science fiction novels. The Forever War is a book my SF-reading fiance tossed my way as an outstanding novel that also presaged or even directly influenced several of my favorite SF pieces (Ender’s Game and the short film Letters from a Distant Star, to name two). He also threw it at his best friend who is neither a grand reader nor much of an SF reader–and he actually finished it, which kind of speaks to the book’s qualities to engage and retain your interest.
I’m assuming if you’re reading this you like Twilight and have already read the other books, yes? And you want one of two things from me here–a recommendation about whether this new novella is worth picking up and paying the $9-$14 for (discount dependent), or a discussion of OMG What It Revealed. In the interests of pleasing everyone (myself included!) I’ll do both. Clearly delineated, so if you’re in the first camp you can get your recommendation spoiler-free, and then come back later to talk about it.
Helsreach is the second book in the new Space Marine Battle series published by Black Library, and the third novel of author Aaron Dembski Bowden. This series is meant to explore the most epic Space Marine battles in the history of the 40k universe and is therefore focused on what’s rather delightfully known in the trade as shooty-death-kill-in-space.
I thought I’d play sweeper with our BEA 2010 coverage and leave my report for last, in case either Damon or B.T. missed something. They didn’t, so instead of the triumph of recalling an appointment they forgot, I’ve left myself with a challenge: how to tell you about the things we did in a new and interesting way (dare I make it a competition and say “more interesting way”?).
This third and final novel of the Nine Kingdoms trilogy was closer in style to the first than the second. It had more action propelling the story forward and less character development, since all the characters who needed to come to terms with who they are had taken care of that in the second book.
There was a pretty specific list of wrap-ups that had to happen: the correct spell for closing the well of evil had to be found, then they had to reforge the magic sword Morgan broke at the end of the first book, then they had to go close the well, and then they had to fight the most evil putz of a sorcerer of all time–you know, the one the ancestors didn’t kill when they had the chance. And that’s what happened, along with some other minor happenings that it would spoil the surprise to talk about.
So this is the second book in the Nine Kingdoms series, and even though the first one ended on a cliffhanger, this section doesn’t actually pick up right where the first left off. Rather, we come in a month later. Morgan has survived the poisoning by the evil mastermind sorcerer (whom Miach’s ancestors had a chance to kill and decided to let one of their descendents take out instead) that ends the first book. She is still recovering at her childhood foster-father’s, and Miach has contained the spreading evil for the time being and can now follow his heart. Most of the book is wrapped up in the two of them finally admitting their love for one another, and Morgan getting past the whole Miach lied to her thing and then Morgan accepting who she really is–the daughter of an elven princess and one of the most evil mages of all time. (Except, you know, the one Miach’s great-to-the-nth-power grandfather chose to not kill.)
Let me start by saying that this isn’t a book I would normally pick up. It tells a dark tale from the perspective of what I’ll call the “bad guys.” I could not conceive of a sympathetic “bad guy” character, someone or someones whose story I would care about. However, what prodded me to break my own rules and challenge my perceptions was the author.
Kick-Ass lives up to its name. Best movie I’ve seen at the theater in months. I had pretty high hopes going in–all the bad reviews I saw were focused on how violent it was, which just made me more excited–and sometimes that kind of anticipation makes the actual movie experience a let-down. Not so in this case. I had a smile on my face throughout the movie, which, while in some ways exactly what I was expecting, also managed to surprise me with its take on the superhero phenomenon.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is the first book in a new series (The Inheritance Trilogy, which lends itself to some potentially hilarious confusion with The Inheritance Cycle) by a new author, and I think that shows. The story and the world had quite a fascinating premise, but it was executed with mixed results, at least for me.
Actress Cassandra Sawtell, whom we hear at the empire know from Harper’s Island, has been nominated for Best Performance in a TV Series (Comedy or Drama) at the 2010 Young Artist Awards for her work on the show. Cassandra joins fellow nominees Valentina Barron, Ryan Newman, Miley Cyrus, and Miranda Cosgrove in the category. The 31st Annual Young Artist Awards will take place on Sunday, April 11, 2010 at The Beverly Garland in Studio City, CA.
One of the most keenly anticipated books of the bestselling Horus Heresy series, A Thousand Sons tells one half of the epic story of the destruction of Prospero, the Thousand Sons’ homeworld, from the perspective of the Thousand Sons themselves.
Repo Men is a movie I wish someone could repo from my memory banks. It was the biggest waste of two hours of my life since Avatar (and possibly longer, since it’s not a film that has the cultural valence of James Cameron’s mega-hit), and I damn near walked out on it. Ultimately I’m glad I didn’t, because the ending presented a twist that moved the film a couple steps closer to not quite terrible…but not anywhere near enough. It was still terrible.
So what was so wrong with it?
Sharon Shinn’s novel Fortune and Fate is another in her Twelve Houses series, although this one was not part of the original story arc. It did have the same group of characters from the main arc as minor characters here, but the story was about the aftermath of the war rather than the building up to and then fighting the war itself. It picked up two years after the last book (Reader and Raelynx) ended, and followed a minor character from the last book who had a life-changing event happen during that story.
Um. Wow. I am really not sure how to approach this one. First of all, this movie was not what I expected. It looked from the previews like a love story, possibly happy and possibly bittersweet, but a fairly straightforward story about a boy who starts seeing the daughter of a policeman he had a negative encounter with. Okay, well, I guess that is what the movie’s about. But it’s also full of the boy’s family drama, so much so that the subplot almost overwhelms the main story, and the existential tagline about “live in the moments” is pretty much nonexistent from the text of the film.
It was only after watching a great deal of House M.D. that I discovered that Hugh Laurie had penned a novel (published about a decade ago, now). I was intrigued. Clearly the man is an exceptional actor, but, as we all know, a great actor does not a great author make. Certainly both an actor and an author will have an understanding of the structure of a good story and the ingredients for interesting characters. Writing, however, is an art unto itself.
An art that Mr. Laurie is clearly in possession of.
Mike Lee’s Fallen Angels is the eleventh book in the hugely popular Horus Heresy series and continues the story begun in Mitchel Scanlon’s excellent Descent of Angels. Did I just say excellent? Yes. I know that this is the mother of all minority opinions, but the first novel suffered from the all too common “it wasn’t what I was expecting so I hated it” review phenomena.
You know at Boomtron we love Small Beer Press, Gavin Grant, and Kelly Link, and we are always pleased to see new work from a group and team that displays an inability to have unawesome (in this case, it is a word) fiction attached to their names. The don’t lose this characteristic even in their Big Mouth House persona, named so because they “want to shout from the rooftops about these books.” Boomtron has hosted countless examples of short fiction from some of the best writers in the business, and today we are pleased to offer our readers “The Coldest Girl in Coldtown,” a story from Holly Black’s The Poison Eaters and Other Stories. I want to tell you how this is the first collection by Black, that she is the co-writer of the Spiderwick Chronicles, and that she has seen her name on the NY Times Bestselling list, but then I’d be stealing back the thunder that Grant stole from me by sending me this rather concise official word (after which, you can get to the story!):
This being my first review for Boomtron, I wanted to say one thing straight away: objectivity is a myth. I have none. My reviews will be guided almost exclusively by my enjoyment, or not, of the book in question. My job, as I see it, is to explain to you, dear reader, what I liked and didn’t and why.
In an age where movie remakes are all the rage, Sons of Dorn seems to unashamedly hop on the homage bandwagon in novel form. This story bears nearly all the hallmarks of Ian Watson’s Space Marine (1993), but without any of that SF legend’s quality prose. The author, Chris Roberson, has made clear on his blog that he took inspiration from the Ian Watson novel, and the premise of his story was set before he settled on using the Imperial Fists as the Chapter in question.
The Book of Eli is really great: it’s got the apocalypse, it’s got all kinds of murder and death with blood and rolling heads, and it’s got Denzel Washington saying profound things and threats from the Bible. Denzel is the titular Eli, roaming the wasted deserts of America with the last copy of the Bible in his backpack and packing a razor-sharp machete, along with a sawed off shotgun and a rackety old iPod (when Denzel listens to that old song on his headphones, what a great montage!). The movie really delivers a lot stronger than any of the other recent movies about the world ending, and keeps things moving fast for its considerable running time.
Sunday morning I brought the internet gem that is Two Gentlemen of Lebowski to your attention. Now I’ve got the man of the hour himself here to explain what possibly prompted him to combine Shakespeare and the Dude, why he thinks he’s qualified to do it, and how he went about putting together the greatest mash-up of all time. Or, at least, of 2010. So far.
Daybreakers, AKA 2010’s first vampire movie, is a pretty solid movie-going experience. It delivers on its trailers, presenting an eerie future where almost all the humans on earth have been changed into vampires–and in having done so not just not solved but actually worsened all of the problems and injustices in the world. The blood supply is on the verge of exhaustion, blood prices are skyrocketing beyond the reach of most of the populace, the number of vampires feeding on each other or themselves and becoming mutated monsters is exploding, and a non-toxic substitute has yet to be found. Chief hematologist for the largest blood supplier, Edward Dalton (Ethan Hawke), only thinks he has problems…until he encounters a group of humans who want him to find a cure. Not for the blood supply crisis, but for vampirism itself.
Keith Rawson’s Top Ten
2009 was without question one of the best years for crime fiction in many years, and trust me when I tell you that my top ten has changed so many times in the last six months that I wish I could’ve put together a top 20, or even a top 30, but somehow I managed to narrow it down to ten favorites and five runners up.
Avatar is a great film. Here is a movie that will actually surprise you and offer things you have never seen before. James Cameron has delivered a special effects powerhouse that is actually an extended acid trip in the jungle. The human tech is underwhelming, so is the heavy-handed theme, but consider these as elements tacked on to a movie about exploring the forest.
Brad Pitt called The Curious Case of Benjamin Button “a love letter to New Orleans.” Well. If Button was a love letter, then Disney’s The Princess and the Frog was a Homeric poem in the grand lady’s honor, because it caught the culture and flavor of New Orleans and southern Louisiana far better than the 2008 opus did. I honestly don’t know how this movie will view to people across the United States, whether the region-specific presentation of the story and the setting will diminish its appeal or raise it for being a uniquely American fairy tale. But for me, as someone who lives down here in the swamp, it was a fantastic movie.