Monday, February 1, 2016

Promising Sci-fi, horror & Fantasy - January 2016

These are some promising novels, novellas and short stories that were released in January 2016.

"This Census-Taker" by China MiƩville
In a remote house on a hilltop, a lonely boy witnesses a profoundly traumatic event. He tries—and fails—to flee. Left alone with his increasingly deranged parent, he dreams of safety, of joining the other children in the town below, of escape.
When at last a stranger knocks at his door, the boy senses that his days of isolation might be over.
But by what authority does this man keep the meticulous records he carries? What is the purpose behind his questions? Is he friend? Enemy? Or something else altogether?
Filled with beauty, terror, and strangeness, This Census-Taker is a poignant and riveting exploration of memory and identity.


[A short read from the highly acclaimed writer China MiƩville, who am I to refuse?]



"Drake" by Peter McLean
 Hitman Don Drake owes a gambling debt to a demon. Forced to carry out one more assassination to clear his debt, Don unwittingly kills an innocent child and brings the Furies of Greek myth down upon himself.
Rescued by an almost-fallen angel called Trixie, Don and his magical accomplice The Burned Man, an imprisoned archdemon, are forced to deal with Lucifer himself whilst battling a powerful evil magician.
Now Don must foil Lucifer’s plan to complete Trixie’s fall and save her soul whilst preventing the Burned Man from breaking free from captivity and wreaking havoc on the entire world.


[This seems like my kind of urban fantasy, with an interesting protagonist and from Angry Robot, hoping for a fun read when I get on to it.]


"Steal The Sky" by Megan E. O'Keefe 
Detan Honding, a wanted conman of noble birth and ignoble tongue, has found himself in the oasis city of Aransa. He and his trusted companion Tibs may have pulled off one too many cons against the city’s elite and need to make a quick escape. They set their sights on their biggest heist yet—the gorgeous airship of the exiled commodore Thratia.
But in the middle of his scheme, a face changer known as a doppel starts murdering key members of Aransa’s government. The sudden paranoia makes Detan’s plans of stealing Thratia’s ship that much harder. And with this sudden power vacuum, Thratia can solidify her power and wreak havoc against the Empire. But the doppel isn’t working for Thratia and has her own intentions. Did Detan accidentally walk into a revolution and a crusade? He has to be careful—there’s a reason most people think he’s dead. And if his dangerous secret gets revealed, he has a lot more to worry about than a stolen airship.
 


[Another promising debut from Angry Robot, with some highly praising reviews on the internet already.]

"Predator, Prey" by Rob Sanders
The Imperium is under attack by a relentless tide of orks. The Imperial Fists have been destroyed, leaving Terra itself vulnerable, and across the galaxy, worlds are beset by greenskin savages.
After centuries of peace, the Imperium is thrown into panic as human worlds everywhere are menaced by orks. In a relentless tide of slaughter, ork attack moons destroy planet after planet with gravity weapons of unstoppable power. On Terra, the High Lords are paralysed by the scale of the threat, and fail to take any effective action. With entire Space Marine Chapters missing, or known to have been wiped out, does anyone have the will and the power to rise to the Imperium’s defence?
It's a snapshot of the battles that rage across the Imperium as the orks attack in force. It also continues the story of the High Lords as they try to hold the Imperium together... as long as it suits their own interests, of course. And it introduces characters who're going to be very important to the future of the series... if they survive the battles to come.
 


[I did read and review the first in the series 'I Am Slaughter', so definately looking forward to more from this timeline of the Warhammer universe.]

"The Drowning Eyes" by Emily Foster
When the Dragon Ships began to tear through the trade lanes and ravage coastal towns, the hopes of the archipelago turned to the Windspeakers on Tash. The solemn weather-shapers with their eyes of stone can steal the breeze from raiders' sails and save the islands from their wrath. But the Windspeakers' magic has been stolen, and only their young apprentice Shina can bring their power back and save her people.
Tazir has seen more than her share of storms and pirates in her many years as captain, and she's not much interested in getting involved in the affairs of Windspeakers and Dragon Ships. Shina's caught her eye, but that might not be enough to convince the grizzled sailor to risk her ship, her crew, and her neck.
 


[Tor is delivering a lot of goods in term of fantasy lately, this should be another wonderful novella.]
 


"City of Blades" by Robert Jackson Bennett
The city of Voortyashtan was once the domain of the goddess of death, war, and destruction, but now it’s little more than a ruin. General Turyin Mulaghesh is called out of retirement and sent to this hellish place to try to find a Saypuri secret agent who’s gone missing in the middle of a mission, but the city of war offers countless threats: not only have the ghosts of her own past battles followed her here, but she soon finds herself wondering what happened to all the souls that were trapped in the afterlife when the Divinities vanished. Do the dead sleep soundly in the land of death? Or do they have plans of their own?

[I am currently devouring the first book in the series and it is as good as people say it is. Can't wait to get onto the second novel in the series.] 



"Unit 731" by Craig Saunders
Luke Benson is a troubled young man obsessed with the history of Imperial Japan's Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department, later known as “Unit 731,” a covert biological and chemical warfare research and development department that undertook lethal human experimentation.
But is it a veil to mask his more sinister passions? Reggie and Luke's sole-surviving family members are about to find out. When bad memories surface and deeds long forgotten come to light, Luke's obsession will shake their family to its core.
The family's only hope is to face the evil within themselves...only then might the good that men do shine from the darkness.
 


[Darkfuse has cut on a niche in the horror community already and they keeps on delivering these interesting reads.]


"Nausea" by Ed Kurtz
Since the night he made an ill-advised decision to commit a pair of revenge killings, Nick has made his living as a professional murderer. Early on, he dispensed with guilt or emotion, but after a routine hit gets messy Nick gets sick—and the conscience he thought he’d killed along with dozens of other marks comes creeping back into his brain. Now Nick’s profession and life are on the line, and he has begun stalking a perfectly innocent couple to see if he can snuff them out without the slightest hint of remorse…or if the humanity he worked so hard to suppress is making up for lost time.
A dark noir novel about human connection and repentance, Nausea is the story of a sociopathic killer in a war with himself, a war in which the lives of an uninvolved couple hang in the balance.
 


[Hmm, dark noir from the view point of a murderer, has been done before, what can Ed Kurtz add to the experience?] 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

New Book Review - I Am Slaughter

Book - I Am Slaughter
Writer - Dan Abnett
Series - The Beast Arises
Published By - Black Library


And Black Library does it again. Who would have thought that they would start a new series of 12 books that would tell a big story over one year throughout 2016? But that is what they started this year and the responsibility once again falls on Dan Abnett to start another ambitious series.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Mini-Comic-Review - Uncanny X-Men #1

Name - Uncanny X-Men #1
Published by - Marvel
Writer - Cullen Bunn
Artist - Greg Land, Jay Leisten


The newest team of Uncanny X-Men does show a lot of promise in its cast of characters and a promising cover to entice the readers. The premise of the marvel universe at the moment accompanied by the recent changes in status quo also adds hope of something great for the fans.

But sadly the first issue of this new ongoing does fall far short from expectations. The mission feels not-so-heroic or neither does the characters really feel motivated enough. The team doesn't seem to gel together either, its really hard to believe that these guys have a lot in common to make the teamwork as a unit. The surprise twist at the end revealing the antagonists of the upcoming issues also fell a bit underwhelming compared to the team roaster.

The saving grace of this issue is the promise of something better in the future specially thorough some moments in case of Magneto which reminds us of the awesome solo series; through the friendly banter between Monet and Sabretooth which promises some interesting team dynamics in the future; and the new costumes do look incredible too. 

The first issue only gets 2.5 out of 5 stars but I am hoping for a far better future for the series. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

January 2016 New Comics To Watch For

This is the second in this new series of posts focusing on stuff to watch out for this month. This time the is focus on new comic book series' that will start this month and some of these really do look to be quite interesting.

SWAMP THING #1
Written by LEN WEIN
Art and cover by KELLEY JONES

Swamp Thing returns in an all-new series written by his co-creator, legendary writer Len Wein! Swamp Thing has received an ominous warning, and now he finds himself under attack from the forces of dark magic. These are more than just your average monsters—and there’s something much worse looming on the horizon for Alec Holland!




RED SONJA #1
Written by MARGUERITE BENNETT
Art by ANEKE
Through the plains of Hyrkania, a message sweeps through the scattered peoples of the nation. Bells ring, horns blow, voices shout - the King is dying! Red Sonja rides to save the King from his doom as the powers of Hyboria crowd around to strike when the kingdom is weakest. But a dread new power rises from within Hyrkania's own borders, bent on defending its homeland - no matter the cost, no matter what its people become. A defining chapter of the Red Sonja saga - dark, clever, vicious, and funny - as the She-Devil with a Sword must stop the rise of a brutal new regime... her own people!


CRY HAVOC #1
Written by SIMON SPURRIER
Art by RYAN KELLY

BEHOLD THE MODERN MONSTROSITY.
X-Men Legacy writer SIMON SPURRIER and superstar artist RYAN KELLY present fiends, fragility, and firepower in an all-new series, mixing the hard-boiled militaria of Jarhead with the dark folklore of Pan's Labyrinth. Includes an unprecedented use of multiple colorists (MATT WILSON, LEE LOUGHRIDGE, & NICK FILARDI) to define the story's threads, and an incredible variant cover by Eisner Award winner CAMERON STEWART. This is not the tale of a lesbian werewolf who goes to war. Except it kind of is. 


 OLD MAN LOGAN #1
Written by JEFF LEMIRE 

Art and Cover by ANDREA SORRENTINO
Fifty years from now, Logan — the man who no longer calls himself Wolverine — will have endured many atrocities: The Marvel Universe's villains will have banded together and rid the world of its heroes. Logan's closest friend, Hawkeye, will have been murdered in cold blood right before his eyes. And driven mad by the same radiation that gave him his superhuman strength, Bruce Banner will have fathered a family of hillbilly Hulks...that eventually went on to slaughter Logan's wife and two children. But now, in the present, Old Man Logan wakes up to discover himself in a world before these atrocities, before the Wasteland. And he's going to seize this opportunity and change history to ensure that his future never comes to pass...


ROCKET RACCOON & GROOT #1
Written by SKOTTIE YOUNG 

Art by FILIPE ANDRADE
There's a new criminal mastermind in the galaxy, and it's...ROCKET RACCOON?! How did this happen? SERIOUSLY, HOW DID THIS HAPPEN, YOU GUYS??? Groot knows, but he's not talking! Well, he is talking, but all he's saying is...oh, you know. Diabolical danger, madcap mysteries and astonishing adventure abound as SKOTTIE YOUNG and FILIPE ANDRADE return to tell tall tail tales of Rocket Raccoon, now with the adorable, arboreal Groot along for the ride! If you love adventure, animals, outer space and just about anything in between, this is the book for you!


SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #1
Written by JOE KELLY

Art and Cover by ED MCGUINNESS
The Webbed Wonder and the Merc with a Mouth are teaming up for their first ongoing series EVER! It's action, adventure and just a smattering of (b) romance in this episodic epic featuring the WORLD'S GREATEST SUPER HERO and the star of the WORLD'S GREATEST COMICS MAGAZINE. Talk about a REAL dynamic duo!




SILVER SURFER #1
Written by DAN SLOTT 

Art and Cover by MICHAEL ALLRED
"Fantastic Planet"
The Surfer has taken Dawn Greenwood to the end of the universe, and now he's going to show her the most fantastic planet of them all: Earth! It's your homeworld like you've never seen it before: with monsters, magic and...a secret that will change everything! The perfect jumping-on point for the book everyone's talking about!
 




A-FORCE #1
Written by G. WILLOW WILSON
Art by Jorge Molina
A-FORCE, ASSEMBLE! From the ashes of Battleworld, Marvel’s newest hero SINGULARITY has risen and entered the Marvel Universe. But she didn’t make the journey alone. To combat the most fearsome threats from across the multiverse, Singularity will summon the world’s mightiest team of Avengers to her side: SHE-HULK. CAPTAIN MARVEL. DAZZLER. MEDUSA. NICO MINORU. Together, they are A FORCE to be reckoned with!

  
OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN #1
Written by CHARLES SOULE

Art and Cover by MARCO CHECCHETTO
Before their military heroism in the Clone Wars, before their tragic battle on Mustafar, and many decades before their final confrontation on the Death Star...they were Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his Padawan learner, Anakin Skywalker. It's been a few years since Obi-Wan pledged to train the young "chosen one," but even as they have grown closer through training, it has been a difficult road. Now, called to a remote planet for assistance, Master and Padawan may be pushed to the breaking point. Writer Charles Soule (Lando, She-Hulk, Daredevil) and artist Marco Checchetto (Star Wars: Shattered Empire, Avengers World, Punisher) bring us a tale of the Jedi at the height of their power...


UNCANNY X-MEN #1
Written by CLLEN BUNN
Art and Cover by GREG LAND
In a world that’s never hated or feared mutants more, there is only one constant: BIGGER THREATS REQUIRE MORE THREATENING X-MEN. Refusing to accept one more mutant death, the most ruthless mutants on Earth have banded together to proactively mow down their enemies. But with a team populated by relentless killers, one question applies above all others: Can they stay away from each other’s throats long enough to sever their targets’?

 
 


Sunday, January 10, 2016

January 2016 New PC GamesTo Watch For

This is a feature that will just mention some upcoming games for the pc this month (both new and remastered ones),and I hope this can be a continuing feature for the future.



Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen


An expanded and enhanced version of Dragon's Dogma, This version includes the original game with a new zone to explore, Bitterblack Isle. Incorporated into this version was all the downloadable content (DLC) created for the original release, a new fast travel system, as well as new items, weapons, armor and quests.
In September 2015, Capcom announced Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen for Microsoft Windows, scheduled for release in January 15, 2016.



Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon is a roguelike, dungeon crawler video game created by indie game developer Red Hook Studios.
Darkest Dungeon has the player manage a roster of heroes to explore dungeons below a gothic mansion the player has inherited. Played out in a mix of real-time movement and turn-based combat, a core feature of Darkest Dungeon is the stress level of each hero that increases with further exploration and combat; a character sustaining a high stress level may gain afflictions that will hamper, or possibly enhance, their performance as an explorer.
The game is expected to have a full release in January 19, 2016 for Microsoft Windows.

Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster


Resident Evil Zero is a survival horror video game developed and published by Capcom for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002. It serves as a prequel to the first Resident Evil, covering the ordeals experienced in the Arklay Mountains by the S.T.A.R.S. Bravo Team. The gameplay remains similar to other entries in the Resident Evil series, but includes a unique "partner zapping" system. The player controls both S.T.A.R.S. officer Rebecca Chambers and convicted criminal Billy Coen, switching control between them at will in order to solve puzzles and take advantage of their unique abilities.
On May 26, 2015, Capcom announced that a remastered version of the game was in development, titled Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster. The enhanced version of the game is set to be released on Microsoft Windows in January 19, 2016.

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak

Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak is a real-time strategy computer game under development by Blackbird Interactive, published by Gearbox Software and scheduled for release on January 20, 2016.
It is a prequel to the 1999 space-based real-time strategy video game Homeworld.



The Witness

The Witness is an upcoming 3D puzzle video game created by Jonathan Blow, and in development by Thekla, Inc.
Inspired by Myst, The Witness has the player explore an open world island filled with a number of natural and man-made structures. The player progresses by solving puzzles which are based on interactions with mazes presented on panels around the island. The rules and outcomes of solving the individual mazes are part of the puzzles that the player will have to come to learn themselves through both visual clues around the island and through audio logs that the player can find.
The Witness is set for release on January 26, 2016, for Microsoft Windows.


Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider is an action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2013 video game Tomb Raider, which was itself, the second reboot to its series.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a third-person action-adventure game in which players control Lara Croft through various environments, battling enemies, and completing puzzle platforming sections, while using improvised weapons and gadgets in order to progress through the story.
The game is scheduled to be released for Microsoft Windows in January 28, 2016.


Bombshell

Bombshell is an isometric action game with RPG elements currently in development by Interceptor Entertainment and published by 3D Realms.
The game allows the player to control Shelly "Bombshell" Harrison, a Colonel in the Global Defense Force. Her career is abruptly brought to an end after an event titled "the Washington Incident", which caused her to lose her arm and her team. Shelly is then offered a new contract by a private military contractor and offered a second chance and a new mechanical arm.
The game is scheduled for release on January 29th 2016, on Microsoft Windows, and is using the Unreal Engine 3 engine.

[Among these seven games the ones I am really looking forward to are "Darkest Dungeon", "Th Witness" and "Rise of the Tomb Raider". Hopefully these three will deliver on the promises, while the rest might turn out to be pleasant surprises as well. ]


Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year, (hopefully) a New Beginning

I won't lie it has been a tough year for me in so many regards; I had tough time coping with my new job and place of residence; my family and personal life had some huge blows and setbacks; my kindle got ruined; I got a chance at some cash and got myself some new gadgets (a new laptop and 3DS); and at the end of the year I finally got a "NEW KINDLE PAPERWHITE"



And I have started reading again and it all seems to be okay at the moment. I also have quite a few ideas to restart and improve my blog. Lets see what happens now.

Just pray for me guys.

 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Author Interview - David Annandale (2nd appearance)

Well, I have been a fan of Black Library for a few years now. And one of the authors who got my most admiration is definitely 'David Annandale'. So when I got the chance of doing an interview of him on the eve of his release of the second Yarrick novel I couldn't have been more happy. Here goes the episode -

1) Welcome back to the blog. Please start by telling us a bit about what's been going on with you lately?

It's been a busy time since we last spoke. My Grey Knights work appeared -- the novel Maledictus and two audio dramas -- and I wrote the novels Lemartes: Guardian of the Lost and The Pyres of Armageddon. There are three other novels in the bag too, but they must remain shrouded in secrecy for now. Beyond the writing front, I've carried on as one the co-hosts of the Skiffy and Fanty Show podcast, while Shaun Duke and I have begun the Totally Pretentious film podcast. I also had the opportunity to teach courses on fantasy films and drive-in movies, so that was fun too.

2) 'Yarrick: Pyres of Armageddon' is your second novel featuring Yarrick, so how does it feel to write about the character again?

I've now written more about Yarrick than any other character in the 40K universe, so I feel very close to him. I enjoy writing Yarrick very much -- it's rather like visiting with an old friend. And while Imperial Creed was about his first mission as commissar, and was an entirely new adventure, The Pyres of Armageddon deals with events about which there is plenty of lore, and so there was the extra spice of writing about some of the most important moments of his life.

3) So why do you think Yarrick is an interesting character? Why would your readers like him?

Yarrick is very human, yet capable of extraordinary feats, often through will alone. Here is an old man who is respected by both Space Marines and orks, which takes some doing, and I find it fascinating to explore the nature of the man who could achieve this most unusual position. And then there's the Ahab-Moby Dick relationship he has with Ghazghkull, which I love delving into. I've written about one facet of it in Chains of Golgotha. The Pyres of Armageddon is where it begins.

4) Is this novel a sequel to the first one or can new readers jump right on board with this one?

There are threads linking the book to Imperial Creed, but well over a century has passed between the two books. New readers should have no trouble jumping in.

5) The mention of Armageddon in the name smells of action. So is this book solely action oriented or does Yarrick deliver some thing more here?

This may be the most action-oriented novel I've written for Black Library, given the apocalyptic events that take place as the ork invasion begins. But I hope you learn more about Yarrick and why he acts as he does. This was also a chance to bring figures like Herman von Strab onto the stage, and Canoness Errant Setheno is back (and she has gone through a lot between Imperial Creed and now too).

6) What's in future for Yarrick? Do you plan to write more with him as a protagonist?

I would certainly like to, and the logical place to go would be what happens next in the Second War of Armageddon. That will depend on the Black Library schedule, and it's looking very busy (in the best sense of the word!) right now.

7) Can we expect some more 'Black Library' fiction from you in 2015? Care to divulge a bit?

Oh yes, much more to come! Lots that I'm excited about, but nothing I can divulge for the moment. Sorry!

8) So have you ever thought about writing on 'Warhammer' universe? And can we as fans expect some original fictions from you in near future?

I would jump at the chance, so we'll see what the future holds! As for my original work, the short story "The Broken Choir" in  A Grimoire of Eldritch Inquests (edited by Josh Reynolds and Miles Boothe) has ties to the events in Gethsemane Hall, and I'm continuing to work on that. There are a few other short stories that will be appearing too, including a fantasy one, in times to come.

About Yarrick: Pyres of Armageddon - 
The thrilling exploits of one of Black Library's most iconic characters.

Commissar Sebastian Yarrick returns to action to defend the world of Armageddon. When the largest ork horde seen for centuries hits the hive world, the Imperial forces are faced with an overwhelming attack. As battle rages across the planet, Yarrick and his allies lead the defence, striking at the orks in a series of daring assaults. Even if it means incurring the wrath of Armageddon's corrupt Overlord, Commissar Yarrick will not let Armageddon fall.








About David Annandale -
David Annandale is the author of the Yarrick series, consisting of the novella Chains of Golgotha and the novel Imperial Creed, as well as the Horus Heresy novel The Damnation of Pythos. For the Space Marine Battles series he has written The Death of Antagonis and Overfiend. He is a prolific writer of short fiction, including the novella Mephiston: Lord of Death and numerous short stories set in the Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40,000 universes. David lectures at a Canadian university, on subjects ranging from English literature to horror films and video games.

Links - Website, Twitter

[PS: I just can't wait to find out more about the future projects by David. Well, at least in the mean time I can read this 2nd Yarrick novel, which hopefully would be even better than the first.
You can also check out my 'first interview of him'; as well as reviews of his works - 'Yarrick: Chains of Golgotha', 'Yarrick: A Plague of Saints', 'Yarrick: The Gallows Saint', 'Yarrick: Imperial Creed' on this blog.]