Friday, March 27, 2015

My first ComicCon!

 emerald city comiccon logo
I got to go to ComicCon! Emerald City ComicCon is the first comic convention I've attended, and I loved it. I've lived in the Seattle area since for almost 2 years, but I missed ECCC last year because I had to work. I made sure to put in for some time off this year so I could take my family. I've attended other conventions before: PAX Prime a few times, and PAX East once, and GenCon once.

I attended a couple of panels the first day, wandered the show floor checking out various vendors and artists, and went to an authors booth where several authors were signing autographs. I'm not an autograph collector, but Greg Bear was there and he wrote two of my favorite novels. I've held on to SFBC copies of those novels for a couple of decades or more, and figured if I was going to get anything autographed, those should be it. I also had Myke Cole autograph one of his novels that I had bought my son last year for his birthday.

I attended a panel featuring the prolific voice-over actor Steve Blum talking about his career, and a panel featuring the two authors I mentioned above as well as a few other authors talking about where they get their ideas.

My family came home heavy-laden with many purchases. My wife had her pic taken with The Women of Whedon! She also bought a cool puzzle book, and some jewelry. My oldest daughter, dressed as Shego from the Kim Possible cartoon, bought much artwork for herself and friends. My son bought a piece of Arrow artwork, and three books. My youngest daughter chose not to go with use, but I bought her a piece of Once Upon a Time art. I bought myself a Jayne hat, and a couple pieces of art.

Huge crowds, long lines, expensive everything, traffic congestion getting there..

It was a blast!

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Awesomeness that is the March 2015 LootCrate!

My son helped me open up the latest LootCrate to find the goodies within!

I probably should have ordered two...

I wonder how many people will have their Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. lanyard badge thingy on at Emerald City Comic-Con next Friday? I will!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Book Review: Old Earth

Old EarthOld Earth by Gary Grossman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fascinating yet frustrating book. Old Earth drew me in with a story of an archaeology dig in Montana that stumbles upon ...something. There's also an ancient conspiracy trying to cover up that discovery - anytime and anywhere it's discovered.

The story weaves between the modern day discovery, a similar discovery in the 1600's and the outcome of that, and the efforts of the third party to prevent the discovery from becoming public.

To talk any more about plot would probably give away too much. The blurb does nice a job summarizing without spoiling.

The main characters are Quinn McCauley, a university archaeology professor probably about to lose any future funding for digs, and Katrina Alpert, a peer sent to evaluate him, as well as their group of students and a couple of travel magazine publishers.

This was a page-turner for me. I love books set in caves with mysterious discoveries and maybe some conspiracy thrown in. Ultimately, explanation of the discovery wasn't enough for me at the end though. It was too easily covered up, and perhaps not enough of a physical discovery. Again, to say more would be spoilery.

Apart from that little nitpick, the rest of the book was thoroughly enjoyable.

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Book Review: The Void

The Void (The Tanner Sequence, #3)The Void by Timothy S. Johnston
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I didn't realize The Void was the 3rd book in a series when I picked it up. Didn't affect my reading at all. It's a standalone, following Kyle Tanner the murder investigator and his girlfriend from the previous two stories further into their lives, wrapping up the series for those two characters.

Kind of a murder mystery in space. Shades of And Then There Were None, with characters being picked off but not being sure who's doing the picking. It starts out rather gory. So much so that I almost put it down during the first chapter. I don't like descriptive gore.

The gore stopped after that. It was used to set up the character of the Reaper and how horribly he treated his victims, which had great impact at the end of the book.

I reviewed a book where I described the mystery within as frustrating because it wasn't huge enough at the end and too easily covered up. This book felt frustrating because Tanner was frustrated by everyone around impeding him from doing his job and trying to get him into trouble for doing his job. Equipment problems, not having the correct gear when he needed it, trying to figure out who to trust in a new situation - as a reader, it was easy to empathize with that.

The Void was a good science fiction murder mystery. And it made a good wrap up to a series. Enough so that I'm intrigued enough to think about finding the first two books in the series.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Book Review: Heir to the Jedi

Heir to the Jedi (Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion, #3)Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Heir to the Jedi, by Kevin Hearne, is the third Star Wars book in the "rebooted" expanded universe; where everything going forward now is approved by a story group and will all be official stories.

Heir is set shortly after the original Star Wars movie and is told in first-person from Luke's point of view. I normally don't enjoy first-person POV stories, but this one didn't bother me. I found Luke to be much better at putting his thoughts to paper than trying to express himself verbally to his uncle.

Luke and R2 are given a mission, with a few side missions, and along the way he learns a little bit about himself and a little bit more about using the Force.

If you want to get to know Luke Skywalker when he was fresh from destroying the Death Star, give Heir to the Jedi a read.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review: Homefront

HomefrontHomefront by Scott James Magner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A fascinating premise, emotional ride, and kind of a twist ending potentially setting up a sequel, Homefront is quite a ride.

We start off the book being introduced to a cast of unusual characters from the Colonies on some kind of mission they don't expect to succeed. These characters appear to have a caste system, and are each of a variety of post-human. Shortly, we're introduced to regular humans as well and their space defense force. From there, the body count rises, and new relationships and families are formed.

I can't really describe more without giving too much away, even though I may have already. Even the blurb from the book itself is intentionally vague.

Homefront brings space battles, ship-board combat, ground combat, plenty of character building and world building, relationships developing and ending, emotions flying all over the place, and plenty of character deaths.

Good stuff!

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