Recommendations from My Precarious Piles of Printed Pictures and Prose

I moved in the middle of this pandemic, and have nearly twenty open boxes and unsorted piles of comics and graphic novels sitting around. Revisiting the books I already own (whether I’ve gotten around to reading them all, or not) while unpacking has been incredibly fun, and is the basis of the following comics recommendations.

ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean

From the creator of the visceral and absurd Head Lopper, ApocalyptiGirl is similarly distinct in its art presentation and story pacing. The story follows Aria and her cat, Jelly Beans, as they search through a seemingly abandoned city for a mysterious artifact. Unsurprisingly, this plan is interrupted by unsavory locals and others with designs on the artifact. This story really excels in it’s mix of frenetic action and ponderous moments, letting us ruminate over the many mysteries of the world, then pulling us back into the narrative without ever fully revealing what’s going on.

DIE vol. 1 Fantasy Heartbreaker by Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, and Clayton Cowles

DIE is a wonderfully bleak combo of moody aesthetics and a fantasy storytelling melange. Described by writer Kieron Gillen as “Goth Jumanji”, DIE follows a group of now middle-aged “friends” who are once again pulled into the dangerous role playing game that they’d previously survived as teens. If you’re looking for a mix of Jumanji, the Bronte siblings, table-top role playing games, or Timeline, you should read this comic. Continue reading “Recommendations from My Precarious Piles of Printed Pictures and Prose”

Science Fiction 4 All Seasons

Four Science Fiction eAudiobooks featuring four different styles of Science Fiction stories. Happy listening!

Anne Manx in Lives of the Cat by Larry Weiner, read by Claudia Christian and Patricia Tallman

[Science Fiction Noir] For fans of Science Fiction Radio Serials
Anne Manx is an honest detective, maybe the last one remaining in the star system. And because of this, when a sudden insurrection within the police force puts the entire system on the edge of anarchy, she finds herself on the wrong end of a gun barrel. But this is not where Anne Manx’s story ends. For this end is merely a beginning, and like the mythical cat with nine lives, Anne Manx is one hard cat to kill. A fast-paced romp through space full of campy fun, this fully-staged radio production is an homage to radio serials of old, like Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, mixed with the satirical adult humor of Barbarella.

Armada by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton

[Science Fiction] For fans of Ready Player One, Ender’s Game, and all things growing up in the 80’s
From the team that brought you the new sci-fi cult classic novel and audiobook, Ready Player One, author Ernest Cline and narrator Wil Wheaton, have reteamed to create another ode to the 80’s in Armada! This fast-paced science fiction adventure is the perfect blend of two 80’s Sci-Fi classics, Jonathan R. Betuel’s film, The Last Starfighter and Orson Scott Card’s novel, Ender’s Game. High school senior Zack Lightman is doing what he does most days in class, staring out the window and daydreaming, when suddenly he sees something that he certainly couldn’t have seen. If you asked him what he saw, he wouldn’t tell you. Absolutely not. Because if he did, you’d think he was going crazy. Just like his dearly departed dad. Because, what he saw in the sky that day wasn’t a bird, or a plane, or even a super-man, but a spaceship. A very specific spaceship, as a matter of fact. A spaceship from his favorite game, Armada. But that can’t be right. Because that would be crazy. Continue reading “Science Fiction 4 All Seasons”

Four Flights of Fantasy for Your Listening Pleasure

Tired of looking longingly out your window while stuck inside? Then escape into these fantastic worlds each offering endless hours of aural pleasure! Each of these first books in their respective series represent a different flavor in the enormous fantasy pie. Have a slice, or better yet try them all! Happy listening.

 The Belgariad Series by David Eddings, read by Cameron Beierle

Book 1: Pawn of Prophecy

[Epic Fantasy] For fans of classic Epic Fantasies featuring Good vs Evil and a band of adventurers on an epic quest like The Lord of the Rings and the Shannara series.
This epic fantasy classic is filled to the brim with all of the tropes and archetypes that have come to define the epic fantasy genre. The book opens with an excerpt from an ancient text- a historical accounting of sorcerers and magic, gods and mortals, and a wondrous orb of untold power. Then the story begins in earnest on a small farm in a serene countryside. There an orphan boy named Garion is about to take his first steps towards fulfilling his destiny. On his journey, fraught with danger and secrets waiting to be revealed, he will be guided by his Aunt Pol, an old vagrant storyteller who he calls Mister Wolf, and an ever-growing cast of adventurers. Following in the footsteps of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring and Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara, David Eddings’ The Pawn of Prophecy rightfully takes its place on the shelf aside those masterworks of epic fantasy. Continue reading “Four Flights of Fantasy for Your Listening Pleasure”

Oh, doggone it!

Dogs can completely change the way we feel—for the better. They are funny, loving, and intelligent. Canine companions live in an estimated 63 million U.S. homes, so it’s no wonder stories, movies, and videos featuring dogs have always been big hits. Let’s not forget our own local legend, the public-transit-riding dog, Eclipse, who rides the bus throughout Seattle (except during quarantine, of course). Today, we are going to look at three dog-related titles that highlight the amazing lives of dogs and those who live with, rely on, and love them.

The Art of Racing in the Rain book cover imageThe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This is one of those stories, told through the eyes (and voice) of a dog, that simply works. Enzo is a dog who sees the world for what it is and would love to speak his mind directly to those around him, but cannot. However, we are lucky enough to get an inside look at his joys and frustrations surrounding the life of his human family. Publisher’s Weekly notes: “Stein’s tale of family, loss, redemption, and fast cars—recounted entirely from the perspective of a retriever-terrier mix named Enzo—ups the ante on the recent trend of high-concept anthropomorphism in popular fictions.” Continue reading “Oh, doggone it!”

Award Winning Comics for Your Bucket List 

A Bucket List is a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime. This can take many forms, but for many lovers of the written word this comes more often in must read books. Here are award winning comics that are a must read for any one wanting a taste of the best!

The Sandman – Neil Gaiman

One of the first few graphic novels to ever be on the New York Times Best Seller list, Neil Gaiman (Yes, that Neil Gaiman of American Gods and Good Omens) penned this epic dark fantasy with an intriguing blend of history and mythology, all through the eyes of the Master of Dreams gazing into the human world. And much like recalling a dream or a nightmare, a few mere sentences cannot describe the scope of wonder and horror this comic has in store. (Did I happen to mention Neil Gaiman wrote this?) Continue reading “Award Winning Comics for Your Bucket List “