Category: Books

Book Review: The Mirage by Matt Ruff

Alternate history, by its very nature, is one of the most easily-ploughable fields in genre fiction because literally all one must do is change a single historical event and then logically extrapolate the repercussions. Harry Turtledove has made a career out of doing this.

Sometimes, though, alternate history doesn’t require telling the reader what the crisis point was that got changed. Sometimes, the reader just needs to know things are different. And that’s where The Mirage by Matt Ruff begins.

Book Review: This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It by David Wong

Warning: this review contains spoilers for both the book and filmed versions of John Dies at the End. And, I mean, like in the first paragraph. So, be warned.


While the character of John does indeed die in David Wong’s first book, John Dies at the End, when I got to the final page of the book I was rather surprised to learn that he survived the entire novel. Good thing, too, because without John, Dave and Amy and the rest of the town of Undisclosed certainly wouldn’t have survived the events of Wong’s second novel, This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It.

No, really. That’s the title. And it’s an accurate one at that.

Book Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is an author who needs no introduction. From his graphic novel work with Sandman to his screenplays, from his amazing American Gods to his also-amazing but perhaps less-known-about (by American audiences) Neverwhere, Gaiman is known throughout the spec-fic world as a prolific author and a pretty nice guy to meet.

I was going to say something like “but not everyone knows Gaiman’s work as a children’s and young-adult author”, but that wouldn’t be accurate. So instead I’ll cut this intro short and just tell you I’m reviewing Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Every now and then, a book comes along with a great premise and solid execution that a lot of people like and recommend with great gusto. Ready Player One by Ernest Kline is such a book. And it is good — very good — except for the places where it can’t get out of its own way fast enough.

Book Review: John Dies at the End by David Wong

When I was a kid, I used to read Mad Magazine. My local grocery store carried it. I also noticed there was a competitor to Mad called Cracked, and I started buying that as well. The age of magazines eventually passed into relative obscurity, and the magazines themselves had to change or die. I don’t see much from Mad anymore, but Cracked seems to have survived the digital transition to become a website that lives in my RSS feeds and that makes me laugh every day.

So when senior editor David Wong released a novel called John Dies at the End, I knew it was fairly likely that I’d enjoy reading it. Thing is, I never got around to it, not until the filmed version was available on demand. I decided it would be best to read the book first.

And then I spent four days trying to figure out how to write the review.

(Warning: this review contains mature language.)

Book Review: Serpent’s Storm by Amber Benson

This review contains spoilers for the first two Death’s Daughter books, Death’s Daughter and Cat’s Claw.


So here’s the thing about Serpent’s Storm, the third Death’s Daughter book by Amber Benson: at first I thought she’d turned into Laurell K. Hamilton. Then I thought she was writing a madcap roller-coaster adventure. Then I got completely lost. Once I got to the end, I was really pleased with the destination… but unfortunately the journey didn’t work for me.

Book Review: Cat’s Claw by Amber Benson

This review contains spoilers for Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson.

Following her enjoyable adventure through Hell with Calliope Reaper-Jones, Death’s middle daughter, I think it was pretty much understood that actress and author Amber Benson would return to her Death’s Daughter universe. She did so in 2010 with Cat’s Claw, a sequel that pretty much depends upon the main character making bad decisions for the story to succeed. Make no mistake, I still had fun reading the book, but there was an awful lot of narrative convenience in it.

Book Review: The Tyrant Strategy: Revenant Man by Jonathan C. Gillespie

I’m not a huge fan of military SF. But I am a fan of post-apocalyptic SF. I’m not a huge fan of augmented-humanity SF. But I am a fan of humans-aren’t-the-most-powerful-people-in-the-universe SF. So when author Jonathan C. Gillespie put out his new novel The Tyrant Strategy: Revenant Man I wasn’t sure if it was going to be my cup of post-apocalyptic, augmented humanity, military-style, humans-aren’t-so-great tea.

That’s an awfully complicated blend, by the way. Not too many people sell it.

25 Days of TNG, Day 19: The Relaunch

This article contains major spoilers for all TNG relaunch novels up to and including the Typhon Pact series.


Even though Star Trek canon says that, after Nemesis, there was no more official Trek until Spock attempted to save Romulus, I think we all knew the intellectual property was too valuable to just be left lying there. The TNG novelists — old and new alike — were given free reign to do whatever was necessary to keep the story going, and they certainly did that.

The relaunch novels can, at this point, be broken down into three main story arcs.

25 Days of TNG, Day 16: The 10 Best Tie-In Novels

As I was researching the tie-in novel articles, I realized just how many of the TNG tie-ins I didn’t read. Not that I’m going to go back and read them now; it’s just interesting to me. But even with missing some of them, I can confidently say that the following list are ten of the best tie-in novels TNG has to offer.

The same caveats from the previous article apply to this one.