Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Stranger Things

This weekend, instead of reading or finally writing some reviews I spent the time binge watching all eight episodes of the brilliant Stranger Things, a Netflix Original series that's just brimful of 80s nostalgia. It has everything your geeky heart could desire - a group of outsider preteens with a love for Dungeons and Dragons, government conspiracies, a girl with special powers and a cosmic horror on the prowl for blood.

The acting is brilliant. Winona Ryder shines in her role as single mother driven to the brink by the disappearance of her son, but it's really the child actors who steal the show. Millie Bobby Brown's portrayal of Eleven will send shivers down your spine. She's a total badass with superpowers, but still so fragile in many ways. The geeky trio of boys and the bond between them will have you wishing that you had friends like those when you were growing up.

If you haven't seen it yet, Stranger Things is definitely worth watching. Just make sure that you have enough time set aside, because you'll definitely want to watch it in a single sitting.

I really, really hope we get to see more of this world and the characters in it. Eight episodes simply isn't enough!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Stephen King and George R.R. Martin In Conversation

Stephen King and George R.R. Martin, two masters of their craft, talk about their life, their childhood, inspiration, writing and the nature of evil during an event at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque.

Bookburners Season 2 Starts Today

Way back in the Victorian era serials were huge and now, in the age of digital media, they are gaining in popularity again. It's like TV, but for books. Only better! Confused? Let me explain. Serialized stories takes the best of the book world and blends it with the convenience you get from TV episodes. Each week you get a new and exciting installment of the story and each episode is the perfect length to enjoy on your daily commute or that precious hour of reading time you just barely manage to fit into your busy schedule.

I recently discovered the pilot episode of Bookburners, a serial from the folks at SerialBox, and I'm utterly intrigued by the concept. As luck would have it season 2 of Bookburners launches today and while I might have missed out on the first season I'm definitely going to dive into this one to see what the world of serials has to offer.

Who: Max Gladstone (Three Part's Dead), Margaret Dunlap (The Lizzie Bennet Diaries), Brian Francis Slattery (Spaceman Blues), Mur Lafferty (The Shambling Guide to New York), Andrea Phillips (Zombies, Run!), and Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood).

When: Premiers June 22 with new episodes dropping every Wednesday. The season will have 13 episodes and reach its finale on September 14th.

Overview: Magic is real, and hungry—trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor and member of a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad: Team Three of the Societas Librorum Occultorum. Together they stand between humanity and magical apocalypse. Some call them the Bookburners. They don’t like the label.

A fan of Fringe, the Librarians, or Supernatural? Then you will love this serial. Team written with new episodes every week, Bookburners is about a group of bad-ass problem solvers who bring snark and heart to even the strangest of situations.

What Happened Last Season: Magic is real, and some books have teeth. Former NYPD detective Sal Brooks learned this the hard way when her brother Perry was possessed by a powerful demon called the Hand. To save him, Sal joined Team Three of the Societas Librium Occultorum, a black-ops team of magic hunters backed by the Vatican that tracks down dangerous magical books and artifacts for safe keeping in the Vatican’s Black Archives.

Sal faced down magical threats around the globe, adjusting to her new life and her new teammates: Father Menchu, the team’s field leader; Liam, a possession survivor who shared a brief romance with Sal; Grace, Team Three’s combat expert whose life is tied to a magical candle; and Asanti, the Archivist and guardian of the Black Archives.

Disaster struck when the Hand returned and took possession of Sal. Worse yet, the Team discovered that Cardinal Varano, head of the Society had a dark agenda of his own. After a climactic whirlwind of magic and in-fighting that left the Archives badly damaged, The Hand was banished and Varano was ousted, leaving Sal and the rest of the Society to pick up the pieces.

What's Coming This season: The tide of magic is rising and the Bookburners must sink or swim. This means their usual strategy of "Contain and Archive" is going out the window to make room for "Experimentation and Field Practice" - much to the dismay of some and the glee of others. Big secrets - about the Society, the world (both ours and the Other), and the murky pasts of our heroes will come to light....that is, if the team can stay alive to learn them.

Serials – like cereal – are easy to taste test: for just $1.59 you can get an episode in both text and audio formats! Like your favorite TV shows, episodes have about a 40 minute read-time or 90-minute listen-time. And if you’re worried about starting with the second season – no need! The action kicks right off and you’ll be in for a wild ride no matter what. (Season One passes are still available on their site and in their iOS app, as well as collected omnibus editions at your favorite e-retailer.)

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