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UNIOVERSE

STORIES OF THE RECONVERGENCE

An expansive SF anthology featuring stories and poems that will leave readers excited for the larger project.

This SF anthology creates a new universe for both readers and creators to explore.

Editors Hodapp and Viola present an expansive, “community-owned” franchise that comes with a glossary and set canon rules enabling the authors in the anthology to create their own in-universe stories and poems and allowing game makers, other writers, and artists to get involved in this media-bending adventure as well. To get the “Unioverse” rolling, and to give readers a taste of what sort of excitement can be found within the expansive setting, this book collects stories and poems from multiple authors. The yarns tell of colorful characters including Malcolm Orion, who is brave enough to investigate the strange, pod-like object humans found on Mars; Reyu the Reaper, who has been stuck in stasis for millennia and cannot remember his life before; Arky, who uses technology to restore his younger body; and Callum Emnat, who tries to discover how a glacier could drive an entire planet mad. Poems speak of the horrors of “Zero Hour” (“Gods, the fog got worse each time, murky and sometimes bloody in each new body”) and of “Those That Wear Skin,” invaders taking the appearance of the native peoples they infiltrate. Jennett’s beautiful full-color digital illustrations make the anthology a true multi-media experience. While each story can stand alone, as each author effectively gives the reader a taste of the larger world, there are connections between the pieces as some characters pop up in multiple entries (the poems may not always make sense to those that are unfamiliar with the larger concept of the Unioverse). Some may find the idea overwhelming, but what the creators have brought to life here is more than worth the effort.

An expansive SF anthology featuring stories and poems that will leave readers excited for the larger project.

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2023

ISBN: 9798988082743

Page Count: 488

Publisher: Hex Publishers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 9, 2023

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DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z(2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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THE MINISTRY OF TIME

This rip-roaring romp pivots between past and present and posits the future-altering power of love, hope, and forgiveness.

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A time-toying spy romance that’s truly a thriller.

In the author’s note following the moving conclusion of her gripping, gleefully delicious debut novel, Bradley explains how she gathered historical facts about Lt. Graham Gore, a real-life Victorian naval officer and polar explorer, then “extrapolated a great deal” about him to come up with one of her main characters, a curly-haired, chain-smoking, devastatingly charming dreamboat who has been transported through time. Having also found inspiration in the sole extant daguerreotype of Gore, showing him to have been “a very attractive man,” Bradley wrote the earliest draft of the book for a cluster of friends who were similarly passionate about polar explorers. Her finished novel—taut, artfully unspooled, and vividly written—retains the kind of insouciant joy and intimacy you might expect from a book with those origins. It’s also breathtakingly sexy. The time-toggling plot focuses on the plight of a British civil servant who takes a high-paying job on a secret mission, working as a “bridge” to help time-traveling “expats” resettle in 21st-century London—and who falls hard for her charge, the aforementioned Commander Gore. Drama, intrigue, and romance ensue. And while this quasi-futuristic tale of time and tenderness never seems to take itself too seriously, it also offers a meaningful, nuanced perspective on the challenges we face, the choices we make, and the way we live and love today.

This rip-roaring romp pivots between past and present and posits the future-altering power of love, hope, and forgiveness.

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781668045145

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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