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Indestructible Hulk Special #1 by Mike Costa (Comics Review)

The Hulk is a character who has been building up some some steam in the movie side of things for a good while now. There was the first movie with Eric Bana as Bruce Banner, in which Bana gave a fantastic performance that was let down by the script. Then there was the second movie with Edward Norton which had a decent script but a boring performance from the lead. And then was last year’s The Avengers with Mark Ruffalo and that had a fairly solid script AND some decent acting. Ultimately, its the movies where I’m most familiar with the character, outside of some animated appearances here and there.

I haven’t read a single Hulk comic to date unfortunately, and that is something that I’ve been meaning to rectify of late with the current ongoing in the Marvel NOW! relaunch from last year, written by Mark Waid and drawn by Walter Simonson. But, as is usual, I can’t seem to find the time. Which is where Mike Costa’s Special #1 comes in, which has a completely different story and is part of a trilogy of specials across three different titles, telling a connected story. The first installment was great, and the same can be said of this one too.

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Publishing and Marketing 04: Women in SFF Part 2

About a week or so ago, I posted a list of some of my favourite female authors in SFF, past and present (that is, some of the women on the list are now sadly deceased). For the follow-up, I wanted to focus on some of my favorite female characters in SFF, irrespective of genre. Until March last year, I didn’t really have such a list in my mind. Even though I had read a few books by then that had female protagonists or supporting characters, I’d never really considered if any of them were my “favourites”. But that changed around quickly when I read Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar, and all of a sudden, I realised that there were so many female characters I’d read of over the years that I would put on a list of favourites.

It was a really interesting revelation, and it led to me paying much more attention to such characters in the books I was reading, or had read, or would read. One thing that I noticed while compiling this list was that for the most part my favourite female characters fall into the role of the “warrior”, which is another subconscious thing I never really paid attention to.

Really weird how these things work out.

Once again, as caveat for this list, this is by no means comprehensive, just a small selection of a much wider range. And in this list, I’m not limiting myself to just novels and the like, I’m extending it to comics and movies as well, given that I am much more familiar with these media in terms of the content, rather than with the creators. Feel free to check out my reviews (books and comics) of the various novels I’ve read in the last two years for a bigger interest list.

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Publishing and Marketing 03: Women in SFF Part 1

One question that is being asked by many in the wake of the recent SFWA controversy, and all the commentary it has spawned in various places about misogyny and sexism within the publishing industry is: “If I want to read more books by female authors, where do I start?”

Often times, I think it is rather disheartening to hear such a question. Women have been writing books for a long, long time. And for people to not even be aware of that, or for that matter, be able to perform a basic google search about who are the big names right now? Doesn’t speak so well for us as a community. Speaking of the industry in the broadest sense, we are all very close-ranked, and to break out of the apparent restrictions is not easy. Sure its “easy” to get published as a woman, but to receive recognition? That’s an uphill battle.

It all comes down to respect. And when it comes to respect within the publishing industry (or even just in general in daily life), never ever use the word “political correctness”. That’s a dirty word to use, and it betrays a lack of ability to engage, and wilful dismissal of a very serious and ongoing issue that affects us all. Just look at the entire entertainment industry as a whole, whether its novels or comics or movies or even news.

In such a state, it is absolutely essential that we willingly look to broaden our horizons. We should take chances and read outside of our comfort zones, because otherwise we don’t challenge ourselves and we just propagate the “like begets like” scenario and we cannot grow as an individual.

Which is what this editorial, the third in my Publishing and Marketing series, is about: stepping out of your comfort zone. If you’ve never read a book by a female author before, then my suggestions herein are an excellent place to start.

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2012 – A Bloody Fantastic Year Ends

So, the year 2012 ended a few days ago, and it’s been an absolute blast, to say the least.

Anyways, to do a small recap of my goals for the year,

  1. Write ~420,000 words of both fiction (various submissions and novel projects) and non-fiction (reviews and blogposts).
  2. Read 400 novels, comics, novellas, stand-alone short stories (still not sure if these SHOULD be included) and listen to some audio dramas and audiobooks.

At the end of October, I was very close to both of those goals, having crossed the ~472,000-word mark, and was still ahead on the reading goals, as I was at 352/400 on September 30th. You can find the November report here.

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Advent Reviews Day 24: Not Really A Review, Something Different

As the title says, I was conflicted about what to post for today’s Advent Reviews. I didn’t want to do any negative reviews, for an obvious reason: today is Christmas Eve after all and it’s time for good cheer, not for me to rain down on someone’s parade! Doing negative reviews before was fine, kind of. I didn’t want to do a positive review either, since I do so damn many of them anyway. I often take a lot of flak for being that positive, especially when it comes to Black Library publications, so I wasn’t really on the mind for any of that either. Just thinking of any possible backlash rains down on my parade, you know? In short, I didn’t want to do a review period. What follows is a stream-of-consciousness post. Apologies for any incoherency.

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Advent Reviews Day 21: Erevis Cale Trilogy by Paul S. Kemp

Paul’s Erevis Cale Trilogy was my first introduction to Forgotten Realms, and to Wizards of the Coast, earlier this year, and it’s turned into a fascination with the entire setting that just refuses to go away. I haven’t read as much within it as I’d like, but the stuff I’ve read has been fairly good so this fascination is definitely here to stay. Plus Paul is an excellent writer in my opinion. This is another from-memory review so if I get anything wrong, I do apologise.

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Advent Reviews Day 20: Hard Times In Dragon City by Matt Forbeck

I’m a huge fan of Matt Forbeck’s work: whether it’s novels or comics. I have yet to read any of his work that I didn’t like, and he has been the most consistent author for me to date, not to mention that he’s also the one I’ve reviewed the most! That creates certain expectations of course, and Hard Times In Dragon City fulfills those expectations quite nicely. As the first Shotguns & Sorcery novel, this is the fourth in his 12-for-12 project in which he aimed to write one 50,000-word novel a month. I’ve read the first trilogy, Matt Forbeck’s Brave New World, and it’s superb superhero fiction. Exciting stuff!

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Advent Reviews Day 9: Lot 13 #1-2 by Steve Niles

Horror isn’t my favourite genre by any means. Especially not when it comes to comics. But I’m always ready to read something different, and that’s where Steve Niles’ Lot 13 ongoing series for DC Comics comes in. Lot 13 is straight-up horror with ghosts and brutal murders and so on, not the kind of comic I’d normally read. I read these two issues just today, and since I needed some sort of different reviewing fare for my Advent Calendar, I thought I’d talk briefly about this series.

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November Report

November ended a few days ago, and so far this year, it was my busiest month ever, in terms of writing; busiest by far, as you’ll see after the break.

Anyways, to do a small recap of my goals for the year,

  1. Write ~420,000 words of both fiction (various submissions and novel projects) and non-fiction (reviews and blogposts).
  2. Read 400 novels, comics, novellas, stand-alone short stories (still not sure if these SHOULD be included) and listen to some audio dramas and audiobooks.

At the end of October, I was very close to both of those goals, having crossed the ~377,100-word mark, and was still ahead on the reading goals, as I was at 304/400 on September 30th. You can find the October report here.

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Advent Calendar 2012

My apologies that this is going out so late, but the whole idea was a very spur of the moment thing so I couldn’t get this ready in time.  Just to recap, this page will link to all the Advent Reviews that go up this month, whether on this blog, on The Founding Fields, or to the guest spots I’ve arranged with some blogger friends. Enjoy, and let me know what you thought about all these stories! I would have made the whole thing snazzier, but can’t figure out how to do side-by-side content in WordPress! Click on the links to go to the reviews.

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Advent Reviews Day 2: Osiris by E. J. Swift

For Day 2 of my Advent Reviews series, I bring to you my thoughts on the this debut novel by author E. J. Swift, the first in the Osiris Project series being published by Night Shade Books, who have put out such gems as Teresa Frohock’s Miserere: An Autumn’s Tale and Nathan Long’s Jane Carver of Waar.

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October Report

Well that was October, sort of a hellish month in some respects, and sort of quite awesome too in other respects. Time really does fly by so fast and my procrastination, as always, steals a hefty chunk of it.

Anyways, to do a small recap of my goals for the year,

  1. Write ~420,000 words of both fiction (various submissions and novel projects) and non-fiction (reviews and blogposts).
  2. Read 400 novels, comics, novellas, stand-alone short stories (still not sure if these SHOULD be included) and listen to some audio dramas and audiobooks.

At the end of September, I had made some serious progress towards both of those goals, having crossed the ~337,000-word mark, and was still ahead on the reading goals, as I was at 257/300 on September 30th. You can find the September report here.

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