Junior Mad Scientist – Lab Notes

Night of the Living Trekkies

September 3rd, 2010 by Weber


Yep, it’s here and that’s the cover. I’ve already finished the book but can’t say anything about it until September 7th.

What I can tell you is that I have two FREE copies of the book and two FREE posters of the cover for lucky JuniorMadScientist.com readers. One of the books is brand-new-never-been-read and the other has my eye prints all over it. I have to figure out some kind of contest because I can’t just give these things away. That’s too much like crazy. Winners will each get a book and a poster.

(Don’t get me wrong — anyone reading this site is already a winner. Good for you! It’s just that some people will be more winning-er than others.)

Meanwhile, slip on over to the official Night of the Living Trekkies Facebook page. Rumor has it that you can chat with the authors and get updates, etc. Everyone who joins the Night of the Living Trekkies Facebook page will automatically be entered in a contest to win a Quirk Books prize package:

Grand prize:
Human-loving Tribbles, unofficial Trekkies T-Shirt, and a signed copy of the book

Two runners-up:
Unofficial Trekkies T-Shirt

(I’d sure like one of those t-shirts . . . .)

Stay tuned for the review!

Posted in Book Reviews, Zombies | 6 Comments »

Cory Doctorow launches new book tour @ Anderson’s Naperville

May 5th, 2010 by Weber

For The Win covers, UK (left) and US (right)

For The Win covers, UK (left) and US (right)

If I’m reading the press info correctly, BoingBoing editor and author Cory Doctorow will be kicking-off his latest tour at our very own Anderson’s Bookshop in Naperville, IL. He’ll be there on Wednesday, May 12th starting at 7PM. (Address below).

My review copy of his new book, For The Win came in the mail yesterday. It’s a long one, something like 480 pages. Since, I’m the kind guy who has to move his lips when he reads, it’s going to take me more than a week to finish. Still, I’ll post a review when I’m done. Meanwhile, here is the synopsis from Cory’s own site, craphound.com: FOR THE WIN [is] a young adult novel about macroeconomics, video games and the labor movement.

How Doctorow will weave all this together is sure to be interesting. The Acknowledgments page is interesting in itself and gives some clues to what else is happening in the book.

Here’s a good scan of a bad print-out detailing Cory’s tour dates.

If you’re within driving distance to Anderson’s or any of these other fine establishments, make the trip and tell ’em Brad sent you!

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Night of the Living Trekkies

April 21st, 2010 by Weber

A little something I snagged from the nice Quirk Books people at C2E2. The card pretty much says it all:


click thumbnail for full description
(click thumbnail for full description.)

This will be in stores sometime in September. I might be getting an advance copy for review. Maybe. Still not sure on that one. I’ll let you know if/when it hits the doorstep.

Posted in Book Reviews, Zombies | 1 Comment »

Eat Thy Neighbor (Book Review)

April 1st, 2010 by Weber


The cover of this book is from one of Francisco Goya’s Black Paintings which he painted on the interior walls of his house between 1819 and 1823. “Saturn Devouring His Son” is based on the Greek myth of the King of the Titans who ate his children from the fear that they would rise up and kill him. Which they eventually did anyway, making room for the Olympians. According to the Wikipedia entry, Peter Paul Reubens depicted the same story in the 1600s. Reubens’s painting is more classical, less cartoony, more horrifying.

It is the aspect of horror which is missing from Eat Thy Neighbor: A History Of Cannibalism. Not to say the book isn’t thick with sick and disturbing scenes. But the authors seem to delight in retelling these stories, accounting for every bizzaro detail, especially with the more recent and better documented cases.

Diehl and Donnelly start out all right: Part One (Cultural Cannibalism) is an even, intelligent, though somewhat light overview of one of the world’s last great taboos. But the deeper they slide into Part Two (Case Studies Of Taboo Breakers), the authors wind-up treating the subject matter like a couple of fifth-graders, recounting every gory detail and reveling it them. And with fifteen “case studies”, the gore and brutality goes on ad nauseum.

With a topic like this, you’re an idiot not to expect gore and brutality; they’re just part of the deal. But in this book, gore and brutality is all there is. It’s clear the authors editors lashed together newspaper accounts and some of what they saw on the History Channel, but bypassed weightier material such as court documents or psychology texts. At no point in the “case studies” do the authors pause for some much-needed analysis or discussion.

By the time they get around to their lame closing assessment of “The Future Of Cannibalism,” it’s too late for them to save their book from being considered anything but tasteless.

Steer clear of this one.

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Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone (Book Review)

November 19th, 2008 by Weber


The Savannah College of Art and Design has taken the time and trouble to do something no one has previously attempted: adapting original Twilight Zone scripts to comics.

While there have been a number of earlier comic book incarnations of the seminal TV show, none could be considered faithful translations of Rod Serling’s screenplays. Many of The Twilight Zone episodes themselves are missing elements that didn’t make it from the page to the small screen –– lines, scenes, or characters edited or eliminated for running time or budget, or their provocative nature possibly troubling the sponsors and viewers.

These missing pieces –– the excised, the overlooked, the unexplored –– were what SCAD Professor of Sequential Art Mark Kneece (Hellraiser, Batman:Legends of the Dark Knight) found in each show’s original screenplay. From these pieces, Kneece et al were able to construct a “director’s cut” of the eight episodes selected for this graphic novel series.

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Kirk vs. Cthulhu?

April 13th, 2008 by Weber


I’ve just finished reading Tales Of H.P. Lovecraft, a collection of the master’s shorter works selected and introduced by Joyce Carol Oates. (With some nice cover art by Mike Mignola, creator of the steampunk-tastic, Amazing Screw-On Head!)

Tales is a nice intro to Lovecraft’s mad and lonely world. The ten stories showcase what I imagine are some of the man’s best (and most accessible?) efforts, but also provide a Whitman’s Sampler of what has become known as The Cthulhu Mythos.

The central tenant of Lovecraft’s ‘pseudomythology’ is that Earth has been repeatedly invaded and populated over the eons by a series of alien races. In fact, “At The Mountains Of Madness,” hints that everything living here — plants, animals, humans — evolved from some ancient Elder Things’ experiments that were left to run wild.

So, if they (the Old Ones/Elder Things, Outer Gods, etc., etc.), are of outer space, and for as far and wide as the Enterprise ranged over the years, you’d think sometime, somewhere, Kirk & Co. would have come across these star-spawn, or at the very least, the degenerate remains of their home worlds.

I went looking for Star Trek/Cthulhu Mythos stories — authorized or fan fic — but my Interwebbular searches availed naught.

Has anyone written or found anything in this vein? If so, I humbly request your links. Please add them to the Comments section.

Many thanks.

( Kirk image courtesy of these nice people, Cthulhu image courtesy of this guy.)

Posted in Book Reviews, Editorials, Stories, Weridness | 3 Comments »

The Amazing Coincidence of Solomon Kane

October 2nd, 2007 by Weber


Last night before bed and this morning at breakfast, I was reading the 2004 Del Rey edition of The Savage Tales Of Solomon Kane, wondering why someone hasn’t put the sword-wielding Puritan on the big screen.

(The title character of Steven Sommers’ 2004 crapfest Van Helsing seemed to have been modeled after Kane (Slouch hat? Check. Sword? Check. Religious background? Check. Dark, flashing eyes and surly attitude? Double-check.), but it was a very poor job and not worthy of the comparison.)

Then I find this tidbit at Dark Horizons:

James Purefoy (HBO’s “Rome”) has been cast as the titular puritan swordsman in Davis Films “Solomon Kane,” based on the stories of Robert E. Howard (“Conan the Barbarian”).

Kane is a 16th century soldier who learns that his brutal and cruel actions have damned him but is determined to redeem himself by living peaceably.

But he finds himself dragged out of retirement for a fight against evil. The first in a planned series of three movies, Michael J. Bassett (“Deathwatch”) will direct from his own script.

Shooting begins later this year.

Well, how about that. Coincidence or conspiracy? You decide.

As for the Solomon Kane movie, I’ll probably catch it. He’s a good character with lots of cinematic potential. I’m surprised he hasn’t been made into an HBO or Showtime series.

Here’s hoping the director can do Kane justice. I can’t say I’ve seen any of Bassett’s work. His 2002 film Deathwatch has just been moved to the top of my Netflix queue.

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“five gesticulating ants”

July 19th, 2007 by Weber


“On Friday noon, July the twentieth, 1714, the finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travellers into the gulf below.”

So starts THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY, one of the finest books in the English language. (Thornton Wilder’s “faintly contemptible vessel” earned him the 1928 Pulitzer Prize for literature. Wilder was 31 years old. THE BRIDGE was his second novel. The son of a bitch.)

Today — today exactly– marks the 293 anniversary of the fictitious rent, but how often can it be celebrated like this? On the precise day, date and hour?

The last time we could have done so was in 2001, an interesting year for Wilder’s story. Not only did the dates coincide for the bridge, the story was used to commemorate collapse — the September 11th felling of the Twin Towers.

On September 21, 2001, British Prime Minister Tony Blair quoted these last few lines:

“But soon we will die, and all memories of those five will have left earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead, and the bridge is love. The only survival, the only meaning.”

Mr. Blair’s reading resulted in a well-deserved “rediscovery” of THE BRIDGE and Wilder’s other works.

THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY is not an easy book. Wilder never comes right out and tells, “Why these five?” There’s a lot to get from it and it is worth repeated readings, or listenings of Sam Waterston’s excellent performance.

Even if all you get from it is that last bit, about “the bridge is love,” then you’ve got a lot more than you had before.

The next “Friday noon, July the twentieth” to won’t be until 2012, 2018, then 2029.

Mark your calendars.

(click here for more on THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY)

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Mouse Guard: Fall, 1152 (Book Review)

July 12th, 2007 by Weber


If you ever land a book contract and need a good literary publicist, call MediaMasters. They’re the fine folks who, among other high-profile projects, orchestrated the wildly successful launch of First Second books.

I believe they’re largely responsible for helping Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese make it to the 2006 National Book Award Finals, as well as why there are more than a few First Second titles on the impressive list of 2007’s Eisner Award Nominees.

Granted, the books themselves had a lot to do with it. But never underestimate a publicist’s role in putting those deserving books into the hands of appreciative readers — and the people on award committees.

Anyway, I’ve done some work for and with MediaMasters. They know what I do and what I like, so sent me copy of David Peterson’s Mouse Guard: Fall, 1152.
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Doodles and Scribbles (Book Review)

July 12th, 2007 by Weber

doodles1.jpg scribbles1.jpg

The matte finish and monochromatic covers of Taro Gomi’s DOODLES and SCRIBBLES create an odd presence on bookstore shelves — an eye-catching negative space among the shinny, toxic colors of the other coloring books. Even before you pick it up, it’s clear these are going to be different. And lots of fun.
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