It’s finally here! The most anticipated movie of the last four years! The Avengers!
First the geekgirl reaction: OMG! It’s so fraking awesome!!!!
Now the intuitive critic reaction: OMG! It’s so fraking AWESOME!!!!
Yeah, it’s that good. Written and directed by the master geekboy Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly, did you really need the references?), this movie an epic of epic proportions. Four years, five movies, thousands of fans, and two Marvel universes have all collided to make this movie one of the biggest and most important comic based films ever made.
So the basic premise, is that Loki (Thor’s bro, played by Tom Hiddleston) has made an alliance with an alien known as “Other” (played by Whedon alum Alexis Denisof) to retrieve the Tesseract and use it to create a portal for the alien race the Chitauri to pass through and conquer earth. Loki is given a small chip of Tesseract embedded in a spear that he uses to activate the cube and to use mind control. Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson, though you shouldn’t have needed to know that either), assembles the heroes pegged for the canceled “Avengers Initiative” and discord and hilarity ensue. (hah! Thought I was gonna make a spoiler there didn’t ya? Yeah, not gonna happen!)
Whedon brings his talent of balance to the six heroes of this movie. Each one has been featured in at least one previous movie (though Black Widow and Hawkeye were sideline characters) and has their own distinct pasts. One of the most impressive things about the script is the way each character is featured, highlighted, and appreciated while still being part of a team. Instead of wasting time on pointless in fighting then trying to figure out a plot, Whedon instead uses the infighting as the main storyline. The process of these very different heroes and the journey they take to become an unstoppable team IS the story, and it’s a good one.
The story is strong, the character’s emotions are real, and the fighting is the most bad-ass I’ve ever seen. There’s even just the right touch of the good old Joss Whedon humor. And it’s only round one. Marvel assures us it has much more in store for The Avengers crew, including more individual movies AND a second Avengers movie…eventually. Honestly, I can’t wait.
As an Ultimate Book Guru (read small-town librarian), I’ve found myself explaining a lot about some of the different science fiction sub-genres lately. Sub-genres have always existed in science fiction, but the last few years has seen an upsurge in specific genres and fans are getting very particular about what fits and what doesn’t. So if you’re not familiar, and even if you are but want a refresher, here’s crash course in some of the sub genres that are popular and important today.
Hard and Soft
Let’s start with the basics. If you’re an experienced geek you’ve probably heard Sci-fi referred to as either hard or soft. In many ways these terms are pretty straight forward. “Hard” science fiction centers on the science or technology. The formula is pretty simple:
Plot= New Tech or Science concept + Disastrous consequences
Examples would be Ben Bova’s Grand Tour of the Universe, Issac Azimov’s writings, 2001 A Space Oddessy by Arthur C Clarke.
In “Soft” science fiction the story focuses on the characters but takes place in a setting that it “otherworld.” Like Hard Science Fiction, they take place in a futuristic or alternate world that has technology, magic, or science that we do not, but the story itself is about the character’s journey through that world, not about the science’s effect on the world. Another term is “Space Opera” because the story takes place in space but the drama and plot could take place in nearly any setting.
Examples: Star Wars series, Flash Forward by Robert J Sawyer, John Carter series (Barsoom series) by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Doctor Who TV show, Firefly TV show, Dune series by Frank Herbert
First introduced in the 1980s as a response to the beginning of computers becoming a fixture in homes and businesses. It typically revolves around in individual, or group of individuals, usually nerdy teen boys, that take on a government or corporate mogul by using their hacker skills. The “punk” part is in reference to the fact that the protagonist is usually some kind of hacker and doesn’t fall into the traditional “hero” archetype. Many books also crossover with dystopian fiction (more on that later) where technology is controlled by government or corporations and the MC must figure out how to use their tech against them.
Examples: Nuromancer (Sprawl trilogy) by William Gibson, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Phillip K Dick, Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (as well as several of his other books), Little Brother by Cory Doctorow and Ready Player One by Earnest Cline, War Games movie
This genre has been getting a lot of attention lately. It’s also often referred to as “Victorian Science Fiction” or “Victorian What If.” It typically takes place in the Victorian Era in the mid to late 1800s. It envisions modern technology powered by steam or clockwork (see also clockpunk). It also often employs an urban fantasy element by involving supernatural creatures such as vampires and werewolves. And alternate setting is in the American Old West, essentially cowboys with steam power (and maybe vampires).
Examples: Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carringer, Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare (also qualifies as Clockpunk), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series, and The Hunchback Assignments by Arthur Slade, Sherlock Holmes series (new moves), Wild Wild West movie, Brisco County Jr. TV show
Often paired with Steampunk, it typically takes place in the same time period and focuses on clockwork tech instead of steam.
Examples: Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, Hellboy comics, and The Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest
Often paired with Cyberpunk and Dystopian fiction. It can take place in the past or present, but is most often in a future where the world has been ravaged by some kind of biological disaster. Main characters are often fighting either a disease, or a corrupt government or cooperation using biological weapons against the common people. It’s also been popular to pair this with zombie stories where in the zombies are created by a disease that has gotten out of control.
Examples: The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi, Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson, Feed by Mira Grant (crossover with Cyberpunk), Rot and Ruin series by Jonathan Mayberry, I am Legend by Richard Matheson
Probably one of the most popular current genres. As the name suggests it is normally set in a large urban setting like New York City or LA. However, some are set in a small rural community. Stories contain supernatural and fantasy elements (think werewolves, vampires, demons, etc).
Examples: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris (True Blood TV show), Accidental Demon Slayer series by Angie Fox, Shades of Fury series by Kasey Mackenzie, Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel TV shows
After Hard and Soft Sci-Fi this is probably one of the oldest and most common genres. It takes place in a distant past or alternate world where magic and supernatural powers reign. Also sometimes called “Sword and Sorcery” because that’s pretty much the basic of the plot. These are usually long, drawn out series, they take place over years and book series are at least three books long but typically can go ten or more books.
Examples: Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin (Game of Thrones), Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan, Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind (Legend of the Seeker), Harry Potter series by J K Rowling, Xena and Hercules TV shows, Lord of the Rings by Tolkien, Beastmaster by Andre Norton (and TV show and movies)
Another genre getting a lot of attention lately due to a trend in YA literature. Dystopias normally take place in a post disaster world. War, bombing, or disease has destroyed everything and the characters must find ways to survive.
Alternately, characters can live in a seemingly perfect society, one where everything appears to be a paradise (Utopia) but as the main characters will discover, the seeming perfection is far from it and they must either escape, or fight against the cruel system.
Examples: The Giver by Lois Lowry, Logan’s Run by William F Nolan, Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Matched by Ally Condie
Have more examples? Feel free to comment and add to the list.
If you want to learn more about these genres or see what else I’m reading follow me on twitter or GoodReads @LadyDamonayde
So if you've been following me or Auntie Heather at all on twitter you know I got an ARC of her newest book #Soulbound. It's the first book in a brand new series called Legacy of Tril.
Trill is a mythic land where most people live simple lives, but there is a secret sect of people gifted with special powers. They are called the Skilled and divided into two groups, Barrons and Healers. The Skilled have been secretly at war with a tyrant for generations.
Enter Kaya. Raised by Barrons who defected from the war she is forced to join the ranks of the Skilled as a Healer. Healer’s are supposed to be bound to only one Barron, and hers had died, so she is given a new Barron. There’s only one problem: Healers are never allowed to fight and all Kaya wants is to be able to defend herself. When her own Barron refuses to train her she secretly arranges for another instructor, and unskilled trainer who is her own Barron’s mentor.
Honestly, I was blown away by this book. First of all, the cover is amazing. I don’t know who at Dial publishing designed it, but seriously, awesome job.
I love Kaya, she comes alive on the first page and never falters. Normally angsty teen drama gets a little overdone but Kaya is perfectly balanced. Trayton and Darius are awesome leading men and I honestly can’t decide which one I want to win in the end. Maddox is by far my favorite character, she’s fun and full of life and a great companion for Kaya. And the ending…OMG!
Okay,don’t want to give away anything else, but I WILL be giving away thisbook. It almost makes me sad to part with it, it’s that awesome, but I have to share the joy.
This is my first contest and this blog is pretty small so I’m gonna keep it simple, leave a comment, and some way to contact you (via email or twitter preferably) and I’ll arrange a drawing and pick a winner.
In honor of it being a leap year I’ll run this till the 29th of February. Gives everyone time to get in a spread the word. So good luck to everyone! Can’t wait to see how this turns out!
It's been a long, crazy year (one of the reasons I haven't done a blog post in a few months). But it's finally over and I thought it was a good time to reflect. So here's all the books I read over the 2011 year.
One new thing for me was taking up audio books. I've listed then separatly because while I don't see them as less valuable, but just can't justify putting them on the same list.
So enjoy and have a great 2012.
Books for 2011
1) Untamed (PC Cast and Kristin Cast)
2) Serenity: Those Left Behind (Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad)
3) Serenity: Better Days (Joss Whedon, Brett Matthews, Will Conrad)
4) All Together Dead (Charlaine Harris)
5) Serenity: The Shepherd’s Tale (Joss Whedon, Zack Whedon Chris Samnee)
6) Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)
7) The ADHD Update (Alvine Silverstein, et al.)
8) Behavioral Disorders: Opposing Viewpoints
9) The Fiery Cross (Diana Gabaldon)
10) The Constant Princess (Phillipa Gregory)
11) Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment (James Patterson)
12) The Kane Chronicles: The Red Pyramid (Rick Riordan)
13) Cloaked (Alex Flinn)
14) Across the Universe (Beth Revis)
15) Red Riding Hood (Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, David Leslie Johnson)
16) The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
17) The Last of the Demon Slayers (Angie Fox)
18) Hellhole (Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson)
19) Butterfly Swords (Jeannie Lin)
20) Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life
21) City of Fallen Angels (Cassandra Clare)
22) Hunted (P C Cast)
23) Wraith (Phaedra Weldon)
24) Red Hot Fury (Kasey Mackenzie)
25) Crash Into Me (Albert Borris)
26) The Throne of Fire (Rick Riordan)
27) Linger (Maggie Stiefvater)
28) White Cat (Holly Black)
29) Moon Called (Patricia Briggs)
30) Darkest Mercy (Melissa Marr)
31) From Dead to Worse (Charlaine Harris)
32) Dead and Gone (Charlaine Harris)
33) A Discovery of Witches (Deborah Harkness)
34) The Spellman Files (Lisa Lutz)
35) Life As We Knew It (Michelle Beth Pfeffer)
36) Revenge of the Radioactive Lady (Elizabeth Stuckey-French)
37) Dead in the Family (Charlaine Harris)
38) Curse of the Spellmans (Lisa Lutz)
39) The Dead and the Gone (Michelle Beth Pfeffer)
40) Darkfever (Karen Marie Moning)
41) Green-Eyed Envy (Kasey Mackenzie)
42) The Replacement (Brenna Yovanoff)
43) The Courage to Be Yourself (Sue Patton Thoele)
44) The Goddess Test (Amiee Carter)
45) Witches of East End (Mellissa de la Cruz)
46) Bloodfever (Karen Marie Moning)
47) Fire (Kristin Cashore)
48) Beauty Queens (Libba Bray)
49) Bones of Faerie (Janni Lee Simner)
50) Faefever (Karen Marie Moning)
51) Smokin Seventeen (Janet Evanovich)
52) Forever (Maggie Stiefvater)
53) Blood Magic (Tessa Gratton)
54) Dreamfever (Karen Marie Moning)
55) Shadowfever (Karen Marie Moning)
56) Revenge of the Spellmans (Lisa Lutz)
57) Dead Reckoning (Charlaine Harris)
58) Death’s Daughter (Amber Benson)
59) Insatiable (Meg Cabot)
60) Halo (Alexandra Adornetto)
61) The Marbury Lens (Andrew Smith)
62) The Night Circus (Erin Morganstern)
63) The Scorpio Races (Maggie Stiefvater)
64) Stone of Tears (Terry Goodkind)
65) Little Brother (Cory Doctorow)
66) Double Dexter (Jeff Lindsay)
67) Inheritance (Christopher Paolini)
68) Blue Bloods (Melissa de la Cruz)
69) The Giver(re-read) (Lois Lowrey)
70) Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Vol. 2 (Brian Lee O’Malley)
One for the Money (Janet Evanovich)
MetroGirl (Janet Evanovich)
Back to the Bedroom (Janet Evanovich)
The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Mary E. Pearson)
The Help (Kathryn Stockett)
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer (John Grisham)
The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
Wake (Lisa McMann)
Chains (Laurie Halse Anderson)
Remember, you can track my current reading and other activites via twitter @LadyDamonayde and goodreads under user: LadyDamonayde