Category: Geek Lit (page 1 of 15)

Anything book or literature related

Harley Quinn: Mad Love

A New DC Comics Novel by Paul Dini and Pat Cadigan!

Spoilers!

Hello, El Moochadores! A few days ago I finished reading another fine novel from Titan Books, and DC Comics! So, settle in for a long winded review from an aging geek, and his half baked ideas. Here we go!

Written by Paul Dini and Pat CadiganHarley Quinn: Mad Love, tells how a promising young psychiatrist/gymnast becomes a codependent henchwoman to one of Gotham City’s most notorious criminals! Also, with brief appearances by Batman. Here’s the proper synopsis:


When she was only seven years old, Harleen Quinzel witnessed her father being beaten up by thugs, and then arrested by the police. That night she ran away to the safest place she could think of: Coney Island amusement park. But there, pursued into the Funhouse by the men who brutalised her father, she beheld unimaginable horrors.

Years later, Harleen has put her past behind her, and used her intelligence and ambition to escape her childhood of poverty with a career in psychiatry. Assigned to her first position at Arkham Hospital, she will discover, deep in the asylum, something dangerous and alluring, something quite unlike anything else she has ever known before: The Joker. Because why would you settle for love, when you could have MAD LOVE?

Like most my reviews; I tend to treat this like in-class art college reviews. Say something I liked, then let loose with everything I didn’t like. I really liked the cover art…

Continue reading

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Dust

An Atomic Moo Book Review of a New Sherlock Holmes Adventure!

Alright, El Moochadores, Titan Books has published another new Sherlock Holmes adventure by author James Lovegrove, and this time around the world famous detective, and Dr. Watson, are joined by none other than legendary hunter, Allan Quartermain in The Devil’s Dust! Here’s the synopsis:


It is 1884, and when a fellow landlady finds her lodger poisoned, Mrs Hudson turns to Sherlock Holmes.

The police suspect the landlady of murder, but Mrs Hudson insists that her friend is innocent. Upon investigating, the companions discover that the lodger, a civil servant recently returned from India, was living in almost complete seclusion, and that his last act was to scrawl a mysterious message on a scrap of paper. The riddles pile up as aged big game hunter Allan Quatermain is spotted at the scene of the crime when Holmes and Watson investigate. The famous man of mind and the legendary man of action will make an unlikely team in a case of corruption, revenge, and what can only be described as magic…

For my part, I enjoyed the hell out of this book. This last year, most of my reading has been from the self-help, and motivation, sections of the library. So it was kind of refreshing to get back to a fun work of mystery and fantasy. Also, I’ve read some of Lovegove’s books in the past, and he does a fantastic job of verbally recreating a late 19th century England where a Sherlock Holmes can meet an Allen Quartermain. To be honest, I don’t have any viable criticism of this book. I started reading it about two days ago, and I just sort of burned through it. I guess I was kind of hungry for something weird and geeky, and this story delivered by providing a sort of traditional Holmes and Watson, in an entirely new universe.

Also, on unrelated note, this book (indirectly) got me watching a bunch of the old Sherlock Holmes serials starring Basil Rathbone. Definitively not the same time period or style, but if you want more Sherlock Holmes you can find many of these videos for free on Youtube. You can also go to Titanbooks.com and purchase a great number of excellent Holmes stories, along with Devil’s Dust!

Check out the Titan Books online store to get you’re own copy of Sherlock Holmes: The Devil’s Dust. Also, dig some Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in a 1940’s Holmes adventure below.

Cheers!

Unfu*ck Youreself: Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Life

An Atomic Moo Book Review of Gary John Bishop’s Stoic Self-help Book.

I don’t like my life. I know that may read as petulant or selfish, and I am well aware that life could be far worse, but it still doesn’t change the fact that most nights I go to bed with a gnawing sense of loss and depression that I can’t shake. Then, early this year, I got tired of feeling like that and decided to start making some changes. I dropped about thirty pounds, I started to save money, pay down debt, and figure out what it is I want to do with what life I have left. So, I guess I should say, “I didn’t like my life,” because things are getting better. At least a little.

I feel like I owe some of this improvement to stoic philosophy. Okay, to be honest; as much stoicism as I can get from youtube videos and the odd book, but part of my pursuit of a more meaningful life through stoicism somehow lead me to a book by Gary John Bishop titled Unfuck Yourself. This a little no-nonsense guide to changing the narrative in your head to something more positive and useful, that is also incredibly engaging. Here’s the synopsis (well, I think this is the synopsis…):


Are you tired of feeling fu*ked up? If you are, Gary John Bishop has the answer. In this straightforward handbook, he gives you the tools and advice you need to demolish the slag weighing you down and become the truly unfu*ked version of yourself. ”Wake up to the miracle you are,” he directs. ”Here’s what you’ve forgotten: You’re a fu*king miracle of being.” It isn’t other people that are standing in your way, it isn’t even your circumstances that are blocking your ability to thrive, it’s yourself and the negative self-talk you keep telling yourself.

I think this is one of the best books for laying down a practical plan for effecting a positive change in an otherwise shitty life. In Unfuck Yourself, Bishop, motivates readers to change a bad narrative (what we tell ourselves) to something that includes assertions like, “I got this” and “I am relentless.” This isn’t just positive affirmation. Well it is that too, but also a very frank advice on how to really be relentless and succeed. Best quote of the book is (for me), “Stop doing all the shit you know you shouldn’t be doing, and start doing all the shit you know you should be doing.” Which Bishop backs up in his own blunt way.
Also, much of the book falls in line with some of the stoic stuff I’ve been listening to online, and it is even full of quotes from the likes of Marcus Aurelius. It only took me about a day and half to read Unfuck Yourself, so I’ll probably be giving it a second (third) read again soon, to help re-enforce some of the ideas, and I highly recommend it to anyone feeling like they need a positive kick in the ass.

Alien: The Cold Forge!

An Atomic Moo Book Review

Now out through Titan Books is a new addition to the Aliens universe! Written by veteran sci-fi author, Alex White, The Cold Forge picks up a short time after the events at Hadley’s Hope (Aliens) on LV-426. Here’s the synopsis:

A dramatic new Alien novel, as Weyland-Yutani seeks to recover from the failure of Hadley’s Hope, and successfully weaponize the Xenomorphs. With the failure of Hadley’s Hope, Weyland-Yutani has suffered a devastating setback–the loss of the Aliens they aggressively sought to exploit. Yet there’s a reason the Company has risen to the top of the food chain. True to form, they have a redundancy already in place… the facility known as The Cold Forge. Remote station RB-232 has become their greatest asset in weaponizing the Xenomorphs. However, when Dorian Sudler is sent to RB-232 to assess their progress, he discovers that there’s a spy aboard–someone who doesn’t necessarily act in the company’s best interests. For Dorian, this is the most unforgivable of sins. When found, the perpetrator will be eliminated with extreme prejudice. If unmasked, though, this person may be forced to destroy the entire station… and everyone on board. That is, if the Xenomorphs don’t do the job first…

To be honest, I wasn’t too excited for another Aliens story. I can’t say I enjoyed the last couple of films in the franchise, and I had a tough time imagining what else a person could do with super fast, acid for blood, murder machines. Turns out, a lot. I actually really enjoyed this book. The Xenomorphs still do their job of ripping innocent people to shreds, but White also added some great characters like the sociopathic auditor, Dorian Sudler, and the near invalided, Blue Marsailis. The two characters made this sort of great yin-yang of powerful versus weak, or ruthless versus cunning. In Sudler, I think White created a better monster than the Xenomorphs, and in Blue he created a protagonist worthy of taking over for Ripley. Sometimes the book did feel like it was crossing ground already covered by Jurassic Park, or the original Alien films, but White’s excellent portrayal of a murderous corporate auditor, and a bedridden genius, gives the story its own legs to stand on. No offense to Blue.

Actually, I really think the worse part of this story is that it’s not the latest film version. Instead of getting a character driven story like The Cold Forge, the last few years we got two Alien stories that somehow (amazingly) made Aliens not alien anymore. Fucking wow.

The book is out now and available in all major books stores or you can buy it online at Titan Books!
Cheers.

Tomb Raider: The Art and Making of the Film

An Atomic Moo Film Book Review

Following the recent release of the Tomb Raider major motion picture is a new art and making of the film hard back book from Titan Books! And we got one!

Now, I can’t review the film, because I haven’t actually seen it yet. My current budget (or lack of) isn’t allowing for any film reviews (though a couple of free passes from Warner Bros could totally fix that… just say’n), but we did receive a very cool edition of Titan Books’s 2018 Tomb Raider: The Art and Making of the Film. I love film and art books, and they’re a great resource for graphic inspiration, reference material, and plain old geeking out. Also, Titan Books has produced many high quality film books in the past, and this one is no exception. Written/produced by Sharon Gosling (She did the Art and Making of Wonder Woman we reviewed awhile back), the Tomb Raider film book gives a pretty damn interesting insight into the concept art, behind the scenes photos, stunts, and cast quotes about the movie.

This film book starts with forwards from director Roar Uthaug (might actually be a viking), and producer Graham King, then continues with more than 170 beautiful pages of film making. Like always, my favorite parts are the concept art used for creating the film. However, if you are more into the film making process, prop making, or sets, then there are dozens of pages covering all of that.

I’ve posted a few sample images (just taken from my iPhone) below along with the film official trailer and the official synopsis, but if you enjoyed the film (I wouldn’t know… too poor for movie tickets, popcorn, and candy) then I highly recommend finding a copy at your local Barnes and Nobles (or book store of choice), or even getting your own copy at Titan Books online store. Tomb Raider stars Alicia Vikander and is in theaters now! …or so I hear.

Cheers!

From Warner Bros. Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, Tomb Raider follows the treacherous journey of a young Lara Croft as she takes her first steps toward becoming a global hero. Academy Award™ winner Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) stars in the lead role, under the direction of Roar Uthaug (The Wave). Showcasing lavish concept art, behind the scenes photos, insight into the stunts, and fascinating contributions from cast and crew, Tomb Raider, The Art and Making of the Film, is the perfect companion to this highly-anticipated release.


Seriously, WB! Don’t you want your movies reviewed by a website about a fire-breathing super cow!?! WTF WB?

What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School

An Atomic Moo Book Review!

I am not a graphic designer. However; Chud (Atomic Moo co-creator and my twin brother) is. Over the years Chud has collected an larger library of art and design books that I have only recently started to read. Which is weird, because I usually only read fantasy or science fiction novels. Seriously, it is very sad that I can only read a book if it has space ships blowing up or naked red Martian princesses in ’em, but something changed! These last couple of months I’ve been reading his collection, and now I’ll be posting all my muddled thoughts about them. Here we go!

Having now read What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School by Phil Cleaver (published How Books 2014) brought me to yet another realization that I have made some huge mistakes in my life. I should have gone into a creative field when I was a young man. If not graphic design, then certainly illustration… or anything else than what I did do. While reading this niffty little hard back, I kept imagining my current self some how going back in time and giving a 1999 version of myself this book and a bunch of advice. In my time travel fantasy I would appear in a flash of light wearing a silver cape (I am from the future) and blind my 1999 self with the powerful light of my iPhone 6 (it’s still from the future!) and command the attention of an confused young man obsessed with Star Wars and candy bars by saying, “Listen up Pork Chop! You’re going to art school!” Then I would also hand him a copy of Cleaver’s book. Yeah, I could probably just as well hand 1999 Trog a bunch of winning lotto numbers, and a sports almanac, but then fantasy he/me wouldn’t learn anything.

Anyways… What I hope 1999 me would get out this book is a deeper understanding of what it is to be in a professional creative’s career. What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School is like the Junior Woodchuck Guide Book of design books. I discussed the book with twin bro/Graphic Designer: Chud, and how it compared to his own start in graphic design, and he confirms that it covers a lot of areas universities, and art schools, leave out. Stuff like dealing with clients and co-workers, applying for the first internship or job, what it is like to be a junior designer, dealing with printers! It also contains useful stories from industry professionals about how they solved a particular problem or a unique design experience. The very book itself is an amazing example of quality design. There’s a beautiful uniformity to each page that clearly delivers the information and keeps the eye on the page. Also includes inspiring quotes and the ability to keep it in a coat pocket! Soon to, or recent, design grads should consider Cleavers book a necessary piece of armor in their battle for a satisfying career, because it lays down in clear terms a firm foundation of insightful knowledge absent at the university level. Hell, schools should just give graduating students this book along with their graphic design badges. Do graphic designers get badges? If not, they probably should. Badges just make jobs better.

Now at this point in my time travel fantasy, my future self is about to leave. It is 1999, and why the hell would anyone want to stay there, but past me is gonna have some questions:

“How awesome is the news Star Wars (Phantom Menace)?”
“It’s bad, kid. About as bad as Grandma dying, your girl friend breaking up with you, and finding out you were adopted all in the same hour. Heart breaking, really. Then Disney buys it.”
“And do they make it better?”
“No. Then it becomes like a corporation takes your dead grandma, puts her in a mini-skirt, and whores her out to morons drunk on PC culture. Then sometime later they chop her up, and force you to eat her.” (Which as I write this is the best way I’ve ever described Disney Star Wars. Disney Star Wars: Your dead hooker grandma chopped up and force fed back to you.)
“oh. Well, who’s the president?”
I rub my temples before answering, “Ehhhhh… Let’s not go there, but when it rains it pours.”
“Do I ever end getting married? Who’s my wife?”
“…Alyssa Milano,” I lie. Then I disappear back to the future.

If you read this review (I apologize) and you’re interested in getting your own copy of What They Didn’t Teach You In Design School, then go get a copy at Barnes & Nobles or order a copy online here!. Also, available on Nook!

Justice League: The Art of the Film

An Atomic Moo Book Review!

Happy Holidays, El Moochadores! For today’s post I got a hold of Titan Books’s hardcover Justice League: The Art of the Film! Now, I dug the book, but I can’t say anything about the movie itself because I haven’t seen it yet. Which is not a criticism of the film, I’ve just been either too busy, or too broke (or a combination of the two), to see films this last year. Anyways… Let’s review a book!

I think I enjoy “Art of” books way more than I do actual films anymore. Everyone of these books is filled with beautiful set design, concept art, costumes, and background information that appeals to my creative side, and Justice League: Art of the Film is no exception. The book begins with a forward by DC’s Geoff Johns and an introduction by the films producer, Charles Roven, then dives into over 200 pages of the films art production. Along with detailed images of concept art and costume concepts is a quote from the production staff or performer about the set, prop, or costume being used. There’s even one page which shows all the background Logo, poster, and ad work produced to flesh out their world. Which with us being design nerds, was kind of cool to see.

I also enjoyed the variety of costume designs featured in the book. Most of the images are labeled as “concept” so I don’t know how much of it made it into the film, but I kind of wish cosplayers would pay more attention to books like this. These books are awesome reference sources for costume ideas. It’d be great to see cosplayers bring these costumes to conventions instead of the now standard issued Deadpool and Harley Quinn that fill up every con. Also, I’m glad to see the kept the Wonder Woman costume hot ‘n sexy. What with this weird liberal puritanism fucking up our culture and creativity, its nice to some sexy back on screen. Though, that might just be Gal Gadot. I’m pretty sure see could wear a cardboard box and still be hot. Actually… that is hot. ANYWAYS, the other costume details about Flash, Batman, and the other heroes were also interesting to read and see in detail.

The film’s reviews haven’t been great, but this art book is actually pretty cool, and if you’re into costume design, set design, or even FX work, you might want to pick up a copy for yourself. You can get your own copy (why not, you got some Christmas cash coming in! X-mas bonus!!!) of Justice League: The Art of the Film in all major book stores or online at titanbooks.com!

Check out a proper synopsis, a few sample images, along with a trailer of the film! Sorry about some of the quality of the images, I had to use my iPhone and I wanted to show what the book actually looked like. Not just images pulled from the web – like above.

Cheers!

Inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans – Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash – to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. Packed with stunning concept art, sketches, costume detail, stills, and behind-the-scenes shots from the set, this book is an invaluable insight into the world of Justice League.

The Vinyl Detective – The Run-Out Groove

An Atomic Moo Book Review!

Alright, El Moochadores! It’s the holiday weekend, and I’ve done some summer read’n. So, let’s kick today off with a couple of Atomic Moo Book Reviews courtesy of the good peoples over (yonder?) at Titan Books.

First up is a book I enjoyed the hell out of. figuratively speaking (of course), but I really enjoyed the first Vinyl Detective novel by author Andrew Cartmel and I was stoked to get to review the sequel. Though my opinion of hipsters is still pretty negative (what with their crusty beards and thick framed glasses), Cartmel’s mysteries are uniquely quirky and deeply engaging. In The Run-Out Groove The Vinyl Detective is back to suss out what happened to the lost child of a dead 1960’s rock icon. Here’s a the proper synopsis:

His first adventure consisted of the search for a rare record; his second the search for a lost child. Specifically the child of Valerian, lead singer of a great rock band of the 1960s, who hanged herself in mysterious circumstances after the boy’s abduction.

Along the way, the Vinyl Detective finds himself marked for death, at the wrong end of a shotgun, and unknowingly dosed with LSD as a prelude to being burned alive. And then there’s the grave robbing…

The mystery Cartmel lays out has a great mix of humor and danger that just sucks readers in. I think I finished this book in a day or two, and that was during a heavy work week. Though the Run-Out Groove has a similar beat to the first Vinyl Detective novel, this is very much its own story and readers who may have missed the first book won’t be left behind. I thought there was something very satisfying in reading the exploits of music geeks who find themselves in danger while uncovering a fifty year old mystery. Cartmel also does a brilliant job of writing outlandish characters, that can be humorous and deadly, but not cliches or tropes. Death to all hipsters, but not before another Vinyl Detective novel.

The Vinyl Detective: the Run-Out Groove can be found in all major bookstores, or you can get your copy online at Titanbooks.com.

Cheers.

The High Ground

An Atomic Moo Book Review

Way back in 2016 (if I can remember that far back) Titan Books sent me a pile of novels and “art of books” to review here on the Moo (heh). Anyways, 2016 was also a very tough year chuck full of scary personal problems. Notice how there hasn’t been a Moocast in a while? Well, probably not, but in the history of my life 2016 will go down as “not fun”, and that is despite going to comic book conventions as a vendor for the first time and kicking off both Atomic Moo #1 and Atomic Tails! However, things are getting a little better, and this pile of books sitting atop my Con Pile, is getting really annoying. Like a sort of silent guilt trip. Yeah, I took the books, I should read and review them. Which I’ve started to do again. Also, there’s a lot of creativity in these books, and we’re a geek creative website. It is very important to me to figure out how to be a creative professional, and peeking into the imagination of authors and artists I think can help. So, we’re back with another Atomic Moo Book Review! Better late then never, right?

First up is a paperback novel by writer Melinda Snoodgrass, a veteran SF and fantasy writer who has written for Star Trek, and worked with George (where’s the new damn book?) R. R. Martin. Keen.

The High Ground: Imperials Saga is a military SF novel set in a future galaxy conquered by humans and ruled by a mostly chauvinistic society. The story kicks off when, in a move to preserve power, the emperor’s daughter (Mercedes) becomes the first woman admitted to High Ground – an elite orbital military school. There she meets the son of a tailor (Tracy) who, despite his poor background, has won a scholar ship to the academy and hopes to one day rise above his “intitulado” (untitled) station in life. Then there’s some romance, political backstabbing, and all the cool stuff that goes along with alien subjugation, class warfare, and sexism. Keen.

For the most part, I did enjoy this book. Snodgrass creates an interesting future where humans have conquered a galaxy, yet (somehow) also reverted to an imperial government controlled by a patriotic aristocracy. Way back when I was napping through college I remember one of my anthropology professors discussing similar situations in world history. The idea being that as humanity has room to expand, and possibly compete with others, non-reproductive activity and rights take a back seat to baby making. In High Ground, Snodgrass presents a story where humans are desperate to fill planets with more humans so the rights of women and homosexuals take a backseat. I’m not saying I agree with this, but unconscious social decisions have always fascinated me. Like, cars. How the fuck did we all agree the car was a good idea. It sucks. It “Force Awakens” sucks, but somehow we all go along with it and spend way too much time starring at the ass end of a SUV with “Trump” bumper stickers all over the back of it! Digression aside, I also enjoyed how the current ruling families of her book evolved from the capitalism of today. The idea of Pepsi, McDonalds, and (gods helps us) Disney going on one day to spawn a ruling class of oligarchs, is really interesting. Also, this is a very feminist book. As a fully equipped dude, I think this should have bugged me a little more, but it didn’t. I think Snodgrass did a good job of introducing a bit of feminism into a military SF book without scaring guys away.

As far as criticisms of this novel go: I don’t think I dug the teen romance aspects of the book. Not that it wasn’t written well, or that others wouldn’t enjoy it, but I’m way past my teen years, and the “space high school” romances, and competitions, were tough for me to care about. My only other criticism would be that the book (mostly) sticks with the perspectives of Tracy and Mercedes, which gets claustrophobic at times. In a reading sense. Getting away from the protagonist and into the heads of some of the other characters would’ve been a nice trip at times.

So that’s the review El Moochadores! If you’re interested in checking out The High Ground you can currently find it in most bookstores or you can get your own copy online at Titan Books!

Cheers!

Older posts

© 2018 Atomic Moo

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑