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    Who is The Flash Season 5 villain? We dig in to the DC Comics history of the Cicada, played by Chris Klein.

    The Flash Season 5 Villain, Cicada played by Chris Klein
    Feature Mike Cecchini
    Oct 16, 2018

    This article contains The Flash spoilers.

    His arrival has been teased since the first bit of footage for The Flash Season 5 arrived, but the Cicada (played by Chris Klein) has remained a mystery. Even The Flash season 5 premiere, the excellent "Nora," waited until quite literally the last minute of the episode to introduce him. And when they did, it was to dispatch that episode's disposable villain, Gridlock, who won't be missed.

    But even that minute or so of footage reveals a fair amount about what to expect from how The Flash season 5 will handle Cicada. He's already fairly different from the comic character he's based on, and like Savitar and The Thinker, he continues the show's tradition of elevating otherwise obscure villains to the prestige role of season big bad. It makes some sense. After all, once you've done Thawne and Zoom, and since Captain Cold had a brilliant arc of his own to handle (across multiple shows, no less!), most Flash villains (as great as they are) aren't quite up to the challenge of sustaining an entire season of their own. A character like Cicada is practically a blank slate, as we saw from his longer introduction in "Blocked."

    For starters, he even looks pretty different from the character from the comics. See for yourself...

    A fondness for overcoats aside, you'd be hard pressed to even identify these as the same character if you saw them next to each other. Unless, of course, the TV Cicada is hiding a crazy evil Santa beard underneath that Sub-Zero mask. Anyway, for characters like this, looks are the least important thing. Just consider how much cooler Savitar looked than his comic book counterpart!

    Cicada first appeared in The Flash #170 (2001) by Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins (it's collected in The Flash by Geoff Johns: Book One). That story kicked of "Blood Will Run" and it was actually a Wally West tale. This was early in Johns' tenure as writer on The Flash, long before he brought Barry Allen back to life. It was also an early appearance of Officer Fred Chyre, who you may remember was played by Al Sapienza in the first episode of this series...where he was also killed off. Damn shame, as Chyre was a fun character. Anyway...

    A rash of killings was taking place in Keystone City, and the common thread among the victims was that they had all been rescued by Flash at some point. The victims were being killed by a cult, accumulating their life-force via special lightning bolt shaped knives (we saw this at the end of "Nora" as well). Cicada (real name: David Hersch) was over 100 years old, having been struck by lightning shortly after the death of his wife (hint: she didn't die of natural causes). That lightning bolt gave him the ability to absorb life force and become essentially immortal.

    further reading: The Flash - Who is Jay Garrick?

    Thanks to the lightning bolt connection, Cicada's cult believed that Flash had been saving people specifically to help them accomplish their goal, which was not only to extend Cicada's life, but also to bring his wife back from the dead. If we get a creepy, half-preserved wife mummy this season that Chris Klein is weeping over, I'm going to be pretty darn pleased. Anyway, as you can probably guess, Wally didn't take kindly to the cult's thinking (particularly when it was time to have his own life force drained), and Cicada was put away, and has more or less languished in obscurity ever since. 

    What was interesting about this story was how it was so specifically tailored to Wally at the time. This wasn't just a villain for Wally to stop, it was a villain that made Wally confront some of his own indiscretions. Specifically, Wally had spent a chunk of his early career as Flash as something of a womanizer, and one of the Cicada's victims was an ex-lover of his. Oh, and an ex-girlfriend he did wrong (remember Magenta from season three?) was a Cicada cultist, as well.

    As we've seen on the show, though, TV Cicada doesn't seem interested in people Flash has saved. Instead, he has it in for metas in general. I think the most likely scenario is that he and/or his wife were victims of the particle accelerator explosion, and he is looking to bring her back to life via the accumulated life force of the one-and-done clowns Team Flash puts away each week, perhaps with Barry as the ultimate prize. Will he have a collection of cultists, too? My guess is probably not, since that angle was already played with back in the Alchemy and Savitar days, but I'll update this article with more info about the TV version of Cicada and how he lines up with (or doesn't) with his DC Comics history as I can.

    Keep up with all our news and reviews about The Flash season 5 right here!

    Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of Den of Geek. You can read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @wayoutstuff.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    We sat down with Batman and Justice League writer Scott Snyder to talk about his upcoming miniseries, The Batman Who Laughs.

    The Batman Who Laughs
    FeatureJohn Saavedra
    Oct 17, 2018

    "I will never get tired of writing Batman," veteran DC writer Scott Snyder tells Den of Geek on the last day of NYCC 2018. "I mean, I will stop writing it, you know, cause I don't want to overstay my welcome. And when I don't have an idea that I think is special. But I get in that Batmobile and I just love it to death, I have so much fun."

    Since 2011, Snyder has been working on a Batman epic that is already regarded as one of the all-time great runs on the character ever written. Snyder has tackled everything from Batman's origin story to his adventures through the Dark Multiverse, a nightmare version of the DC universe run by an evil Justice League and a Bat-God. Batman's also fought a villain-turned-kaiju in a giant mech, punched a plethora of zoo animals (a running gag in Snyder's stories), teamed up with the Joker, and even created clones of himself in order to fight crime forever.

    What's kept Snyder's Batman work so interesting is his unbelievable range as a writer. He's explored Batman through the lens of horror, sci-fi, and the adventure genre. He can make you laugh, cry, or shiver in terror. Most importantly, the stories he tells about Batman feel personal, more concerned with what makes Batman human than whom he is punching. 

    Related Article: Scott Snyder on What's Next for Justice League

    With almost a decade of Batman stories under his belt, Snyder has shown no sign of leaving the Dark Knight behind. In fact, he has at least two more stories left to tell. Next year, Snyder will team up with his Batpartner-in-crime, artist Greg Capullo, for Batman: Last Knight on Earth, a postapocalyptic three-part miniseries inspired by Mad Max and billed as "the last Batman story ever told."

    But before that, Snyder has an even grimmer tale to tell: The Batman Who Laughs, a six-issue miniseries with art from Jock, another frequent collaborator (most recently on Wytches and All-Star Batman). It will see the return of one of the most grotesque villain's in the Caped Crusader's rogues gallery, a Jokerized Batman from the Dark Multiverse who killed all of his friends and enemies on his Earth and has now come to our Earth to do the same. For Batman, the Batman Who Laughs is a terrifying mirror image of what he could become if he ever broke his most important rule.

    "It's a really personal story," Snyder explains. "It's very much about the Batman Who Laughs coming to Gotham and saying, 'I've seen you across multiple worlds, and I know what really makes you happy. And what makes you happy is going to surprise you.'"

    While the material is certainly dark, Snyder says that the book will still contain plenty of the over-the-top action Batfans know and love. 

    "The story starts with Bruce tracking down the smuggling ring, and they're smuggling things in these heavy load trucks, with these kinds of compartments that sort of sit beneath the truck. He's following one that's carrying houses and people are pushing houses off and trying to stop him. He's busting through the houses on his Batcycle. I love it, it's so fun."

    Related Article: The 6 Actors Who Have Played the Joker

    According to Snyder, what the Dark Knight finds inside these hidden compartments is what sends him on a collision course with the Batman Who Laughs

    "He opens up the compartment and he sees a dead Bruce Wayne. This Bruce Wayne is ten years older than him, has lived a different life, was married to Selena, had a kid with Selena," Snyder reveals. "He has to autopsy himself and discover the clues as to whose back and he realizes very quickly it's the Batman Who Laughs."

    While it's true that the Batman Who Laughs is what happens when you mix Batman and Joker together to form the DCU's most terrifying bad guy, Snyder stresses that this isn't necessarily a Batman vs. Joker story. Even the Joker doesn't know what to make of the Batman Who Laughs.

    "I would say that the thing that's really interesting to me right now is not the Joker/Batman antagonism," Snyder says. "It's the Batman Who Laughs as the nightmare that the both of them are sort of unprepared for. I don't think Joker ever really thinks Batman is going to kill him. I think he just pushes him and pushes him to be a better version of himself in his own evil, psychotic way. He believes he's helping [Batman] somehow as his kind of best villain."

    Related Article: The Batman Movies That Never Were

    Just imagine a villain who has every quality that makes Batman great -- the superior intellect, combat training, and determination bordering on the suicidal -- while also enjoying the amorality that allows the Joker to destroy, burn, and kill without hesitation. He's the perfect foe for Batman, he knows every move the Dark Knight will make as well as all of his weaknesses.

    "The Batman Who Laughs to me is a figure who, he's not even so much the Joker as he is Batman. He's Bruce Wayne, he has all Bruce Wayne's memories. He knows everything that's happened with the Justice League," Snyder teases. "That's what's scary about it."

    First introduced in Snyder and Capullo's big Dark Nights: Metal crossover event, the Batman Who Laughs was finally defeated when the Joker decided to team up with the Caped Crusader to take the monstrous aberration down. This was one partnership that the Batman Who Laughs couldn't predict. 

    Most recently, the Batman Who Laughs returned in the pages of Snyder's Justice League series. It's revealed that Lex Luthor captured the villain after the events of Metal and locked him up in the Hall of Doom. In Justice League #8, Luthor and the Batman Who Laughs make a pact to help each other take down the world's greatest heroes. But while Luthor wants to take down all of the superheroes who stand in his way, it's clear that the Batman Who Laughs has his sights set on his heroic counterpart. And this time, he's not coming alone. 

    Related Article: 25 Essential Batman: The Animated Series Episodes

    The Batman Who Laughs will also introduce the Grim Knight, a gun-toting Batman from another universe who Snyder likens to the Punisher. He's packed with weapons and isn't afraid to pull the trigger on his enemies. As you can see in the art above, the Grim Knight has a real love for killing machines.

    It's impossible to ignore the fact that the Grim Knight is making his debut at a time when our country is facing a major gun violence problem that's resulted in over 280 mass shootings just in 2018. While Snyder isn't using the Grim Knight to comment on current political issues, he does stress that this gun-toting villain isn't meant to be celebrated. The Grim Knight is very much the bad guy.

    "With Batman, a lot of the time you get the question of 'Why doesn't Batman use lethal force?'" Snyder says. "This is one of Batman's worst fears come to life. That fear is that he will cross a line and will never be able to come back and get darker and darker and darker."

    Guns aren't the only tools the Grim Knight uses to inflict his particular brand of justice on his enemies. He's got plenty of other ways to hurt his enemies.

    Related Article: The Many Deaths of the Joker

    "It's not really about guns, so much as it is about lethality. And the story itself, as much as he's shown with the guns on the cover, he actually uses many other means. He uses a lot more blades and gauntlets and scythes and electricity, and all kinds of horrifying things to get you."

    Like Bruce Wayne, the Grim Knight is also incredibly rich. While our Bruce has used his immense wealth to fund his non-lethal crimefighting tech, the Grim Knight is basically running something akin to Murder Google.

    "The Grim Knight is literally the head of a multi-billion dollar military industrial complex. He has stuff in your phone. He has stuff in your car and GPS. So if he wants to kill you, your car just goes off a bridge. You don't even know it was him. So its really not about the guns, so much is about the fact that he's willing to kill anyone to get what he wants, anytime."

    With two killer Batmen on the loose (and one dead Bruce Wayne), will the Caped Crusader be able to win the day without breaking his one rule? Will he survive the onslaught at all? We'll find out when The Batman Who Laughs #1 arrives in November. 

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9


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    The Stranger Things comic adaptation from Dark Horse features writer Jody Houser’s take on how Will survived the Upside Down.

    Stranger Things Comics
    InterviewMichael Ahr
    Oct 17, 2018

    Few comic adaptations were as ripe for the picking as the outrageously popular Netflix series, Stranger Things. With a prequel novel centering around Eleven, a vinyl recording of Halloween sounds inspired by the show, and even a video game in development, there are plenty of stories that can be pulled out of the established canon. One of those stories comes in the form of the Dark Horse comic by Jody Houser, who tells the untold tale of what happened to Will Byers while he was in the Upside Down in Stranger Things season one.

    Houser is renowned for her work with DC titles such as Mother Panic and Supergirl, but she has also shown her skill with comics adaptations for shows like Doctor Who and Orphan Black, games like Halo and Starcraft, and movies like Star Wars. The four-issue Stranger Things title that Houser worked on with artists Lauren Affe, Keith Champagne, and Stefano Martino, maintains that grand tradition. With the second issue of the series coming out on Halloween, appropriately enough, we spoke with Houser about the journey so far.

    DEN OF GEEK: This comic fills in a part of the story from season 1 of Stranger Things that maybe some viewers didn’t even realize they were missing! Tell us about the premise of the comic and how far it will take us in terms of the chronology of the show.

    JODY HOUSER: The comic covers the entirety of season one and all from Will’s perspective, so it’s not exactly a true adaptation because we see scenes that we saw in the TV show but from the other side — literally the other side! It’s an examination of how he is the one person that manages to survive the Upside Down because you had soldiers who went in, you had scientists who were pulled in — and they’re adults and they didn’t make it! And of course, poor Barb; R.I.P. Barb. Then you have this not-very-old kid who somehow managed to get out, not unscathed, but alive. So it’s sort of a study of exactly what he had to do and what he went through to stay alive and make it out.

    What are some of the moments you had to re-create from the original story to maybe show from a different perspective, and how did you choose which moments to include?

    Basically every moment that we see Will during season one is in this comic, so with four issues, there’s actually a lot of room for new material and seeing these new scenes that are completely apart from the TV show. But at the same time, the moments that we are familiar with help us build the timeline of where things are on the other side.

    How do you prepare for a TV adaptation assignment like this? Do you go back and watch certain episodes as part of your research before coming up with an idea, or are you presented with the seeds of where the publisher or production company want it to go?

    In this case, it was a little bit of both. I had already watched Stranger Things season 1 twice before I got the job offer, so I went back and watched it a third time. But we did have a couple of seeds of ideas from Netflix, one of which being Will in season one in the Upside Down. I don’t think it was specifically to cover the whole season, but we did want to see that entire journey that we didn’t get to see.

    So it was going through and picking out the parts where we do see Will during the season where he’s able to talk to his mother in different ways and where you hear his voice and building the story around those moments because those are the fixed points in continuity that readers will already be familiar with and just seeing what’s happening those other times we don’t know where he is.

    We saw Will communicating through lights in season one, but that concept fell by the wayside in season two. Will we get to see how Will is manipulating electricity from the Upside Down?

    Uh spoilers, let’s say! But no, it’s fun because it was pretty cool watching Joyce work out how to communicate with her son, but Will had to go through the same thing on the other side to figure out how to talk to his mom, so we will get to see some of that.

    Further reading: Everything you need to know about Stranger Things Season 3.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!

    Where in the story development process does the collaboration with the artist begin? It seems like you’d need to know what the silent in-betweens were going to look like before you sketched out the script, especially for this show which is so atmospheric.

    I’ve done a lot of work where I both knew who the artist was before I started or I didn’t find out who the artist was until I had already started scripting. So I always try to keep my script style a little bit loose so there’s plenty of room for the artist to come in and execute their storytelling visual chops which are always going to be way better than mine. So I tend not to do things like layouts, and I’m always fine with artists who are like, “You know, I think it would be better if we did this,” because they’re pretty much always right. They’re pretty good at what they’re doing.

    So they might tell you they want to draw out a moment in your writing to increase suspense?

    Yeah, like expand this into an extra panel or two, or these panels we can actually condense so we can let this moment be a little bigger. And honestly that’s one of my favorite things in comics is just seeing how everyone takes the seeds and just adds their own element and flavor, and at the end it’s something that’s greater than all of the parts.

    You decided to include the Dungeons and Dragons campaign as a framework for your story. Can you tell us what your thoughts were about how Will would discover where he was and how to survive through his understanding of the game?

    The D&D was obviously such a big element for his friends in the first season, and it’s sort of how they were able to process what was going on because they had this metaphor of these adventures and these monsters. And for Will it even made more sense for him to be looking at it through that filter because the D&D game was the very last thing he experienced in the real world before he was chased down and pulled into the Upside Down.

    Also, having these flashbacks to their gaming sessions is a way that we can still include his friends in the comic, and you can still see that friendship that’s really at the heart of Stranger Things when Will’s by himself and not with his friends. So just the fact that he has been on adventures before, and the idea of the party is such a strong core of the show, but he’s not with his party right now. Some of the lessons he learned while playing with his friends and being Will the Wise, being a part of that party, that’s something that he carries into the Upside Down, and it does help him survive.

    ____

    With art in the same nostalgic 80s style as the show itself to complement Houser’s compelling story, the Stranger Things comic from Dark Horse should appeal to fans everywhere as they anxiously await the season 3 premiere in 2019. The first issue of the comic is available now from Amazon and Comixology, and the second issue arrives on October 31, 2018.

    Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter.


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    Justice League writer Scott Snyder dishes on what fans should expect from the book after "Drowned Earth."

    Justice League: Scott Snyder Interview
    FeatureJohn Saavedra
    Oct 17, 2018

    After almost a decade of exciting Batman stories, DC veteran Scott Snyder has finally been given access to the company's entire pantheon of superheroes. Ten issues in, Snyder's Justice League series has already given readers one mind-blowing epic about the creation of the DC universe as well as the dawn of Lex Luthor's Legion of Doom. Along the way, we've also witnessed the return of Starman to the DCU, Martian Manhunter's new role as chairman of the League, and learned of humanity's ultimate destiny. Needless to say, this isn't a small book. 

    Now that the first arc, "The Totality," has come to an end, Justice League has now shifted focus to the five-part, Aquaman-centric "Drowned Earth" crossover event which sees the Earth flooded by an alien invasion force. The event kicks off today with Justice League #10, with art from Francis Manapul. 

    We caught up with Snyder at NYCC 2018 to talk about Justice League, what's going on with Starman, Batman's killer "Professor X" wheelchair, and an upcoming arc of the book, which is called "The Sixth Dimension."

    When it comes to Snyder, it's hard to not ask him a million questions about Batman. He's spent so much time writing the Dark Knight, getting to know (and breaking) the character, so it shouldn't surprise you that Snyder has big plans for Batman in upcoming issues of DC's flagship team book. In fact, Snyder's approach to future Batman Justice League scenes sounds hilarious. 

    "I love writing him on the team because I play him more for comic relief a little bit, you know?" Snyder says. "He actually is having some dark stuff happen to him, where, as much as we joke about it, he's in a body cast right now."

    For those of you who don't know or need a refresher, Batman recently had his body completely shattered during his fight against Luthor. Powered by the Totality's incredible energy, Luthor dealt a blow that left Batman with quite a few broken bones. His limbs are basically useless, which means he's been left out of the action, forced to wear a giant body cast that doubles as a high-tech wheelchair. But because this is Batman we're talking about, it's not just a wheelchair...

    "I always wanted to do this, where he's in a kind of 'Professor X' chair that holds his bones and muscles together. But that chair has all kinds of crazy ass weapons in it," Snyder teases. Snyder, ever a student of "Chekhov's gun," plans to put Batman's wheelchair to good use in upcoming issues of "Drowned Earth." 

    "The Legion of Doom actually attacks the Hall of Justice during our Aquaman arc. Batman is alone in there in his body cast, and he takes them all on in his body cast and it's one of my favorite scenes," Snyder says. "He's just like, 'Bring it! My weapons have weapons.'"

    Snyder has made a name for himself, not only for his incredibly dark Batman stories ("Death of the Family,""Endgame," and Dark Nights: Metal to name just a few) but for the way he's able to write the Caped Crusader for laughs. Batman is the kind of hero who is almost comical in his level of preparedness and Snyder knows it. But in order for a book like Justice League to work, Batman can't just solve all the problems the team faces single-handedly. 

    "I like playing him a little bit more off-center in Justice League, just to give other characters a chance to shine, because I feel like everyone thought I'd put Batman right at the center," Snyder explains of his approach to Batman in the team book. After all, Batman can't be the only focus of a series also headlined by Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Cyborg, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter.

    Besides blowing up bad guys with his wheelchair, Batman's also focused on figuring out the mystery behind Starman, who returned to the DCU in Justice League #8 in a shocking opening sequence that not only brought the character back but tied his origin story to the arrival of the Totality, a cosmic energy source that fuels the creation of universes. In a clever retcon, Will Payton's powers are now forever tied to the strange energy. Naturally, Batman needs to get to the bottom of this mystery and figure out how Starman's story ties into their current predicament against the Legion of Doom, which seeks the Totality for its own evil gains.

    To do this, Batman's using an unlikely ally to get inside Starman's memories: Starro, the giant space-starfish supervillain who met his demise during the Justice League: No Justice event last spring but is back in a new form.

    "[Batman]'s got a baby Starro with him because he found a fragment of Starro and it's in a jar. They call it 'Jarro.' And he's using it to extract memories from Starman and all this stuff, so it's very kind of fun and over the top," Snyder explains.

    While Snyder teases all the funny moments to be had in the upcoming issues, there are some dark things coming down the line as well. After "Drowned Earth," Snyder is leaving Earth to catch up with Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl on a mission to Thanagar Prime, the homeworld of DC's hawk-themed characters. That arc will then give way to the next story, titled "The Sixth Dimension."

    Snyder spoiled a tiny bit of that story for us, including what Batman's going through during the arc:

    "Deep down, [Batman]'s actually really hurt by the fact that Lex beat him and broke his bones. This mystery and this challenge are a lot bigger than anything he's faced as a street detective. So there's a lot of fear right now and that's gonna come out in a bigger arc that we're gonna do in about issue 19 called 'The Sixth Dimension.' You start to see Batman's fears and the damage that's been done to him really come out in a way that's not funny anymore, that really hurts."

    What other adventures await the Justice League in "The Sixth Dimension?" We'll just have to wait and see as the mystery of the Totality continues in the pages of Justice League

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    The cast of Good Omens gives insight into how director Douglas Mackinnon brought Good Omens to the screen.

    Interview Kayti Burt
    Oct 17, 2018

    Television is known as a writers' medium, but that doesn't mean the director isn't a vital contributor to the creation of an on-screen television world. This is especially true when one director has the chance to direct every episode of a TV season, which is normally not the case in the traditional TV model.

    This is the case for Amazon's much-anticipated upcoming adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, the story of a demon named Crowley (David Tennant) and an angel named Aziraphale (Michael Sheen) who team up in an attempt to prevent the apocalypse and the end of life as they know it.

    Director Douglas Mackinnon is behind the camera for all six episodes of what looks to be a trippy, distinctive, and wonderfully weird adaptation of a beloved book. 

    Mackinnon knows his way around both an adaptation and a fantasy world. Standouts on the Scottish director's long resume include Doctor Who's "The Husbands of River Song" (he's directed eight episode of NuWho), Sherlock's "The Abominable Bride," and the first three episodes of Steven Moffat's highly underrated Jekyll.

    Den of Geek had the chance to talk to Mackinnon and the cast of Good Omens at the recent New York Comic Con.

    "It's Douglas who's focusing on source material," said Sheen of working with Mackinnon, noting that it was the director whose copy of the Good Omens book was the most thumbed-through, and who was the most actively engaged with keeping the adaptation faithful to the spirit of the book.

    "[Douglas] was the guardian of the book weirdly in the way that you'd think Neil would be the guardian of the book. But, actually, it was Douglas who kept the book pinned down, which allowed me to be much freer in kind of messing around with things a bit. You had the confidence of the authorial voice to go, 'All right, that was the book, but we're doing this.' And Douglas would keep going, 'There's that bit in the book. There's that line in the book.''"

    Both Tennant, who'd worked with Mackinnon before on episodes of Doctor Who, and Jon Hamm, who plays Archangel Gabriel in the series, remarked on MacKinnon's ability to manage the broad scope of the adaptation. 

    "I think what's brilliant about Douglas is that he has an absolute grasp of all the disparate elements of what Good Omens is, and there are a lot of them," said Tennant. "There's lots going on that we [actors] never really get to truly understand or know. There're whole plot lines that I can't wait to see what they're about, some characters that we're never in a scene with."

    Tennant continued:

    "You've always felt like Douglas—he's been working on this project certainly a lot longer than I have—had a real sense of what everything was and how it all had to be pulled together. And I felt, probably because I knew him before, probably because of the sense that he brought to set everyday, I could trust that. I didn't have to worry about. I just had to look after my little corner of it because he was in charge."

    Hamm, who was part of a separate roundtable discussion from Tennant, echoed the sentiment.

    "It's a treat to have a unified vision over something so sprawling and vast," said Hamm, who is a longtime fan of the book. "And just the scale and scope of this project, especially giving that it has such an international following and is so adored by so many, because then you want somebody who has experience and knows what he is doing, but also has the ability to play nicely with others and to understand that Neil and the book are the sources of all of this and really use it to his advantage."

    further reading: The Best Horror Movies on Amazon Prime

    From the actors' perspective, Mackinnon is a delight to work with because he understands that the relationships between characters is at the heart of any good story.

    "Douglas's personality, maybe just on this," said Sheen, "mirrors the challenge of the book which is the enjoyment of the craziness of the world, of the universe. This kind of huge, silly, absurd stuff going on, but at the heart of it is something very, very real about relationships and something that matters."

    "You want to be able to enjoy both," Sheen continued. "You have to be taken along by the narrative engine of why it matters, what's going on, in order to enjoy the crazier elements of it. And I think Douglas has that. When you meet him, you think he is making jokes all of the time and being kind of silly, but actually, underneath, he has a very serious commitment to what it's really about. I think that's why he was the perfect director [for Good Omens]."

    Sheen continued:

    "He's very good with all the bells and whistles. He understands how you can be drummaging in work. He likes doing fancy things with cameras. He gets excited by all that. But, ultimately, only really cares about what's going on between the actors."

    Miranda Richardson, who plays Madame Tracy in Good Omens, has been working in this business a long time. Where does Mackinnon fall in the context of her experience?

    "He knew what he wanted so that's always a relief as a performer," said Richardson. "He's also one of the most relaxed bosses, you know, not in Australia that I've ever had, really."

    What does Mackinnon himself have to say about the responsibility of bringing the world of Good Omens to the screen? Den of Geek asked the director specifically about bringing London, a location and setting that has a rich history on screen and that Mackinnon has worked with as a setting before, to distinctive life.

    "Good Omens is a very—I'm going to use a very particular word here—is a very English production," said Mackinnon. "It's very English. There's no British, no UK. It's very English."

    "I'm Scottish, when I read the book it felt so much like a ... I wouldn't say cliché or stereotype, but it's so much about how English people talk to each other," continued Mackinnon. "That's why with Aziraphale and Crowley, they're both English. And so, the London that I wanted, and the Soho that I wanted, and also the Tadfield I wanted ... There was an English playwright who died a number of years ago..."

    "Dennis Potter," Gaiman contributes, giving us a peek into the partnership between these two men, who have been working closely together on this project for months and months.

    "[It was] Dennis Potter," continues Mackinnon, "who said that, he was dying and he said that, 'The blossoms were the blossom-est blossoms that he'd ever seen.' So, I want the Soho-est Soho that I'd ever seen. I want the London-est London. I want the Tadfield-est Tadfield."

    "It means that, in Crowley's flat, he's got heads of Parliament outside his window," continued Mackinnon. "It means at St James's Park you see Buckingham Palace. There are red buses going past all the time. And, for Tadfield, [where] we went and shot, the last major film that was shot there was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. So, you can't get more English than that."

    "My theory was that, when Aziraphale and Crowley were walking down the street of Soho, they would just fit in completely, but when they got to Tadfield they standout like they're crazy guys... Especially, if you turn up with a burning Bentley."

    Good Omens will premiere on Amazon in 2019.

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    The CW's Dorian Gray TV series will be a "comedic" adaptation of the classic Oscar Wilde story.

    News Kayti Burt
    Oct 17, 2018

    You gotta hand it to The CW: the network is committed to its reimaginings of popular properties, from the comic book world to the literary one. It's been a few years since Beauty and the Beast was on the CW's schedule, which means it may be time for a different show based on classic literary material to make it onto the rotation...

    According to Variety, The CW is currently developing a TV series based on the Oscar Wilde novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is about an ever-youthful and ever-beautiful young man named Dorian Gray whose portrait becomes increasingly hideous as he himself becomes mean, cruel, and bitter. The portrait becomes a record of the sins, as Dorian Gray's youthful, beautiful facade obscures the terrible human underneath.

    Sadly, The CW's adaptation will not be a straight adaptation (we still miss Penny Dreadful's Dorian Gray adaptation), but rather "a comedic spin on the classic story."Dorian, as it is currently called, will follow a woman who made a deal with the devil 50 years prior to remain young. She has spent the past five decades living a life of selfishness, largely without consequence. When the series starts, the downsides of living young forever (wait... this seems to go against The CW brand) begin to rear their ugly head, and Dorian decides she is ready to physically age and emotionally mature. First, however, she has to make amends for her past.

    Dorian is being developed by writer and executive producer Marisa Coughlan, who is mostly known for her acting work. Coughlan has appeared in Super Troopers and Space Station 76. On the writing side, her project Lost and Found went to pilot at ABC, and she has contributed scripts for projects Pushing and That’s Wonderful.

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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  • 10/18/18--11:09: Daredevil: Who is Bullseye?
  • The big Daredevil season 3 villain has a crazy Marvel history. Here's everything you need to know about Bullseye.

    Daredevil Season 3 Villain Bullseye Marvel Comics
    FeatureMarc Buxton
    Oct 18, 2018

    Things are about to get deadly on the mean streets of Marvel because Bullseye is coming to Netflix’s Daredevil season 3. Fans have been awaiting Bullseye’s arrival since the first season, and with good reason. Over the years, many writers and artists have done their creative best to make Bullseye one of the most fearsome foes in the Marvel Universe. So let us go back in time and discover the deadly secrets of Bullseye, the man who never misses. Be warned though, as we travel back and find these greatest Bullseye stories, the journey is littered with the corpses of men and women (and thus, potential spoilers) who crossed Bullseye. Victims punctured with playing cards, pierced with paper clips, and penetrated by ninja weapons. 

    The first character known as Bulls-Eye (not Bullseye) appeared in Nick Fury: Agent Of SHIELD #15 (1969) by Gary Friedrich and artist Herb Trimpe. This Bulls-Eye attempted to kill Nick Fury but was taken out by Dum Dum Dugan. Bulls-Eye was packed away into Marvel obscurity and seemingly has no connection with the Daredevil baddie, but when a villain possessing the moniker returned, the Marvel Universe would become a much more dangerous place.

    It’s hard to imagine that Bullseye has become such a major force of evil in the Marvel Universe considering the assassin has no powers. He is highly trained in martial arts and has perfect aim. Bullseye used to be a pitcher in the major leagues but was banned and prosecuted for killing a batter with a bean ball. From there, Bullseye trained himself to kill with any object from office supplies, to peanuts, to playing cards. 

    With all that being said, let’s get to our reading list/history...

    The Bullseye we all love to hate first appeared in Daredevil #131 (1976) and was created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. Now, you guys have to understand one thing about Daredevil’s rogues gallery circa 1976: it was not very good. It was fun and some characters like Kilgrave the Purple Man (you know, from Jessica Jones), Gladiator (good ol' Melvin Potter, who keeps popping up on the DaredevilNetflix series), and, of course, Wilson Fisk, have all gone on to star in some phenomenal tales, but this era of DD villains was before the days of Typhoid Mary and Elektra, so when Wolfman and company first introduced Bullseye, he seemed like another one-and-done DD baddie.

    Admittedly, in this first appearance of Bullseye, the villain had a bit more of an edge to him compared to, let’s say, Matador or Stilt-Man (but let’s face it, a potato has more of an edge than Matador). In Bullseye’s first battle with Daredevil, he sets up a series of exhortation and murder plots and even publicizes himself in an interview with the Daily Bugle. Bullseye actually defeats Daredevil but soon, Matt pulls himself together, and for the first time, lays the smack down on Bullseye. Wolfman told a tight yarn and Bullseye was daringly different, but the master assassin could have just been another forgettable entry in the Daredevil rogues gallery...if it wasn’t for Frank Miller.

    Frank Miller

    When Bullseye would next appear, it was an issue drawn by the creator that would fully unleash Bullseye on the Marvel Universe: Frank Miller. Don't forget about writer Roger McKenzie who penned the story that first unleashed the full brunt of Bullseye on Marvel. In Daredevil #160-161 (1979), Bullseye desperately wants revenge on DD for his previous defeat, so he kidnaps Daredevil’s than true love the Black Widow and forces Matt Murdock into a brutal confrontation. McKenzie writes a tight, brutal tale while Miller finds frenetic visual language to bring Bullseye to life. The master assassin must have struck a chord in Miller, because when the iconic creator had full creative control of the book, he put Bullseye front and center.

    In Daredevil #169 (1981), both written and drawn by Miller, the full horror of Bullseye is unleashed. In this issue, Bullseye finds himself with a brain tumor. The villain is so obsessed with Daredevil, that now everyone he sees resembles the Man Without Fear. So Bullseye goes on an epic killing spree. By issue’s end, Daredevil stops Bullseye’s reign of terror, but with this single issue, Bullseye basically became Marvel’s Joker, an unstoppable force of insanity.

    Read Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson on Amazon

    In Daredevil#171-172 (1981) by Miller, Bullseye becomes the hired assassin of Wilson Fisk, the Kingpin. This is Kingpin at his most driven and violent because he just had to bury his beloved wife Vanessa. Kingpin wanted to burn the world and Bullseye would be his match. This unholy alliance would define both villains for decades to come. Which brings us to a moment that would solidify Bullseye as one of Marvel’s most heinous villains forevermore...

    The Death of Elektra

    “…You’re pretty good. But me…I’m magic.” With those words in Miller’s Daredevil #181 (1982), Bullseye slits Elektra’s throat with a playing card and plunges her own Sai into her chest. You see, at that point, Kingpin had replaced Bullseye with Elektra and the psycho killer that never misses had something to prove. Of course, Elektra was also Matt Murdock’s lover so her death sent shockwaves through the world of comics. It was a watershed moment as the seemingly unstoppable Elektra was systematically dismantled and murdered by Bullseye and became one of the first truly unforgettable Marvel moment of the 1980s.

    Bullseye paid for his actions when Daredevil tossed the killer off a rooftop, shattering his spine. Bullseye was paralyzed and things took an even darker turn when Daredevil visits Bullseye in the hospital in Daredevil#191(1983). As Bullseye lay immobile, Daredevil plays a faux game of Russian roulette with the prone killer. It was the darkest moment of Miller’s run on Daredevil and may have been the darkest moment in the history of Marvel. A hero pressing a gun to the temple of a killer that robbed him of his great love. Damn.

    Read Daredevil by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson Vol. 2 on Amazon

    Elektra was not the last love Bullseye would take from Matt Murdock...

    The Death of Karen Page

    The coming of Bullseye to Netflix could mean horrible things for one Karen Page. Because in the famed Guardian Devil (1999) storyline by writer Kevin Smith (snootches) and artist Joe Quesada, Bullseye is hired by the Spider-Man villain Mysterio to kidnap an infant. During the case, Bullseye uses Daredevil’s own billy club to kill Daredevil’s other great love Karen Page. Page had been Matt Murdock’s constant since Daredevil #1 and now, like Elektra, she was dead because of Bullseye. 

    Read Daredevil: Guardian Devil on Amazon

    Hardcore

    When Brian Michael Bendis took over Daredevil in the late 90s, fans knew the writer had a killer Bullseye story ready and waiting. After all, Bendis is and was a master of hardcore crime sagas and dark noir. Fans were not disappointed when Bendis presented the storylines “Lowlife” and “Hardcore” in which Matt Murdock’s identity as Daredevil is revealed to the world.

    Bullseye uses this new revelation to attack Murdock’s life and attempts to murder DD”s current lover Milla Donovan. Murdock is having none of it and confronts Bullseye. With the rage of the loss of Elektra and Karen, Daredevil beats Bullseye almost to death and carves a bullseye symbol into the killer’s head. Yeah, it was a response to the best-forgotten Daredevilmovie of the late 90s, but it was a moment of pure vengeance as Daredevil finally made Bullseye pay for all the pain he caused.

    Read Daredevil: Hardcore on Amazon

    Thunderbolts

    The next time Bullseye would appear would finally be separate from the world of Daredevil. Bullseye joined the Thunderbolts team led by Norman Osborn. Bullseye operated as Osborn’s most secret of weapons and was only unleashed on the most dangerous of missions. So let that sink in, Bullseye is so deadly, even Norman Osborn was wary of the master killer. As a member of the Thunderbolts, Bullseye helped fight Spider-Man, the Skrulls, and was even paralyzed again by the Native American hero known as American Eagle. Bullseye’s time with the Thunderbolts hit like a bolt of lightning in 2007 and was presented by Warren Ellis and Mike Deodoto.

    Read Thunderbolts: Ultimate Collection on Amazon

    Things got even sicker when Osborn transformed his Thunderbolts into the Dark Avengers. Bullseye adopted the identity of Hawkeye and seeing the man who had killed Elektra and Karen Page profaning the iconic heroic identity of Clint Barton was truly twisted. Dark Hawkeye marked Bendis’ return to the character in the 2009 Dark Avengers series. Bullseye/Hawkeye also starred in a bloody and twisted mini-series in 2009 by Andy Diggle and Tom Raney.

    The Magic Returns

    After his time as Hawkeye, Bullseye was killed in the Shadowland crossover. At this time, a new assassin named Lady Bullseye became a major player in the New York underworld. Lady Bullseye brought Bullseye’s corpse to the Hand and had the killer resurrected. Sicker than ever, Bullseye was confined to an iron lung and did what he does best: make Matt Murdock’s life a living hell. Bullseye sends many adversaries to weaken Daredevil during Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s superb 2013 run on Daredevil until he was once again defeated by the Man Without Fear.

    Daredevil season 3 arrives on Netflix on October 19.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    The cast of Runaways is eager for more action, and it sounds like they'll be living it in Season 2.

    Interview Andrew Husband
    Oct 18, 2018

    It wasn’t until the very end of Runaways Season 1 that Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz), Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano), Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner), Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer), Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin) and Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta) made good on the show's title.

    Before that pivotal moment, when these disparate teenagers discovered that their villainous parents had framed them for murder, series co-creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage had spent most of the season’s time laying the groundwork for the group’s eventual escape. It’s a common method showrunners will use to adapt comic books for television (see the first season of AMC’s Preacher), and while it may tax the patience of some viewers, it often pays off in the long run.

    Hence Runaways Season 2, which premieres Friday, December 21st on Hulu. Based on the Marvel comic series created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, the latest installment sees Alex, Nico, Karolina, Gert, Chase and Molly finally going on the run. At the same time, as the first teaser trailer suggested, audiences will also be seeing the group testing the limits of their powers—and their teamwork—for the eventual confrontation with their parents, all of whom are a member of the secretive group dubbed “The Pride.”

    According to what the cast told Den of Geek at the 2018 New York Comic Con earlier this month, this is the development they have all been looking forward to the most. That is to say, more “action.”

    “It's just up in action,” says Feliz, whose character more or less serves as the group’s leader. “When I first watched that teaser, it reminded me a lot of what we've been doing this season. Everything is on a bigger scale this time. We get more action, we get more explosions, we get more of everything.”

    Many of his fellow cast members say the same, but there’s also a lot more they’re excited about. From the new directions that Savage, Schwartz and the writers have decided to go in, to the inclusion of at least two more characters from the comics, it seems Runaways Season 2 will have plenty to satisfy hardened comic book readers and general audiences alike.

    “The writers really trusted us with some new material this year,” says Barer. “I think they tapped into some really the deep stuff that we’ve brought to these characters, and they let us explore that on our own.”

    Acosta adds to this point, saying “the way Molly grows into this superhero role” was especially fun to play with. “She's ready to take it on. It's fun to play with her abilities.” After admitting a conspiratorial grin, she adds that “the way we throw in some Easter eggs is fun, too. That she might be the M-word.” (That is to say, Molly is a “mutant,” but with the Disney-Fox merger still in progress, Marvel and Hulu cannot legally employ that word in the show.)

    Of course, this wouldn’t be a decent Runaways adaptation without Old Lace, a genetically engineered dinosaur designed by Gert’s parents that shares a telepathic link with her. Barer loved working with the animatronic character during Season 1, and has enjoyed the experience even more the second time around.

    “We actually get to explore Old Lace in a way I didn't expect,” she says. “She goes through all the same stuff that we go through, but she also has her own storyline. She encounters peril and escapes victorious from it. She has these very real, almost human, moments, where we all connect with her. That was really fun to shoot.”

    For of all the Marvel properties currently in play, Runaways has demonstrated one of the most progressive platforms. From its casting and the diversity of the people working behind the camera, to the storylines themselves, it’s readily apparent. Like the budding romance between Nico and Karolina, which fans of the show have enthusiastically responded to. It was a popular point of discussion heading into the first season, and now that Season 2 is going to explore it even more, the actresses can’t help sharing their excitement.

    “The fan response to that has been incredible,” says Gardner, who plays Karolina. “I've been asked if I was nervous about exploring it, or felt any pressure to do it, and we never did. We just wanted to explore it like you would explore any other relationship on television. I mean, let's just provide this representation already. From the beginning, I think it was always Josh and Stephanie's intention to write that relationship into the show.”

    “I think it's a beautiful dynamic,” says Okano, who plays Nico. “I was really excited for Karolina and Nico to get together. I read the comics and I was always a huge fan of their relationship, and even though it didn’t really exist in the comic book world, I desperately wanted them to be together. This season, you'll see Nico and Karolina deal with being in a new relationship while in this horrible situation, where they’re running away from their homes and their parents. Things aren't always that easy, and you'll definitely see that with our story.”

    Yet the mainstay of the series is the reasoning behind the group’s ultimate decision to run away from home -- their parents’ antagonistic alliance with the villainous and otherworldly Jonah (Julian McMahon). In their own unique ways, all six kids feel a deep sense of betrayal and loss. After all, their parents -- the people who love them and have raised them -- are killers who have now set their sites on them.

    As the Runaways cast repeatedly told Den of Geek, Season 2 will see these deep-seated feelings of loss and regret resurface in a series of climactic standoffs between the two groups, and it’s not going to be pretty.

    “I think they’re confused,” says Sulkin, who plays Chase. “They’re frustrated by the fact that they thought their parents were superheroes, when they were actually supervillains, so to speak. They’re just a bunch of young kids who have this love for their parents, even though what they've done is wrong, so they’re battling with themselves. They feel that justice needs to happen, but at the same time, they still love their parents. They don’t want to cause them any harm.”

    Runaways season 2 premieres December 21st on Hulu.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    The Den of Geek Book Club is a place to geek out about our favorite science fiction, fantasy, and horror books.

    FeatureKayti Burt
    Oct 18, 2018

    Join the Den of Geek Book Club! 

    Featuring book giveaways and exclusive author interviews, this is a place to recommend, discuss, and obsess over the best current and classic fantasy, science fiction, and horror books. Join us in discussing our latest pick...

    October/November: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

    Hank Green has long been telling stories and helping others to tell stories through platforms like the vlogbrothers YouTube channel he runs with brother John Green; educational YouTube channels Crash Course and SciShow; and conventions like VidCon. (Not to mention as a producer on Den of Geek favorite The Lizzie Bennet Diaries!) Now, he’s breaking into the literary fiction world with his debut novel!

    One of our fall's geekiest books recommendations from our New York Comic Con Den of Geek Magazine, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is the story of 23-year-old named April May who becomes an overnight celebrity when she stumbles upon a giant sculpture one night and makes a YouTube video with it.

    It turns out the ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing samurai armor is one of dozens of its kind, dubbed The Carls, that have mysteriously appeared in cities around the globe. When the video April made goes viral, April is thrown into social internet fame, her life and relationships unpredictably changed because of it, as she works to understand The Carls and what they want from us.

    Come discuss An Absolutely Remarkable Thing (and other speculative fiction picks!) with us over at the Den of Geek Book Club, and stay tuned for more An Absolutely Remarkable Thing-related treats in the coming month! 

    September/October: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

    Victor Vale and Eli Ever were college friends who discovered the secret to extraordinary abilities together only to become enemies set on bringing the other down in this morally-complex tale of ambition, jealousy, and superpowers,

    "There are no good men in this game," Schwab writes in Vicious, and it's true, proving that you don't need good guys to tell a compelling story and that you don't need to sacrifice empathy, feeling, or nuanced self-awareness when telling a tale of anti-heroes.

    Read Vicious by V.E. Schwab

    Schwab is one of the best writers of her generation and, if you have yet to pick up one of her many speculative fiction books, Vicious is a great place to start, not least of all because its sequel, Vengeful, is out on September 25th. (Schwab also recently released a middle grade novel called City of Ghosts that is perfect reading for the Halloween season.) You won't be disappointed.

    Read Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

    Come discuss Vicious, Vengeful, and other speculative fiction picks over at the Den of Geek Book Club, and stay tuned for more Villains-related treats in the coming month! You can also enter to win our Villains giveaway, which includes copies of both Vicious and Vengeful, as well as some other exclusive merch.

    August/September: European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

    In addition to have the coolest name this side of Space Unicorn Blues, European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman has a killer premise. The second book in the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, European Travel follows Mary Jekyll, Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein, and Diana Hyde as they make their way into the heart of the Austro-Hungarian Empire into an attempt to save Lucinda Van Helsing.

    Den of Geek Chats With Theodora Goss

    In The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, we were first introduced to these characters from the pages (or between the pages) of classic 19th-century literary canon. Author Theodora Goss wanted to give the female characters who were so often written as monsters from these stories a voice of their own. Mary Jekyll is our protagonist and, when we first meet her in The Alchemist's Daughtershe is struggling to find money to support herself and her household following the death of her mother.

    Read The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter

    When a series of murders seems to be connected to her late father, Dr. Jekyll, or perhaps to his mysterious assistant Mr. Hyde, Mary starts down a path of investigation alongside Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson that leads her to create her own found family of monstrous women.

    Come discuss European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman and other speculative fiction picks over at the Den of Geek Book Club, and stay tuned for more Athena Society-related treats in the coming month! You can also enter to win a copy of European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman!

    Read European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman

    July/August: Heroine's Journey by Sarah Kuhn

    The third book in Sarah Kuhn's ridiculously fun Heroine Complex series, Heroine's Journey follows Bea Tanaka, the younger sister of Heroine Complex protagonist Evie Tanaka. An aspiring twenty-something superheroine who just wants to stop being treated like a kid and be allowed to help save the Bay Area alongside Evie and Evie's superhero partner-best friend Aveda Jupiter, Bea has the power to influence other's emotions—also, sometimes, when she screams, she blows things up. 

    In the Heroine Complex world, Kuhn has created an alternate San Fran where a demon opened an Otherworld portal 13 years prior, setting into motion a series of events that led to the creation of other local portals through which demons can come into our world and the development of a human population with otherworldly powers of their own. Bea, Evie, and Aveda are three of those humans, and are part of a superhero team that would give the Scooby gang a run for its found family money.

    You don't need to have read the previous two books in the series, centered around Evie and Aveda respectively, to enjoy this world. Kuhn has crafted a story filled with whip smart dialogue, complex female relationships, romance, silly yet dangerous demons, and Asian American superhero representation that works for the casual and more completist reader alike. Fair warning, though: If you go into this one blind, you will find yourself going back to read the other two installments. That's just the way the demon cupcake crumbles.

    Come discuss Heroine's Journey and other speculative fiction picks over at the Den of Geek Book Club, and stay tuned for more Heroine's Journey-related treats in the coming month!

    Read Heroine's Journey by Sarah Kuhn

    June/July: Brief Cases by Jim Butcher

    Brief Cases, a collection of several of Butcher's excellent short stories and novellas from within the universe of Harry Dresden, is a delight for new and old Dresden Files fans alike. Centered around the theme of parenting, the stories in the collection range from a prequel set in the Old West to a Rashomon-style tale of Harry discovering a warlock at the zoo.

    You can read our full review of Brief Cases here, or head over to the Den of Geek Book Club to discuss the book. We're also giving away a complete set of the Dresden Files books, if you're looking to add to your own collection. Find out how to enter here.

    Read Brief Cases by Jim Butcher

    May/June Pick: Ship It by Britta Lundin

    Riverdale is one of Den of Geek's favorite shows, so when we heard one of its writers was coming out with her debut novel, you better believe we put it on our must-read list.

    Britta Lundin's Ship It is the story of a teen fanfiction writer, Claire, who is pulled into the behind-the-scenes world of her favorite TV show, and Forest, one of the show's male leads who understands absolutely nothing about fandom. Ship It is an exploration of fandom, queerness, TV creation, and love in its many forms. Read our full review here, then check out our podcast interview with Lundin.

    Join the Ship It discussion over on the Den of Geek Book Club Goodreads page.

    April/May Pick: The Power by Naomi Alderman

    Imagine a world that completely flips the balance of power when it comes to gender. This is the setting for The Power, Naomi Alderman's 2016 science fiction novel set in a world in which women develop the ability to shoot electric jolts from their fingertips, leading to their dominance as a gender.

    As Delia Harrington notes in a review for Den of Geek, The Power is a vital read for a time in which some falsely claim that women have stolen all of the power from men. President Obama named this one of this favorite books of 2017, and the book somehow feels even more relevant now than it did when it was published just two long years ago.

    If you're into The Handmaid's Tale, then check out the novel that has been called "our era's Handmaid's Tale." Then head over to the Den of Geek Book Club Goodreads page to discuss.

    March/April Pick: Children of Blood & Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

    Children of Blood and Bone is the first book in the West African-inspired fantasy series Legacy of Orisha. The debut from 24-year-old Tomi Adeyemi made waves when it was bought by Macmillan for a reported seven-figure sum.

    The story follows Zelie, a girl who lost her mother in the purge of magic executed by Orisha's totalitarian ruler, Saran. In the first book, Zelie sets out to restore magic to the land and take down Saran, with a little help from her friends: a giant lionaire, her older brother Tzain, and Princess Amari. Prince Inan, another protagonist in the book, pursues Zelie as she undergoes her quest, torn between his family and, you know, doing the right thing.

    Read our full review of Children of Blood and Bone.

    Children of Blood and Bone is a promising start to a new young adult fantasy series that is set to take the world by storm. Head over to our Den of Geek Book Club page to join the discussion!

    February/March Pick: All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

    All Our Wrong Todays is a time travel novel where the "wrong" timeline is our own. When protagonist Tom Barren travels back in time using his father's technology, he changes the world from a utopia where the problems of war, poverty, and under-ripe avocados have been solved, into, well, this one. By centering our timeline as the "wrong" one, author Elan Mastai subverts many of the classic time travel narrative trope, giving us a fresh science fiction novel for anyone who worries they're living in the darkest timeline.

    You can read our full review of the book herecheck out our interview with author Elan Mastai, then head over to our Den of Geek Book Club page to join the discussion!

    January/February Pick: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

    Binti by Nnedi Okorafor is a Hugo Award-winning novella about a young African woman who leaves her home on Earth for the first time to attend an intergalactic university on another planet. On the voyage, something goes terribly wrong, forcing Binti to rely on her mathematic skills and her culture to survive.

    Learn more about Binti and Nnedi Okorafor's other work.

    The Afrofuturist space adventure novella is unlike anything I have ever read, coming from one of the most exciting authors working in science fiction right now. The story continues in two follow-up novellas already published.

    Head over to our Den of Geek Book Club page to join in the discussion! 

    Kayti Burt serves as a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. A long-term lover of all things science fiction and fantasy, she is an unabashed defender of the power of speculative storytelling and a proponent of sentimental TV. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.


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    Dive deep into the mouth of madness with these three great Batman Halloween specials from the '90s!

    Batman: Haunted Knight Halloween Specials
    FeatureJohn Saavedra
    Oct 18, 2018

    In 1993, writer Jeph Loeb and artist Tim Sale, now famous for Batman: The Long Halloween, performed a mad experiment to remind us that the Dark Knight's worst fears were gravely domestic and close to home. And how else to achieve this, but in Batman's own tales of horror and madness.

    The creative team produced three Batman Halloween specials from 1993-95 for theLegends of the Dark Knightanthology series. The original Legends ran from 1989-2007 and featured a rotating team of artists and writers, including Grant Morrison, Klaus Janson, Mark Millar, Dennis O'Neil, Mike W. Barr, Warren Ellis, Mike Mignola, and many, many more all-star creators. The stories in Legends were meant to be self-contained arcs, set in the early days of the Dark Knight, before Robin but after Batman: Year One, and could be described as the "weird tales" of Batman.

    In the pages of this series was the opportunity for these unique creators to treat Batman like they had made him up, to play with his mythos, and delve deep into his psyche. It's no wonder Loeb and Sale's Halloween specials fit so well within these guidelines. The series was indeed very popular in the '90s, and the three stories I'm about to discuss are among the biggest factors of its success.

    Buy all your Batman Halloween goodies here!

    A Lonely Man

    I'm in no way green to Batman comics, but I do have to say that good Bruce Wayne stories have eluded me for the most part. In other words, I feel that, while there are plenty of great Batman adventures, there aren't as many memorable stories about Bruce Wayne the man. Yes, there's Frank Miller's iconic work on the character in both Year Oneand Dark Knight Returns, which has pretty much influenced every comic book since, but beyond that grand scale, there aren't many smaller stories that tackle the character as efficiently. We've seen a few great contemporary examples, including Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's work on Batman since 2011, and there's plenty to be said about Grant Morrison's take on Batman of Zur-En-Arrh (this is what happens when you take Bruce out of the equation and all that), but even these take the form of epics. 

    What about a great intimate story about what it is to not only be Batman but Bruce Wayne? It surely takes as much courage to fight the monsters of the night as it does to live a life unfulfilled during the day. This is at the center of Loeb and Sale's stories, which focus heavily on Bruce as Batman's greatest strength and weakness. 

    In the first special, titled "Choices" when originally released and "Fears" in the Haunted Knight collection, which contains all three Halloween stories, Batman faces his greatest challenge ever: the promise of a romantic encounter and domestic bliss as Bruce Wayne. Fittingly enough, the story begins with Batman chasing Scarecrow through Gotham. Scarecrow's latest fear gas is the most potent he's ever created, and he manages to give Bats a very strong dose. Yes, it seems that the story is going in an expected direction: Batman must fight his greatest fears in a gas-induced fever dream...and for the most part, it's true, but not in the way you'd expect. Batman doesn't go under the spell when first gassed, instead punching out the bad guy and delivering him to Gordon. 

    Back on the homefront, Bruce Wayne is having a costume party with the most distinguished guests in all of Gotham, the rich, the pampered, the gluttons, all of the people Bruce despises but has to keep tabs on in order to stay in touch with his city. But he never expected to meet Jillian Maxwell, a mysterious woman clad in red who immediately grabs Bruce's attention, as they share a dance. Almost immediately, Bruce is intoxicated with her. Even when Scarecrow obviously escapes and Bruce has to once again give chase, all he can do is think of her, the way he had to leave her after a night of romance to save his city, how he can't quite figure her out.

    During his second fight with Scarecrow, we get flashbacks of his time with Jillian, who is good at invading every single nook and cranny of Wayne Manor. When he comes home tired, defeated, Jillian is waiting for him in his bedroom—much to Alfred's chagrin, I might add. When faced with a situation where he might have to use force as Bruce Wayne, Jillian shows him another way, that all that matters is protecting those you love and living your life with them. These things put Batman's mission in doubt. Is he wasting his life saving a city that he feels has never been kind to him when he could be happy and have someone to love? Has he squandered the love he has? 

    Symbolism runs heavy in this story, as you have to read between the lines to understand how the Scarecrow's gas has affected the Dark Knight this time around. Batman's biggest fear is giving up on his mission, that one day he'll no longer be around to protect his city. Yes, he's going to die one day (we've seen it happen plenty of times), but there is no good death for him. It's tragic that he'll die fighting for his cause, a victory in most eyes, but even that means giving up on tomorrow. On saving one more life. Stopping one more crime. So in this way, as Bruce considers taking a vacation with Jillian and leaving Gotham behind, he is facing his greatest fear. 

    At one point, Batman has his symbol ripped out of his chest and finds himself trapped in a hedge maze of poisonous thorns, unable to escape, as the walls grow higher between him and Gotham. He hallucinates his wedding day with Jillian, who asks him to finally take off his mask because he has finally made his choice to live as Bruce Wayne. While Batman figures out his escape—he eventually does escape, of course—Alfred has grown more suspicious of Jillian and decides to run a background check on Ms. Maxwell. What he discovers is tragic for Bruce, but also snaps him out of his spell.

    Jillian marries wealthy men in order to murder them for their money. Bruce is angered by this revelation, frustrated that he can never have a normal life. He believes he lives without choice, chosen by Gotham to protect it. Batman takes his anger out on Scarecrow. The story concludes with Bruce realizing why he's chosen to live a life unfulfilled in order to fight crime. He knows he's made a choice and that it's the best one he could possibly make. 

    The Orphan

    The second story, "Madness," is a neat trick. A play on Alice in Wonderland, Batman faces off against Mad Hatter, who the Dark Knight considers to be his most disturbing adversary—at least in this story. Hatter, a violent schizophrenic who lives in a fantasy world, affects Batman (and more importantly, Bruce) in a very personal way: the villain has perverted a good memory he has of his mother, specifically when she used to read him Alice in Wonderland as a boy. In fact, Batman considers that remembering his mother at all is dangerous to his mission. It's interesting that the story begins with Bruce thinking a mother's love is a weakness because by the end it proves to be his greatest strength. 

    As a brilliant parallel, little Barbara (yes, that Barbara), who is Jim Gordon's orphaned niece in this continuity, also plays her part in the story. Like a younger Bruce, Babs wonders if she belongs in her new life with the Gordons. Would she be better off on her own without guardians to care for her? Babs, like Batman, considers pushing that love away. 

    Related Article: 25 Essential Batman: The Animated Series Episodes

    When both Batman and Babs fall into the Hatter's clutches, they're forced to reconsider letting it all back in. Batman is shot by Hatter and goes "tumbling down the rabbit hole," so to speak. Seriously injured and alone, he is apparently aided by the ghost of his mother in Crime Alley. Of course, it's actually Leslie Thompkins that saves him. Batman recalls the days after the death of his parents—the infamous murder scene is drawn to perfection by Sale, by the way—when Dr. Thompkins arrived at Wayne Manor to comfort him and act as his surrogate parent, along with Alfred. 

    A beautiful line spoken by Thompkins acts as a refrain throughout the story. In past and present, she asks Bruce to let him in: "I'd like to help you...if you let me." Batman understands that she is a big reason why he was able to go on after his parents' deaths. A mother's love was his guiding light. He uses his newfound strength to save Babs from the Mad Hatter, who's made her his Alice in a sick tea party.

    Besides the main bits of the story, there are two other things that will catch the eye. The first is the way Loeb and Sale compare both Gordon and Thomas Wayne as fathers. In separate sections we see Gordon and Thomas express their distaste for baby-ing children. Gordon tries to convince his wife, who's also named Barbara, that she should take their infant son off bottles. (Might've prevented the kid from becoming a serial killer, in retrospect.) Thomas also asks Martha to stop reading Bruce "fancy tales" and also suggests they skip The Mark of Zorro for something "more inspirational." (That might've saved their lives, actually.) 

    It's interesting to consider how the latter might have affected Bruce's psyche and opinion on weakness. His mother shrugs his father off, telling him she's excited to go see Zorro. Of course, by going to see that movie, they've doomed themselves. Might Bruce be angry at his mother's sympathy for him, at her insistence to show him a fantasy world? The scene cuts to little Bruce asking his mom to please wear her pearls for the occasion...followed by the pearls being ripped from her neck and the muzzle of a gun..."I never saw her again..." Batman narrates to conclude the memory. After that, when Thompkins tries to read him Alice in Wonderland, little Bruce pushes her away, shouting that he doesn't want anybody to help him. An adult Bruce realizes that his entire life has been populated by people who have helped him. He ponders that without the death of his parents, without that fateful night, he would never have met such "a remarkable woman" in Leslie.

    Related Article: The Enduring Appeal of Batman: The Animated Series

    We must also quickly consider the Hatter's own obsession with the Queen of Hearts, which runs rampant in this story. In several instances, he is waiting for her or believes to be standing before her (he and Batman get into a fight in the Gotham Playing Card Co. because comics), and he is desperate in his admiration for her. He even hosts a big tea party full of kidnapped children for her. It's a great juxtaposition between a man who wants to forget his mother and a man who is obsessed with his. 

    In my opinion, "Madness" is the strongest of the three stories, a good play on a classic tale that also provides deeper, unexpected looks into several characters. Loeb and Sale find a unique angle to explore Bruce's relationship with his parents, and that's always impressive when it comes to a character that's been around for over 75 years. 

    A Serious Man

    The third and final Halloween special is a play on Charles Dickens'A Christmas Carol and has a much more clear message than the other two stories. In fact, the message clashes directly with the conclusion of the first story. The ghosts of Batman's past, present, and future arrive on Halloween to show Bruce that living only for Batman and forgetting the good things in life is a mistake. In a way, Loeb and Sale bring their tales full circle in the story fittingly titled "Ghosts."

    I will say that this story is the weakest of the three, in part due to its setup. Bruce is attending a charity gala with Lucius Fox when the Penguin attacks. You have to have Batman's most Dickensian villain for this story, after all. While Penguin seemingly kills Bruce during the robbery, Batman shows up to save the day, savagely beating Penguin with his fists. As he captures the Penguin, Batman tells us that "justice must be blind" and that "his decisions cannot be encumbered by one's personal indulgences." So basically, he's about to learn a valuable life lesson, courtesy of his rogues gallery. 

    Related Article: Why The Dark Knight Is Still the Best Superhero Movie

    Bruce arrives victorious to Wayne Manor but suddenly comes down with what seems like food poisoning. We see him about to eat a gnarly looking shrimp in the opening page of the story, and that puts him down for the count. Yes, this is the story where Batman is temporarily defeated by bad shrimp. I told you I'd be talking about Bruce as a weakness, right?

    Whether it's a fever dream or the supernatural, the ghost of Thomas Wayne appears to Bruce (the scene above is rendered expertly by Sale, whose close-up on Thomas' face is quite creepy) to set him on the journey to past, present, and future. His father also expresses regret for his obsession with medicine, which he says was the reason he lost sight of what was really important: the people he loved. Thomas carries heavy chains all over his body as the burdens he brought over from his life into the afterlife. "Your obsession with Batman creates an even greater and more thunderous chain!" Bruce's father warns. 

    The first ghost takes the form of Poison Ivy, who shows Bruce two moments from his past. He is reminded of one Halloween when he was a boy and his father didn't show up to take him trick-or-treating because of a medical emergency. Little Bruce is determined to wait by the large windows of the mansion until his father returns. "Even if it takes all night." (Interestingly enough, little Bruce is dressed as Zorro for this particular Halloween.) She also shows Bruce the night he met Lucius Fox, who he saved from a group of thugs in Paris. Fox makes him a proposition that Bruce declines—a decision that is in large part the crux of the entire story.

    Batman's present is best represented by the Joker's madness, as he shows Bruce how he's shut out the outside world and even turned into a bit of a monster for those on the outside looking in. Bruce and Joker stand on the gates at Wayne Manor, looking down at little trick-or-treaters who are too afraid to enter the grounds because they think the house is haunted. And in a way it is, right? Bruce has allowed nothing but monsters to fill his life and bad memories to live in and under his home. The Joker shows Bruce how he has become an extension of all that. 

    The final ghost sees Bruce face Death itself, as he's led to his lonely grave in the future. His tombstone is cracked and vines grow thick around it. Only Alfred ever comes to visit. Presumably, Bruce has died in his mission as the Batman. Bruce asks Death, "How was I so easily forgotten?" He understands what his father was trying to tell him all along: "For all the good that Batman does, have I left nothing for myself?"

    Related Article: How Batman & Robin Helped Spark the Superhero Movie Renaissance

    In the morning, Bruce awakens to set things right. Alfred assumes that he should prepare the Batsuit for another Halloween "fraught" with all sorts of criminal activity," but Bruce suggests things might be different this year. He finds Lucius to take him up on the offer from years ago, establishing the Wayne Foundation "to help the less fortunate." Finally, Bruce decides to stay home on Halloween for once and open his doors to trick-or-treaters.

    "Ghosts" serves as a pretty satisfying coda for Loeb and Sale's cycle of stories. Bruce goes full circle, from obsessing over a singular mission to realizing that a life outside of Batman is also worth living. And that's why these are great Bruce stories: Loeb and Sale, as a perfect companion piece to Year One, want Batman to embrace Bruce. They take the obvious symbol of terror (just look at how Sale draws Batman in these stories and in later adventures) out of these Halloween tales to reveal the real fear: the very vulnerable man underneath the cowl.

    John Saavedra is an associate editor at Den of Geek. Read more of his work here. Follow him on Twitter @johnsjr9

    A version of this article first appeared on October 27, 2015.


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    Heather Graham entrances ABC with Liane Moriarty’s Hypnotist’s Love Story.

    News Tony Sokol
    Oct 18, 2018

    “How do you make a man do something without nagging? That is the billion-dollar question," Liane Moriarty wrote in her novel The Hypnotist’s Love Story. Writing, directing and starring in your own movie might help. Which Heather Graham wrote did for the romantic comedy Half Magic. Graham worked her magic on ABC, which will adapt Moriarty's book into a series, according to Variety.

    ABC bought the adaptation as a put pilot. The series is being produced by ABC Studios and David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Laurie Zaks of Mandeville Television. Graham will star, and executive produce the series along with Katie Wech (Star), who will write the series.

    Graham will play Ellen O’Farrell, a "professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents," according to the book's official synopsis. "It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her."

    Graham has come a long way since she got her License to Drive in her debut film in 1988. Graham is best known for her roles the films Drugstore Cowboy, Boogie Nights, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Fire Walk with Me, The Hangover and Bowfinger. She appeared on the TV series Get Shorty, Twin Peaks, Scrubs, Californication, Law & Order: True Crime, Angie Tribeca and Flaked. Graham was one of the women to speak out against Harvey Weinstein.

    Moriarty wrote the best-selling novels The Husband’s Secret, Truly Madly Guilty and Big Little Lies, which was turned into an Emmy-winning series starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman for HBO.

    There is no word yet on when The Hypnotist's Love Story will premiere.

    Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City's Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    We talked to Neil Gaiman and director Douglas Mackinnon about the responsibility of adapting Good Omens after Terry Pratchett's death.

    Interview Kayti Burt
    Oct 18, 2018

    The Good Omens TV show, an adaptation of the beloved novel from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, is a joyous development for any Good Omens fan... but it's a sad one, too, as Pratchett, who died in 2015, will not be here to see it come to the screen in all of its weird and wonderful glory.

    Of course, that doesn't mean Pratchett wasn't a part of the process of finally getting this book the TV show treatment. He was the one who asked Gaiman to do it, shortly before his death. When Pratchett's health declined much faster than anyone expected, Gaiman set to work making the TV show, even though his friend and collaborator would never see it.

    "I came back from his funeral and started writing the first episode of Good Omens," Gaiman told Den of Geek and other press gathered at New York Comic Con, "and trying to convince myself that it was funny, and trying to find the funny in what I was doing, and having a very rough time for that very first draft for the first episode."

    Gaiman said he missed his friend especially during the writing process.

    "There would be two different phenomena going on," he said. "One of which was, if I got stuck, which I did from time to time during the writing process, what I had always done before on Good Omens when I was writing it, if you get stuck you phone Terry. And either, you send him what you've done so far and you send him up to where you got stuck. And he looks at it and carries on liking it, or he phones you up and he says, 'The answer, Grasshopper, is in the way you ask the question.' And you go,'"Terry, don't be irritating. Just tell me what you think.'

    For Gaiman, the writing process was an ever-present reminder that he could no longer call up his friend.

    "I couldn't do that, and I also couldn't phone him up when I solved the problems and felt very proud of myself and just said something clever," continued Gaiman. "[Because] the other fun bit [of writing Good Omens] was impressing Terry. When you write a book normally, you have kind of an imaginary audience in your head. When you make a TV show you have an imaginary audience in your head. When I wrote my bits of Good Omens, the novel I was writing was for a very specific audience of Terry Pratchett. Could I make him laugh? Could I make him say 'That's a good book'? That was my standard, and I think his was the same for me."

    Director Douglas Mackinnon, who is behind the camera for all six episodes of the Good Omens TV show, was Gaiman's partner in bringing this book to the screen. 

    "I never met Terry, but I felt his presence everyday on the set because the thing we were trying to do was honor the book," said Mackinnon. "It was written by the two of them, so we couldn't do anything else but honor him."

    further reading: The Best Horror Movies on Amazon Prime

    Pratchett is represented in the story, of course, but Mackinnon also made sure that he was represented on the set, including by placing Pratchett's hat in Aziraphale's bookshop. Past that, Mackinnon worked hard to keep himself ignorant about which parts of Good Omens were written by Gaiman and which were written by Pratchett.

    "I never asked [Neil] at all who wrote which bits because I didn't want to get... That's kind of Neil's business with Terry and I didn't want to get either sentimental for something that I couldn't ... I didn't want to get confused by that. I just wanted to do the book."

    While Gaiman and Pratchett had an agreement that they wouldn't tell anyone which parts they'd each written, there was always one exception each: Gaiman would be able to tell people that he'd written the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the other Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, while Pratchett would be able to tell people that he'd written Agnes Nutter and the death of Agnes Nutter. This affected Gaiman's own priorities when writing and producing the TV show.

    "When I wrote the script, it was very important to me that I got to dramatize the whole sequence of the death of Agnes Nutter," said Gaiman. "We had some producers on, early in the show, who didn't quite get the show. And they were like, 'This Agnes Nutter Stuff, can we do it with cutouts, or puppets, or just a voiceover [and woodcuts]? And I was like, 'No, this is Terry's bit, and if I do it with woodcuts and a voiceover, the ghost of Terry Pratchett will haunt me until I die.' And, he was a humanist who didn't even believe in ghosts so it makes it even worse."

    Gaiman was happy to say that the Good Omens production got to explode their first witch on Halloween of last year.

    Good Omens will premiere on Amazon in 2019.

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    We're hunting down all the Marvel Easter eggs we can find in Daredevil season 3. Here's what we've found so far...

    Daredevil Season 3 Complete Marvel Universe Easter Eggs and Reference Guide Netflix Bullseye
    Feature Mike Cecchini
    Oct 19, 2018

    This Daredevil Season 3 article consists of nothing but spoilers. We have a spoiler free review right here if you prefer.

    Marvel's Daredevil Season 3 has finally arrived on Netflix, and kids, it is spectacular. This is one of the best seasons in the entire Marvel Netflix pantheon, and even though it is (relatively) light on the Marvel Comics references, there is still plenty to unpack, and probably plenty more I'm going to miss on the first viewing.

    So here's how this works...I've tried to catch all the cool Marvel references in Daredevil Season 3, but there's only so much I can do. I'm only one man trying to clean up Hell's Kitchen, after all. Let me know anything I missed down in the comments, or hit me up on Twitter. If your catch checks out, I'll update this with it. Together, we can make the most complete guide to Marvel Easter Eggs in Daredevil Season 3 out there!

    One quick word of caution about all of this. While I will try not to spoil future episodes in the entry for a specific episode, sometimes speculation leads to spoilers. And while I definitely endorse everyone calling out what they spot down in the comments, I can't control any Daredevil season 3 spoilers you might see if you're down there, or if you scroll too far. Just be careful if you're trying to remain unspoiled!

    Fire up your Netflix machines, and let's get to work!

    Daredevil Season 3 Episode 1: Resurrection

    "Shattered physically and spiritually, Matt rethinks his purpose and place in Hell's Kitchen. Meanwhile, Fisk puts a plan in motion from behind bars."

    It’s not a spoiler to say right out of the gate that this season is influenced by several Daredevil comics stories, and one of them is Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s classic Born Again. But if you’re looking for an adaptation of Born Again, this season definitely ain’t it.

    That being said, opening with Matt recuperating in a church while being cared for by Sister Maggie is straight out of Born Again. It’s the circumstances that are slightly different, though. Here, we kick things off because of the events from the finale of The Defenders, where a building quite literally fell on Matt Murdock. In Born Again, the church (and Sister Maggie) doesn’t appear until midway through the story, when Matt is already physically and mentally broken. And while a building didn’t fall on him in that story, he ends up in the church after his actual apartment building is blown to bits...so there’s a little bit of a parallel.

    - Sister Maggie Grace, by the way, first appeared in Daredevil #229 (you guessed it...that's a Born Again chapter). She’s also a prominent figure in Kevin Smith, Joe Quesada, and Jimmy Palmiotti’s Guardian Devil. The more sharp-tongued, assertive Sister Maggie we see here is slightly more reminiscent of the way the character is portrayed in that story.

    - Another parallel with Guardian Devil is Matt’s generally shitty attitude and his crisis of faith. While the circumstances contributing to those in that story were drastically different, and supernatural in nature (that is most certainly not the case this season), it’s the closest parallel to this season’s dickhead Matt I can think of. In Born Again he was more just broken and mentally unwell. While that is the case here, it's just manifesting differently.

    further reading: The Genesis of Daredevil Season 3

    - Nice to see the return of Ben Donovan in this episode. It's a relatively small thing, but without Rosario Dawson's Claire Temple to show up and link everything together, I rather like how these shows are now just letting minor characters weave in and out of all the shows, much the way they do in the actual Marvel Comics themselves.

    - Ray Nadeem is not from the comics, nor, as far as I can tell, is he even loosely based on anyone from the comics. Don’t let that stop you from getting involved with this character, though. Jay Ali’s performance is terrific.

    Otherwise, there aren’t a hell of a lot of actual comic book easter eggs this episode. Just lots of influences. Sometimes it’s better this way, and once again, it’s not a spoiler to say that I think everyone is going to enjoy the hell out of this season.

    Daredevil Season 3 Episode 2: Please

    "Grieving for the life he's abandoned, Matt suffers a crisis of faith. Fisk makes a deal with the FBI that turns him into a target."

    - I feel like maybe once per season each of these shows allows themselves one "comic book style" shot. The bit with Matt staring off into space in the basement of the church fading into Fisk looking the other way feels almost like a comic book split panel effect. Maybe this wasn't intentional, maybe it was.

    - The Mother Theresa back tattoo on that Albanian thug has nothing at all to do with the comics, but it's an amusing touch, especially how the FBI guys jokingly refer to him as "Mother Theresa."

    - Is Fisk’s incident in the weight room the first time we’ve gotten an indication of JUST how strong he is? In the comics, it’s always pointed out that Kingpin isn’t fat, he’s “all muscle.” Here, he’s benching, what...315? Damn, Wilson!

    further reading - Daredevil Season 3: What's Next for Matt Murdock?

    - It took me until my second viewing to catch that Ray is a vegetarian.

    - When Matt is out wandering outside the church, he’s kind of dressed like Stick, isn’t he? He’s already acting like his old sensei/frenemy, so may as well dress like him, too.

    - Oh, do you think this cool fight in the backroom of the sketchy dry cleaner is this season’s answer to season one’s brilliant hallway fight? Keep watching...

    - I’ll be honest, I’m not totally sure if Foggy had this kind of working class background in the comics, or if Theo Nelson ever appeared or was mentioned there. In the comics it turned out his actual mother was Evelyn Sharpe, a powerful, high-class attorney. I’d be shocked if they ever go that way here.

    - Karen’s “there’s no proof of that!” when Foggy is trying to convince her that Matt is dead feels like a sideways nod to the old comic book logic that “if there’s no body, they can still come back.”

    - Fisk’s “Love is the perfect prison” sounds like something Billy Corgan would have written circa 1996. Hell, ol’ Billy is looking a bit like Kingpin these days.

    - Gosh, that one FBI agent sure is a hell of a shot isn’t he? Almost like they’re telling us something...

    Daredevil Season 3 Episode 3: No Good Deed

    "As Fisk moves into swanky new digs amid a public outcry, Matt wrestles with how far he's ready to go to right this wrong. Dex's aim comes into focus."

    - That full Ralph Ellison quote from Invisible Man, “Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat" feels both like what should be carved on Matt Murdock's tombstone and...just a quote we all really, really need to hear right now.

    - Fisk keeps referring to Vanessa having a bodyguard named Felix, but I don’t think this is from the comics. Please do correct me if I'm wrong.

    - I’m pretty sure that Agent Poindexter is not and cannot be the sniper briefly glimpsed in Daredevil season 1 we all hoped was going to turn out to be Bullseye. A minor trade off for a great introduction to the character here. At this point, it's not a spoiler to say he's Bullseye, right? You all figured that out already. Plus, it's in the trailers!

    Bullseye is the closest thing to a "Joker" Daredevil has in his rogues' gallery, and he's been hitting targets of all kinds since he first appeared in Daredevil #131 back in 1976, where he was created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. Bullseye was played by Colin Farrell in the 2003 flick, but let's try not to think too hard about that, as Wilson Bethel is looking like he's going to be the definitive version of the character. 

    Want to know more about Bullseye? We've got you covered right here.

    - Can someone help me out? Is Julie a reference from the comics? I'm stuck.

    - Even via hallucination, it’s great to see Wilson Fisk in the classic Kingpin white suit. Matt hallucinating Fisk is a nice indicator of just how far gone he is at the moment, and again, while this isn’t straight out of any particular comics, it’s right in the spirit of both Born Again and Guardian Devil.

    - I really appreciate the “stealth mode” fight in the parking garage. For all of Daredevil’s ninja training and roots, that’s usually focused on the actual ass-kicking elements of it, rather than the ninja’s crucial arts of stealth and deception. The fact that it takes place in a well lit parking garage is even cooler.

    - Matt being a dick to Foggy is kind of like Born Again, too. Only there, it was because he had basically lost his mind to pressure and depression. Foggy would reach out to Matt by phone and Matt would pretend not to know (or maybe not actually know) who he is.

    Daredevil Season 3 Episode 4: Blindsided

    "While Matt infiltrates a prison to find information on the Albanians, Fisk puts Dex in his crosshairs and a fed-up Foggy goes on the offensive."

    - They establish here that Matt is 5'10, which I think is about right for Charlie Cox's actual height. However, I'm pretty sure that in the comics (either via The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe or those awesome trading cards from the '90s) it was established that Matt stands around six feet. Anyway, whatever, as a short dude I am totally here for more superheroes of average height.

    - THIS is the hallway fight you’ve been waiting for. And you aren't hallucinating, this long take fight goes on for nearly 15 minutes. No comic book easter eggs here, but...god damn it's good.

    - Pretty sure Jasper Evans isn't from the comics, but please correct me if I'm wrong and I'll update this!

    - Kingpin is playing some very familiar mindgames with Poindexter. Pretty sure we've heard this kind of talk from a certain occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Yeah, yeah, yeah "keep politics out of your articles" blahblahblah, I've heard it all before and I do not care. If you refuse to see the connections between art and the real world, that's not really my problem.

    - Sending Matt to a watery grave via checkered taxi is straight out of Born Again. All that did was make Matt even crazier.

    Daredevil Season 3 Episode 5: The Perfect Game

    "To quell the rising backlash over his release, Fisk serves up a scapegoat to the FBI. Dex misses the mark when he runs into a woman from his past."

    - Fisk deciding to ruin Matt Murdock's life is perhaps the biggest parallel to Born Again we've seen so far. While he has certainly been suspicious of Matt since their brief chat during season two, if he isn't 100% clued in to the fact that Matt is Daredevil right now, he sure will be soon. In any case, he loathes Matt enough to want to destroy him, and making that happen via apparently "legitimate means" is the most Kingpin thing ever, and right in line with Born Again.

    - Felix Manning is from the Born Again story. He first appeared in Daredevil #230. There, he was responsible for outfitting someone with an authentic Daredevil costume. Hmmm...

    read Daredevil: Born Again on Amazon

    - Keeping all of the flashback materials in an Airwalk box is a nice touch.

    - The logo of Poindexter’s old baseball team is very much the Bullseye logo from the comics. The black and white of the scene only drives that home further.

    - In the comics, Bullseye's history with baseball has been explored a couple of times. The first was in Bullseye: Greatest Hits by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon. There, Bullseye was a promising minor league pitcher, and he demanded to be taken out while he was in the midst of a perfect game (not the differences between what happened on the show). His coach asked him to get one more batter out, and Bullseye obliged, by killing the batter with a pitch. 

    The other was in the really interesting and fun Bullseye: Perfect Game by Charlie Huston, Shawn Martinbrough, and Lee Loughridge. That tells the tale of how Bullseye took a year off from supervillainy to become a Major League Baseball pitcher. His intention was to take a hit job on a problematic opposing player. Instead, the two got into an incredible pitchers' duel. If you can track this down, it's totally worth a read, especially if you're a baseball fan.

    Daredevil Season 3 Episode 6: The Devil You Know

    "Driven to the edge, Dex loses his way until he's offered a lifeline by Fisk. Matt comes to Karen for help, which she agrees to give -- on one condition."

    - Ahem...you will note that Karen Page and Matt Murdock most certainly do not have coffee together in this scene. Symbolic? I mean, Luke Cage kinda ruined that beverage for any character pairing for the entire Marvel Netflix Universe, didn't he?

    Here's an amusing thing Deborah Ann Woll told reporters while this season was filming:

    "You know what happened? On our Marvel shows, we are no longer allowed to just actually literally go for coffee as characters because of that euphemism. We've literally had scenes where, I'm like, 'alright, well let's go get some coffee.' Literally let's get coffee, and they're like, 'no you can't say that because people will read into it.' Isn't that too bad?"

    - Every time Karen Page is in a sketchy situation, or even in the vicinity of drugs, it makes me think of (you guessed it) Born Again. While the show has long been building a very different kind of tragic backstory for Karen, and at this point I don't think the comics version would ever work here, it's still a little unnerving, considering how attached we've all become to this character.

    - Poindexter's increasing derangement as he feels his world unraveling almost feels a little like one of Bullseye's earliest appearances, during the early days of Frank Miller's legendary tenure on the Daredevil comics. At one point Bullseye had a brain tumor and it affected his perceptions and his already shady behavior pretty dramatically. I don't think they're going there (and certainly not so soon), this just felt like a little bit of a reminder.

    read Daredevil: Guardian Devil on Amazon

    - Welcome to the first proper Daredevil and Bullseye fight. And while it had already been well established that Poindexter is an almost supernaturally good shot, this is the classic “can use anything at all as a weapon” Bullseye from the comics. This is truly a spectacular action sequence, and the fourth in four episodes. And we're not even halfway through the season yet!

    There are two massive parallels to the comics here. One involves Bullseye, the other doesn’t.

    In Born Again, Fisk hired an unbalanced person to masquerade as Daredevil and beat up on Matt. In the case of this show, that unbalanced person is actually Bullseye. BUT…

    ...Bullseye did spend some time in the Daredevil costume himself, during Ann Nocenti and Lee Weeks’ underrated period on the character. Hell, Bullseye ended up convincing himself he was actually Daredevil for a while. It’s easy to imagine how that could end up playing out here the rest of the season. The fact that he introduces himself with an "I'm Daredevil" would almost seem to play into this, so I'm curious to see how it plays out as the season continues.

    Daredevil Season 3 Episode 7: Aftermath

    "The press crucifies Daredevil after the attack on the Bulletin, and Agent Nadeem suspects the FBI paid too high a price for Fisk's cooperation."

    - This is, perhaps, the best Wilson Fisk episode this series has ever done, and that's saying something. Fisk is, of course, very into the idea of getting the "Rabbit in a Snowstorm" painting from season one back in his life. Nice callback.

    - But Fisk in that white, shiny suit might just be the ultimate visual evolution of this character on TV. We're getting closer to the "full Kingpin" from Marvel Comics, and Vincent D'Onofrio positively owns it.

    - All the major Marvel Cinematic Universe news stations are running with the "tragedy at the Bulletin" story. We have MCU mainstays, WJBP, WNEX (home of Trish Talk!), and WHIH all accounted for.

    - Anyone else start humming Elvis Costello's "Watching the Detectives" when Fisk went into his secret lair with his assistant there? Also, is she supposed to be someone we know?

    - This show has given us Melvin Potter moments that tease his Gladiator supervillain identity since all the way back in season one, but never has he been more perfect than in this episode.

    Not only is he wearing a shirt that reflects that logo, he uses the saw blades as weapons. But more importantly, Melvin has always been a deeply tragic and conflicted villain, and never has that been more at the forefront than right here. This is also the first time we meet his oft-referred to Betsy, although in the comics, I believe she was a social worker, not a parole officer.

    Also, just as it is here, in Born Again, Felix Manning DID make Melvin make the perfect copy of the Daredevil suit.

    - Foggy's “I'm advising my client not to answer any questions that treat her like an asshole” might seriously be Elden Henson's finest moment in series history. Great scene with Foggy, Karen, and Ray. Jay Ali is becoming the secret weapon of this season.

    Also, that conversational reference to Santa Claus? It's KIND OF a comics callback. A chunk of Born Again takes place at Christmastime, and in the "Bullseye goes crazy from a brain tumor" story I mentioned earlier, he was even mistaking guys dressed like Santa for Daredevil.

    - While Karen seems to going all Lady Macbeth with the blood on her sweater, the placement of it on her palms makes me think of the stigmata. As one who has the most faith in Matt (who crucifies himself at every opportunity), she may be manifesting stigmata as his most loyal disciple.

    - Fisk’s line about how Matt, like his father, is “too proud to lay down” really just gets to the heart of everything about Daredevil. Spectacular stuff.

    Daredevil Season 3 Episode 8: Upstairs/Downstairs

    "A desperate Dex reaches out for help, Matt froms an uneasy alliance with Agent Nadeem, and Karen concocts a dangerous plan to provoke Fisk."

    - Dex's cool black jogging suit at the start of the episode sure looks/feels like a proto-Bullseye costume, doesn't it?

    - On that sheet of paper Karen is looking at, you can see the word MAGGIA scrawled. Is this the first time the Maggia has ever been referenced explicitly in the MCU? Think of the Maggia as the international, supercriminal, not explicitly Italian-American Marvel equivalent of the Mafia.

    - Oh. So Fisk DOES know Matt is Daredevil. Yes, I do believe we are headed towards full Born Again mode soon. But at this point, SCREW adapting the comics. That scene with Deborah Ann Woll and Vincent D'Onofrio is one of the greatest scenes ever played between two actors in the entire history of the MCU.

    This is actually the first time Woll and D'Onofrio have shared a scene together on this show. Ms. Woll told reporters about it while filming the season, describing the feelings between Karen Page and Wilson Fisk as "a very Shakespearean mutual disgust for one another."

    "As actors, I think we both have tremendous respect for one another and the opportunity to get to play with him in this brilliantly flamboyant performance that he gives which is very much a contrast to Karen, it was just great to get both of those energies in the room and see how they play off each other," Woll says. "It was a great day. It was a snowstorm out when we shot it, so it felt very like we were all stuck in this little sound stage. And the winds are roaring outside and the emotions were roaring inside. It's very cool."

    - “God damn it, Karen. Don’t turn into Matt on me.” For the second episode in a row, Elden Henson gets the best line of dialogue.

    - And there’s the Sister Maggie reveal we've all been waiting for! Shortly after her introduction in Born Again it was revealed that she was really Matt's mother. Although Matt didn't actually confirm that he knew to her until Guardian Devil. The way that initial reveal came about was a little different than here, though. There, Matt had already suspected she was his mother, and asked her point blank. She lied and said "no" but Matt knew it was a lie because her heartbeat jumped. Here, he overhears her praying to Jack Murdock, so it's similar enough in that the reveal came via Matt's heightened senses. 

    Terrific way to end an already terrific episode. A candidate for the best hour in the history of all of these shows, really.

    Spot anything I missed? Drop it in the comments or hit me up on Twitter and if it checks out, I'll keep updating this!

    Mike Cecchini is the Editor in Chief of Den of Geek. You can read more of his work here.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    The Summoner’s Handbook finishes off Taran Matharu’s debut fantasy series with an illustrated look at a world that reflects our own.

    Interview Michael Ahr
    Oct 20, 2018

    Just in time for Halloween, Taran Matharu, author of the demon-centric Summoner series, has one last companion book to share with readers who have enjoyed his trilogy of fantasy books that tell the tale of young Fletcher, who at the start of the series accidentally summons a demon and then goes to a magical military academy where he learns to control his powers. For those who have enjoyed The Novice, The Inquisition, The Battlemage, and The Outcast prequel, The Summoner’s Handbook brings fans an illustrated look at this diverse world that’s both familiar and wholly unique.

    For those not familiar with Matharu’s path to fantasy notoriety, he started the Summoner series during 2013’s National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, a national challenge to write 50,000 words in a single month each November. “Wattpad, which is often described as the YouTube of books, is where I decided to share my work as I was writing it to get encouragement, and to my surprise the book went viral very quickly,” Matharu says. “It was read 3 million times in less than six months, just on the sample alone… but it was that that allowed me to get the interest from publishers around the world and eventually get a book deal.”

    The Summoner series follows Fletcher, an unconventional summoner, on his path to becoming a Battlemage at which point he will fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against the orcs of the southern jungles. As that description makes clear, the series enjoys surprisingly apt but far from derivative comparisons to familiar franchises like Pokemon, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings.

    Matharu embraces these familiar elements in the full confidence that his work has differences that give it a separate identity. “[Fletcher] summons a demon, and that’s very much where the Pokemon comes from, this idea of being able to summon creatures to fight alongside you. They’re kind of your pets and companions, you name them, they have different levels,” he says. “Then there’s the magical military academy which is where some of the Harry Potter vibes come from, although it’s not exactly like Hogwarts. It’s much more focused on the military side of things.”

    As for The Lord of the Rings, what fantasy novel hasn’t dabbled in their own versions of Tolkien’s elves, dwarves, and orcs? “It’s very much a world populated by multiple fantasy races… but I put my own twist on these different races,” Matharu assures us. “For example, the orcs are very much modeled on the Aztecs; they ride rhinos, and their smaller counterparts, the goblins, are kind of their allies — they ride cassowaries. So it’s kind of a strange mix, but it’s very much Aztec-inspired… and also there’s a lot of epic battles, which The Lord of the Rings, at least the film trilogy, is well known for.”

    Another unique aspect of Matharu’s view of fantasy races is that the elves and dwarves experience discrimination at the hands of humans, which feels relevant in our own divided society. “Sometimes people struggle to understand racism or look at it objectively because it comes packaged with so much in the real world,” Matharu explains. “What’s great about writing racism into a fantasy series is that you take all that away. It holds up a mirror to our own society, and you get to see it in a slightly different light… There’s certainly racism in our real world, so imagine a world where cultures are even more different! It’s not just different races; effectively, they’re different species!”

    Part of this focus may have come from Matharu’s own struggle as a young reader from Indian and Brazilian parentage to find characters that reflected his own culture. “I always wanted to see myself in books, and that’s part of the reason I started writing. Every single character that I wrote had dark hair and olive skin and often would have my name or some kind of anagram of my name… Now, diversity in children’s and teen and young adult books is growing! We’re on our way! There’s more and more diversity in terms of ability, in terms of race, in terms of sexual orientation; all those things are growing.”

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!

    The journal format of The Summoner’s Handbook allows fans to continue exploring the world of the Hominum Empire even though Fletcher’s story has come to a close. “In the first book, Fletcher, the main character in The Novice, is gifted a book by a traveling salesman, and that book turns out to be James Baker’s journal. James Baker was once a summoner… and this journal, you only ever get to see snippets of it before it’s taken from Fletcher by the librarian of Vocans Academy, which is the school that he goes to… She keeps it in the library, and Fletcher doesn’t really see it again. But it’s this book that sets Fletcher on his journey, and it teaches him a lot about how to be a summoner. So it’s very cool to actually re-create that book and publish it.”

    Matharu’s will soon trade in his fantasy roots for a science fiction premise in his next project, the Contender series, which begins with Book 1: The Chosen, but fans shouldn’t worry that it will be too much of a departure from the style they’ve come to enjoy. “There’s sword fights and that kind of stuff, just like the Summoner series, so it’s not laser guns and spaceships, so hopefully, they’ll get on with it,” Matharu says. “It’s difficult to transition to a new series especially when so many people have enjoyed your previous one, but it’s a series I’ve been dreaming of writing for such a long time. I can’t wait for everyone to read it and see why I’ve moved on.”

    The Chosen follows a group of juvenile delinquents who find themselves suddenly transported to another world that is populated by relics from history and prehistoric creatures, and they have no idea how they got there or why. “It’s a little bit like The Maze Runner in many ways where you’re not sure why you’re there or how, and it’s also like Jurassic World where there’s lots of different time periods. And it’s also perhaps a little bit like The 100 in that it’s a group of teenagers who are placed in a new environment and have to survive together even though they have some sort of criminal elements to them.”

    With that enticing description, Matharu seems poised to have another hit on his hands when The Chosen hits bookshelves in May of 2019. In the meantime, The Summoner’s Handbook came out on October 2, 2018, and is available in multiple formats on Amazon and elsewhere.

    Michael Ahr is a writer, reviewer, and podcaster here at Den of Geek; you can check out his work here or follow him on Twitter.


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    Looking for a good horror read? Here are some of the best new horror books to be released in October 2018.

    The ListsKayti Burt
    Oct 22, 2018

    'Tis the spookiest of seasons, which means it is the absolute best time to read some horror! Here are some of the horror books coming out in October that we are most looking forward to checking out here at Den of Geek...

    Have you joined the Den of Geek Book Club? You should!

    Best New Horror Books in October 2018

    Blood Communion by Anne Rice

    Type: Part of the Vampire Chronicles series
    Publisher: Knopf
    Release date: October 2nd

    The Vampire Chronicles continue with a riveting, rich saga--part adventure, part suspense--of Prince Lestat and the story of the Blood Communion as he tells the tale of his coming to rule the vampire world and the eternal struggle to find belonging, a place in the universe for the undead, and how, against his will, he must battle the menacing, seemingly unstoppable force determined to thwart his vision and destroy the entire vampire netherworld.

    In this spellbinding novel, Lestat, rebel outlaw, addresses the tribe of vampires, directly, intimately, passionately, and tells the mesmerizing story of the formation of the Blood Communion and how he became Prince of the vampire world, the true ruler of this vast realm, and how his vision for all the Children of the Universe to thrive as one, came to be.

    The tale spills from Lestat's heart, as he speaks first of his new existence as reigning monarch--and then of his fierce battle of wits and words with the mysterious Rhoshamandes, proud Child of the Millennia, reviled outcast for his senseless slaughter of the legendary ancient vampire Maharet, avowed enemy of Queen Akasha; Rhoshamandes, a demon spirit who refuses to live in harmony at the Court of Prince Lestat and threatens all that Lestat has dreamt of.

    As the tale unfolds, Lestat takes us from the towers and battlements of his ancestral castle in the snow-covered mountains of France to the verdant wilds of lush Louisiana with its lingering fragrances of magnolias and night jasmine; from the far reaches of the Pacific's untouched islands to the 18th-century city of St. Petersburg and the court of the Empress Catherine...

    Read Blood Communion by Anne Rice

    Read our full review of Blood Communion by Anne Rice here.

    Plight of the Living Dead: What Real-Life Zombies Reveal About Our World—And Ourselves

    Type: Standalone non-fiction
    Publisher: Penguin
    Release date: October 2nd

    A brain-bending exploration of real-life zombies and mind controllers, and what they reveal to us about nature—and ourselves.

    Zombieism isn’t just the stuff of movies and TV shows like The Walking Dead. It’s real, and it’s happening in the world around us, from wasps and worms to dogs and moose—and even humans.

    In Plight of the Living Dead, science journalist Matt Simon documents his journey through the bizarre evolutionary history of mind control. Along the way, he visits a lab where scientists infect ants with zombifying fungi, joins the search for kamikaze crickets in the hills of New Mexico, and travels to Israel to meet the wasp that stings cockroaches in the brain before leading them to their doom.

    Nothing Hollywood dreams up can match the brilliant, horrific zombies that natural selection has produced time and time again. Plight of the Living Dead is a surreal dive into a world that would be totally unbelievable if very smart scientists didn’t happen to be proving it’s real, and most troublingly—or maybe intriguingly—of all: how even we humans are affected.

    Read Plight of the Living Dead by Matt Simon

    Dracul by Dacre Stoker and JD Barker

    Type: Prequel to Dracula
    Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
    Release date: October 2nd

    The prequel to Dracula, inspired by notes and texts left behind by the author of the classic novel, Dracul is a supernatural thriller that reveals not only Dracula’s true origins but Bram Stoker’s—and the tale of the enigmatic woman who connects them.

    It is 1868, and a twenty-one-year-old Bram Stoker waits in a desolate tower to face an indescribable evil. Armed only with crucifixes, holy water, and a rifle, he prays to survive a single night, the longest of his life. Desperate to record what he has witnessed, Bram scribbles down the events that led him here...

    A sickly child, Bram spent his early days bedridden in his parents' Dublin home, tended to by his caretaker, a young woman named Ellen Crone. When a string of strange deaths occur in a nearby town, Bram and his sister Matilda detect a pattern of bizarre behavior by Ellen—a mystery that deepens chillingly until Ellen vanishes suddenly from their lives. Years later, Matilda returns from studying in Paris to tell Bram the news that she has seen Ellen—and that the nightmare they've thought long ended is only beginning.

    Read Dracul by Dacre Stoker and JD Barker


    The World of Lore: Dreadful Places by Aaron Mahnke

    Type: Standalone non-fiction
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Release date: October 9th

    Captivating stories of the places where human evil has left a nefarious mark, featuring stories from the podcast Lore—now a streaming television series—including “Echoes,” “Withering Heights,” and “Behind Closed Doors” as well as rare material.
     Sometimes you walk into a room, a building, or even a town, and you feel it. Something seems off—an atmosphere that leaves you oddly unsettled, with a sense of lingering darkness. Join Aaron Mahnke, the host of the popular podcast Lore, as he explores some of these dreadful places and the history that haunts them. Mahnke takes us to Colorado and the palatial Stanley Hotel, where wealthy guests enjoyed views of the Rocky Mountains at the turn of the twentieth century—and where, decades later, a restless author would awaken from a nightmare, inspired to write one of the most revered horror novels of all time. Mahnke also crosses land and sea to visit frightful sites—from New Orleans to Richmond, Virginia, to the brooding, ancient castles of England—each with its own echoes of dark deeds, horrible tragedies, and shocking evil still resounding. Filled with evocative illustrations, this eerie tour of lurid landmarks and doomed destinations is just the ticket to take armchair travelers with a taste for the macabre to places they never thought they’d visit in their wildest, scariest dreams.

    Read The World of Lore: Dreadful Places

    I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist

    Type: Standalone novel
    Publisher: St. Martin's Press
    Release date: October 16th

    A compelling, eerie new novel from the internationally bestselling author of Let the Right One In.

    "At the top of his game, Lindqvist gives Stephen King and John Saul at their best a run for the money."—Library Journal (starred) 

    "Dubbed the Stephen King of Sweden, Lindqvist lives up to the billing."—New York Post

    Four families wake up one morning in their trailer on an ordinary campsite. However, during the night something strange has happened. Everything outside the camping grounds has disappeared, and the world has been transformed into an endless expanse of grass. The sky is blue, but there is no sign of the sun; there are no trees, no flowers, no birds. And every radio plays nothing but the songs of sixties pop icon Peter Himmelstrand.

    As the holiday-makers try to come to terms with what has happened, they are forced to confront their deepest fears and secret desires. Past events that each of them has tried to bury rise to the surface and take on terrifying physical forms. Can any of them find a way back to reality?

    Read I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist

    In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
    Release date: October 16th

    The eerie, disturbing story of one of our perennial fascinations--witchcraft in colonial America--wrapped up in a lyrical novel of psychological suspense.

    "Once upon a time there was and there wasn't a woman who went to the woods."

    In this horror story set in colonial New England, a law-abiding Puritan woman goes missing. Or perhaps she has fled or abandoned her family. Or perhaps she's been kidnapped, and set loose to wander in the dense woods of the north. Alone and possibly lost, she meets another woman in the forest. Then everything changes.

    On a journey that will take her through dark woods full of almost-human wolves, through a deep well wet with the screams of men, and on a living ship made of human bones, our heroine may find that the evil she flees has been inside her all along. In the House in the Dark of the Woodsis a novel of psychological horror and suspense told in Laird Hunt's characteristically lyrical prose style. It is the story of a bewitching, a betrayal, a master huntress and her quarry. It is a story of anger, of evil, of hatred and of redemption. It is the story of a haunting, a story that makes up the bedrock of American mythology, but told in a vivid way you will never forget.

    Read In the House in the Dark of the Woods by Laird Hunt

    Slender Man by Anonymous

    Type: Epistolary novel
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: October 23rd

    One man’s search for the truth about one of the most intriguing urban legends ever—the modern bogeyman, Slender Man—leads him down a dark, dangerous path in this creepy supernatural fantasy that will make you question where the line between dark myth and terrifying reality begins.

    Lauren Bailey has disappeared. As friends at her exclusive school speculate on what happened and the police search for answers, Matt Barker dreams of trees and a black sky . . . and something drawing closer.

    Through fragments of journals, news stories, and online conversations, a figure begins to emerge—a tall, slender figure—and all divisions between fiction and delusion, between nightmare and reality, begin to fall.

    Chilling, eerie, and addictively readable, Slender Man is a unique spine-tingling story and a brilliant and frightening look at one of the most fascinating—and diabolical—mythical figures in modern times.

    Read Slender Man by Anonymous

    Alice Isn't Dead by Joseph Fink

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Harper Perennial
    Release date: October 30th

    From the New York Times bestselling co-author of It Devours! and Welcome to Night Vale comes a fast-paced thriller about a truck driver searching across America for the wife she had long assumed to be dead.

    “This isn’t a story. It’s a road trip."

    Keisha Taylor lived a quiet life with her wife, Alice, until the day that Alice disappeared. After months of searching, presuming she was dead, Keisha held a funeral, mourned, and gradually tried to get on with her life. But that was before Keisha started to see her wife, again and again, in the background of news reports from all over America. Alice isn’t dead, and she is showing up at every major tragedy and accident in the country.

    Following a line of clues, Keisha takes a job with a trucking company, Bay and Creek Transportation, and begins searching for Alice. She eventually stumbles on an otherworldly conflict being waged in the quiet corners of our nation’s highway system—uncovering a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

    Read Alice Isn't Dead by Joseph Fink

    What horror books are you most looking forward to checking out? Let us know in the comments below or in our Den of Geek Book Club on Goodreads...

    Further reading: Best New Science Fiction Books

    Further reading: Best New Fantasy Books

    Further reading: Best New Young Adult Fiction

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of GeekRead more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    Looking for a good fantasy read? Here are some of the best new fantasy books to be released in October 2018.

    The ListsKayti Burt
    Oct 22, 2018

    Fall, one of our four favorite seasons to read, is upon us. Here are some of the fantasy books coming out in the month of October that we are most looking forward to checking out. Is your most-anticipated October fantasy read on the list?

    Join the Den of Geek Book Club!

    Best New Fantasy Books in October 2018

    An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

    Type: First in new series
    Publisher: Saga
    Release date: October 2nd

    The beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Sookie Stackhouse series, the inspiration for HBO’s True Blood, and the Midnight Crossroad trilogy adapted for NBC’s Midnight, Texas, has written a taut new thriller—the first in the Gunnie Rose series—centered on a young gunslinging mercenary, Lizbeth Rose. 

    Set in a fractured United States, in the southwestern country now known as Texoma. A world where magic is acknowledged but mistrusted, especially by a young gunslinger named Lizbeth Rose. Battered by a run across the border to Mexico Lizbeth Rose takes a job offer from a pair of Russian wizards to be their local guide and gunnie. For the wizards, Gunnie Rose has already acquired a fearsome reputation and they’re at a desperate crossroad, even if they won’t admit it. They’re searching through the small border towns near Mexico, trying to locate a low-level magic practitioner, Oleg Karkarov. The wizards believe Oleg is a direct descendant of Grigori Rasputin, and that Oleg’s blood can save the young tsar’s life.

    As the trio journey through an altered America, shattered into several countries by the assassination of Franklin Roosevelt and the Great Depression, they’re set on by enemies. It’s clear that a powerful force does not want them to succeed in their mission. Lizbeth Rose is a gunnie who has never failed a client, but her oath will test all of her skills and resolve to get them all out alive.

    Read An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

    Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

    Type: First in new series
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: October 2nd

    Gladiator meets Game of Thrones: a royal woman becomes a skilled warrior to destroy her murderous cousin, avenge her family, and save her kingdom in this first entry in a dazzling fantasy epic from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Elemental Assassin series—an enthralling tale that combines magic, murder, intrigue, adventure, and a hint of romance.

    In a realm where one’s magical power determines one’s worth, Lady Everleigh’s lack of obvious ability relegates her to the shadows of the royal court of Bellona, a kingdom steeped in gladiator tradition. Seventeenth in line for the throne, Evie is nothing more than a ceremonial fixture, overlooked and mostly forgotten.

    But dark forces are at work inside the palace. When her cousin Vasilia, the crown princess, assassinates her mother the queen and takes the throne by force, Evie is also attacked, along with the rest of the royal family. Luckily for Evie, her secret immunity to magic helps her escape the massacre.

    Forced into hiding to survive, she falls in with a gladiator troupe. Though they use their talents to entertain and amuse the masses, the gladiators are actually highly trained warriors skilled in the art of war, especially Lucas Sullivan, a powerful magier with secrets of his own. Uncertain of her future—or if she even has one—Evie begins training with the troupe until she can decide her next move.

    But as the bloodthirsty Vasilia exerts her power, pushing Bellona to the brink of war, Evie’s fate becomes clear: she must become a fearsome gladiator herself . . . and kill the queen.

    Read Kill the Queen by Jennifer Estep

    Priest of Bones by Peter McLean

    Type: First in new series
    Publisher: Ace
    Release date: October 2nd

    The war is over, and army priest Tomas Piety heads home with Sergeant Bloody Anne at his side. But things have changed while he was away: his crime empire has been stolen and the people of Ellinburg--his people--have run out of food and hope and places to hide. Tomas sets out to reclaim what was his with help from Anne, his brother, Jochan, and his new gang: the Pious Men. But when he finds himself dragged into a web of political intrigue once again, everything gets more complicated.

    As the Pious Men fight shadowy foreign infiltrators in the back-street taverns, brothels, and gambling dens of Tomas's old life, it becomes clear: 

    The war is only just beginning.

    Read Priest of Bones by Peter McLean

    The Phoenix Empress by K Arsenault Rivera

    Type: Second book in Ascendant series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: October 9th

    K Arsenault Rivera's second novel, The Tiger's Daughter, the continuation of a new epic fantasy trilogy 

    "Rich, expansive, and grounded in human truth...simply exquisite.”—V. E. Schwab, New York Times bestselling author of the Shades of Magic series

    Once they were the heirs to a prophecy that predicted two women would save an empire.

    Now Shefali is dying—and her wife is unaware of the coming tragedy. Shizuka is too busy trying to reunite a fractured empire and right the wrongs of her ancestors.

    As the Imperial Army gathers against a demonic invasion, Shizuka must do all she can with an empire on the brink of civil war.

    Read The Phoenix Empress by K Arsenault Rivera

    Check out our interview with K Arsenault Rivera at New York Comic Con...

    Mage Against the Machine by Shaun Barger

    Type: Standalone novel
    Publisher: Saga Press
    Release date: October 30th

    Harry Potter meets The Terminator in this action-packed adventure about a young man who discovers that everything he believed about his world is a lie.

    The year is 2120. The humans are dead. The mages have retreated from the world after a madman blew up civilization with weaponized magical technology. Safe within domes that protect them from the nuclear wasteland on the other side, the mages have spent the last century putting their lives back together.

    Nikolai is obsessed with artifacts from twentieth-century human life: mage-crafted replica Chuck Taylors on his feet, Schwarzenegger posters on his walls, Beatlemania still alive and well in his head. But he’s also tasked with a higher calling—to maintain the Veils that protect mage-kind from the hazards of the wastes beyond. As a cadet in the Mage King’s army, Nik has finally found what he always wanted—a purpose. But when confronted by one of his former instructors gone rogue, Nik tumbles into a dark secret. The humans weren’t nuked into oblivion—they’re still alive. Not only that, outside the domes a war rages between the last enclaves of free humans and vast machine intelligences.

    Outside the dome, unprepared and on the run, Nik finds Jem. Jem is a Runner for the Human Resistance. A ballerina-turned-soldier by the circumstances of war, Jem is more than just a human—her cybernetic enhancement mods make her faster, smarter, and are the only things that give her a fighting chance against the artificial beings bent on humanity’s eradication.

    Now Nik faces an impossible decision: side with the mages and let humanity die out? Or stand with Jem and the humans—and risk endangering everything he knows and loves?

    Read Mage Against the Machine by Shaun Barger

    The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

    Type: Second book in The Masquerade series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: October 30th

    A breathtaking geopolitical epic fantasy, The Monster Baru Cormorant is the sequel to Seth Dickinson's "fascinating tale" (The Washington Post), The Traitor Baru Cormorant.

    Her world was shattered by the Empire of Masks. For the power to shatter the Masquerade, She betrayed everyone she loved.

    The traitor Baru Cormorant is now the cryptarch Agonist—a secret lord of the empire she's vowed to destroy.

    Hunted by a mutinous admiral, haunted by the wound which has split her mind in two, Baru leads her dearest foes on an expedition for the secret of immortality. It's her chance to trigger a war that will consume the Masquerade.

    But Baru's heart is broken, and she fears she can no longer tell justice from revenge...or her own desires from the will of the man who remade her.

    Read The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

    The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Leguin

    Type: Special edition
    Publisher: Saga Press
    Release date: October 30th

    Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the timeless and beloved A Wizard of Earthsea that “reads like the retelling of a tale first told centuries ago,” (David Mitchell)—comes this complete omnibus edition of the entire Earthsea chronicles, including over fifty illustrations illuminating Le Guin’s vision of her classic saga. 

    Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels are some of the most acclaimed and awarded works in literature—they have received prestigious accolades such as the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, the Nebula Award, and many more honors, commemorating their enduring place in the hearts and minds of readers and the literary world alike.

    Now for the first time ever, they’re all together in one volume—including the early short stories, Le Guin’s “Earthsea Revisioned” Oxford lecture, and a new Earthsea story, never before printed.

    With a new introduction by Le Guin herself, this essential edition will also include fifty illustrations by renowned artist Charles Vess, specially commissioned and selected by Le Guin, to bring her refined vision of Earthsea and its people to life in a totally new way.

    [Stories include: “A Wizard of Earthsea”, “The Tombs of Atuan”, “The Farthest Shore”, “Tehanu”, “Tales From Earthsea”, “The Other Wind”, “The Rule of Names”, “The Word of Unbinding”, “The Daughter of Odren”, and “Earthsea Revisioned: A Lecture at Oxford University”.]

    With stories as perennial and universally beloved as The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of The Rings—but also unlike anything but themselves—this edition is perfect for those new to the world of Earthsea, as well as those who are well-acquainted with its enchanting magic: to know Earthsea is to love it.

    Read The Books of Earthsea: The Illustrated Edition by Ursula K. Leguin

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    Best New Fantasy Books in September 2018

    Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire

    Type: Book 12 in the October Daye series
    Publisher: DAW
    Release date: September 4th

    Things are not okay.

    In the aftermath of Amandine's latest betrayal, October "Toby" Daye's fragile self-made family is on the verge of coming apart at the seams. Jazz can't sleep, Sylvester doesn't want to see her, and worst of all, Tybalt has withdrawn from her entirely, retreating into the Court of Cats as he tries to recover from his abduction. Toby is floundering, unable to help the people she loves most heal. She needs a distraction. She needs a quest.

    What she doesn't need is the abduction of her estranged human daughter, Gillian. What she doesn't need is to be accused of kidnapping her own child by her ex-boyfriend and his new wife, who seems to be harboring secrets of her own. There's no question of whether she'll take the case. The only question is whether she's emotionally prepared to survive it.

    Signs of Faerie's involvement are everywhere, and it's going to take all Toby's nerve and all her allies to get her through this web of old secrets, older hatreds, and new deceits. If she can't find Gillian before time runs out, her own child will pay the price. 

    Two questions remain: Who in Faerie remembered Gillian existed? And what do they stand to gain? 

    No matter how this ends, Toby's life will never be the same.

    Read Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire


    Timeless: A Drizzt Novel by R.A. Salvatore

    Type: Book one in trilogy set in the world of Forgotten Realms
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: September 4th

    At long last, New York Times bestselling author R. A. Salvatore returns with one of fantasy's most beloved and enduring icons, the dark elf Drizzt Do'Urden, in an all-new trilogy full of swordplay, danger, and imaginative thrills,

    Centuries ago, in the city of Menzoberranzan, the City of Spiders, the City of Drow, nestled deep in the unmerciful Underdark of Toril, a young weapon master earned a reputation far above his station or that of his poor house.

    The greater nobles watched him, and one matron, in particular, decided to take him as her own. She connived with rival great houses to secure her prize, but that prize was caught for her by another, who came to quite enjoy the weapon master.

    This was the beginning of the friendship between Zaknafein and Jarlaxle, and the coupling of Matron Malice and the weapon master who would sire Drizzt Do’Urden.

    R. A. Salvatore reveals the Underdark anew through the eyes of Zaknafein and Jarlaxle—an introduction to the darkness that offers a fresh view of the opportunities to be found in the shadows and an intriguing prelude to the intriguing escapes that lie ahead in the modern-day Forgotten Realms. Here, a father and his son are reunited and embark on adventures that parallel the trials of centuries long past as the friends of old are joined by Drizzt, Hero of the North, trained by Grandmaster Kane in the ways of the monk.

    But the scourge of the dangerous Lolth’s ambitions remain, and demons have been foisted on the unwitting of the surface. The resulting chaos and war will prove to be the greatest challenge for all three.

    Read Timeless: A Drizzt Novel by R.A. Salvatore

    The Late Great Wizard by Sara Hanover

    Type: First book in a planned series
    Publisher: DAW
    Release date: September 11th

    A young woman must work with a magician who is not what he seems to find her father in this new contemporary portal fantasy series.

    With her father vanished under suspicious circumstances and her old life destroyed, Tessa Andrews is determined to pick up the pieces and forge ahead. If only their borrowed house didn't shake and rumble as if haunted. But at least she and her mom have a roof over their heads, so her luck couldn't be all bad, could it?

    As if to prove her wrong, Tessa gets an urgent call for help one night from crusty old Professor Brandard, one of the people on her charity meals route. She dashes over, only to find the house in flames and the professor gone. A handsome young man steps out of the ashes to request her assistance, claiming to be the professor and a Phoenix wizard. She not only has to believe in him, but in magic, for an ancient evil is awakening and it will take the two of them, plus a few shady friends, to stand against it.

    Because the rejuvenation ritual has gone horribly wrong. The late, great wizard desperately needs to get his mojo back, for only if Brandard regains all his magic do they stand any chance of defeating this deadliest of perils.

    Read The Late Great Wizard by Sara Hanover

    The Queen of Crows by Myke Cole

    Type: Book two in the Sacred Throne trilogy
    Publisher: Tor.com
    Release date: September 18th

    In this epic fantasy sequel, Heloise stands tall against overwhelming odds—crippling injuries, religious tyrants—and continues her journey from obscurity to greatness with the help of alchemically-empowered armor and an unbreakable spirit.

    No longer just a shell-shocked girl, she is now a figure of revolution whose cause grows ever stronger. But the time for hiding underground is over. Heloise must face the tyrannical Order and win freedom for her people.

    Read The Queen of Crows by Myke Cole

    Time's Convert by Deborah Harkness

    Type: Novel set in the All Souls universe
    Publisher: Viking
    Release date: September 18th

    On the battlefields of the American Revolution, Matthew de Clermont meets Marcus MacNeil, a young surgeon from Massachusetts, during a moment of political awakening when it seems that the world is on the brink of a brighter future. When Matthew offers him a chance at immortality and a new life free from the restraints of his puritanical upbringing, Marcus seizes the opportunity to become a vampire. But his transformation is not an easy one and the ancient traditions and responsibilities of the de Clermont family clash with Marcus's deeply held beliefs in liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

    Fast-forward to contemporary Paris, where Phoebe Taylor--the young employee at Sotheby's whom Marcus has fallen for--is about to embark on her own journey to immortality. Though the modernized version of the process at first seems uncomplicated, the couple discovers that the challenges facing a human who wishes to be a vampire are no less formidable than they were in the eighteenth century. The shadows that Marcus believed he'd escaped centuries ago may return to haunt them both--forever.

    A passionate love story and a fascinating exploration of the power of tradition and the possibilities not just for change but for revolution, Time's Convert channels the supernatural world-building and slow-burning romance that made the All Souls Trilogy instant bestsellers to illuminate a new and vital moment in history, and a love affair that will bridge centuries.

    Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

    Type: Book two in the Villains series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: September 25th

    Magneto and Professor X. Superman and Lex Luthor. Victor Vale and Eli Ever. Sydney and Serena Clarke. Great partnerships, now soured on the vine.

    But Marcella Riggins needs no one. Flush from her brush with death, she’s finally gained the control she’s always sought—and will use her new-found power to bring the city of Merit to its knees. She’ll do whatever it takes, collecting her own sidekicks, and leveraging the two most infamous EOs, Victor Vale and Eli Ever, against each other once more.

    With Marcella's rise, new enmities create opportunity--and the stage of Merit City will once again be set for a final, terrible reckoning.

    Read Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

    The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

    Type: Standalone novel
    Publisher: Redhook
    Release date: September 25th

    In a remote village surrounded by vast forests on the border of Moldova and Ukraine, sisters Liba and Laya have been raised on the honeyed scent of their Mami's babka and the low rumble of their Tati's prayers. But when a troupe of mysterious men arrives, Laya falls under their spell - despite their mother's warning to be wary of strangers. And this is not the only danger lurking in the woods.

    As dark forces close in on their village, Liba and Laya discover a family secret passed down through generations. Faced with a magical heritage they never knew existed, the sisters realize the old fairy tales are true...and could save them all.

    Read The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

    Barren by Peter V. Brett

    Type: Novella in the Demon Cycle series
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: September 25th

    Each night, the world is overrun by bloodthirsty demons. For centuries, humanity survived only by hiding behind defensive wards—magical symbols with the power to repel the demons. Now, the rediscovery of long-forgotten combat wards has given them the magic they need to fight back.

    In Tibbet’s Brook, the fighting wards have brought change, but the factions and grudges of a troubled past remain. Selia Square, the woman they call Barren, has long been the force that holds the Brook together. As a terrifying new threat emerges, she rallies her people once again.

    But Selia has a past of her own. And in a small community the personal and the political can never be divided. If Tibbet’s Brook is to survive, Selia must uncover memories she has buried deep—the woman she once was, the woman she once loved—and retell their story.

    Read Barren by Peter v. Brett

    Best New Fantasy Books in August 2018

    Temper by Nicky Drayden

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: August 7th

    Read our full Temper by Nicky Drayden review.

    In a land similar to South Africa, twin brothers are beset by powerful forces beyond their understanding or control in this thrilling blend of science fiction, horror, magic, and dark humor—evocative of the works of Lauren Beukes, Ian McDonald, and Nnedi Okorafor—from the author of The Prey of Gods.

    Two brothers.
    Seven vices.
    One demonic possession.
    Can this relationship survive?

    Auben Mutze has more vices than he can deal with—six to be exact—each branded down his arm for all the world to see. They mark him as a lesser twin in society, as inferior, but there’s no way he’ll let that define him. Intelligent and outgoing, Auben’s spirited antics make him popular among the other students at his underprivileged high school. So what if he’s envious of his twin Kasim, whose single vice brand is a ticket to a better life, one that likely won’t involve Auben.

    The twins’ strained relationship threatens to snap when Auben starts hearing voices that speak to his dangerous side—encouraging him to perform evil deeds that go beyond innocent mischief. Lechery, deceit, and vanity run rampant. And then there are the inexplicable blood cravings. . . .

    On the southern tip of an African continent that could have been, demons get up to no good during the time of year when temperatures dip and temptations rise. Auben needs to rid himself of these maddening voices before they cause him to lose track of time. To lose his mind. And to lose his . . . TEMPER.

    Read Temper by Nicky Drayden

    Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

    Type: Part of the DC Icons series
    Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
    Release date: August 7th

    When the Bat's away, the Cat will play. It's time to see how many lives this cat really has.

    Two years after escaping Gotham City's slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Gotham City looks ripe for the taking.

    Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever--she may be Batwing's undoing.

    In this third DC Icons book, Selina is playing a desperate game of cat and mouse, forming unexpected friendships and entangling herself with Batwing by night and her devilishly handsome neighbor Luke Fox by day. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that's closest to her heart?

    Read Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas


    Privateer by Margaret Weis & Robert Krammes

    Type: Second in the Dragon Corsairs trilogy
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: August 7th

    The swashbuckling adventures of Captain Kate Fitzmaurice continues in Privateer with another thrilling epic tale of the Dragon Corsairs from New York Times bestselling author Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes.

    Captain Kate soon escapes from prison and saves her crew with the help of Prince Tom. She and her crew are drawn ever deeper into the intrigue and danger of doing business in the kingdom. With them running out of allies and left with nowhere to turn, Kate and Tom strike out on their own.

    Read Privateer by Margaret Weis & Robert Krammes

    The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

    Type: Novella
    Publisher: Tor.com
    Release date: August 21st

    Rising science fiction and fantasy star P. Djèlí Clark brings an alternate New Orleans of orisha, airships, and adventure to life in his immersive debut novella The Black God's Drums.

    In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air--in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.

    But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.

    Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God’s Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.

    Read The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark

    Hollywood Dead: A Sandman Slim Novel by Richard Kadrey

    Type: Tenth book in Sandman Slim series
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: August 28th

    Life and death takes on an entirely new meaning for half-angel, half-human hero James Stark, aka, Sandman Slim, in this insanely inventive, high-intensity tenth supernatural noir thriller in the New York Times bestselling series.

    James Stark is back from Hell, trailing more trouble in his wake. To return to L.A., he had to make a deal with the evil power brokers, Wormwood—an arrangement that came with a catch. While he may be home, Stark isn’t quite himself . . . because he’s only partially alive.

    There’s a time limit on his reanimated body, and unless Stark can find the people targeting Wormwood, he will die again—and this time there will be no coming back. Even though he’s armed with the Room of Thirteen Doors, Stark knows he can’t find Wormwood’s enemies alone. To succeed he’s got to enlist the help of new friends—plus a few unexpected old faces.

    Stark has been in dangerous situations before—you don’t get named Sandman Slim for nothing. But with a mysterious enemy on the loose, a debt to pay, and a clock ticking down, this may truly be the beginning of his end. . . .

    Read Hollywood Dead by Richard Kadrey

    Ravencry by Ed McDonald

    Type: Second book in the Raven's Mark series
    Publisher: Ace
    Release date: August 21st

    In the second gritty installment of the Raven's Mark series, a bounty hunter faces down the darkest evil.

    Ryhalt Galharrow is a blackwing--a bounty hunter who seeks out and turns over any man, woman, or child who has been compromised by the immortals known as the Deep Kings. Four years have passed since he helped drive the Deep Kings back across the Misery. But new and darker forces are rising against the republic...

    Read Ravencry by Ed McDonald

    The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien (edited by Christopher Tolkien)

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    Release date: August 30th

    In the Tale of The Fall of Gondolin are two of the greatest powers in the world. There is Morgoth of the uttermost evil, unseen in this story but ruling over a vast military power from his fortress of Angband. Deeply opposed to Morgoth is Ulmo, second in might only to Manwë, chief of the Valar: he is called the Lord of Waters, of all seas, lakes, and rivers under the sky. But he works in secret in Middle-earth to support the Noldor, the kindred of the Elves among whom were numbered Húrin and Túrin Turambar. Central to this enmity of the gods is the city of Gondolin, beautiful but undiscoverable. It was built and peopled by Noldorin Elves who, when they dwelt in Valinor, the land of the gods, rebelled against their rule and fled to Middle-earth. Turgon King of Gondolin is hated and feared above all his enemies by Morgoth, who seeks in vain to discover the marvellously hidden city, while the gods in Valinor in heated debate largely refuse to intervene in support of Ulmo’s desires and designs. Into this world comes Tuor, cousin of Túrin, the instrument of Ulmo’s designs. Guided unseen by him Tuor sets out from the land of his birth on the fearful journey to Gondolin, and in one of the most arresting moments in the history of Middle-earth the sea-god himself appears to him, rising out of the ocean in the midst of a storm. In Gondolin he becomes great; he is wedded to Idril, Turgon’s daughter, and their son is Eärendel, whose birth and profound importance in days to come is foreseen by Ulmo. At last comes the terrible ending. Morgoth learns through an act of supreme treachery all that he needs to mount a devastating attack on the city, with Balrogs and dragons and numberless Orcs. After a minutely observed account of the fall of Gondolin, the tale ends with the escape of Túrin and Idril, with the child Eärendel, looking back from a cleft in the mountains as they flee southward, at the blazing wreckage of their city. They were journeying into a new story, the Tale of Eärendel, which Tolkien never wrote, but which is sketched out in this book from other sources. Following his presentation of Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien has used the same ‘history in sequence’ mode in the writing of this edition of The Fall of Gondolin. In the words of J.R.R. Tolkien, it was ‘the first real story of this imaginary world’ and, together with Beren and Lúthien and The Children of Húrin, he regarded it as one of the three ‘Great Tales’ of the Elder Days.

    Read The Fall of Gondolin by J.R.R. Tolkien

    Best New Fantasy Books in July 2018

    City of Lies by Sam Hawke

    Type: First book in the Poison Wars series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: July 3

    I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me...

    Outwardly, Jovan is the lifelong friend of the Chancellor’s charming, irresponsible Heir. Quiet. Forgettable. In secret, he's a master of poisons and chemicals, trained to protect the Chancellor’s family from treachery. When the Chancellor succumbs to an unknown poison and an army lays siege to the city, Jovan and his sister Kalina must protect the Heir and save their city-state.

    But treachery lurks in every corner, and the ancient spirits of the land are rising...and angry.

    Read City of Lies by Sam Hawke

    The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri

    Type: Standalone (for now)
    Publisher: Titan Books
    Release date: July 3

    Four old school friends have a pact: to meet up every year in the small town in Puglia they grew up in. Art, the charismatic leader of the group and creator of the pact, insists that the agreement must remain unshakable and enduring. But this year, he never shows up.

    A visit to his house increases the friends' worry; Art is farming marijuana. In Southern Italy doing that kind of thing can be very dangerous. They can't go to the Carabinieri so must make enquiries of their own. This is how they come across the rumours about Art; bizarre and unbelievable rumours that he miraculously cured the local mafia boss's daughter of terminal leukaemia. And among the chaos of his house, they find a document written by Art, The Book of Hidden Things, that promises to reveal dark secrets and wonders beyond anything previously known.

    Francesco Dimitri's first novel written in English, following his career as one of the most significant fantasy writers in Italy, will entrance fans of Elena Ferrante, Neil Gaiman and Donna Tartt. Set in the beguiling and seductive landscape of Southern Italy, this story is about friendship and landscape, love and betrayal; above all it is about the nature of mystery itself.

    Read The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri

    Heroine's Journey by Sarah Kuhn

    Type: Third book in the Heroine Complex series
    Publisher: DAW
    Release date: July 3

    If there's one thing Beatrice Tanaka never wanted to be, it's normal. But somehow, her life has unfolded as a series of "should haves." Her powers of emotional projection should have made her one of the most formidable superheroes of all time. And she should have been allowed to join her older sister Evie as a full-fledged protector of San Francisco, pulverizing the city's plethora of demon threats. 

    But Evie and her superheroing partner, Aveda Jupiter, insist on seeing Bea as the impulsive, tempestuous teenager she used to be--even though she's now a responsible adult. And that means Bea is currently living a thoroughly normal life. She works as a bookstore lackey, hangs out with best friends Sam Fujikawa and Leah Kim, and calms her workplace's more difficult customers. Sure, she's not technically supposed to be playing with people's mental states. But given the mundanity of her existence, who can blame her? 

    When a mysterious being starts communicating with Bea, hinting at an evil that's about to overtake the city, she seizes the opportunity, hoping to turn her "should haves" into the fabulous heroic life she's always wanted. But gaining that life may mean sacrificing everything--and everyone--she holds dear...

    Read Heroine's Journey by Sarah Kuhn

    The Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan

    Type: Third book in the Draconis Memoria series
    Publisher: Ace
    Release date: July 3

    For hundreds of years, the Ironship Trading Syndicate was fueled by drake blood--and protected by the Blood-blessed, those few who could drink it and wield fearsome powers. But now the very thing that sustained the corporate world threatens to destroy it. 

    A drake of unimaginable power has risen, and it commands an army of both beasts and men. Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and Ironship captain Corrick Hilemore, spread to disparate corners of the world, must rely upon the new powers and knowledge they have gained at great price to halt its forces--or face the end of all they know.

    Read The Empire of Ashes by Anthony Ryan

    European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

    Type: Second book in the Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series
    Publisher: Saga
    Release date: July 10

    In the sequel to the critically acclaimed The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Mary Jekyll and the rest of the daughters of literature’s mad scientists embark on a madcap adventure across Europe to rescue another monstrous girl and stop the Alchemical Society’s nefarious plans once and for all.

    Mary Jekyll’s life has been peaceful since she helped Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson solve the Whitechapel Murders. Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, and Mary’s sister Diana Hyde have settled into the Jekyll household in London, and although they sometimes quarrel, the members of the Athena Club get along as well as any five young women with very different personalities. At least they can always rely on Mrs. Poole.

    But when Mary receives a telegram that Lucinda Van Helsing has been kidnapped, the Athena Club must travel to the Austro-Hungarian Empire to rescue yet another young woman who has been subjected to horrific experimentation. Where is Lucinda, and what has Professor Van Helsing been doing to his daughter? Can Mary, Diana, Beatrice, and Justine reach her in time?

    Racing against the clock to save Lucinda from certain doom, the Athena Club embarks on a madcap journey across Europe. From Paris to Vienna to Budapest, Mary and her friends must make new allies, face old enemies, and finally confront the fearsome, secretive Alchemical Society. It’s time for these monstrous gentlewomen to overcome the past and create their own destinies.

    Read European Travel For the Monstrous Gentlewoman by Theodora Goss

    Spinning Silver: A Novel by Naomi Novik

    Type: Standalone (expanded from a short story in The Starlit Wood)
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Release date: July 10

    With the Nebula Award–winning Uprooted, Naomi Novik opened a brilliant new chapter in an already acclaimed career, delving into the magic of fairy tales to craft a love story that was both timeless and utterly of the now. Spinning Silver draws readers deeper into this glittering realm of fantasy, where the boundary between wonder and terror is thinner than a breath, and safety can be stolen as quickly as a kiss.

    Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders, but her father’s inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty—until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, the young woman sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold.

    When an ill-advised boast draws the attention of the king of the Staryk—grim fey creatures who seem more ice than flesh—Miryem’s fate, and that of two kingdoms, will be forever altered. Set an impossible challenge by the nameless king, Miryem unwittingly spins a web that draws in a peasant girl, Wanda, and the unhappy daughter of a local lord who plots to wed his child to the dashing young tsar.

    But Tsar Mirnatius is not what he seems. And the secret he hides threatens to consume the lands of humans and Staryk alike. Torn between deadly choices, Miryem and her two unlikely allies embark on a desperate quest that will take them to the limits of sacrifice, power, and love.

    Channeling the vibrant heart of myth and fairy tale, Spinning Silver weaves a multilayered, magical tapestry that readers will want to return to again and again.

    Read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

    Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys

    Type: Second book in the Innsmouth Legacy series
    Publisher: Tor.com
    Release date: July 10

    Ruthanna Emrys’ Innsmouth Legacy, which began with Winter Tide and continues with Deep Roots, confronts H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos head-on, boldly upturning his fear of the unknown with a heart-warming story of found family, acceptance, and perseverance in the face of human cruelty and the cosmic apathy of the universe. Emrys brings together a family of outsiders, bridging the gaps between the many people marginalized by the homogenizing pressure of 1940s America.

    Aphra Marsh, descendant of the People of the Water, has survived Deep One internment camps and made a grudging peace with the government that destroyed her home and exterminated her people on land. Deep Rootscontinues Aphra’s journey to rebuild her life and family on land, as she tracks down long-lost relatives. She must repopulate Innsmouth or risk seeing it torn down by greedy developers, but as she searches she discovers that people have been going missing. She will have to unravel the mystery, or risk seeing her way of life slip away.

    Read Deep Roots by Ruthanna Emrys

    Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

    Type: First book in Spellslinger series
    Publisher: Orbit
    Release date: July 17

    Kellen is moments away from facing his first duel and proving his worth as a spellcaster. There's just one problem: his magic is fading.

    Facing exile unless he can pass the mage trials, Kellen is willing to risk everything - even his own life - in search of a way to restore his magic. But when the enigmatic Ferius Parfax arrives in town, she challenges him to take a different path.

    One of the elusive Argosi, Ferius is a traveller who lives by her wits and the cards she carries. Daring, unpredictable, and wielding magic Kellen has never seen before, she may be his only hope.

    The first novel in a compelling six-book series, bursting with tricks, humor, and a whole new way to look at magic.

    Read Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

    The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire

    Type: Second book in Ghost Roads series
    Publisher: DAW
    Release date: July 17

    For Rose Marshall, death has long since become the only life she really knows.  She’s been sweet sixteen for more than sixty years, hitchhiking her way along the highways and byways of America, sometimes seen as an avenging angel, sometimes seen as a killer in her own right, but always Rose, the Phantom Prom Date, the Girl in the Green Silk Gown.

    The man who killed her is still out there, thanks to a crossroads bargain that won’t let him die, and he’s looking for the one who got away.  When Bobby Cross comes back into the picture, there’s going to be hell to pay—possibly literally.

    Rose has worked for decades to make a place for herself in the twilight.  Can she defend it, when Bobby Cross comes to take her down?  Can she find a way to navigate the worlds of the living and the dead, and make it home before her hitchhiker’s luck runs out?                There’s only one way to know for sure.

    Read The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire

    The Descent of Monsters by JY Yang

    Type: Third book in Tensorate series
    Publisher: Tor.com
    Release date: July 31

    Something terrible happened at the Rewar Teng Institute of Experimental Methods. When the Tensorate’s investigators arrived, they found a sea of blood and bones as far as the eye could see. One of the institute’s experiments got loose, and its rage left no survivors. The investigators returned to the capital with few clues and two prisoners: the terrorist leader Sanao Akeha and a companion known only as Rider.

    Investigator Chuwan faces a puzzle. What really happened at the institute? What drew the Machinists there? What are her superiors trying to cover up? And why does she feel as if her strange dreams are forcing her down a narrowing path she cannot escape?

    Read The Descent of Monsters by JY Yang

    Best New Fantasy Books in June 2018

    Vicious by V.E. Schwab 

    Type: Hardcover repackage of the first book in the (so, so good) Villians series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: May 29

    Victor and Eli started out as college roommates―brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

    Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find―aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge―but who will be left alive at the end?

    In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

    Read Vicious by V.E. Schwab

    Brief Cases by Jim Butcher

    Type: Short stories from the Dresden Files series
    Publisher: Ace
    Release date: June 5

    The world of Harry Dresden, Chicago's only professional wizard, is rife with intrigue--and creatures of all supernatural stripes. And you'll make their intimate acquaintance as Harry delves into the dark side of truth, justice, and the American way in this must-have short story collection. 

    From the Wild West to the bleachers at Wrigley Field, humans, zombies, incubi, and even fey royalty appear, ready to blur the line between friend and foe. In the never-before-published "Zoo Day," Harry treads new ground as a dad, while fan-favorite characters Molly Carpenter, his onetime apprentice, White Council Warden Anastasia Luccio, and even Bigfoot stalk through the pages of more classic tales. 

    With twelve stories in all, Brief Cases offers both longtime fans and first-time readers tantalizing glimpses into Harry's funny, gritty, and unforgettable realm, whetting their appetites for more to come from the wizard with a heart of gold. 

    Read Brief Cases by Jim Butcher

    The Memory of Fire by Callie Bates

    Type: Second book in Waking Land series
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Release date: June 5

    Thanks to the magic of Elanna Valtai and the Paladisan noble Jahan Korakides, the lands once controlled by the empire of Paladis have won their independence. But as Elanna exhausts her powers restoring the ravaged land, news that the emperor is readying an invasion spurs Jahan on a desperate mission to establish peace.

    Going back to Paladis proves to be anything but peaceful, however. As magic is a crime in the empire, punishable by death, Jahan must hide his abilities. Nonetheless, the grand inquisitor’s hunters suspect him of sorcery, and mysterious, urgent messages from the witch who secretly trained Jahan only increase his danger of exposure. Worst of all, the crown prince has turned his back on Jahan, robbing him of the royal protection he once enjoyed.

    As word of Jahan’s return spreads, long-sheathed knives, sharp and deadly, are drawn again. And when Elanna, stripped of her magic, is brought to the capital in chains, Jahan must face down the traumas of his past to defeat the shadowy enemies threatening his true love’s life, and the future of the revolution itself.

    Read The Memory of Fire by Callie Bates

    The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston

    Type: First in a trilogy
    Publisher: Angry Robot
    Release date: June 5

    After ten years on the run, dodging daemons and debt, reviled magician Edrin Walker returns home to avenge the brutal murder of his friend. Lynas had uncovered a terrible secret, something that threatened to devour the entire city. He tried to warn the Arcanum, the sorcerers who rule the city. He failed. Lynas was skinned alive and Walker felt every cut. Now nothing will stop him from finding the murderer. Magi, mortals, daemons, and even the gods – Walker will burn them all if he has to. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s killed a god...

    Read The Traitor God by Cameron Johnston

    A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir 

    Type: Third book in the An Ember in the Ashes series
    Publisher: Razorbill
    Release date: June 12

    Beyond the Martial Empire and within it, the threat of war looms ever larger.

    Helene Aquilla, the Blood Shrike, is desperate to protect her sister's life and the lives of everyone in the Empire. But she knows that danger lurks on all sides: Emperor Marcus, haunted by his past, grows increasingly unstable and violent, while Keris Veturia, the ruthless Commandant, capitalizes on the Emperor's volatility to grow her own power--regardless of the carnage she leaves in her path. 

    Far to the east, Laia of Serra knows the fate of the world lies not in the machinations of the Martial court, but in stopping the Nightbringer. But in the hunt to bring him down, Laia faces unexpected threats from those she hoped would help her, and is drawn into a battle she never thought she'd have to fight. 

    And in the land between the living and the dead, Elias Veturius has given up his freedom to serve as Soul Catcher. But in doing so, he has vowed himself to an ancient power that demands his complete surrender--even if that means abandoning the woman he loves.

    Read A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

    Starless by Jacqueline Carey

    Type: Standalone (so far)
    Publisher: Tor Books 
    Release date: June 12

    I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man...

    Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.

    In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.

    If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.

    Buy Starless by Jacqueline Carey

    Witchmark by C.L. Polk

    Type: Standalone (so far)
    Publisher: Tor.com 
    Release date: June 19

    In an original world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man seeks only to live a life of his own.

    Magic marked Miles Singer for suffering the day he was born, doomed either to be enslaved to his family's interest or to be committed to a witches' asylum. He went to war to escape his destiny and came home a different man, but he couldn’t leave his past behind. The war between Aeland and Laneer leaves men changed, strangers to their friends and family, but even after faking his own death and reinventing himself as a doctor at a cash-strapped veterans' hospital, Miles can’t hide what he truly is.

    When a fatally poisoned patient exposes Miles’ healing gift and his witchmark, he must put his anonymity and freedom at risk to investigate his patient’s murder. To find the truth he’ll need to rely on the family he despises, and on the kindness of the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.

    Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhoarse

    Type: First book in the Sixth World series
    Publisher: Saga Press 
    Release date: June 26

    Read our interview with Rebecca Roanhorse on Indigenous Futurism in Trail of Lightning

    While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.

    Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.

    Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unraveling clues from ancient legends, trading favors with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.

    As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.

    Welcome to the Sixth World.

    Read Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

    Which fantasy books are you most looking forward to checking out? Let us know in the comments below or in our Den of Geek Book Club on Goodreads.

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    Looking for a good science fiction read? Check out these new science fiction books released in October 2018.

    The ListsKayti Burt
    Oct 22, 2018

    Books, books, books! Fall is a great time to dive into science fiction and explore other worlds. Here are some of the science fiction books coming out in October that we are most looking forward to here at Den of Geek.

    Join the Den of Geek Book Club!

    Best New Science Fiction Books in October 2018

    Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang

    Type: First in planned series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: October 2nd

    A blockbuster, near-future science fiction thriller, S.L. Huang's Zero Sum Game introduces a math-genius mercenary who finds herself being manipulated by someone possessing unimaginable power…

    Cas Russell is good at math. Scary good. The vector calculus blazing through her head lets her smash through armed men twice her size and dodge every bullet in a gunfight, and she'll take any job for the right price.

    As far as Cas knows, she’s the only person around with a superpower...until she discovers someone with a power even more dangerous than her own. Someone who can reach directly into people’s minds and twist their brains into Moebius strips. Someone intent on becoming the world’s puppet master.

    Cas should run, like she usually does, but for once she's involved. There’s only one problem...

    She doesn’t know which of her thoughts are her own anymore.

    Read Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang

    Read our full review of S.L. Huang's Zero Sum Game here.

    Check out our interview with S.L. Huang from this year's New York Comic Con...

    Check out our written interview with S.L. Huang.

    S.L. Huang shares the female mathematicians who have inspired her.

    Exit Strategy by Martha Wells

    Type: Book four in Murderbot Series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: October 2nd

    Martha Wells's Hugo, Nebula, Alex, and Locus Award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling series, The Murderbot Diaries, comes to a thrilling conclusion in Exit Strategy. Murderbot wasn’t programmed to care. So, its decision to help the only human who ever showed it respect must be a system glitch, right?

    Having traveled the width of the galaxy to unearth details of its own murderous transgressions, as well as those of the GrayCris Corporation, Murderbot is heading home to help Dr. Mensah—its former owner (protector? friend?)—submit evidence that could prevent GrayCris from destroying more colonists in its never-ending quest for profit.

    But who’s going to believe a SecUnit gone rogue?

    And what will become of it when it’s caught?

    Read Exit Strategy by Martha Wells

    The Rift Coda by Amy S. Foster

    Type: Third book in Rift Uprising Trilogy
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: October 9th

    The exciting, action-packed finale to The Rift Uprising trilogy that rivals the thrills and action of The Hunger Games and Red Rising.

    Ryn Whittaker started an uprising. Now she has to end it.

    Not long ago, Ryn knew what her future would be—as a Citadel, a genetically enhanced super-soldier, it was her job to protect her version of Earth among an infinite number of other versions in the vast Multiverse at any cost. But when Ezra Massad arrived on Ryn’s Earth, her life changed in an instant, and he pushed her to start asking why she was turned into a Citadel in the first place.

    What began as merely an investigation into her origins ended up hurling Ryn, Ezra, and Ryn’s teammate Levi through the Multiverse and headlong into a conspiracy so vast and complex that Ryn can no longer merely be a soldier . . . she must now be a general. And in becoming a true leader, she must forge alliances with unpredictable species, make impossible decisions, and face deep sacrifices. She must lead not thousands, but hundreds of thousands of troops under her command and in doing so, leave any trace of her childhood behind.

    Ryn always knew that she was created to fight. But now she must step forward and lead.

    Read The Rift Coda by Amy S. Foster

    Read our full review of The Rift Uprising Trilogy here.

    The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

    Type: Second in The Interdependency series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: October 16th

    The Consuming Fire—the sequel to the 2018 Hugo Award Best Novel finalist and 2018 Locus Award-winning The Collapsing Empire—an epic space-opera novel in the bestselling Interdependency series, from the Hugo Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author John Scalzi

    The Interdependency—humanity’s interstellar empire—is on the verge of collapse. The extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible is disappearing, leaving entire systems and human civilizations stranded.

    Emperox Grayland II of the Interdependency is ready to take desperate measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth—or at the very least an opportunity to an ascension to power.

    While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are prepare for a civil war. A war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will between spaceships and battlefields.

    The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, as are her enemies. Nothing about this will be easy... and all of humanity will be caught in its consuming fire.

    Read The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

    Check out our interview with John Scalzi about his other book published in 2018, Head On.

    Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson

    Type: Standalone novel
    Publisher: Orbit
    Release date: October 23rd

    Red Moon is a magnificent novel of space exploration and political revolution from New York Times bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson.

    It is thirty years from now, and we have colonized the moon.

    American Fred Fredericks is making his first trip, his purpose to install a communications system for China's Lunar Science Foundation. But hours after his arrival he witnesses a murder and is forced into hiding.

    It is also the first visit for celebrity travel reporter Ta Shu. He has contacts and influence, but he too will find that the moon can be a perilous place for any traveler.

    Finally, there is Chan Qi. She is the daughter of the Minister of Finance, and without doubt a person of interest to those in power. She is on the moon for reasons of her own, but when she attempts to return to China, in secret, the events that unfold will change everything - on the moon, and on Earth.

    Read Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson

    Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

    Type: Standalone non-fiction
    Publisher: Dey Street Books
    Release date: October 23rd

    Astounding is the landmark account of the extraordinary partnership between four controversial writers—John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and L. Ron Hubbard—who set off a revolution in science fiction and forever changed our world. 

    This remarkable cultural narrative centers on the figure of John W. Campbell, Jr., whom Asimov called “the most powerful force in science fiction ever.” Campbell, who has never been the subject of a biography until now, was both a visionary author—he wrote the story that was later filmed as The Thing—and the editor of the groundbreaking magazine best known as Astounding Science Fiction, in which he discovered countless legendary writers and published classic works ranging from the I, Robot series to Dune. Over a period of more than thirty years, from the rise of the pulps to the debut of Star Trek, he dominated the genre, and his three closest collaborators reached unimaginable heights. Asimov became the most prolific author in American history; Heinlein emerged as the leading science fiction writer of his generation with the novels Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange Land; and Hubbard achieved lasting fame—and infamy—as the founder of the Church of Scientology. 

    Drawing on unexplored archives, thousands of unpublished letters, and dozens of interviews, Alec Nevala-Lee offers a riveting portrait of this circle of authors, their work, and their tumultuous private lives. With unprecedented scope, drama, and detail, Astounding describes how fan culture was born in the depths of the Great Depression; follows these four friends and rivals through World War II and the dawn of the atomic era; and honors such exceptional women as Doña Campbell and Leslyn Heinlein, whose pivotal roles in the history of the genre have gone largely unacknowledged. For the first time, it reveals the startling extent of Campbell’s influence on the ideas that evolved into Scientology, which prompted Asimov to observe: “I knew Campbell and I knew Hubbard, and no movement can have two Messiahs.” It looks unsparingly at the tragic final act that estranged the others from Campbell, bringing the golden age of science fiction to a close, and it illuminates how their complicated legacy continues to shape the imaginations of millions and our vision of the future itself.

    Read Astounding by Alec Nevala-Lee

    Further reading: Best New Fantasy Books

    Further reading: Best New Young Adult Fiction

    Further reading: Best New Horror Books

    Best New Science Fiction Books in September 2018

    The Reincarnated Giant: An Anthology of 21st Century Chinese Science Fiction

    Type: Anthology
    Publisher: Columbia University Press
    Release date: September 4th

    A new wave of Chinese science fiction is here. This golden age has not only resurrected the genre but also subverted its own conventions. Going beyond political utopianism and technological optimism, contemporary Chinese writers conjure glittering visions and subversive experiments—ranging from space opera to cyberpunk, utopianism to the posthuman, and parodies of China’s rise to deconstructions of the myth of national development.

    This anthology showcases the best of contemporary science fiction from Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the People’s Republic of China. In fifteen short stories and novel excerpts, The Reincarnated Giant opens a doorway into imaginary realms alongside our own world and the history of the future. Authors such as Lo Yi-chin, Dung Kai-cheung, Han Song, Chen Qiufan, and the Hugo winner Liu Cixin—some alive during the Cultural Revolution, others born in the 1980s—blur the boundaries between realism and surrealism, between politics and technology. They tell tales of intergalactic war; decoding the last message sent from an extinct human race; the use of dreams as tools to differentiate cyborgs and humans; poets’ strange afterlife inside a supercomputer; cannibalism aboard an airplane; and unchecked development that leads to uncontrollable catastrophe. At a time when the Chinese government promotes the “Chinese dream,” the dark side of the new wave shows a nightmarish unconscious. The Reincarnated Giant is an essential read for anyone interested in the future of the genre.

    Read The Reincarnated Giant

    Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition by Mur Lafferty

    Type: Movie adaptation novel
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Release date: September 4th

    Though Han Solo has thrilled Star Wars fans for decades, the notorious wisecracking scoundrel was chasing adventure and dodging trouble long before he walked into the cantina at Mos Eisley spaceport. Young Han dreams of someday soaring into space at the helm of his own starship and leaving his home, the gritty industrial planet Corellia, far behind. But as long as he’s trapped in a life of poverty and crime—and under the thumb of the sinister Lady Proxima and her brutal street gang—reaching the distant stars seems impossible. When Han tries to escape with his girlfriend and partner-in-crime, Qi’ra, he makes it out—but she doesn’t. Desperate for a way to find his own offworld vessel and free her, Han enlists in the Imperial Navy—the last place for a rebellious loner who doesn’t play well with others. When the Empire clips his wings, Han goes rogue and plunges into the shady world of smugglers, gamblers, and con artists. There he meets the charming and cunning high roller Lando Calrissian, makes an unlikely friend in a cantankerous Wookiee called Chewbacca, and first lays eyes on the Millennium Falcon. To snag his piece of the outlaw pie, Han joins a crew of pirates to pull off a risky heist. The stakes are high, the danger is great, and the odds are slim. But never tell Han Solo the odds.

    Read Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition by Mur Lafferty

    Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction

    Type: Anthology of short stories
    Publisher: Tor.com
    Release date: September 4th

    Since it began in 2008, Tor.com has explored countless new worlds of fiction, delving into possible and impossible futures, alternate and intriguing pasts, and realms of fantasy previously unexplored. Its hundreds of remarkable stories span from science fiction to fantasy to horror, and everything in between. Now Tor.com is making some of those worlds available for the first time in print.

    This volume collects some of the best short stories Tor.com has to offer, with Hugo and Nebula Award-winning short stories and novelettes chosen from all ten years of the program.

    Read Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Fiction

    Hidden Sun by Jaine Fenn

    Type: First book in Shadowlands duology
    Publisher: Angry Robot
    Release date: September 4th

    An eccentric noblewoman scientist's journey into a hostile environment will change her world forever, in this enthralling fantasy novel.

    Rhia Harlyn is a noble in Shen, one of the dozens of shadowlands which separate the bright, alien skyland. She has a missing brother, an unwanted marriage proposal and an interest in science considered unbecoming in her gender. Her brother's disappearance coincided with a violent unsolved murder, and Rhia impulsively joins the search party headed into the skyland - a place whose dangers and wonders have long fascinated her. The dangerous journey brings her into conflict with a young rebel stuck between the worlds of shadow and light, and a charismatic cult leader who believes he can defeat death itself.

    Read Hidden Sun by Jaine Fenn


    The Accidental War by Walter Jon Williams

    Type: First novel in trilogy (Set in world of Dread Empire's Fall series)
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: September 4th

    Blending fast-paced military science fiction and space opera, the first volume in a dynamic trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of The Praxis, set in the universe of his popular and critically acclaimed Dread Empire’s Fall series—a tale of blood, courage, adventure and battle in which the fate of an empire rests in the hands of a cadre of desperate exiles.

    It’s been seven years since the end of the Naxid War. Sidelined for their unorthodox tactics by a rigid, tradition-bound military establishment, Captain Gareth Martinez and Captain the Lady Sula are stewing in exile, frustrated and impatient to exercise the effective and lethal skills they were born to use in fighting the enemy.

    Yet after the ramshackle empire left by the Shaa conquerors is shaken by a series of hammer blows that threaten the foundations of the commonwealth, the result is a war that no one planned, no one expected, and no one knows how to end.

    Now, Martinez, Sula, and their confederate Nikki Severin must escape the clutches of their enemies, rally the disorganized elements of the fleet, and somehow restore the fragile peace—or face annihilation at the hands of a vastly superior force.

    Read The Accidental War by Walter Jon Williams

    CoDex 1962: A Trilogy by Sjón

    Type: Trilogy of novels
    Publisher: MCD
    Release date: September 11th

    Spanning eras, continents, and genres, CoDex 1962—twenty years in the making—is Sjón’s epic three-part masterpiece

    Over the course of four dazzling novels translated into dozens of languages, Sjón has earned a global reputation as one of the world’s most interesting writers. But what the world has never been able to read is his great trilogy of novels, known collectively as CoDex 1962—now finally complete.

    Josef Löwe, the narrator, was born in 1962—the same year, the same moment even, as Sjón. Josef’s story, however, stretches back decades in the form of Leo Löwe—a Jewish fugitive during World War II who has an affair with a maid in a German inn; together, they form a baby from a piece of clay. If the first volume is a love story, the second is a crime story: Löwe arrives in Iceland with the clay-baby inside a hatbox, only to be embroiled in a murder mystery—but by the end of the volume, his clay son has come to life. And in the final volume, set in present-day Reykjavík, Josef’s story becomes science fiction as he crosses paths with the outlandish CEO of a biotech company (based closely on reality) who brings the story of genetics and genesis full circle. But the future, according to Sjón, is not so dark as it seems.

    In CoDex 1962, Sjón has woven ancient and modern material and folklore and cosmic myths into a singular masterpiece—encompassing genre fiction, theology, expressionist film, comic strips, fortean studies, genetics, and, of course, the rich tradition of Icelandic storytelling.

    Read CoDex 1962: A Trilogy by Sjón


    State Tectonics by Malka Older

    Type: Third book in Centenal Trilogy
    Publisher: Tor.com
    Release date: September 11th

    Campbell Award finalist Malka Older's State Tectonics concludes The Centenal Cycle, the cyberpunk poltical thriller series that began with Infomocracy.

    The future of democracy must evolve or die.

    The last time Information held an election, a global network outage, two counts of sabotage by major world governments, and a devastating earthquake almost shook micro-democracy apart. Five years later, it's time to vote again, and the system that has ensured global peace for 25 years is more vulnerable than ever.

    Unknown enemies are attacking Information's network infrastructure. Spies, former superpowers, and revolutionaries sharpen their knives in the shadows. And Information's best agents question whether the data monopoly they've served all their lives is worth saving, or whether it's time to burn the world down and start anew.

    Read State Tectonics by Malka Older


    Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson

    Type: Collection of novellas
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: September 18th

    Stephen Leeds is perfectly sane. It's his hallucinations who are mad.

    A genius of unrivaled aptitude, Stephen can learn any new skill, vocation, or art in a matter of hours. However, to contain all of this, his mind creates hallucinatory people—Stephen calls them aspects—to hold and manifest the information. Wherever he goes, he is joined by a team of imaginary experts to give advice, interpretation, and explanation. He uses them to solve problems . . . for a price.

    His brain is getting a little crowded and the aspects have a tendency of taking on lives of their own. When a company hires him to recover stolen property—a camera that can allegedly take pictures of the past—Stephen finds himself in an adventure crossing oceans and fighting terrorists. What he discovers may upend the foundation of three major world religions—and, perhaps, give him a vital clue into the true nature of his aspects.

    Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds includes LegionLegion: Skin Deep and the brand new, shocking finale to Leeds' story, Lies of the Beholder.

    Read Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds by Brandon Sanderson

    Mecha Samurai Empire by Peter Tieryas

    Type: Standalone in United States of Japan universe
    Publisher: Ace
    Release date: September 18th

    The Man in the High Castle meets Pacific Rim in this action-packed alternate history novel from the award-winning author of United States of Japan. Germany and Japan won WWII and control the U.S., and a young man has one dream: to become a mecha pilot.

    Makoto Fujimoto grew up in California, but with a difference--his California is part of the United States of Japan. After Germany and Japan won WWII, the United States fell under their control. Growing up in this world, Mac plays portical games, haphazardly studies for the Imperial Exam, and dreams of becoming a mecha pilot. Only problem: Mac's grades are terrible. His only hope is to pass the military exam and get into the prestigious mecha pilot training program at Berkeley Military Academy. 

    When his friend Hideki's plan to game the test goes horribly wrong, Mac washes out of the military exam too. Perhaps he can achieve his dream by becoming a civilian pilot. But with tensions rising between the United States of Japan and Nazi Germany and rumors of collaborators and traitors abounding, Mac will have to stay alive long enough first...

    Read Mecha Samurai Empire by Peter Tieryas


    An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

    Type: Debut novel
    Publisher: Dutton
    Release date: September 25th

    The Carls just appeared. Coming home from work at three a.m., twenty-three-year-old April May stumbles across a giant sculpture. Delighted by its appearance and craftsmanship--like a ten-foot-tall Transformer wearing a suit of samurai armor--April and her friend Andy make a video with it, which Andy uploads to YouTube. The next day April wakes up to a viral video and a new life. News quickly spreads that there are Carls in dozens of cities around the world--everywhere from Beijing to Buenos Aires--and April, as their first documentarian, finds herself at the center of an intense international media spotlight. 

    Now April has to deal with the pressure on her relationships, her identity, and her safety that this new position brings, all while being on the front lines of the quest to find out not just what the Carls are, but what they want from us.

    Compulsively entertaining and powerfully relevant, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing grapples with big themes, including how the social internet is changing fame, rhetoric, and radicalization; how our culture deals with fear and uncertainty; and how vilification and adoration spring from the same dehumanization that follows a life in the public eye.

    Read An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

    Rock Manning Goes For Broke by Charlie Jane Anders

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Subterranean Press
    Release date: September 30th

    Vikings vs. Steampunks! Ice cream sundae hearse disasters! Roman gladiators meet vacuum-cleaner salesmen! Inappropriate uses of exercise equipment and supermarket trolleys! Unsupervised fires, and reckless destruction of public property! Nothing is off limits.

    Rock Manning lives and breathes slapstick comedy, and his whole life is an elaborate tribute to the masters, like Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and Jackie Chan. With his best friend, Sally Hamster, he creates joyfully chaotic short movies that are full of mayhem and silliness.

    But Rock and Sally are becoming famous at a time of unrest, when America's economy has collapsed and people are taking refuge in highly addictive drugs. America's youth are being drafted to take part in endless wars against imaginary enemies overseas, while at home, a fascist militia known as the Red Bandanas is rising to power. As America becomes more mired in violence and destruction, Rock Manning's zany comedy films become the escapist fun that everybody needs.

    Over-the-top physical comedy and real-life brutality collide, as Rock and Sally find themselves unable to avoid getting sucked into the slow implosion of their country. The Red Bandanas want Rock Manning to star in propaganda films promoting their movement, and soon Rock and Sally are at the center of the struggle for the soul of America. The trauma and death that Rock witnesses begin to take a toll on him.

    When a botched weapon test plunges the world into deeper chaos, Rock and Sally must confront once and for all the outer limits of comedy.

    Read Rock Manning Goes For Broke by Charlie Jane Anders

    Best New Science Fiction Books in August 2018

    Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Delphinium Books
    Release date: August 7th

    In modern, beautiful Green City, the capital of Southwest Asia, gender selection, war, and disease have brought the ratio of men to women to alarmingly low levels. The government uses terror and technology to control its people, and now females must take multiple husbands to have children as quickly as possible. Yet there are some who resist, women who live in an underground collective and refuse to be part of the system. Secretly protected by the highest echelons of power, they emerge only at night to provide the rich and elite of Green City a type of commodity no one can buy: intimacy without sex. As it turns out, not even the most influential men can shield them from discovery and the dangers of ruthless punishment. This dystopian novel from one of Pakistan’s most talented writers is a modern-day parable, The Handmaid’s Tale for repressed women in Muslim countries everywhere. Before She Sleepstakes the patriarchal practices of female seclusion and veiling, gender selection, and control over women’s bodies, amplifying and distorting them in a truly terrifying way to imagine a world of post-religious authoritarianism.

    Read Before She Sleeps by Bina Shah

    Rogue Protocol: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

    Type: Third book in The Murderbot Diaries series
    Publisher: Tor.com
    Release date: August 7th

    Martha Wells' Rogue Protocol is the third in the Murderbot Diaries series, starring a human-like android who keeps getting sucked back into adventure after adventure, though it just wants to be left alone, away from humanity and small talk.

    Who knew being a heartless killing machine would present so many moral dilemmas?

    Sci-fi’s favorite antisocial A.I. is back on a mission. The case against the too-big-to-fail GrayCris Corporation is floundering, and more importantly, authorities are beginning to ask more questions about where Dr. Mensah's SecUnit is.

    And Murderbot would rather those questions went away. For good.

    Read Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells

    Ball Lightning by Cixin Liu (translated by Joel Martinsen)

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: August 14th

    A new science fiction adventure from the New York Times bestselling author of the Three-Body Trilogy, Cixin Lu's Ball Lightning is a fast-paced story of what happens when the beauty of scientific inquiry runs up against the drive to harness new discoveries with no consideration of their possible consequences.

    When Chen’s parents are incinerated before his eyes by a blast of ball lightning, he devotes his life to cracking the secret of this mysterious natural phenomenon. His search takes him to stormy mountaintops, an experimental military weapons lab, and an old Soviet science station.

    The more he learns, the more he comes to realize that ball lightning is just the tip of an entirely new frontier. While Chen’s quest for answers gives purpose to his lonely life, it also pits him against soldiers and scientists with motives of their own: a beautiful army major with an obsession with dangerous weaponry, and a physicist who has no place for ethical considerations in his single-minded pursuit of knowledge.

    Read Ball Lightning by Cixin Liu

    Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Ace
    Release date: August 14th

    In this rip-roaring space opera, a ragtag band of explorers are out to make the biggest score in the galaxy.

    On this space jump, no one is who they seem . . .

    Captain Hammond Roystan is a simple cargo runner who has stumbled across the find of a lifetime: the Hassim, a disabled exploration ship--and its valuable record of unexplored worlds.

    His junior engineer, Josune Arriola, said her last assignment was in the uncharted rim. But she is decked out in high-level bioware that belies her humble backstory.

    A renowned body-modification artist, Nika Rik Terri has run afoul of clients who will not take no for an answer. She has to flee off-world, and she is dragging along a rookie modder, who seems all too experienced in weapons and war . . .

    Together this mismatched crew will end up on one ship, hurtling through the lawless reaches of deep space with Roystan at the helm. Trailed by nefarious company men, they will race to find the most famous lost world of all--and riches beyond their wildest dreams . . .

    Read Stars Uncharted by S.K. Dunstall

    Noumenon Infinity by Marina J. Lostetter

    Type: Second in Noumenon series
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: August 14th

    Travel to the remotest reaches of deep space in this wondrous follow-up to the acclaimed Noumenon—a tale of exploration, adventure, science, and humanity with the sweep and intelligence of the works of Arthur C. Clarke, Neal Stephenson, and Octavia Butler.

    Generations ago, Convoy Seven and I.C.C. left Earth on a mission that would take them far beyond the solar system. Launched by the Planet United Consortium, a global group formed to pursue cooperative Earth-wide interests in deep space, nine ships headed into the unknown to explore a distant star called LQ Pyx.

    Eons later, the convoy has returned to LQ Pyx to begin work on the Web, the alien megastructure that covers the star. Is it a Dyson Sphere, designed to power a civilization as everyone believes—or something far more sinister?

    Meanwhile, Planet United’s littlest convoy, long thought to be lost, reemerges in a different sector of deep space. What they discover holds the answers to unlocking the Web’s greater purpose.

    Each convoy possesses a piece of the Web’s puzzle . . . but they may not be able to bring those pieces together and uncover the structure’s true nature before it’s too late.

    Read Noumenon Infinity by Marina J. Lostetter

    The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew Williams

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: August 21st

    Jane Kamali is an agent for the Justified. Her mission: to recruit children with miraculous gifts in the hope that they might prevent the Pulse from once again sending countless worlds back to the dark ages.

    Hot on her trail is the Pax--a collection of fascist zealots who believe they are the rightful rulers of the galaxy and who remain untouched by the Pulse.

    Now Jane, a handful of comrades from her past, and a telekinetic girl called Esa must fight their way through a galaxy full of dangerous conflicts, remnants of ancient technology, and other hidden dangers.

    And that's just the beginning . . .

    Read The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew Williams

    The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

    Type: Second book in The Lady Astronaut series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: August 21st

    Listen to our interview with Mary Robinette Kowal.

    Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.

    Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

    Read The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

    Terra Incognita: Three Novellas by Connie Willis

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Release date: August 21st

    In Terra Incognita, Connie Willis explores themes of love and mortality while brilliantly illuminating the human condition through biting satire. 

    Uncharted TerritoryFindriddy and Carson are explorers, dispatched to a distant planet to survey its canyons, ridges, and scrub-covered hills. Teamed with a profit-hungry indigenous guide of indeterminate gender and an enthusiastic newcomer whose specialty is mating customs, the group battles hostile terrain as they set out for unexplored regions. Along the way, they face dangers, discover treasures, and soon find themselves in an alien territory of another kind: exploring the paths and precipices of sex—and love.

    RemakeIn the Hollywood of the future, live-action movies are a thing of the past. Old films are computerized and ruthlessly dissected, actors digitally ripped from one film and thrust into another. Humphrey Bogart and Marilyn Monroe in A Star Is Born? No problem. Hate the ending? Change it with the stroke of a key. Technology makes anything possible. But a starry-eyed young woman wants only one thing: to dance on the big screen. With a little magic and a lot of luck, she just may get her happy ending.

    D.A. Theodora Baumgarten is baffled and furious: Why was she selected to be part of a highly competitive interstellar cadet program? After all, she never even applied. But that hasn’t stopped the powers that be from whisking her onto a spaceship bound for the prestigious Academy. With her protests ignored, Theodora takes matters into her own hands, aided by her hacker best friend, to escape the Academy and return to Earth—only to uncover a conspiracy that runs deeper than she could have imagined.

    Read Terra Incognita: Three Novellas by Connie Willis


    Vox by Christina Dalcher

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Berkley
    Release date: August 21st

    Set in a United States in which half the population has been silenced, Vox is the harrowing, unforgettable story of what one woman will do to protect herself and her daughter.

    On the day the government decrees that women are no longer allowed more than one hundred words per day, Dr. Jean McClellan is in denial. This can't happen here. Not in America. Not to her. 

    This is just the beginning...

    Soon women are not permitted to hold jobs. Girls are not taught to read or write. Females no longer have a voice. Before, the average person spoke sixteen thousand words each day, but now women have only one hundred to make themselves heard. 

    ...not the end. 

    For herself, her daughter, and every woman silenced, Jean will reclaim her voice.

    Read Vox by Christina Dalcher

    Best New Science Fiction Books in July 2018

    The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

    Type: First book in The Lady Astronaut series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: July 3

    On a coldspring night in 1952, a meteorite falls to earth and destroys much of theeastern seaboard of the United States, including Washington D.C. The Meteor, asit is popularly known, decimates the U.S. government and paves the way for aclimate cataclysm that will eventually render the earth inhospitable to humanity.This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated timeline in the earth’s effortsto colonize space, and allows a much larger share of humanity to take part inthe process.

    One of thesenew entrants in the space race is Elma York, whose experience as a WASP pilotand mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’sattempts to put man on the moon. But with so many skilled and experienced womenpilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elmabegins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too―aside from some peskybarriers like thousands of years of history and a host of expectations aboutthe proper place of the fairer sex. And yet, Elma’s drive to become the firstLady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions may notstand a chance against her.

    Buy The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

    Black Chamber by S.M. Stirling

    Type: Standalone (so far)
    Publisher: Ace 
    Release date: July 3

    1916. The Great War rages overseas, and the whole of Europe, Africa, and western Asia is falling to the Central Powers. To win a war that must be won, Teddy Roosevelt, once again the American president, turns to his top secret Black Chamber organization--and its cunning and deadly spy, Luz O'Malley Aróstegui. 

    On a transatlantic airship voyage, Luz poses as an anti-American Mexican revolutionary to get close--very close--to a German agent code-named Imperial Sword. She'll need every skill at her disposal to get him to trust her and lead her deep into enemy territory. In the mountains of Saxony, concealed from allied eyes, the German Reich's plans for keeping the U.S. from entering the conflict are revealed: the deployment of a new diabolical weapon upon the shores of America...

    Read Black Chamber by S.M. Stirling

    Space Unicorn Blues by T.J. Berry

    Type: Standalone (for now)
    Publisher: Angry Robot
    Release date: July 3

    Having magical powers makes you less than human, a resource to be exploited. Half-unicorn Gary Cobalt is sick of slavery, captivity, and his horn being ground down to power faster-than-light travel. When he's finally free, all he wants is to run away in his ancestors' stone ship. Instead, Captain Jenny Perata steals the ship out from under him, so she can make an urgent delivery. But Jenny held him captive for a decade, and then Gary murdered her best friend... who was also the wife of her co-pilot, Cowboy Jim. What could possibly go right?

    Read Space Unicorn Blues by TJ Berry 

    Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

    Type: First in the Sun Eater series
    Publisher: DAW
    Release date: July 3

    It was not his war.

    The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives—even the Emperor himself—against Imperial orders.

    But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.

    On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe starts down a path that can only end in fire. He flees his father and a future as a torturer only to be left stranded on a strange, backwater world.

    Forced to fight as a gladiator and navigate the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, Hadrian must fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.

    Read Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

    I Only Killed Him Once by Adam Christopher

    Type: Third in the Ray Electromatic series
    Publisher: Tor Books
    Release date: July 10

    Another Hollywood night, another job for electric-detective-turned-robotic-hitman Raymond Electromatic. The target is a tall man in a black hat, and while Ray completes his mission successfully, he makes a startling discovery―one he soon forgets when his 24-hour memory tape loops to the end and is replaced with a fresh reel…

    When a tall man in a black hat arrives in the offices of the Electromatic Detective Agency the next day, Ray has a suspicion he has met this stranger before, although Ray’s computerized boss, Ada, is not saying a thing. But their visitor isn’t here to hire Ray for a job―he’s here to deliver a stark warning.

    Because time is running out and if Ray and Ada want to survive, they need to do exactly what the man in the black hat says.

    A man that Raymond Electromatic has already killed.

    Read I Only Killed Him Once by Adam Christopher

    Latchkey by Nicole Kornher-Stace

    Type: Second book in the Archivist Wasp series
    Publisher: Mythic Delirium Books
    Release date: July 10

    Read our review of Latchkey by Nicole Kornher-Stace.

    Isabel, once known as Wasp, has become leader of the fearsome upstarts, the teen girl acolytes who are adjusting to a new way of life after the overthrow of the sadistic Catchkeep-priest. They live in an uneasy alliance with the town of Sweetwater—an alliance that will be tested to its limits by the dual threats of ruthless raiders from the Waste and a deadly force from the Before-time that awaits in long-hidden tunnels.

    Years ago Isabel befriended a nameless ghost, a supersoldier from the Before-time with incredible powers even after death, and their adventure together in the underworld gave her the strength and knowledge to change the brutal existence of the Catchkeep acolytes for the better. To save Sweetwater, Isabel will have to unlock the secrets of the twisted experimental program from centuries gone by that created the supersoldier and killed his friends: the Latchkey Project.

    Latchkey continues the story begun in Kornher-Stace’s widely acclaimed Archivist Wasp, an Andre Norton Award finalist that was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of the Best Teen Books of 2015.

    Read Latchkey by Nicole Kornher-Stace

    Infinity's End, Edited by Jonathan Strahan

    Type: Final anthology in The Infinity Project series
    Publisher: Solaris
    Release date: July 10

    Humanity has made the universe home. On the outskirts of the solar system, beyond the asteroid fields, deep in space, under the surface of planets, in the ruins of fallen civilisations, in the flush of new creation: life finds a way.

    From intelligent velociraptors to digital ghosts; from a crèche on an asteroid to an artist using a star system as a canvas, this is a future where Earth’s children have adapted to every nook and cranny of existence.

    This is life on the edge of the possible. 

    Featuring astonishing tales from Stephen Baxter, Alastair Reynolds, Naomi Kritzer, Paul McAuley, Seanan McGuire, Linda Nagata, Hannu Rajaniemi, Justina Robson, Kelly Robson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lavie Tidhar, Peter Watts, Fran Wilde and Nick Wolven.

    Read Infinity's End

    Condomnauts by Yoss (translated by David Frye)

    Type: Standalone
    Publisher: Restless Books
    Release date: July 17

    In the 24th century, Josué Valdés’ rise from an orphan in the slums of Rubble City, Cuba to one of the galaxy’s most accomplished explorers was nothing short of meteoric. Josué used to race cockroaches for cash on the streets until he discovered his true-calling: as a sexual ambassador for humanity and the Nu Barsa colony.

    Every so-called “condomnaut” knows that trade deals in the galactic community depend on sexual pacts, which makes every encounter a close encounter. While some condomnauts have been trained and genetically enhanced to meet the needs of any tentacled insectoid in the galaxy, Josué is a natural whose ego could eclipse the big dipper. Josué and his fellow intrepid condomnauts travel light years across the galaxy and discover that old rivalries—and prejudices—are never far behind. When the first extragalactic beings arrive in the Milky Way, and with them the potential to negotiate for extraordinary new technologies, Josué must call upon every ounce of his talent to seal the deal for his colony and all of humanity.

    Indirectly investigating current sexual mores, Cuban science fiction rock star Yoss plays upon stereotypes while making it clear that in Communist Cuba what is daring is not always funny and vice versa. Following the success of Super Extra Grande and A Planet for Rent, Yoss brings us another uproarious space adventure with Condomnauts, a wildly inventive and unapologetic tale that would make even Barbarella blush.

    Read Condomnauts by Yoss


    Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

    Type: Third book in the Wayfarers series
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: July 24

    Return to the sprawling universe of the Galactic Commons, as humans, artificial intelligence, aliens, and some beings yet undiscovered explore what it means to be a community in this exciting third adventure in the acclaimed and multi-award-nominated science fiction Wayfarers series, brimming with heartwarming characters and dazzling space adventure.

    Hundreds of years ago, the last humans on Earth boarded the Exodus Fleet in search of a new home among the stars. After centuries spent wandering empty space, their descendants were eventually accepted by the well-established species that govern the Milky Way.

    But that was long ago. Today, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, the birthplace of many, yet a place few outsiders have ever visited. While the Exodans take great pride in their original community and traditions, their culture has been influenced by others beyond their bulkheads. As many Exodans leave for alien cities or terrestrial colonies, those who remain are left to ponder their own lives and futures: What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination? Why remain in space when there are habitable worlds available to live? What is the price of sustaining their carefully balanced way of life—and is it worth saving at all?

    A young apprentice, a lifelong spacer with young children, a planet-raised traveler, an alien academic, a caretaker for the dead, and an Archivist whose mission is to ensure no one’s story is forgotten, wrestle with these profound universal questions. The answers may seem small on the galactic scale, but to these individuals, it could mean everything.

    Read Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

    A Study in Honor by Claire O'Dell

    Type: Standalone (for now... but let's be serious)
    Publisher: Harper Voyager
    Release date: July 31

    Set in a near future Washington, D.C., a clever, incisive, and fresh feminist twist on a classic literary icon—Sherlock Holmes—in which Dr. Janet Watson and covert agent Sara Holmes will use espionage, advanced technology, and the power of deduction to unmask a murderer targeting Civil War veterans.

    Dr. Janet Watson knows firsthand the horrifying cost of a divided nation. While treating broken soldiers on the battlefields of the New Civil War, a sniper’s bullet shattered her arm and ended her career. Honorably discharged and struggling with the semi-functional mechanical arm that replaced the limb she lost, she returns to the nation’s capital, a bleak, edgy city in the throes of a fraught presidential election. Homeless and jobless, Watson is uncertain of the future when she meets another black and queer woman, Sara Holmes, a mysterious yet playfully challenging covert agent who offers the doctor a place to stay.

    Watson’s readjustment to civilian life is complicated by the infuriating antics of her strange new roommate. But the tensions between them dissolve when Watson discovers that soldiers from the New Civil War have begun dying one by one—and that the deaths may be the tip of something far more dangerous, involving the pharmaceutical industry and even the looming election. Joining forces, Watson and Holmes embark on a thrilling investigation to solve the mystery—and secure justice for these fallen soldiers.

    Read A Study in Honor by Claire O'Dell

    Best New Science Fiction Books in June 2018

    Free Chocolate by Amber Royer

    Type: First book in The Chocoverse series
    Publisher: Angry Robot
    Release date: June 1

    Latina culinary arts student, Bo Benitez, becomes a fugitive when she's caught stealing a cacao pod from the heavily-defended plantations that keep chocolate, Earth's sole valuable export, safe from a hungry galaxy. Forces arraying against her including her alien boyfriend and a reptilian cop. But when she escapes onto an unmarked starship things go from bad to worse: it belongs to the race famed throughout the galaxy for eating stowaways. Surrounded by dangerous yet hunky aliens, Bo starts to uncover clues that the threat to Earth may be bigger than she first thought.

    Read Free Chocolate by Amber Royer

    Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee

    Type: Third book in the Machineries of Empire trilogy
    Publisher: Solaris
    Release date: June 12

    When Shuos Jedao wakes up for the first time, several things go wrong. His few memories tell him that he's a seventeen-year-old cadet--but his body belongs to a man decades older.  Hexarch Nirai Kujen orders Jedao to reconquer the fractured hexarchate on his behalf even though Jedao has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general.  Surely a knack for video games doesn't qualify you to take charge of an army?

    Soon Jedao learns the situation is even worse.  The Kel soldiers under his command may be compelled to obey him, but they hate him thanks to a massacre he can't remember committing.  Kujen's friendliness can't hide the fact that he's a tyrant.  And what's worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted by an enemy who knows more about Jedao and his crimes than he does himself...

    Read Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee

    The Robots of Gotham by Todd McAulty

    Type: Standalone (for now)
    Publisher: John Joseph Adams
    Release date: June 19

    After long years of war, the United States has sued for peace, yielding to a brutal coalition of nations ruled by fascist machines. One quarter of the country is under foreign occupation. Manhattan has been annexed by a weird robot monarchy, and in Tennessee, a permanent peace is being delicately negotiated between the battered remnants of the U.S. government and an envoy of implacable machines.      Canadian businessman Barry Simcoe arrives in occupied Chicago days before his hotel is attacked by a rogue war machine. In the aftermath, he meets a dedicated Russian medic with the occupying army, and 19 Black Winter, a badly damaged robot. Together they stumble on a machine conspiracy to unleash a horrific plague—and learn that the fabled American resistance is not as extinct as everyone believes. Simcoe races against time to prevent the extermination of all life on the continent . . . and uncover a secret that America’s machine conquerors are desperate to keep hidden.

    Read The Robots of Gotham by Todd McAulty

    Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

    Type: Second book in Star Wars: Thrawn series
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Release date: June 24

    “I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.” 

    Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root—its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor’s favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs—including the Death Star project—the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it’s not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there’s more behind his royal command than either man suspects.

    In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth’raw’nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown . . . and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance—neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store.

    Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged—by a test of their allegiance to the Empire . . . and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.

    Read Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn

    Apocalypse Nyx by Kameron Hurley

    Type: Book 1.5/1.7 in the Bel Dame Apocrypha series
    Publisher: Tachyon Publication
    Release date: June 26

    Ex-government assassin turned bounty-hunter, Nyx, is good at solving other people’s problems. Her favorite problem-solving solution is punching people in the face. Then maybe chopping off some heads. Hey—it’s a living.

    Nyx's disreputable reputation has been well earned. After all, she’s trying to navigate an apocalyptic world full of giant bugs, contaminated deserts, scheming magicians, and a centuries-long war that’s consuming her future. Managing her ragtag squad of misfits has required a lot of morally-gray choices. Every new job is another day alive. Every new mission is another step toward changing a hellish future—but only if she can survive.

    Read Apocalypse Nyx by Kameron Hurley


    A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White

    Type: First book in Salvagers series
    Publisher: Orbit
    Release date: June 26

    Boots Elsworth was a famous treasure hunter in another life, but now she's washed up. She makes her meager living faking salvage legends and selling them to the highest bidder, but this time she got something real--the story of the Harrow, a famous warship, capable of untold destruction.

    Nilah Brio is the top driver in the Pan Galactic Racing Federation and the darling of the racing world--until she witnesses Mother murder a fellow racer. Framed for the murder and on the hunt to clear her name, Nilah has only one lead: the killer also hunts Boots.

    On the wrong side of the law, the two women board a smuggler's ship that will take them on a quest for fame, for riches, and for justice.

    Read A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White

    What science fiction books are you most looking forward to checking out? Let us know in the comments below or in our Den of Geek Book Club on Goodreads.

    Kayti Burt is a staff editor covering books, TV, movies, and fan culture at Den of Geek. Read more of her work here or follow her on Twitter @kaytiburt.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    Guillermo del Toro strings together his first animated feature project as Pinocchio comes to Netflix, and that's no lie.

    Disney Animated Pinocchio
    News Tony Sokol
    Oct 22, 2018

    "Woe to those who lead slothful lives," Carlo Collodi wrote in his 1880s children's stories The Adventures of Pinocchio. "Sloth is a dreadful illness and must be cured at once, in childhood." Guillermo del Toro has always used childhood as an inoculation against any kinds of laziness. His last film, The Shape of Water, won four Academy Awards last year, including Best Director and Best Picture Oscars. His next movie marks his animated feature film debut. Del Toro will direct, write and produce as a stop-motion musical adaptation of Pinocchio for Netflix. He's wanted to do this all his life, and that's no lie.

    “No art form has influenced my life and my work more than animation and no single character in history has had as deep of a personal connection to me as Pinocchio,” Del Toro said in a statement.

    The Tale of a Puppet, the original book about the animated marionette and his woodcarver father Geppetto, was published in February 1883. Del Toro, who was creative consultant on the animated films Megamind, Puss in Boots and Rise of the Guardians, will set his adaptation of Pinocchio in Italy during during the rise of fascism under Mussolini the 1930s. The screenplay will be written by del Toro and Patrick McHale (Over The Garden Wall, Adventure Time). The film will be co-directed by Mark Gustafson (Fantastic Mr. Fox).

    “In our story, Pinocchio is an innocent soul with an uncaring father who gets lost in a world he cannot comprehend, " del Toro said in a statement. "He embarks on an extraordinary journey that leaves him with a deep understanding of his father and the real world. I’ve wanted to make this movie for as long as I can remember."

    The new project expands Netflix’s existing relationship with del Toro, who is also the creator of the upcoming series, Guillermo del Toro Presents 10 After Midnight. “Throughout his distinguished career, Guillermo has exhibited mastery in inspiring people through his magical worlds filled with unforgettable and magnificent characters, from the monsters in Pan’s Labyrinth to the aquatic beast in The Shape of Water,” Melissa Cobb, Vice President of Kids and Family at Netflix said in a statement.

    “We are incredibly excited to expand our relationship with Guillermo and we know that his deeply touching vision for bringing Pinocchio to life on Netflix will be embraced by audiences the world over.”

    Del Toro created their Emmy award-winning television series DreamWorks’ Trollhunters, the first installment of the DreamWorks’ Tales of Arcadia trilogy. The next chapter, "3Below,” is set to debut on December 21, 2018, followed by “Wizards” in 2019.

    "After the incredible experience we have had on Trollhunters, I am grateful that the talented team at Netflix is giving me the opportunity of a lifetime to introduce audiences everywhere to my version of this strange puppet-turned-real-boy," del Toro said.

    Pinocchio is a production of Guillermo del Toro, The Jim Henson Company (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance), and ShadowMachine (Bojack Horseman, The Shivering Truth), which will house the stop-motion animation production.

    Alongside del Toro, Lisa Henson, ShadowMachine’s Alex Bulkley, Corey Campodonico, and Gary Ungar of Exile Entertainment will produce. Blanca Lista will co-produce. Guy Davis will serve as co-production designer, taking inspiration from Gris Grimly’s original design for the Pinocchio character. The film’s puppets will be built by Mackinnon and Saunders, known for their work on Corpse Bride.

    The Adventures of Pinocchio was first put to film in 1911 by silent movie director by Giulio Antamoro. Disney's animated film Pinocchio came out in 1940. Roberto Benigni's live action Pinocchio came out in 2002.

    Netflix expects production on Pinocchio to begin this fall.

    Culture Editor Tony Sokol cut his teeth on the wire services and also wrote and produced New York City's Vampyr Theatre and the rock opera AssassiNation: We Killed JFK. Read more of his work here or find him on Twitter @tsokol.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    In the multiverse, Daredevil has been an undead mass murderer, a samurai warrior, a blind prize fighter, an Agent of SHIELD, and more.

    Daredevil Marvel What If Stories
    FeatureGavin Jasper
    Oct 22, 2018

    Daredevil is setting the world on fire. The Netflix series, long the center of the Marvel Netflix universe is enjoying its most acclaimed season ever with the recent release of season three. It was only fitting that he was chosen as leader of The Defenders, since Daredevil is sort of like the king of Marvel’s street level characters.

    Sure, Spider-Man is more popular, but Matt Murdock is known for his rough life and being fate's punching bag even more than Peter Parker. Unfortunately for him, it’s not just the universe that rarely cuts him any slack, but the multiverse as well. Daredevil has starred in a handful of stories in Marvel’s What If?series and they aren’t always sunshine and lollypops. They’re still some interesting storylines with some cool ideas, though.

    WHAT IF THE WORLD KNEW DARDEVIL WAS BLIND?

    WHAT IF? V.1 #8, 1978

    Don Glut, Alan Kupperberg, and Jim Mooney

    The Original Story: Back in his yellow costume days, Daredevil took on Spider-Man villain Electro. Electro caught Daredevil off-guard at one point with a bolt to the back, but Daredevil eventually recovered and defeated him.

    But What If... Spider-Man entered the fray? Having problems of his own, Spider-Man took a break from his personal adventures once he noticed Electro sneaking around a nearby building. Spider-Man breaking through a window alerted Electro and prevented his sneak attack on Daredevil. Instead of zapping Daredevil in the back, he went at him head-on and missed. Electro was confused as even if it didn’t hit him, it still should have at least blinded Daredevil, yet he didn’t even react. After getting his ass handed to him by the team of Daredevil and Spider-Man, Electro smiled. He may have lost, but he knew Daredevil’s secret and that would certainly have an effect on history.

    One of the things that’s great about this issue is an early moment where Daredevil and Spider-Man discuss Daredevil’s lack of sight. Despite being from the 70s, the issue is still self-aware enough for Spider-Man to outright make fun of the old yellow costume as being an eye-sore that only a blind man would wear.

    Most of the issue feels like a regular Daredevil vs. Owl story with the change that the Owl knows how to use Daredevil’s weakness against him by playing a really loud alarm of owls hooting along with filling the room with contrasting smells. In this reality, Karen Page figures out the secret identity thing really early on (Daredevil happens to sound a lot like the other blind guy she knows and accidentally called her by name) and is able to give him someone to confide in and help him overcome the Owl’s obstacles.

    WHAT IF DAREDEVIL BECAME AN AGENT OF SHIELD?

    WHAT IF? V.1 #28, 1981

    Mike W. Barr and Frank Miller

    The Original Story: A car crash took away Matt Murdock’s sight when toxic chemicals splashed into his eyes. It took years of training and heartbreak for him to step up and become something more than human, allowing him to fight against evil as Daredevil.

    But What If... somebody knew what this meant for Matt’s future? The chemical truck belonged to Tony Stark, who decided to keep an eye on the situation after telling the driver that driving through the city would be way too dangerous. His instincts were correct when he found a boy doused in the eyes with the chemicals. He took the boy to Nick Fury on the SHIELD Helicarrier, figuring he’d know what to do.

    Much like the previous entry, this one ends up being kind of upbeat, mainly because Daredevil wasn’t as much of a tragic character in mainstream Marvel just yet. Instead of Stick figuring Matt could make the best ninja, we have Fury figuring that he could make for the best secret agent. Hydra gets wind of this and immediately kidnaps Jack Murdock, leading to a pretty sweet action sequence where Matt goes to get him back.

    The weird thing about this comic is that it doesn’t use the title as a springboard into a story, but uses it as an endpoint. Matt Murdock joining SHIELD is the very last panel and the story is merely about his origin.

    WHAT IF ELEKTRA HAD LIVED?

    What If? v.1 #35, 1982

    Frank Miller

    The Original Story: After escaping prison, Bullseye was tasked with eliminating Elektra. In a rather nasty fight, he took her apart and impaled her with her own sai. The love of Daredevil’s life was snuffed out.

    But What If... Bullseye was done in by someone else’s true aim? As Bullseye tried to escape, he was shot right in the head by a prison guard. That meant that Kingpin would have to rely on lesser assassins to punish Elektra for her failure to kill Foggy Nelson.

    This one always confuses me because it tends to be on people’s lists of favorite What If? issues and I really don’t understand why. I’ve never gotten a straight answer other than, “It’s Miller.” I mean, is it just the novelty that Frank Miller wrote and drew it? Yes, the Elektra fight scene is beautiful, albeit short, but there’s honestly nothing to this story. It’s just there and it just ends.

    further reading - Daredevil Season 3: Who is Bullseye?

    Then there’s the framing sequence where Uatu the Watcher proceeds to be the biggest asshole in the Marvel Universe, which Ed Brubaker liked enough to do an homage in What If? Civil War many years later.

    WHAT IF? V.1 #38 (1983)

    David Michelenie, Alan Kupperberg

    The Original Story: We tend to read our comics about Matt Murdock as being a fairly young adult. Characters don’t really age all that much in the mainstream, so we aren’t going to be seeing him depicted as a middle-aged man in the near future.

    But What If... we got to look at the future? This issue of What If? is made up of three stories based on jumping decades into the future. One is based on an older Captain America and his wife Sharon. One is a rather touching story about Vision coming to terms with Scarlet Witch dying of old age while his android body remains the same. Then there’s this one, taking place 30 years in the future, where Russian President Natasha Romanoff comes to America to meet with Vice President Foggy Nelson. Matt works for Foggy and is just a big curmudgeon about everything because his unnamed wife has recently died.

    It’s a very, very strange comic. Terrorists attack the UN and our two heroes turn out to both have their costumes on underneath their outfits. It makes some sense for Natasha, despite being a bit too old to be wearing skintight spandex, but Matt hasn’t worn his tights in decades, so his decision to have them on just in case is ridiculous. Then his life lesson about not letting tragedy destroy him is so ham-fisted that it’s rather hilarious.

    WHAT IF DAREDEVIL HAD KILLED THE KINGPIN?

    WHAT IF? V.2 #2, 1989

    Danny Fingeroth and Greg Capullo

    The Original Story: During “Born Again,” Matt Murdock was brought to his breaking point and chose to visit Wilson Fisk, the man responsible for his troubles. He wanted to kill him. Physically, he wasn’t up to the task and got absolutely destroyed. Only in his defeat was he able to build himself back up and come out stronger than ever.

    But What If... on the way to meet Fisk, Matt bumped into one of the bodyguards and smuggled away his gun? Matt then confronted Fisk and shot him. He stayed around long enough to make sure his heart wasn’t beating, then walked out with nobody knowing about it for another fifteen minutes.

    Matt’s greatest antagonist in this story isn’t the underworld or the superheroes, but himself. As a justice-loving Catholic, he’s distraught over what he’s done. He becomes delusional, hallucinating homeless people as judges and begging for them to find him guilty. He pleads with the Punisher to shoot him dead as punishment, since he’s no better than all the other criminals he preys on. Meanwhile, Richard Fisk admits that he doesn’t know how to feel about his father’s passing and when Matt goes to him to receive judgment, Richard is unsure of how to react.

    This one’s one of the better What If? issues out there. Not only does it have some strong character moments, but it has an ending so cool that I almost wish it was canon.

    WHAT IF THE PUNISHER HAD KILLED DAREDEVIL?

    WHAT IF? V.2 #26, 1991

    Kurt Busiek and Luke McDonnell

    The Original Story: As the Punisher beat up a junkie on a rooftop, Daredevil got in his way to stop him. The Punisher fired a tranquilizer dart and knocked him out, allowing him an easy escape, all while Daredevil got a nap out of it.

    But What If... Daredevil was just a little too close to the edge? To Frank Castle’s horror, Daredevil fell to his death. Well. That would change a lot, wouldn’t it?

    As you can guess, this one is less of a Daredevil story and more of a Punisher one. Foggy appears early on and Ben Urich gets a pretty major role, but it mostly comes down to Punisher vs. Kingpin. It’s still a really good issue and the subplot about Spider-Man is kind of heartbreaking. As Daredevil’s superhero BFF, Spider-Man blames himself for what happened, since he always let Punisher kind of do his own thing as long as he wasn’t nearby. Now he dedicates himself to bringing him in and it all goes very, very wrong.

    further reading - The Punisher Season 2: Everything You Need to Know

    The same creative team would come back to do another Punisher/Daredevil story soon after.

    WHAT IF VENOM HAD POSSESSED THE PUNISHER?

    WHAT IF? V.2 #44, 1992

    Kurt Busiek and Luke McDonnell

    The Original Story: Spider-Man had gotten rid of his black alien costume on the rooftop of a church. Moments later, a disgraced reporter Eddie Brock entered the church to pray for forgiveness for his impending suicide and was greeted by the symbiotic creature. He then became Venom and was obsessed with getting revenge on Spider-Man.

    But What If... the Punisher entered the church a couple minutes before Brock? He noticed Spider-Man swinging away and started thinking about him for a second, which was like catnip to the symbiote. It attached itself to him and at first he figured it was some kind of SHIELD tech, not even entertaining the thought that it could be something more sinister.

    further reading: The Craziest Venom Moments in Marvel History

    This is one of the few What If? issues where Daredevil has some kind of supporting role. Usually, unless he’s the star, he just gets a couple panels where he dies. Here, he sees Castle swinging by and can tell that something’s up. Then he even has to team up with Typhoid Mary to protect the Kingpin from this new, deadlier Punisher, who appears to be more violent than ever and on some kind of permanent adrenaline high. In the end, Daredevil teams up with Spider-Man and Moon Knight to put an end to the Punisher’s reign of terror.

    This is a definite must-read issue, mainly for how badass Frank is with the costume and when he’s against the costume.

    WHAT IF DAREDEVIL HAD SAVED NUKE?

    WHAT IF V.2 #48, 1993

    Ron Marz and Kevin Kobasic

    The Original Story: The psychotic super soldier Nuke was sent to raze Hell’s Kitchen to the ground to draw out Daredevil. During the adventure, he took a bullet to the chest. Daredevil tried to get him to a hospital and save him, but he was too late. Daredevil ended up dumping the dead body onto Ben Urich’s desk.

    But What If... he was able to get Nuke to the hospital in time? The doctors were able to stabilize him enough that when Kingpin’s armed goons made a go at them, Daredevil was able to escape with Nuke still breathing. He then kept him in a hiding spot, hoping his enhanced biology would heal itself and if things turned out right enough, he’d be able to use him to help destroy the Kingpin through testimony.

    further reading: Complete Marvel Comics Easter Eggs in Daredevil Season 3

    This is a fast-paced issue that doesn’t waste much time, but it’s a lot of fun. To make sure Nuke is taken out of the equation as fast as possible, Kingpin brings Bullseye back into the fold. Even though a good chunk of the comic is dedicated to Daredevil having to rescue Karen from Bullseye and Kingpin, the issue is ultimately about Nuke – despite minimal dialogue – coming into his own and redeeming himself. The ending isn’t too radically different from what happened in main continuity, but Nuke still comes out a winner in this reality. He doesn’t fight for what he’s told is right but for what he knows is right.

    WHAT IF THE KINGPIN OWNED DAREDEVIL?

    WHAT IF V.2 #73, 1995

    DG Chichester and Tom Grindberg

    The Original Story: Matt Murdock’s father was taken from him. The blind boy continued his training with the hardened martial arts master Stick, hoping to one day achieve justice. He rose up as both a vigilante and a talented lawyer, becoming the guardian of Hell’s Kitchen.

    But What If... Wilson Fisk investigated the murder? It didn’t sit well with him that the Fixer overstepped his boundaries and had Jack Murdock killed, even if it should have been below his notice. Fisk discovered that young Matt had been in regular contact with Stick and Fisk had enough knowledge of that man to know that there must have been something special about this boy. Fisk told Matt that he could try and get revenge himself and likely perish or let Fisk take care of it and have it all wrapped up overnight. Matt understandably chose the easy way.

    Matt grows up as Wilson Fisk’s second son, continuing his work to become a top-notch lawyer, though he has an excess of tutors who will teach him everything from genuine law to knowing how to use his own blindness for sympathy. The question arises of whether this situation will lead to Matt becoming corrupt or if he might actually get through to his adopted father.

    further reading: Daredevil Season 3 Ending Explained

    If you watched through the Daredevilseries and it made you want to read a Daredevil comic, this is a fantastic one-shot that builds on what you’ve learned about the main characters. Not only do we get to see a fascinating look at a world where Fisk and Matt are close, but it goes out of its way to show us what becomes of the would-be supporting people in Matt’s life. What would have become of Foggy, Karen, Elektra, and so on? Would they be better off or worse off?

    WHAT IF DAREDEVIL WAS THE DISCIPLE OF DOCTOR STRANGE?

    WHAT IF V.2 #83, 1996

    Ian Edgington and Mike Baron

    The Original Story: Having lost use of his hands in a car accident, egotistical surgeon Stephen Strange searched for a cure, which led to him finding out about the Ancient One. He found answers, but not what he was initially expecting. Rather than return to his life as a doctor, he found enlightenment as Sorcerer Supreme.

    But What If... Stick was there to squash the rumors of the Ancient One? As Doctor Strange searched for information on the Ancient One, Stick convinced him that the real solution was searching for the Chaste. Doctor Strange’s journey led to him not becoming a top-of-the-line wizard, but a highly-skilled ninja master. Stick then sent him to be the one to train a young Matt Murdock, but Strange wasn’t able to quell the boy’s rage.

    further reading: The Doctor Strange and Pink Floyd Connection

    This one’s concept is higher than Tommy Chong, but it’s so weird that it kind of works. Dr. Strange had lost Matt to the Hand and moved on to mentoring Elektra. This gives us a completely badass Hand Daredevil outfit that they would introduce into regular continuity during the whole Shadowlandstoryline. It also gives us a Romeo and Juliet story, only with lots of well-drawn ninja action. Really, is there any better selling point than that?

    WHAT IF... STARRING DAREDEVIL

    WHAT IF V.2 #102, 1997

    Bill Rosemann and Hector Collazo

    The Original Story: Jack Murdock knew that if he didn’t take a dive against Crusher Creel, his life was over. In the end, he chose pride and the belief that he needed to be a role model for his son, so he knocked out Creel. Jack was killed by the mob for his audacity and Matt would go on to become Daredevil.

    But What If... the mobsters warned Jack that they would go after Matt? Jack realized he had no choice. There would be no defiance and mortal sacrifice. The only sacrifice would be his dignity as he faked defeat for the sake of the criminal underworld.

    There isn’t much to Jack Murdock’s story. His luster is gone and he never sniffs the top of the ladder ever again. Instead, he takes in-ring beatings until he’s just left in a coma.

    Matt, on the other hand, lives his life as he normally would, only to be pulled away by his father’s massive hospital bills. He’s still too young to be a lawyer, so he earns money by following in Jack’s footsteps and becoming a boxer. He’s able to fake having sight and Wilson Fisk ends up buying him. Time starts over again as Matt Murdock is given a title shot and is instructed to stay down. Of course, Matt has too much pride to do something like that...

    WHAT IF KAREN PAGE HAD LIVED? (2005)

    Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Lark

    The Original Story: When facing Bullseye, Daredevil was saved by his longtime friend and occasional lover Karen Page. As Bullseye left, he threw Daredevil’s billy club right at the hero. Karen dove in front of it and sacrificed herself, taking the club to the chest and dying in Matt’s arms. It was later discovered that this was all a plot by a dying Mysterio, who had bought information on Daredevil’s identity from the Kingpin.

    But What If... the club didn’t hit Karen in the heart and only put her in critical condition? Nearly losing Karen instead of actually losing her would have driven Matt into a rage and Daredevil would have made a more lethal visit to Wilson Fisk’s home. In a fit of anger, Matt threw his club right into Fisk’s throat, killing him. Too bad Fisk had a failsafe that if anything were to happen to him, proof of Daredevil’s identity would flood the media.

    further reading - Daredevil Season 3 Villain Revealed: Wilson Bethel on Becoming Bullseye

    This issue is not very good. I don’t fully blame Bendis for it, since it was originally supposed to be written by Kevin Smith, the guy who killed off Karen originally. It was instead given to Bendis, who is the worst fit for a What If? comic. The guy simply can’t write a normal-sized one-shot where a healthy amount of exposition is part of the narrative. Much like that year’s What If Jessica Jones Joined the Avengers?, Bendis literally spent the first half of the comic retelling the original story. The scene of Daredevil in Karen’s hospital room that starts this reality tangent is the 11th page out of 23 and that’s including double-page spreads.

    Plus the story is just mean. It’s not so much a story as it’s a series of burials and feel-bad moments. It isn’t all that much different than how Bendis’ Daredevilrun would finally end, only with more finality due to being non-canon and not having to deal with the status quo. Don’t read it unless you’re a Bendis completist or you just want to be thoroughly depressed.

    WHAT IF? FEATURING DAREDEVIL (2006)

    Rick Veitch and Tommy Lee Edwards

    The Original Story: Daredevil is Matt Murdock, a swashbuckling vigilante and also lawyer who fights crime on two levels, mostly against a big, fat criminal mastermind. He also has an assassins ex-girlfriend and a nemesis who has really good aim. He does all of this in the present day in New York City.

    But What If... it took place in Feudal Japan? This came out during a really weird year of What If?releases where instead of just being one thing that changed the course of history, the issues took place in one alternate Earth where everything was different. On Earth-616, a hacker calling himself the Watcher was able to hack into another reality and, through reading its internet, realize the many differences between worlds. This included stuff like Wolverine being the Punisher of the 1930s, Thor being the Herald of Galactus, the Fantastic Four being Soviets, and Daredevil being a samurai.

    It maps out the usual Daredevil origin tropes with a samurai bend. Japan is run by the Emperor, but he is in the pocket of the large-and-in-charge Shogun (who practices sumo because he’s fat and it’s Japan). A ronin called the Old Devil runs afoul of one of the Shogun’s men named the Owl and his son Masahiro is mystically blinded. To save his son’s sight, Old Devil is tasked with destroying a boat of visiting Americans so that he can steal their rifles for the Shogun. He ends up destroying the rifles, gets killed for his betrayal, and his buddy Stick secretly raises and trains Masahiro into being a warrior known as the Devil Who Dares. Elektra’s tossed in there as the daughter of slain Greek ambassadors turned into a vengeful concubine and you have a pretty basic story.

    What’s interesting in it is that on that destroyed American boat is Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson. Murdock survives the attack and becomes a rifle-using marksman calling himself Bullseye. Yes, this story features both a guy who is Daredevil and a guy who is Matt Murdock. It ends up coming together very nicely and the art is a treat as well.

    WHAT IF? DAREDEVIL VS. ELEKTRA (2010)

    Karl Bollers and Rafael Kayanan

    The Original Story: Matt Murdock and Elektra Natchios were college lovers. As terrorists attempted to kidnap Elektra’s father, Matt donned a mask and helped take them down. The authorities got a little overzealous and opened fire at the window when Elektra’s father had his back to it. He was gunned down and died. It broke Elektra and she went on to become a cold, high-ranking assassin. Eventually, she was killed and brought back to life by the Hand.

    But What If... it was Matt who got shot up? His attempts to stop the terrorists led to him struggling with one of them in front of the window, causing him to get filled with a couple sniper rounds. A week later, Nick Fury found Matt’s grave to be empty. A blind man fighting off several armed men seemed impossible and the Hand was interested in investigating that.

    Years later, Elektra is not an assassin, but an agent of SHIELD. The “Born Again” Matt Murdock has overtaken the Hand and now calls himself the Advocate, a clever name it took me a while to get. SHIELD is after him after the slaughter of the Kingpin and his employees. Let me tell you, if any part of this issue is fun to read, it’s Fisk sending Bullseye after the Advocate and watching him get taken apart like he was nothing. Especially with the sweet Kayanan art.

    further reading: Elektra Assassin and the Making of an Anti-Heroine

    Elektra’s world is torn down piece by piece and ultimately she’s trained by Stick and put in charge of creating a reborn Caste. Together, she and her team go after the Hand while she holds out hope that she can get through to Matt Murdock or at least put an end to his reign of terror.

    In the past few years, they’ve relaxed on doing What If? comics a bit and considering New Avengers and Secret Wars has been vaporizing all the different alternate universes, who knows if we’ll see another take on Daredevil like this in the future. Are there any cool What If? ideas you’d like to see Daredevil star in? Sound off in the comments!

    Gavin Jasper has spent years wanting a comic where Daredevil ended up on Battleworld instead of Spider-Man and donned the black costume. Read more of his work here or follow him on Twitter!

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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    Dan Abnett tells us all about the craziness in store for Titans during the Drowned Earth event and we have an exclusive Titans #28 preview!

    DC Comics Titans #28 Preview Cover Aquaman Drowned Earth
    InterviewJim Dandy
    Oct 22, 2018

    Dan Abnett casts a long shadow in comics. Almost no one this side of James Gunn and his co-writer at the time, Andy Lanning, is more responsible for the Guardians of the Galaxy we all love on the big screen, and as a solo writer, he's had as much influence as anybody on the world of Aquaman. He's also been helming Titans, the post-Rebirth book that has followed the first wave of sidekicks who seem to be at the center of the Rebirth mystery. And now, between Batman, Heroes in Crisis, and Drowned Earth they're also all mostly dead or battling intergalactic ocean deities.

    We got an exclusive look at this week's Titans#28 and had the chance to chat with Dan about the book and his work on Aquaman and in the DCU in general. Take a look!

    Den of Geek: Are we getting Garth back full time post-Drowned Earth? Assuming he survives…

    Dan Abnett: Well…hard to say without spoiling what comes next, but this is a new team, not the old Titans. However, they’d very pleased to see him and he’s the perfect guy to turn up during a crisis like this.

    Den of Geek: How much input into the creation of these new aquatic pantheons are you getting? As the Aquaman and Titans writer, you get a few different angles of entry on the Atlantean story.

    Dan Abnett: This is very much down to the Justice League crew to lead the way, but I love what they’re doing and I talked to Scott about Aquaman continuity (past and present) to get him in the right place and let him know what worked, what was viable, and what might risk contradiction.

    The real collaboration came in fitting my issues (Aquaman and Titans) into the event. Actually, to be brutally honest, cross-overs are a real challenge, because you have to stop what you’re doing to jump into someone else’s story, and that can seem jarring. There are two ways a crossover works well: if it’s literally PART of the event, and an essential chapter, or if it uses the event as a backdrop to advance its own story. Here, I got the best of both: the Aquaman issues are completely parts of the event’s main story, first Mera’s chapter - issue 41 - (which links at both the start and end to Justice League) and then Aquaman’s - 42 - (which fits precisely between Justice League #11 and 12).

    Aquaman #42 is my last issue, the end of a run that’s lasted fifty plus issues of Atlantean goodness, and it’s great to go out on such a big story, and one with such a personal edge. On Titans, the event forms an urgent backdrop that drives the plot, and is the perfect moment to examine the big, ongoing storylines on Titans. Win win!

    Does the remit of the Titans shift at all because of Drowned Earth? Or does it just shift because of the massive upheaval in the DCU in general?

    Yes. And no. But yes, though not in the way you’d expect. The Source Wall crisis backdrop still hangs over everything, but this issue throws the Titans into a completely unexpected place, story wise.

    Putting Donna as the perspective character is an interesting choice given her headspace in general, and her reluctance to join the team just post No Justice. Is she being set up to take a stronger role in the team dynamic?

    Absolutely. It’s her time now, what with everything that’s happened with Nightwing. She’s the perfect focus character, and the only "original" Titan. Keeping the team together is going to be down to her.

    What's the craziest thing you have coming up for us in Titans?

    The next couple of issues are pretty crazy, but then we go into an epic story that revisits some of the stuff set up in the first part of this run (i.e. from issue #23 onwards, the Source Wall threat). We’ll get an unusually deep look at the villains’ side of things, and then throw everything together in the wildest and most fantastical end game. And I do mean "fantastical" shift from SF super-heroics to High Fantasy… 

    Titans#28 is on stands on Wednesday, 10/25/2018.

    TITANS #28 written by DAN ABNETT
    art by CLAYTON HENRY
    cover by LEONARDO MANCO
    variant cover by PHIL JIMENEZ
    In a tie-in to the road to “Drowned Earth,” the Titans get a visit from an old teammate when Atlantean mage Tempest guest-stars in the ish. What’s got Garth’s fishnets in a twist? He’s there to help the new Titans lineup take on a major oceanic threat, whose attack comes straight out of the pages of Justice League and Aquaman. Guess you could say that prelude “spills over” into TITANS this month.

    Read and download the Den of Geek NYCC 2018 Special Edition Magazine right here!


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