Hekla’s Children by James Brogden

Four teens on a outdoor hiking trip disappear.  A day later one of the teens return alive.  Hekla’s Children starts out like an episode of FOX’s Bones with sci-fi/fantasy elements.

Teacher Mr. Nathan Brookes with his “Team Leftovers”: Ryan Edwards, Catharine “Scattie” Powell, Olivia Crawford and Brandon Whitehead go on a outdoor hiking test.  During the hike, they find themselves in a different part of the park and seem to be transported to the past – the “Bronze Age.”  One survivor Olivia Crawford reappears traumatize and without memory of what happened.

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The Great Wall – The Art of the Film

thegreatwallbookThis weekend Legendary Pictures releases one of their big films of the year into the multiplexes – The Great Wall starring Matt Damon.  Suppose the Great Wall in China was not just built to defend from the human element but also “monsters.”  Actor Matt Damon and the all-star Chinese cast look to defend the Great Wall and humanity from these evil beasts.  Titan Books official companion guide The Great Wall – The Art of the Film takes a behind-the-scenes at the epic production.

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Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories

annodracula1899Over the years of reviewing various novels and comics for Retrenders, I’ve enjoyed reading the many tales of Kim Newman’s vampire creation Anno Dracula and world of characters around him.  “Anno Dracula 1899 and Other Stories” is a collection of short stories to get fans primed for the upcoming novel Anno Dracula 1899: Daikaiju.  Not only that, Titan Comics will kick-off a brand new Anno Dracula series by author Kim Newman and art by Paul McCaffrey launching in March 2017.

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Star Trek: 50 Artists 50 Years

startrek50I remember watching this “old” Star Trek TV series as a kid.  “Trek” didn’t really resonate with me until Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager TV series.  Over time I went back to watch this original Star Trek series and films with the original cast.  This year mark the 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek TV series and this poster size hardbound title Star Trek 50 Artists 50 Years celebrates the iconic sci-fi TV program.

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The Marvel Vault – A Visual History

marvelvaultupdatedI remember as a kid in the 1980s, you were either a Marvel Comics or DC Comics fan, there was no in-between.  I didn’t get serious into collecting comics until the late 1980s and early 1990s, when Marvel had an amazing staple of talents like Jim Lee, Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefield, Marc Silverstri, Whilce Portacio and Jae Lee, just to name a few.  Every week I had a stack of Marvel comic books and a issue was like .75 cents!  If you know you have a Marvel fan this Holiday season, then The Marvel Vault – A Visual History will make a great gift item.

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The Art and Making of The Flash

flashtvshowWith season 3 of The Flash under way on the CW Network, fans will enjoy the companion guide, The Art and Making of The Flash by Abbie Bernstein.  Critics and fans alike may nick pick here and there, but for me it’s an enjoyable escapism.  I’m a huge fan of the CW DC superhero universe and make it an appointment television to watch.  One of my favorite shows is of course The Flash and The Art and Making of The Flash takes fans behind-the-scenes.

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The Art of Titanfall 2

artoftitanfall201Video game enthusiasts and critics enjoyed playing Titanfall 1, now comes Titanfall 2.  Strap-in and get ready to pilot another Titan.  Titanfall 2 features new locales for battles, new weapons and new robotic mechs.  The Art of Titanfall 2 goes behind-the-scenes of the making and creation of the Titans.

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The Art of Deus Ex Universe

deusexartbookHave you played Deus Ex:  Mankind Divided?  Go play it!  Have you read Deus Ex: Black Light?  Go read it!  After doing all this now you can enjoy this by Titan Books – The Art of Deus Ex Universe.

deusart001Video game journalist Paul Davies takes us to EIDOS Montreal and interviews the players – the design and art teams behind the Deus Ex universe.  The artist and designers talk about the incredible world building and designing the right characters.  They also talk about building the atmosphere and emotion to get players into this world.  The art book contains over 300 images, art pieces, concept designs, character profiles, CGI art and sketches from Human Revolution and Mankind Divided video games.

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The High Ground by Melinda Snodgrass

thehighgroundWhen you have Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin giving praise about this book, it got my attention.  The High Ground – The Imperials Saga is the first book in an epic science-fiction trilogy by author Melinda Snodgrass.  The heart of the story, a handsome lower-class boy Thracius Belmanor aka Tracy working his way up the class-system falls in love with Princess Mercedes Adalina Saturnina Inez de Arango.  It’s mix of BBC drama and a Kdrama love triangle set in outer space worlds.

By year 2100s the Earth is mostly uninhabitable and humans have conquered other worlds in galaxies far away.  In Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek when Warp engine technology was discovered it was about the search of new worlds and exploration, but here in this universe, when Fold technology is discovered, humans created a backward class-system hierarchy to control the galaxy and subjugated all the aliens they have conquered like the Haijin, Isanjo and Cara’ot races into “servants”.  The Imperial Family, the father and king Fernan Marcus Serverino Beltran de Arango has a dilemma on his hands.  His 5 wives only gave him daughters and no sons to inherit the throne.  He wants his eldest daughter Mercedes to inherit the kingdom.  The Princess has other plans like attending the military school – The High Ground.  She will be the first woman admitted to school on a large city-port space station.   On the other side, is Tracy whose father is tailor to the “rich” and while Tracy wants none of the class system BS, he is “forced” to go to the High Ground military school.

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Escapology by Ren Warom

escapologyThe post-apocalyptic future Earth is unkind to the masses.  It’s little like Kevin Costner’s ill-fated Waterworld and Mad Max: Fury Road, well kind of.  The world is more of a mix between anime Garganita on the Verdurous Planet without the mechas and Brian Wood’s comic The Massive as an environmental disaster destroys most of the Earth.  Land dwelling places to live are scarce the exception of mega-cities or large ship-cities that rule the seas.  And the internet is run by one gatekeeper, this is the first novel by author Ren Warom – Escapology.

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The Art & Making of Independence Day: Resurgence

independencedayartbookI remember sitting at the Cornet Theater, an iconic large single-screen theater in San Francisco, before all the crazy IMAX 3D stuff and mega-mall multiplexes watching the summer blockbuster Independence Day.  Twenty years have past with a new sequel ID4 Resurgence.  The nasty aliens are back to drain Earth’s natural resources.  Okay, I admit Resurgence may not measure up to the classic summer hit ID4, but if you want some popcorn action with no thinking – then you might want to see ID4 Resurgence.  Along with the movie, Titan Books has released The Art & Making of Independence Day Resurgence.

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New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey

titanbooksnewpompeiiOne of our favorite sci-fi genre’s is about time traveling.  In pop culture entertainment, we have a fetish for the “past”, like what if we could travel to the 1950s era or Roman times and so on, and then have the ability to change the future?  I remember having a dandy of a time reading Timeline (1999) by Michael Crichton.  A footnote, please do not watch the lame movie adaptation of Timeline (2003), but do read the book instead.  In the vein of Timeline and Jurassic Park, Daniel Godfrey’s New Pompeii is this and more.

The protagonist Dr. Nick Houghton has been stuck in limbo as a part-time college intern and researcher, due to his dad’s outspoken negative comments against one the world’s biggest energy company Novus Particles.  NovusPart has created technology to grab matter from the past and bring it into the future.  For instance, the company saved the ancient Roman town of Pompeii which was destroyed by volcanic eruption.  NovusPart was able to build a replica town called New Pompeii and saved many of the townspeople.  With this incredible technology, history buff and researcher Dr. Nick Houghton is offered a job to see New Pompeii.  He’s excited to see what real Roman’s are like and to learn how they interact at pubs, bath houses and in the homes. But as he steps into New Pompeii, he notices some discrepancies in the town and among the people.  He wonders what happened to his predecessor Dr. Samson?  And why are many buildings empty, when many of the poor townspeople have nothing?  Nick begins to wonder if there is deeper conspiracy by NovusPart.  It’s up to Nick, Roman leader Barbatus and his daughter Calpurnia to stop NovusPart from changing history and the timeline.

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Titan Merchandise x Cartoon Network Collection

cartoonnetworkcollection00Fans of the Cartoon Network shows can now grab their very own 3″ vinyl figure in this Titan Merchandise Cartoon Network TITANS Collection.  The 12 figures in the main set include:  Samurai Jack, Dexter, Mordecai, Uncle Grandpa, Gumball, Johnny Bravo, Steven Universe, Rigby, Grim, Eduardo, Finn and Deedee.

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The Blacklist: Elizabeth Keen’s Dossier

blacklistelizabethkeenIf you’re done binge watching Daredevil Sesaon 2 on Netflix, then it’s time to pick another cool action-thriller, that is NBC’s critically acclaimed The Blacklist starring James Spader (Raymond “Red” Reddington) and Megan Boone (Elizabeth Keen), which is currently on it’s 3rd TV season.  The first two seasons of The Blacklist are on Netflix and I have to say I’m hooked on the characters and the story.  Hardcore fans of The Blacklist may want to take a look at this new Titan Books release, Elizabeth Keen’s Dossier by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry.

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The Final Programme (The Cornelius Quartet 1) by Michael Moorcock

michaelmoorcockIf director Guy Ritchie’s 1960’s themed “The Man from UNCLE” film didn’t float your boat, why not tried this underground British sci-fi novel first published in the 1960s – The Final Programme by author Michael Moorcock.  Titan Books is reprinting the adventures of rock star scientist Jerry Cornelius.

First, if you’re a little unfamiliar with Michael Moorcock’s writing style, the meanings and so on, writer John Clute intros the character Jerry Cornelius and his thoughts on British sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock’s 4 book collection.  Jerry Cornelius’s brother Frank and the sexy evil Miss Brunner have concocted a plan to build the world’s ultimate super computer.  Jerry Cornelius is the key to all this and his unique family background keeps things interesting.

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Sleepy Hollow: Creating Heroes, Demons & Monsters

sleepyhollowcoverWith an explosive and fun second season, the FOX tv series Sleepy Hollow has just launched its 3rd season this past October 2015.  If you don’t know, Sleepy Hollow is a supernatural mystery TV drama takes a “DC Elseworld’s version” of Washington Irving’s short story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” with new twists and turns.  Ichabod Crane died defeating the Horseman in 1781, but then finds himself resurrected and trying to adjust to 21st century.  He collaborates with police office Abbie Mills and dig deeper into the supernatural and demonic forces attacking the town.  Now go behind-the-scenes with Sleepy Hollow: Creating Heroes, Demons & Monsters by Tara Bennett and Paul Terry.

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The Art of Stephen Hickman: Empyrean

hickmanartbookIf you ever read a Harlan Ellison, Anne McCaffrey or Larry Niven sci-fi book, usually the sci-fi art cover that catches your eye is drawn by artist Stephen Hickman.  This full-color hardcover art book – “The Art of Stephen Hickman:  Empyrean” is collection of Hickman’s amazing 40 years in fantasy sci-fi art.

hickman00“For me, fantasy imagery is simply my favorite place to work and live, and nature … Personal imagery, much of it inspired or informed by nature, is becoming more important to me the more painting I do, and fantasy is my direction of choice.” Stephen Hickman.

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The Art and Making of The Peanuts Movie

peanutsmoviecoverTwo major comic strips that I grew up in my childhood was Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes and George M. Schulz’s iconic cartoon character Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang.  I remember having so much fun reading the strips as a kid with my siblings and then watching the Charlie Brown cartoon Holiday specials on TV with my grandparents.  Just pure nostalgia.  After years of waiting, we now finally get an “official Charlie Brown cartoon” from animation house Blue Sky Studios.  Author Jerry Schmitz takes us Charlie Brown fans on an incredible journey inside Blue Sky Studios in The Art and Making of The Peanuts Movie.

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Virtues of War by Bennett R. Coles

virutesofwarcoverI read many novels, and you know it’s going to be some heavy reading when the first couple of pages start with a character listings, glossary and military definitions.  Our story doesn’t kick-off until page 13!  Virtues of War is the first in a trilogy of books by author Bennett R. Coles with the second novel Ghost of War available sometime in 2016 and the third novel March of War available sometime in 2017.  Virtues of War follows Lieutenant Katja Emmes and her 10-trooper striker team on Rapier spacecraft.

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The Original QUARRY Novel by Max Allan Collins

quarrycoverWith a Cinemax television series this season, Max Allan Collins iconic hitman Quarry returns to the pop-culture forefront.  Journey back to the origins and first pulp adventure as Titan Books re-publishes the first Quarry novel from 1975.

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A Guide To Being A Vampire Slayer

buffyEven after lasting 7 season’s and 144 episodes on air, Joss Whedon’s cult hit TV show Buffy, The Vampire Slayer remains popular with fans today.  Do you also want to be like Buffy?  Do you want to be a Vampire Slayer?  Well, now’s your chance, as Buffy’s mentor Rupert Giles offers up his book: Demons of the Hellmouth – A Guide for Slayers, basically a Who’s Who’s list and character guides of the many vampires, demons, and other players they’ve meet along the way in the TV show.

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Batman: Arkham Knight – The Novel

arkhamknightOne of the most popular video games of the year for 2015 is Batman: Arkham Knight and if you haven’t gotten around to playing the game just yet, why not read the official novelization by writer Marv Wolfman to get your Batman fix?  Batman: Arkham Knight – the official novel follows the same story-line as the video game with some extra background information and spicy tidbits for DC/Batman comic book lore.

It’s been a year since the Joker has died and a relative calm has presided over Gotham City, but all that is about to change as the Scarecrow unleashes a new fear toxin in a diner, causing everybody to kill each other.  The Scarecrow gives an ultimatum to the citizens of Gotham that he will unleash the fear toxin all over Gotham City in a few hours.  Now it’s up to Batman and his team to stop Scarecrow’s plan, while all this is happening a new player gets involved.  Like in the DC Universe and Jim Lee’s Batman run “Hush” story-line, this new protagonist, the Arkham Knight knows Batman and his allies inside and out.  In this fight against Scarecrow, we find that Batman has been exposed to Joker’s “blood” and as he carries on the fight to save Gotham City and his friends, Batman will be tested mentally and physically.

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The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road

madmaxfuryroadcoverBefore I get down to reviewing Titan Book’s The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road, I’ve watched Mad Max: Fury Road twice already.  I was a little cynical at first, when I heard the news that creator/director George Miller was going to re-make Mad Max, when his 1979 Mad Max film starring Mel Gibson was already a masterpiece.  So, as I sat in the multiplex dreading it would not be a Kevin Costner “Waterworld”, the movie came on-screen and within a few minutes I was blown away by not just the action and acting, but Miller’s incredible cinematography, the colors and the amazing world-building.  Now to the meat of this article, taking a look at Titan Book’s The Art of Mad Max: Fury Road by Abbie Bernstein with a Foreward by the man himself, the master George Miller.

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Chappie: The Art of the Movie

chappieartbookThe film Chappie, like previous Neill Blomkamp films’ District 9 and Elysium may have a science-fiction spin, but also speaks to the larger issues of society and “real world” problems.  This Titan Books release, Chappie: The Art of the Movie delves into the background developing and creating the world of Chappie by Neill Blomkamp, concept artists and production team.

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Elementary: The Ghost Line

elementaryghostlineA MTA worker is found dead in his very own apartment.  What can you say, it’s New York City’s toughest area, Hell’s Kitchen.  Well, it’s present day, so it’s more urban hipster living in the area and coffee shops with Wi-Fi access, but Daredevil won’t come to the rescue.  Instead, enter Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson!  Based on the CBS hit TV show Elementary, which is a modern day twist of the famous literary detective Sherlock Holmes set in present-day New York City.  “The Ghost Line” story by Adam Christopher takes place around the 3rd TV season of Elementary.

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