Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium—Echoes of the Tomb and Caves of Ice

Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium by Sandy Mitchell book cover
Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium by Sandy Mitchell

Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium is an omnibus volume containing the first three Ciaphas Cain books, as well as three short stories. They’re by Sandy Mitchell. Part of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, this is a lighter take on the series that coined the term “Grimdark” —note that it’s still pretty damned bleak, but as these are the private memoirs of the titular Ciaphus Cain, we know at least he survives.

1—Echoes of the Tomb

This is the short story wherein Ciaphas first encounters the necrons. The tech-priests have discovered some archeotech on a deserted, dead planet that somehow has some breathable atmosphere. They shortly discover a strange machine that isn’t as dead as it should be. It’s a creepy little story, and everyone but Cain dies. It also ends rather abruptly, but I’m willing to forgive that in a short story. Continue reading “Ciaphas Cain: Hero of the Imperium—Echoes of the Tomb and Caves of Ice”

The 5th Gender—Love and Death Among the Stars

The 5th Gender by G. L. Carriger book cover
The 5th Gender by G. L. Carriger

The 5th Gender, by G. L. Carriger (the pen name Gail Carriger writes under when she does spicy stuff), is a wonderful romance-cozy-mystery-scifi story. The lavender Galoi alien Tristol Zyga and the human security officer Detective Drey Hastion are just starting their courtship when a Galoi spaceship contacts the space station with an odd request—the Galoi, who have no word for murder, have a non-accidental death on board and need of a detective. It’s up to Detective Hastion and Tris—who, as an exile, no longer exists to his people—to find out what happened.

Also, for those of delicate sensibilities, there’s a lot of sex in this book, fully described, male on male.

1—Wonderful Worldbuilding

We get alternating points of view from Tris and Drey, and each’s observations on the other and and how they interact with the people and space station around them forms the basis of some excellent worldbuilding. I love Tris’s take on human customs and idioms. And Drey is always willing to answer Tris’s questions and explain things, as well as ask questions of his own. Between the two of them, we learn a lot about Galoi and humans both. In particular, the Galoi’s five genders and anatomy were interesting to learn about. Continue reading “The 5th Gender—Love and Death Among the Stars”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (movie)—Improbable Fun

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie poster
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy movie is a science fiction comedy that follows Englishman Arthur Dent and alien Ford Prefect after the Earth has been destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. The movie is punctuated with humorous asides from the titular Hitchhiker’s Guide, which Ford writes for.

1—Beginning Again After the End of the World

Arthur wakes up to find bulldozers outside his house. Shortly thereafter, the Earth is surrounded by a Vogon Constructor Fleet and destroyed. But before that destruction, Ford and Arther hitch a ride on one of the spaceships—and shortly after that, they’re captured and subjected to Vogon poetry. After then getting tossed out of an airlock, Ford and Arthur are improbably rescued by Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy who has stolen a ship with an improbability drive and kidnapped himself, and Trillian, a girl Arthur met once at a costume party. The improbable adventures continue from there. Continue reading “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (movie)—Improbable Fun”

Mythcreants Review Podcast—A Fun Way to Kill a Few Hours

My apologies for not having a proper post—I’ve been fighting with my depression again and it’s hard to get motivated to do even things I love, like read. I’m almost done with my book but just couldn’t get it read in time for tonight’s post. So instead, here’s a fun podcast.

Mycreants (whom I’ve recommended before) has started recording the one-shot games they do in order to review game systems. It was a fun story, with psychic communist space dolphins and capitalist bugs and mercenary humans having to work together to save the galaxy. The game they reviewed/played this time is FAITH.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—Family is Complicated

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 movie poster
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

I enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy and was not disappointed by this sequel. Guardians of the Galaxy Volume Two is a superhero space movie following the further adventures of Peter Quill—aka Star Lord—Gamora, Drax, Rocket the raccoon, and Baby Groot (a tiny sentient tree-creature) as they save the galaxy again.

1—Fatherhood

Rocket and Baby Groot are adorable together. Baby Groot loves music possibly even more than Quill does and Rocket…well, Rocket is a jackass but he’s got his reasons. They don’t stop him from looking after Baby Groot, along with the rest of the Guardians. Continue reading “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2—Family is Complicated”

Alien Tango—Business as Unusual

Alien Tango by Gina Koch book cover
Alien Tango by Gina Koch

Alien Tango is the second in Gini Koch’s Alien series (I’ve read but not reviewed the first book, Touched by an Alien—I liked and recommend it). Following the adventures of Katherine “Kitty” Katt and her boyfriend from Alpha Centauri as they deal with threats both terrestrial and extra.

1—Nutjobs Everywhere

After defeating the psychotic head of the Alien Super-Beings in the first book, things seem to be settling down for Kitty and Jeff Martini (the alien boyfriend), which for Kitty means boredom. But then Alpha Team is summoned to Florida to deal with a problem no one will explain to them and things go wrong one after another. There’s an anti-alien conspiracy afoot, something incorporeal has hitched a ride back to Earth with the crew of a top-secret space mission, and Kitty’s garnered a muderous stalker. Continue reading “Alien Tango—Business as Unusual”

Some of The UnBook Reporter’s Favorite Anthologies

These are just some of the anthologies I’ve enjoyed over the years.

1—The Chicks in Chainmail Series

Edited by Esther Friesner, I believe this series is still ongoing. Humorous tales of damsels who refuse to be in distress, warrior women who want equality with their male fellows, and just generally to have more sensible armor than a chainmail bikini. Lots of fun.

2—Witches, Vampires, and Werewolves, Oh My

Witch Way to the Mall, Fangs for the Mammaries, and Strip Mauled are also edited by Esther Friesner. Also humorous, this set of set of anthologies focuses on witches, vampires, and werewolves respectively.

3—Anything by Martin H. Greenberg

Some of the books I have that he’s co-edited are A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Monsters, the Catfantastic series, Warrior Princesses, and Wizards, Inc. I’m sure there are more in my collection but some of my books are still in boxes from the move.

Jupiter Ascending—A Comfortable Plateau

Jupiter Ascending movie

Jupiter Ascending is a space opera movie about the genetic reincarnation of the galactic Empress-CEO and all the trouble that this causes, both for the titular Jupiter and for her previous incarnation’s children.

1—A Damsel with Agency

Jupiter presents an interesting dichotomy in that she manages to both get damseled a lot and still maintain agency. Jupiter’s decisions and actions have impact on the story, they matter—she’s not just a plot device being tossed from one situation to the next. She also spends a good portion of the movie falling to her death and needing rescue. Not Jupiter’s fault—no one expects space aliens to start fighting over them and kidnap them. And in the last fall, Jup catches herself. Continue reading “Jupiter Ascending—A Comfortable Plateau”

Second Chance—SciFi, Crime-Fighting, and Family Dysfunction

image for Second Chance, Season 1
Second Chance, Season One

What I like about Second Chance is that it isn’t just They Fight Crime! tacked onto a scifi premise. The show actually uses its premise. Otto Goodwin is a genius who’s figured out how to bring people with a certain gene back from the dead. He goal is to use his first success’s blood to save his twin sister from a rare incurable form of cancer. Said first success is Jimmy Pritchard, a former King County, Washington sheriff who has family of his own to take care of. Not the consequence-less fluff I’ve come to expect from similarly billed shows in the past.

1—The Future May be Here but Family Still Comes First

Second Chance revolves around two families—The Pritchard clan & the Goodwin twins, Otto and Mary. Otto is a genuine genius in I don’t know how many fields. Besides the bio-engineering marvel of raising the dead, he’s the brains behind Lookinglass, a tech company to rival Apple and Microsoft—I don’t actually know if they’re actually business rivals as those companies aren’t mentioned in-show. Mary is the face of the company, brilliant in her own right, but her whole life is Otto. Since the deaths of their parents when the twins were children, Mary became mother to Otto. Mary has also taken on the role of wife in a sense—hostess and public face to Otto’s recluse. Needless to say, this leaves Mary’s personal life a little lacking. Continue reading “Second Chance—SciFi, Crime-Fighting, and Family Dysfunction”

A Brief Collection of The UnBook Reporter’s Story Studying Resources

I need some more time before I’m back in full UnBook Reporting shape so tonight will be another short post tangentially related to my normal content. Still working on that project, and also changing antidepressants—things got bad enough during the previous two…three? weeks that I made an appointment to see my doctor.

Anyways, tonight I thought I’d share some of my favorite places online to research the all the elements that go into making a story.

Tvtropes—The Site That Formalized My Obsession

TvTropes Will Ruin Your Life and Your Vocabulary and I have happily embrace both forms of ruination. My first foray onto tvtropes was probably when I began officially studying story structure, character archetypes, genre conventions, and all the rest. I’ve always loved stories and found myself picking up on patterns, but tvtropes helped cemented my desire to actually study them. Seriously though, don’t even glance at that site unless you’ve got at least a solid three hours to spend down that rabbit hole. Continue reading “A Brief Collection of The UnBook Reporter’s Story Studying Resources”