BRZRKR #1 (2021) by Keanu Reeves, Matt Kindt, Ron Garney

The first issue of Keanu Reeves‘ debut in comic book writing was released today, Wednesday March 3rd, 2021. BRZRKR is co-written by Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) with art by Ron Garney. The 12-issue limited series has so far raised over $1.8 million on Kickstarter, setting the record for the highest-funded comic book project in the platform’s history.

Synopsis from BOOM! Studios

The man known only as Berzerker is half-mortal and half-God, cursed and compelled to violence…even at the sacrifice of his sanity. But after wandering the world for centuries, Berzerker may have finally found a refuge – working for the U.S. government to fight the battles too violent and too dangerous for anyone else. In exchange, Berzerker will be granted the one thing he desires – the truth about his endless blood-soaked existence… and how to end it. NOTE: This is for Mature Readers.


My Thoughts

I’ve just finished reading this and man, is it violent! Main character John Wick Berzerker is sent on a mission to locate and capture the heavily-guarded president of an unspecified country. He is accompanied by a squad of soldiers. The action kicks off from the sixth page and doesn’t stop for 23 pages, (in a 48-page comic book). It’s one long action scene that hardly gives you time to take a breath until it’s over. After the mission, Berzerker is taken to an “undisclosed US Government facility” and undergoes the start of a lengthy healing process that had me thinking of the first Matrix movie.

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Once & Future, Vol. 2: Old English (2020) by Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora

“What was in that thing?”
“The usual penny-mix of mystic selection. Plus blessed by a few priests.”
“You talked vicars into blessing a landmine?”

-Kieron Gillen

Clipped from a conversation between Duncan and his grandma Bridgette after their spectacular fight with something huge and powerful in issue #9. Once & Future, Volume Two: Old English collects issues #7 to #12 of the BOOM! Studios comic book.

Synopsis

When an ancient helmet at the British Museum is taken, Bridgette and Duncan are confronted by another hero of yore, one who will lead them to facing off against their most formidable challenge yet…a beast and his mother.


My Thoughts

Kieron Gillen and Dan Mora continue their reinterpretation of the King Arthur myth. In this second volume, they expand on their idea of stories breaking into the real world. Here is a quick recap of the events in Volume One: The King is Undead. Be wary of spoilers.

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A Good Marriage (2010) by Stephen King

Happy Halloween!

I’m currently working on a longer review of Stephen King’s Night Shift, but I wanted to post a review of a horror story today, Halloween 2020. So here is a brief review of King’s A Good Marriage. It was published in 2010 as part of the novella collection: Full Dark, No Stars. The story was adapted for the big screen in 2014.

Publisher’s Synopsis

What happens when, on a perfectly ordinary evening, all the things you believed in and took for granted are turned upside down?

When her husband of more than 20 years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband.


My Thoughts

How well do you really know someone? Could a close member of your family be hiding an incredible secret? In “A Good Marriage”, Stephen King explores these ideas with the skill of a truly gifted writer.

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Catwoman 80th Anniversary Special (2020) by Various Artists

If you are a fan of the character or a fan of comic books, you will very likely enjoy this. I did, and I recommend it to all comic book fans out there. It’s a good chance to sample a variety of stories written and drawn by some of the current creative teams in comics in 2020.

Speaking of the creative teams, they feature in the ten stories in this 100-page special. The writers are Ann Nocenti, Will Pfeifer, Tom King, Ed Brubaker, Paul Dini, Jeff Parker, Chuck Dixon, Ram V, and Mindy Newell. The artists are Ty Templeton, Jonathan Case, Steve Rude, Lee Garbett, Tim Sale, Pia Guerra, Kelley Jones, Fernando Blanco, Robson Rocha, Jim Balent, Emanuela Lupacchino, Tula Lotay, Mikel Janin, and Cameron Stewart.

Released with a whopping 23 variant covers, I ordered the 1970s variant with gorgeous art by Frank Cho & Sabine Rich. I’ve always had a soft spot for that purple and green costume. I’ll post some images of the main variants below. Please let me know which one you would choose!

1970s Variant Cover by Frank Cho & Sabine Rich
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Innumerable Glimmering Lights (2016) by Rich Larson

“I am not afraid for my life” […] The project was more important than survival. More important than anything.

After checking his page on the isfdb, I was surprised to see just how many stories Rich Larson has had published. There are over 90 short stories listed from 2011, two books of fiction, as well as two collections. That is very impressive. I am familiar with the author’s name and have read a few of his short stories before. I remember enjoying both “You Make Pattaya” and “An Evening with Severyn Grimes”, which were collected in two of Jonathan Strahan’s yearly “Best Science Fiction & Fantasy” anthologies. I read this story in Clockwork Phoenix 5.

Brief Summary Continue reading

We Can Remember It for You Wholesale (1966) by Philip K. Dick

‘He awoke–And wanted Mars.’

Douglas Quail wakes up in his ‘conapt’ after dreaming of Mars. He dreams of walking along its valleys. At the beginning of the story, we are told that Mars is a world ‘which only Government agents and high officials had seen.‘ It’s not a place a ‘miserable little salaried employee‘ can visit. Kirsten, Doug’s wife, reminds him of this every day. But it’s okay because ‘it was a wife’s job to bring her husband down to Earth.

rekal2

This is how Dick’s classic story opens. As he inhales his morning shot of snuff, Doug’s wife complains that he is obsessed with the Red Planet. She wants him to take her on a trip to ‘the bottom of the ocean‘, to ‘one of those year-round aquatic resorts.‘ His Martian dreams can only lead one way: “you’re doomed, Doug!Continue reading

The Ergot Show (1972) by Brian Aldiss

‘Whenever you talk, Meyer, I begin to think of a certain tone of green.’

‘Holofilms’, ‘transport units’, ergot, references to Mars, Shakespeare, and Coleridge, Brian Aldiss’s THE ERGOT SHOW is a bit of a wild ride. It reads like a 1960s art-house film script if written by someone under the influence of something strong. Is this what is often labelled New Wave science fiction? It does feel experimental and artistic. I’m not familiar with the movement so please feel free to correct me in the comments below.

Brief Summary

The story features two film directors, Pagolini and Rhodes. One is filming the other’s film being made. They attend a party and talk about the ‘holofilm’ industry. This is interspersed with descriptions of various locations and brief scenes featuring some background characters. The effects of consuming ergot fungi plays a small part in the narrative. Continue reading

The Endless Fall (2017) by Jeffrey Thomas

Here are my brief notes for last week’s selected short story:“The Road, And the Valley, And the Beasts” by Keffy R.M. Kehrli:

Nice descriptive writing that starts to tell a short story and then stops. It has the air of a short, introductory, creative writing exercise. It felt like an extract from a story rather than a complete story in itself.

There wasn’t enough to write a review of it so I am going to draw my next card and see what comes up.

nine of wandsIt’s the Nine of Wands, also called ‘Strength.’ This card represents spiritual truth and realization. It suggests that we can draw on our inner strength to face whatever obstacles arise.

The short story that corresponds to this card is THE ENDLESS FALL by Jeffrey Thomas. It’s taken from his 2017 collection which has the same title as this story. Instead of waiting a week, I will read and review this story today.

 

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The Book of May (2016) by C.S.E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez

‘Remember our breath turning silver in the moonlight? That’s how I see you now when I close my eyes. Silver-sketched. Embroidered on my eyelids in threads of frost.’

C.S.E. Cooney’s Bone Swans won the World Fantasy Award for best collection in 2016. It’s part of my tbr mountain, and after reading this short story I need to dig it out. The Book of May was a collaboration with Cooney’s husband, Carlos Hernandez. It was published in Mythic Delirium’s 2016 collection: Clockwork Phoenix 5.

clockwork phoenix 5

This is the story of two friends, Harry and May. One of them is dying. They keep up an exchange via e-mail, texting, and typed letters. This exchange reveals their longstanding feelings for each other, as well as some shared moments from their past. Continue reading

Miss Omega Raven (1972) by Naomi Mitchison

‘I opened eyes and saw him, the God-man with the special food.’

When I was researching this short story by Naomi Mitchison, I remembered where I’d heard the author’s name before. Her 1962 novel Memoirs of a Spacewoman is on a list I made of female authors to read. It was recommended to me by a fellow blogger but I wasn’t able to find a copy. (Bart over at Weighing a Pig Doesn’t Fatten It has a thoughtful review of Memoirs here if you are interested.)

Mitchison’s short story “Miss Omega Raven” was published in Nova 2 (1972), as well as the Terry Carr edited The Best Science Fiction of the Year #2 (1973). It’s a very short story clocking in at only six pages. In his brief introduction to Mitchison’s story, Harry Harrison described it thus:

‘this deeply understanding story of a completely different type of mutation.’

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