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To Everything That Was: Selected Remastered Works  (Classic Space, 1999)
To Everything That Was: Selected Remastered Works (Classic Space, 1999)
by Andrew E. C. Gaska
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.70
21 used & new from $21.70

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Title for and Excellent Work, September 28, 2013
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It's very fitting that Andrew Gaska and the Blam! team chose one of the most fondly remembered lines from the british cult-classic series Space: 1999 as the title of this collection of "remastered" comic books based upon the series. Uttered by Professor Victor Bergman (the late Barry Morse) as Moonbase Alpha faced a nearly unavoidable destruction, that line was Professor Bergman's way of recognizing that--even at the worst of times--he had cherished every moment of the journey. And that is what Gaska and his team has done here...cherished what came before. "To Everything the Was" is a loving and painstakingly beautiful tribute not only to the series, but also to the work of all the artists that contributed to the original works as they were produced over 30 years ago.

To Everything that Was contains refurbished versions of those original comic books, but Gaska, while respecting the original material, is not wont to treat them as holy relics. Wisely he and his team not only restored the artwork but embellished it, making relevant in a 21st century, sophisticated graphic novel world. What he also does so wisely is tie all of these disparate works together into a cohesive whole. No, there isn't a specific plot that runs through all of the stories. What Gaska and team does is far more subtle.

Continuing the treatment in the excellent "Aftershock and Awe," Gaska manages to unite the best of season 1 and season 2 of the series -- seasons as different as tone as night and day -- within these remastered works as well. He does so by working these stories into the series timeline, taking characters that had only appeared in season 1 and introducing them to the comic early on. The result is that all of the works together have a story arc feeling, a through-line. Yes, Gaska rewrites some of these stories, but he does so to their betterment. Events that occurred in the series are subtly referenced and deaths (or disappearances) of characters from the 1st season are worked in as well. And it all flows wonderfully.

For me, I already owned all these original comics; so I wasn't looking for a straight re-printing. For me, Gaska managed to breathe new life into these works, augmenting, altering but always respecting the source material. He manages to give comics that are over three decades old a new life, a new relevancy. And in the process, he pays homage To Everything That Was.


Speedy Scandal / Scandal Makers - Korean DVD. All Region with English Subtitles
Speedy Scandal / Scandal Makers - Korean DVD. All Region with English Subtitles
DVD ~ Cha Tae Hyun
3 used & new from $22.94

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cha Tae Hyun Scores Again, August 31, 2013
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A charming, funny story with heart. Cha Tae Hyun scores again, making a potentially un-likable character very likable. Highly recommended.


The Grand Heist Korean Movie Dvd English / Chinese Subtitle
The Grand Heist Korean Movie Dvd English / Chinese Subtitle
DVD ~ Cha Tae Hyun
9 used & new from $16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun Due Largely to Cha Tae-Hyun, August 29, 2013
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Reminiscent of every heist movie ever made and highly influenced by Ocean's 11, this Korean film overcomes any script flaws due largely to the charm and skill of leading man Cha Tae-Hyun and the amazing supporting cast hilighted by more spectacular performances from Shin Jeung-Kun, Ko Chan-Seok, Kim Hyang-Gi and Cheon Bo-Keun, the latter two who would go on to co-star together in the Queen's Class TV series. Great, great fun. FInd it. Enjoy it.


William F. Nolan's Logan's Run: Solo
William F. Nolan's Logan's Run: Solo

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, April 26, 2013
A really, really nice entry in the Logan mythology by William F. Nolan and Jason V. Brock. A great read with excellent artwork!


Space: 1999- Aftershock and Awe
Space: 1999- Aftershock and Awe
by Andrew E. C. Gaska
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $18.95
77 used & new from $5.50

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Future Is, Indeed, Fantastic, January 20, 2013
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Drew Gaska and BLAM! Ventures have come up with a winner. For fans of the television series (of which I am, admittedly, one), they've taken a story I've loved for decades and breathed new life into it through their attention to detail. This isn't a quick drive-by recreation, not some slapping on of a franchise name to all new material. It's an A-class reinvention and it is Gaska's respect for the details in the source material that helps him bring new cannon into old and make it work exceptionally well. It's believable because the BLAM! team understands and appreciates the original and pays homage to it rather than simply exploits it.

You can read my full review at [Namel3ss] Magazine at [...]


WOOD
WOOD
Price: $1.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moody and Tension Filled, January 18, 2013
This review is from: WOOD (Kindle Edition)
Dunbar takes a modern twist on a familiar fairy tale and he gives it a thoroughly moody and tension-filled retelling that is nothing short of entertaining. But like all of Dunbar's work I have read, he gives us layers to pull back should we so choose. In essence, Dunbar reveals to us an absolute necessity of any living being: the need to interact...the need to be exposed to others who are different than we...the need to be constantly challenged--by goodness or evil--in order to evolve and survive. Without others we--any form of life, be it human or monster, the life of a city or a neighborhood--simply waste away, becoming nothing more than urban decay that litters the world.

For my full review, please go to [Namel3ss] Magazine at [...]


Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes
Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes
by Andrew E. C. Gaska
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.94
53 used & new from $5.20

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Addition to Apes lore, January 18, 2013
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Andrew E.C. Gaska reveals himself as a skilled storyteller and a masterful juggler. With his attention to detail and extensive knowledge of the franchise, he not only puts forth a highly entertaining work of science fiction, but also weaves a discordant and often contradictory history into a highly logical summation. Most importantly, however, Gaska stays true to the vision and tone first birthed by writers Boulle, Serling and Dehn by delving deep into the political, religious and sociological aspect of Apes society and holding the Ape mirror up to humankind. A welcome addition to the Apes franchise.

For my full review, please go to: [Namel3ss] Magazine at [...]


Enter, Night
Enter, Night
by Michael Rowe
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.95
35 used & new from $10.49

6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Restores the Vampire to its Horrific Glory, November 27, 2011
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This review is from: Enter, Night (Paperback)
Vampire fiction. Just whisper the words and they're likely to evoke groans from horror readers, writers and editors across the globe. Let's face it, the vampire is a character which--pardon the expression--has been done to death. Of course, every once in a while, a King or a Rice or a Brite comes along and unexpectedly re-invents the old vamp, giving him back his teeth and his terror, but then hundreds of sub-par copycats inevitably follow, flooding the market with sparkly, erotic or just plain pornographic vampires who lack bite as well as literary merit. Understandably, respect for vampires falls dormant and the welcome mat at publishing houses is withdrawn. Despite this cycle, there are always those authors unafraid of tackling the subject; luckily, for readers, Michael Rowe is one of them, his debut novel Enter, Night beautifully capturing a feeling and horror and dread long absent from most vampire fiction.

Built on the blood of the displaced Native population and the backs of generations of its residents, Parr's Landing, in 1972, is a ghost of a community, its gold mines long run dry, opportunities scarce and the people wanting nothing more than to find a way out. Fifteen years earlier, Christina Parr and her husband were one of the few to escape the suffocating confines of the town, one ruled with an iron fist by matriarch Adeline Parr. Not long after, Christina's brother-in-law Jeremy also escaped after a gruesome attempt at gay reparative therapy forced upon him by the controlling Adeline. Following the death of her husband, however, Christina, her teenage daughter Morgan, and Jeremy have no other choice but to return to the Landing to live under the roof and constant eye of the woman from whom they had once fled. But Adeline Parr isn't the only thing Christina and her family has to fear; for far beneath the ruined mines of Parr's landing lurks a horrific being who has just been awakened after 300 years. (4.5 stars rounded up)

Enter, Night may be Michael Rowe's debut novel, but Rowe is far from a neophyte. A life-long devotee of all things horror, a seasoned editor, short-story writer and journalist, Rowe has numerous awards under his belt for both his fiction and non-fiction work; so it's not surprising that Rowe's freshman outing has a maturity and style about it that puts other first time novelists to shame. His prose is lean but at the same time lush, evoking not only a sense of time and place, but also an atmosphere of intense suspense. In his hands, Parr's Landing and the surrounding countryside come alive, transforming into characters in their own right.

"At night, Parr's Landing breathes in its population and doesn't exhale them until morning."

This skill isn't limited to the setting. Rowe likewise has a deft hand when it comes to creating characters whom we understand. We may find them endearing or infuriating, but never boring or one-dimensional. And this applies evenly to all the characters, not just our "leads." Even the most minor of characters are rich and deep; while they may be little more than vampire fodder within the plot, they are never, ever disposable in Rowe's hands. We feel each of their "deaths" immensely because Rowe finds the details in their lives that resonate with the reader. He opens them up (sometimes literally) so that we see all of them. And it is this penchant for making the reader care about each and every character that makes the horror and tension more palpable. Because in this novel, every single character is at risk. We feel it almost from the moment we meet them and the loss of each one--even those we fear will disappear--is felt deeply. Take, for example, the following, which reveals a relatively minor character, Jordan:

"Late at night, Jordan sometimes heard his parents arguing through the wall of his bedroom. His father's voice would rise and Jordan would catch words like normal and wrong and dreamer and other boys in between his father's raw profanity...His mother's voice would rise in answer. Jordan heard words like someone and out of this town and success. And dreams, which sounded like a completely different word when his mother said it."

That passage tells us a lot about Jordan and while we may think we know where the author is taking the character, Rowe always manages to throw in a bit of a curve. And this extends to the major characters as well. Though matriarch Adeline may at first seem a stock horror character, Rowe imbues her with a depth and history that manages to endear even this cold-hearted bitch to the reader. Christina is a woman shrouded in grief, but hardly in a shambles or a pushover. Jeremy, who has experienced the freedom of gay life back in Toronto, is forced to confront not only the homophobia of small towns, but also the reality of a long lost love whose time may have passed. Add to the mix, young outcast, Finnegan, a comic book nerd whose strength surprises even himself, the aging but appealing Donna and her closeted "beau" Elliot, and the sadistic and insane Richard Weal and you have a brilliant mix of characters that are rich, darkly humorous at times and fascinating through and through.

Rowe also manages to work in a bit of social commentary within the novel, though he does so with a subtle hand. He expertly captures the realities of small time life: how such a life traps one but also how the residents also seem to take comfort in their captivity. He touches on bullying, homophobia, the repercussions and collateral damage of living in the closet and, with the most fascinating character (Dr. William Lightning), the treatment of the Native Canadians and the stereotypes of them that infect small-minded people. Rowe never beats us over the head with it; it's all there, though, skimming the surface.

Rowe draws on the entire history of classic vampires, from Stoker's Dracula to the better vampire films and, most importantly, from the amazing work of writers and illustrations like Marv Wolfman, Gene Colan and Tom Palmer--and connects it all both regionally and theoretically to the legend of the Wendigo. But perhaps what Rowe does best of all is to resist the urge so many authors who tackle vampire cannon fail to. Rowe isn't interested in reinventing the vampire, on putting his "unique stamp" on the lore by creating new abilities or making them little more than whining, introspective gadabouts. You'll find no vampires walking around in the daylight, or eating meals at the local malt shop, or getting married to their high school sweetheart. His vampires aren't interested in discovering why they are they way they are, what great sins lead them to their lot in life. Rowe's vampires still fear the symbols of Christianity, still must be invited into a house, still fall prey the slings and arrows affecting the most historic of vampires. They are fierce, brutal, enigmatic, appealing and terrifying.

In the end, Rowe manages to do what so many others writing "vampire fiction" fail to...he creates an astoundingly creepy, violent, atmospheric and frightening novel that not only pays homage to the literary and cinematic past, but also manages to restore the vampire to his former and deserving glory. Highly, highly recommended.


Two Weeks At Gay Banana Hot Springs
Two Weeks At Gay Banana Hot Springs
Price: $1.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, September 25, 2011
I must admit, I am woefully under-read when it comes to lesbian fiction; so this review will not so much be based on specifics of the genre, but upon readability and the enjoyment the story brings. And on that front, author Thomas excels, delivering a thoroughly entertaining read for the beach or the living room.

Margaret "Ret" Butler is running the once glorious Gay Banana, a resort just outside of Palm Springs that her father and mother had once made into the social hot-spot. There were glamorous parties held here, with alluring women and classic gentlemen. Now, its days of being the place to be seen are far behind it, but the resort still manages to eek out a meager existence. But Ret has a problem. The deadline her father had given her to turn the resort around is fast approaching and, unless Ret takes some drastic action, ownership of the Gay Banana will revert to him. And who knows what Daddy will do with this magnificent place that Ret still finds romantic.

But things get complicated. One of the gentlemen Ret considers going into partnership with is a young genius...a snotty, know-it-all youth who sets her ill at ease with his cockiness and the slightly shady and mysterious business practices that just seems to hover about him. To make matters worse, Daddy has gone missing and Ret's high-society, no-nonsense mother--convinced he is cheating on her--is plotting his death. But let's not stop there. Enter Billie: the most beautiful and enigmatic woman ever to have visited the Gay Banana during its hey-day who returns after more than a decade just to see Ret. Will the Gay Banana survive? Will Mother get her way? Will Daddy turn up or just turn up dead? And what about the alluring Billie? Believe it or not, it all comes together in the end. But you'll have to read it to find out how.

In this debut novel, Ret is our narrator and Thomas imbues her with a wonderful voice: a little bit edgy, a little bit lost romantic. The style is a bit stream of conscious which only adds to the charm of Ret's character and adds much of the humor. Ret ping-pongs a bit between the unraveling--and at times overwhelming--developments in her life. She's pulled in all directions by a demanding (and funny as hell) mother, a concerned staff, and two potential business partners. And when Billie enters the scene, there is a wonderful romance between the two that is believable and charming, and which helps to create the romance and glamour of the bygone days of the Gay Banana. We see why the old place is so important to Ret and why she wants so desperately to save it.

The prose reads swiftly and easily and I found myself smiling through most of it and enjoying the various red-herrings that Thomas throws out in the story. Now, it's not the perfect novel: I would like to have seen some of those red herrings played out and I longed to see a bit more of the past (and present) relationship between Ret and Billie, but in the end, this novel charmed me to no end. It's a wonderfully fun novel, a breezy read with a little romance, a smidge of mystery and an infectious spirit.


Alt.Punk
Alt.Punk
by Lavinia Ludlow
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.11
30 used & new from $5.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Completely Engaging Satire, July 10, 2011
This review is from: Alt.Punk (Paperback)
From the moment I first heard of Lavina Ludlow's debut novel, alt.punk, I knew it would be right up my alley. Germaphobia, hard music, and a sexy, man-boy lead singer in a punk band. I was so looking forward to it that I ordered it on release day. But, like Ludlow's lead character, Hazel, I got too wrapped up in the drama of a day-job to find time to read it. Now, almost 4 months after the book arrived at my home, I got a long weekend to do absolutely nothing but sit down and read this really fascinating book.

Now, a warning up front...you better have a strong stomach before you dive into Ludlow's world. There's drugs, bodily fluids, drugs, excrement, drugs, irresponsible sex and...drugs. Hey, it's rock and roll after all. Now, that to me is a plus, but it may not be everyone's cup of Clorox. If it is, you'll find yourself treated to a brilliantly dark, biting satire not only of the punk scene, but also of that middle class that settles for less than its dreams and of those who, about to exit their twenties, act as if they are living in Logan's Run (well, the movie version), where life past 30 simply doesn't exist.

Hazel is our heroine...so to speak...a work-a-day drone at the Safeway where she is on the fast track to upper management and a disturbingly lower-middle-class existence. Once a rebellious young teen entrenched in the anarchy and ethos of the punk scene, she now finds herself the embodiment of all that she rejected in her youth. She has to deal with employees with no work ethic, a mother who criticizes her weight and lack of a respectable boyfriend, and a strangling malaise that has hit her as she - gasp! - approaches 30. She carries with her an overwhelming sense of "where have I gone wrong" mixed with a pathological fear of germs.

One night, after feeling totally out of it at the performance of a local punk band, she finds herself entranced with Otis, the lead singer of the band. Charming, though grooming-challenged, Otis should be everything Hazel fears most: he oozes contaminating bodily fluids, his hair is a matted mess, he shoots drugs and shares needles as if there were no tomorrow. And that, is perhaps, what make Hazel, someone so afraid of everything about life, so drawn to him, a man recklessly afraid of not living. He's boyishly charming and somehow manages not only to disagree with Hazel's mother's criticisms of her, but finds all those "flaws" irresistible. So what does Hazel do? She chucks it all away and goes on tour with Otis and Otis' brother, a smart-ass, holier-than-though punk acolyte Hazel had once fired from Safeway.

Thus begins the tour and Ludlow immerses us in that world without pulling any punches. Ludlow's own involvement in the music scene serves the novel well, the detail sharp and telling, and the characters are as real and vivid as the neighbors you really wish didn't live next door to you. But there are two things that really make this novel stand out, especially for a freshman outing.

The first is the skill Ludlow has at drawing her characters. In a novel like this it is a very difficult thing to take two lead characters who could be easily be unlikable - a neurotic, germaphobe and a grimy, drug-addled rock and roller - and make them likable, but Ludlow is masterful. Hazel and Otis are so deftly drawn, that you can't help but like them. Sid and Nancy they ain't, though that may be their aspiration. When they first meet, the reader knows that Otis may be the best (or worst) thing to happen to Hazel, but he is what she needs in her life right now. Inexplicably, we find ourselves rooting for them to get together. Conversely, Hazel may be the best thing for Otis. Even Otis' brother, Landon, a slacker beyond all slackers, is likable, his relationship with his brother surprisingly touching in a totally twisted, punker-than-thou way.

The second aspect of this novel which makes it remarkable is something I think has been largely overlooked in the other reviews I have read: the deeply satirical nature of the story. Ludlow skewers everyone in this novel and she does it with dark humor and a respectful understanding of the ails of her characters. The middle class who aspires to be bourgeoisie is represented by Hazel's mother and by the direction Hazel sees her life headed. It's that group that has sold out all they ever wanted to be for everything they ever wanted to have. They live for their children finding the proper marriage or the proper career or the proper car, so much so that they manage to tear their children down if they are even remotely different. But the punk scene also gets a few slashes from Ludlow's pen as well. Sure, the excesses are part of the anarchy the scene ascribes to, but underneath it, Ludlow shows us that the punks can be just as judgmental of others in their own sphere who don't ascribe to their particular view. In short, if you don't like certain bands or certain drugs or a certain scene, you just ain't punk enough. The scene--for all its desire for nonconformity, despises nonconformity within its own world. But most of all, Ludlow firmly jibes those who are intent upon having their midlife crises about 15 years too early.

So, does Hazel learn anything from her tour experiences? Does she let go of her fear of life so that she can start living? Is she redeemed? Does she pursue her dreams? Well, all of that would be just a little too pat for this novel and a little too chick-lit for an author of this caliber. In the end, Ludlow gives us a darkly funny, extremely critical view of not only the punk scene, but of the entire 21st century world where the only choices in life seem to be the extremities. Alt.punk is crude and crass, funny and serious, touching and absurd, but most of all, it's engrossing...and gross. This ain't no light beach read...unless the beach is outside a leaking chemical factory. It's an anti-romance and, thankfully, the antithesis of - and antidote for--chick-lit everywhere. Highly recommended.


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