Category Archives: Science Fiction

Justice by Scudiere

JusticeSin is a warrior, a trained assassin, a former police officer and the daughter of a Crime Lord.
In Book 1 Vengeance, Sin’s family is assassinated by the Kurevs Crime Family, leaving she and her sister alone. At age 12, Sin swore vengeance on the entire family. She would kill each and every person in the family and in the worse way possible. Thus, Sin began her training to become the best and seek her revenge.

Justice
The Sin Trilogy 3
A. J. Scudiere
Gryffin Ink
October 2015

In Book 2 Retribution, Sin meets and teams up with Lee. As a team they become unstoppable. No one even remotely connected with the Kurevs family is safe from them. These assassinations drew the attention of FBI Special Agent Owen Dunham who spent his entire career trying to capture them. He dubbed them the “Red Ribbon Bandits” as they always left their victims tied up in a big red bow, Sin and Lee eventually fell of the grid and retired to a small cabin in the mountains in a place that doesn’t exist on any map. They continued to train and hone their skills just in case they were every located.

In Book 3 Justice, Sin and Lee’s quiet lives take a very unexpected turn. In the middle of the night two trained assassins invade the cabin. Sin escapes but Lee is no where to be found. Sin visits all the places they were to meet should they ever be detected, but Lee is not any of these places. Sin must located Lee at all cost. His very live depends on it. This is a job, however, that she can’t do alone. She must seek help. Perhaps her brother Nick will help. She has keep in touch with him in the past and at one time worked together as Police Officers for a small community. Nick is the head of a rival crime family, but no one is aware of this, and he is also one of the Kurevs family as they all have the same father. Perhaps ex-Special Agent Owen Dunham would help, but how could she contact him and still remain free to look for Lee? Agent Dunham had retired, stopped looking for her and became a friend of sorts.

Their efforts to locate Lee leads to an interesting, intriguing and exciting journey. Sin is aware that the remaining Kurevs brothers are her brothers as well as Nick’s , but this makes no differences to Sin. She will locate Lee and terminate the brothers or die trying. She must find Lee alive and tell him the good news. She is pregnant. Will Lee be pleased or dismayed? Their live is no life for a child.

Will Sin, Nick and Owen Dunham locate Lee in time to save his life or will they all die at the hands of assassins sent by the Kruevs brothers? Read this intriguing, page turner book to find the answers.
Ms. Scudiere is an excellent writer. She keeps you on the tip of your seat, reading far into the night. Her books are ones that you have a hard time putting down and will remember long after you have finished them, These books are keepers for sure. Can’t wait for Book 4 in the Sin Trilogy.

I recommend you read the following books written by A. J. Scudiere and my review of them. If you are not a fan of Scudiere you will be after reading her books.


The Golden Reviewer, is an 80 something year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of fiction on top..

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Humble Audiobook Bundle Worlds of Doctor Who


In their newest audiobook bundle, Humble Bundle presents 16 dramatized Doctor Who serials for a minimum of $15 – with you choosing how much of that goes to charity!

We’ve taken a listen and – for fans of the Doctor, like us – we find this a must buy! Each features dramatization with souhnd effects, music and cast.

Our favorites are the Cybermen stories (4 audio serials) by Nicholas Briggs (Published September 20th 2005 by Big Finish Productions) are firmly rooting in the Doctor Who world, although the heroes are all human. Humanity is about to become extinct with the Orion war getting larger, we follow these stories to see how they handle their looming destruction at the hands of the Cybermen. Like true serials we don’t ever get a full conclusion (do you want Doctor Who to end?) but we do get a fun adventure and likeable characters.

Galaxy Buck: Mission to Sector 9

galaxybuckOutstanding production. Lesson learned. One gap.

Galaxy Buck: the Mission to Sector 9
by Phil Vischer
Jellyfish Labs
October 2015

Buck Denver, a Gospel Galaxy with Pastor Paul call center representative, feels like he isn’t doing any good. He doesn’t want to be a “tote bag guy,” he wants to be a “big thing guy.” When he takes a call from Sector 9 that is suffering a service interruption, Buck decides to take the issue straight to the top – to Pastor Paul. The two repair ships are out and it will be weeks before someone can fix the transponder. Fortunately, Buck has been studying to be a ship captain – on an app – and just needs a chance to take the third ship and repair it himself. Why? Because “God wants us to do big things!” Quickly selecting a crew, Buck takes a ship and the adventure is on.

This new story by Phil Vischer, best known as the creator of VeggieTales, uses his popular Buck Denver character from What’s In The Bible. The Phil Vischer Podcast is one that I follow and listen to regularly. I’ve also read Vischer’s book, Me, Myself and Bob (2008), about the rise and fall of his Big Idea Entertainment (the company that owned VeggieTales prior to its sale to DreamWorks Classics.) All this to say that I’ve been hearing about and looking forward to this 40 minute show for most of this year. Overall, I’m very happy with the final product and look forward to showing it to my children.

The production looks outstanding. Vischer filmed his puppets on green screen and digitally inserted the really built sets and very good digital effects. Each puppet is really well animated and looks great. The voices will be recognizable as variations of Vischer’s other characters.

This science fiction story includes quite a bit of tongue-in-cheek references and Easter eggs for fans of both Star Trek and Star Wars. The ship, uniforms, how they solve issues and even the lens flares are all Trek (including Abrams’ Trek). There is a scene under water that is very reminiscent of the underwater scene on Naboo from Star Wars Episode 1. Even the scene wipes are Wars. When Buck finds an Obi Wan-like hermit, he finds someone to break the monotony of his simplistic non-stop “God wants me to do big things!” message.

A minor complaint that I have is that there isn’t diversity on display in the puppets. Buck, Pastor Paul and three out of four ship members are all peach/white. One is blue. The hermit is also blue and says he is from another planet. [SPOILER] The inhabitants of Sector 9 are ant-like, blue creatures. [END SPOILERS] Humans are peach/white. Aliens are blue. Children from non-white households won’t find anyone to identify with. No black, brown, Asian, islander, or native puppets exist. There are also only two females out of the 11 characters on the show and both are “other” rather than normal. One is an old lady and one is an alien. I think this could have been done just a little differently to be more inclusive. Honestly, after listening to Vischer’s podcast I’m surprised this happened.

The message of God Wants You (no: To Do Big Things!) is right on target. It is clear, easy to digest and spot on theologically. The Rule of Love is easy to appreciate.

Congrats to N. Priebe of Rockvale, TN for winning a copy of this!


Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of BookGateway.com. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This movie screener was provided for the purpose of evaluation.

Firefly w/ Staite & Baldwin Q&A Video #WizardWorld Comic Con Nashville

BookGateway.com Highlights from the Q&A panel with Firefly’s Jewel Staite and Adam Baldwin from Wizard World Comic Con Nashville on 9/27/2015.

Adam Baldwin is an American actor known for his roles as Animal Mother in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, Ricky Linderman in My Bodyguard, Knowle Rohrer in The X-Files, and Marcus Hamilton in Joss Whedon’s Angel. He also established a cult following as Jayne Cobb in the series Firefly, the movie Serenity and for starring as Chad Shelten in Day Break. He starred as John Casey on the NBC comedy-spy series Chuck, was the voice of Breakdown in the animated series Transformers Prime and played Captain Steven Harris in three episodes of Law and Order: SVU.

Jewel Staite most recently starred as ‘Raquel’ in the CW series “The L.A. Complex,” which premiered in the Spring of 2012. Prior to that, she was seen starring in the Hallmark Channel telefilm “Call Me Mrs. Miracle” opposite Doris Roberts. This premiere was the highest rated Hallmark Channel telecast of the year. Prior to that, Jewel was seen as ‘Dr. Keller’ in the SyFy Channel hit series “Stargate: Atlantis.” Her stellar work has earned her rave reviews, as well as recognition from The Gemini Awards (Canada’s prestigious equivalent of our Emmy) with a nomination for ‘Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role’ in 2008. This was followed up with a nomination from the Leo Awards in 2009 for ‘Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series.’ Jewel made her 2005 feature film debut in Universal Pictures “Serenity,” Joss Whedon’s adaptation of the FOX science fiction television series “Firefly,” of which Jewel was a series regular. Jewel played the ship’s mechanic ‘Kaylee,’ a sweet, happy and sensual farm girl who loves life and is a genius at fixing anything.

Moderator: Jenna Busch is the founder of Legion of Leia and has hosted and written for sites like IGN, AOL, Huffington Post and more. She co-hosted Cocktails With Stan with the legendary Stan Lee and has appeared on G4’s Attack of the Show, Fresh Ink, Tabletop with Wil Wheaton, NPR and Al Jazeera America, covers film/TV/gaming/comics. She’s currently a co-host on the entertainment web series Most Craved. She’s been published in the comics anthology Womanthology, is a chapter author for Star Wars Psychology and Game of Thrones Psychology, moderates and appears on panels at cons around the country and owns a terrifying amount of swords and 20-sided dice. There are also those My Little Pony voice overs that give one nightmares.

**Details taken from Wizard World press releases. See http://www.wizardworld.com/nashville2015.html

Live Blog: Day 2, 2015 #WizardWorld Comic Con Nashville

Welcome to BookGateway.com’s Wizard World Comic Con Nashville 2015 live blog! Join me (Scott Asher @ashertopia) David Mason (resident comics-know-it-all), and David Warren (photo and videographer) as we blog everything that happens on during Day 2 of Comic Con Nashville 2015! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @BookGateway and #WizardWorld! Video will also be posted next day on our YouTube channel. On tap today: Behind the Scenes of CW’s The Flash with Candice Patton, Inside Firefly with Staite and Baldwin, Machete Don’t Text with Danny Trejo, the Dukes of Hazzard reunion, the cosplay contest and a bunch of quick hit interviews with artists and writers. Coverage starts at 9/26 at 12 pm Central. Tune in for updates! (OPEN THIS PAGE TO VIEW BLOG)

Live Blog: Opening Night 2015 #WizardWorld Comic Con Nashville

Welcome to BookGateway.com’s Wizard World Comic Con Nashville 2015 live blog! Join me (Scott Asher @ashertopia) David Mason (resident comics-know-it-all), and David Warren (photo and videographer) as we blog everything that happens on opening night of Comic Con Nashville 2015! Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @BookGateway and #WizardWorld! Video will also be posted nightly on our YouTube channel. On tap tonight: Strong Female Characters roundtable, Roman Reigns from WWE, cosplay and a bunch of quick hit interviews with artists and writers. Coverage starts at 9/25 at 6 pm Central. Tune in for updates! (OPEN THIS PAGE TO VIEW BLOG)

Darth Vader and Friends by Brown

darthvaderStar Wars and satire fans rejoice! Like the amazing William Shakespeare’s Star Wars books, here is another book in a series that takes what we love and pokes fun at it in a way that is never hurtful, but always hilarious.

Darth Vader and Friends
Star Wars
by Jeffrey Brown
Chronicle Books
April 2015

This collection of comics runs the gamut of “awww” (like Lando, Leah, Han and Luke sitting together watching the suns set, saying, “I’ve got a good feeling about this!”) to the silly (ghosts Yoda and Obi Wan telling Darth Vader, “Look Anakin. If you want to hang out with us you’re gonna have to take off the helmet.) Most of the comics are from the perspective of the kids and they do childish things (drawing all over attack maps, etc). Some take favorite phrases from the original trilogy and flip them on their head through the mouths of children.

This is a whimsical, easy read that makes for a perfect gift book for fans of either humor or Star Wars.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

The City on the Edge of Forever by Ellison

Screenshot_2015-01-03-14-18-47-1“No woman was ever loved as much, Jim. Because no woman was ever offered the universe for love.”

The City on the Edge of Forever
Star Trek
By Harlan Ellison
IDW Publishing
February 2015

A crewman named Beckwith decides that he should end his tour rich so becomes a drug dealer on the Enterprise. When one of his junkies decides that his habit is endangering the ship he decides to Screenshot_2015-01-03-13-17-35-1come clean prompting Beckwith to attack him and flee the shop to a nearby planet. The planet is somehow, against all odds, habitable and hosts a city occupied by ancient creatures who guard a gateway to all of time and space. This is a city on the edge of forever.

Beckwith takes a chance and flees through the portal to the 1930s earth and changes the universe and timeline. To repair things Kirk and Spock go back in time as well. The guardians are clear though: there is a certain event that must not be Screenshot_2015-01-03-13-42-01-1changed or time will irrevocably change the universe.

After a time adjusting, Kirk and Spock find the focal point: a woman. More than that, as Kirk gets to know her – and maybe love her – Spock becomes convinced that the only way time is reset is if she is killed. This sets us up for one of the most emotional and powerful science fiction stories written. Can Kirk let her die, as he must, or will he holds on to this love at the possible peril of the universe add they know it?

Each page is fully painted and visually represents the characters very well. Fans of the original series and science fiction will appreciate and enjoy this excellent graphical version of the original teleplay.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Star Wars: Tarkin by Luceno

Star Wars: Tarkin by James LucenoOne of the most dastardly villains in the Star Wars universe came and went with an all too early bang along with the Death Star: Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin in Episode IV, A New Hope. The then wasted opportunity to get to know this fascinated character is finally made available by this novel and readers will rejoice!

Star Wars: Tarkin
by James Luceno
read by Euan Morton
LucasBooks / Random House Audio
November 2014

A leader with the guts to blow up a fully developed world deserved more than the quick death on the Death Star. We never learned who he was, how he got to where he was, how in charge he really was, and what could drive a man to that horrendous atrocity. But here we do. James Luceno takes the Star Wars universe in a slight historical detour to tell the story of Tarkin’s rise to power in the Empire. Without spoiling too much, he begins with his outer rim birth and how he was raised to how he overcame perceptions and earned the respect of those in power, specifically Darth Vader and the Emperor.

Luceno’s great accomplishment is how he has readers cheering for Tarkin’s success. We grow to like him and understand his decisions. (Obviously not those decisions in the movies, but the decisions prior to those that made up his character.) I don’t recall the last time I rooted for the bad guy. I’m not talking anti-hero here, but actual bad guy.

This story isn’t just back story on a single character though. We see scenes where Palpatine rules and makes decisions, further fleshing out that character as well. After all, we see so little of how he ruled in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The one character we don’t learn as much about is Vader, but frankly we know quite a bit about him so that criticism is unfair.

Not everything is perfect though. The rebels tend to be rehashes of Star Wars cliché characters. The leader is Han with Leah’s moral compass; the others are tag-alongs you could see in nearly any book in the series. Indistinct is the best way to describe them. But they aren’t the focus. Tarkin is and when the story sticks to him it shines.

In my opinion, one of the best Star Wars books in recent years and one of my unexpected favorite reads of 2014.

A note about the audio version: Morton is excellent. His Tarkin reminds us of the film version. His Vader – thanks to audio editing and effects – works great. The Emperor is outstandingly close to the original. Very well done. Plus you get all the great radio drama sound effects we are accustomed to in Star Wars audio books.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Disestablishment of Paradise by Mann

paradiseThis isn’t your normal science fiction book. Interestingly, the difference is the addition of metaphysics and the supernatural to one being’s journey of spiritual discovery.

The Disestablishment of Paradise
by Phillip Mann
Gollancz
June 2014

Dr. Hera Melhuish, leader of ORBE – a scientific project on the planet Paradise – is upset. Not only is ORBE’s role on Paradise being cancelled, but the planet is being disestablished. In the future humans don’t just colonize planets. Instead they try planets out for some time then determine whether or not to colonize longer term. In some cases, like the planet Paradise, a decision is made that the planet will never be hospitable enough for humans and so it becomes ‘disestablished.’ That’s what happens here.

What ensues is the story of how Hera deals with the loss of her scientific pursuits, her time with her team of researchers, and also her connection to the planet. She is blessed with a repreive to stay on the planet during disestablishment (where all human things are removed or torn down), thus giving her several month’s time to spend with herself. What she finds is that the planet is much, much more than just a rock in space. Could it also be sentient in some way?

What’s fascinating about this book is how the story is told. It is written from the perspective of Hera through interviews given with the ‘author,’ a female children’s book writer who is chosen by Hera to document her life and the story of Paradise. Occasionally, the story will pause while a dialogue between Hera and the author ensues, many times a transcript from a recording during the interviews. This breaking down oft he third wall by the author character works really well. Coupled with the world building of the actual author, Phillip Mann, where not only is the world deeply but fantastically realistic, but end notes and an appendix of short stories from ‘settlers’ and other pioneers on Paradise fill in backstory via footnotes. It is deep and rewarding to read the stories or even the introduction once the book is over to really make sense of so much that happens.

As to the story itself, [SPOILERS] I have to say that I found the main thrust to be weak. That Paradise is somehow sentient or physic in some way was far too naturalistic a way to describe the powers we see. With the telepathy and leylines or physic power this is almost a fantasy novel rather than science fiction. That a planet could be sentient isn’t the issue, but rather the conclusions of Hera and the author on the causes of the powers and the point. Rightly summarized, I think, this is a cautionary tale of human avarice and how that darkness can destroy untainted things. Very Adam and Even in the Garden. But with an odd conclusion that didn’t bring home that message. No lesson is learned other than Hera’s which is to open herself up to metaphysical science (divination, psychic communication, etc). [END SPOILERS]

I also found that the book took a very long time to build momentum. It wasn’t a slow buildup, but rather a meandering one where readers may have been wondering about the point for most of the 500 plus pages.

All in all, this was a well developed world written well, but that moved a bit too slowly for the first half and that didn’t satisfy this reader in the conclusions. Still, a read worth your time.


@ashertopia is the Managing Editor of BookGateway.com. He is an avid reader and a lifetime learner. His favorite genres include science fiction, fantasy, as well as theology and Christian living. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.