Book News: Cult Books, DC Super-Hero YA Novels, Reading Series Out of Order & More!


Scary Audio 
Here are ten terrifying horror audioboooks that will send shivers down your spine.

Great Non-Bookstore Places 
Sometimes you’re in a place that doesn’t have a bookstore, and here are some other places you can get books.

DC Super-Heroes Are Getting Their Own YA Novels
Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman and Catwoman will each get their own young adult book starting in 2017.

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“The Last Bastion of Civilization: Japan 2041 A Scenario Analysis” by Andrew Blencowe

In 2041, the world looks quite different from what it does now. Nations have changed, alliances have formed and reformed and battles and wars have been waged and rage ever onward. But at the very top of the global food chain is Japan in its civilized resplendence, living out the idyllic life with automated robots making the industry, economy and country run smoothly, while its people enjoy many of the technological and sociological advances made by its proud nation of the past five decades.

This is the story of Japan’s rise to worldly power, as told through a series of essays from various academics, intellectuals and leading figures. Each essay covers a core component of what Japan has done, while the rest of the world has neglected, to make itself “the last bastion of civilization.” Widespread rioting, skyrocketing unemployment and the decline of faith and spirituality have taken a toll on the planet, plunging numerous countries into anarchy.

These essays provide sparks of solution and possible resolution, such as addressing social issues like illegitimacy, rising populations, violence, gangs and intellectual decline. Some essays reveal how countries have joined together to aid each other while others take on the important subject of robotics and its development and improvement over the years leading to the idealized servant robot that is used in so many ways in daily life whether it be in the home, the factory or the workplace. Of course, the development of weapons technology is also crucial in the rise of any superpower and is not lacking here. But it is more how Japan set these many events in motion many years in the past with the goal of becoming this last civilized haven.

While The Last Bastion of Civilization is a somewhat interesting look into how a nation could conceivably become a paradisaical superpower, the steps that have been taken at times have overtones of those in some works of dystopian fiction such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Some essays are outright misogynistic and racist to those who live in a world that is more aware and respectful of those who are not part of the status quo that has been in effect for so long. Sacrifices that lead to immense suffering for those less fortunate and different are not worth the price. The essays all appear to be written by men, which provides a narrow vision for this future. The key to remember is that this is a work of fiction and while these may be horrifically plausible, are ones that haven’t happened yet and for some of them, hopefully never will.

Originally written on December 20, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

Originally published in the San Francisco Book Review.

To purchase a copy of The Last Bastion of Civilization from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“Every Heart a Doorway” by Seanan McGuire (Tor, 2016)

Seanan McGuire has a number of books under her belt, with both the October Daye and Incryptid series. Then there are the many books she’s written under Mira Grant. So with the publication of her new novel,with a new publisher – Tor, readers might be expecting something similar to what they’ve read before. Every Heart a Doorway is completely different to anything she has written before, and it may be (at least in my opinion) the best piece of fiction she’s written so far.

There is a special place for special children. These kids and teens have traveled to magical worlds, places of fable, locations that are disbelieved by our world. Then for one reason or another, are kicked out of their desired realm and brought back to ours. Now they feel incredibly lost and helpless and don’t know what to do. Their parents in many cases thought them lost and/or dead, and now that they’re back they appear to be wrong in some way.

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is this special place that will help these children. It will take them in and foster them. Eleanor West herself went through this experience, and like the many children, hopes to one day return to her magical world. For now, with the help of teachers and classes and therapy, they learn to accept the way the world is, but at the same time are encouraged to accept the way they are, yearning for a lost world.

Except now something is killing the children. Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children is no longer the safe, comfortable, welcoming refuge it has always been.

In some ways Every Heart a Doorway has a certain Neil Gaiman feel to it, but at the same time it is only the sort of book Seanan McGuire could have ever written. It is magical and lyrical and moving. While it is a short read, readers will want to race along to the end to find out what happens, but at the same time savor every word and page and make it last an eternity.

Originally written on March 24, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of Every Heart a Doorway from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

“The Siege of Praetar: Tales of a Dying Star Volume 1” by David Kristoph (CreateSpace, 2014)

This is the story about a star coming to the end of its life and what the civilization surrounding it does to survive. The Siege of Praetar gives a brief overview with how the Melisao is evacuating and preparing to save those it can, and then focuses on three specific characters and how they are coping with these end times.

In the first part, “The Sentinel,” there is a ship of the same name hovering near orbit on guard. It’s duty is to watch freighters leaving Praetar that have to be a specific weight and transporting necessary goods as part of the evacuation. Any ships that are under the required weight are to be destroyed without question, as they are presumed to be carrying weapons. But sometimes these ships are also carrying refugees. Nevertheless, it’s up to whoever is at the controls of the Sentinel to carry out their orders and destroy on sight if necessary.  But what happens when one of the two-person team decides that one of these ships carrying refugees needs to escape?

“The Mother” shows the moving story of a single-mother doing her best to support her two daughters. She works long hours at the factory for a small number of discs to help her get food rations for her and her children. It’s a harsh world and to make matters worse one of her daughters is sick due to the toxic air everyone is now breathing. But medicine costs a lot. And then there is the journey she must make to and from work with rough people on the street doing worse than her looking to take what money she has and more. So when her supervisor gives her some extra credits as a gift to pay for medicine for her daughter, she graciously accepts as she eyes the drawer full of credits and begins to wonder if she might be able to steal some of that great bounty.

The third and final part, “The Snake,” is about an unlikeable character who is succeeding and profiting off those less fortunate in these end of the world times, but then you need to do what you can to survive. The Snake is just looking out for number one, because that’s what he’s always done. The reader briefly met him in Part Two, but gets to know more about his character and his world in the third part. He is a slumlord known as the “Lord of the Station” and is also a corrupt member involved in launching those important freighters into space. He happens to know which ones have refugees hidden aboard, as well as what will happen to the freighter once it reaches orbit and is intercepted by the Sentinel.

The Siege of Praetar is a story of suffering and pain and doing what needs to be done to survive, whether you are one in power or not. Do you just follow the rules and do as your told? Or do you break them to try to make it through these end times? These are moving stories that feature plenty of conflict and drama, though the key to remember is that this is the first volume; do not expect denouement and satisfying conclusions here, for this is a tough world and there is more story to tell. The Siege of Praetar gives a moving story into various aspects of this world, told by an author who doesn’t hold back on the gritty details, along with complex and interesting characters that the reader soon cares emotionally for. By the end, said reader will be wondering what will happen next.

Originally written on October 3, 2015 ©Alex C. Telander.

Originally published in the San Francisco Book Review.

To purchase a copy of Siege of Praetar from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

King Capsule No. 1


Here’s your premiere dose of the master of horror, one Stephen King. In this first King capsule you will be introduced to four of King’s most popular and well known novels that you might want to start with when beginning with this author. Since he has published 54 novels as of March 2016 (and that’s not including short story collections), this is a lot medicine to swallow.

So it is best taken in small, simple, capsule form.

‘Salem’s Lot (1975): Every horror writer has one, and this is Stephen King’s take on the vampire story. In the quaint small town of Jerusalem’s Lot, or ‘Salem’s lot as some locals call it, or The Lot as others do, things are not always as they seem. Ben Mears grew up here and there are certainly some skeletons hiding in his closet about the town. But now he’s looking to star anew and has moved into the old Marsten home where he plans to write his new book, possibly about the history of the historic mansion; he’s not sure yet. There’s also this cute girl in town who he used to know, and he’s starting to get real friendly with her. There are also some strange things going on in the Lot, and during the day it all seems a little too quiet.

Pet Sematary (1983): Losing a beloved pet can be really hard on a family, especially on a child, so what if there was a way of bringing said beloved pet back from the dead? The Creeds are about to find out. They’ve just moved into this lovely old house in rural Maine that’s close to a road that sees a lot of traffic. And sadly the pet cat finds this out the hard way. But deep in the woods behind the house is a pet cemetery, only there’s something really creepy about it, other than the jagged sign that reads “Pet Sematary.” Also if this place can bring things back from the dead, does that just apply to animals?

Misery (1987): Paul Sheldon is the bestselling and popular author of the Misery Chastain novels. But he’s written the last one and is finally done with character. That is until he gets in a horrific automobile accident from which he barely survives and is nursed back to health by Annie Wilkes, who just happens to be Sheldon’s number one fan. Only she’s not happy with how the last book ended, not happy at all. She wants him to write a new Misery novel, a better one, and if he doesn’t write it like she tells him to, then she’s going to have to teach him a lesson.

The Tommyknockers (1987): Bobbi Anderson is a pretty successful writer living in the fictional town of Haven, Maine. Her old friend Gardener is back; he’s done well as a poet, but also has an alcohol problem. But for Bobbi, she’s doing pretty great with herself, that is until she finds that strange chunk of metal sticking out of the ground near her house. Curiosity gets the better of her and she starts to dig it up, wondering what it is. Only, she can never quite find the edge, as it keeps getting bigger and bigger. The more of it she unearths, the more she’s certain it’s something not from this planet.

“The Witch Who Came in From the Cold, Episode 9: Head Case” by Max Gladstone (Serial Box, 2016)

This is the ninth episode in the series; reviews for all other episodes can be found here.

Things are moving into place for a huge and secret operation for the CIA known by the codename ANCHISES. Agent Gabe Pritchard would really like to not screw this one up and totally ruin his career. Things would be a lot easier if he didn’t have a golem on his back.

Rookie CIA operative Joshua Toms gets picked to meet with an operative who happens to be the big contact for ANCHISES. It’s his first big operation and he’s nervous as hell, but he also knows it’s an important stepping stone in his career. And since he kind of got caught recently revealing his affections for a certain man, he needs to show this isn’t going to affect him at all and he’s a great agent.

Meanwhile Gabe now has a golem following him and what’s even creepier is the thing’s starting to look like him. He tries every magical trick up his sleeve but nothing seems to work to stop or even slow the thing. With the help of Jordan Rhemes and a parchment of skin, Gabe has something that might affect the golem now, he just has to get the parchment into its head somehow.

And then things go from bad to worse when Gabe is at the specific location for Joshua’s operation and the golem happens to be looking for him in the basement. Gabe enlists some help . . . Actually, he basically begs Ice operative Tatiana Morozova to help him out.

Tensions are building in The Witch Who Came in From the Cold, and “Head Case” ends on one of the biggest cliffhangers of the series so far.

Originally written on March 3, 2016 ©Alex C. Telander.

To purchase a copy of The Witch Who Came in From the Cold, Episode 9: A Head Case from Amazon, and help support BookBanter, click HERE.

Book News: Books About Libraries, Bookstagramming, One Sitting Tomes & More!


Fifty Shades of Grey 
A charity bookstore in England came up with an interesting project for their many, many copies of Fifty Shades of Grey.

Getting Philosophical
Here are some philosophical books to get you through these challenging political times.

Book Shorts 
James Patterson is starting a new style of reading with really short books to be read in one sitting.

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