Hasslein Blog: What You Should Be Reading


Hasslein Blog

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What You Should Be Reading

By Rich Handley

As the holiday shopping season approaches, many Web sites are putting together online guides to help visitors with their gift-giving efforts. With that in mind, Hasslein Publishing recommends the following projects. Not all of them are books, and not all of them are yet for sale—and, heck, not all of them will even be available by the holidays—but all are worth checking out. What they have in common is that they come from the minds of Hasslein's creative crop of contributors. We're pleased to have these wonderfully talented folks writing for us, and wholeheartedly promote their non-Hasslein work.

Jim Beard, a co-author (with Becky Beard and Joseph F. Berenato) of It's Alive: The Universal Monsters Encyclopedia for Hasslein, has penned a book for Airship 27 Productions titled Sgt. Janus, Spirit-Breaker"Part detective, part occultist, Janus is himself a man of mystery whose own past is shrouded and the motivations behind his calling kept hidden. Within this volume you will find eight tales as narrated by his clients, each with his or her own perspective on this uncanny hero and his amazing career. Filled with suspense, terror and agonizing pathos, each a solid mesmerizing journey into the unknown world beyond."

Jim has also co-written a biographical comic for BlueWater Publishing titled Political Power: Herman Cain, with Kurt Belcher. This title will be available for download with iBooks on Mac or iOS devices, and with iTunes on computers. Official description: "Business man, social activist and best seller writer Herman Cain is featuring in the newest comic book biography. See his strong ties to family to the growth of some of the top US businesses to even his stint in the political world. Herman Cain is here is stay!"

Becky is teaming up with Jim on an anthology of short stories based on the characters of Fletcher Hanks, the details of which have not yet been announced. In addition, she, Jim and Joe are the co-authors of Gotham City 14 Miles: 14 Essays on Why the 1960s Batman TV Series Matters, from the Sequart Research and Literacy Organization. "From 1966 to 1968, both on ABC and in theaters, America embraced Batman as a campy cultural icon. But in the ensuing decades, many vilified the show as an embarrassment that needed to be swept under the rug if Batman—and superheroes—were to be taken seriously. Now, we can return to Adam West's Gotham... to the unapologetic fun of colorful, cackling villains hatching bizarre schemes... to phrases like 'Atomic batteries to power!' and 'Same bat-time, same bat-channel!'... to deadpan heroes climbing walls and defying deathtrap cliffhangers... and find these aspects rich with cultural meanings we may have ignored."

Joe, meanwhile, is also hard at work on another special project for Sequart, exploring the history of Star Trek comic books. No cover or official description is yet available, but I can tell you (full disclosure: I'm one of the book's contributors) that it's going to be amazing, so stay tuned for an imminent announcement from Sequart. The cover will be by Pat Carbajal, the phenomenal artist who has created all of Hasslein's book covers to date, as well as many beautiful interior illustrations. Pat's work is simply breathtaking, and we strongly recommend becoming a regular reader of his blog.

Matthew J. Elliott, who is penning Lost in Time and Space: An Unofficial Guide to the Uncharted Journeys of Doctor Who for Hasslein, recently released a pair of Kindle eBooks worth checking out, both from MX Publishing. The first is Sherlock Holmes in Pursuit, which MX thus describes: "An impossible poisoning case... A master thief discovers something nasty in a chimney... A murder is committed on Baker Street in broad daylight, and the culprit is captured, but one man still has his doubts. Six new cases featuring Victorian England's greatest detective, these mysteries are sure to delight Holmes fans old and new."

The second, The Immortals: An Unauthorized Guide to Sherlock and Elementary, is, according to the publisher, "An invaluable companion to both the UK and US hit series, analysing each episode (including the un-filmed pilot for Elementary), identifying trivia, offering criticism and considering Canonical fidelity."

Edward M. Erdelac, who has contributed several articles to the Hasslein Blog, has published a new novel from Comet Press titled Coyote's Trail. Here's the official description of the novel, set in 1886: "Geronimo and his followers, the last Apache resistance to white encroachment, have been transported east, and the blue wool defenders of The Fort settle into boredom, directing their cruel attentions to illicit liquor and prostitutes, their clearest enemy a weak officer's bullheaded wife on a moral crusade. One broken and battered Chiricahua boy, Na-e-te-nay, drags himself across the Arizona desert, held together only by a bleak vision of revenge; a vision that will cause him to abandon his warrior traditions and set his feet on Coyote's Trail—the road of murder and evil."

Rocko Jerome, a frequent blogger at the Hasslein Blog, is helming a project titled Ben Venice. Although no publisher has yet been announced, you can follow the project's progress at Rocko's Web site.

Dan Madsen, the marketing and PR head for Ashley (The Clone Wars) Eckstein's company Her Universe—and the foreword writer for Back in Time: The Back to the Future Chronology—is launching an independent film project known as Short Story: The Movie, which his Facebook page describes as: "A dwarf veterinarian sinks into romantic quicksand when he falls for an average-height judge after discovering her childhood letters in a flea market treasure and posing as her pen pal."

James McFadden, who is currently hard at work on Hasslein's upcoming Fighting for Freedom: The G.I. Joe Chronology, also writes articles for StarWars.com from time to time. His most recent piece, "Convenient Daily Departures: The History of Star Tours," is a must-read for fans of Star Wars, Star Tours and the Walt Disney Corporation.

David A. McIntee, the author of upcoming Hasslein title Lore of Kobol: The Big Frakkin' Book of Battlestar Galactica—An Unofficial Companion, will soon launch his latest book, We Will Destroy Your Planet: An Alien's Guide to Conquering the Earth, from Osprey Publishing. Excerpted from the official blurb: "Enjoy this pseudo-nonfiction, 'how-to' military handbook for aliens intending to conquer the Earth. Science fiction elements are satirized and then connected to real-world science, history, and military technique to show how it should be done. It goes without saying that any military campaign must be planned in ways depending upon some basic factors: The logistics of where your enemy is in relation to your own forces, environmental factors, and, most importantly, 'why' you're fighting this campaign. This book intends to take these basic factors, and apply them to the purpose of conquering the planet known to the natives as Earth."

Greg Mitchell, my co-author on the BTTF timeline book, has also had a pair of recent novels published. The first, Dark Hour, is "the explosive final act in The Coming Evil trilogy. All bets are off as the remnant of light clash with the armies of darkness. The final fates of Jeff, Isabella, Dras, and Rosalyn, along with all of Greensboro, will be decided in a desperate last stand."

The second is Rift Jump, from Splashdown Darkwater: "The day Michael Morrison died was the day his life began. A sinister threat is growing in the void between realities, and Michael has been recruited to stop it. Ripped from his own violent life, he is sent rift jumping to other worlds seeking out the agents of the Dark and putting them to an end by any means necessary. The love of his life, Sara, joins him as he battles Civil War space ships, sea serpents, superpowered humans, and even his own duplicate from a parallel timeline. But the darkness he fights is growing within him too, calling him to the same destiny as every other Michael from every other world."

John Kenneth Muir, who contributed the foreword to Hasslein's From Aldo to Zira: Lexicon of the Planet of the Apes: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia, has two new books. The first, Horror Films FAQ: All Thats Left to Know About Slashers, Vampires, Zombies, Aliens, and More, is produced by Applause Theatre and Cinema Books. "Horror Films FAQ explores a century of ghoulish and grand horror cinema, gazing at the different characters, situations, settings, and themes featured in the horror film, from final girls, monstrous bogeymen, giant monsters and vampires to the recent torture porn and found footage formats. The book remembers the J-Horror remake trend of the 2000s, and examines the oft-repeated slasher format popularized by John Carpenters Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980). After an introduction positioning the horror film as an important and moral voice in the national dialogue, the book explores the history of horror decade by decade, remembering the womens liberation horrors of the 1970s, the rubber reality films of the late 1980s, the serial killers of the 1990s, and the xenophobic terrors of the 9/11 age."

John's other book, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films of the 1970s, from the CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, offers "a detailed history and analysis of more than 100 genre films produced between the span of 1970 to 1979. The book looks at the historical context of dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and outer space movies of the day, and reveals how these movies are both a look at tomorrow and a product of their times."

Alan J. Porter, the author of two upcoming Hasslein projects (The James Bond Lexicon: 007 in Movies, Novels and Comics and The Lexicon Affair: The Guide to The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), is currently editing a series of graphic novels for Kid Domino titled Forgotten City, "a coming-of-age tale set in a hidden city ravaged by apocalypse." The book follows two boys, Wilshire and his younger brother, Dirt. Official blurb: "As they struggle to survive in the Outcaste, they are driven into a web of tunnels beneath the domes of the forgotten city, where they discover a new and even more dangerous way of life ruled by a secret society. In time, however, territorial battles between rival gangs evolve into organized, gladiator-type games that instill order. The games are created by a mysterious man known as Prophet. Reluctantly, Wilshire is drawn into the hidden society, where Prophet grooms him as a leader. While the repressive government hides the truth behind a political stranglehold on the domes, Prophet's warriors rise up and wrest control from the corrupt regime." Forgotten City is written by Bryan Glass and James Mann, with illustrations by Gabriel Morrissette.

Brian J. Robb and Paul Simpson, who are compiling an essay book for Hasslein titleed Who at 50: Celebrating Five Decades of Doctor Who, have co-written a beautiful hardcover reference guide for Race Point Publishing called Middle-earth Envisioned: The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: On Screen, On Stage, and Beyond. Middle-Earth Envisioned is "the first book to explore the artistic legacy left by Tolkien's world. Paintings, drawings, theatrical performances, radio serials, and films inspired by The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are all discussed in a manner that further illuminates the brilliance of Tolkien’s creation. Readers will discover details surrounding an attempted Beatles live-action version (with Paul McCartney as Frodo Baggins), a nearly four-hour Canadian musical, the West End stage production of Lord of the Rings, and of course, the Peter Jackson films—including The Hobbit trilogy—and much more. In this beautifully illustrated gift book, discover the richness of Middle-Earth anew, through the works of the artists inspired by it."

Separately, Brian has also authored A Brief Guide to Superheroes, a book due out in 2014 from Running Press. The publisher's blurb: "From the beginning, superheroes represented the hopes and fears of the time. In this detailed history, Brian Robb takes the reader through the diverse history of superheroes, from the first creations—Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman—to the DC and Marvel feud and the darker versions of the 1980s, ending with their rebirth at the movies."

Paul, meanwhile, has written A Brief Guide to Oz, also from Running Press. "August 2014 marks the 75th anniversary of one of the best-loved films in the world, MGM's The Wizard of Oz, based on L. Frank Baum's beloved books. Since Baum's death there have been over 30 official continuations of the saga, as well as alternate takes on the central concepts, 17 movies with more to come (including a re-release of the original movie, in 2014), more than 20 different TV versions, and more than 15 stage adaptations, including the blockbuster musical Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz, which continues to fill theaters worldwide. This Brief Guide focuses on Baum's life and the literary land of Oz, plus the films, sequels, remakes, stage versions, and myriad of reinvented stories."

Also, don't forget:

Bob Gale, the co-writer of the Back to the Future trilogy, without whom we would never have created our two Back to the Future reference books, has written a new novel now available exclusively in Amazon's Kindle Store, and from the Kindle Lending Library. The book, Retribution High, is "a dark, twisted, horrific tale of high school bullying," subtitled "A Short Violent Novel of Bullying, Revenge, and the Hell Known as High School." Retribution High is available in two versions, Standard (green) and Explicit (red). Although the overall story and content in each is the same, the Standard version contains none of the 68 words or expressions banned on network television, and the sexual situations are toned down. As a movie, it would probably be rated PG-13. The Explicit version is exactly that—full of explicit profanity, and also containing a scene that is not for the squeamish. As a movie, it would be rated R or X.

Happy reading, my friends!



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