Review: The Serpent’s Head

What happens when a lone hired gun ends up responsible for a trio of children who have lost everything and want revenge?  The Serpent’s Head by Bryan Young is a science-fiction western that asks not only that but so much more in a enjoyable and fun novel that will keep readers turning the page.

The gunslinger known as Twelve comes to the planet of Glycon-Prime looking for work but instead of finding any he stumbles upon Nine Mine City.  It’s your typical frontier town except for one thing: the entire city has been massacred leaving three children as the only survivors.  Twelve soon finds himself caught up in the children’s quest not only for revenge but to rescue Miri, the only other survivor, from the mutant Glicks.

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Kickstarter: War of the Seasons by Janine Spendlove

Last week we were fortunate to have author and all-around awesome human being Janine Spendlove on the podcast. Janine is the author of War of the Seasons, a YA fantasy trilogy that both Nanci and I have greatly enjoyed. Today, she’s kickstarting the launch of the third and final book in that series.

If you’ve read the first two War of the Seasons novels, you can contribute to this kickstarter to get either an ebook or a print version (depending on the contribution level) of the third book. If you haven’t read the prior two novels, you can get those included as ebooks for a $15 or greater contribution or as print novels for $50.

As is the case with many kickstarters, there are bonuses for hitting some stretch goals. Among them? Short stories set in the War of the Seasons universe that will be penned by Star Wars Expanded Universe authors Aaron Allston and Mike Stackpole.

Other stretch goal authors that may wind up contributing short stories both in the War of the Seasons universe and outside of it are Bryan Young, Cleolinda Jones, Albin Johnson (founding of the 501st), and Maggie Allen.

Kickstart Time Traveled Tales

How would you like a speculative fiction anthology featuring works by authors like Timothy Zahn, Aaron Allston, Mike Stackpole, Janine Spendlove, and Bryan Young? Good news, there’s a Kickstarter for that.

At the $5 level, you’ll get an ebook version of the anthology. At $20, you’ll get the limited Kickstarter edition.

Tosche Station Radio #26: Heavy Meta

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On this week’s Tosche Station Radio, we’re joined by author, filmmaker, and Star Wars fan Bryan Young!

Kicking off the show, we highlight new Replace Mara’s Catsuit entries from kataja, Ellen, Bria, and Robert. Brian looked back at Isard’s Revenge and Emily wrapped up our series of X-Wing retrospectives with a fond review of Starfighters of Adumar.

In Fixer’s Flash, both Brian and Nanci have been pretty wrapped up with the Olympics. Nanci did find some time to read The Gathering Flame, the prequel to the Mageworlds trilogy. She also finished her Mirax costume! Brian apologized for live-tweeting the US Women National Soccer Team’s match versus Canada. Over the weekend he jumped into Marvel’s Siege comic arc and started reading Mageworlds again. He also spent the latter part of the weekend nervously watching NASA’s seven minutes of terror.

Deak’s Dirt opens with news that Brian and Nanci are thrilled about. X-Wing: Mercy Kill, the long-awaited tenth novel in the series, has hit bookshelves!  In Celebration VI news, badges were revealed, Warwick Davis was confirmed, the We Love Prequels panel is returning, and the full schedule has finally been revealed. The Old Republic was recently confirmed as going free-to-play, but Brian’s unsure if this is good news for the game. Rounding out the news, Brian and Nanci are pumped that NASA successfully landed Curiosity.

This week’s Camie’s Concerns features author and Star Wars fan Bryan Young. The hosts and Bryan talk his writing and filmmaking career, his love of nerd culture, and all sorts of Star Wars related topics. Bryan dives in and discusses the previous Celebration conventions he’s been at and what you can expect from his Why We Love the Prequels panel. Be sure to check out his novels like Operation: Montauk and Lost at the Con! You can find Bryan at Big Shiny Robot, Bryan Young Fiction, The Huffington Post, and on Twitter.

This time around in Wormie’s Works, Nanci highlights Kate Blankenship’s brilliant Endor Leia costume and Brian cheats and highlights the great costume and art entries submitted to our Replace Mara’s Catsuit contest. Rounding out the show, Brian and Nanci take questions from listeners.

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net and a part of the Solo Sound network. If you like what you hear, please leave a review on the iTunes Music Store or the Zune Marketplace. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

Celebration VI Roundup: One Panel Revealed and Shiny Badge Art

Catching up from yesterday, a pair of interesting Celebration VI tidbits dropped. First off, the Official Star Wars Blog unveiled all of the attendee badges that will be handed out. Interestingly, the media badge features a grinning Palpatine. Wonder if they’re trying to tell us something?

In panel news (we’re still waiting for the full list, but hey, at least we’ve got something), Bryan Young and Pablo Hidalgo will be back and putting on their “Why We Love the Prequels” panel. You’ll be able to catch them at the Behind the Scenes stage at 10:30AM on Sunday.

Review: Operation Montauk by Bryan Young

Bryan Young’s most recent novel, Operation: Montauk, is a mash-up of dinosaurs, Nazis, and time travel. That’s putting it simply, of course, but if any of those three themes don’t catch your attention…well, what’s wrong with you?

In the vein of the original Star Wars, the story starts out in medias res. Jack Mallory, an American soldier fighting in World War II, is on a mission to travel back in time and kill Hitler before the war can begin. His mission goes awry and he wakes in a tropical jungle, being attacked by monstrous creatures—dinosaurs, he realizes they are. The rest of his team is killed and he escapes, assisted by Richmond, an industrial-age inventor, and Veronica, a technician from Mallory’s future. They bring him to Fort Robinson, the stronghold for several other stranded time travelers. Once there, Mallory and the others speculate why they were dumped millions of years in the past, while Mallory concerns himself with how to get back to his proper time and complete his mission.

Operation: Montauk is a short, fast read, with exciting action sequences and interesting characters. Throughout the novel, you learn more about the inhabitants of Fort Robinson, and one of my only complaints about this story is that I wanted more. I wanted to learn more about them, to learn how they all came to be stranded in prehistoric times. Albert the chimp is an especially fun addition to the cast. Veronica and Valentine were both interesting female characters, and I wanted more of them. I would gladly read a novel headlined by either character. In addition, Richmond was always intriguing, the wise old man of the cast. In contrast, I didn’t find Mallory’s character quite as compelling, but his mission and what he later encounters in the jungle are interesting.

I really enjoyed this novel’s take on time travel. So many times, time travel can get muddied or bogged down in false science, or just not make sense. By keeping the story confined to the dinosaur-laden past, and positing a theory as to why the time travelers have shipwrecked there, Bryan Young deftly sidesteps those potential problems. Smartly, the story doesn’t necessarily concern itself with the hows or whys of time travel, but rather what the characters do to save themselves from impending doom, which is much more interesting.

My other complaint about the novel, besides wanting more about the characters, is the ending. Once again, I want more! But I have a sneaking suspicion that’s exactly what Young intended with his choice of ending…

Overall, Operation: Montauk is a fun read and I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

 

Win A Copy of ‘Time Traveled Tales’

Good news: Authors like Janine Spendlove, Mike Stackpole, Aaron Allston, Tim Zahn, and Bryan Young teamed up to put together a nifty anthology of short stories centered around time travel!

Bad news: The anthology was limited to a 500 quantity run and was exclusive to the Origins Game Convention, so you can’t buy it.

Good news (for one lucky person): I went and bought an extra copy to give away!

How can you claim it? Simple! Follow our Twitter account and retweet this message. We’ll select a winner at random.

 

Allston, Zahn, Stackpole, Young, and Spendlove Team Up For Origins Exclusive Anthology

Heading to the Origins Game Fair in Columbus this month? You may want to check out a nifty little project Expanded Universe author Aaron Allston announced yesterday.

Time-Traveled Tales is an experiment by GAMA, the organization that runs Origins — it’s the first fiction anthology produced as a souvenir for that convention. Similar anthologies produced for events like the World Fantasy Convention tend to become collector’s items. We’re hoping that the same will come true of this book, and that it will persuade GAMA to produce more in the future.

You can help them with that decision, of course, by buying one…

Time-Traveled Tales is being produced in a limited print run. In the event that the print run does not sell out at the convention, individual authors may have copies for sale in the future. But picking up a copy early at the Origins Game Fair, or asking a friend to pick one up for you, is the only way to be sure of getting a copy. At this moment, we have no idea whether the anthology will be reissued in the future.

Wish us luck with this experiment, and I look forward to seeing you at Origins.

Just who is involved with this project? There’s Allston, of course. Authors and all around cool people Janine Spendlove and Bryan Young have entries in the paperback. Then there’s Tim Zahn and Mike Stackpole, who you just might be familiar with.

I’ll definitely be looking out for a copy when I head down to Columbus later this month. For more information, visit Aaron’s blog.