It’s Armadillocon time again

Art by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

Art by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

This coming weekend (July 25-27) is the 34th annual Armadillocon. It’ll be my 21st as a program contributor (every one since 1991 except for the two Relaxacons that followed the San Antonio World Science Fiction cons in 1997 and 2013 and 1998 which coincided with Comic-Con International).

I have two books that are making their initial appearances at ‘dillocon: The Apes of Wrath and Rayguns Over Texas. Numerous contributors to both exciting volumes will be in attendance as well. Be sure you embarrass each and everyone of them by asking for a signature and perhaps a pithy saying.

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The intriguing and compelling Borgman


With today’s limited release of Borgman, I thought I’d re-share my thoughts about the film from last year’s Fantastic Fest.

Borgman, the subversive film by Alex van Warmerdam (The Last Days of Emma Blank), opens oddly as a priest and two men armed with guns hunts for the dirty, unshaven, and frail Camiel Borgman who lives underground. He and two other similar men narrowly escape the attackers.

From there things get weirder and more inexplicable as he befriends Marina and Richard, eventually living in their house as the gardener. Borgman wields psychological and sexual power over Marina. Others of similar temperament join with him as the dead bodies start to pile up.


The bloodless movie relies on subtlety and dark pervasive humor in a story riddled with fascinating ideas and concepts but little explanation. All characters save Borgman are very passive in their actions and reactions. Matter of fact, the moment characters begin to exhibit proactive traits, they are killed.

Though Borgman suffers from vagueness and lack of clear motivation, van Warmerdam crafted an intriguing and compelling movie, fueled largely by the mysterious lead.



Books received 6/7/14 Del Rey edition

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

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Fool’s Assassin
Book One of the Fitz and the Fool Trilogy

by Robin Hobb

Promo copy:

Nearly twenty years ago, Robin Hobb burst upon the fantasy scene with the first of her acclaimed Farseer novels, Assassin’s Apprentice, which introduced the characters of FitzChivalry Farseer and his uncanny friend the Fool. A watershed moment in modern fantasy, this novel—and those that followed—broke exciting new ground in a beloved genre. Together with George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb helped pave the way for such talented new voices as Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson, and Naomi Novik.

Over the years, Hobb’s imagination has soared throughout the mythic lands of the Six Duchies in such bestselling series as the Liveship Traders Trilogy and the Rain Wilds Chronicles. But no matter how far she roamed, her heart always remained with Fitz. And now, at last, she has come home, with an astonishing new novel that opens a dark and gripping chapter in the Farseer saga.

FitzChivalry—royal bastard and former king’s assassin—has left his life of intrigue behind. As far as the rest of the world knows, FitzChivalry Farseer is dead and buried. Masquerading as Tom Badgerlock, Fitz is now married to his childhood sweetheart, Molly, and leading the quiet life of a country squire.

Though Fitz is haunted by the disappearance of the Fool, who did so much to shape Fitz into the man he has become, such private hurts are put aside in the business of daily life, at least until the appearance of menacing, pale-skinned strangers casts a sinister shadow over Fitz’s past . . . and his future.

Now, to protect his new life, the former assassin must once again take up his old one….

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Books received 6/7/14

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

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Edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

Promo copy:

A thrilling collection of twenty-one original stories by an all-star list of contributors—including a new A Game of Thrones story by George R. R. Martin!
If you’re a fan of fiction that is more than just black and white, this latest story collection from #1 New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin and award-winning editor Gardner Dozois is filled with subtle shades of gray. Twenty-one all-original stories, by an all-star list of contributors, will delight and astonish you in equal measure with their cunning twists and dazzling reversals. And George R. R. Martin himself offers a brand-new A Game of Thrones tale chronicling one of the biggest rogues in the entire history of Ice and Fire.

Follow along with the likes of Gillian Flynn, Joe Abercrombie, Neil Gaiman, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Cherie Priest, Garth Nix, and Connie Willis, as well as other masters of literary sleight-of-hand, in this rogues gallery of stories that will plunder your heart—and yet leave you all the richer for it.

Featuring all-new stories by

Joe Abercrombie • Daniel Abraham • David W. Ball • Paul Cornell • Bradley Denton • Phyllis Eisenstein • Gillian Flynn • Neil Gaiman • Matthew Hughes • Joe R. Lansdale • Scott Lynch • Garth Nix • Cherie Priest • Patrick Rothfuss • Steven Saylor • Michael Swanwick • Lisa Tuttle • Carrie Vaughn • Walter Jon Williams • Connie Willis

And an Introduction by George R. R. Martin!

The one thing they don’t mention is that the new Lansdale is a Hap & Leonard short story! That tale features the usual unusual shenanigans plus a song and dance number by the boys. Yes, you read that right… 

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Books received 6/7/14 Pyr edition

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

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Nebula Awards Showcase 2014

Edited by Kij Johnson
Cover by Raoul Vitale

Promo copy:

The latest volume of the prestigious anthology series, published annually across six decades!

The Nebula Awards Showcase volumes have been published annually since 1966, reprinting the winning and nominated stories in the Nebula Awards, voted on by the members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America® . The editor selected by SFWA’s anthology committee (chaired by Mike Resnick) is American fantasy writer Kij Johnson, author of three novels and associate director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas.

This year’s Nebula winners, and expected contributors, are Kim Stanley Robinson, Nancy Kress, Andy Duncan, and Aliette de Bodard, with E.C. Myers winning the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Book.

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Lost Review: How To Train Your Dragon

Beginning in December 2005 with my history of apes in film essay “Gorilla of Your Dreams” (the substantially update and revised version appears in The Apes of Wrath), I regularly contributed to Moving Pictures Magazine. First in the print incarnation and then for primarily the website. I contributed reviews and essays for the last three years of the publications existence. Following the June 2011 demise of both the print and website editions, all of the digital work for MPM disappeared into the ether. In the coming months (years?), I plan on reposting many of my reviews and articles.

With the impending release of its sequel, I thought this would be a good time to revisit the surprising How To Train Your Dragon.


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Graphic novels received 6/1/14 Dark Horse edition

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

Samurai Executioner Omnibus
Volume 1

Story by Kazuo Koike
Art by 
Goseki Kojima

Promo copy:

From Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, the legendary creators of Lone Wolf and Cub,comes Samurai Executioner. Yamada Asaemon tests swords and performs executions for the shogun. The feared “Decapitator Asaemon” is the last stop for the doomed and often becomes final confessor as well as slayer. Collects all of volume 1 and volume 2, plus “Hellstick” from volume 3.

* Nearly 800 pages for only $19.99!

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Books received 5/11/2014 Del Rey edition

Let’s take a quick look to see what’s arrived at the Geek Compound.

The Best of Connie Willis
Award-Winning Stories

Promo copy:

Few authors have had careers as successful as that of Connie Willis. Inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame and recently awarded the title of Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Willis is still going strong. Her smart, heartfelt fiction runs the gamut from screwball comedy to profound tragedy, combining dazzling plot twists, cutting-edge science, and unforgettable characters.

From a near future mourning the extinction of dogs to an alternate history in which invading aliens were defeated by none other than Emily Dickinson; from a madcap convention of bumbling quantum physicists in Hollywood to a London whose Underground has become a storehouse of intangible memories both foul and fair—here are the greatest stories of one of the greatest writers working in any genre today.

All ten of the stories gathered here are Hugo or Nebula award winners—some even have the distinction of winning both. With a new Introduction by the author and personal afterwords to each story—plus a special look at three of Willis’s unique public speeches—this is unquestionably the collection of the season, a book that every Connie Willis fan will treasure, and, to those unfamiliar with her work, the perfect introduction to one of the most accomplished and best-loved writers of our time.

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The Illustrated Lansdale



DC’s decision to finally release the complete Lansdale/Truman Jonah Hex spurred me on to write a history of the comics of Joe R. Lansdale (much like I previously did for Michael Moorcock). Titled “As Seen on the Rush Limbaugh Show: The Comics of Joe R. Lansdale,” the essay appeared as part of the regular Nexus Graphica column.

My reasoning behind the title lies with that back in the 90s, Rush Limbaugh attacked Lansdale and Truman’s Lone Ranger and Tonto comic.

On the August 17, 1995 episode of his TV series, conservative mouthpiece Rush Limbaugh held up a copy of Joe R. Lansdale and Tim Truman’s Lone Ranger and Tonto (Topps, 1995) graphic novel and chided their portrayal of an intelligent, independent Tonto as “political correctness.” In his typical, uninformed manner, Limbaugh didn’t even research the offending material (“I have far more productive things to do than read comic books.”) The creative duo would attract even more controversy in 1996.

I even included the video as proof of the event.

I won’t lie. The title was a blatant attempt to attract readers. (Really, isn’t that the purpose of every title?) Judging from the fact that the column has been shared all over the net, it may have worked. Course could be the subject material. I hear that Lansdale fella is mighty popular.