Friday Fiction Feature

FictionReboot2_canvasHello and welcome back to the Friday Fiction Feature. As most of you now know, Tabatha (your illustrious series editor extraordinaire) is working as both a student and a teacher. Because of this she feels doubly entitled to panic about the inspiration for this week’s theme: The academic’s bianual cry of “Oh-my-the-semester-is-almost-over-oh-dear-wow-it’s-really-getting-way-too-close-oh-no-but-I’m-not-ready-ah-crap!” And so, without further ado, Tabatha invites all her fellow panicked academics to join in this week’s theme: THE END IS NIGH!
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The End is Nigh (The Apocalypse Triptych #1) edited by John Joseph Adams 

The End is NighWe will begin with a broad version of the end-of-semester-panic with The Apocalypse Triptych. Covering the before, during, and after of the apocalypse, The End is Nigh/Now/Come Takes us through the various stages of “Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!” For a closer parallel, these novels take us on the global version of what the rest of us experience every semester: The End is Nigh showing the larger version of “Wait it’s due when?! How much grading?!” as we come to realize that it will all come crashing down around us soon. The End is Now takes us to the bartering stage, when the due dates have arrived and we are simply trying to weather the storm, hoping students won’t notice if we forget to come to class, and that teachers will decide there’s really no point in writing that twenty page paper after all, followed by the knowledge that those events are about as likely as hoping our house will be left fully intact after the tornado/hurricane/snowstorm blows through town. And finally, The End is Now covers that foolish moment of relief when we have written all our papers, when the grading is finished, and before we realize…next semester is only a few weeks away.

Famine. Death. War. Pestilence. These are the harbingers of the biblical apocalypse, of the End of the World. In science fiction, the end is triggered by less figurative means: nuclear holocaust, biological warfare/pandemic, ecological disaster, or cosmological cataclysm.
But before any catastrophe, there are people who see it coming. During, there are heroes who fight against it. And after, there are the survivors who persevere and try to rebuild. The Apocalypse Triptych will tell their stories.
Edited by acclaimed anthologist John Joseph Adams and bestselling author Hugh Howey, The Apocalypse Triptych is a series of three anthologies of apocalyptic fiction. The End is Nigh focuses on life before the apocalypse. The End is Now turns its attention to life during the apocalypse. And The End Has Come focuses on life after the apocalypse.

The End Of The World Is Nigh by Scott Lefebvre 

The End Of The World Is NighThis next book provides a view of the end-times that I really like. It is a living document which incorporates a growing number of stories from different perspectives. No one experiences the end in quite the same way: some are done in by a twenty-five page essay on the pauses in British Drama, others are subsumed in a flood of confused freshmen, still others are simply lost to us when they realize that their perfect schedules forgot to account for seven major projects, immolated somewhere in the crater formed when they fell back down to earth. To reflect the wide and varied ways we all panic and yet manage to survive, we have The End of the World is Nigh sharing the stories of death, destruction, Armageddon, (though I doubt if any of them can top having to spend writing breaks grading freshman essays. That horror is all too real for many of us).

It’s ten years after the world as we know it has ended in the wake of a worldwide overpopulation problem and food scarcity. Food-rationing results in panic and the downfall of society as we know it. The world is taken over by the dead and the living must fight for survival against the remainder of the world population after society has collapsed. The first crowd-funded, crowd-sourced, post-apocalyptic, zombie epidemic, novel-length book project, For an affordable contribution, you can have your life story written as a survivor in this post-apocalyptic world.

Countdown!…or How Nigh Is the End? by Patrick Moore

Every teacher knows (or knows of) the creative student. No, not the one who comes up with interesting paper topics or inspires really great class discussion. The other creative kid. The one who has an intricate & amusing story every week to explain why his/her homework is not done. The one who can weave global events, local catastrophe, and a broken shoelace into the explanation of why he/she forgot a thesis in the last paper. Well take heart long-suffering teachers for in Countdown I have found the illustrious career path awaiting these most frustrating of students where their creativity and persuasive skills will really shine.

Light-hearted but informative guide to the eccentrics, visionaries, rabble rousers and fanatics throughout history who have predicted the end of the world. Subjects under discussion include the threat from outer space, astrological predictions and even some scientific evidence of the world’s end.

The Darwin Awards Countdown to Extinction by Wendy Northcutt

The Darwin Awards Countdown to ExtinctionWhether it is your own writing or a student’s, there will always be essays that make you wonder if the writer is trying to see just how badly they have to do before the staff breaks down and literally boots them out off campus. When the ideas have all the focus of a toddler in a toy store, and the grammar can only have come from a cell phone keyboard, spectacular self-immolation seems the only possible rationale.
So when writing/grading really makes you wonder, you can always pick up The Countdown to Extinction and just remember, at least there will always be someone to rival the metaphorical spectacular self-destruction of end of the year writing with a literal version of their own.

Fully illustrated and featuring all-new tales of the marvelously macabre, “The Darwin Awards Countdown to Extinction” chronicles the astonishing acts of individuals who have taken a swan dive into the shallow end of the gene pool. From attaching a five-horsepower engine to a barstool, to hammering a metal hook into an explosive device, to using a taser to treat a snake bite, these gloriously gruesome incidents prove that the countdown (to human extinction) is well under way. And we won’t exit this mortal coil without one last laugh.

Guidebook to the End of the World: The End Is Nigh by Cj Kuehler

Guidebook to the End of the World: The End Is NighFinally, our altruistic streak is going to peek through again with the Guidebook to the End of the World. It falls to us yet again to see that our beloved readers are prepared for every eventuality, and it is no different today. The end is nigh, and so we’ve brought you a handy-dandy instruction manual for getting through it!
Now I know what you’re thinking: building an underground bunker stocked with twelve years worth of beans, army surplus weaponry, and tinfoil hats is not going to ease my end-of-semester workload. But let me just ask you this: how many professors & students do you think will follow the crazy person down into that bunker to discuss the final essay? See? I told you we had all the answers.

Is the end of the world coming? Are you prepared? Here’s your guidebook to help you survive. Learn what to expect and what you are about to experience when the economy collapses. This is a work of fiction and contains adult situations.

Friday Fiction Feature

FictionReboot2Greetings readers! Tabatha here yet again with another installment of the Friday Fiction Feature. I noticed recently that we have sorely neglected an entire genre of fiction, and so this time we have something a little different for you: robots and wizards will accompany you through flying circuses in your journey into the world of science fiction!

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Expecting Someone Taller by Tom Holt

Expecting Someone Taller

Science Fiction has a long and impressive history: it has warned generations against the evils of technology, explored the possibilities of glorious space adventures, and come to no real conclusion on the subject of aliens (except to say that they probably aren’t all little green men). And to usher you into this diverse and time-honored genre of literature, I have selected Tom Holt’s Expecting Someone Taller

Malcolm Fisher inherits a magic ring from a dying badger and becomes the much-disputed Ruler of the World. Everyone wants the ring–despite the fearsome curse upon it. And Malcolm is about to learn that some are born to greatness, and some are, well, badgered into it.

Starship Grifters by Robert Kroese

Since I would hate to break the mood of seriousness and dire consequences we’ve started here, our next selection will look into the complex and dire consequences of  space hoodlums with Starship Grifters

Starship GriftersA space-faring ne’er-do-well with more bravado than brains, Rex Nihilo plies the known universe in a tireless quest for his own personal gain. But when he fleeces a wealthy weapons dealer in a high-stakes poker game, he ends up winning a worthless planet and owing an outstanding debt more vast than space itself!

The only way for Rex to escape a lifetime of torture on the prison world Gulagatraz is to score a big payday by pulling off his biggest scam. But getting mixed up in the struggle between the tyrannical Malarchian Empire and the plucky rebels of the Revolting Front and trying to double-cross them both may be his biggest mistake. Luckily for Rex, his frustrated but faithful robot sidekick has the cyber-smarts to deal with buxom bounty hunters, pudgy princesses, overbearing overlords, and interstellar evangelists while still keeping Rex’s martini glass filled.

Scan by Sarah Fine & Walter Jury

Since I know one blog can only hold just so much sarcasm (and I really am not trying to drive you lovely readers away) our next selection Scan really is a serious look at technology, space travel, and intergalactic adventure.

Scan (Scan, #1)Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

All Tate knows–like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid–may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it. A riveting, fast-paced adventure, Scan is a clever alien thriller with muscle and heart.

The Road to Mars by Eric Idle

Well, so much for seriousness. Those of you familiar with Monty Python will already know from this title that I have abandoned dire consequences and prophetic visions of a dystopian future pretty quickly. There really are a lot of good serious Sci-Fi novels out there. The Road to Mars just isn’t one of them.

The Road to MarsWith Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Eric Idle proved he was one of the funniest people in the world. And with The Road to Mars he reaffirms this with a raucously sidesplitting vengence.

Muscroft and Ashby are a comedy team on “The Road to Mars,” an interplanetary vaudeville circuit of the future. Accompanied by Carlton, a robot incapable of understanding irony but driven to learn the essence of humor, Alex and Lewis bumble their way into an intergalactic terrorist plot. Supported by a delicious cast, including a micropaleontologist narrator (he studies the evolutionary impact of the last ten minutes) and the ultra-diva Brenda Woolley, The Road to Mars is a fabulous trip through Eric Idle’s inimitable world, a “universe expanding at the speed of laughter.”

Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers (Red Dwarf #1) by Grant Naylor

From the authors of the Red Dwarf television series, Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers is the first in the complete adventures of the (inexplicably British) Lister, the most incompetent cadet ever to doom a spaceship. In these adventures you get to see a self-aware computer which is so bored!, the evolved descendant of a cat three million years down the line, and two men (ok, one man and a hologram) who have to survive deep space and each other (guess which is harder).

Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful DriversThe first lesson Lister learned about space travel was you should never try it. But Lister didn’t have a choice. All he remembered was going on a birthday celebration pub crawl through London. When he came to his senses again, with nothing in his pockets but a passport in the name of Emily Berkenstein.
So he did the only thing he could. Amazed to discover they would actually hire him, he joined the space corps—-and found himself aboard Red Dwarf, a spaceship as big as a small city that, six or seven years from now, would get him back to Earth. What Lister couldn’t forsee was that he’d inadvertently signed up for a one–way jaunt three miillion years into the future—a future which would see him the last living member of the human race, with only a hologram crew mate and a highly evolved cat for company. Of course, that was before the ship broke the light barrier anf things began to get really weird…

Robot Uprisings by Daniel H. Wilson, John Joseph Adams, Julianna Baggott , Alastair Reynolds, Alan Dean Foster, Ian McDonald, Robin Wasserman, John McCarthy, Seanan McGuire, Nnedi Okorafor, Scott Sigler, Charles Yu, Anna North, Genevieve Valentine, Hugh Howey, Ernest Cline, Cory Doctorow, and Jeff Abbott

Robot UprisingsNow, we here at the Friday Fiction Feature know our readers. We know you are a great collection of brilliant (and often world-domination-oriented) people, and because we really do have your best interests at heart, it seemed prudent to add this last title to the list.

Before you get carried away with the amazing and hilarious possibilities and start constructing your own spaceships, robot armies, or alien-invasion equipment, take a peek at Robot Uprisings to remind you that it’s not all fun and dynasty trampling. Sometimes the humans lose.

Humans beware. As the robotic revolution continues to creep into our lives, it brings with it an impending sense of doom. What horrifying scenarios might unfold if our technology were to go awry? From self-aware robotic toys to intelligent machines violently malfunctioning, this anthology brings to life the half-formed questions and fears we all have about the increasing presence of robots in our lives. With contributions from a mix of bestselling, award-winning, and up-and-coming writers, and including a rare story by “the father of artificial intelligence,” Dr. John McCarthy, Robot Uprisings meticulously describes the exhilarating and terrifying near-future in which humans can only survive by being cleverer than the rebellious machines they have created.

Friday Fiction Feature

FictionReboot2Hello and welcome back to the Friday Fiction Feature! Tabatha (also known as The Supreme Ruler of the Universe–really I am, you can ask my brother) here again this time with a two-part Feature on World Domination! We’ve got how-to’s, how-not-to’s, and beat-me-to-it’s, and by the time you finish perusing this lot I expect to see a slew of would-be competitors for Dr. Schillace as Mastermind and Mistress of the world. Mwahahahahaha ahaha ahahaha ahh… anyways sit back, take notes & enjoy.

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The Lost Art of World Domination (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1.5) by Derek Landy

The Lost Art of World Domination (Skulduggery Pleasant, #1.5)First is the book which inspired this feature, The Lost Art of World Domination by Derek Landy.

A shot of Skulduggery action for free. It isn’t easy to take over the world. First you need the scheme. Then you need the muscle. Then you need to come up with a system for ruling six billion people and keeping them fron revolting. It takes a certain kind of man (or woman) to take over the world. Scaramouch Van Dreg, however, is not that man. But he has one thing going for him. He has his arch enemy, Skulduggery Pleasant, chained in his dungeon, and the only person who is coming to save him is the skeleton detective’s 13 year old sidekick. What could possibly go wrong?

How To Conquer A Nation: The 2014 Beginners Guide To World Domination by Matt Byron

How To Conquer A Nation: The 2014 Beginners Guide To World DominationEven the Ultimate Ruler has to start somewhere, and so we present How to Conquer A Nation. First a nation, then a continent, soon everything!

You yawn as your friends boast of flying to Mars or poaching endangered species. You’re not looking for Ferraris in your driveway or jets on your runway. You want to do something exciting and original. What you crave is your very own nation. It’s about time you got one.

C. Montgomery Burns’ Handbook of World Domination by Matt Groening

For the Master or Mistress on the rise, it never hurts to have a handy guide to help you on the ladder of skulls, so to get you through those first steps we have C. Montgomery Burns’ Handbook of World Domination
C. Montgomery Burns' Handbook of World DominationDoes power corrupt? Absolutely! Does the hunger and lust for absolute power course through your icy blue veins? Do you feel the need to rule the world with an iron fist? To subjugate the masses with a whimsical snap of your fingers? To rise above the insolent and unworthy with your superior intelligence and unlimited supply of cold hard cash? Have you ever wondered if there was a simple step-by-step guide for following your impulses and instincts toward world domination? You’ve come to the right place. Here is the opportunity of a lifetime—the chance to turn your sociopathic needs into bloodthirsty greed! Now you can learn at the feet of the Master of Megalomania . . . Charles Montgomery Burns! Don’t just stand there, you sniveling slugabed. Purchase this portable periodical posthaste and leave your conscience at the cash register!

Everything Explained Through Flowcharts: All of Life’s Mysteries Unraveled Including Tips for World Domination, Which Religion Offers the Best Afterlife, the Secret Recipe for Gettin’ Laid Lemonade by Doogie Horner

7097848Of course if you want to rule the world, you’ll need to know all about it. There’s no saying when world domination will hinge on just the right asparagus recipe delivered with the right lemonade.

Everything Explained Through Flowcharts is packed with meticulously designed charts that trace the labyrinthine connections that order the universe, illuminate life’s great mysteries, and cause eye strain in senior citizens. Swiss scientists at the prestigious University of Helsinki have said that Everything Explained Through Flowcharts is the closest thing there is to a working unified field theory, and have gone on to claim that they aren’t Swiss, aren’t scientists, and aren’t sure whether or not Helsinki is in Switzerland. And yet the Swiss consulate has not denied that this book contains more than two hundred illustrations, forty mammoth charts, and innumerable supporting graphs and essays, including:
An illustrated matrix of WWE Finishing Moves
Heavy metal band names taxonomy
The noble art of zeppelin warfare demystified
How to win any argument
Tragedy to comedy conversion chart for comedians
A creepy drawing of a baby skeleton
How to tell if you’re an evil twin.

The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil Genius by John Joseph Adams, Austin Grossman, Harry Turtledove, Seanan McGuire, David D. Levine, Jeremiah Tolbert, Daniel H. Wilson, Heather Lindsley and more

The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination: Original Short Fiction for the Modern Evil GeniusInstruction manuals will only take you so far, so to finish of this first half of the Fiction Reboot’s guide to world domination we The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination to teach through example, and show you the follies and successes of your globally-minded predecessors.

From Victor Frankenstein to Lex Luthor, from Dr. Moreau to Dr. Doom, readers have long been fascinated by insane plans for world domination and the madmen who devise them. Typically, we see these villains through the eyes of good guys. This anthology, however, explores the world of mad scientists and evil geniuses—from their own wonderfully twisted point of view.
Everybody loves villains. They’re bad; they always stir the pot; they’re much more fun than the good guys, even if we want to see the good guys win. Their fiendish schemes, maniacal laughter, and limitless ambition are legendary, but what lies behind those crazy eyes and wicked grins? How—and why—do they commit these nefarious deeds? And why are they so set on taking over the world?
If you’ve ever asked yourself any of these questions, you’re in luck: It’s finally time for the madmen’s side of the story.

That is all we have for this week, but never fear, as long as we still have a free (or blog-freindly) world a week from now, we’ll be back with more nefarious schemes and unstoppable plans next Friday!