books

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For years, the only way to get more Star Wars was to read a book. It was called the Expanded Universe and it took you anywhere, at any time, with any character, and it was glorious. Now unlearn what you have learned. Sadly, when Disney bought out Lucasfilm in 2012, it spelled the end to all those games you played, and those comics and novels you read and enjoyed, as they have absolutely nothing to do with the new worlds being created under the Star Wars brand. So as we race towards the release of The Force Awakens, it seems that Disney’s publishing arm is racing to play catch-up, as today it’s being reported that no less than 20 new Star Wars books will be released by year’s end. (more…)

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Last January, right around the time when Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time was just days away from its bungled release on EPIX, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt spoke to The AV Club about the rich bouquet that is his collection of stand-up specials. In the interview, Oswalt detailed his plan to alternate fresh stand-up specials with books like his New York Times Best Selling essay collection, “Zombie Spaceship Wasteland”, and true to his word, Oswalt will release his next book on January 6, 2015.  (more…)

GOTDragons

Get your mind out of the gutter. We’re talking about ACTUAL dragons, not George R.R. Martin’s…um…

Anyway, Game of Thrones mastermind George R.R. Martin has spoiled just how big Daenerys Targaryen’ dragons could get when they aren’t tiny, scaly, fire-burping babies anymore. Martin posted the above image, along with an an excerpt from his upcoming companion piece, The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the World of Game of Thrones. The image shows Aegon the Conqueror riding his dragon Balerion the Black Dread and is quite explicit in its depiction of the beast.

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Heifer Weekend 2013 11 May 0973

Ah, it’s the holidays, the season for a great number of excessive activities. This is the time of year when I drink excessively, eat excessively (you know, more than usual), shop excessively, burn electricity excessively (my Christmas light setup is a bit extravagant), watch holiday themed specials excessively and commit any number of other very excessive acts of fun and festivity. All of that makes me think, though, usually right around this time, that it would also be a good idea to give excessively, and not just to my family and friends. For me, charity is an important part of the holiday season, and while there are any number of very worthy charity options no matter where you live (children’s toy drives, homeless shelters, food banks, etc.), it’s always nice when you can add a somewhat nerdy spin to your charitable donations. That’s why I’m so happy that Worldbuilders, a charity founded by bestselling The Kingkiller Chronicle author Patrick Rothfuss (the bearded gentleman up there holding that adorable creature), exists.

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Welcome to another reliably raucous edition of Ask the Bastards, the weekly feature where you the readers get to grill us, the staff of Nerd Bastards, on a variety of nerdy topics. After a week off last week for NYCC, we’re back with more questions. And this week, because we all knew it was only a matter of time, we’re talking about wearing superhero undies.

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In 1961, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created The Fantastic Four and changed comic books forever. In the five decades since, Marvel Comics has become a multimedia empire of thousands of characters, hundreds of comics and hundreds of millions of dollars. But how it got there, and where it went along the way, wasn’t always pretty. In what will no doubt become an indispensable volume for comics fans and pop culture junkies alike, Sean Howe explores the wild, often messy story of the people who made Marvel what it is today. This is Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.

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To be honest, I’m surprised to learn that Guillermo del Toro wrote a book. And, actually, that he wrote three! His trilogy, The Strain, has been something he’s been trying to take to the television for the past few years.  The drama series found its home with FX and the showrunner/executive producer is Carlton Cuse of LOST renown.  The studio ordered a pilot for the series, which will be directed and written by del Toro himself with some writing assistance from his co-writer, Chuck Hogan.

Del Toro, on why they chose to have their show aired on FX:

FX made the most sense, based on the level of commitment, passion and understanding of the concept of the book. They got behind the idea of making this a close-ended series; we wanted to follow the books closely and so it couldn’t be open-ended, but rather three to five seasons max.

It seems like the plan is still in place to have about three seasons for this series, and del Toro has said that he will “direct as many episodes as [he] can through the life of the series”.  They’re starting on the screenplay at the end of 2012 and will aim to shoot their pilot in September of 2013 – well after the promotional work for del Toro’s Pacific Rim comes to a close.

The Strain is a vampire bioterror thriller series.  That in itself already sounds better than Twilight.  ‘Nuff said.

Official book description:

High-concept thriller with a supernatural edge from world-famous director, whose films include Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy. A plane lands at JFK and mysteriously ‘goes dark’, stopping in the middle of the runway for no apparent reason, all lights off, all doors sealed. The pilots cannot be raised. When the hatch above the wing finally clicks open, it soon becomes clear that everyone on board is dead — although there is no sign of any trauma or struggle. Ephraim Goodweather and his team from the Center for Disease Control must work quickly to establish the cause of this strange occurrence before panic spreads. The first thing they discover is that four of the victims are actually still alive. But that’s the only good news. And when all two hundred corpses disappear from various morgues around the city on the same night, things very rapidly get worse. Soon Eph and a small band of helpers will find themselves battling to protect not only their own loved ones, but the whole city, against an ancient threat to humanity.

That actually sounds really cool.  I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this on the small screen.

Source: Deadline

PhD and tenure aside, Dr. Travis Langley is incredibly easy to talk to. No doubt, his years of teaching Psychology at Henderson University (a liberal arts university in Arkansas) have taught him to be patient with overeager psych nerds, like me. It’s not just his patience that puts you at ease, it’s also own eagerness and excitement for the subject. Dr. Langley is the Batman Psychologist. This is not just a self-professed title; Besides the recent release of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight he just wrapped up teaching a course about the psychology of Batman at Henderson. The book evaluates the inner psyche of Batman, applying different psychological theories to Batman’s intensely traumatic life. Before I launched into my questions about the book, though, I had to ask Dr. Langley about his class on Batman. Specifically, how did he convince the psychology department at Henderson to let him teach a class about Batman?!

Dr. Langley: You know how in a math class you might have an example, “This train is moving at this speed, and that train is moving at that speed…” Well, for somebody who loves trains, why not have an entire course on the math of trains? They could learn all the math more easily if it’s full of examples they appreciate. With Batman, it’s using psychology to teach Batman, and Batman to teach psychology. And it works out really well. And it’s got a mix of students, from those who know Batman really well to those who didn’t know him any better than average. But, they were the students who were interested enough to take the class. And they all reported that they got a lot out of it. They get close, too, because a bunch of these are students who…they have to be guarded in a lot of ways. You don’t go out in your other classes and just announce your nerdy interests. But in a class called Batman, there’s nothing too nerdy to talk about in there. (more…)

I have a lot of very vivid memories of reading A Game of Thrones – the first book in George R. R. Martin’s epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire – for the first time, but one of the most vivid involves food. Of course, I remember all the blood and the palace intrigue and the swords, too, but reading Tyrion Lannister’s call for breakfast in the dining hall of Winterfell – “Bread…and two of those little fish, and a mug of that good dark beer to wash them down. Oh, and some bacon. Burn it until it turns black.” – really stuck with me. It made me hungry, but more importantly it made the world richer, and it’s a part of what made me keep reading. A Song of Ice and Fire is filled with references to fantastic foods – honeyfingers, lemon cakes, The Old Bear’s mulled wine – and now two food bloggers and history buffs have made them all real. Clever, rich and surprisingly accessible, A Feast of Ice and Fire is about to become an essential part of every nerd’s kitchen.

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