Sleep is a wonderland of mystery. Why do we need so much of it? Why do we dream? How am I still awake after lying in bed for 6 hours praying for the sweet release of unconsciousness? These are just a few of the questions that Penelope A. Lewis has studied as director of the Sleep and Memory Lab at the University of Manchester, and in The Secret World of Sleep, Lewis expertly leads an entertaining and informative scientific exploration of those many hours we spend twitching and drooling in bed.
Vikings, man. You can’t take them anywhere without someone’s throat getting slit. Pit a Viking army against a Viking village as Snorri Kristjansson does in his first novel, Swords of Good Men, and there’s going to be some serious ass kicking going on.
Swords is grisly fun once the axes and arrows start falling, but it’s a shame that Kristjansson’s Vikings’ idea of wartime foreplay is drawn-out political maneuvering and angsty wallowing. The bloody climactic battle makes the slow build up worth the wait, but only just barely.
To paraphrase Tropic Thunder, you never go full zombie. Not anymore at least. There are so many undead bodies in pop culture that a straight zombie tale of blood and terror needs another angle to shuffle its way out of the crowd. Jason M. Hough clearly understands this. In his debut novel, The Darwin Elevator, he’s constructed a story that is equal parts zombie thriller, alien mystery and corporate espionage extravaganza. It doesn’t quite live up to the sum of its parts, but everything moves along quickly and with enough bullets and explosions that it’s a helluva fun ride.
Don’t look now, but cosplayers—or people who dress up as fictional characters—are everywhere these days. They’re at conventions, they’re in every other web gallery, there may even be one behind you right now.
And why wouldn’t cosplay be so popular? It’s a chance to become your favorite video game, anime or comics characters. It can be hard work, and expensive, but cosplayers get to live out a fantasy while also gaining membership in a community that loves the same shows and appreciates the crafty skills used to create your badass gatling gun or set of leather armor.
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