Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tips on preparing for the zombie apocalypse, from the CDC

Posted by Simcha 6:11 AM, under | 4 comments




The threat of a zombie apocalypse has become a serious concern for many people and the U.S government is not taking this danger lightly either. At the CDC website you can now find specific instructions for what to do in case the dead come back to life, and try to eat you:


    There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.


The CDC also provides assurances that if zombies do start wandering the streets, they will provide technical assistance to all cities and launch a detailed investigation.

    If zombies did start roaming the streets, CDC would conduct an investigation much like any other disease outbreak. CDC would provide technical assistance to cities, states, or international partners dealing with a zombie infestation. This assistance might include consultation, lab testing and analysis, patient management and care, tracking of contacts, and infection control (including isolation and quarantine). It’s likely that an investigation of this scenario would seek to accomplish several goals: determine the cause of the illness, the source of the infection/virus/toxin, learn how it is transmitted and how readily it is spread, how to break the cycle of transmission and thus prevent further cases, and how patients can best be treated. Not only would scientists be working to identify the cause and cure of the zombie outbreak, but CDC and other federal agencies would send medical teams and first responders to help those in affected areas (I will be volunteering the young nameless disease detectives for the field work).


To find out how to prepare for the zombie apocalypse visit the
CDC blog.

(just a warning that this page takes a bit of time to load. It's apparently very popular.)


And for those of you who would like a little bit more protection against those invading zombies, you can now build for yourself a zombie-proof house, such as the one designed by KWK Promes. With movable concrete walls and a retractable footbridge, this elegant glass house can be quickly transformed into an impregnable fortress.








(This is my favorite part. I've always wanted a draw bridge)




(pictures via All that is interesting


Now I know where I'm going to be headed if this zombie apocalypse ever does take place.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Fantasy Show: Once Upon A Time

Posted by Simcha 5:32 AM, under | 5 comments

I'm not much for genre shows or movies but this new show from ABC (which I just read about on SF Signal) sounds really fun. It will be on in the fall and I can't wait to check it out

Once Upon A Time


From the inventive minds of Lost executive producers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis comes a bold new imagining of the world, where fairy tales and the modern-day are about to collide.

And they all lived happily ever after – or so everyone was led to believe. Emma Swan knows how to take care of herself. She's a 28-year-old bail bonds collector who's been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby. But when the son she gave up years ago finds her, everything starts to change. Henry is now 10 years old and in desperate need of Emma's help. He believes that Emma actually comes from an alternate world and is Snow White and Prince Charming's missing daughter. According to his book of fairytales, they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen's curse, which trapped the fairytale world forever, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world. Of course Emma doesn't believe a word, but when she brings Henry back to Storybrooke, she finds herself drawn to this unusual boy and his strange New England town. Concerned for Henry, she decides to stay for a while, but she soon suspects that Storybrooke is more than it seems. It's a place where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close… where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don't remember who they once were. The epic battle for the future of all worlds is beginning, but for good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.





Monday, May 16, 2011

New Scifi & Fantasy Releases: Week of May 15

Posted by Simcha 4:56 PM, under | 4 comments

While putting this list together I was really excited to see that Stephen Deas's newest Memory of Flames book will be coming out this week since I have really been enjoying this trilogy and can't wait to see how it concludes.

Also high on my to-read list is China 's newest novel,
Embassytown, which sounds a bit different from his other books but is defiantly intriguing.

Fans of Melissa Marr may enjoy her upcoming book, Graveminder, a dark fantasy for adults. Though I'll be staying away from that one which looks too eerie for my taste.

I have actually been pretty engrossed for the past couple of weeks in Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments series, and those should keep me busy for a little while longer.

Hope you have a great reading week!



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Dancing With Bears
Michael Swanwick
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: May 17

Dancing With Bears follows the adventures of notorious con-men Darger and Surplus: They've lied and cheated their way onto the caravan that is delivering a priceless gift from the Caliph of Baghdad to the Duke of Muscovy. The only thing harder than the journey to Muscovy is their arrival in Muscovy. An audience with the Duke seems impossible to obtain, and Darger and Surplus quickly become entangled in a morass of deceit and revolution. The only thing more dangerous than the convoluted political web surrounding Darger and Surplus is the gift itself, the Pearls of Byzantium, and Zoesophia, the governess sworn to protect their virtue.



The Dark City (The Book of the Crow #1)
Catherine Fisher
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Dial
Release Date: May 17

Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order and a Keeper of relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice, Raffi. They know of a secret relic with great power that has been hidden for centuries. As they search for it, they will be tested beyond their limits. For there are monstersÑsome human, some notÑthat also want the relic's power and will stop at nothing to get it.


Embassytown
China Miéville
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: May 17

Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe. Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts - who cannot lie. Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes. Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts. And that is impossible.



Graveminder
Melissa Marr
Genre: Urban Fantasy/ Horror
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: May 17


The New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series delivers her first novel for adults, a story about the living, the dead, and a curse that binds them.

Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."

Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place--and the man--she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected. Beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D--a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.


Mercy
Rebecca Lim
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher:Hyperion Book CH
Release Date: May 17

A fallen angel haunted by her past. Yearning for her immortal beloved. Forever searching for answers. Who will show her Mercy?

Mercy has lost herself. She can’t count how many times she’s “woken up” in a new body, and assumed a new life, only to move on again and again. During the day she survives in the human world on instinct and at night her dreams are haunte...moreA fallen angel haunted by her past. Yearning for her immortal beloved. Forever searching for answers. Who will show her Mercy?

Mercy has lost herself. She can’t count how many times she’s “woken up” in a new body, and assumed a new life, only to move on again and again. During the day she survives in the human world on instinct and at night her dreams are haunted by him. Mercy’s heart would know him anywhere. But her memory refuses to cooperate.

But this time is different. When Mercy wakes up she meets Ryan, an eighteen year old reeling from the loss of his twin sister who was kidnapped two years ago. Everyone else has given up hope, but Ryan believes his sister is still alive. Using a power she doesn’t fully comprehend, Mercy realizes that Ryan is right. His sister is alive and together they can find her. For the first time since she can remember, Mercy has a purpose; she can help. So she doesn’t understand why the man in her dreams cautions her not to interfere. But as Ryan and Mercy come closer to solving the dark mystery of his sister’s disappearance, danger looms just one step behind.

Will Mercy be able to harness her true self and extraordinary power in time?


Mirror Sword and Shadow Prince
Noriko Ogiwara
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 17

Oguna is an orphan with a secret even he doesn’t know—he’s a prince and heir to a terrible power. His best friend Toko is a member of the Tachibana clan and a potential high priestess able to tame that power...or destroy it.


The Order of the Scales (The Memory of Flames, Bk 3)
Stephen Deas
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: May 19

As the various factions fight for control of the Adamatine Palace mankinds nemesis approaches. The realms dragons are awakening from their alchemical sedation and returning to their native fury. They can remember why they were created and they now know what mankind has done to them. And their revenge will be brutal. As hundreds of dragons threaten a fiery apocalypse only the Adamantine Guard stand between humanity and extinction. Can Prince Jehal fight off the people who want him dead and unite their armies in one final battle for survival? Noted for its blistering pace, awesome dragons and devious polticking Stephen Deas's landmark fantasy trilogy moves to a terrifying epic conclusion in The Order of the Scales



Pax Britannia: Anno Frankenstein (Pax Britannia #10)
Jonathan Green
Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Solaris
Release Date: May 17

In 1998 Magna Britannia remains the undisputed superpower of the world whereas, since the Second Great European War, Hitler's Nazi party has been reduced to the status of an underground terrorist movement. But fifty-five years ago... The Nazis are at the height of their power. Much of Europe has fallen beneath their inexorable march, but with the automaton armies of Magna Britannia poised to invade and bring about a swift end to the war, Germany finds its resources stretched to the limit. What Hitler's legions need now is a miracle. And a miracle may be what they are about to receive; a gift from the future, something that should not exist in the year 1943, for one man has stolen fire from heaven. But another has followed him back from the future to ensure that history follows its pre-determined course. Ulysses Quicksilver finds himself in Anno Frankenstein where the bodies of the fallen are reconstructed and resurrected that they might fight again. Behind enemy lines, Ulysses Quicksilver must infiltrate the most heavily-defended fortress on the planet, and there face an age-old enemy one last time. Should he fail, history will be re-written and Ulysses Quicksilver will cease to exist, having never even been born at all.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Posted by Simcha 2:39 PM, under | 2 comments

Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever.


The False Princess starts off as a sort-of reversal of the Cinderella story,
with the Princess being stripped of her royal status and sent to live in a humble cottage in the village, with an aunt who resents this intrusion of her solitary life. Sinda's education as a princess proves to be useless to her as a village girl and Sinda is left feeling incompetent and lonely.

After suddenly discovering that she possesses strong magical abilities, Sinda heads back to the city to find someone to train her, and there she accidental uncovers a plot against the throne, and against the real Princess
Nalia. Sinda takes it upon herself to save the princess, along with the help of her best friend Kiernan.

The False Princess was a wonderful story that I throughly enjoyed, from beginning to end. The characters were engaging and well developed and the story was exciting and well paced, making it impossible for me to put the book down.

I really enjoyed seeing Sinda develop from the meek and quiet young woman in the beginning of the story, to someone confident and strong, willing to take control of her own destiny. And I loved Sinda's relationship with her best friend,
Kiernan, and seeing it develop into something more, as the two characters struggle to adjust to the new circumstances they each find themselves in. I'm a sucker for a good friendship story, as well a good romance, and O' Neal manages to incorporate both.

The story itself kept me riveted with all of it's unexpected twists and turns, making it so much more than the simple fairy tale it had reminded me of in the start. The only fault I found with the book is the way that Sinda so accurately guesses at several of the key pieces to the mystery, based on very little evidence. The mystery seemed to come together for her a little too easily, which disappointed me a bit.

The False Princess is Eilis O'Neal's first novel and I sincerely hope that there will be many more to follow.

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