Seven Days profiles local sci-fi comedy audiobook

Seven Days has a cool profile of local comedian and author Conor Lastowka, who recently published a science fiction comedy called The Pole Vault Championship of the Entire Universe which was recently republished as an Audible Original title, featuring a number of well-known comedians, like Paul F. Tomkins, and Weird Al Yankovic.

The novel, according to Amazon, follows a high school girl named Kara Everglades, who is brought along on a strange adventure with her eccentric grandfather, Cornelius Everglades.

Here’s the full description:

Kara Everglades has just finished her first year of high school and is longing for an adventure. So far her only option is an invitation from some upperclassmen to watch them drunkenly race a bunch of bullfrogs in a ditch. To be honest, she was hoping for something a bit more exciting.

Her grandfather, Cornelius Everglades, is a renegade who founded his own island micronation. Unfortunately, the rest of the world refuses to acknowledge it (possibly because he’s gone about the nation-building process using wildly illegal and unethical means).

When Cornelius shows up at Kara’s door needing her help and promising an adventure, Kara agrees to go along with his far-fetched plan to put his micronation on the map, even though a) she thought Cornelius was dead, and b) his scheme depends heavily on Kara wearing a mascot costume.

If Kara had known about the giant alien spaceship currently speeding toward her grandfather’s country with the intent to subjugate and humiliate mankind, she might have reconsidered.

Lastowka is also a writer for RiffTrax, and performs at the Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington, and the profile digs into his career and interest in science fiction, noting that science fiction comedy is a hard genre to get right. Give the full article a read here.

Phoenix Books hosts Harry Potter Book Night

Harry Potter fans take note: Phoenix Books will be hosting a trio of Harry Potter Book Nights at its Essex, Burlington, and Rutland locations tonight, February 7th.

The event is an annual affair in its fifth year, designed to celebrate all things Harry Potter:

Share the Magic! Mark your calendars for Harry Potter Book Night, when fans young and old will be able to celebrate J.K. Rowling’s wonderful series – and it’s a chance to pass the magic on to new readers who haven’t yet discovered these unforgettable books. The magical theme is ‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’ and as the scene of so many seminal moments in the Harry Potter stories we can’t wait to celebrate all things Hogwarts!

The events will begin at each of the stores at 6PM. Costumes encouraged.

Pat Esden at Phoenix Books in Burlington!

Phoenix Books will be holding a signing for local author Pat Esden, for her new novel, His Dark Magic. 

Pat’s been a regular on our Vermont SF Writer’s Series events (which we’ll get back to hosting … someday), and her latest book came out earlier this week from Lyrical Press. 

Here’s what it’s about: 

One tragic impulsive mistake made Chloe Winslow an outcast to her influential magic family. As a medical student, she wants to combine science with sorcery to heal those she hurt and right her wrongs. But brilliant, charismatic Devlin Marsh re-routes her plans with a once-in-eternity offer: membership in the exclusive Northern Circle, a mysterious Vermont coven known for pushing the limits.

Enthralled by Devlin and their mesmerizing mutual attraction, Chloe makes a dangerous sacrifice to help the Circle’s high priestess awaken Merlin himself—and learn his timeless cures. But a foreshadowing soon causes Chloe to doubt the Circle’s real motives, as well as Devlin’s . . .
Now Merlin’s demonic shade is loose in the human world, while Chloe and Devlin’s uneasy alliance will pit them against ancient enemies, malevolent illusions, and shattering betrayal. And with the fate of two realms in the balance, Chloe must risk her untried power against a force she can’t defeat—and a passion that could destroy her.  

Pat’s signing will take place on Saturday, January 12th at 2:00PM at Phoenix Books’ Burlington location. The store is selling tickets for the event: $3 will get you admission and a $5 off coupon for the book. 

 

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald advanced screenings

 

The next installment of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts franchise hits theaters this week. The series is a prequel to her Harry Potter series, and this new film, The Crimes of Grindelwald, will continue the story of Newt Scamander and the rise of the dark wizard, Grindelwald. 

As usual, a bunch of theaters around Vermont will be screening the film early. Here’s where to watch on Thursday, November 15th: 

  • Bennington Cinemas, Bennington. 6:45PM, 9:30PM.
  • Bijou Cineplex 4, Morrisville. 7:00PM. 
  • Essex Cinemas, Essex. 6:00PM, 8:50PM.
  • Flagship Cinemas, Rutland. 6:40PM, 9:35PM.
  • Latchis Theater, Brattleboro. 6:45PM, 9:10PM. 
  • Majestic 10, Williston. 6:00PM, 7:00PM.
  • Palace 9, South Burlington. 6:00PM. 
  • Paramount Theater, Barre. 7:00PM.
  • Springfield Cinemas 3, Springfield. 7:00PM, 8:00PM, 9:00PM. 
  • Star Theatre, St. Johnsbury. 7:20PM. 
  • Stowe Cinemas, Stowe. 7:00PM. 

 

Opening normally on Friday, November 16th:

  • Big Picture Theatre, Waitsfield. 
  • Middlebury Marquis, Middlebury. 
  • Playhouse Theatre, Randolph. 
  • Village Picture Shows, Manchester. 

New YA Horror: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Katherine Arden made a name for herself with her debut fantasy novel The Bear and the Nightingale, as well as its sequel earlier this year, The Girl in the Tower. The third installment of that trilogy, Winter of the Witch, isn’t due out until January, but she does have a middle-grade horror novel, Small Spaces, which hits bookstores today.

Here’s what it’s about:

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn’t think–she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with “the smiling man,” a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price.

Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she’s been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn’t have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: “Best get moving. At nightfall they’ll come for the rest of you.” Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie’s previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN.

Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver’s warning. As the trio head out into the woods–bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them–the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: “Avoid large places. Keep to small.”

You can read an excerpt here. Arden earned a starred review for the novel from Kirkus Reviews, which says that it’s “atmospheric horror at its best.”

New Fantasy novel: Laurie Forest’s The Iron Flower

Vermont fantasy author Laurie Forest has a new book out: The Iron Flower, the second in her series, Black Witch Chronicles.

The first novel, The Black Witch, hit bookstores last year, about Elloren, a young woman believed to be the heir to Carnissa Gardner, legendary mage — The Black Witch —prophesied to save the world.

But Elloren begins to realize that her world, society and dreams — including study at the prestigious Verpax University, are … problematic. The book generated some controversy on Goodreads, after reviewers took issue with Forest’s approach to race and bigotry, saying that it was “racist, ableist and homophobic.”

This new installment continues Elloren’s journey, as they’re brought into a resistance movement. Here’s the full description:

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only seeking to right a few wrongs when they rescued a Selkie and freed a military dragon. The last thing they expected was to be thrust into a realm-wide underground resistance against Gardnerian conquest.

While the Resistance struggles to fight back against the harsh rulings of the Mage Council, more and more Gardnerian soldiers descend upon the University…led by none other than Lukas Grey, now commander of the nearby military base. Though Elloren tries to keep him at arm’s length, Lukas is determined to tie himself to her, still convinced that she is the heir to the power of the Black Witch, a legacy of magic that will decide the future of all Erthia. As his own magic calls out to her, seeking to awaken a dark force within, Elloren finds it more and more difficult to believe that she’s truly powerless, as her uncle always claimed.

Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself.

She just did a pair of events in Vermont, and will be embarking on a tour that sees stops in Chicago, Salt Lake, San Diego, San Francisco, Denver, and New York City in the coming weeks.

John Goodrich Signing

Local author John Goodrich will be holding a signing for two of his books, Dark Draughts and Hag, next month at the Bennington Bookshop.

The signing will take place on Thursday, August 9th from 7PM to 8PM.

Here’s what the books are about:

Hag:

All David wanted was to rest and get better. He moved from Vermont to Boston to beat his cancer. Even before the boxes are unpacked, he and his best friend Sam notice an eerie presence in his new apartment building. The emaciated haunt is a roiling storm of fury with black iron claws and jagged metal teeth. She attacks David without reason or pity, leaving him in agony. Hag is a dark, brooding novel set in a blighted personal landscape. A story of deathless rage terrible love.

Dark Draughts:

Culled from nearly a decade of work, Dark Draughts is the first collection of John Goodrich’s short fiction. Discover a terrifying new god, and an old, well known one just as malicious. Encounter horror tropes broken and remade; dead and undead pharaohs, a compassionate ghoul, and a serial killer who discovers something darker than himself. Find out what happens to a man literally at war with himself. With stories set in Arkham, ancient Egypt, the blood-soaked battlefields of World War One, rural Vermont, and a hideous apocalyptic future, these stories encompass the terrors of the past as well as our fears for the future. Dark Draughts: Strong medicine for what ails us all.

RSVP here.

Here are the finalists for the 2018 Vermont Book Award

Vermont College has announced its finalists (via VPR) for the 2018 Vermont Book Award, an award that honors “work of outstanding literary merit by Vermont authors.” Winners for the award include poet Kerrin McCadden (2015), Major Jackson (2016), and Jensen Beach (2017).

This year’s finalists are:

  • The Bear and the Nightingale (Fiction) by Katherine Arden
  • Breaking Bread: A Baker’s Journey Home in 75 Recipes (CNF) by Martin Philip
  • Fasting and Feasting: The Life of Visionary Food Writer Patience Gray (CNF) by Adam Federman
  • Grand Canyon (Children’s Lit, Picture Book) by Jason Chin
  • Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time (Children’s Lit, YA fiction) by Tanya Lee Stone
  • Event Boundaries (Poetry) by April Ossmann
  • Selected Delanty (Poetry) by Greg Delanty

The books are nominated by a committee of independent bookstores in four categories: Children’s Literature, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, and Poetry. Their suggestions are whittled down by a panel of judges, and the winner of the award will be announced at the Vermont Book Award Gala in September. The winner gets a $5,000 cash prize.

Tickets are now on sale for Trekonderoga 2018

The Star Trek Original Series Set Tour of Ticonderoga, New York, has announced its next annual Trekonderoga, which will take place from August 24th through August 26th. Guests this year will include Karl Urban (McCoy), Robin Curtis (Lt. Saavik), and others. The entire schedule can be found here, and tickets are now on sale.

Some are pretty pricy, like the Leonard McCoy Ticket, which’ll run you $1500 (which includes a photo opp, signing and tour with Karl Urban.) The basic admission for the weekend is $65, which includes 3-days admission, a tour, and more.