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A missing heiress lost at sea!  A murder in plain sight that has no apparent victim!  With stakes this high, is amateur detective Myrtle Hardcastle finally In Myrtle Peril? The latest thrilling installment in Elizabeth C. Bunce‘s Edgar®-Award-winning, and multiple Agatha- and Anthony-award-nominated Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery series arrives along with the paperback edition of the third volume, Cold-Blooded Myrtle, at all good bookstores tomorrow, and both are available for pre-order today here at Amazon.  The critically acclaimed mystery series featuring everyone’s favorite Victorian Amateur Detective and Young Lady of Quality was named a best-of by Amazon, BookPage, and A Mighty Girl and received an Edgar® Award in 2021 and a 2022 nomination.


When a mysterious girl attempts to stake her claim to the Snowcroft family fortune, Myrtle Hardcastle’s father, a lawyer, is asked to help prove—or disprove—the girl’s identity. Is this truly Ethel Snowcroft, believed to be lost at sea with her parents, or a con artist chasing a windfall?  Mr. Hardcastle’s pursuit of the case takes a detour when he’s hospitalized for a tonsillectomy—only to witness a murder.  Or does he?  With no body at the scene, Myrtle and her governess, Miss Judson, fear the so-called murder was a feverish delusion—until a critical piece of evidence appears. But where’s the victim?  And who at the hospital could be harboring murderous intent?  Myrtle is determined to find out before the killer comes after her father. With stakes this high, her sleuthing has put Myrtle, her family, and the patients and staff at the Royal Swinburne Hospital In Myrtle Peril.

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If you’ve ever wanted to start playing Dungeons & Dragons, but didn’t have anyone around that knew how to play, Wizards of the Coast is releasing its second new intro kit with everything you need to get started.  Expanding on the 2014  D&D Starter Kit and its The Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign, this Tuesday an all-new D&D Starter Set arrives in stores, featuring the new scenario Dragons of Stormwreck Isle.  It’s available as of publication date here at Amazon for a pre-order price of only $16.99.

A surprise about this boxed set is where it’s heading:  Schools!  That’s right–it’s going to schools across the U.S. during this school year as part of a new project and partnership.  Teachers can use roleplaying with the game as a learning tool to provide social, emotional, and creative benefits to kids.  Teachers interested can find out more about the Afterschool Kit via the “Learn to Play” hub at playdnd.com.

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In 2020 Titan Comics took fans of the Blade Runner movie franchise back to the future with the comic book series Blade Runner 2019 (reviewed here at borg).  Both the sequel to Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and prequel to Blade Runner 2049, the series expanded the franchise based on characters and settings created by Philip K. Dick.  Then the series went back 20 years before the theatrical sequel in Blade Runner 2029, and the anime TV series saw its own sequel this August in the pages of Blade Runner: Black LotusBut before that, Blade Runner: Origins took fans back even earlier–to Los Angeles 2009— and it’s that exciting sci-fi series that will see its third volume released in a trade paperback/graphic novel edition this coming Wednesday.

Check out a preview below, courtesy of Titan Comics.

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Since 1977 the St. Louis area convention Archon has become one of the Midwest’s premiere science fiction and fantasy convention events.  After canceling its event in 2020 for the pandemic and holding only a partial event in 2021, Archon 45 begins today and it promises a return with its full slate of festivities including its internationally recognized cosplay masquerade, extensive gaming arena, and 250 scheduled events over its three days, September 30 through October 2.

 

The Guests of Honor headlining Archon 45 are Edgar Award-winning mystery and Morris Award-winning fantasy author Elizabeth C. Bunce and Artist Guest of Honor, the award-winning fantasy artist and actor R. Cat Conrad.  Past Guests of Honor include George R.R. Martin, Tanith Lee, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Ray Harryhausen, Forrest J. Ackerman, Robert Jordan, Connie Willis, and Barbara Hambly.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

If you’re like me and you’ve read nearly all of the adaptations, novelizations, sequels, and spin-offs to the Alien and Aliens movies, you might be surprised at how different these sci-fi horror tales play out when you add the sci-fi hunters of Predator and Predators to the mix.  Husband and wife writers Weston Ochse and Yvonne Navarro take up the challenge in Aliens vs Predators: Rift War, hot on the heels of the Hulu prequel movie Prey.  This story is for anyone who wanted to see more of the third Predator movie: 2010’s Predators, as it could easily take place right after that movie.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

No photographer is more synonymous with U.S. national parks than John Muir, and the world has marveled at his look at the precious national wonders of America for more than 125 years.  Lesser known are 19th century photographers who crossed the country snapping stereographic–three-dimensional–images of these magical places.  3D Disneyland author David A. Bossert has amassed a collection of vintage stereoscope images spanning several U.S. National Parks, and as with his previous book (reviewed here), he’s converted, cleaned-up, and enlarged those stereoscope cards into 3D anaglyph format.  Now they can be viewed by a new generation via those 1950s movie theater-style 3D red/cyan blue glasses in the former Disney Imagineer’s latest book, 3D National Parks, available for pre-order now here at The Old Mill Press.

Teddy Roosevelt in 3D?  You are going to love the result.  You can almost smell the sulfur burbling from the mudpots or hear the deafening sound of the waterfalls at Yellowstone, as these images of the past snap to life before your eyes.

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Did you know there were Advent calendars for Halloween?  Neither did we.  Not really anything remotely religious related, you now have “Halloween Countdown” books to stretch out Trick or Treat, Beggar’s Night, Mischief Night, All Hollow’s Eve–whatever your word for it it’s the night to get your costume game on.  And there’s not just one, but four.  Gifts for 13 days leading to Halloween… one features Harry Potter’s wizarding world… one features The Nightmare Before Christmas… one features Hocus Pocus… and one features the Villains of Disney.

Remember that awesome Borg Cube Advent calendar?  Think that, but for Halloween.  Who’s in?

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Sea of Thieves is a first-person shared world action-adventure game pirate adventure, allowing players to sail a legendary world alone or with a crew of up to four players, rooted in that oft’ cited early roleplaying game Oregon Traillive or die by your actions and your wits.  Well, Ahoy there, matey! Microsoft has partnered with Titan Books for its third tie-in to the game (check out my review of Tales from the Sea of Thieves here).  Sea of Thieves: Heart of Fire is the latest novel following up on the first novel, Athena’s Fortunewith both novels written by game creator Chris Allcock.  If you’ve dreamed about venturing into the high seas in the age of pirates and pillaging, Sea of Thieves: Heart of Fire is for you.  Inspired by a world fleshed out in popular fiction by Robert Louis Stevenson and popularized most recently in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, anyone young and old will find this book a quick, easy read full of all the tropes of pirate lore.  And this time readers will learn the backstory of the game’s infamous Captain Flameheart.

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It ticked several boxes for us last year: Best Horror/Thriller TV Series, Best Limited TV Series, Best API/AAPI TV Series, Top 40 TV Series of the Decade (#26!), and it introduced three of last year’s best Kick-Ass Genre Heroines.   It inexplicably got lost in the shadow of the cheap quality and poorly acted series Squid Game.  The Emmy winner should have been Alice in Borderland, a breathless, dystopian, live-action manga, Japanese noir-meets-steampunk thrill ride streaming on Netflix.  Directed by Shinsuke Sato, Haro Aso’s popular manga series came alive with his version of Doomsday, Tokyo-style, a surprisingly violent, surprisingly thought-provoking look at lost souls in a city vacated (as in The Quiet Earth and 28 Days Later) and the remaining citizens left to fight for their lives The Running Man-style or they’ll get zapped and killed The War of the Worlds-style.

The only problem?  The end of Season 1 came too soon.  Netflix is remedying that with a second season, and we have the teaser for it below.  18 million households watched the series, prompting a renewal within only two weeks.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

I always figure second grade is the make or break year for kids.  It’s the best opportunity to reveal all the components of the world to them before they follow along with the crowd into the next “in” thing.  When I was in second grade I had chicken pox, and my teacher provided me with a stack of books to read at home for the next two weeks.  One was about Easter Island, one was about King Tutankhamen, one was about Thor Heyerdahl, and the rest were about space exploration.  Just in time for your kids–or you, should outer space be a recent passion for you–is an updated edition of Marcus Chown’s Solar System: A Visual Exploration of All the Planets, Moons, and Other Heavenly Bodies That Orbit Our Sun, available now here at Amazon, a survey of the subject for amateur astronomers.

At a minimum, this book should be in every school and public library.

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