Archive for January, 2022


Review by C.J. Bunce

Oddly enough, no single James Bond movie has yet been given its own contemporaneous behind the scenes book that is worthy of the franchise.  That is, until now.  Mark Salisbury′s No Time to Die: The Making of the Film is one of those deluxe, full-color, high quality, coffee table-style books like we’ve seen several times at borg.  The difference is this one provides a look into the longest running continuous movie franchise.  Full of images of the production in action, it also features interviews with the key cast and crew on Daniel Craig’s final turn as James Bond in the franchise’s 25th official production.

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Just as MEGO and Super7 begin to re-establish their Star Trek action figure footprints, a nostalgic toy company from the past is going to revisit and expand its own vintage toy line.  The company with the best, broadest, and most fleshed out variety of Star Trek action figures is back, beginning with figures for Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek Discovery, and a movie line beginning with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  With a similar look as its original toys, Playmates Toys isn’t catering to collectors pursuing realistic sculpts, but those who miss the 1990s toys.  Check out images of just the first wave of the coming retro fix below, along with a look back at the first versions.

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As we mentioned earlier this month, 2021 Edgar Award-winning author and borg contributor Elizabeth C. Bunce was nominated for her second Edgar Award, for the second year in a row.  This weekend she added another accolade for her novel Cold-Blooded Myrtle, as she was nominated for the Agatha Award, Elizabeth’s second year nominated for the award, which commemorates traditional mystery works typified by the novels of mystery author Agatha Christie (pictured above, left).  Past nominees have included John Grisham, Anne Perry, Max Allan Collins, Sue Grafton, Mary Higgins Clark, Charlaine Harris, Janet Evanovich, Ann Cleeves, Rhys Bowen, Charlotte MacLeod–and Elizabeth.  Nominees are announced early each year and winners awarded at the mystery convention Malice Domestic.

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Congratulations to Elizabeth for her nomination for Cold-Blooded Myrtle

From Elizabeth’s publisher:

Cold-Blooded Myrtle opens moments before the grand reveal of the annual Christmas shop display at Leighton’s Mercantile.  As Myrtle and the townsfolk of Swinburne gather for the yearly tradition, it becomes clear something isn’t right.  The proprietor of Leighton’s Mercantile is found dead and the display tampered with.  But who would want to kill the local dry-goods merchant?  Perhaps someone who remembers the mysterious scandal that destroyed his career as a professor and archaeologist involving the disappearance of a local college student.  When the killer strikes again, each time manipulating the figures in the Christmas display to foretell the crime, Myrtle, Miss Judson, and Peony the cat set out to unravel a twisted tale of secret societies, cryptic messages, long-buried secrets, and a killer bent on revenge.  The case becomes even more personal when clues connect Myrtle’s own deceased mother to the sinister happenings.

“A holiday mystery is a crime fiction tradition, and many of our modern holiday customs have their origins in the Victorian era,” explains Elizabeth.  “I knew from the start one of the books would have to take place during an Exceptionally Victorian Christmas.”  Elizabeth goes on to say, “I hope that young readers see Myrtle’s determination and curiosity as an invitation to be bold and curious in their own lives.  Myrtle is a heroine who doggedly pursues her own path, despite outside pressures trying to define her.  I want kids to see that it’s ok to embrace their own passions and interests too, whatever they might be.”

The perfect holiday book for young readers and grown-up mystery fans alike, this fantastic third installment of the award-winning Myrtle Hardcastle Mystery Series promises scandal and drama, Victorian rule-breaking, early forensics, code cracking, and a packed cast of delightful and eccentric friends and foes.

In addition to the 2022 Edgar Award and Agatha Award nominations, Cold-Blooded Myrtle has been named a Kirkus 2021 Top 10 Best Book of the Year and a Wall Street Journal holiday guide recommendation.  It’s available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook here at Amazon.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

We’ve taken a look at multi-artist tribute concept books before at borg, including the excellent Alien: 40 Years/40 Artists, the Firefly Artbook, The Thing Artbook, Star Trek: 50 Artists/50 Years, and The Mike Wieringo Tellos Tribute.  Any time we showcase a major benchmark in comic book titles, like Detective Comics 1000th issue, Wonder Woman’s 750th issue, and The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #800, or charity projects like the Wonder Woman 100 showcase, we see a great new spin on favorite characters from a new vantage: a variety of artists interpreting an icon of popular culture.  Original art compiler Printed in Blood has partnered again with Titan Books to return to the Alien franchise with their new Aliens Artbook, featuring dozens of artists–most you haven’t seen before–interpreting the movie for its 35th anniversary.  It’s available this month here at Amazon and at brick and mortar book stores everywhere.  Other than in Alien: Covenant: David’s Drawings, you’ve probably never seen so many Xenomorphs in one place.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

In the last Nerd Search series book, Star Trek: Quibbles with Tribbles, fans of Star Trek’s original series were challenged about their detailed knowledge of the space adventures of Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, and Chekov.  A “Where’s Waldo?” type game with puzzles just like in that doctor’s office waiting room staple Highlights magazine–requiring you know truly trivial details of the series, it was a light-hearted book of fun for Trekkers and Trekkies everywhere.  In Star Trek: The Next Generation: Bloopers of the Borg, this next colorful hardcover book of the series switches gears to Star Trek: The Next Generation, and like its predecessor it will challenge every fan of the show.

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Back in 2013 we asked after the first few episodes of Vikings, “Why this is only a nine-episode mini-series?”  The History Channel’s first historical fiction mini-series since the acclaimed Hatfields & McCoys fortunately didn’t stop at the first season, and the rest, as they say, is now history.  Vikings took stunning locations, a powerful score, and a fantastic story steeped in Nordic mythology and created an epic production on par with Braveheart, Rob Roy, 300, and Attila, the only time the Vikings have ever been given a worthy live-action TV or movie treatment (and it rated our pick for second best series of the decade here at borg) With season six finished last year and airing in its final markets this year, legions of fans eagerly await what will now be Netflix’s sequel series, Vikings: ValhallaNetflix has released a new trailer for the series, following the first from last September (we previewed it here).  Check it out below.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Quentin Tarantino sparked the resurgence of the pulp crime novel with his 1990s homage movies.  The Internet, and especially eBay, found new homes for basements and attics full of the paperback novels.  Digital ebooks made out-of-print books accessible to nearly anyone across the planet.  And the Hard Case Crime imprint combined new talent with the best of the old, reprinting lost novels and publishing shelved novels from crime writers of the past, many for the first time.  Rio Youers’ new crime novel, No Second Chances, now available for pre-order here from publisher William Morrow, is the latest in a trend of authors mixing echoes of Hollywood’s past with its grimy, ugly corners in the pulp crime niche.

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Some ideas arrive with exactly the right creator, and that seems to be the case with Netflix’s next experimental series.  Mixing the irreverent police procedural comedy of Angie Tribeca with the improv fun of Whose Line is it Anyway?, Improv-a-ganza, and Thank God You’re Here, Netflix’s new six-episode series Murderville stars Will Arnett both in front of, and behind, the camera.  He’s featuring a guest star for each episode about detectives trying to solve a murder, only this isn’t anything like what you’ve seen before on a TV show.

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Review by C.J. Bunce

Last year’s best television series in seven categories finds its sequel this week in the comics pages.  Adapted from the 1999-2001 anime series considered to be the best of the genre, Netflix’s Cowboy Bebop was the ultimate mix of the space life of Firefly, the dark future Earth noir of Altered Carbon and Blade Runner, and the lived-in future realism of Alien and Outland.  Unfortunately Netflix unthinkably canceled the series after only one season.  How could 74 million viewing hours in one week not justify a second season?  Your guess is as good as ours.  Lucky for the series’ fan base, Titan Comics is introducing new stories in a limited monthly comic beginning this week with Cowboy Bebop #1.

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One of the Top 10 fantasy television series of the past decade is getting a sequel.  As with Firefly, that sequel is coming in the form of a major motion picture.  The series was Netflix’s 2019 wuxia series Wu Assassins, and the sequel is Fistful of Vengeance International world martial arts champ Iko Uwais returns as the chef tapped with the supernatural powers of 1,000 monks, along with series co-star Lewis Tan (Mortal Kombat)Wu Assassins made other action franchises pale in comparison, mixing the best choreographed fight sequences with visual effects, humor, actors we want to see more of.  That Chuck Norris-esque movie title doesn’t hurt either.  Check out the trailer for Netflix’s Fistful of Vengeance below.

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