Book Review: Coming Home by Jack McDevitt

Coming-Home-McDevittJack McDevitt’s new book Coming Home, the latest book in the Alex Benedict series, and serves as a great example of what McDevitt has to offer. Set thousands of years in the future, Coming Home features antiquarian Alex Benedict and his assistant/friend Chase Kolpath as they unravel the mystery surrounding a piece of ancient space technology while also grappling with a race against the clock to save thousands of passengers who are trapped in hyperspace–and one of those passengers is Alex’s uncle Gabe Benedict.

A master storyteller, Jack McDevitt delivers another compelling tale of mystery, intrigue, and antiques hunting with Coming Home. After the death of a colleague (Garnett Baylee), a rare artifact from a lost treasure trove of ancient space travel equipment is brought to Alex Benedict’s attention. Alex, being Alex, can’t turn away from the potential of solving an ancient mystery and discovering something from the earliest days of interstellar travel. However, as Alex and Chase get closer to unraveling Garnett Baylee’s secret, they discover that the truth could cost more than their lives. Meanwhile, Chase is being pulled away to help with the recovery and rescue of the passengers stranded on the Capella, the interstellar spaceship that is fluctuating between warp space and regular space. However, success is not so easily found and the rescue mission is left with no easy answers.

While fans of the Alex Benedict series are sure to enjoy Coming Home, new readers might feel like they stepped into the book in media res since one of the story lines is a continuation of the previous novel. However, McDevitt does a nice job of leaving just enough breadcrumbs from the last novel to keep new readers from feeling lost. By incorporating two very different story lines, there is competition for Alex’s and Chase’s attention as they struggle with their guilt, desires, curiosity, and duty to each other and those who have placed their trust in them. On the surface, Coming Home may appear as just another Alex Benedict novel, but in truth it is a jumping off point that leads into the great unknown…which is a wonderful thing for any reader or author who has been with a series for a long time.

In many ways, Coming Home feels like an ending to a long journey. There is a sense of resolution and finality in the novel, giving the distinct impression that things are never going to be the same for Alex and Chase. Coming Home is a great addition to the Alex Benedict series, and it definitely gives McDevitt’s fans something fun to ring in the New Year reading.

Coming Home is a terrific read, packed with all of the best that Jack McDevitt has to offer with a few extra surprises to boot!

Title: Coming Home: An Alex Benedict Novel
Author: Jack McDevitt
Publisher: Ace Hardcover (November 4, 2014)
ISBN-13: 978-0425260876

I received this book from the publisher.

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Geek Theater Review & Kindle eBook Special — $9.95 through Dec 31st!

Mitch Montgomery, science fiction theater and film reviewer for Surreal Time Press, is in the process of publishing a series of reviews about Geek Theater. You can find his introductory review of the book as a whole here: GEEK THEATER REVIEW PART 1: INTRODUCTION, which will be followed by another review featuring the short plays within the anthology. Here’s our favorite line as this was exactly what we were aiming for with Geek Theater:

“In the tradition of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, the plays collected in Geek Theater keep the big ticket special effects mostly off-stage and instead find their stories in the human moments and mind-blowing ideas in the spaces between.” – Mitch Montgomery, Surreal Time Press

Read the full review.

Also, if you’d like to pick up a Kindle version of Geek Theater, it’s now only $9.95 through December 31, 2014!

Geek Theater is also available in print at book stores near you as well as online at:

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Working on Boskone: Boston’s Longest Running Science Fiction & Fantasy Convention

The Underwords blog has been a bit quiet lately because I’ve been pouring my time into launching Geek Theater (released Nov 2014) and building the program for Boskone 52 (Feb 13-15, 2015). There are several conventions that take place in the Boston area, but Boskone is by far my favorite … which is why I volunteer my time to help plan and run the convention. It’s a terrific convention for people who love SF & Fantasy books, but we always include other genres like horror, young adult fiction, mystery, and noir as well as comics, games, anime, music …. and lots of real science!

Boskone 52 Image

Boskone is a great example of how a classic science fiction convention can be modernized while simultaneously maintaining the comfortable, relaxed, and safe atmosphere that is so wonderfully conducive for meeting new people and getting together with old friends. Plus, did I mention all of the amazing writers, artists, publishers, musicians, and scientists who will be there? Here’s the list of program participants.

We have a lot of new program participants this year. So, we have begun running a new series called the Boskone Mini Interviews, which provides a nice introduction to many of our program participants who share fun little tidbits about themselves, what they’re working on now, what inspires them, and what they are looking forward to at Boskone. I hope you enjoy the Mini Interviews whether or not you are able to come to Boskone because these are definitely people you want to get to know.

Here’s the list of Mini Interviews that have already been published…and more are coming!

If you’re interested in attending Boskone, the pre-registration rates are: $50 Adults; $35 College Students; $25 K-12 Students. For more information, people can visit Boskone’s website, friend us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @BoskoneNews.

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The Geek Theater eBook is Now Available!

For those of you looking to purchase a digital copy of  Geek Theater, it is now available as an eBook on Amazon and Smashwords. You will also be able to purchase the eBook at Barnes and Noble as well as other retailers in the next few days.

In the meantime, here are the sites where the Geek Theater eBook is currently available:GeekTheater-Kindle

  • Amazon, file format:
    • .mobi (Kindle)
  • Smashwords, file formats:
    • .epub
    • .mobi
    • .pd
    • .lrf
    • .pdf
    • .html


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Happy Book Day to Geek Theater!

We are thrilled to announce that Geek Theater is now available. Happy Book Day to all of our authors who have a play included in this exciting and unique anthology. Geek Theater, edited by Jen Gunnels and Erin Underwood, is a labor of love that we are extremely proud to make available online and in stores near you.

Geek Theater is available in many places including:

Geek Theater showcases 15 science fiction and fantasy stage plays by some of today’s top authors and award-winning playwrights and is the first anthology that truly delves into the world of speculative fiction theater. Until recently, modern science fiction and fantasy stage plays have largely gone unnoticed despite the proliferation of plays and performances by theater companies around the world. These plays are an important part of the science fiction and fantasy canon as they represent a unique intersection of authors and playwrights producing work at a time when these genres are flourishing.

Table of Contents:

Short Length Plays
Mission to Mars by Jeanne Beckwith
For the Living by Chie-Hoon Lee
Rapunzel’s Haircut by Cecil Castelucci
Promise of Space by James Patrick Kelly

Consider the Services of the Departed by F. Brett Cox

Medium Length Plays
Zombies of Montrose by James Morrow
Clockwork Comrade by Carlos Hernandez
The Long and the Short of Long Term Memory by Cecil Castelucci
Geek! by Crystal Skillman
Faustfeathers by John Kessel

Full Length Plays
Thunderbird at the Next World Theatre by Andrea Hairston
Universal Robots by Mac Rogers
DEINDE by August Schulenburg
Hearts Like Fists by Adam Szymkowicz
Dog Act by Liz Duffy Adams

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Pre-Order Geek Theater Now!

Geek Theater is Coming on November 4, 2014! But why wait to purchase your copy. You can pre-order a copy of Geek Theater now and receive it on November 4th.

Pre-Order Geek Theater Now!

The first of its kind, Geek Theater is a groundbreaking anthology of 15 science fiction and fantasy stage plays, edited by Jen Gunnels and Erin Underwood. Each play challenges what you think you know about science fiction and fantasy theater by doing what SF/F does best…but now you can see it on the stage.

“Dim the lights, raise the curtain, and be transported to worlds strange and wondrous, times far and near, with tales thoughtful and thrilling — and then give this book the standing ovation it deserves.” — Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of FlashForward

Geek Theater showcases 15 science fiction and fantasy stage plays by some of today’s top authors and award-winning playwrights and is the first anthology that truly delves into the world of speculative fiction theater. Until recently, modern science fiction and fantasy stage plays have largely gone unnoticed despite the proliferation of plays and performances by theater companies around the world. These plays are an important part of the science fiction and fantasy cannon as they represent a unique intersection of authors and playwrights producing work at a time when these genres are flourishing.

Featuring plays by Liz Duffy Adams, Jeanne Beckwith, Cecil Castelucci, F. Brett Cox, Andrea Hairston, Carlos Hernandez, James Patrick Kelly, John Kessel, Chie-Hoon Lee, James Morrow, Mac Rogers, August Schulenburg, Crystal Skillman, and Adam Szymkowicz.

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Get the First Volume of Futuredaze on Kindle for $2.99

FuturedazeFor a limited time, Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction, the first book in the Futuredaze series by Underwords Press, is available for only $2.99 on Kindle. Or if you have purchased a print edition of Futuredaze from Amazon, you can get the Kindle version of Futuredaze for only $0.99.

Don’t miss your chance to pick up a Kindle copy of Futuredaze for yourself or buy it for a friend.

And when you’re done, leave a review and let us know what you think.

Happy Reading!!!

About the Book:

Futuredaze: An Anthology of YA Science Fiction includes 33 original short stories and poems that spark the imagination, twist the heart, and make us yearn for the possibilities of a world yet to come. Futuredaze includes pieces by Jack McDevitt, Nancy Holder, Gregory Frost, Lavie Tidhar, Sandra McDonald, Brittany Warman, Stephen Covey, E. Kristin Anderson, Alex Dally MacFarlane, Jenny Blackford, and many more!

Reflecting many of the ideals first set forth by science fiction icons such as Isaac Asimov, George Orwell, and Ray Bradbury, Futuredaze challenges the imagination with young adult fiction that includes far-flung futures, dystopian alternate worlds, life among the stars, and a host of startling stories that embrace the idea of “What if?” that has driven the science fiction genre forward for more then a century. Now, it’s time to give voice to the next generation of science fiction readers and to those of us still young at heart.

Table of Contents:

FICTION (alpha order):
“Over It” by Camille Alexa
“Driven Out” by Steve Alguire
“The Stars Beneath Our Feet” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald
“String Theory” by Danika Dinsmore
“Larvae” by Gregory Frost
“Clockwork Airlock” by Nancy Holder
“Another Prison” by Rahul Kanakia
“Prospect of a World I Dream” by Alex J. Kane
“Not With You, But With You” by Miri Kim
“Your Own Way Back” by Richard Larson
“Out of the Silent Sea” by Dale Lucas
“Unwritten in Green” by Alex Dally MacFarlane
“A Voice in the Night” by Jack McDevitt
“The End of Callie V” by Jennifer Moore
“Me and My Army of Me” by Katrina Nicholson
“Spirk Station” by Chuck Rothman
“The Cleansing” by Mark Smith-Briggs
“Powerless” by Leah Thomas
“Hollywood Forever” by Llinos Cathryn Thomas
“The Myriad Dangers” by Lavie Tidhar
“The Fall of Stile City” by William John Watkins

POETRY (alpha order):
“The Ghost Hunter” by E. Kristin Anderson
“Learning How to be a Cat” by Jenny Blackford
“The Alien” by Cathy Bryant
“Ghost Walkers” by Sandi Cayless
“Speech Lessons” by Alicia A. Cole
“King and Queen” by John Grey
“Why” by Evelyn Lumish
“Things to Consider When Choosing a Name for the Ship You Won in a Poker Game Last Night” by Iriving
“Pennies” by Iriving
“The Blue Hour” by Brittany Warman
“The Teenage Years of Ed Nimbus” by Neil Weston
“Market Day” by Anna Della Zazzera

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Join the YA Scavenger Hunt to win TONs of Amazing Books!

scavenger huntUnderwords Press is participating in the YA Scavenger Hunt this fall, which means we’re also giving away a copy of Futurdaze 2: Reprise.

In addition to your chance to win a copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise, there are dozens of other authors participating on 6 different teams. That adds up to a lot of books for you to win! It’s an amazing opportunity to discover new authors, to win tons of books, and to get access to special content from each of the authors.

Visit the Underwords Press Scavenger Hunt page to join the HUNT! Hurry. It ends on October 5, 2014!

Good Luck!


Join the YA Scavenger Hunt!


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Thought of the Day: Friendship

Thought of the DaySometimes
the most difficult friendships
are the most rewarding
because they help you
to become a better person.

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Futuredaze 2: High School Library Giveaway x 10

Underwords Press is giving away Futuredaze 2: Reprise to 10 different high school libraries anywhere in the U.S.

FD2RepriseWhen I was a teenager, my high school library was a refuge, filled with books that contained doorways to thousands of worlds. However, with all of the budget cuts that schools have suffered lately, their libraries are now struggling to make ends meet. So, in honor of the mysterious high school librarian at my former high school (Kelseyville High School), Underwords Press is holding a contest to give away a copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise to 10 high school libraries within the U.S. The instructions for entering the contest are written below. The contest is open until Saturday, September 20, 2014 at midnight in Hawaii.

Futuredaze 2: Reprise: Fifteen of the best and most brilliant young adult science fiction stories, written by the hottest SF and YA authors, are gathered for the first time in one anthology. Wild-west steampunk, true love with the alien next door, a confab with Mr. Darcy’s avatar, musical fluted girls, and Dorothy in alt-China—this is not your mom and dad’s science fiction. Grab a friend and go for launch to worlds of wonder that reveal who we are and what we want to become through our decisions, relationships, and the chances we take on our futures—across all universes!

Includes Stories by:
Paolo Bacigalupi * Libba Bray * Cassandra Clare * Neil Gaiman
Kat Howard * Hugh Howey * N. K. Jemisin * James Patrick Kelly
Ken Liu * Malinda Lo * Beth Revis * Will Shetterly
Scott Westerfeld * Connie Willis * Jane Yolen

Futuredaze 2: Reprise, edited by Erin Underwood and Nancy Holder

TO ENTER: Enter for your high school library’s chance to win a copy of Futuredaze 2: Reprise by posting your high school’s name and city in the comments area below by midnight on Saturday, September 20th. One entry per person.

MAKE YOUR ENTRY COUNT TWICE: **You can get a double entry by posting the link for this contest on your blog, Facebook page, Twitter, or somewhere else. Be sure to mention in your contest entry  below that you “boosted the signal” to have your entry counts as two entries – doubling your chances to win.**

RULES: The contest is open to all high school libraries located within the United States. Each person is only allowed to enter once, but a high school’s name may be submitted by multiple people. The 10 winning schools will be randomly chosen from all entries received. The person who entered on behalf of the school will be contacted via email for mailing instructions. To enter, you must be at least 14 years old. If you are under 18, please get your parent’s permission to enter.


“Thoughtfully organized to maximize enjoyment, this sci-fi collection introduces YA readers to exciting subgenres and authors.” —Carolyn Bailey, Foreword Reviews, Fall 2014
“Drawing on a diverse selection of the short science fiction of the last 30 years, the authors have created a solid work through which younger readers can explore the world of SF.” —James Davis Nicoll, RT Book Reviews
Posted in Contest, Futuredaze, Uncategorized, Young Adult Literature | 2 Comments