BlackScience_vol1-1Across an alien landscape, two people in space suits race for safety. At each turn, they are thwarted. The woman is killed, but the man runs on, clutching a container, cursing himself for his mistakes, his obsessions, that have brought him – and his family – here. A race against time, it seems, to reach the Pillar before it is too late.

This breathless scene opens Rick Remender’s Black Science. Grant McKay, our narrator, does make it back to the Pillar, moments before it jumps. Along with Grant are is two children, teenaged Pia and younger Nathan, his five (now four)-person team of scientists and the man who bankrolled the project. We learn that Grant and his team have done the impossible – punched through the barriers between the multiverses’ dimensions, allowing humans to travel to new dimensions not only to explore, but also to exploit, possibly finding the keys to preserving our species. The method is called black science, and the Pillar is the tool. But the tool has been sabotaged, and now it and its passengers have no control over when or to where they will jump.

Grant laments his hubris and his recklessness for taking his children and his team with him on the first manned jump throughout the story. Each new dimension is as strange as the next, dumping the team into war and circumstance that are truly alien. There appears to be no way of repairing the Pillar, and now that the multiverse has been breached, nothing is certain, especially survival.

Remander’s (Uncanny Avengers, Fear Agent) novel moves at a frenetic pace, the art is both stark and riotously vivid. It harkens back to the era of pulp science fiction with non-stop action and lurid details. With three more volumes already published, this is a great choice for anyone looking for a true science fiction adventure. Fans of “The Venture Bros.,” will enjoy this considerable darker series (and the close similarity Grant McKay bears to a certain winged super-villain).

 

This year there have been a lot of fantastic books adapted to the big screen: Twelve Years a Slave, Catching Fire (The Hunger Games trilogy), The Great Gatsby, Warm Bodies, Admission, World War Z and The Book Thief  — just to name a few!  Right before an adapted movie comes out, many scramble to read the book first. In that rush it becomes difficult to find a copy that isn’t checked out.  To prepare for the new year and start planning your reading, here are some of the books that you may want to read before you watch (who doesn’t want to get to yell, “The book was better!” in a crowded theater?)

Following successful film adaptations of Twilight and The Hunger Games series, movie studios are continuing to bank on YA dystopian sci-fi and paranormal romance series. With planned releases of  Divergent by Veronica Roth, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, The Giver by Lois Lowry (finally!),  and The Maze Runner by James Dashner (the first part of the third book in The Hunger Games series, Mockingjay is also due to be released in November) fans of speculative teen fiction have plenty to read in preparation.

Realistic fiction and a stand alone, John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars is another popular YA book set to debut next year (if you want updates, John Green has been pretty open about the process on twitter), and will star Shailene Woodley  (who is also staring in Divergent).

Not all of the books adapted for the big screen next year will be targeted at young adults. In August, Helen Mirren is set to star in what has been described in the New York Times as Slumdog Millionaire meets Ratatouille, The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard Morais.  Gillian Flynn’s massively popular Gone Girl  is due for an October release, starring Ben Affleck and directed by David Fincher (The Social Network, Fight Club).  And if you really want to get a head start, the release of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James is planned for February of 2015.