Author: Nikki Lyka

is an artist, blogger, performer, and all around lover of tea, tentacles, and many good books. Her writing has appeared in Dark Beauty Magazine, featured on Buzzfeed, and in various other places you may find yourself on the wonder that is the internet.

“Altered States of the Union” anthology shows what America could be

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Have you ever wondered what could have been? What if Key West seceded from the mainland? If the state of Wyoming ended up in the middle of Pennsylvania? If freed slaves were given the state of Mississippi after the Civil War? Perhaps you would like a Brief Explanation as to how Budapest became the Taco Capital of the World? Or, if you prefer, there is one story that is a fight to the death between the governor of North Alaska, Sarah Palin, and the billionaire orange haired governor of South Alaska…

You can wonder all of these no longer with ‘Altered States of the Union: What America Could Be’; An American alternate history anthology (say that five times fast) that features a varied and fantastic line up of first time authors, New York Times best selling authors, and Hugo and Nebula award winning authors, coming all together with their own stories of alternate American history and describing what could have been if circumstances were just a little different. (And a little more crazy.)
It will be making its debut on July 15th/2016 at the Shore Leave Convention – aptly, the weekend before the Republican convention. For anyone that grabs it on Indiegogo, copies of the book will be mailed out shortly thereafter, if you’re not at the show to pick it up and get autographs in person.

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This anthology wants to show you how we could have gone other ways, how we could have been very different than what we are– yet still be America. For anyone wondering how the Indiegogo will be spread out, they’re taking pre-orders to finance printing costs and generally passing along more money to the contributors— all proceeds after production and distribution costs go to the people whose work drew you to the book in the first place— which, after all, is how it should be.

The array of authors that are in this collection of historic proportions are:

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Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Debra Doyle & James D. Macdonald, Brendan DuBois, Malon Edwards, G.D. Falksen, Michael Jan Friedman, David Gerrold, Robert Greenberger, Alisa Kwitney, Gordon Linzner, Sarah McGill, Meredith Peruzzi, Mackenzie Reide, Aaron Rosenberg, David Silverman & Hildy Silverman, Ian Randal Strock, Ramón Terrell, Anne Toole, and ComicMix’s own Glenn Hauman as editor.

A mixture of NY Times best sellers, Hugo and Nebula winners, WGA award winners, president of American Atheists, and an editor of the Sandman comics is a sure win. Any anthology that includes the writer of “The Trouble With Tribbles”, a writer of “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries”, and the president of American Atheists is an interesting mix that shouldn’t be missed out on.

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Who Are The Top 20 Vampires in Books?

Vampires have been and will always be a wonderful creature that runs through the pages of comic books, graphic novels and literary books, but these few stand out as some of the best of the lot. Of course choosing vampires in literature is always a daunting task, and as such, is entirely subjective.


1. Lestat from The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
Anne Rices Vampire Lestat 1Lestat de Lioncourt from Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. “The Brat Prince” has helped form what many see as the template for how a vampire should be in modern day fiction. His boldness, enthusiasm, defiance and charm has made him the iconic vampire of the 20th and 21st century. You can begin to read his exploits in the first book of the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice in ‘Interview With A Vampire‘.

(You can buy it HERE!)


2. Carmilla from The Dark Blue by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

800px-CarmillaAppearing in 1871 as a serial narrative in the magazine ‘The Dark Blue’, Carmilla predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by 27 years, and even though it is lesser known and far shorter, the impact it has had is very noticeable. Being the first lesbian female vampire in literature, she’s easily one of the most iconic, even with the obscure following. You can find her originally in ‘The Dark Blue’ or in the authors later short stories, ‘In A Glass Darkly’.


3. Dr. Babette Varanus from The Ouroboros Cycle series by G.D. Falksen
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One of my personal favourite characters in a new series by G.D. Falksen, Dr. Babette Varanus is one of the main protagonists, and is one of the Shashavani. Erudite vampires who are all about the pursuit of knowledge, and when you live forever that is the best usage of time as far as I’m concerned. This series is intelligent and has a fresh twist on supernatural creatures (such as vampires) that isn’t typical in anything I have read in quite a long time. That goes doubly for the characters. Dr. Varanus is tiny, sassy, all about the sciences, and like myself she is not fond of duels at Christmas time. Absolutely check out this series.

4. Kurt Barlow from Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
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The principal ”bad guy” in Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot, Barlow is strangely a little known character among most readers despite being the main ‘antagonist’. It’s a rare case of the book having more fame than the characters in it, as opposed to Stoker’s Dracula being more well known than the book. Salem’s Lot is well worth the read if you have not done so before, and Kurt Barlow is a character you should know in your vampiric repertoire.

5.Dracula from the Dracula novel by Bram Stoker
Not really needing an introduction at this point, Stoker’s Dracula is a character that is arguably the most well known vampire to date. If you don’t know who Dracula is…You best click that hyperlink and educate yourself! Remember to stay away from the sparkles, my friends.
As comics readers, we’re of course partial to the version drawn by Gene Colan and written by Marv Wolfman. [[[The Tomb Of Dracula]]] for Marvel lasted 70 issues, spawned two magazine spinoffs and an anime adaptation(!), and introduced the world to Blade, who would go on to be featured in three movies and a TV series.

Why You Should Listen to “Welcome to Night Vale” (And stay out of the Dog Park…)

A friendly desert community where the sun is hot, the moon is beautiful, and mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep. Welcome to Night Vale.

Hello, listeners.

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If you have been listening to Night Vale Radio, you understand the lights above Arby’s, you can tell people why they should never go into the Dog Park, you understand that wheat and wheat-by-products are not to be trusted, and you definitely understand that angels do not exist.

However if you are not: You can (and should, for your own sanity) tune in and listen to Cecil every month on the 1st and 15th. Follow the Welcome to Night Vale podcast on iTunes, or if you prefer, listen to the episodes here, here, or here.

It’s alright if you’re confused at first, we all were. It becomes clear enough though as you listen on, while Cecil tells you all about sandstorms, Desert Bluffs, Carlos and his perfect hair…We don’t ever really talk about Steve Carlsberg, though.

You should be aware that alligators can kill your children.

Welcome to Night Vale is easily one of my favourite pod casts to pop up in quite a few years, and a quick glance around the internet will go to show that I am definitely not alone. Between the glowing cloud that rains animals, the faceless old woman who lives in your home, and Hiram McDaniels who is literally a five headed dragon, who cares…Night Vale Radio has a charm that is undeniable and wonderful.

I personally have always been an avid fan of radio programs, and still enjoy listening to things like The Shadow, The Twilight Zone, etc. There’s a fantastic bit of imagination that comes with radio (and reading books) that is different than watching TV or movies. You get to imagine everything, and whatever it is you picture…You aren’t wrong. One of the best parts about WTNV is that there is so much left to your own personal perceptions, and it is encouraged.

There is so much about Night Vale that will simultaneously lift up your spirits, terrify you, and make you question your own existence. Kind of like how StrexCorp is so…

Station Management has informed me that this next paragraph has been deleted for the betterment of the station. Thank you for your cooperation.

…What was I saying? That StrexCorp Synernists Inc. are amazing and everyone should believe in a Smiling God? Yes, that must be it. How silly of me! To sum this all up in a slightly less confusing statement…

Go listen to Welcome to Night Vale. You won’t be disappointed.

You might scared, intrigued, and confused. You may not come out of it the same, but in the end…Isn’t that all life is? Void and turquoise…

Goodnight, dear readers.

Goodnight.

(As a side note: Welcome to Night Vale is currently touring Canada and the US! Tickets are sold out for a lot of venues, but if you want to see Cecil and the crew live, do so! A few friends of mine went to see it live and since they’ve gotten back they just keep repeating the word Strex over and over. Strex…Strex…Strex…)

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Top Reasons Why You Should be Watching ‘Penny Dreadful’

If you’ve been watching any sort of television recently or have even just been clicking around online, you have probably heard of a series called ‘Penny Dreadful‘. Since the second last episode of the first season airs this evening, I wanted to do a short post as to why you should all be watching it.

(If you are not already.)

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Starting first, it has the lovely Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, who is not only fabulous but is mysterious, and has some demons she’s fighting. Literally. (more…)

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Save the World by Buying Steampunk!

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I don’t know if you already knew about this Steampunk charity bundle in support of Direct Relief, which has already made over 16 thousand dollars. Contributors get to save the world by buying steampunk.

The bundle includes thousands of pages of great reading, hours of gaming fun, and tons of fantastic music. You can get it all for just the donation of a dollar (though larger donations are encouraged and appreciated). The money raised by sales of the bundle helps fund to Direct Relief (directrelief.org) which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that provides medical assistance to people around the world who have been affected by poverty, natural disasters, and civil unrest. This bundle includes award-winning games such as Syberia, music from such artists as the acclaimed Sxip Shirey, and exclusive content such as the Cities of Ether anthology by G. D. Falksen. The great thing about this is that for as little as a dollar you get thousands of hours of entertainment and art, and you also help people all over the world by supporting Direct Relief. The more people know about the bundle, the more they chance they have to pick up some great Steampunk themed games, books, comics, and music, and the more funding the charity gets that can then go and help people all around the world. It’s a great win-win situation for everyone.

 

ComicMix Six: Comic Book Characters Who Were in the Olympics

It’s time for the Winter Olympics! That special time every four years where the world tunes in to watch athletes from all over compete for medals. I myself am reminded that perhaps I should take up running or some form of exercise other than getting up to grab myself a new book to read. Until that fateful day however, I bring to you this list of six comic book characters that were involved in the Olympics in one form or another.

  1. Cover to Jon Sable Freelance #7. Art by Mike G...

    Cover to Jon Sable Freelance #7. Art by Mike Grell.

    First on the list is Jon Sable.  A now freelance mercenary who previously was an athlete in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. After having witnessed the terrorist outrages in the Munich games, he married a fellow athlete and moved to Rhodesia. Becoming a game warden and a tourist guide for safari tours. Unfortunately however, life did not go so simply and he returned to the USA to go freelance.
    Not the happiest of Olympic tales to start out on, I know. But it is interesting to say the very least. You can also catch up on the latest Jon Sable right here, with Jon Sable: Ashes of Eden.

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