BookBanter Episode 29 with Penny Arcade


At a recent book signing for The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade, I had the chance to sit down and chat with the incredible minds behind one of the most popular webcomics of our time: Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik. Jerry and Mike talk about what an average day for them is like, who else works at their office so they get to read and write about video games, what Child's Play is, what goes on at PAX, and how much time they really spend playing video games. Included in the episode is my review for The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade:
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

This episode of BookBanter is brought to you by East Bay and Footlocker, leading world suppliers of athletic footwear, apparel and sports equipment, featuring top athletic brands such as Adidas, Reebok, Converse, and Nike. Go to East and use the code AFBOOK15 to receive 15% off your order, or the code AFBOOK20 to receive 20% off your order of $75 or more. Or go to and use the code AFBOOKFL to receive 15% off your order.

As you may have noticed, there are some updates to BookBanter:
- the whole new look to the site;

- the new BookBanter theme song, with an original beginning and ending;

- the book review search bar available on this page, as well as on the reviews page;

- the episodes page features a complete listing of all the BookBanter episodes from the premiere episode to the current one;

- the reviews page also has a full genre and category listing to help you navigate the reviews;

- the interviews page features a new step for BookBanter with written interviews, starting with Brandon Sanderson; an exclusive interview with Peter Straub will be up on April 15th;

- the author comments page is where author's let you know what they think of BookBanter.

- the BookBanter on BookBanter interview on the About page.

Please join me next time, on April 15th, where there'll be a new episode featuring a lineup of book reviews, along with an exclusive written interview with bestselling author Peter Straub.

Until next time,

Alex C. Telander.

In a little over a month, Feed by Mira Grant will be published at the very affordable price of $9.99. Feed is the first in the Newsflesh trilogy penned by the October Daye series author, Seanan McGuire. Why is she using a pseudonym? Because Feed is such a departure from Rosemary and Rue and A Local Habitation that McGuire felt the need to publish it under a different name.

It is almost the middle of the twenty-first century and zombies have taken over a significant portion of the Unites States (presumably the rest of the world also); Alaska has been abandoned to them; people live in constant fear, not wanting to leave their homes, and it only takes a small amount of the Kellis-Amberlee to turn you. Feed is told from the viewpoint of Georgia Mason (in this world, after everything went to hell, George and Georgia have become popular names, after a certain director), a professional blogger. When the zombies rose, the media ridiculed the reports and stories as jokes and fakes, while the bloggers told the real story of what was happening. Georgia is a strong female character who runs the blogging site, along with her brother Shaun and their necessary techie, nicknamed Buffy -- a reference that only certain characters can barely remember. The team is looking to make it big after getting to cover the presidential run of a governor who wants to make America a better place, more than a glowing hint of the shining beacon it once was.

McGuire delivers a stunning, deep, complex, and moving 600-pager that goes way beyond your average zombie novel. If the rising dead and blood and gore were surgically removed from Feed, it would be a work of important fiction, with realistic, complicated characters that affect the reader on a number of levels. But then Feed is made all the better with the zombies; and the technical details, the blogging terminology, and the important medical references that makes it a compelling novel you won't want to put down. Think Michael Crichton -- at his best -- meets the world of World War Z, but in a unique and realistic setting of the future filled with gadgets that we will see in out lifetimes, which only could've come from the mind of Seanan McGuire . . . or is that Mira Grant?

And Feed is available for preorder right now on Amazon, and this is a zombie book you'll want to own, so that once you've read it, you can lend it to each of your friends.

Sometimes There Are Turkeys

Sometimes you're relaxing on your couch, checking your email and seeing what's shaking online, and you look out through your open blinds, out your window, into your complex on a nice warm day, and you see . . . turkeys.


Let me rewind a little and explain, for while many may be shocked by such a sight of these unusual and rarely seen creatures, I for one am not. For over a year now -- pretty much since I moved into my current residence -- from time to time I have paid witness to these strange-looking animals. Most often they are found in the nearby Maidu Park, which has large amounts of inaccessible land teeming with wildlife and turkeys. Except these turkeys consider themselves royalty of this terrain, their kingdom, and freely walk wherever they please. I have even spotted them on a center divide of a busy thoroughfare. How they manage to get across the road without being hit by a car, who knows. But then they are royalty, so perhaps all who cross their paths stop and allow them to pass without question. Or maybe they use those small wings and fly a little (see below for further proof). Earlier this week when I left for work I found these two rapscallions along with a veritable hoard of smaller turkeys, likely offspring. It was quite the party traveling into the apartment complex.

So when I gazed upon a pair of unusual turkey heads peaking in my window, I wasn't too thrown off guard. Naturally I had to investigate.


But I wasn't the only one who decided that these turkeys needed further scrutiny. Once the door was open, Lily was out checking up on them, for there is nothing that occurs within the environs of my apartment that is not first vetted and then approved (rarely) or denied (most cases) by this most critical of cats. While she tolerates humans -- for their petting -- and thinks little of noisy dogs, and hates any other feline she sees, looking to end it; on this day she decided to abide by these fowl, encroaching upon them without eliciting much of a reaction, as well as showing an impressive level of indifference herself.


There was one tense moment when a face-off occurred, as it seemed Lily just wanted to hang out with these turkeys, but they soon turned tail and went on their merry way, much to the chagrin of my cat.


And later, as I left to go out, I saw a most unusual sight (after this earlier one): a turkey on the roof of a two-story apartment, balancing there, then noticing it had been spotted by yours truly, and I heard it's hobbly scraggling down the other side of the roof, and then bursting sound of flapping wings, and the next moment it was safely ensconced high up in a redwood tree. For all I know, the strange bird is still there now.

Originally posted on the BookBanter Blog.




This episode features my interview with Seth Grahame-Smith, who is the author of the original mash-novel that swept the world by storm, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is now being turned into a movie, as well as a graphic novel, and there's even a prequel coming out soon. But most of our interview -- after some initial discussion about Seth's thoughts on zombies -- was spent talking about his new book coming out March 2nd, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. In the interview, you learn where he came up with the idea for the book (which predates Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), how he went about writing the book with all the research. Seth also does a lot of TV work, which he talks about, as well as other projects he's currently working on. There was a bit of an issue with the recording and sound quality, but the interview is clear enough and pretty interesting.

This episode features my reviews Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the new book, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter :

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

This episode of BookBanter is brought to you by East Bay and Footlocker, leading world suppliers of athletic footwear, apparel and sports equipment, featuring top athletic brands such as Adidas, Reebok, Converse, and Nike. Go to East and use the code AFBOOK15 to receive 15% off your order, or the code AFBOOK20 to receive 20% off your order of $75 or more. Or go to and use the code AFBOOKFL to receive 15% off your order.

For more updates and news, as wells as thoughts and comments about books and writing, be sure to check out the BookBanter Blog.

Be sure to join me on the next episode of BookBanter, coming March 15th, where I'll be talking with bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson, and we'll be talking all about his latest book, Galileo's Dream.

Until next time,

Alex C. Telander.


x-posted from BookBanter blog

Today I discovered I've achieved one of my goals. I've been reviewing books now for over ten years, starting in 1999 for the Long Beach Union. During the month of March I will likely hit the 300 review mark for the BookBanter site, and while my initial goal with reviewing books has always been to critique what I've read and then to interest and entertain (and in some cases warn) readers about various books, I have also been looking to gain a popularity and notoriety with my book reviews, and now with my BookBanter podcasts. And now I've achieved another goal in getting a quote of one of my reviews not only mentioned in a book, but featured on the front cover, which is more than I could wish for.

The book in question is the recently released Amber Benson's Cat's Claw, the sequel to Death's Daughter which I reviewed for the Sacramento Book Review almost a year ago. Here's the review, and below is an enlarged photo of the book cover with a quote from my review on it.

Cat"s Claw

This is great for the Sacramento Book Review, but also makes me feel pretty great.

And the longer quote featured on the first page is: "Amber Benson does an excellent job of creating strong characters, as well as educating the reader on some great mythology history . . a fast-paced and very entertaining story."

Feeling pretty psyched right now.

And for anyone interested in revisiting, or perhaps checking out for the first time, my interview with Amber Benson, click here.

Penny Arcade at Belmont Library 02/24/10

Yesterday I got to meet the great minds - Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins - behind the incredible popular Penny Arcade web comic. They were at the Belmont Library in San Mateo for the second stop in their book tour for The Splendid Magic of Penny Arcade: The 11 1/2 Anniversary Edition (now available).

Penny Arcade book

The main reason I was there, other than to meet these fun and crazy guys, was to interview them for BookBanter, which went very well and was a lot of fun. The interview is scheduled to run in Episode 29 on April 1st, which seems pretty fitting, being April Fools Day and all. I'm also planning to have this be the inaugural day of the new site upgrade for BookBanter. Fingers crossed on that.

After the interview, we hung out for a bit, while Jerry tried to convince me about how great ebook readers are, especially his Nook, and why I needed to get one because I love reading so much. But I maintain that I also love books and while I wouldn't say no to someone giving me an ereader, I don't plan on acquiring one any time soon. We also talked about Mike doing more reading now other than Star Wars books, and he's currently very much enjoying The Name of the Wind by Patrick Ruthfuss, while Jerry's mind is currently being blown by Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon.


Penny Arcade
Jerry Holkins scowling on the left, Mike Krahulik smirking on the right

The crowd came out in full to fill up the area of the library where they were having the Q&A and signing.


People 1

At their signing the night before at the University Bookstore in Seattle, there'd been 250 people. I think at Belmont Library, that number was beaten. All the chairs were taken, then all the standing room. Then people began lining up in the aisles of books, trying to peak over the hardcovers and paperbacks to see through to the performance. Many just hung further back and listened to the miked voices coming from somewhere across the room.


People 2

Mike and Jerry gave a great performance, signing books twenty minutes beforehand, then answering questions for over an hour and regaling everyone with entertaining stories, such as Jerry's dangerous obsession with Felicia Day, or extolling the virtues of D&D, and then proceeded to sign books and chat and do photos for a lot longer, until everyone was happy and Mike and Jerry were completely exhausted.


People 3

All in all an entertaining night. Here's the rest of their book tour, along with PAX East in between. As I said, the episode with their interview should be up on April first, at the conclusion of their tour. And I would just like to thank the Belmont Library for organizing a room to do the interview in where we were relatively undisturbed (and the staff were great!), Dolores Gevertz for coordinating at the event, and most importantly April Flores from Random House for organizing and coordinating and make this all happen for BookBanter.

Originally posted on the BookBanter blog.

Angie"s List


In Episode 24 I had the chance to interview S. G. Browne in person. Browne is the author of an entertaining, tongue-in-cheek zombie book called Breathers: A Zombie's Lament, which explores the idea and repercussions of what if someone woke up one day and discovered they were a zombie; how would it affect their life and in what ways. Browne also talks about how he came up with Breathers, what his next book is all about, and how it took him almost a hundred submissions to agents before Breathers was picked up.

Featured in the episode are my reviews for Breathers by S. G. Browne , Nyphron Rising by Michael J. Sullivan, The Electric Church by Jeff Somers, and A Mage of None Magic by A. Christopher Drown; to purchase any of these books, click on the covers below :

Breathers Nyphron Rising The Electric Church A Mage of None Magic

This episode of BookBanter is brought to you by Angie’s List. At Angie’s List you’ll find thousands of unbiased ratings on services for home improvements, car repairs, and even doctors. Gain access to thousands of reviews on local service providers for Home improvement Auto Repair, Accounting, Animal Care, Health Care and even Weddings. Let Angie’s List take away the guesswork. Find the service provider your neighbors gave the highest rating. Join Angie’s List and use promo code “book” for 25% off your membership! Just go to

After enjoying this episode, why not check out the new BookBanter Blog, where you can find out about everything related to BookBanter, books, writing, and whatever else I feel like writing about .

I'll see you next time, on February 1st, where I'll hopefully be interviewing author Cherie Priest, and we'll be talking all about her great Steampunk book Boneshaker.

Until then, keep reading!

Alex C. Telander.

BookBanter Listening Issues

Podbean, the podcast site that BookBanter is usually running through, is experiencing technical difficulties at the moment; not sure why, but I’m working on getting it fixed, so at the moment the new episode is linked through the Mevio site, which should work just fine.  If you’re experiencing the same problems with the others episodes where you can’t listen to them, you can go to the BookBanter Mevio site and hear them there.

Any comments or questions, please be sure to email me at

I’m working on getting this fixed as soon as possible.

Thanks for your patience.

BookBanter Episode 21 with Ken Scholes


In Episode 21 of BookBanter you get to hear my next interview live from the World Fantasy Convention with fantasy author Ken Scholes. Scholes is the author of the five-part Psalms of Isaak series, the first two of which — Lamentation and Canticle — are now available . Scholes also talks about how he got into writing, what he has planned for the future, some advice for future writers, and how his life has been so wonderfully changed with having twins.

Featured in the episode are my reviews for Canticle and Lamentation, as well as Depraved by Bryan Smith and Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. If you would like to purchase any of the books mentioned or preorder the new Garth Nix book, simply click on the covers below:

Canticle Lamentation Depraved Leviathan

This episode of BookBanter is brought to you by East Bay and Footlocker, leading world suppliers of athletic footwear, apparel and sports equipment, featuring top athletic brands such as Adidas, Reebok, Converse, and Nike.  Go to East and use the code AFBOOK15 to receive 15% off your order, or the code AFBOOK20 to receive 20% off your order of $75 or more.  Or go to and use the code AFBOOKFL to receive 15% off your order.

I would once again like to thank Cheryl Morgan for getting me all set up at the World Fantasy Convention.

After enjoying this episode, why not check out the new BookBanter Blog, where you can find out what I was up to at the World Fantasy Convention and which panels I attended.

I’ll see you next time, on December 15th, where I’ll be interviewing author Jeff VanderMeer, who’s most recent book is Booklife.

Until then, keep reading!

Alex C. Telander.


Check out the BookBanter podcast, where you can get all the latest book reviews that help you decide what to read next in handy podcast form.

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