Science Fiction, The Walking Dead (ZOMBIES)

Extinction Horizon Elevates Zombie Apocalyptic Novels

I confess.  I was up most of last night reading Nicholas Sansbury Smith’s Extinction Horizon. It’s a perfect example to remind us that even zombie novels can evolve to stay deadly and exciting.

By now, most apocalyptic (read: zombie) novels by now are terribly predictable.  Only a few stand out–and those have somewhat developed characters, perhaps some chemistry between the characters, and maybe a bit of plausible science (fiction) in what caused the zombies.  Extinction Horizon took my expectations to the next level and reminded me that it is truly possible to have a very good zombie novel.  (By the way, they’re not really zombies.  Excellently played, Nicholas Smith.)

Find Nicholas Sansbury Smith's Extinction Horizon and the rest of the series on Amazon.com.

Find Nicholas Sansbury Smith’s Extinction Horizon and the rest of the series on Amazon.com.

The characters were well developed–including minor characters, which is becoming increasingly rarer in self published novels I chose to read, not just in this genre.  They had quirks, cares, personality traits that separated them from others in the background.  I cared equally for the minor characters as I did for the secondary and main characters.  That’s a mark of a writer in his or her element, working their craft like the piece of art it should be.

What was also surprising was the depth of chemistry the characters shared.  Unlike other novels of this genre, where characters are usually thrown together in a mash of circumstances that make their interactions seems forced, Smith allowed his character’s relationships to develop organically.  Common interests above and beyond survival made each and every action by the main characters specifically intriguing.  I found myself wanting more of the characters than even the action, which was superb, by the way.  There was one revelation that caused me to put the book down, my hand instinctively covered my mouth, and I had to just absorb the horror and tragedy.  Again, unlike the many authors of this genre, Smith allowed us to feel in the midst of the horror.  A rare and treasured trait for a genre quickly losing its steam–except not this series, I hope.

Furthermore, I love science.  Truthfully, the only reason I picked up this novel was the reviews raved about the scientific elements, the plausibility this science fiction gave to the causes of the virus that helped me believe.  It engaged me.  In some ways, it was strangely educational.  Once again, unlike other novels, the scientists did not feel like one-dimensional characters who were only there for exposition sake (even if they were supposed to be main characters).  The scientists believed in the work and reading their activities engaged all of my senses.  I felt like I was in the lab with them.  The same applied true for our heroes of Delta Force.  I felt like I was on mission with them.

Now for the flaws.  There were moments that were tragically predictable.  There were characters who…well, if you’re a fan of the zombie apocalypse genre than you know what their fate is the moment they’re introduced.  However, there are a few surprises that made these few moments acceptable.

(Potential MINOR SPOILERS:  I never suggest running at the back of the pack or staying inside a comprised location by yourself.  A darkened, quiet hallway or malfunctioning radio.  Not a good a sign.  Is humanity that daft?  End spoilers.)

Also, this is a novel that, once again, treads in the steps of others like it.  Instead of focusing on normal citizens–those of us without the lovely phD or spec ops training–it centered on a select group of people.  Due to the plot, this worked!  The “elites” connections with normal citizens made the main characters only stronger.  Just another way Smith turned potential flaws into delightful strengths.

Finally, Extinction Horizon proved humor isn’t dead.  Unlike most zombie novels (films, TV shows), Smith’s characters were unafraid to say the word zombie–and outright dismiss it, even laugh at it.  These aren’t zombies, nor are they vampires, or anything else we’ve seen before.  They’re a variant of what we know, and it works!

There is a quite a few doses of delightful humor and levity that feels more natural from the characters than it does in other books.  It takes the dark tone and lightens it just enough that we can read on and take a deep breath–because we’ll lose that breath rather quickly.  Extinction Horizon is suspenseful, heartfelt, intense, violent, dark, intelligent, and stands a mutated head taller than many other novels in this genre.  I’m excited to read book two!

Extinction Horizon is a rare gem in a genre that seems to be losing steam.  In fact, it–along with a select few other novels we’ve discussed before at GeeksToGeeks–may actually revitalize the zombie apocalypse fare.  It may not go extinct, after all.

You can find Nicholas Sansbury Smith’s Extinction Horizon on Amazon.com.

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Fantasy, General Information

Live Hangout with Executive Producer of LOTR and The Quest, Mark Ordesky

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Join fantasy fans tomorrow for the much antcipated The Quest Army Hangout, Lord of the Rings Edition with Executive Producer Mark Ordesky! Geeks To Geeks own Joshua Smith will be on the panel, and in costume!

The Hangout will begin Saturday, May 9 @ 10am PDT / 12 CST. This event will hosted live on Google+ Hangouts which is accessible by YouTube and Google+. These Hangouts usually include questions taken from Twitter or Facebook, so please post anything you want to about the making of this cinema epic. Tweet live using ‪#‎TheQuestHangout‬. Can’t make the live broadcast? Fear not. Head over to YouTube and search for The Quest Hangout.

Come one! Come all! A must see event for fans of The Quest and Lord of the Rings everywhere!

 

UPDATED:  We have video from the Hangout!

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Fantasy, Science Fiction

Back of the Water – A New Story for Inkitt’s Another World Contest

Hello, friends!  If I told you my absence was due to being swept away by an angry ocean goddess, would you believe me?

Please check out my new story on Inkitt’s Another World Contest, honoring the late master craftsmen of Discworld, Terry Pratchett.  Please sit back, enjoy, and vote on the story.  Thank you for allowing me to be swept away.

Curious about Terry Pratchett?  Check out author Brandon Sanderson’s high praise for him on Tor.com.

Oh, and in other news, the first Aelathia novel has been officially submitted to an agent.  The query process has begun.  My absence has not been for naught…

 

In the spirit of exploration and crafting of another world, Back of the Water transports us to a watery existence, where the only land is a single island and humanity dwells on a floating city.

When a strange bacterium begins killing citizens and the food supply of the floating city, fish wrangler Ries initiates a desperate plan to investigate and find a cure. Instead, he and his allies find themselves in the middle of a deadly war between goddesses, bent on human destruction.

Don’t turn your back on the ocean.

Back of the Water, my new science-fiction/fantasy story available on http://www.inkitt.com/edit/13734

Back of the Water, my new science-fiction/fantasy story available on http://www.inkitt.com/edit/13734

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Science Fiction, The Walking Dead (ZOMBIES)

The Walking Dead Survival Dream Team: Season 5

WARNING:  POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!  Stop now if you haven’t caught up with season 5…

Last year we explored how the characters of AMC’s The Walking Dead fit into a ‘viral’ zombie survival team photo.  We took characters and boiled their skills and roles in the group down into certain key positions.  Now, with some of our favorite characters dead or just downright changed, we needed to do something different.

This year, our previous analysis is going right out the window thanks to the Alexandria Safe Zone…and Dr. Pete.

Thanks to AMC's The Walking Dead Alexandria Safe Zone and a helping hand by Dr. Pete, our survival team stereotypes have gone right out the window.  Question is: Can Rick come back?

Thanks to AMC’s The Walking Dead Alexandria Safe Zone and a helping hand by Dr. Pete, our survival team stereotypes have gone right out the window. Question is: Can Rick come back?  Our survivors started the season in a train car at Terminus titled “A” for “Arrivals”.  They’ve entered Alexandria, where people get stamps as part of a morale boost.  How dramatically far they’ve come.

Does anyone else find it ominous that the A covers “supplies”, craftman”, “first to die”, and “bad things happen to but remains alive.”  Aidan, Noah, and…oh no…

I digress.

What’s exciting about Alexandria is how forward thinking they are compared to some of the other places our survivors have visited.  The folks at Grady were just trying to survive, as was Terminus.  The Governor tried to carve out his own little dictatorship at Woodbury.  At Alexandria, though, Deanna is intent on passing down a legacy of survival, culture, and civilization to future generations.  That’s what makes the place so special, so unique.  Yes, they have been ridiculously “lucky” to have survived for so long without better trained security and reconnaissance.  Aaron is probably the best trained individual there, with Spencer and Francine a close second or third.

Deanna and her husband, Reg, have worked hard to give future generations a legacy.  Industry, manufacturing, government, heck, even the arts thanks to Jessie have been flourishing or will do so.  (Well, except for that owl statute.  It can’t seem to get a break.)  Reg’s eagerness to train Tyler William’s Noah as an architect was evidence enough of that.

The organization of Alexandria was done excellently well, with a few exceptions (Aidan, Nicholas, we’re think of you).  Here’s where some of the characters have found themselves working at Alexandria:

  1. Government:  Deanna, Maggie, and Reg seem to have that under control.
  2. Construction:  Tobin just relinquished authority to Abraham, putting him in charge of the crew that also includes Francine.
  3. Inventory:  Olivia, my favorite apocalyptic barista (Love you barista, people!) manages supplies and the armory
  4. Medical:  Dr. Pete and Rosita…we miss you Hershel and Bob.
  5. Supply Runners:  Aidan (deceased), Nicholas (restricted), Glenn (restricted), Noah (deceased), Tara (stable…)
  6. Security:  Constable Rick (about to be fired?), Constable Michonne, with Sasha and Spencer on watch duty
  7. Recruitment:  Aaron, Daryl, and Eric (retiring after breaking an ankle…that’ll do it)
  8. Care-giving: (and spying, stealing, threatening, and all-around mastermind) Carol
  9. Spiritual Needs:  Gabriel…in the apocalypse, sadly, congregation hopping isn’t really an option.
  10. Education:  Carl isn’t the only child!  For now… Enid, Ron, and others attend classes by unnamed educators.  We can only assume Mrs. Neidermeyer is watching Edith until she gets her pasta maker.
BOB:  #BringYourOwnBoar.  Sasha and Olivia in AMC's The Walking Dead episode, "Forget".  Even a barista can survive the zombie apocalypse and still make a mean proscuito.  Love your barista, people.  In the apocalypse, she'll give you good food and chocolate.  Cheers!

BOB: #BringYourOwnBoar. Sasha and Olivia in AMC’s The Walking Dead episode, “Forget”. Even a barista can survive the zombie apocalypse and still make a mean proscuito. Love your barista, people. In the apocalypse, she’ll give you good food and chocolate. Cheers!

On a plain civilized mindset, Deanna’s done a great job or organizing her people.  However, there’s something every civilization needs–and that’s security.

When it comes to the already decimated supply run team or a 24/7 sniper watch in the guard tower and at the walls and gate, Alexandria has proved wanting.  That’s where Rick’s team is so vital, and Deanna knows that.  Or did, prior to the last couple episodes.  It’s essential that Alexandrians start working on defensive strategies.  If they were to get hit by a walker herd (comics) or a horrible group of marauders who kill unless they’re paid tribute (comics), our new friends (and enemies) might not make it so well.

The reality is, no matter how any group forms or is organized in The Walking Dead version of the apocalypse, diminishing security is just a plain dangerous thing to do.  If Rick isn’t exiled after his tirade and being knocked out while having a major insane breakdown (he was #MichOWNED), maybe he can show them a thing or two before any other lives are lost.  However, once again, this is The Walking Dead.  Best of luck with that.  By next year, we’ll have to revise our Survival Team all over again.  The question is, will there still be an Alexandria as we know it?

 

#BringYourOwnBoar Weekend continues with a final look at some deeper issues within The Walking Dead.

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Fantasy

The Quest Hangout: Lord of the Rings Special Edition…Remix

Perhaps some orcs survived the watery apocalypse unleashed onto Isengard by the Ents in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.  These orcs, emboldened by their understanding of technology, then entered “the machine” and prohibited yesterday’s panel from connecting with LotR, The Quest Executive Producer Mark Ordesky.

Despite a valiant rescue attempt made behind the screens by a hero, the eagles did not come.  Unfortunately, that means the Special Edition is postponed–but it WILL be rescheduled.  When, we just don’t know yet.

Instead, the panelists–including the marvelous Paladin Jasmine from The Quest–and I had great fun as Joff Brown hosted.  We discussed how we became interested in Tolkien’s work and who our favorite characters were.  The conversation definitely turned deep with an inside look at the effect of care-giving, or caring for someone long term, plus what it was like to see such heroic women on screen.  Plus, there was a bit of cosplay.  Nothing like a hitch in the plans for The Quest Army to come up with something new.  Check out the exciting video below and stay tuned to GeeksToGeeks for updates on the rescheduled Mark Ordesky live hangout event.

 

Cheers!  #BringYourOwnBoar Weekend continues…

 

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Comic Books, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Science Fiction, The Walking Dead (ZOMBIES), Uncategorized

Three Apocalyptic Novels to Help with The Walking Dead Withdrawal

Our Epic #BringYourOwnBoar weekend continues here at GeeksToGeeks, preparing you to survive the end of The Walking Dead season 5 as we know it (TWDSFAWKI).

(That was a prepper joke.)

To do that, here’s three apocalyptic novels/series for your reading consideration.  To make this list, each of the books needs a zombie/walker-like threat and survival themes.

Be forewarned, all of these books are gritty and have violence and gore.  Some have sex scenes, a few have rapes or abuse.  Also, there’s a lot of foul language, much unnecessary.  So if this bothers you, this is your official warning. Otherwise, the characters, plot, and circumstances of these books warrant consideration on your spring and summer reading list…

(Also, unlike many monstrous/zombie apocalyptic thrillers, The Gemini Effect and The Passage/The Twelve have fantasy elements infused throughout.  I love fantasy, so those were very easy pills to swallow for the rabbit hole.)

Without further ado…

 

1.  The Gemini Effect by Chuck Grossart

"The Gemini Effect" is Chuck Grossart's explosive and apocalyptic debut on the novel scene.  http://www.chuckgrossart.com/

“The Gemini Effect” is Chuck Grossart’s explosive and apocalyptic debut on the novel scene. http://www.chuckgrossart.com/

Ever wonder what happens if someone doesn’t clean up a toxic biochemical hazard?  Viscous plans, Mother Nature, and viral evolution explode onto the scene with deadly and horrific force in Chuck Grossart’s debut novel, The Gemini Effect.  Not only that, but it’s ripe with a secret society, political intrigue and manipulations, adventure, horror, and quite a few genuine surprises.  Couple that in with science, technology explanations that are reminiscent of Tom Clancy, and The Gemini Effect has everything I needed for a refreshing take on the apocalypse.  Plus, it comes highly recommended from a screenwriter, fellow author, and a great friend, Lisa Kovanda.

This isn’t to say The Gemini Effect was without weak points, but many of those points were easily explained away if you followed the ever-expanding world building Chuck maneuvers in.  Additionally, with a fantastic meta-narrative to be told and some solid characters, this was exactly the book I needed.

The Gemini Effect is currently in the Kindle First top 20 and was the 2014 Winner of Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award — Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror.  Add it to your collection, if you dare… An intense and very satisfying read.

 

2.  The Remaining:  Allegiance by D.J. Molles

D.J. Molle's The Remaining: Allegiance is the fifth book in the zombie apocalyptic series.  It begs the question, can their meager rebuilt civilization survive millions of undead and political upheaval?

D.J. Molles’ The Remaining: Allegiance is the fifth book in the zombie apocalyptic series. It begs the question, can their meager rebuilt civilization survive millions of undead and political upheaval?

The Remaining:  Allegiance scored on The New York Times Print Paperback Best Seller list.  Hooah.

There are zombie books, there are survival zombie books, and then there’s well written zombie apocalyptic thrillers.  After spending some time perusing the genre, I quickly learned the difference.  Having purchased multiple books that I thought I’d gobble up in several sittings and enjoy thoroughly, I was only disappointed and set them down, sometimes not long into the reading.

The Remaining is a series I had hoped was out in the published world.  Stumbling across it felt like discovery treasure; a solid entry into the genre.  And then I found the sequel.  Then another, and another, and…I had to wait a whole year.  Luckily, I pre-ordered the fifth entry and likely penultimate novel (as the sixth and final novel is due out later this summer–more on that later).

The Remaining series begins with Army Captain Lee Harden, whose on a specialized mission to continue the United States should any disaster befall it.  Unfortunately, no one realized that disaster would be a bacterium that caused the zombie apocalypse.  Like The Gemini Effect, there’s just enough science and discovery and unique vision for these Remaining zombies to keep my mind engaged.  The zombies evolve–and oh, does that up the stakes.

D.J. Molles' The Remaining forced Captain Lee Harden into breaking orders and abandoning his shelter to begin a covert mission...in a land where the dead now walk and the living are just as dangerous...

D.J. Molles’ The Remaining forced Captain Lee Harden into breaking orders and abandoning his shelter to begin a covert mission…in a land where the dead now walk and the living are just as dangerous…

Lee’s mission is to gather as many survivors as possible and rebuilt civilization.  There’s plenty of political and military intrigue of all types and a researcher–something not all zombie books, films, or TV shows have in common.  Hmm?  Over the course of the series, we grow close to several characters.  Unfortunately, like all apocalyptic thrillers, eventually a few die and it hurts.

In Allegiance, the story continues as herds numbering in the millions of infected make their way south along the Appalachians.  The suffering and dwindling strike groups Lee forms to blow up bridges and bottle neck the infected meets with unexpected delays as alliances are built and allegiances shatter…more.

Though the series is largely a hit, I have to sadly say that Allegiance is probably the weakest entry because it felt like two books divided.  The cliffhanger didn’t leave much of a cliff, more of a slope, and though the climatic action sequences were very welcome, momentum was lost as we lingered with the religious fanatical army.  About that, I still feel like the opposite coin was under-served with the awesome Father Jim, who could’ve juxtaposed the Followers’ beliefs.  This latest novel felt like the penultimate episode leading to a finale.  That’s not to say it’s a bad book.  Far from it!!  Allegiance is very well written, even improved from earlier novels.  Some of the female characters who were under-served in previous novels finally got their due page time and things to do and others were further developed.

These books are heavily on the psychological and emotional tolls of the apocalypse, just where it should be.  The inner dialogue, though increased, adds to the characters.

Is Allegiance the best entry into the series?  No.  Can I barely wait until the next novel?  Here’s my money.  Take it, D.J.  And with updated covers, maybe he should take yours, too.

 

Honorable Mention:  Surviving the Dead Series by James Cook

James Cooks' Surviving the Dead book 1:  No Easy Hope. http://www.jamesncook.com/surviving-the-dead/

James Cooks’ Surviving the Dead book 1: No Easy Hope.
http://www.jamesncook.com/surviving-the-dead/

Before we reach the end of the list, let me add another series entry which will be sure to please fans of slow-moving zombies and murderous living lunatics.  James’ shows off an impressive knowledge about survival skills, weaponry, tactics, and more.  The characters are rich, and yes, there’s intrigue.  Would any book make it on this list without it?  Plus, there’s a bit of scientific explanation.  The characters are exceptionally well written.  I love the banter and friendship between leads Eric and Gabriel.  There’s a very different feel to the series, and I confess to having only read three of the four novels.  Also, all of the things I discussed at the beginning of this article apply here, and then some.  At times, this series gets too graphic, but hey, it’s not The Passage.  So if slow-moving zombies, crazy villains, quick wit, survival skills, intrigue, and weary survivors settling into a small, walled town that needs better defenses (ahem, Alexandria), is your thing, Surviving the Dead is worth it.  Just remember my warnings.

A side note:  James Cook states on his website he’s going to be diving into the urban fantasy and fantasy genres.  Oh, really?  How excellent.

 

3.  The Passage Trilogy by Justin Cronin

Our final entry is probably the most controversial for me.  It’s brilliantly written and so well crafted.  The characters are just fantastic.  The setting, the details, marvelous.  Except…it’s the most graphic of any of the list.  It’s brutal, ugly, and I’ll be honest, between The Passage and it’s sequel, The Twelve, I skipped a lot of pages that were very uncomfortable.  However, the rest of both novels?  Impressive.

What happens if you take ancient biological agents, the stuff of legends, and inject it into humans?  James' Cronin's The Passage Trilogy.  http://enterthepassage.com/

What happens if you take ancient biological agents, the stuff of legends, and inject it into humans? James’ Cronin’s The Passage Trilogy. http://enterthepassage.com/

Science goes too far, once again, in discovering an ancient biological agent that morphs its initial victims into vampires, their first victims into familiars, and the rest into zombie-like creatures they control.  The narrative is woven into multiple sections, telling what happened before, during, and directly after the initial outbreak.  Then it skips.  At first this is slightly disorientating until you realize it’s brilliant craft work.

The history of this series is excellently designed. Each novel brings to fruition the plot points established in the earlier timeline setting.  Furthermore, there’s so many strong heroic characters–especially with a number of strong women, of which there is a lack in some zombie books.

Besides, if you know me, you know I never read anything about vampires.  To hook me with a vampire (not-quite-zombie) apocalypse is, well… only The Passage Trilogy.  The third entry, City of Mirrors, is rumored to be due out in the fall.  So, once again, if you want to brave the most graphic and most uncomfortable of the books mentioned here, but yet excellently crafted thrilling adventure, then Justin Cronin’s The Passage is for you.  I did warn you.  Enjoy.

So there you have it.  The Gemini Effect, The Remaining series, Surviving the Dead, and The Passage Trilogy all for your consideration as you’re enduring The Walking Dead withdrawal starting next week.

While we’re on that subject, don’t forget you graphic novel fans, of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comics.  (Spoilers Beware:  There are comic remixes in the TV show.)  Plus, the new spinoff series, now officially titled Fear the Walking Dead, was confirmed by Kirkman earlier today on Twitter.  Those six episodes should launch sometime late summer…so our withdrawal will be further minimized.  Better get reading.

Cheers, and happy #BringYourOwnBoar weekend!

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Fantasy, Science Fiction, The Walking Dead (ZOMBIES)

Epic Weekend Round-Up: The Walking Dead Finale Event; Lord of the Rings live hangout with EP Mark Ordesky

Welcome to a grand #BringYourOwnBoar weekend for us here at GeeksToGeeks.  Here’s what we’re serving up for you this weekend:

1.  Lord of the Rings fans rejoice!  As Rebekah has been reporting on, tomorrow is The Quest Army Hangout LotR Edition with LotR and The Quest Executive Producer, Mark Ordesky.  I’m excited to be on the panel.  Drop your questions on Twitter live at #TheQuestHangout for a chance to have them asked to one of the wizards behind the curtain of a defining cinematic genre masterpiece.

The Hangout will begin Saturday, March 28 @ 2/1c | 11 am (PDT). This event will hosted live on Google+ Hangouts which is accessible by YouTube and Google+.  WATCH LIVE HERE.

We’ll post the YouTube link shortly after the show goes off-air.

Check out this TheOneRing.net interview with Mark Ordesky.

Learn the tale of how this Hangout came to be with MiddleEarthNews.com interview with Josh M. or “Joshmog” (@TheJoshTime on Twitter), who is the guest host for this special edition.

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Also, don’t forget to check out Rebekah’s Middle Earth Mythology and what didn’t make it into the movie series:

Part 1: Of Morgoth, Elves, and Men

Part 2:  Rings of Power and the Second Age

Part 3  Wizards, Sauron, and Concerning Hobbits….

 

2.  The Walking Dead Finale Weekend Event!!! Let the trepidation for our favorite characters’ fates continue with a bit of fun exploring some of the themes, new characters, and the (zombie) apocalyptic genre itself.  It’s our usual celebration but this time we’re serving up a short book list for your tasteful consideration in the long months between seasons.

Some of AMC's The Walking Dead characters relaxing at a welcome party in "Forget". Even they got to party this season.

Some of AMC’s The Walking Dead characters relaxing at a welcome party in “Forget”. Even they got to party this season.

So join the fun and keep tuned to GeeksToGeeks.com for a plethora of new material for the week.  Stay fun!  Remember, it’s good to be a Geek.  You bag a boar, you might even get to make prosciutto.

BOB:  Bring Your Own Boar.  Sasha and Olivia in AMC's The Walking Dead episode, "Forget".  Even a barista can survive the zombie apocalypse.  Cheers!

BOB: Bring Your Own Boar. Sasha and Olivia in AMC’s The Walking Dead episode, “Forget”. Even a barista can survive the zombie apocalypse. Cheers!

 

You can follow me, Joshua Smith, on Twitter @AelathiaNovels for info and fun about The Quest, LotR, my books, others’ books, and just about any other geeky goodness there is.

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Behind the Scenes, Fantasy, General Information, Movies

Live Hangout with Mark Ordesky, Executive Producer of LOTR and The Quest

 

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A must see event for fans of The Quest and Lord of the Rings everywhere!

The Quest Army, fan base of ABC’s The Quest, is hosting a special on-air Hangout show featuring Mark Ordesky, Executive Producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Get more details on what happened behind the scenes and how these movies came to be.

The Hangout will begin Saturday, March 28 @ 2/1c | 11 am (PDT). This event will hosted live on Google+ Hangouts which is accessible by YouTube and Google+. These Hangouts usually include questions taken from Twitter or Facebook, so please post anything of interest.

Come one! Come all!

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Fantasy, General Information

Attention LOTR Fans: Last Call for Month-Long Lord of Rings Rewatch

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“The end has come.”

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Join the Free Peoples in the final battle for Middle Earth!

Is the Return of the King is your favorite movie? Then join the Quest Army, fan base of ABC’s The Quest, in the last of a month-long viewing of Lord of the Rings extended version films. The viewing begins tomorrow, March 22,  @ 4/3c | 1pm (PST). Join fans of The Quest and Lord of the Rings on Twitter using hashtags #LOTR, #FotR, or #TheQuest.  Geeks To Geeks Joshua Smith will be on as @AelathiaNovels.

 lord-of-the-rings---trilogy-movie-poster-2003-1020187968 Next Saturday, March 28, The Quest Army will host a very special on-air Hangout show featuring Mark Ordesky, Executive Producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This event will hosted live on Google+ Hangouts which is accessible by YouTube and Google+.  These Hangouts usually include questions taken from Twitter or Facebook.  Stay tuned to Geeks To Geeks for more information!

Rohancharge

“Ride now to Gondor!”

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Fantasy

The Mythology of Middle Earth: What Didn’t Make it in the Movies, Part 3: The Third Age and Hobbits

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Here at long last is the final installation of this “Trilogy”. This article describes events from the movies. For those who have seen them, you will notice some events are laid out differently, and much more happens. It has a fast pace, so hold on tight! Here is a synopsis of events from Isildur’s death through The Hobbit and LOTR.

middleearthsm

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not whither,
Deep roots are not touched by the frost.

andurilaragorn3

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken:
The crownless again shall be king.
(Quoted by Arwen in ROTK)

Arwen Undomiel (Evenstar)

Arwen Undomiel (Evenstar)

The beginning of the Third Age is a time of recovery and even growth. Most elves now live in Rivendell, Lindon, Lorien, or The Greenwood. The bearers of the Elven Rings (Elrond, Giladriel, and Cirdan) use these rings to heal and preserve Middle Earth. Elrond marries and has twin sons, and a daughter named Arwen. Gondor’s Kingdom flourishes for many years. Arnor however, has few people and gradually weakens.

tumblr_inline_mqbr4pqyWX1qz4rgp I would like to say “they all live happily ever after”; but this is Middle Earth! A shadow falls on the Greenwood and men start calling it “Mirkwood”. Sauron (who’s become a flaming eyeball) makes a stronghold at Dol Guldur. At this time many Periannath (Hobbits) leave this area and travel west. Eventually some settle in Bree, while others populate land (the Shire) given them by Arnor’s king.

Hobbits or Halflings

Hobbits or Halflings

wizard-header1With Sauron’s return, five Maiar are sent to help Middle Earth. “The Five Wizards” (or Istari) are Saruman the White (or Saruman “the Wise”), Gandalf the Grey (or Mithrandir), Radagast the Brown, and two others we never hear from. Important Note: They were forbidden from dominating Middle Earth or defeating Sauron independently. Upon their arrival, Cirdan gives Gandalf his ring.

The  Witch-king of Angmar, leader of the Nazgul

The Witch-king of Angmar, leader of the Nazgul

The Leader of the Nazgul reappears, founds Angmar, and destroys Arnor. The line of Isildur continues, but they live in secrecy and are called “Rangers”. Gondor and the elves destroy Angmar. The Witch-king retreats to Mordor, and the Nazgul retake Minas Ithil/ Minas Morgul. The King of Gondor disappears, childless, leaving his steward to govern Gondor.

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Minas Tirith (ROTK)

 

Amon Sul/ Weathertop, destroyed by Angmar

Amon Sul/ Weathertop, destroyed by Angmar

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Erebor_gateElsewhere, the dwarves of Kazad-dum uncover a balrog while mining for mithril. The balrog slays Kazad-dum’s king and other dwarves besides. Those who escape scatter, and create other residences in Middle Earth (Erebor being one). Sauron sends many of his troops to the Misty Mountains, populating Moria (Kazad-dum). He starts collecting the Dwarven rings and seeks deagolnews of the One Ring. Somewhere in all this, the Ring is found in the river where Isildur was killed. After murdering his friend for it, Smeagol’s people disown him and he travels to the Misty Mountains. The White Council is formed at the end of the “Wathcful Peace” referred to by Elrond in The Hobbit (Movie #1).

The White Council in "An Unexpected Journey"

The White Council (“An Unexpected Journey”)

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Smaug_flyingDeath and war become rampant throughout Middle Earth. A force lead by Eorl the Young comes to Gondor’s aid. These people are given land and create the Kingdom of Rohan. Gondor lets Saruman live in Isengard, hoping to strengthen Rohan’s defenses. The dragon Smaug takes Erebor and640 destroys the City of Dale. King Thror then tries to reclaim Moria and is killed by “the Pale Orc”, Azog. The Dwarves attack the Orcs in retaliation, killing Azog. Thror’s son, Thrain, is captured by Thrain1Sauron whilst journeying to Erebor, and the last dwarf ring is taken. Gandalf enters Dol Guldur, discovers Sauron and finds Thrain (who dies while trying to escape). Gandalf reports this to the White Council, but Saruman “dismisses” him. Saruman starts looking for the Ring secretly.

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Bilbo_o_gllumYears later, Gandalf meets Thorin Oakenshield, and together they plan a quest to retake Erebor. Taking twelve companions, they visit a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins and recruit him for their venture. Journeying through the Misty Mountains, Bilbo is separated from the company. He then finds the Ring and meets Gollum (Smeagol). After a pleasant game of riddles, Bilbo rejoins the company and untitledtheir journey continues, finally reaching Erebor. The White Council finally attacks Dol Guldur, and Sauron migrates to Mordor. Smaug is slain by Bard, heir to Dale. Azog’s son, Bolg, then leads a force against Erebor and Dale in The Battle of the Five Armies, during which Thorin is killed. The eagles save the day, and Bilbo takes the Balin_-_The_HobbitRing back to the Shire. Years later, the dwarf Balin attempts to reclaim Moria, but fails. Saruman uses the palantir of Orthanc and is ensnared by Sauron.

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frodo_bilboBack in the Shire, Bilbo hosts his farewell party and departs for Rivendell. He bequeaths everything, including the Ring, to his young cousin Frodo. Fearing the ring is Sauron’s, Gandalf looks for Gollum, enlisting the help of Aragorn (Isildur’s hier, and Arwen’s groom-to-be). They eventually discover Gollum entered Mordor and was imprisoned there. Sauron learns about Bilbo and sends the Nazgul to capture him. His fears isengardconfirmed, Gandalf urges Frodo to leave the Shire and meet him at Bree. Gandalf then rides to Isengard to see Sarumaneb850e74baf3849e8b0af647c69c4f7f and is imprisoned. Saruman’s specially-bred orcs, the Uruk-Hai, attack Rohan. When Frodo and his three companions (Sam, Merry, and Pippin) travel to Bree they are pursued by the Nazgul. At this time, Gandalf escapes from Isengard.

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Strider_in_Prancing_Pony_-_FOTRReaching their destination, the hobbits meet Strider (Aragorn incognito) who decides to lead them to Rivendell. The Nazgul attack the group at Weathertop, wounding Frodo. His group reaches Rivendell and meets up with Gandalf. Realizing the Ring must be 5206884_stddestroyed, Frodo volunteers to take it to Mount Doom. Gandalf, the other hobbits, Aragorn (carrying newly-forged “Anduril”), Gimli (a dwarf), Legolas (an elf), and Boromir (son of Denethor, Gondor’s steward) go with him, forming The Fellowship of the Ring. Their road takes them through Moria, where their presence attracts the balrog. Gandalf falls while defeating it and allows his friends to escape.

movie-the-lord-of-the-rings-the-fellowship-of-the-ring_195065The remaining Fellowship travels to Lorien and down the Anduin River. Boromir tries to take the Ring from Frodo, who leaves the company with Sam. Boromir dies defending Merry and Pippin from a band of Uruk-Hai. Taking the hobbits, the Uruks turn back towards Isengard. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pursue them to Fangorn Forest, whereGandalf_the_White_returns they meet Theoden4Gandalf. The jolly group then rides to Edoras and frees King Theoden from Saruman’s influence. That accomplished, Argorn’s group ride with Theoden to Helm’s Deep for a battle.Helmsdeep-siege

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To+isengard+i+saw+this+on+facebook+and+thought+it_109187_5001187Meantime, Merry and Pippin escape from their capturers and meet Treebeard (an ent). With the combined forces of the Ents and the Rohirrim, Saruman is defeated. After a nonproductive conversation with Saruman, Gandalf acquires the Pippinpalantirpalantir of Orthanc. Pippin uses the palantir and is seen by Sauron. Gandalf takes Pippin to Minas Tirith for safety. Aragorn also uses the palantir and is seen by Sauron. Assuming Aragorn has the Ring, Sauron attacks Minas Tirith, and all the Free Kingdoms of Middle Earth. Aragorn travels to “The Paths of the Dead”, secures reinforcements, and attacks Sauron’s allies.

Zombie Apocalypse!

Zombie Apocalypse!

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imagesSF05R44QMeantime, Frodo and Sam are traveling to Mordor when they are overtaken by Gollum (who followed them from Moria). Creating an uneasy alliance, Gollum becomes their guide. Whilst traveling to Minas Morgul, they meet Faramir (Boromir’s brother). Granting them safe passage, Faramir allows the trio to continue. They come to the pass of Cirith Ungol where ShelobGollum’s friend Shelob invites them to dinner. Shelob incapacitates Frodo, who is captured by the Mordor Border Patrol. Sam escapes with the Ring and rescues Frodo.
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7855_origGandalf has reached Minas Tirith and the attack on the city is in full swing. Lord Denethor looks into Minas Tirith’s palantir, sees Frodo captured, and assumes Sauron has the Ring. Denethor then incinerates himself. At the Battle of the Pelanor Fields, King Theoden is slain by theEowyn-wiki Witch-King, who is slain by Theoden’s niece, Eowyn (who later marries Faramir). The Rohirrim and Aragorn’s forces demolish the enemy troops. To distract Sauron’s gaze, the Allied Forces march on the Black Gate. After attempting “negotiations”, Sauron’s forces attack. Frodo and Sam arrive at Mount Doom. Just as Frodo Gollumsuccumbs to the Ring, Gollum shows up and “reclaims” it. Overjoyed, Gollum falls into Mount Doom. Sauron and the Ring are both destroyed, and Mordor turns into the Ring of Fire (couldn’t help it). Eagles rescue Frodo and Sam, and reunite them with their friends.

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Aragorn becomes King of Gondor and Arnor, and marries Arwen (who renounces her immortality). The Hobbits return to the Shire and live happily… Oh! Apparently Saruman sent some men to occupy the Shire. After kicking them out, Sam marries Rosie Cotton. Frodo bequeaths everything to Sam and sails to Aman with Bilbo, Gandalf, Elrond, and Giladriel (amongst others).

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Here ends the history of the Third Age (phew!). This three article marathon has exposed you to approximately 18,000 years worth of Middle Earth history. I hope you have enjoyed this trip into Middle Earth. If you still have unanswered questions, I would like to hear them. Who knows? You may find the answers in future posts.

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