Run Program (47North / June 20, 2017)
What’s worse than a child with a magnifying glass, a garden full of ants, and a brilliant mind full of mischief?
Try Al, a well-meaning but impish artificial intelligence with the mind of a six-year-old and a penchant for tantrums. Hope Takeda, a lab assistant charged with educating and socializing Al, soon discovers that day care is a lot more difficult when your kid is an evolving and easily frightened A.I.
When Al manages to access the Internet and escape the lab days before his official unveiling, Hope and her team embark on a mission to contain him—before he causes any real trouble.
Soon the NSA is on Al’s back, the US Army is fighting a brigade of mass-produced robots, and a wannabe cyberterrorist is looking to silence Al permanently. After months spent “raising” Al, Hope knows she’s running out of time—and she’s not sure she’ll be able to protect him. Will she manage to control the unruly A.I. and quell a global crisis, or will Al outsmart them once and for all?
The Authorities (Rocket Hat Industries, 2015)
Sinclair Rutherford is a young Seattle cop with a taste for the finer things. Doing menial tasks and getting hassled by superiors he doesn’t respect are definitely not “finer things.” Good police work and bad luck lead him to crack a case that changes quickly from a career-making break into a high-profile humiliation when footage of his pursuit of the suspect—wildly inappropriate murder weapon in hand—becomes an Internet sensation.
But the very publicity that has made Rutherford a laughing stock in the department lands him what could be the job opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to work with a team of eccentric experts, at the direction of a demanding but distracted billionaire. Together, they must solve the murder of a psychologist who specialized in the treatment of patients who give people “the creeps.”
There is no shortage of suspects.
Master of Formalities (47North, 2015)
Even when finding oneself engaged in interstellar war, good form must be observed. Our story is set thousands of years after the Terran Exodus, where two powerful, planet-dominating families—the elegant House Jakabitus and the less refined Hahn Empire—have reached a critical point in their generations-long war. Master Hennik, the Hahn ruler’s only son, has been captured, and the disposition of his internment may represent a last and welcome chance for peace.
Enter Wollard, the impeccably distinguished and impossibly correct Master of Formalities for House Jakabitus. When he suggests that Master Hennik be taken in as a ward of the House, certain complications arise. Wollard believes utterly and devotedly in adhering to rules and good etiquette. But how does one inform the ruler of a planet that you are claiming his son as your own—and still create enough goodwill to deescalate an intergalactic war?
Off to Be the Wizard (Magic 2.0 Series, Book 1) (47North, 2014)
An io9 Can’t Miss Science Fiction and Fantasy title in March 2014.
Martin Banks is just a normal guy who has made an abnormal discovery: he can manipulate reality, thanks to reality being nothing more than a computer program. With every use of this ability, though, Martin finds his little “tweaks” have not escaped notice. Rather than face prosecution, he decides instead to travel back in time to the Middle Ages and pose as a wizard.
What could possibly go wrong?
An American hacker in King Arthur’s court, Martin must now train to become a full-fledged master of his powers, discover the truth behind the ancient wizard Merlin…and not, y’know, die or anything.
Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0 Series, Book 2) (47North, 2014)
The adventures of an American hacker in Medieval England continue as Martin Banks takes his next step on the journey toward mastering his reality-altering powers and fulfilling his destiny.
A month has passed since Martin helped to defeat the evil programmer Jimmy, and things couldn’t be going better. Except for his love life, that is. Feeling distant and lost, Gwen has journeyed to Atlantis, a tolerant and benevolent kingdom governed by the Sorceresses, and a place known to be a safe haven to all female time-travelers.
Thankfully, Martin and Philip are invited to a summit in Atlantis for all of the leaders of the time-traveler colonies, and now Martin thinks this will be a chance to try again with Gwen. Of course, this is Martin Banks we’re talking about, so murder, mystery, and high intrigue all get in the way of a guy who just wants one more shot to get the girl.
The follow-up to the hilarious Off to Be the Wizard, Scott Meyer’s Spell or High Water proves that no matter what powers you have over time and space, you can’t control rotten luck.
An Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0 Series, Book 3) (47North, 2015)
Ever since Martin Banks and his fellow computer geeks discovered that reality is just a computer program to be happily hacked, they’ve been jaunting back and forth through time, posing as medieval wizards and having the epic adventures that other nerds can only dream of having. But even in their wildest fantasies, they never expected to end up at the mercy of the former apprentice whom they sent to prison for gross misuse of magic and all-around evil behavior.
Who knew that the vengeful Todd would escape, then conjure a computer game packed with wolves, wenches, wastelands, and assorted harrowing hazards—and trap his hapless former friends inside it? Stripped of their magic powers, the would-be wizards must brave terrifying dangers, technical glitches, and one another’s company if they want to see medieval England—and their favorite sci-fi movies on VHS—ever again. Can our heroes survive this magical mystery torture? Or will it only lead them and their pointy hats into more peril?
We Could Be Villains (Valentine & Hart Series, Book 1) (Rocket Hat Industries, 2014)
Sarah Valentine is so over seeing drama about her city’s superheroes on every newspaper and TV broadcast. Besides, she has her own problems to worry about: her career isn’t going anywhere, she doesn’t have a boyfriend (or any prospects), and most of her weekends are spent escaping into video games that are way more thrilling than anything that will ever happen to her. And worst of all, her thirtieth birthday is right around the corner.
But everything changes the day she runs into Nate—a chance encounter with a handsome stranger that turns her quiet life upside down and throws her into the middle of a world of heroes, villains, and adventure.
In We Could Be Villains, Sarah learns that there’s a very hazy line between the good guys and the bad guys. With the help of an unexpected journey, a motley team of professionals, and some eye-opening backstory about the heroes she’s grown up watching, Sarah just might find the job, romance, and excitement she’s been waiting for.
Unsung Villains (Valentine & Hart Series, Book 2) (Rocket Hat Industries, 2015)
Sarah Valentine always hoped her life would change, but she never expected things to turn around quite this fast. A few months ago she was in a dead-end job, was hopelessly single, and she played video games just to inject a little bit of excitement into her life. That all changed the day she met Nathan Hart—not just a great romantic match, but also someone offering Sarah a job that included all the adventure she could possibly want.
Of course, the fact that Nate’s job offer was with the infamous supervillain Doctor Oracle added to the thrill.
Now a full-fledged member of Doctor Oracle’s team, Sarah’s added tons of new skills to her arsenal: from lock picking to hot-wiring a car to flying an airplane, she’s learned things over the last few months that would put her old résumé to shame. But now it’s time for her to step up and tackle the final hurdle to becoming a true equal in Oracle’s team: leading her own mission.
Determined to do her best no matter what, Sarah will take on all the plotting and scheming for a job that gets more complicated at every turn, assisted by an unexpected new ally from the superhero side of the fence, Oracle’s team of skilled professionals, and a boyfriend whose constant threats to buy an engagement ring just might be serious. And somehow, that last part is the thing that makes her the most nervous.
Basic Instructions Collections:
Help Is on the Way: A Collection of Basic Instructions (Dark Horse Comics, 2008)
Ever want to know the best way to combat “the silent treatment”? How to destroy society? Apply video game skills to real life? Well, read Help Is on the Way, a collection of strips from the hilarious online web comic Basic Instructions! Cartoonist Scott Meyer will guide you through some of life’s more uncomfortable moments with plenty of absurdly bad advice, usually packed economically into four side-splitting panels. This is the kind of stuff that jumps from the weekly paper onto your cubicle wall in seconds flat! Learn how to apply the laws of physics to your personal relationships! Help Is on the Way, by Basic Instructions creator Scott Meyer, is your “all-inclusive guide to a life well-lived.”
Made with 90% Recycled Art: A Collection of Basic Instructions Volume 2 (Dark Horse Comics, 2010)
Comic and cartoonist Scott Meyer is back with yet another book of bad advice wrapped in good intentions. Learn such important skills as How to Talk to a New Parent, How to Engage in Prefight Smack Talk, How to Complain about Work, How to Properly Perform a High Five, and more! A former stand-up comedian, Meyer channels his extensive and varied wit into four panels of side-splitting culture commentary every other day or so and posts them to his website, basicinstructions.net. Dark Horse’s second collection of those Basic Instructions, Made with 90% Recycled Art, will likely spend some time on the copy machine before certain pages find themselves on cubicle walls worldwide.
The Curse of the Masking Tape Mummy: Basic Instructions Volume 3 (DEAB Productions, 2012)
Basic Instructions, the webcomic of sarcasm and schadenfreude, is back and as consistently surprising as ever! Helpful advice includes “How to Gloat Over Your Captured Enemy,” “How to Prepare for the Apocalypse,” and much more! Basic Instructions are your all inclusive guide to a life well lived. If you attempt to follow this advice, and your life goes hilariously askew, we apologize in advance, although not very sincerely.
Dignified Hedonism: A Collection of Basic Instructions Volume 4 (Rocket Hat Industries, 2013)
The image above might look like a mere book (Actually, it looks like a tiny thumbnail image of a book), but in fact it is much, much more (or at least a tiny, thumbnail image of much, much more)!
Dignified Hedonism is a collection of Scott Meyer’s comic strip Basic Instructions. Those in the know will tell you that Basic Instructions is one of the most efficient ways science has found to deliver sarcasm into your brain. Also, each and every Basic Instructions comic in this book contains at least four solid attempts at humor. That’s three more than most comics, and four more than many. Lastly, because Basic Instructions is one of the wordiest comics of all time, this book’s value is undeniable if, of course, it is calculated on a cost-per-word basis.