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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 61:
YA Author Scott Reintgen on his novel Nyxia and "How To Get Published"

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) interview Scott Reintgen, author of the new Young Adult Sci-Fi Novel series Nyxia (Crown). The interview is taken from a panel we hosted at Oak City Comic Con titled “How to get Published,” and Scott shares the story of how he turned his passion for writing into a career, including advice on: pitching to literary agents, how to handle rejection, and perhaps most importantly of all, how to take your writing to the next level. Scott also goes in depth about the writing process for Nyxia, and the even more daunting task of writing the second and third books in the trilogy.

So join us, for a look at what it takes to get the ideas in your head out onto the page, and then into the hands of readers everywhere. This...is the Joy of Geek!

(Scott has an excellent blog/website with more tips on writing and links to preview his novel Nyxia.)

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The Joy of Gaming Podcast, Episode 70:
Monster Hunter World, Celeste and March 8th Nintendo Direct

On this episode of The Joy of Gaming Podcast, we (Rich and Jordan) are back and ready to talk about all of the games we’ve been playing recently. Leading the conversation are two games that couldn’t be more different, but have each won over fans and critics alike. First there’s Monster Hunter World, which marks the return of the series to home consoles, and has sold in excess of 6 million copies since its February launch. We’ve both been slaying our fair share of monsters, and offer our thoughts on the subject. And on the opposite end of the gaming spectrum, there’s Celeste, a retro-styled indie title from the developer of Towerfall that has been praised for its fun-but-unforgiving platforming and unforgettable story. But was our journey up Celeste mountain a memorable one? We’ll let you know at the top.

That, however, is just the beginning, as the Nintendo Direct on March 8th was certainly one for the history books. We talk about all of the big announcements, including Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo Switch, the new Splatoon 2 DLCLuigi's Mansion 3DS, WarioWare Gold, Mario Tennis Aces, and much, much more. We also have some other recent games to discuss, including: Nier: Automata, Bayonetta 2 on Switch, Steamworld DigDarkest Dungeon, and more. And to round out the proceedings, we go head-to-head to debate Breath of the Wild’s overall quality as a Zelda game, discuss the recent (official) announcement of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and offer a mini-review of the new Tomb Raider film.

So join us, as we slay a large number of Anjanaths, take a spiritual journey up a treacherous mountain, choose sides in a war between androids and robots, and watch Alicia Vikander do some serious raiding. This...is the Joy of Gaming!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 60:
Annihilation Review and Spoilercast, Lady Bird, and More

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) dive headlong into the "shimmer” to discuss the new film Annihilation. This is director Alex Garland’s highly-anticipated follow-up to 2015’s Ex Machina, and it stars Natalie Portman as a former soldier turned biologist on a mission to save her husband - and possibly all of mankind - from a mysterious shimmering cloud that threatens to consume the earth. And if that brief synopsis sounds a bit hard to pin down, there’s good reason: Annihilation is a mind-bending Sci-Fi journey of the first order, full of challenging questions and unsettling answers. But is it a good film?

To answer that question, we are initiating the SPOILERCAST protocol (or in other words, we’ll be discussing Annihilation in full detail - so if you haven’t seen the film yet, consider this a SPOILER WARNING). We’ll take a look at the film from all angles, including the cast of characters, important story beats, overarching themes, music, and performances, and also discuss some of the real-world challenges Garland faced in trying to bring his vision to the big screen (after all, Annihilation is being released direct to Netflix in most of the world).

And if that wasn’t enough, we round out the episode with a look at what we’ve been watching and reading lately, including our (arguably very late) thoughts on Lady Bird, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams vs. Black Mirror, Redneck by Donny Cates, and more. We also discuss the recently announced DC Comics Black Label imprint and some of the titles and creators that have us excited for its launch.

So join us, as as we enter into a universe full of twisted flora and fauna, meet the scariest bear of all time, and are forced to question the very nature of human existence. This...is the Joy of Geek!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 59:
Black Panther Review and Spoilercast

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) discuss the biggest movie of 2018 thus far - Marvel’s Black Panther - which has made more than $700 Million to date and is showing no signs of slowing down. And to help us discuss director Brian Coogler’s unique vision of Wakanda, we welcome special guest / writer / comics afficianado, Quin Melvin. Quin will be hosting a panel later this month called “Writers of Wakanda,” and he shares with us his unique insights about the comics and the film, and some of the important social implications of the series.

This episode is a SPOILERCAST in the truest sense of the word, and we go in-depth to discuss all aspects of Black Panther, including its overall structure and plot, colorful cast of characters, unique Wakandan setting, and the nature of heroes and villains (or anti-villains) in the film. On that note, we also take also take a deeper dive into Michael B. Jordan’s portrayal of Kilmonger, who is clearly the film’s standout character, and a subject of much celebration and debate since its release.

And to round out the festivities, we switch gears slightly to discuss Marvel’s recent announcement of “A Fresh Start” (AKA, their May relaunch) when their comics universe will be shaken up with an assortment of new titles and writer/artist pairings. We also discuss the movies, TV shows and comics we‘ve been enjoying lately, with Annihilation, Altered Carbon, The Frankenstein Chronicles, CW’s Black Lightning and DC’s Mister Miracle serving as particular highlights.

So join us, for an epic podcast journey - deep into the heart of Wakanda - that leaves us teetering, breathless, on the precipice between life, death and the Ancestral Plane. This...is the Joy of Geek!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 58:
The Best Movies of 2017 (The Year in Geek, Part 4)

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) bring you the final installment in our “Year in Geek” celebration, with a discussion of The Best Movies of 2017. We start off the festivities with a look back at the year as a whole, discussing notable trends, highly-anticipated new entries in beloved franchises, and our thoughts on the overall quality of 2017’s filmic crop.

Next we shift into the awards portion of the evening, and get down to the serious business of honoring the best actors, actresses, directors, cinematographers, writers and films of 2017. This year’s categories include:

Best Actor and Actress
Best Character
Best Cinematography
Most Disappointing / Worst Films
Most Surprising Film
Best Screenplay
Best Director
And of course, The 3 Best Films of 2017!

So join us, as we conclude our 2017 celebration of media, with a look at what is quite possibly the most challenging, beautiful and unforgiving art form of them all. This...is the Joy of Film!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 57:
The Best of TV 2017 (The Year in Geek, Part 3)

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich, Jordan and Kevin) continue our “Year in Geek” celebration with an epic discussion of The Best TV of 2017. We start by talking about the current (amazing) state of television, the insanely large number of scripted shows released each year, and the continued dominance of streaming giants Netflix, Hulu and Amazon. And of course, with great new shows from FX, AMC, Fox, NBC (and so many more), there’s plenty of love for traditional TV, too.

Once that's out of the way, it’s time to get down to the serious business of awarding the best shows, actors, episodes and stories that graced TV screens in 2017. This year’s award categories include:

Most Surprising Show
Most Disappointing Show
Best Character 
Best Episode/Writing
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best TV Moment of 2017
And of course, The 3 Best TV Shows of 2017!

So join us, as we wade through the treacherous waters of nearly-limitless TV viewing choice and attempt to choose the best of the best - or perhaps just our favorites - or maybe (hopefully) both. This...is the Joy of TV!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 56:
The Best Comics of 2017 (The Year in Geek, Part 2)

On this episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Jordan and Kevin) dive into Part Two of our podcast-wide “The Year in Geek” celebration, with a look at the Best Comic Books and Graphic Novels of 2017. We start with a look back at some of the year’s most notable stories, including Tom King’s celebrated runs on Batman and Mister Miracle, Brian Michael Bendis’ defection from Marvel to DC, Dan Slott’s 10-year run on Amazing Spider-Man coming to a close, and of course, our thoughts on the current state of both DC Rebirth and Marvel Legacy. We also take a few minutes to discuss our own comics projects, including webcomic Welderkin and a story in the forthcoming Corpus anthology. 

From there, it’s on to the main event, and our discussion of the very best that comics had to offer in 2017. This year’s categories include:

Favorite Writer
Favorite Artist
Best Single issue
Best New Series
Best Miniseries or Original Graphic Novel
Best DC or Marvel Storyline of the Year
And of course, The Top 3 Comics of the Year!

So join us, as we celebrate the art of sequential storytelling, and honor some of the best artists, writers and all-around creators in the industry today. This...is the Joy of Geek!

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The Joy of Gaming Podcast, Episode 69:
The Best Video Games of 2017 (The Year in Geek, Part 1)

On this episode of The Joy of Gaming Podcast, we (Rich and Jordan) kick off our podcast-wide “The Year in Geek” celebration with a look at The Best Video Games of 2017. And what an interesting year it’s been in gaming.

We start with a look at some of 2017's biggest stories and trends, most notably the launch of the Nintendo Switch, the meteoric rise of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, and the controversy surrounding two massive sequels - Star Wars Battlefront 2 and Destiny 2 - and their less-than-ideal approach to microtransactions. Oh, and VR games continued to be released, did we mention that?

Next it’s time for the awards, as we honor the best that video games had to offer in 2017. This year's categories include:

Best Character
Most Surprising
Biggest Disappointment
Worst Game
Best Soundtrack
The Top 3 Best Games of 2017
and more!

So join us, as we attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff, make impossible decisions as game genres collide, and celebrate another year of truly remarkable gaming experiences. This...is The Joy of Gaming!

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The Joy of Geek Podcast, Episode 55:
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi Review and Spoilercast

On this epic episode of The Joy of Geek Podcast, we (Rich and Kevin) review the most talked-about, highly-anticipated film of the year: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. And although critics have showered the film with near-unanimous praise, it currently holds a 51% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, demonstrating a clear disturbance in the force when it comes to fan opinion. Writer/Director Rian Johnson has clearly made a divisive film, and some of its biggest reveals and surprises - while thrilling to behold - have incensed many of the most ardent Star Wars fans. One thing is certain: The Last Jedi is a film full of bold choices.

So how did we feel about this new direction for Disney's flagship franchise? In a massive, two-part review (you’ll see what we mean in a moment), we weigh in on all aspects of the film, and trace the five interlocking plots that make up its complex and surprising narrative. From Kylo and Rey's fascinating relationship, to Luke Skywalker and his crisis of faith, to the plight of Finn, Rose, Poe and the Rebels, to the dark side machinations of Snoke, Hux and beyond - we'll tell you what each story meant to us, and discuss just how well it all came together. And what Star Wars film review would be complete without a newly revised ranking for all of the canon films? Will Empire remain on top? You’ll have to wait and see.

So join us, as we board an X-wing with BB-8, make some questionable decisions and get demoted, Poe Dameron-style. It’ll all work out ok in the end, right? This...is the Joy of Geek!

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The Joy of Gaming Podcast, Episode 68:
Assassin's Creed Origins, Sonic Forces, Super Mario Odyssey and 2017 VGAs

On this episode of The Joy of Gaming Podcast, we (Rich and Jordan) dive headlong into some of this Fall’s biggest gaming releases. Rich has been playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed Origins, and weighs in on whether or not taking a year off has allowed Ubisoft to reinvent the series in meaningful ways. He’s also been playing Nintendo’s big holiday release - Super Mario Odyssey - and has some thoughts on whether it lives up to the heaps of critical praise. For Jordan, middling reviews are no match for the "forces" of nostalgia and franchise loyalty when it comes to Sonic Forces, and he’ll weigh in on whether there’s enough Sonic magic on board to battle against some less than ideal design decisions.

But first, we take a look at the biggest trailers, announcements, and category winners from the 2017 Video Game Awards, and offer our thoughts on the biggest reveals, including Death Stranding's newest trailer, Soul Calibur 6, Bayonetta 3 for Switch, Breath of the Wild DLC 2 - The Champion's Ballad and Link's new endgame Master Cycle Zero, and more. We also discuss some of the other games we’ve been playing recently, including Pokémon Ultra Sun, Destiny 2’s Curse of Osiris DLC, Wolfenstein 2, Danganronpa 2: Goodbye DespairHorizon Zero Dawn and more.

So join us, for the second-most game-filled episode of the year! GOTY is up next, after all. This...is the Joy of Gaming!

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