Fanatical Gaming and Entertainment eBook Bundle [Review]

Fanatical Cool Stuff! Bundle
Fanatical Cool Stuff! eBook Bundle

A review code was provided by Fanatical for the purpose of this article.

Fanatical has been bringing us awesome video game bundles for years now but (perhaps due to my attachment to print) their eBooks have always passed me by.

So, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email from the fine folks at Fanatical recently, offering a copy of their self-styled ‘Cool Stuff! Gaming & Entertainment Bundle‘.

For those unfamiliar with bundle-based offerings, they’re typically broken down into price-gated tiers. Each tier unlocks additional content and, theoretically offers greater value for money.

And so, on the face of it, this is a 20-book bundle for a knock-down £13.80 / $14. But is it worth your time, let alone your money?

Who is this eBook bundle for?

This bundle from Fanatical is a veritable trove of nerd culture goodness – and I’m totally here for it.

From film & TV to both tabletop and videogaming, if you’re a fan of popular media then you’ll find something to love.

So, what's included?

Fanatical’s latest eBook bundle comes from independent Florida-based publisher, Mango Publishing

Mango publishes a curiously wide variety of genres for an independent, and this bundle is reflective of that diverse mix.

Tier 1 (£1)

Tier 1 (£1)

Tier 1 of the Cool Stuff! Gaming & Entertainment Bundle begins at only £1, and includes titles on gaming, superheroes, and (the rather esoteric) cryptozoology.

Tier 2 (£7.90)

Tier 2 (£7.90)

Tier 2 includes titles based on Dungeons & Dragons, Sherlock Holmes-inspired short stories, and the cultural impact of anime.

Also included is a retelling of Greek Myths, a book on pirates in media, and (if you’re so inclined) more cryptozoology.

This also includes all the contents of Tier 1.

Tier 3 (£13.80)

Tier 3 (£13.80)

Tier 3 rounds out the full bundle with a bounty of film & TV-related eBooks.

Topics include fan-favourites such as Back to the Future, James Bond, The Simpsons, and Marvel/DC superheroes. You also receive a bucket list of must-watch movies, two titles of memorable movie quotes, and a guide to indie film-making.

Finally, Tier 3 includes a text examining Sci-Fi’s influences on technology, as well as a collection of essays on women depicted in film.

This also includes all the contents of Tiers 1 and 2.

Is this bundle worth it?

In short, yes.

Of course, like with most digital bundles, you’ll always encounter a few ‘coffee table books’ – largely forgettable titles, thin on content.

However, the Cool Stuff! bundle is well curated, with some fun, memorable pieces of writing. Plus it’s DRM- free. Simply download in PDF/ePub and use across all devices.

Here are a few personal highlights.

Return of Sherlock Holmes
Maxim Jakubowski (2021)

The Sherlock Holmes anthology is a highlight, with new writings from Sherlockian fans from around the world.

Whilst not written by Arthur Conan Doyle, most of these short stories retain the charm, and include some (very) modern twists.

Bond, James Bond
Mike Kalinowski and Brad Gilmore (2022)

Bond, James Bond chronicles the creation of the Bond novels by Ian Fleming – and their subsequent movies.

Really interesting insights into how the movies were adapted – and the off-screen controversies!

I found myself accidentally reading this one well into the night.

Behind the Cape
Rob Jefferson (2016)

This history of Superman documents the rise and fall in popularity of the iconic DC superhero.

I’ve never been much of a Superman fan, nor a prolific reader of comics, but Behind the Cape is a fascinating, absorbing book, covering the origins of his creation through to Henry Cavill’s on-screen role.

It’s also really informative, with a section on the formation of the printing press in the USA, plus some of the early, less successful superheroes prior to Superman.

Where can I pick up the bundle?

This gaming & entertainment bundle is exclusive to Fanatical and is available until 7th June, 2023.

The Art of Escapology Book Review (by Nicola Ashbrook)

The Art of Escapology Book Review Featured Image

Ever had that feeling of just wanting to run away? To disappear and start over, leaving your troubles behind like shed skin.

If so, The Art of Escapology should be one of the next books on your reading list.

From a receptionist fleeing the mundanity of day-to-day life, through to darker topics of domestic abuse, The Art of Escapology sweeps the reader through a series of compelling vignettes on the theme of escape.

Small but mighty, it’s an 88-page anthology of highly impactful writing.

Flash fiction is a remarkable medium of storytelling.

Humble, yet radical, it’s the panacea to a publishing landscape dominated by 800-page epics and a movie industry shackled by sequels and reboots. In as little as two paragraphs, a talented writer can impart a character’s entire life story and challenge a reader’s worldviews.

Nicola Ashbrook’s The Art of Escapology is no different. Punchy and perfectly paced, each story subverts the reader’s expectations (sometimes multiple times) and delivers some gut-wrenching twists. 

Personal highlights include Moving Homes, Giants of the Sea, Thor is to Bifrost as I am to The Mersey Gateway, The Sparkly Horse Story, Run Ratty, Run, Delphine’s Decision, and Praying for Dad.

Escape, or the need to escape, is a powerful emotion, and it’s partly because of this that these stories succeed – the other part being that Ashbrook is an excellent writer.

Conclusion

Occasionally witty, often thrilling, and always thoughtful, The Art of Escapology is an elegant collection of flash fiction that should be on every short story lover’s bookshelf.

There’s a brilliance to each narrative and it’s a genuine pleasure to read. Don’t sleep on this one.

5/5