Archive for the ‘Books & TV’ Category

GOMORRAH Airing On
Sundance TV

Friday, August 26th, 2016

MV5BMTQ4NDM0MjI5NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTE2MDUxMjE@._V1_One of Italy’s most popular TV shows has just started airing on the Sundance Channel. Gomorrah is a mob family crime drama adapted from a book, but  it is not of the romanticized Godfather variety. The LA Times calls the show “Aggressively dark, focused to the point of claustrophobia and often all but choking on its own authenticity, Gomorrah shocks the system like a real Italian espresso after years of skinny vanilla lattes.”

The Hollywood Reporter says it pays homage to The Wire, writing it has a “dark greatness” and continuing it is “exceptionally cinematic, from cramped interiors in the Naples slums to exhilarating car chases rapid-cut from rooftop to passenger-side to hood-mounted angles. There’s an intimacy to family dinners and a freshness to remote Italian village scenes that add a layer of visual allure … it requires concentration on the subtitles, but it’s also completely riveting and worth the effort.”

9780312427795The series is based on Gomorrah: A Personal Journey into the Violent International Empire of Naples’ Organized Crime System, Roberto Saviano, translated by Virginia Jewiss (Macmillan/Picador; Tantor Media; OverDrive Sample). The publisher recently updated the cover with advertising linking it to the TV series.

It came out item years ago, and was a sensation in Italy, with the Guardian characterizing its strong sales there (in a country that is not as book mad as others) as “a literary phenomenon of almost Potteresque proportions.”

Giving a sense of the flavor they write that the book begins with an grisly image, as a shipping container’s doors suddenly burst open spilling out,

“forms [that] seem at first like shop-window dummies, crumpling and shattering as they smack into concrete. But the truth soon sinks in: they are frozen cadavers, the corpses of Chinese workers.”

The LA Times points out the book has also served as the basis of a “critically lauded 2008 film” and says that the author “10 years after its publication [still] remains in hiding tells you all you need to know about the veracity of the tale, and the sort of people it involves.”

Saviano won the PEN/Pinter international writer of courage award in 2011, but could not collect it in person given the grave threats on his life. Journalist and filmmaker Annalisa Piras accepted on his behalf, reports the Guardian, saying “Saviano “has been living in a prison … in Naples they call it ‘cappotto di legno’ which means living with a coffin. It’s not something that can be revoked. There are records of these death penalties being enacted 40 years after the event.”

Streaming Pigtails

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

9780099582649_e3de4Netflix, which has been busy setting up collaborations with Disney and providing The Little Prince a home, is now turning to Canada for a childhood classic, Anne of Green Gables.

The New York magazine reports that Netflix has picked up the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s production of Anne, created by writer Moira Walley-Beckett (Breaking Bad), producer Miranda de Pencier (Beginners), and director Niki Caro (Whale Rider).

The show will begin with a two-hour premiere to be followed by eight episodes, all airing sometime in 2017. The Netflix press release says it will range further than Lucy Maud Montgomery went, “ANNE will also chart new territory. Anne and the rest of the characters will experience adventures reflecting timeless issues including themes of identity, sexism, bullying, prejudice, and trusting one’s self.”

Amazon Loves DICK

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

9781584350347-mediumAmazon Studios introduces three new titles in their “pilot season” this month. Unlike other networks, where pilots are seen by the few who decide which will go to series, Amazon invites viewers to get in on the action and vote for their favorites, with one exception. Woody Allen’s Crisis in Six Scenes is exempt from the process and is going directly to series.

Of the three pilots released this month, one bears a title that sounds more like it came from a bathroom stall than from a book. I Love Dick is based on a cult novel by Chris Kraus, published by the indie press Semiotext(e) in 1997.

Directed by Jill Soloway, the creator of the award-winning Transparent, which begins its third season next month, it stars Kevin Bacon and Kathryn Hahn, who also stars in Transparent.

Profiling the production, New York magazine writes that Soloway turns “one of the most compelling cult novels of the last 20 years into a television show with the potential to be as groundbreaking in its examination of gender politics as her first.”

The cult status of the book was explored last year in a piece in the New Yorker and the Guardian celebrated its UK debut last fall.

Amazon recently debuted two other pilots based on books, The Interestings, based on Meg Wolitzer’s novel, is not going to series, but The Last Tycoon, based on an unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, is planned to begin streaming this fall.

New George R.R. Martin TV Series

Monday, August 8th, 2016

9780765365071_0d1999780765335623_96301George R.R. Martin announced on his live journal blog on Saturday that his long running Wild Cards “series of anthologies and mosaic novels” is headed for television, adding, “Development will begin immediately on what we hope will be the first of several interlocking series  to be produced by Universal Cable Productions (part of NBCUniversal and the group behind Mr. Robot, The Magicians, and 12 Monkeys). Presumably, this is the continuation of a deal first announced in 2011, when the adaptations were planned for the big screen.

Wild Cards began in the late 1980s and has continued  through a series of 22 books (plus graphic novels, comics, and even games extending the stories). Martin describes it as “a universe, as large and diverse and exciting as the comic book universes of Marvel and DC (though somewhat grittier, and considerably more realistic and more consistent), with an enormous cast of characters both major and minor.”

Dozens of writers contribute to the series, described by Martin this way,

“on September 15, 1946 … an alien virus was released in the skies over Manhattan, and spread across an unsuspecting Earth. Of those infected, 90% died horribly, drawing the black queen, 9% were twisted and deformed into jokers, while a lucky 1% became blessed with extraordinary and unpredictable powers and became aces.”

No word yet on which of the many stories will be adapted and Martin won’t be working on the project due to his exclusive deal with HBO. He reports that “Melinda M. Snodgrass, my assistant editor and right-hand man on Wild Cards since its inception … is attached as an executive producer.”

To those outside the Martin fan-world, the books are not as well-known as A Song of Ice and Fire, the basis of HBO’s Game of Thrones, and many are out of print. Tor has re-released books 1-5, some with new material. Book 6 due out in 2017.

The Wild Cards site gives information on the books and characters. Martin keeps readers up on the series on his website, and, in a 2010 interview on the Newsarama.com, he offered some further details.

Below Macmillan/Tor re-releases:

9780765365071_0d199 9780765365088  9780765326171_6c2b8

9780765335586_6d699  9780765335593_11b80

Wild Cards I 2012, Mass Market

Wild Cards II: Aces High, 2013, Mass Market

Wild Cards III: Jokers Wild, 2014, Trade Paperback; Mass Market

Wild Cards IV: Aces Abroad, 2015, Trade Paperback

Wild Cards V: Down and Dirty2015, Trade Paperback

Wild Cards VI: Ace in the Hole [No cover yet], February 28, 2017, Trade Paperback

A brand new novel arrives in August:

High Stakes: A Wild Cards novelAugust 30, 2016, Hardcover

BOYS OF 36 on PBS
American Experience

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Boys in the BoatPremiering tomorrow night, August 2,  on PBS American Experience is a documentary titled The Boys of ’36, based on the bestseller The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio; Thorndike).

A feature film based on the book’s proposal was announced in 2011, with Kenneth Branagh attached to direct. In 2014, a new director was announced, Peter Berg (Lone Survivor), but there’s been no further news since.

QUEEN SUGAR, First Full-length Trailer

Friday, July 29th, 2016

In addition to  the news that Oprah Winfrey will star in Ava DuVernay’s movie for Disney,  A Wrinkle in Time, the first full-length trailer for another of their collaborations, Queen Sugar was recently released.

The series is based on the novel Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile (Penguin/Pamela Dorman; Thorndike; 2014; see our chat with the author just prior to the book’s publication). As we wrote earlier, the story takes place in Southern Louisiana and features three sibling who inherit their father’s sugar cane plantation. It was selected as a book of the week by Oprah’s O magazine, saying, “In Queen Sugar, two bulwarks of American literature—Southern fiction and the transformational journey—are given a fresh take by talented first-time novelist Natalie Baszile.”

The TV show will start with a two-night premiere on Sept. 6 and 7. Entertainment Weekly reports that each of the 13 episodes will be directed by a different female director “as part of DuVernay’s efforts to bring up other female voices as she gains additional notoriety. Should the show perform well, she will try to recruit another group of women to direct a second season.”

Oprah herself will have a recurring role. In the press release announcing the production, she said, “I loved this book and immediately saw it as a series for OWN. The story’s themes of reinventing your life, parenting alone, family connections and conflicts, and building new relationships are what I believe will connect our viewers to this show.”

 

Comic-Con: AMERICAN GODS

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Debuting at Comic-Con is the first view of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, adapted by Starz as a TV series.

Reporting from the conference, io9 writes that, as part of the process of making the series, Gaiman looked through earlier drafts of the novel as fodder for additional screen stories. He announced that some of what he found might ,are its way into “the next American Gods book if I do another novel, which is seeming more and more likely these days.”

If that were not news enough for fans, after a very slow wind-up to get the iconic book to any screen, big or small, it seems Starz has hit the sweet spot with a spot-on adaptation.

Neil Gaiman said, “As a general rule, if you loved it in the book, it is probably going to end up on your screen.”

In a statement that is sure to thrill and intrigue readers of the novel, executive producer Bryan Fuller (Hannibal and Pushing Daisies) said the show is “fan fiction, in a wonderful way.”

Revealed as well is the news that a major element of the book, the journey the old gods take to the US, will get due attention and be treated as “trampolines into more stories.”

The Verge says more casting decisions were also announced. Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked, Glee, The West Wing, Pushing Daisies) will play Easter,  “a member of the old gods. (Her traditional name in mythology is Ostara, the Germanic goddess of the dawn).” USA Today has a run down on the rest of the cast.

The show is set to premiere sometime in 2017.

Comic-Con: THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE

Sunday, July 24th, 2016

Season 2 of Amazon’s hit series, The Man in the High Castle, based on the book by Philip K. Dick, was introduced at Comic-Con by executive producer Ridley Scott.

A new trailer was released a few days ago:

No release date has been announced. One source reports it’s not clear whether it will air this year or in early 2017.

9780544817289_e9678-2  9780544916081_1be2b

A trade paperback tie-in was released last year and a new hardcover version is set for publication in October.

ASCENDANT Falling

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

MV5BMjEyOTI3NDQwN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjExOTIwODE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,647,1000_AL_According to Variety, the Divergent series is likely to move to the small screen as disappointing box office is leading the studio Lionsgate to consider skipping the big screen ending.

Instead the plan appears to be the release of a made-for-TV movie, using it to launch a spin-off series.

Although nothing has been finalized or confirmed, according to Variety it is likely that Ascendant will not open in June 2017 as planned and it remains unclear “if stars Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Ansel Elgort, and others will return for the Ascendant television movie.”

The first two films did well at the box office but the third film sank, leading to the possible change of plans. Deadline states there is a “decreasing interest in the property from its core audience at the box office each year.”

Backlist To TV:
THE CHRONICLES OF AMBER

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

9780380809066_1_CoverRobert Kirkman is moving away from comics with his next planned TV project according to The Hollywood Reporter and now has his eye on creating the next Game of Thrones. Through his Skybound Entertainment unit he is adapting Roger Zelazny’s The Chronicles of Amber, a ten-book science fiction/fantasy series.

Zelazny died in 1995 and was a long-standing and beloved figure in the SFF community, winning Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards.

Like Game of Thrones, Zelazny’s series, reports Tor.com, “concerns royal family politics over a throne. But in this case, our hero Corwin awakens on Earth with amnesia. He comes to discover that Earth is just one of many “shadows,” or parallel worlds, that exist between the two true worlds of Amber and the Court of Chaos. As a prince of the royal family, it is Corwin’s birthright to rule Amber and fend off the forces of chaos.”

George R.R. Martin is a fan of Zelazny. Tor notes that Martin memorialized the author via a blog post:

Lord of Light was the first Zelazny book I ever read … I’d never heard of this Zelazny guy. But when I read those words for the first time, a chill went through me, and I sensed that SF would never be the same. Nor was it. Like only a few before him, Roger left his mark on the genre.”

9780060567231_1_CoverIf you need a refresher on Zelazny Tor offers a reread of his series.

If you need to add copies, Harper Voyager published a collected edition of all ten stories in 2010: The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles, 1-10 by Roger Zelazny (HC/Harper Voyager) as well as a new edition of his 1988 winner of both the Nebula and Hugo for best novel, Lord of Light.

GOT: Long Winter,
Meet Short Summer

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

MV5BMjM5OTQ1MTY5Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjM3NzMxODE@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Although it’s getting snowy and cold in the North of HBO’s Game of Thrones, the series is focused on summer. According to multiple sources including Vanity Fair, season seven will air in summer 2017 and consist of only seven episodes. The previous six seasons have featured 10 episodes each and they aired in the spring.

Perhaps even more troubling for fans, Vanity Fair also reports that the final season, #8, will be even shorter, just six episodes. Sources such as Variety have confirmed those numbers, leaving fans only 13 hours more to enjoy.

Showrunner David Benioff explains the truncated seasons to Deadline Hollywood:

“It’s not just trying not to outstay your welcome … We’re trying to tell one cohesive story with a beginning, middle and end … Daenerys is finally coming back to Westeros, Jon Snow is king of the North and Cersei is sitting on the Iron Throne. And we know the Night King is up there, waiting for all of them … The pieces are on the board now. Some of the pieces have been removed from the board and we are heading toward the end game.”

Showrunner D.B. Weiss tells Variety that the high production values of the series are also part of the reason for shorter season because hey simply cannot make ten episodes in 12-14 months of shooting, “It’s crossing out of a television schedule into more of a mid-range movie schedule.”

The NYT points out that the late start might change future award seasons: “If the seventh season begins later than May, it will not be eligible for next year’s Emmy Awards,” continuing “Game of Thrones has garnered the most Emmy nominations of any TV show for three consecutive years, and last year it took home the Emmy for best drama for the first time.” This year, reports USA Today, it racked up 23 nominations, the most of any show in 2016.

As if to temper the disappointment over the delayed start and shorter seasons, Vanity Fair speculates that the schedule might give George R.R. Martin enough room to complete The Winds of Winter in time for inclusion in the TV series. Martin, who always has much to say on his blog, is completely mum on that point.

Following Fellowes

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

9781250045461_aa055In her NYT review of Belgravia, the novel by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes, Daisy Goodwin speculates on whether it will satisfy the legions who are still mourning the end of the TV series.

Curiously, Goodwin herself is in the running to fill that hole, as the writer and co-executive producer of an 8-part TV series Victoria, about the early years of the queen’s reign. It will run in January on PBS Masterpiece in the very time slot Downton once occupied (in the UK, it begins this fall on ITV, also in the time slot that Downton once ruled).

In addition, in late November, Goodwin will publish Victoria: A Novel (Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press). It’s not clear that the book is the source for the series. The publisher description simply says, “Drawing on Victoria’s diaries as well as her own brilliant gifts for history and drama, Daisy Goodwin, author of the bestselling novels The American Heiress and The Fortune Hunter as well as the new PBS/Masterpiece drama Victoria, brings the inner life of the young queen even more richly to life in this magnificent novel.”

Goodwin’s The Fortune Hunter (Macmillan/St. Martin’s, 2014) drew comparison from People magazine to Fellowes, “Downton Abbey fans will gallop like Thoroughbreds through this entertaining historical novel.”

Doctor Who alum Jenna Coleman will star in the TV series as Victoria, reports Entertainment Weekly, “beginning from her ascension to the throne in 1837, through to her courtship and marriage to Prince Albert,” played by Tom Hughes (About Time).

ITV has posted several clips, a longer first look and a teaser that reveals some of the lush costuming.

Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton enthuses to Entertainment Weekly, “Victoria has it all: a riveting script, brilliant cast, and spectacular locations. And it’s a true story! This is exactly the kind of programming Masterpiece fans will love.”

OUTLANDER Season Finale Sends Books Rising

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Season two of the popular STARZ Outlander adaptation wrapped on Saturday. The final episode revealed new characters and story lines and also how much the screen version has increased book sales for the entire series, with all eight titles showing impressive leaps on Amazon’s sales rankings.

9780553393705_ba6c7  9780399177682_fbce6

Some people must feel the need to catch up, sending the first two books in Diana Gabaldon’s series,  Outlander and Dragonfly in Amber soaring. However, readers will find differences between the books and the series, particularly for season 2.

9780385335997

But the real interest lies in what comes next. Book 3 in the series, Voyager (PRH/Delta; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample) rose the highest on Amazon’s rankings, to #25. All the rest of the titles in the series also received significant bumps (the full list is here).

Two new seasons have been ordered, according to Variety. There is no air-date yet for season 3, but if the gap is anything like the time between seasons 1 and 2, fans will have to wait nearly a year, a period of time they mournfully call #Droughtlander.

It could take even longer than that, as casting for the new faces of season three has not even begun, co-executive producer Maril Davis told New York Magazine, “We haven’t actually started looking at anyone, but we’ll be starting fairly soon.” On top of this, new locations have to be spotted and new sets built as the action moves from Scotland to Jamaica.

When season 3 does air, fans can expect even more differences between page and screen reports Bustle, quoting executive producer, Ronald D. Moore, “Our goal is still to try and be as faithful as we can to the books [but] the longer that you go, the more the TV series inevitably veers from the book and certain plot lines then take on a life of their own … Those changes add up and the further in you go, the bigger those separations become.”

On the same topic Davis also told New York Magazine “In some ways, it should be like the books, but telling the TV version should be fresh. Even for book fans, you want to give them what they want, but in a different way sometimes. We want try to do that for season three as well.”

Gabaldon recently announced that the ninth book in her very slowly unfolding series (the first book was published over two decades ago) will be titled Tell The Bees That I Am Gone. A pub date is not yet known but Entertainment Weekly posted a brief excerpt.

Gabaldon has also said that a tenth book will be forthcoming, which she believes will finally wrap the series, and that she has plans for a prequel, focusing on her main character Jamie’s parents.

Nine-Year-Old’s Book Deal May Lead to Movies/TV

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016

Back when she was eight years old, Hilde Lysiak, founder and publisher of The Orange Street News got major media attention, featured on the Today Show.

Lysiak went on to scoop older reporters on a murder case, bringing controversy over whether a child should be involved in such activities, even more national media coverage, and a 2016 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Award from the Tribeca Film Festival.

Now, the news that she has a deal to write four books for Scholastic and has brought interest in film and TV rights to her story.

The first in the book series, titled Hilde Cracks the Case, will be published in 2017, under Scholastic’s early chapter books imprint, Branches.

 

QUEEN SUGAR Premieres This Fall

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

9780670026135An author many of you met via our Penguin First Flights Debut author program, Natalie Baszile is about to gain wider recognition. A 13-episode series based on her novel Queen Sugar (Penguin/Pamela Dorman; Thorndike; 2014), will get a two-night premiere on Oprah’s network, OWN September 6th and 7th.

The first two episodes in the 13-part series are directed by Ava DuVernay, who worked with Oprah on the film Selma. All the rest of the episodes will also be directed by women. DuVernay told People magazine, “If Game of Thrones can have all men for the last 3 seasons, Queen Sugar can have all women and show what a fantastic show can be made from our hands and our minds.”

Set in Southern Louisiana, the novel is about three sibling who inherit their father’s sugar cane plantation, It was selected as a book of the week by Oprah’s O magazine, saying, “In Queen Sugar, two bulwarks of American literature—Southern fiction and the transformational journey—are given a fresh take by talented first-time novelist Natalie Baszile.”

Teaser is available here.