Archive for the ‘Science Fiction & Fantasy’ Category

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s
Next Book Adaptation

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

9780756404079_40938The creator of Hamilton and the musical mastermind behind Disney’s hit Moana is teaming up with a fan-favorite Fantasy author. Variety reports that Lin-Manuel Miranda and Patrick Rothfuss will collaborate on a TV adaptation and feature film of Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle series, the first of which is The Name of the Wind (PRH/DAW, 2007).

Miranda will serve as creative producer of both projects and “has an option to be involved in future stage productions as well.”

Sharing his views of the novels Miranda said:

“Pat Rothfuss’ Kingkiller books are among the most read and re-read in our home. It’s a world you want to spend lifetimes in, as his many fans will attest. Pat also writes about the act of making music more beautifully than any novelist I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to play a part in bringing this world to life onscreen.”

Lionsgate first announced a partnership with Rothfuss to develop a film, TV series, and a video game in 2015. The Hollywood Reporter broke the news of “the complex deal [to] see the epic fantasy book series developed simultaneously” into all three formats. Interest was high and multiple studios were in contention for the series which is reportedly “only behind Game of Thrones in terms of best-sellers in modern epic fantasy.”

The first book in the series, The Name of the Wind (PRH/DAW, 2007), was the inaugural Fantasy winner of The Reading List and won the Alex Award. The Reading List committee provided the following annotation:

This engrossing debut fantasy, the first in a projected trilogy, introduces readers to Kvothe –
a hero in his own time. Living incognito as an inn keeper, he is tracked down by a chronicler who convinces him to narrate his own story – and what a story it is. Magic, music, revenge, and a drug-addled dragon fuel this saga for the ages.

The second in the series, The Wise Man’s Fear, (PRH/DAW, 2011) was a #1 New York Times best seller. A companion novella. The Slow Regard of Silent Things, was published in 2014. The release date for the third in the trilogy, The Doors of Stone, has not yet been announced.

For more on Miranda, Deadline Hollywood offers an interview about his work on Moana, the sequel to Mary Poppins, and the possibility he might be the youngest person ever to win an EGOT (an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony).

STORIES OF YOUR LIFE Taking Off

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

9781101972120_4afa1One surprising winner of the political season has been the under-the-radar Science Fiction writer, Ted Chiang. Well known to the SF fan-base but not a household name, Chiang has won an impressive number of major science fiction awards even though he has written just 15 short stories, most of them originally published in magazines.

By far his most famous, “Story of Your Life,” is the basis for the film Arrival, a movie that got a huge boost as viewers sought escape after the election.

Now the collection that includes that story, Stories Of Your Life And Others (originally published in 2002 by Macmillan/Tor; re-released by PRH/Vintage in 2016; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) is rising on Amazon, just outside the top 100 bestsellers. It is also racking up large hold ratios. Counting both the original publication and the tie-in edition, some libraries are showing holds as high as 7:1.

Some press coverage has featured the author, such as Wired‘s take on the film, headlined “With Arrival, Ted Chiang Becomes Hollywood’s New Philip K. Dick.”

io9 says “Story Of Your Life Could Be One of the Year’s Most Magical Films” and GQ writes about “How an Unfilmable Story Turned Into the Year’s Best Sci-Fi Movie.”

Writing for The Guardian in 2004, China Miéville offers an explanation of Chiang’s appeal:

“In Chiang’s hands, SF really is the ‘literature of ideas’ it is often held to be, and the genre’s traditional ‘sense of wonder’  is paramount. But though one reads Stories of Your Life with a kind of thematic nostalgia for classic philosophical SF such as that of Asimov and Theodore Sturgeon, the collection never feels dated. Partly this is because the ‘wonder; of these stories is a modern, melancholy transcendence, not the naive 50s dreams of the genre’s golden age. More important, the collection is united by a humane intelligence that speaks very directly to the reader, and makes us experience each story with immediacy and Chiang’s calm passion.”

NPR featured Chiang on All Things Considered, reporting that three more of his stories have been optioned for adaptations. The show also quotes Chiang as saying, “Fiction writing is very hard for me and I’m a very slow writer … I don’t get that many ideas for stories … And I like to take my time when I do get an idea for a story.” “Which means,” says NPR, “that readers get to take their time, too — to chew on Chiang’s craft and carefulness.”

Anne Rice Plans a GOT-Style Vampire Series

Sunday, November 27th, 2016

9780345409645_9031fOver twenty years after Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt stared in the film adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire (PRH/Ballantine Books; BOT; OverDrive Sample) the author has regained the rights and is planning a TV show.

Rice took to Facebook to announce “television is where the vampires belong.”

Apparently impressed with the opportunities HBO’s Game of Thrones has demonstrated, she continues, “A television series of the highest quality is now my dream for Lestat, Louis, Armand, Marius and the entire tribe. In this the new Golden Age of television, such a series is THE way to let the entire story of the vampires unfold … Over the years you all have told me how much you want to see a Game of Thrones style faithful rendering of this material … What you want is what I want.”

Vanity Fair reports that Rice and her son Christopher “are working together on a pilot script and an outline for an ‘open-ended series’ beginning with the events of The Vampire Lestat, the second book in the series that’s actually a prequel to the first.”

The magazine points out that there is “plenty of room for vampires on TV now that True Blood has ended and the zenith of the vampire fiction heyday has come and gone. The Vampire Diaries and FX’s The Strain will air their final seasons in 2017, so now is just the right time for a new vampire show to come pick up the slack.”

No word yet on air dates or actors.

UNDERGROUND RAILROAD #1

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

Underground Railroad  Wolf Road

The Amazon Editors have selected Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (PRH/Doubleday; RH Audio; BOTOverDrive Sample) as the best book of the year.

Given the acclaim it has already received, that’s no surprise, but the #2 title is a less well-known debut novel,  The Wolf Road (PRH/Crown; Recorded Books) by British author Beth Lewis, described as “a brilliant amalgam of literary thriller and gritty western,” featuring a young main character who displays “Inner fire, honest vulnerability, and an endearing sense of humor.” It was reviewed by the Wall Street Journal in September, under yet a different genre, as one of two “Best New Science Fiction” titles.

The Underground Railroad was also selected as the #1 title for the year by Publishers Weekly and is a finalist for the National Book Awards in fiction. The winner will be announced tomorrow night.

More MR. ROBOT

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

9781419724428_f90e0As we noted in a recent Titles to Know and Recommend post, fans of the hit TV show Mr. Robot can experience the story in print via MR. ROBOT: Red Wheelbarrow by Sam Esmail and Courtney Looney (Abrams; HighBridge Audio; OverDrive Sample).

The Wall Street Journal reports on the new title and interviews one of the authors (subscription may be required), writing:

“For a show immersed in the digital world – it’s about a massive hack – the book is a unique analog piece of the puzzle and features Elliot narrating throughout, as well as asides from the character ‘Hot Carla.’ Also included are little artifacts like newspaper clippings, a church group pamphlet, and an empty cigarette pack with notes jotted on it. For Mr. Robot fans, who look for meaning in everything, these new, tangible nuggets will give clues to the story as well as dive into the feelings of loneliness and isolation that the season explored.”

Esmail tells the paper the book spans the gap between seasons 1 and 2, offering “the unfiltered world through Elliot’s eyes that you won’t get from the show … I wanted to create this next-level engagement where you can also learn things about the story if you dig a little deeper … The great thing about it is, that’s up to the audience to engage in.”

IndieWire warns fans who have not finished watching season 2 to stay away as “pretty much right from the beginning, one of Season 2’s biggest twists is spoiled, and there’s enough overlap with the rest of the season to warrant not reading it until after you’re all caught up with the series.”

Entertainment Weekly offers some illustrated sample pages.

OUTLANDER Comes to The End

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

9780553393699_747569781101884249_b01b1Diana Gabaldon is talking about the inevitable, the end of the Outlander series. As reported by Entertainment Weekly, she plans to conclude the series with book ten.

Eight books have been published. Book nine, not yet scheduled for publication, has the working title. Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone.

Gabaldon told fans at the EW PopFest that she already knew the ending of the last book, however, an explanation of the famous ghost scene in the first novel in which Frank, Claire’s husband, sees the ghost of Jamie staring up at their window.

“It’ll be the very last thing in the last book, which I think is probably book 10,” says Gabaldon.

That could be some time from now. It took the author five years to finish the current title after book seven hit shelves in 2009 and she has not turned a book around in less than two years since 1994.

On her website she tells readers, “An official publication date for this new book has not been announced. In other words: No, I don’t know yet when I will finish Book Nine of the OUTLANDER series! I am working on it now, and don’t even have a ballpark date.”

Fans may want to temper their expectations about the series length as well. Gabaldon is far from definitive about her plans and has said different things at different times.

Currently on her website she tells readers:

There’s at least one more. I’ve never been willing to commit to more than one at a time, because I just don’t know — I don’t plan the books out ahead of time. So I have no idea how much ground we’ll cover in each book. But there is certainly one more book, because I wasn’t finished telling the story at the end of book eight.”

For those who need consolation reading while they wait, Gabaldon sometimes posts working excerpts from book nine.

From the Tolkien Vault

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

berenandluthienBeren and Lúthien, the star-crossed lovers of J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, will have their own book reports Entertainment Weekly, Beren and Lúthien, edited by Christopher Tolkien (HMH, May 4, 2017). [Note: The cover, left, is from the UK edition, published there by HarperCollins.]

As Tor.com describes the story “Beren, a mortal man, falls in love with the elf Lúthien, thus inspiring legends and songs, as well as providing a model for the love of Aragorn and Arwen during the events of The Lord of the Rings.”

The Bookseller reports the story “has evolved since it was first written in 1917, and has been reworked in various forms, including poetry. To reflect this, the new book opens with Tolkien’s original text, before including passages from later texts that rework the tale.”

The book is edited by Tolkien’s son and will feature illustrations by Alan Lee, who won an Academy Award for his work on the third film of The Lord of the Rings cycle. He has also won the World Fantasy Award and the Kate Greenaway Medal.

The tale was personally important to Tolkien, reports Entertainment Weekly, so much so that the gravestone for the author and his wife refer to them as Beren and Lúthien.

Tor.com offers a introduction to Lúthien, calling her “Tolkien’s Badass Elf Princess.”

For those who recall the films, Aragorn sings the song of Lúthien in the first movie:

N.K. Jemisin on Peter S. Beagle and New SFF

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

The 2016 Hugo Award-winning novelist, N.K. Jemisin, returns with another of her NYT‘s columns focused on Science Fiction and Fantasy.

As we have written, she is a demanding and discriminating consumer of fiction. As a critic she is vibrantly engaged and is not willing to let much slide. As a reader she is interested in meaningful content rather than plot, values beautiful language, and appreciates in-depth characterizations. Since last December she has been sharing her views on Science Fiction and Fantasy in the NYT book review column “Otherwordly,” a bi-monthly roundup.

This month she takes on four works, a space opera, a graphic novel, the return of a beloved voice in Fantasy, and creepy speculative fiction.

9781616962449_ff216The work she clearly likes best is the long awaited return of Peter S. Beagle, a favorite of Fantasy readers for books such as The Last Unicorn. His newest novel in 17 years is Summerlong (Tachyon Publications), a contemporary take on the Persephone myth.

Jemisin writes that the characters are “fully textured,” the story is about “how ordinary people change, and are changed by, the numinous,” and the setting is beautifully realized:

“It’s a rare story of summer that feels like the summer — like dreamy intense passions rising and arcing and then spinning away; like beauty underlaid with a tinge of sadness because it is ephemeral. Beagle has captured that seasonal warmth here, beautifully, magically.”

9781632156945_bb8a6She also writes favorably about Pretty Deadly Volume 2: The Bear by Kelly Sue De Connick with art by Emma Ríos (Image Comics; OverDrive Sample), saying at its core it is “a masterpiece of mythopoeism that many literary fantasists struggle to emulate.”

She describes the story as a “weird western saga [that] gleefully, dreamily fuses a Greek chorus, spaghetti westerns, American trickster tales and creepy Japanese shoujo (girls’) manga.”

She is not a complete fan of the coloring in the comic, but says “This is a minor flaw. Every other element of this tale is a perfectly balanced mixture of the macabre with pure human poignancy. New readers will need Volume 1 too, but the return on investment is more than worthwhile.”

Vol.1 is Pretty Deadly: The Shrike (Image Comics; OverDrive Sample).

The full column is online. it ran in last week’s Sunday Book Review.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

The adaptation of Margaret Atwood ‘s novel The Handmaid’s Tale is currently still in production, but that didn’t prevented Hulu from promoting the streaming network’s upcoming series at the just concluded NY Comic Con.

The Revelist website reports that marketers placed special, women’s only, PR in the bathrooms of the conference center, writing a line from the book on the mirrors of the women’s room, “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum,” a phrase from the book that translates to, ‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down.'”

Don't let the bastards get you down (some solid marketing at Comic Con) #MargaretAtwood #HandmaidsTale #NYCC

A photo posted by Courtney (@mrwinklevoss) on

Revelist says “the show doesn’t have much of a presence at the convention beyond these cryptic bathroom signs. But make no mistake, this is a brilliant way to spread the show’s message directly to its target audience — and in a space that, despite the best efforts of geeky women and activists alike, is still considered very male-dominated.”

Here is the first brief look:

As we wrote earlier, Hulu announced in May that it is adapting the novel into a 10-episiode drama. The news sent the book rising on Amazon’s sales charts. Elisabeth Moss, who made her name on Mad Men, will star. Joseph Fiennes also stars, in the role of The Commander. Atwood serves as a consulting producer.

The series is set to debut in 2017.

MIDNIGHT, TEXAS Gets a Trailer

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

The first look at the next TV show based on Charlaine Harris’s novels has just been released.

The NBC series adapts her Midnight, Texas trilogy:

Midnight Crossroads (PRH/Ace, 2014; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample)

Day Shift (PRH/Ace, 2015; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample)

Night Shift (PRH/Ace, 2016; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample)

The town in question harbors vampires, witches and psychics, who have selected the out-of-the-way locale as a safe hide out.

9780425263150_529c9  9780425263198_9626d  9780425263228_c047b

Tor. com offers a summary of all three titles:

“the story is wacky, ya’ll. Immensely wacky, but, like, in a fun way. Midnight Crossroad starts off as a book about a pawnshop owner’s dead girlfriend and turns into a murder conspiracy involving white supremacists. Day Shift is ostensibly about the suspicious circumstances in which one of Manfred’s clients [he is the psychic] dies and ends up with a pack of weretigers wandering through town and vampires hunting a telepath visiting his grandpappy. Night Shift goes from people and animals killing themselves at the crossroads to a magic sex ritual with a pitstop at a subplot with a hangry Etruscan-literate vampire.”

But if the supernatural references recall True Blood, the popular HBO series, Bustle warns to think instead of another cult hit,  “Midnight, Texas is basically Twin Peaks with vampires.” Not the least of the many ways in which new show will be different, it’s a network TV production, rather than cable.

The series debut is set for midseason 2017.

Reading Le Guin

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

9781598534931_ef465The New Yorker just published a long profile of Ursula K. Le Guin online, and in the October 17th issue.

A tantalizing project proposed by “Neil Gaiman and some film people” is mentioned early in the article, but largely it is a review of Le Guin’s writing life and her current outlook.

Below are some highlights:

She is shaped by her environment,

She sees herself as a Western writer, though her work has had a wide range of settings, from the Oregon coast to an anarchist utopia and a California that exists in the future but resembles the past.

Her father was one of the most important cultural anthropologists of the past century and his way of life and thinking had a major effect,

From him she will take a model for creative work in the midst of a rich family life, as well as the belief that the real room of one’s own is in the writer’s mind. Years later, she tells a friend that if she ended up writing about wizards “perhaps it’s because I grew up with one.

She understands fantastic literature to not be what the article terms “McMagic,” but something far stronger,

“Imagination, working at full strength, can shake us out of our fatal, adoring self-absorption,” she has written, “and make us look up and see—with terror or with relief—that the world does not in fact belong to us at all … [it allows that] … our perception of reality may be incomplete, our interpretation of it arbitrary or mistaken.”

How she finally found a market for her work:

“I was going in another direction than the critically approved culture was,” Le Guin has said. “I was never going to be Norman Mailer or Saul Bellow.” … She was alarmed by the literary rivalries of the period; she remembers thinking, “I’m not competing with all these guys and their empires and territories. I just want to write my stories and dig my own garden … I just didn’t know what to do with my stuff until I stumbled into science fiction and fantasy.”

SF and Fantasy for October

Tuesday, October 4th, 2016

Looking for October titles to please genre fans? io9 surveys the Science Fiction and Fantasy field and highlights 21 titles coming out this month to suggest to readers and include in displays.

9780857665829_8d4d5  9780804141291_41f369781250075581_0c709

Among them is Alex Award-winner Wesley Chu’s new stand-alone title, The Rise of Io (PRH/Angry Robot; OverDrive Sample), described as what happens when an “intergalactic small-time crook” is overtaken by a “body-swapping alien” who is conducting a murder investigation.

Shakespeare is rarely classed as SF or Fantasy, but Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed  (PRH/Hogarth; RH Audio/BOT), is also on the list, described as her “fresh take” on The Tempest.  It is just one of many Atwood upcoming projects, including her debut graphic novel. She is also consulting on Hulu’s adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale,starring Joseph Fiennes and Elisabeth Moss, which begins shooting in Toronto this fall.

Based on the cult hit TV series, The Secret History of Twin Peaks by Mark Frost (Macmillan/Flatiron Books; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) offers “a deeper examination of the tiny town’s history and its many deep and troubling mysteries.” New attention will also be brought to series in the form of a revival, to air in 2017.

9780345540676_7bd4c 9781481424301_06864

Crosstalk by Connie Willis (PRH/Del Rey; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample) blends genres. A LibraryReads pick for this month, it is described it as “he perfect romantic comedy for the digital age,” Also on the list is Ken Liu’s The Wall of Storms (S&S/Saga; S&S Audio), the sequel to the highly regarded Grace of Kings. It has also received high praise in a review on the NPR site this week, saying that “It surpasses The Grace of Kings in every way, by every conceivable metric, and is — astonishingly — perfectly readable as a standalone.”

GOT: The Enhanced Editions

Sunday, October 2nd, 2016

cover225x225Enhanced digital editions of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice saga are being released, but only via Apple iBooks. Of course, this means they will not be available to libraries.

The Verge says that “Clicking on a name in this souped-up digital version will allow readers to track that character’s journey, or dig deeper into a character connections and house lineage.”

The first book, A Game of Thrones: Enhanced Edition, went on sale yesterday to mark the 20th anniversary of the series. It also includes an excerpt of the long-awaited sixth novel in the series,  The Winds of Winter, which was briefly posted on Martin’s website. The second in the series, A Clash of Kings, is scheduled for release on October 27th, followed by A Storm of Swords on December 15th, A Feast for Crows on February 2, 2017, and A Dance of Dragons on March 30, 2017.

In an Apple statement George R.R. Martin said:

“We’re now entering a new period in the history of publishing. The digital book gives readers the ability to experience all this rich secondary material that had not been possible before. These enhanced editions available only on iBooks include sigils and family trees and glossaries. Anything that confuses you, anything you want to know more about, it’s right there at your fingertips. It’s an amazing next step in the world of books.”

Libraries, however, will be able to buy the new 20th anniversary “special deluxe” illustrated edition of A Game of Thrones (PRH/Bantam, $50), also available as an eBook. Vanity Fair recently released ten of the images in the book.

io9 Fall Reading Picks

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

SFF fans have much to look forward as the new publishing season gets underway. io9 surveys the field with “All the New Scifi and Fantasy Books You Absolutely Must Read This Fall.”

9781597808774_abdc8The list gets of to a fast start with the Sept. 6 release of MJ-12: Inception, Michael J Martinez (Skyhorse/Night Shade Books).

The author tells io9 that the first in an expected trilogy is “a paranormal Cold War spy-fi thriller. Think Bond meets X-Men during the height of the Cold War.”

9780765377104_ccd7bDeath’s End, Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Macmillan/Tor Books) also arriving in September, marks the final volume in the award-winning trilogy. The first book, The Three-Body Problem won the Hugo and was a finalist for the Nebula and Locus awards. The second novel is The Dark Forest.

9781481424301_06864Liu’s own next book, The Wall of Storms (S&S/Saga; S&S Audio) pubs in early October and is the sequel to the highly regarded Grace of Kings.

9780345540676_7bd4cCrosstalk, Connie Willis (PRH/Del Rey) hits shelves in October. io9 writes “A pair of lovebirds who both work in tech decide to undergo a simple medical procedure to increase empathy between them.” Fans of Willis know what follows will be far more complicated than that.

A number of other works, including spin-offs of favorite story lines from the classics Dune and Star Wars, complete the list, which a;sp includes nonfiction and anthologies.

See our catalog for a running list of the Fall picks as they are announced.

N.K. Jemisin, Book Reviewer

Friday, August 26th, 2016

9780316229296_62f5aThe author of the Hugo winning The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin, has been in the news lately for her take on the current state of publishing and her reaction to winning “the Oscars” of her genre, but since last December she has also been sharing her views on Science Fiction and Fantasy in the NYT book review column “Otherwordly,” a bi-monthly roundup.

While the paper often assigns high profile authors to review high profile titles in the Sunday Book Review (Michael Connelly just reviewed Caleb Carr’s newest for example), Jemisin’s role is a bit different as she gets space to comment on a range of books within her genre specialty.

What kind of reviewer is she? A very precise, demanding, and appreciative one; a critic writing with vibrant engagement who is not willing to let much slide. What kind of reader is she? Based on her reactions to the works covered thus far, one that is interested in meaningful content rather than plot, values beautiful language, and appreciates in-depth characterizations.

For example, in her opening column she tries to figure out what China Miéville’s This Census-Taker (PRH/Del Rey) is all about, jumping from one possibility to the next before concluding, “This is a novel in which the journey is the story — but for those readers who actually want Miéville to take them somewhere, This Census-Taker may be an exercise in haunting, lovely frustration.”

Similarly, of Keith Lee Morris’s Travelers Rest (Hachette/Back Bay) she says the story is “not fresh” and thought “It’s beautifully written … Beautiful writing just isn’t enough to save any story from overfamiliarity.”

When a work does capture her fully, she gives it a rare “highly recommended” vote, as she has done for Andrea Hairston’s Will Do Magic for Small Change (Aqueduct Press), calling it a “beautifully multifaceted story … with deep, layered, powerful characters.”

All The Birds In The Sky (Macmillan/Tor/Tom Doherty), Charlie Jane Anders also impresses. She says it is “complex, and scary, and madcap … as hopeful as it is hilarious, and highly recommended.”

Below are links to her columns thus far:

December 28, 2015
February 23, 2016
April 19, 2016
June 17, 2016