Archive for the ‘Science Fiction & Fantasy’ Category
George R.R. Martin just offered fans a bit of hope on the progress of Winds of Winter, the tenth and final book [as a reader points out in the comments section, Winds of Winter is actually the sixth volume and not the last. One more is planned after that] in his Game of Thrones series, in an exchange on the blogs comment section of his blog.
“Not done yet, but I’ve made progress. But not as much as I hoped a year ago, when I thought to be done by now.
I think it will be out this year. (But hey, I thought the same thing last year).”
This is his first official statement, according to Entertainment Weekly, since the author’s post over a year ago when he announced he would not finish in 2016 [correction: that post was about not finishing in 2015 before the 2016 premiere].
EW says “It’s still possible Winds could be out by the time [the HBO series] Thrones returns for season 7, which isn’t expected until this summer.”
That’s probably wishful thinking. In December Martin said he has “missed several deadlines” and “Sometimes I look back and say, ‘Did it really have to be Seven Kingdoms?’ The Five Kingdoms of Westeros, that would have been good, right?’
The book features author H.G. Wells who creates an actual version of the apparatus featured in his novel The Time Machine, which is used by Jack the Ripper to escape to 1970’s era San Fransicso, with Wells on his heels (the Kirkus review gives an amusing summary of the convoluted plot).
For the TV series, the US location was changed to present-day New York.
A trailer for the pilot came out in May. Since then the female lead has been recast with Nicole Ari Parker as the character played by Regina Taylor.
No tie-in has been scheduled, but the book is still available, in a 2010 paperback reprint (Forge Books, 978-0765326225; OverDrive Sample).
To mark the release date, Hulu issued a set of first photos revealing some of the costumes and settings. The photos nudged the book higher on Amazon’s sales charts.
A tie-in has also been announced, The Handmaid’s Tale (Movie Tie-in), (PRH/Anchor, trade pbk; March 28, 2017)
The ten-episode dystopian drama stars Elisabeth Moss, who made her name on Mad Men, as Offred, the central character and a handmaid, a rare fertile woman who has become the property of the state, forced to conceive against her will. Joseph Fiennes stars as The Commander, to whom Offred is assigned. Yvonne Strahovski plays Serena Joy, The Commander’s wife. Jordana Blake, Samira Wiley, Max Minghella, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, and O-T Fagbenle round out the cast. Atwood serves as a consulting producer.
George R.R. Martin is not happy, and he won’t be making his readers happy either. Expect more delays for Winds of Winter says The Telegraph, reporting on Martin’s appearance at the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico.
Writing that he has “missed several deadlines” for the next in the series and saying he still does not know when it will be completed or published, the paper reports Martin’s grim assessment of the story so far,
“There are a lot of dark chapters right now … Winter is the time when things die, and cold and ice and darkness fill the world … Some of the characters [are] in very dark places … In any story, the classic structure is, ‘Things get worse before they get better,’ so things are getting worse for a lot of people.”
As for the next, next book (Dreams of Spring) and the ending of the series, Martin says, “I’m not going to tell you how I’m going to end my book, but I suspect the overall flavor is going to be as much bittersweet as it is happy.”
It seems darkness is Martin’s current mood. On his blog this week, he posted, “December has come, and the end of 2016 (thank god, what a bloody awful year).” While he does not list all the reasons 2016 was horrible, it did mark yet another year in which his book was not finished.
Reflecting his dour mood from 2015 on not completing the saga, Martin told the audience in Mexico, “Sometimes I look back and say, ‘Did it really have to be Seven Kingdoms?’ The Five Kingdoms of Westeros, that would have been good, right?’”
On the HBO series front, IMDB has posted an air date of June 25, 2017, although few other sites offer confirmation. HBO aired a tiny teaser in its video of upcoming shows for 2017.
The 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).
One 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.”
Over 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.
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.
As 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.
Diana 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.
Beren 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:
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.
The 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.”
She 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.”
The full column is online. it ran in last week’s Sunday Book Review.
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.'”
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.
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:
The town in question harbors vampires, witches and psychics, who have selected the out-of-the-way locale as a safe hide out.
“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.