Archive for the ‘Science Fiction & Fantasy’ Category

Nebula Nominees

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

The nominees have been announced for one of the most prestigious awards in genre fiction, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s 51st Annual Nebula Awards.

The buzziest of the five nominees for Best Novel are All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Macmillan/Tor; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample) and The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit; Hachette Audio; OverDrive Sample).

9780765379955_d589bAll the Birds in the Sky was selected as a best book of the year by Amazon, Kirkus, The Washington Post, and Time, where it was #5 on their list of “Top 10 Novels” of 2016.

It got rave reviews generally as well. NPR wrote “With All the Birds in the Sky, Anders has given us a fresh set of literary signposts — and a new bundle of emotional metaphors — for the 21st century, replacing the so many of the tired old ones. Oh, and she’s gently overturned genre fiction along the way.”

Anders, until recently, was the founder and co-editor of the science fiction site io9.com. She won the Hugo in 2012 for the novelette Six Months, Three Days.

9780316229265_b53adThe Obelisk Gate is the second novel in the Broken Earth series. We wrote about its reception earlier and Naomi Novik reviewed it for the NYT BR, praising its “intricate and extraordinary world-­building.”

Jemisin won the Hugo for the series launch, The Fifth Season, and she won the Locus award for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. She is a notable voice in the field, sharing her opinions on the genre and writing reviews for the NYT column “Otherwordly.”

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Somewhat more under the radar but still making end of the year best lists is Borderline by Mishell Baker (S&S/Saga; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample), which was an Library Journal top pick for the year. Tor.com said it is “dark and creeping and smart as a whip.

The final nominees are Everfair by Nisi Shawl (Macmillan/Tor; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample) and Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (S&S/Solaris; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample).

The website The Verge picked both as among their 2016 recommendations.

The Washington Post says of Everfair, it is “a beautifully written and thrillingly ambitious alternate history … It’s a tribute to Shawl’s powerful writing that her intricate, politically and racially charged imaginary world seems as believable — sometimes more believable — than the one we inhabit.”

In her NYT column, Jemisin says of Ninefox Gambit, “Readers willing to invest in a steep learning curve will be rewarded with a tight-woven, complicated but not convoluted, breathtakingly original space opera. And since this is only the first book of the Machineries of Empire trilogy, it’s the start of what looks to be a wild ride.”

As The Verge notes, the list highlights a welcome diversity, “three of the five nominees for Best Novel are authors of color, and four out of the five are women.

The winners will be announced during the annual Nebula Conference, which runs from May 18th-21st in Pittsburgh. The full list of nominees is online.

More NEVERWHERE

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

9780062371058_4efe1Over twenty years since it first published, Neil Gaiman is writing a sequel to his beloved Neverwhere (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample). It will be titled The Seven Sisters.

Neverwhere takes place in an underground London, a fantastical place with real London landmarks populated by those who have fallen through the cracks.

The Guardian reports that Gaiman was “prompted to write the sequel both by the changes in the world over the past 20 years and his work with the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). Under the latter’s auspices, he has visited refugee camps in the Middle East and spoken to people displaced by the conflict in Syria.”

He told an audience in London recently:

Neverwhere for me was this glorious vehicle where I could talk about huge serious things and have a ridiculous amount of fun on the way. The giant wheel has turned over the last few years and looking around the work I have been doing for UNHCR for refugees … I decided that it actually was time to do something. Now I had things I was angry about. I cared about things I wanted to put in and I’m now a solid three chapters in.”

The Guardian says the title “takes its name from an ancient area of the real north London replete with myths and legends. The name comes from seven elm trees planted in a circle there, with suggestions of pagan places of worship dating back to Roman times.”

No word when the book will be published.

Ursula K. Le Guin
Heads To The Movies

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

planetofexileThe topics Ursula K. LeGuin explores in her novels should make her books attractive to today’s movie and TV producers, but none have made it to the screen since the 2004 mini-series based on Earthsea, most likely because LeGuin was not a fan of the outcome, writing “How the Sci Fi Channel wrecked my books.”

Last year, she told the site Den of Geek!, “I’ve got very hard-nosed about this. I don’t need the money so I can just say ‘no, you can’t have my book, if you’re going to chop it up and use its name and make it into something or other of yours that has nothing to do with what I wrote’. Enough of that.”

Thus, it’s big news that several well-credentialed producers, have acquired the rights to one of her early works, the 1966 SF novella Planet Of Exile, re-published in the collection Worlds of Exile and Illusion (Macmillan/Orb, 1996; OverDrive Sample). 

It is part of the Hainish universe of titles, which includes two of Le Guin’s most famous novels, The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. As the site Signature characterizes Planet Of Exile, it “explore themes of power, justice, freedom, and personal responsibility towards society at large. Told from the distant future on an imaginary planet, [it] concern[s] matters of love and survival as familiar to readers today as they were when [it was] first published in the 1960s.”

In a retrospective review, Tor.com writes that it is possible to see Planet Of Exile as one of LeGuin’s “dry runs for The Left Hand of Darkness.” Perhaps this forthcoming adaptation will also be a dry run for more to come.

Handmaid’s Super Bowl Trailer

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

mv5botu3njczmteznv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjk5mzcwmti-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_If you choose the Puppy Bowl over the Super Bowl this weekend, you will miss an ad for Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986). Good news, it has been released on YouTube, so you can have both. [UPDATE: as a result, the book shot to #1 on Amazon’s rankings on Monday].

The Super Bowl clip features more backstory as well as footage of the terror the handmaid’s face.

Two tag lines emerge. Elizabeth Moss, playing the handmaid Offred says: “My name is Offred — and I intend to survive.”

Joseph Fiennes, playing Commander Waterford, officially empowered to imprison and force Offred to bear his child, says: “We only wanted to make the world better, but ‘better’ never means better for everyone.”

Entertainment Weekly reports on the trailer in detail.

The series will premiere on April 26, 2017. A tie-in comes out in late March: The Handmaid’s Tale (Movie Tie-in), (PRH/Anchor, trade pbk; March 28, 2017). The book is rising on best seller lists and some see that as having more to do with protests against the Trump administration than with the upcoming series. The producer and the cast themselves have called the 20-year-old dystopian novel it is based on “prescient.”

GOOD OMENS To Screen

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

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Amazon plans to produce a six-part series based on Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, a fantasy-comedy novel written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (HarperCollins, 2007; trade pbk.; orig. pub date 1990; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample).

Slate reports BBC Studios will partner with Amazon and that Gaiman has already written all of the episodes. He will also act as showrunner and serve as a co-producer.

Amazon summarizes the series in its press release:

Good Omens takes place in 2018 when the Apocalypse is near and Final Judgment is set to descend upon humanity … So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, and tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except Aziraphale, a somewhat fussy angel, and Crowley, a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming war. And…someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.”

In the same release, Gaiman says “Almost thirty years ago, Terry Pratchett and I wrote the funniest novel we could about the end of the world … It became many people’s favourite book. Three decades later, it’s going to make it to the screen … I just wish Sir Terry were alive to see it.”

The Guardian points out that it has been adapted before, as an award-winning radio drama on BBC Radio 4 and there were a proposal for a film adaptation, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp as Crowley and Robin Williams as Aziraphale, that did not move forward.

The series will premiere sometime in 2018. Casting information is not yet available.

Brandon Sanderson To Big Screen, Times Two

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

9780385743563_594189780385743587_33252One of the biggest names in Fantasy is going to the movies.

Brandon Sanderson’s YA series, The Reckoners, has just been bought by 20th Century Fox in what Deadline Hollywood calls “a hotly contested” deal. Both Steelheart and Firefight, the first two books in the series, will be adapted.

Deadline describes the series:

“a burst in the sky gave ordinary people extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics, but with incredible gifts came the desire to rule. In what was once Chicago, an … Epic named Steelheart installed himself as emperor. Nobody fights back but the Reckoners, a shadowy group of ordinary humans who spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.”

9780385743600_ffd5eSteelheart came out in 2013 (PRH/Delacorte Press; RH Audio; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Firefight followed in 2015 (PRH/Delacorte Press; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Calamity, the final book in the trilogy, came out in 2016 (PRH/Delacorte Press; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample). The trade paperback of Calamity hits shelves on 2/28/17 (PRH/Ember).

wp_20150517_109-1Also in the works, from MGM, is Sanderson’s Snapshot, a SF detective thriller novella about a society, says Deadline, that:

“can create a snapshot of a specific day in time. The experiences people have, the paths they follow — all of them are real again for one day in the snapshot. All for the purposes of investigation by the court. The cop uses it as a way to find where a criminal dumped a weapon or what really happened in a domestic dispute. It’s drudgery, until the day the cop investigates the memory of a call that was never logged, and he makes a horrifying discovery.”

According to Sanderson’s website, the print book comes out in February in an expensive leather-bound edition, but also as a simultaneous ebook and, later in 2017, in a regular hardcover edition.

Live Chat
with Elan Mastai, Author of
ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

This chat has now ended. Read the transcript, below.

Join us for the next live chat on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 4 to 5 p.m., ET with Eleanor Wasserberg, to discuss her upcoming book, Foxlowe.

To join the program, sign up here

Live Blog Live Chat with Elan Mastai, ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS
 

WINDS Blowing?

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

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?’

Time for TIME AFTER TIME

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

The TV series adaptation of Time After Time, based on the 1979 time travel novel by Karl Alexander, as well its earlier film version, will premiere in a 2-hour episode on March 3.

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.

Time After TimeNo tie-in has been scheduled, but the book is still available, in a 2010 paperback reprint (Forge Books, 978-0765326225; OverDrive Sample).

 

 

 

THE HANDMAID’S TALE Gets Premiere Date, Tie-in

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

9780385490818Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986) will premiere on April 26, 2017.

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.

UpdateGilmore GirlsAlexis Bledel has joined the cast, and a new trailer has been released.

The Slow March Of A Very
Dark WINTER

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016
IMDb image for GOT Ep. #7.1

IMDb image for GOT Ep. #7.1

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.

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.