Archive for the ‘Science Fiction & Fantasy’ Category

THE MARTIAN Trailer Bump

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Sometimes movie adaptations bring new attention to the books they are based on, and sometimes all it takes it the release of the movie trailer.

USA Today notes that Andy Weir’s debut sci-fi novel, The Martian (RH/Crown), rose to its highest level, #4 on their June 18 best seller list, following the tailer’s debut. This week, it is still in the top ten, at #9.

The tie-in features a closeup of Matt Damon, who stars as an astronaut stranded on Mars. The movie debuts on  Oct. 2.

9781101905005_1ed84The Martian (Mass Market MTI)
Andy Weir
RH/Broadway; October 13, 2015
Mass Market; $9.99 USD, $12.99 CAD
9781101905005, 110190500X

 

Zuckerberg Picks SF Classic

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 11.16.25 AMMark Zuckerberg’s next Facebook reading club pick is a cult SF favorite, Iain M. Banks’s The Player of Games (originally published in 1988, now available from Hachette/Orbit; Hachette Audio/Blackstone; OverDrive Sample). It is the second of the Culture novels, a series that many consider a touchstone of the genre (the first is Consider Phlebas and the most recent is The Hydrogen Sonata).

This is the first fiction title that  Zuckerbeg has picked in his “Year of Reading” program.  The Player of Games may prove more accessible than the previous ten books on various business, culture, and social science subjects, some of them fairly weighty. If nothing else a discussion about AI and future worlds hosted by one of today’s leading tech companies should prove interesting.

Locus Award Winners, 2015

Monday, June 29th, 2015

The 2015 Locus Awards, for outstanding Science Fiction and Fantasy are:

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 12.28.53 PMAnn Leckie won best SF novel for Ancillary Sword (Hachette/Orbit; Hachette Audio and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), the follow-up to Ancillary Justice which won the 2014 Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke awards.

Nominees in the category that had the bad luck of going up against that juggernaut are The Peripheral (Penguin/Putnam; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) by William Gibson, The Three-Body Problem (Macmillan/Tor; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample) by Cixin Liu, Lock In (Macmillan/Tor; Audible Studios on Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample) by John Scalzi (which was a LibraryReads pick for August 2014), and all three books in Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. The first in the set, Annihilation (Macmillan/FSG; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), just won the 2015 Nebula.

Screen Shot 2015-06-29 at 12.34.00 PMKatherine Addison won best Fantasy novel for The Goblin Emperor (Macmillan/Tor; Tantor Audio; OverDrive Sample).

It topped an equally strong group of nominees that includes Steles of the Sky (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample) by Elizabeth Bear, City of Stairs (Hachette/Jo Fletcher Books; OverDrive Sample) by Robert Jackson Bennett, The Magician’s Land (Penguin/Viking; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) by Lev Grossman (also a LibraryReads pick for August 2014), and The Mirror Empire (PRH/Angry Robot; OverDrive Sample) by Kameron Hurley.

The Locus Awards are decided by the readers of Locus Magazine. A full list of winners and nominees can be seen on the io9 site.

MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE
Comes to Comic-Con

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Marvel and a few other studios are sitting out the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con, causing Variety to  declare, “TV Takes Over Comic-Con as Film Studios Back Out” (perhaps they haven’t noticed that TV seems to be taking over everything these days).

Further, they say this offers “upstart digital networks looking to compete with their broadcast counterparts” an opportunity to get more exposure.

One of those upstarts is Amazon Studios, appearing at the show for the first time this year with two series, one of which is The Man in the High Castle, adapted from the iconic alternative reality novel by Philip K. Dick. A special screening of the first two episodes at Comic-Con on Friday, July 10 will also be live-streamed on Entertainment Weekly‘s site.

The series is directed by Ridley Scott, known for 1982 movie Blade Runner based, if somewhat loosely, on another iconic book by Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

The first, rather obscure, trailer to promote that event has just been released:

Comic-Con will also feature a first look at at Outcast, the upcoming Cinemax series based on the comics by Robert Kirkman and Paul Azaceta.

AMERICAN GODS Closer to Screen

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

9780062059888_0_CoverAfter several years, and changes in both production companies and networks, the TV adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s award-winning novel, American Gods, (HarperCollins/Morrow) is now officially green lighted to run on the Starz cable network.

Gaiman, quoted in The Hollywood Reporter, says “Now we finally move to the exciting business that fans have been doing for the last dozen years: casting our Shadow, our Wednesday, our Laura …”

The book moved up Amazon’s sales rankings to #240 (from #1,633) on the news.

Love & Hate for JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-15 at 7.25.59 PMIn 2004 Susanna Clarke published Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample), a moody, lavish literary fantasy novel set in an alternative 19th century England full of magic.

It was a sensation, reaching number three on The New York Times bestseller list, winning the Hugo Award for best novel, and getting longlisted for the Man Booker.

Still, for all the readers who adored the book, including Neil Gaiman who praised it lavishly, there were others who were not as charmed.

Now the BBC has adapted it into a seven-part mini series, airing on this side of the ocean on BBC America (Saturdays at 10 p.m.) and reaction is split again.

Mary McNamara, writing for The LA Times’s “Jacket Copy” says it is “a deft combination of Dickensian satire, Austenian wit and Gothic anxiety. For those put off by beheadings and orgies and even for those who are not, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is a welcome return to literate magical fantasy.”

David Fear, in his Rolling Stone review, calls it “extraordinary” and says that it offers “some of the most fantastic imported TV you’re likely to view this year… the show’s immersive deep dive into the mystic is likely to leave jaws on the living-room floor.”

Dissenters include Mike Hale writing for The New York Times. He calls it “largely unremarkable” and warns “those who enjoyed the best-selling book to temper their expectations.” The highest praise Hale manages is “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is great to look at. It moves along at a gallop, and it’s not boring, even if it’s not exactly engaging either. Most important, it has appealing performances by Bertie Carvel as Strange and particularly by Eddie Marsan as the crabbed and proud Norrell.”

The AV Club, slightly less disappointed, wraps up its review with “The BBC’s first episode demonstrates it can pull off the story, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll pull off the magic.”

Those knocks aside, it seems readers are responding. Holds are at very respectable levels for a book that came out over a decade ago, in some places topping a 3:1 ratio.

For libraries that need new copies, Bloomsbury has released a new TV tie-in edition. Readers’ advisors might want to take note that the audiobook version narrated by Simon Prebble  (Macmillan Audio; CD and downloadable) is well worth suggesting as well.

THE MARTIAN, The Trailer

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

The Martian WeirThe trailer for the film adaptation of The Martian by Andy Weir, (RH/Crown) debuted online this week.

Scheduled for release on November 25 [Update: just a few days after we posted this story, 20th Century Fox switched the release date to Oct. 2. The logic? Less competition, according to Deadline ]. Directed by Ridley Scott, it has a killer cast, including Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover.

The book began as a self-published science fiction title, later picked up by Random House’s Crown imprint. It appeared on multiple best books lists, was a Feb. 2014 LibraryReads pick, the 2014 RUSA Reading List selection for  Science Fiction, as well as an Alex Award winner.

A tie-in is scheduled for October.

The Martian (Mass Market MTI)
Andy Weir
RH/Broadway; October 13, 2015
Mass Market; $9.99 USD, $12.99 CAD
9781101905005, 110190500X

#1 May LibraryReads Title
to Big Screen

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Is Hollywood taking note of the LibraryReads picks?

Warner Bros. has just won a bidding war for the rights to the LibraryReads #1 Pick for May, Naomi Novik’s Uprooted (RH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample). Aaccording to The Hollywood Reporter. Ellen DeGeneres will produce. She currently has six TV shows in production, “making this her rare foray into features.”

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.12.50 PMLucy Lockley of St. Charles City-County Library (MO) offers this description of the story:

“A young girl is unexpectedly uprooted from her family and becomes involved in a centuries-old battle with The Wood, a malevolent entity which destroys anyone it touches. Fast-paced, with magic, mystery and romance, Novik’s stand-alone novel is a fairy tale for adults.”

VanderMeer Wins Nebula

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 8.33.29 AMJeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation (Macmillan/FSG; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), the first title in his Southern Reach trilogy, has won the 2014 Nebula Award (presented in 2015) for best novel.

Along with Authority and Acceptance (books two and three), Annihilation tells the story of Area X, an isolated landscape cut off from human occupation which nature has taken back. Previous expeditions to the area have resulted in nightmare outcomes. Now a new expedition is under way.

When we wrote earlier about the series we quoted Sara Sklaroff’s review in The Washington Post which still stands as a good summary, “Annihilation is successfully creepy, an old-style gothic horror novel set in a not-too-distant future. The best bits turn your mind inside out.”

VanderMeer’s acceptance speech makes note of the Hugo controversy and the need for diverse reading.

This is the first time the very literary-leaning FSG has published a Nebula winning title.

Three other Nebulas are awarded for best novella, novelette, and short story (each based upon word count).

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 9.25.13 AMNancy Kress won the novella category for Yesterday’s Kin (Tachyon Publications; OverDrive Sample) while Ursula Vernon won best short story for “Jackalope Wives.”

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 9.26.10 AMAlaya Dawn Johnson won the Novelette category for A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i. She also won The Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy for Love Is the Drug (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books; Scholastic on Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample). The Andre Norton Award is one of several given alongside the Nebulas.

Another such award, The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, went to Guardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman.

Larry Niven, author of the 1970 Nebula winning Ringworld, won the Damon Knight Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement.

The Nebula Awards are presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and honor outstanding achievement in Science Fiction or Fantasy. Unlike the Hugo Awards, which are based upon membership votes including the votes of fans, only the author-members of the association vote upon the Nebulas. See a  full list of nominated titles here.

Tanith Lee Dies at 67

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

9780553581270   Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 8.20.20 AM
The first woman to win the British Fantasy Award, Tanith Lee has died at age 67 after a long illness. She won the World Fantasy Award twice and was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from both the World Fantasy Convention and the Horror Writers Association. Although she never won the Nebula, she was nominated twice.

In an appreciation, the SF web site i09 says Lee “was one of the most prolific and influential authors of fantasy and horror. Everyone seems to know her for something different. Some people are obsessed with The Silver Metal Lover, [RH/Spectra; originally published in 1977] while others devoured her fantasy series.”

But the Guardian notes she “seemed to have fallen out of favour as a writer in recent years, as did many writers who came to prominence in the SF fields in the Seventies.” the author herself said in a 1998 interview, with Locus Magazine “If anyone ever wonders why there’s nothing coming from me, it’s not my fault. I’m doing the work. No, I haven’t deteriorated or gone insane. Suddenly, I just can’t get anything into print.”

As tastes in genre fiction shifted, that problem only continued and now just a handful of her books are in print.

Her debut, The Birthgrave (Penguin/DAW; OverDrive Sample) is being reprinted for its 40th anniversary next week. The other books in that trilogy are planned for release over the next several months.

 

THE MARTIAN, The Movie

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

The Martian WeirThe first look at stills from the film adaptation of The Martian by Andy Weir, (RH/Crown) are now on People.com.

Starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Donald Glover, and scheduled for release in November, it is directed by Ridley Scott.

The book began as a self-published science fiction title, later picked up by Random House’s Crown imprint. It appeared on multiple best books lists and was a Feb. 2014 LibraryReads pick, the 2014 RUSA Reading List selection for  Science Fiction, as well as an Alex Award winner.

Stephenson’s SEVENEVES

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 9.02.48 AMNeal Stephenson’s Seveneves (Harper/William Morrow; Brilliance Audio; OverDrive Sample), published yesterday, offers a door-stopper of post-apocalyptic SF and has already reached #24 on Amazon’s sales rankings.

The plot sounds like a winner. The moon explodes for reasons unknown and before scientists can figure out why, they realize it hardly matters as a “hard rain” of debris will soon destroy the Earth. Obviously it is time to leave and a space station is adapted as a global ark, for the very lucky and the very few.

Reviews are mixed for the 880-page tome, however, and holds vary widely.

Both LibraryReads and Amazon picked it as one of the best books of May with Keith Hayes of Wake County Public Libraries, Cary, NC saying:

Stephenson’s back in fine form with this hard science fiction masterpiece, combining the detail of Cryptonomicon with the fast-paced action of Reamde. Fans of Anathem will appreciate Stephenson’s speculation about the possibilities of human evolution. This book is a great follow-up for readers who enjoyed the science of Weir’s The Martian. I heartily recommend Seveneves to SF readers.

Steven Poole writing for The Guardian is less convinced, praising many of Stevenson’s ideas but ending his review with the comment that the book put him to sleep:

…in the novel’s snail-paced last third, there are lots and lots of lavish descriptions of imaginary machines: city-sized orbiting habitats, giant pendulums reaching down into the Earth’s atmosphere, “sky trains”. After scores of pages of this, my eyelids were succumbing to a powerful gravitational force. And I quite like giant space gadgets.

A similar story is playing out in requests for Seveneves across the country. Some libraries are showing heavy holds on modest ordering while others have low queues on light ordering. In Stevenson’s hometown holds are skyrocketing and The Seattle Times offers a strong review.

SYFY Offers First Look at
THE MAGICIANS

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 10.14.54 AMThe Syfy channel recently released the “First Look” trailer for its 12-episode series adapting Lev Grossman’s The Magicians (Plume; Penguin Audio; OverDrive Sample) which will air sometime in 2016.

The series stars Jason Ralph (he has appeared on TV series Madam Secretary and Gossip Girl and in films such as A Most Violent Year) as Quentin Coldwater, a new recruit at the Brakebills College, a school of magic.

As we noted before, the Syfy channel has several book adaptations in the works.

OUTLANDER Season 2

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 6.07.17 PMAs season one of the Outlander series winds down on Starz (the finale airs May 30), shooting has begun on the next season.

Based on the second novel in the book series, Dragonfly In Amber (RH/Delta; 2001; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample), it follows Jamie and Claire as they escape to France and try to stop the Jacobite rising.

Once again, it spans multiple time periods and also introduces new characters, including Jamie and Claire’s adult daughter Brianna, Fergus, Jamie’s spy and one-day-adopted son, and a young Lord John Grey.

According to the website zap2it, author Diana Gabaldon is pleased with the plans for season 2, saying:

The Parisian stuff is very good, and in fact I’m deeply impressed by the outlines I’ve seen of those scripts … I think they’ve done a wonderful job of pulling out the most important plot elements and arranging them in a convincing way …

Season two is slated to air in the spring of 2016, so fans will have to endure a year-long wait, or as they call it, #Droughtlander.

STATION ELEVEN Wins Again

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 10.17.05 AMEmily St. John Mandel has won the Arthur C. Clarke award, recognizing the best in Science Fiction, for her bestselling novel Station Eleven (RH/Knopf; RH & BOT Audio; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample).

The book, a post-apocalyptic tale that weaves back and forth in time as it follows the fate of several characters while also exploring the sustaining power of art, has racked up a litany of accolades.

A finalist for both the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner, it was picked as one of the Favorite of Favorites by LibraryReads, and made multiple best books of the year lists including Entertainment Weekly’s which selected it as their #1 pick.

As we reported, George R.R. Martin is on the bandwagon too, lobbying fans to support it for the Hugo award.

The genre categorization doesn’t sit well with Mandel. Responding to a review in the Washington Post’s “Science Fiction and Fantasy” column she told Ron Charles,

I was surprised to discover that if you write literary fiction that’s set partly in the future, you’re apparently a sci-fi writer … my only objection to these categories is that when you have a book like mine that doesn’t fit neatly into any category, there’s a real risk that readers who only read “literary fiction” won’t pick it up because they think they couldn’t possibly like sci-fi, while sci-fi readers will pick up the book based on the sci-fi categorization, and then be disappointed because the book isn’t sci-fi enough.

On the other hand, this offers readers advisors an opportunity to use Station Eleven to expand both SF and literary readers’ horizons.

Check your holds, they  are heavy in some libraries and trade paperback edition is scheduled for June 2,