Archive for the ‘Science Fiction & Fantasy’ Category

UPROOTED Wins, Again

Monday, June 27th, 2016

9780804179034_f41139780316246682_2dffbLibrarians picked it first. The number one LibraryReads pick for May 2015, Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample) was announced as the winner of the 2016 Locus Award for Fantasy on Saturday, having also won the Nebula last month.

The winner in the Science Fiction category is Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie (Hachette/Orbit; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample) the final book in the series which began with Ancillary Justice  winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. The middle novel, Ancillary Sword, also won the Locus award in 2015.

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The late Terry Pratchett won the YA category for The Shepherd’s Crown (HarperCollins; HarperCollinsAudio and Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample).

Pratchett and his fellow nominees in the YA category are all male, a choice that has raised eyebrows even as the Locus awards have avoided much of the controversy that has plagued the Hugo awards.

The Guardian reports on the story, saying that “the Locus awards were broadly representative of a sci-fi field that is continuing to grow in diversity: 18 female to 17 male writers, with many upcoming writers of colour among the voters’ top picks. Placed in that context, the way the YA category has turned out seems less like myopic sexism, and more indicative of the older demographic of readers who read Locus magazine and see the YA genre from their own preferences.”

However, YA author Gwen Katz said:

“YA, including YA fantasy, is a vastly female-dominated age category, but there’s a history of male authors being picked out for awards or heralded as champions of the age category … Yet another all-male slate reinforces the message that an art form primarily practised by women and girls only becomes noteworthy when a man gets in on it.”

9781481424271_445d99780062330260_ada2cThe Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (S&S/Saga; S&S Audio; OverDrive Sample) won best First Novel.

Neil Gaiman won twice: in the Novelette category for ‘Black Dog,’’ a piece in Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), which also netted Gaiman another trophy for best Collection.

Beyond the winners, readers’ advisors looking for suggestions in SFF will find a ready list of titles in the award’s short lists.

9780765381149_d2b6bThe SF nominees read like a who’s who of the genre:

The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi (PRH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample)

Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson (Hachette/Orbit; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (HC/ William Morrow; OverDrive Sample)

A Borrowed Man, Gene Wolfe (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample)

9780765375247_060ccThe Fantasy short list is equally impressive:

Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample)

The House of Shattered Wings, Aliette de Bodard (PRH/Roc; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

Wylding Hall, Elizabeth Hand (PS; Open Road; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample)

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit; OverDrive Sample)

9780765385246_028feThe First Novel Short list points to the breadth of these two genres, their international flavor, and the range of subjects being explored:

Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho (PRH/Ace; OverDrive Sample)

Signal to Noise, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Solaris; OverDrive Sample)

The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, Natasha Pulley (Macmillan/Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample)

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Kai Ashante Wilson (Macmillan/Tor; Macmillan Audio; OverDrive Sample)

9780804178457_d46eeThe controversial YA category included:

Half a War, Joe Abercrombie (PRH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample)

Half the World, Joe Abercrombie (PRH/Del Rey; OverDrive Sample)

Harrison Squared, Daryl Gregory (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample)

Shadowshaper, Daniel José Older (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine; Scholastic Audio ; OverDrive Sample)

Also useful for readers advisors is the annual reading list created by Locus, a gold mine of titles and authors to know.

The full list of winners is online.

Guy Gavriel Kay on Book Lust TV

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

9780451472960_b3e8aLibrarian Nancy Pearl interviews one of her favorite authors, Guy Gavriel Kay for Book Lust TV this month.

The pair, who have talked several times before, start by discussing Children of Earth and Sky (PRH/NAL; OverDrive Sample), Kay’s newest book, published in May and,set in the same general world as Sailing to Sarantium (a particular favorite of Nancy’s) and Lord of Emperors. It also falls within the general universe of The Last Light of the Sun and The Lions of Al-Rassan.

Kay explains that he likes to write stand-alones rather than series as endings are very important to him and he wants each book to have its own arc. He also wants readers to enjoy every book for itself, without feeling as if they are missing an insider joke but does offer long-time readers “grace notes, small, glancing allusions to the previous books.”

The two discuss Kay’s particular brand of fantasy, which he calls a “quarter turn to the fantastic” as well as the rise of popularity of the fantasy genre in pop culture. Kay believes the rush of fantasy novels rests in the fact that the “book industry is a copy-cat industry” and much “cloning” takes place. Of his own take on fantasy, he says he likes to compress time so that readers get an immediate sense of what happens over hundreds of years.

The interview concludes with Kay detailing what he is currently reading and recommending to others: Edith Grossman’s translation of Don Quixote, Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread, and Helen Macdonald’s H is for Hawk.

Reader’s Advisory: SFF for
Summer Reading

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

A boon for advisors looking for SFF (Science Fiction and Fantasy) titles that will be getting attention from fans is io9‘s newly released summer reading list.

9780062200631_20c739781101904220_ee938Titles that have already been featured on general list include The Fireman by Joe Hill (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), already a best seller, and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (PRH/Crown; RH Audio; BOT). io9 says that they “really loved” Hill’s newest, calling it “a terrifying, exhilarating ride from beginning to end, … quite possibly Hill’s best novel to date.” Of Crouch’s buzzy new stand-alone, they say it is “a fast-paced thriller that deals with alternate worlds and paths not taken.”

9780316229265_28d139781101966938_6c2b4Other favorites are Life Debt: Aftermath (Star Wars), Chuck Wendig (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio) and The Obelisk Gate, N. K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit). Fans know Wendig for his bridge books filling in the story between the recent Star Wars film and the previous story line of the series. io9 says this newest “looks to be just as exciting as the originals.” Of The Obelisk Gate, the site offers, “The Fifth Season was a masterpiece of fantasy literature, rejecting long-held conventions and tropes, and we’re excited to see what Jemisin does next to upend genre.”

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Authors and titles that might be new to SFF fans include:

False Hearts, Laura Lam (Macmillan/Tor; OverDrive Sample). io9 says it is “a debut novel that we’ve been getting excited about, an interesting cyberpunk mystery that meshes together the future of biotechnology and murder.”

Underground Airlines, Ben Winters (Hachette/Mulholland Books). A book about slavery set in the present day, the site says it shows every indication of being “a riveting alternate history thriller.”

Behind the Throne, K. B. Wagers (Hachette/Orbit). Saying it is “poised to be the next exciting space opera, one with plenty of action, intrigue, and adventure,” io9 points out that publishing imprint Orbit has a great track record with space adventures, publishing both James S.A. Corey and Ann Leckie.

There are more selections, including nonfiction. The full list is online.

To Screen: SEVENEVES

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

9780062190376_94743Ron Howard is set to direct an adaptation of Neal Stephenson’s SF bestseller Seveneves (HC/William Morrow)  says The Hollywood Reporter. Howard will team up once again with Bill Broyles (Apollo 13), who is writing the script.

The LibraryReads and Indie Next pick was just released in paperback. In hardback it drew attention from Bill Gates, who recommended it to readers, calling it “thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable” and crediting it with getting him back to reading SF.

In their laudatory but mixed review, NPR said “The experience of reading a modern Stephenson novel is like going out drinking with 20 or 30 of the smartest people on earth, and them all deciding to play that game where someone starts a story, tells one sentence of it, ends with a conjunction, and passes it along to the next person. Once upon a time, the moon blew up, and then …

Others offered the same blend of praise and hesitation. Several critics called it uneven (Stephenson has a problem with endings says the LA Times) and the novel’s sheer density (NYT), concerns that could easily be cured in a film, especially in the hands of Howard, who proved in Apollo 13 that he can plot a tense moonshot ending.

No word yet on when the project will begin shooting.

Staffing Up: READY PLAYER ONE

Friday, June 10th, 2016

9780307887443_cd74cOn the news that casting is nearly complete for Steven Spielberg’s highly anticipated adaptation of Ernest Cline’s SF debut Ready Player One (RH/Crown; Random House Audio/BOT; OverDrive Sample), the novel rose on Amazon’s sales rankings, jumping from an already strong #125 to #80.

After a long search, as we wrote earlier,  Spielberg found his lead in Tye Sheridan. Since then, he has added many more cast members. The latest is Win Morisaki for the role of Daito. Variety reports the “Japanese singer-actor … won the role after an extensive audition process.” It will be the first US film for Morisaki, the lead vocalist of the boy band PrizmaX.

Earlier, it was announced that T.J. Miller, of HBO’s Silicon Valley and the superhero film Deadpool, has also joined the cast, playing a bounty hunter.

In April Spielberg added Mark Rylance to the film’s roster, filling the role of James Donovan Halliday, the creator of OASIS, the game world at the heart of the film.

With other roles being filled by Olivia Cooke (as romantic lead Art3mis), Simon Pegg (as Ogden Morrow, co-creator of OASIS), and Ben Mendelsohn (as Nolan Sorrento, the chief villain of the film), Spielberg only needs to find a few more players for the game to begin.

The film is expected to open on March 30, 2018 and holds still remain strong on the book in many libraries we checked.

Adapting AMERICAN GODS

Monday, June 6th, 2016

9780062059888_0_CoverAttention on the STARZ adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods is growing. As we reported earlier, the project has seen bumps in the road but now appears firmly on track, with an impressive cast and a hot showrunner.

9780062262264_0dc41In an Entertainment Weekly interview, promoting his new nonfiction collection The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (HC/William Morrow; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), Gaiman talks about the process of the novel’s adaption, addressing his feelings of ownership and the struggle to let them go:

“My fundamental attitude is that you’re always trying to guard the soul and the heart of whatever it is, but at the same time you have to allow people to create, and you have to allow people to have fun and build and make it their own. To me it’s kind of a peculiar tightrope, and you don’t want to fall off on one side or the other … At least in script stage, I am very not shy about telling [series creator] Bryan Fuller, ‘I love this, I love this, I love this, and that thing you had, that’s over my dead body and you have to change it.’ ”

He also reports that despite his conflicted feelings the show is already on its own path, “they’re 10 days into shooting, and the only thing I am absolutely sure of is that this American Gods is its own thing … If it succeeds or if it fails, it’ll be on its own terms. I know I’ve never seen anything that looked like it.”

Last year Fuller gave an interview to Crave about American Gods, saying:

“potentially what we’re looking at with American Gods is developing a Marvel Universe, not with superheroes but with gods. As detailed and integrated as the Marvel Universe is, and doing that with deities is something that excited all of us … we may have spin-offs of American Gods that follow lesser gods in greater detail than you might in the main series, but there’s all sorts of potential for this show that we’re very excited about”

Den of Geek‘s take on that is: “In other words, this won’t just be a straight adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel, and is instead being looked at very much as long form television.”

The site also has a rundown of the casting thus far, calling the recent news that Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) will play Media, “infinitely awesome.”

She joins Ian McShane (Deadwood) playing Mr. Wednesday and Ricky Whittle (The 100), as Shadow Moon.

The show is set to air in a 10-episode first season early in 2017.

Gaiman fans will have a chance to see and hear even more about the author when the documentary Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously airs on the video platform and streaming service Vimeo, starting on July 8th.

Deadline Hollywood reports, “Gaiman’s story is told in his own worlds as well as through interviews with close friends/collaborators Terry Pratchett, Bill Hader, Michael Sheen, Lenny Henry, Wil Wheaton, Stoya, JH Williams III, Lev Grossman, … as well as his chats with George RR Martin, Jonathan Ross, John Barrowman, Grant Morrison and Phillip Pullman.”

Live Chat with the Author of
THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

The chat has now ended. Read the archive version, below.

If you’re not part of the program, you can sign up here.

Live Blog Live Chat with Genevieve Cogman : THE INVISIBLE LIBRARY
 

LibraryReads Favorite Wins Nebula

Friday, May 20th, 2016

9780804179034_f4113Naomi Novik’s Uprooted (PRH/Del Rey; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample; now available in trade pbk) has won the Nebula Award, one of science fiction’s top honors.

The stand-alone fairy tale for adults, a departure for Novik after her historical fantasy series Temeraire, was a hit with librarians early on, taking the #1 spot on last year’s May LibraryReads List.

In her LibraryReads annotation Lucy Lockley of St. Charles City-County Library (MO) summed up the plot: “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.”

The novel also won Fantasy top honors from the librarian-selected RUSA/CODES Reading List.

Other groups took note as well: it was an Indie Next pick and made this year’s list of Hugo Award finalists.

The NYT said that “Novik skillfully takes the fairy-tale-turned-bildungsroman structure of her premise” and creates a “very enjoyable fantasy with the air of a modern classic.”

io9 offered more fulsome praise:

“Novik’s writing is sharp, dense, and very funny. It’s also dark, violent, and sexual. Which is a reminder that “fairy tale” doesn’t mean clean, easy, and happy. Novik recaptures the original flavor of fairy tales in the Grimm sense, but puts her own original spin on it … I’d recommend setting aside a large chunk of time to devote to Uprooted. I didn’t intend to, but once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.”

It’s also caught on in Hollywood, he film rights sold in a bidding war with Ellen DeGeneres set to produce.

The short list is always a good RA resource for creating genre lists, finding read-alikes, and building displays:

9781476780931_cfa78  9780316229296_62f5a  9780316246682_2dffb

9781481424271_445d9  9780765377029_996a8  9780765377838_f32ec

Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (S&S/Baen)

The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit)

Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Hachette/Orbit)

The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (S&S/Saga)

Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Macmillan/Tor)

Updraft, Fran Wilde (Macmillan/Tor)

io9 offers a full summary of all winners and short list titles, pointing out that women swept the awards, winning every print category.

From MAD MEN to HANDMAID

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

9780385490818The streaming service Hulu has announced it is adapting Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986) into a 10-episiode drama. The news sent the novel rising on Amazon’s sales charts.

Elisabeth Moss, who made her name on Mad Men, will star. Atwood will serve as a consulting producer.

In a hulu press release Atwood says:

The Handmaid’s Tale is more relevant now than when it was written, and I am sure the series will be watched with great interest. I have read the first two scripts and they are excellent; I can hardly wait to see the finished episodes.”

The series is set to debut in 2017 and will be the second screen adaptation of Atwood’s dystopian novel. A 1990 film starring Natasha Richardson, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall told the story of a religious totalitarian state that controls women and their fertility. The scathing and grim novel has also been adapted into a graphic novel, an opera, and a ballet.

The novel won the inaugural Arthur C. Clarke award and was nominated for the Booker Prize and Nebula Award. In 2012, Atwood wrote an essay for The Guardian on the novel’s genesis and legacy.

CELL, the Trailer

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

Two long-awaited Stephen King adaptations are scheduled for release next year. Yet another has just been announced for this year.

As the fan site Slash Film says, “Everyone has been so focused on the currently filming adaptation of The Dark Tower, the upcoming adaptation of It, and the ever-in-development big screen version of The Stand that we completely forgot that another Stephen King adaptation was on the way.”

Published in 2006, movie rights to Cell sold quickly but then the project bounced around to various studios and director.

There may be a reason this adaptation has been overlooked. Slashfilm describes the plot as “built around a ridiculous premise that feels like a parody of a Stephen King book … One day, everyone using a cell phone is driven insane and begins to viciously attack anyone near them … Cell is lesser King, but it’s gnarly and weird and a brisk read.”

It is set for release on Ultra VOD on June 10th before simultaneous theatrical and regular VOD release on July 8.

The trailer, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson has just been released. No tie-ins have been announced.

[UPDATE: Eerily, the Cell trailer seems to no longer be available. The YouTube link is here, but at the time of this posting, it didn’t work]

Hugo Awards Under Attack

Wednesday, April 27th, 2016

The finalists for the Hugo Awards, which along with the Nebula Awards are the Oscars of Science Fiction and Fantasy, have been announced. Among picks, controversy continues as the Rabid Puppies group seeks to stuff the ballot box once again. The result, claims George R.R. Martin on his blog is, “to say the least, a mixed bag. A lot of good books and stories, writers and artists… cheek by jowl with some stuff that is considerably less worthy.”

9780316246682_2dffb9780316229296_62f5a The Best Novel category seems to have escaped the takeover. The finalists are: Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Hachette/Orbit), The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher (Penguin/Roc), The Fifth Season, N. K. Jemisin (Hachette/Orbit), the number one LibraryReads pick for May last year, Uprooted, Naomi Novik (PRH/RH/Del Rey), and  Seveneves, Neal Stephenson (HC/William Morrow), also a May 2015 LibraryReads pick.

9781401248963_423a7Other well-known and highly regarded names receiving nods include Lois McMaster Bujold (for Best Novella), Neil Gaiman (for Best Graphic Story), Stephen King (for Best Novelette), and Brandon Sanderson (for Best Novella). Star Wars and The Martian both got nods for for Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form).

However, he full list of nominees reveals that the divisive gamesmanship continues. New Republic writes “The Hugo Awards are still a mess” and The Guardian reports, “the Puppies and their supporters have redoubled their efforts to ‘game”’the awards … out of 80 recommendations posted by [Rabid Puppies] 62 have received sufficient votes to make the ballot.”

Author John Scalzi, one of the newly announced Los Angeles Times Critics at Large and three-time Hugo winner is less concerned, writing for the paper he says that this year’s ballot stuffing was largely blunted in the big categories by more votes from the anti-Puppies side and that the Puppies can take little credit for successfully lobbying for titles already widely considered shoo-ins. The Puppies he says, are “running in front of an existing parade and claiming to lead it.”

Crime On The Moon: Andy Weir’s Next Book

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

9781101903582_d0232In a science-focused interview with Smithsonian, Andy Weir, the author of the The Martian, offers fans a summary of his next book:

“The main character is a low-level criminal in a city on the moon. Her challenges are a mix of technical/scientific problems, as well as juggling personal interactions—staying a step ahead of the local police, working with shady and dangerous people to do illegal things … the story takes place in a future society where there is practically no sexism … [it is] another scientifically accurate story.”

In an earlier interview with HuffPost, Weir said to expect the novel in late 2016 or early 2017. He also revealed that he has pushed what was reportedly his next book, an epic entitled Zhek, to the back burner.

Hitting Screens, Week of April 4

Friday, April 1st, 2016

Outlander-Season-2-Image-Sam-Heughan-Catriona-BalfeThe adaptation news for the week is centered on the second season of Outlander, which is based on book 2 of Diana Gabaldon’s beloved and long running series, Dragonfly In Amber (PRH/Delacorte, 1992; Recorded Books; OverDrive Sample).

After waiting almost a year for the return of the show, and after leaving fans divided on how well or horribly season one concluded, all eyes now focus on the politics of warfare as Jamie and Claire travel to Paris in an attempt to stop the coming Jacobite rebellion.

Based on early coverage from EOnline!, the show is set to be a lavish, visual treat with even more gorgeous costumes and sets as the time-crossed lovers enter the Royal Court of France and host their own high-powered dinner parties. The site also reports that the massive and complex plot will be told in 13 continuous episodes rather than the divided 16 of season one (no midseason Droughtlander!).

9780399177682_fbce6A new tie-in edition celebrates the show’s long awaited return, complete with a cover shot that would be at home in Game of Thrones if it were set in the 18th century: Dragonfly in Amber (Starz Tie-in Edition), Diana Gabaldon (PRH/Bantam; also in mass market).

There are few reviews yet for the second season, which starts on April 9th but the show is already a proven winner. According to Entertainment Weekly, which pushed the series 2 opener in a cover story a few weeks ago, Outlander has made Starz the second-most popular premium network behind HBO and has also helped sell 5 million more copies of Diana Gabaldon’s books, raising the total to 27 million worldwide.

The reviews that do exist, such as one from TVLine which gives it a B+, explain that “Starz has put a pretty strict gag order on discussion of certain aspects of the upcoming season.”

Below is the official trailer followed by highlights of the new setting of season two.

ANNIHILATION, Closer to Screen

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

AnnihilationOscar Isaac has joined the cast of the film adaptation of the Nebula Award-winning novel, Annihilation (Macmillan/FSG; Blackstone Audio; OverDrive Sample), which already includes Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson.

Alex Garland will direct. This project reunites Garland with Isaac, who starred in the director’s Ex Machina. Vanity Fair enthusiastically endorses the project, saying,  it “was already shaping up to be another incredible bit of original, cerebral sci-fi long before Oscar Isaac joined the cast.”

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 been resulted in tragedy. A new all-female group, each is known not by name, but only by her profession, is set to try again. Natalie Portman plays the biologist, the story’s narrator, and Isaac will play the ghost of her dead husband, who was a member of a previous expedition.

Annihilation is the first book in The Southern Reach trilogy, completed by Authority and Acceptance, The news sent the book rising on Amazon’s sales rankings

The movie is expected to be released in 2017.

Casting Net: AMERICAN GODS

Friday, March 25th, 2016

AmericanGods_MassMarketPaperback_1185415388-2An adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (HarperCollins/Morrow; a tenth anniversary edition is coming in August) has been inching towards the screen for five years and is now set to begin shooting next month, with expectations that the series will debut next year on the Starz network.

In the lead-up to production, a string of casting announcements have been released, including the leads, Emily Browning as Laura Moon and Ian McShane as Mr. Wednesday.

Meanwhile, some other Gaiman adaptations are in limbo. A film version of the Sandman graphic novel series (Vertigo) was set to be directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who would also star, but he recently left the project, over “creative differences.”

In 2013, it was announced that Ron Howard was in talks to direct The Graveyard Book and that Joe Wright was set to direct an adaptation of Gaiman’s adult novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but there has been no news on either since.

View from the Cheap SeatsGaiman is publishing a collection of nonfiction in May, The View from the Cheap Seats (HarperCollins/Morrow). According to the publisher, “the title piece, at turns touching and self-deprecating … recounts the author’s experiences at the 2010 Academy Awards in Hollywood,” when the adaptation of his childrens novel Coraline was nominated for Best Animated Feature.

Gaiman Girls at PartiesComing in June is a graphic novel version of Gaiman’s short story, How to Talk to Girls at Parties (Dark Horse). A film version began shooting in December starring Elle Fanning, Nicole Kidman, and Alex Sharp.

Expected for release in the UK this year, no US release date has yet been announced.