Archive for the ‘Science Fiction & Fantasy’ Category

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,

Strange & Norrell Arrive In June

Monday, May 11th, 2015

The seven-part adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, is finally set to air on BBC America beginning June 13.

The U.S. trailer has just been released:

When the book was published in 2004, it went on to  become a hit, heralded by an profile of the author in the NYT Magazine. In the NYT Sunday Book Review, Gregory Maguire approvingly called it “Hogwarts for Grown-Ups,” saying, “Clarke’s imagination is prodigious, her pacing is masterly and she knows how to employ dry humor in the service of majesty.”

Today, the TV series is being compared to Game of Thrones.

The U.S. tie-in is scheduled for the end of this month.

9781620409909_bcf4fJonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke
Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA, May 26, 2015
9781620409909, 1620409909
Trade Paperback, $18.00 USD, $20.00 CAD

SyFy Big On Book Adaptations

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

Pilot season is in full swing, with the networks announcing which of the hopefuls will make the transition to full series.

The Syfy channel has picked up Lev Grossman’s fantasy trilogy The Magicians as a 12-episode series. Set to begin shooting in Vancouver in July, it stars Jason Ralph (A Most Violent Year) as Quentin Coldwater.

Syfy has a few other book adaptations in the works. Coming in December, a series based on Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, (RH/De Rey).

Also set to premiere in December is The Expanse, based the series by James S.A. Corey, beginning with Leviathan Wakes, (Hachette/Orbit, 2011).

9780765331533   BraveNewWorld_FirstEdition

Coming some time next year, is a thriller series, The Hunters based on Whitley Strieber’s Alien Hunter, (Macmillan/Tor, 2013).

In addition, Syfy recently announced that they are isteaming with Steven Spielberg’s company Amblin TV for a series based on Aldous Huxley’s classic,  Brave New World.

Small Screen Magic

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Teasing Americans, BBC One has released a trailer for the seven-part adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, which begins in the U.K.in May. It is set to air on BBC America, but the release date has not yet been announced.

Adding to the frustration, The Sunday Times of London says the series “could be magic” because it’s “a perfect fit for the new age of small-screen drama.”

Neil Gaiman writes in The Guardian how he fell under the book’s spell in 2004 and continues to love it to this day. The book’s author Susanna Clarke describes the weird sensation of seeing “my own characters walking about.  A playwright or screenwriter must expect it; a novelist doesn’t and naturally concludes that she has gone mad.”

The U.S. tie-in is scheduled for the end of this month.

9781620409909_bcf4fJonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke
Macmillan/Bloomsbury USA, May 26, 2015
9781620409909, 1620409909
Trade Paperback, $18.00 USD, $20.00 CAD

Hugo Awards Under Siege

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 12.35.40 PMGeorge R.R. Martin says the Hugo Awards are “broken… and I am not sure they can ever be repaired.”

He made the comment after a successful campaign to swamp the nomination process triggered a nasty fight which has now degenerated into an all-out battle over the future of the award. The fallout has been reported widely, by The Atlantic, The Guardian, Slate, and Entertainment Weekly.

The short version is that two online groups posted lists of suggested titles and urged those who agreed with their own decidedly right of center political/cultural leanings to pay the $40 it costs to vote and swamp the nomination process – and they succeeded.

Two authors have responded by withdrawing their nominated works from the awards.

Annie Bellet withdrew her short story “Goodnight Stars,” posting “I am not a ball. I do not want to be a player. This is not what my writing is about.”

Marko Kloos withdrew his novel Lines of Departure (Amazon/47North), “keeping the nomination is not a moral option at this point.”

In response the World Science Fiction Society, which runs the Hugo Awards said,

“This year is the first time in the history of the Hugo Awards that a finalist has withdrawn a work after announcement of the finalist shortlist. Nominees with sufficient nominating votes to make the shortlist have in the past declined nomination as Finalists; however, this has always happened before the shortlist was announced.”

Black Gate, a fanzine, has withdrawn as well although they did so too late to change the ballot.

Connie Willis also withdrew as a presenter at the award ceremony saying,

“I’ve essentially been told to engage in some light-hearted banter with the nominees, give one of them the award, and by my presence–and my silence–lend cover and credibility to winners who got the award through bullying and extortion. Well, I won’t do it. I can’t do it. If I did, I’d be collaborating with them in their scheme.”

Bottom line for librarians: Many Science Fiction and Fantasy fans may see this year’s round of winners as tainted no matter who wins. Unfortunately, an award librarians have relied on for years to highlight the best in two very popular genres is now suspect and, unless a solution can be found, other awards may be vulnerable to similar hijacking.

Final Discworld Novel This Fall

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-04-08 at 10.27.15 AMJust announced, Terry Pratchett’s final novel in the Discworld series will be:

The Shepherd’s Crown
Pratchett, Terry
HarperCollins, 9/15/2015
Hardcover, 9780062429971
Audio, 9780062430557

The 41st title in the series, it continues the Tiffany Aching sequence that began with The Wee Free Men in 2003 and includes A Hat Full of Sky, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight.

According to the announcement on Pratchett’s book site, he completed the novel in 2014, before his death earlier this year. It will be published in hardcover, ebook, and audio formats. NOTE: Some news sources say the publisher is Random House. They are the publisher of the U.K. edition. In the U.S., it will be released by HarperCollins.

The Shepherd’s Crown is not the only book coming from Pratchett. His fourth novel in the Long Earth series with Stephen Baxter, The Long Utopia (Harper; OverDrive Sample), is also due this year, on June 23rd.

GAME OF THRONES, New Season

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

9781101886045_52d82HBO’s Game of Thrones returns with Season 5 on April 12th. As the SF site, io9 observes, the series has so far been “a remarkably faithful adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s [novels],” but that will change in the new season. Listing five major deviations, they say that’s actually a good thing.

Nevertheless, tie-in editions in mass market and trade paperback are coming 3/31/15 (RH/Bantam).

A new trailer was released yesterday:

Meanwhile, George R.R. Martin has set off fan frenzy by writing on his blog that he is clearing his calendar to work on the sixth book in the series, The Winds of Winter (no release date has been announced, but some sites claim Martin told reporters earlier that it will come out in October). It will be followed by the final book, A Dream of Spring.

For those who need a refresher on the HBO series so far, the cast tries to sum it up in 30 seconds for Entertainment Weekly.

STATION ELEVEN Gains Big Fans

Monday, March 16th, 2015

9780385353304_db2df-2Emily St. John Mandel is having a great month. Her novel Station Eleven (RH/Knopf; RH & BOT Audio; Thorndike), was just announced as a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Fiction Prize as well as  a longlist title for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. In addition, a heated auction for the film rights were won for a reported six figures.

The icing on the cake may be George R.R. Martin’s strong endorsement. In a blog post, he urges fans to nominate Station Eleven for the Hugo Awards, which he says, “… are the oldest awards in our genre, and to my mind, the most meaningful,”

“I won’t soon forget Station Eleven. One could, I suppose, call it a post-apocolypse novel, and it is that, but all the usual tropes of that subgenre are missing here, and half the book is devoted to flashbacks to before the coming of the virus that wipes out the world, so it’s also a novel of character, and there’s this thread about a comic book and Doctor Eleven and a giant space station and… oh, well, this book should NOT have worked, but it does. It’s a deeply melancholy novel, but beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac… a book that I will long remember, and return to.”

Librarians spotted the book early. Station Eleven was a Library Reads pick in September and made the LibraryReads Top Ten Favorites list for 2014. It was also a favorite on several GalleyChats.

Author Terry Pratchett Dies

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

The author of over 70 books for children and adults, including the popular Discworld series and many other novels has died at 66.

Terry Pratchett, who had early onset Alzheimer’s disease, died at his home according to the announcement,  “with his cat sleeping on his bed, surrounded by his family.”

The Guardian offers a tribute to the author in the form of reviews by young fans, as well as a selection of his most inspiring quotes.

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A collection of 14 stories for children, many of which were written when Pratchett was in his teens,  Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales (HMH/Clarion; Listening Library) was published in February. The fourth in the Long Earth series, written for adults, The Long Utopia (Harper; HarperLuxe) is scheduled for publication this June.

Ernie Cline’s ARMADA Release Set

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

9780804149112_319ecTweeting the official release date of his second novel yesterday, author Ernie Cline set fan sites aglow:

My second novel ARMADA will be published on July 14th, 2015! It’s now available for pre-order: http://t.co/P7ib8DgFrQ pic.twitter.com/rtOMoeP5VP — Ernie Cline (@erniecline) February 25, 2015

Publisher RH/Crown’s description here.

Ready Player OneIt also seems that the long-gestating film adaptation of his first novel Ready Player One, (RH/Crown, 2011) is moving along. The screenwriter, interviewed in Den of Geek! late last month, says he thinks he’s nailed it and adds, “Often with a book adaptation – if you’re adapting Catcher in the Rye, it’s difficult to do anything but make it worse. It’s very hard to capture what makes the book great on film and do justice to it. With Ready Player One, it’s this universe he’s created with the opportunity to be more true to the thing than the thing itself, if you know what I mean.” Maybe we’ll understand that once the film is released.

Armada has also been optioned for a movie adaptation.