Category Archives: fiction

Other worlds: Rowling returns with The Casual Vacancy

J.K. Rowling. The author’s first non-Harry Potter book, The Casual Vacancy, is coming out on tomorrow. ‘Cozy village mystery’ is not a genre we’d cover if Rowling wasn’t writing it, but there is an interesting profile in The New Yorker for the occasion. Naturally, the part that went viral was the quote about sex and unicorns, but if you’re in the mood for a 10-page profile on Jo Rowling, well. Meanwhile, she told The Guardian that she promised her editor she wouldn’t read Fifty Shades of Grey. If we don’t ask every woman in publishing about the ex-fanfic smut, does the ex-fanfic smut win?

It’s (almost) the end of a Big Fat Fantasy era. The final book of the Wheel of Time series, A Memory of Light, will be released in January. Dragonmount’s Jason Denzel read the book, and shares some (spoiler-free) reaction and memories. meanwhile, fans can grab the book’s prologue on Amazon, while Tor offers the first chapter.

Adaptions. The latest YA book on the hoping-to-be-the-next-Twilight-franchise assembly line, Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl’s Beautiful Creatures, debuted its first trailer last week, and it looks, well, like a gender-swapped Twilight. (She’s a witch; he’s normal.) I did read the book a while back, and was distinctly unimpressed. The movie features Viola Davis, Emma Thompson, Jeremy Irons and Emmy Rossum in supporting roles. Meanwhile, Dreamworks has optioned Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. It will be produced by Harry Potter’s David Heyman.

All the powerful ladies. Tor’s Liz Bourke presents an argument against copping out on women in historical fantasy.

Do not want. Robin Hobb is quietly working on a new Fitz novel, a prospect which fills me with dread. Her breakthrough Farseer Trilogy is all well and good, but the second set of Fitz books were probably about 90% chaff and whining. (Despite that, I think parts of the ending – not Fitz – did actually make me cry. YMMV.) Is the character going to be Hobb’s Lestat? Speaking of, Anne Rice is asking her fans why they want Lestat to come back. Dear lord, no. I could write whole essays for her second question.

Also: Terry Brook’s Shannara series optioned for TV; Naomi Novik talks writing and fan fiction; A visual history of the Hugo’s Best Professional Artist winners.

Other worlds: Walton, Gaiman win Hugos

Awards. The Hugo Award winners were announced at Worldcon this past weekend. Taking Best Novel was Jo Walton’s Among Others, beating out George R. R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons and works by China Miéville, James S. A. Corey and Mira Grant. (Walton also won the Nebula for the book.) Other writing prizes went to Kij Johnson, Charlie Jane Anders, Ken Liu and more.

The dramatic presentation awards went to Game of Thrones S1 and Neil Gaiman for his Doctor Who episode ‘The Doctor’s Wife.’ (Gaiman took the opportunity to announce he’s writing another episode for the show.) Also noteworthy to us, SF Signal winning for Best Fanzine!

Tolkien. With Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit adaption now being three films, the second has been retitled The Desolation of Smaug, with There and Back Again now being the third installment. I fully expect it to contain at least an hour of various slow-motion endings. But seriously, it looks like there was a lot of hints dropped at DragonCon.

A Song of Ice And Fire. A hilarious Storm of Swords ‘It Gets Better’ PSA. Yes, of course there are spoilers. Or, you can read what GRRM has revealed of the Targaryen conquest of Westeros from the upcoming The World of Ice and Fire.

Lists. io9 picks fall’s must-read SF/F books and explores the mermaid trend in YA.

Records. The Hunger Games series has outsold Harry Potter – at least on Amazon.

Also: Ray Bradbury’s FBI file / Lev Grossman interviews Terry Brooks / Ursula Le Guin’s Noble Prize odds / Dark Tower adaption not so dead after all?

Mary Poppins to face Voldemort at the Olympics?

A British newspaper is reporting that a 40-foot He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and Mary Poppins – among other noted characters of British literature – will be featured in the Opening Ceremonies of the London Olympics on Friday. The Sunday Times writes:

About 30 actors each depicting Mary Poppins, the magical English nanny played by Julie Andrews in the 1964 Disney film, will descend from the roof of the stadium on wires and “float” to the ground with their opened umbrellas. The nightmare will be banished and happiness restored. “It’s a jaw-dropping sequence,” said one source.

If this is true, it’s going to be completely batshit. I hope it’s true.

In other news, I hear they’ve reached out for some rather unorthodox help in other areas.

Lionsgate splits Mockingjay adaption in two movies

It’s long been rumored that Lionsgate would follow in the footsteps of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Twilight: Breaking Dawn, but now it’s official: The adaption of the third Hunger Games book will be two movies, Deadline reports.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 will debut on November 21, 2014, with The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 on November 20, 2015. The second adaption, Catching Fire, is slated for November 22, 2013 and due to begin filming early next year.

Does Mockingjay need two movies? Well, it’s not a huge book, ala Deathly Hallows, but there is quite a bit going on that could be expanded on… As we saw in The Hunger Games, opening the story up beyond Katniss’ immediate point of view gives a more detailed version of the story, and of all the books, Mockingjay may have the most spaces to fill. So while, yes, it’s an obvious money-grubbing, franchise expanding move, it could work out very well.

In other Hunger Games news, Lionsgate yesterday confirmed the first casting for Catching Fire: Oscar-winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote) will play Plutarch Heavensbee, the new Head Gamemaker. It’s been reported that Jena Malone (Donnie Darko, Sucker Punch) has been offered the role of Johanna Mason.

Sci-fi titan Ray Bradbury has died

Legendary science fiction (and fantasy and horror) author Ray Bradbury has died at the age of 91.

Bradbury is probably best known for Farenheit 451 (bane of many a high school English student) and The Martian Chronicles. But he was a prolific writer of so much more than can be listed here, so we’ll send you to his own chronology. You might be surprised at the titles you recognize there from his own printed works to the titles that eventually became television or movies.

So we’ll close out with some inspiration from the man himself:

Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

Zahn, Stackpole and Allston Talk SWEU at Origins

Dunc is enjoying a well-earned break at Origins hanging around with a nice chunk of Club Jaders getting up to some mischief or other.

So I’m going to link you guys over to our friends from Tosche Station who wrote an awesome summary of what happens when you get Timothy Zahn, Aaron Allston and Michael Stackpole in a room egged on by Club Jaders. (Although I’m sure others helped.)

Is anyone else depressed they’re not at Origins this weekend?

Other worlds: Walton’s Among Others takes Nebula

Awards. The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America gave out the Nebula Awards last weekend, and I’m shocked that my pick, Jo Walton’s Among Others, took the novel prize. Other winners include Kij Johnson, Geoff Ryman, and Ken Liu.

A Neil Gaiman-penned episode of Doctor Who, ‘The Doctor’s Wife,’ took the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and Delia Sherman’s The Freedom Maze won the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. Connie Willis was honored as a Grand Master, and the Solstice Award (“for those who have made a consistent, positive, major difference in the genre”) went to the late Octavia Butler and John Clute.

First look. Aaron Allston is currently revising his novels Doc Sidhe and Sidhe-Devil, and offers an early look at the new cover for Doc Sidhe. He hopes to make a new edition of the book available in the summer. In other Allstony news, he’s among the authors of a new short story anthology that will be published at Origins Game Fair , where, coincidently, several Club Jaders will be next week. Timothy Zahn and Michael A . Stackpole also have stories, as well as a few other names that may be familiar.

Comics. Marvel will be hosting its first gay wedding in June, as X-Man Northstar weds his partner Kyle in Astonishing X-Men #51. Northstar, a founding member of Alpha Flight, (the Canadian Avengers, apparently) has been out of the four-color closet since 1992. Making use of their parent company’s corporate clout, Marvel announced the move on morning talk show The View.

Not to be oudone, DC Comics recently announced that they’ll soon be reintroducing an existing character as gay. DC reimaged the character of Batwoman, Kate Kane, as a lesbian in 2009.

Something else worth checking out: A look at the evolution of LGBT characters in comics, fandom, and YA lit.

Look at your life, look at your choices. Ex-Twilight fan fiction Fifty Shades of Grey has sold 10 million copies. “BookScan data indicates that the trilogy has captured twenty-five percent of the adult fiction market in recent weeks.” Twenty. Five. Percent. Meanwhile, MTV’s Josh Horowitz risked opening up some kind of wormhole by getting Kristen Stewart (among others) to read from the book.

Also… Mira Grant’s Feed and sequels optioned for film / Charlaine Harris says the next Sookie Stackhouse book, Dead Ever After, will be the last in the series / The most successful self-published SF/F authors / Michael Whelan’s cover for the final Wheel of Time book.

Out this week: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison

Lo, there is a comic coming out on Wednesday. Keep an eye out for Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison #1 in your local comic shop.

We’re in a dry period for Star Wars books, with nothing but reprints for the next couple months, but certain Jaders may be interested to hear that the third and final book of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh trilogy, Blackout, is out today. Despite being fairly adverse to zombies, I recommended the first book, Feed, way back in 2010.