Yesterday afternoon, Moviefone.com (a division of AOL) posted an article by Jessie Heyman initially entitled “Girl’s Guide To The Avengers: What You Need To Know If You Know Nothing.” After the internet community got a hold of the article (including yours truly) and the outrage began to spawn on Twitter and other sites, the title was amended to “One Girl’s Guide…” because, according to the Editor’s note that was inserted, the intent was not to make female superhero fans feel marginalized and the satirical nature of the piece didn’t come through. Female superhero fans feeling marginalized? Satire? Really? Is that what you’re going to go with?
Big news for e-book lovers. The parent company of Tor, one of the biggest SF/F publishers, announced today that they’re going to make their ebooks DRM-Free. This is a pretty big deal – and it looks likely means we’ll likely see more cross-polinating on the existing readers. But I’m no expert – you’ll want to check in with folks like John Scalzi and Charles Stross.
Oh, e-book lovers? Don’t be this asshole.
On another note, I swear I’m almost done, you really, really want to go and buy The Price of Stars for $2.99. I have an entire post to write about the Mageworlds series, but who knows if it’ll still be on $2.99 then? $2.99!
Awards. I am shamefully late in writing about the Hugo Award nominations, for which I apologize. The novel nominees include George R. R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, Mira Grant’s Deadline and Jo Walton’s Among Others, which I gushed about back in the Nebulas. There are plenty of other familiar names in the media categories (Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, even Community) but the news that made waves was that the blog SF Signal is up for best fanzine. They were so excited that they made an infographic. NERD PARTY! No, seriously, it’s pretty neat.
On a shoestring! SyFy is going to adapt Stephen King’s fantasy novel Eyes of the Dragon and I predict it will try very hard to look like Game of Thrones. Meanwhile, over at Vulture, Gilbert Cruz ranks all 62 of King’s books. His #1 is one of my favorite, can’t-miss novels.
Upcoming. N.K. Jemisin starts a new duology. This may be the thing to finally tear me away from my second Mageworlds reread in a month.
Also… Stop taking this picture – Drew Karpyshyn signed for fantasy trilogy – Wedding invitations with a Hitchhiker’s theme – Jim Hines follows up his viral recreation of women on book covers by posing like the men.
Lionsgate has selected Francis Lawrence to helm The Hunger Games sequel, says the The Hollywood Reporter. It’s not a sure thing quite yet – just an offer – but this is quick work for the studio, which failed to come to an agreement with Gary Ross earlier in the month.
Lawrence, no relation to star Jennifer Lawrence, is no stranger to adaptions: He directed Water for Elephants (2011,) I Am Legend (2007,) and the much-lamented Constantine (2005.) More in his favor for the world of Hunger Games may be his work the short-lived NBC drama Kings, aka the TV show that Ian McShane did not swear in.
He also directed Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance video. How strangely appropriate…
J.K. Rowling’s first book for adults will be titled The Casual Vacancy and be published on September 27, publisher Little, Brown announced today.
The book is set in the small English village of Pagford and follows what happens after the unexpected death of a parish council member. Presumably Voldemort is not involved.
Word emerged today that Gary Ross won’t be returning to direct Catching Fire, the adaption of the second book.
UPDATE: Deadline Hollywood says, not so fast. UPDATE: Yup, he’s out.
The internet is eager to speculate on who should fill his shoes, and one name that’s been popping up a lot in my feeds is Kathryn Bigelow, who won the directing Oscar a few years back for The Hurt Locker. She’s no stranger to action (Point Break) or sci-fi (Strange Days) so she might be good fit. The Washington Post’s Jen Chaney has a few other suggestions, including Debra Granik, who directed Jennifer Lawrence in the film that nabbed her an Oscar nomination, Winter’s Bone.
In happier news, one potential conflict to the film has been cleared up. The sequel to X-Men: First Class will begin filming in January, freeing up Lawrence to shoot Catching Fire in the fall as scheduled – assuming a director is on board by then!
The night is dark and full of terrors. The second season of the hit series based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire debuts tomorrow! (I’m so excited, even though I can’t actually remember where A Clash of Kings ends and A Storm of Swords begins.) Among the must-reads is this interview with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss. There’s also been a lot of attention paid to the shows’ female characters. And is the mainstream finally paying attention to fantasy? Well, sort of.
If you want to gorge on more Thrones news, reviews, and interviews ahead of the premiere, head over to the dedicated fan blog Winter is Coming.
Authors behaving badly. Christoper Priest, author of The Prestige, is not very happy with the Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist. Take it, Cleolinda.
Preach it. I haven’t been much impressed with his books, but I think Patrick Rothfuss hits things right out of the park on how fantasy needs to move past aping the Tolkien elves-and-dwarves formula.
The Hunger Games. Everyone loves it! Except the people who somehow missed that Rue was black in the book, and think that diminishes the character’s impact. (Um, spoilers.) Not enough facepalm in the world. Actress Amandla Stenberg said in a statement: “It was an amazing experience; I am proud of the film and my performance. I want to thank all of my fans and the entire Hunger Games community for their support and loyalty.”
Will The Hunger Games mark a sea change in Hollywood’s willingness to greenlight more female-lead action movies? The experts are skeptical.
And finally, here’s something not-so-serious: Capitol propaganda posters.
The Lame Files. Is 50 Shades of Grey taking fan fiction mainstream? Considering what what I got in my mailbox yesterday… Yes. Yes it is. Here’s a look back at the book’s fanfic past.
Also: Ten books every fantasy author should read – Why the Wheel of Time series is so long – Highlights in the history of space opera – Harry Potter genderswap – Stakes in fantasy novels – Why old books smell so good
The Pottermore Shop has finally opened to sell the eBook version of the Harry Potter series. Their eBooks are compatible with all the major readers.
Servers will be groaning, I’m sure.
If you follow publishing news at all – or picked up last week’s Game of Thrones issue of Entertainment Weekly – you’ve probably heard about Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s a vanity-published erotic novel that’s sold more than 250,000 copies,and got author E L James a seven-figure book deal with Vintage, a division of Random House. It just became a a New York Times bestseller. So, yes, it’s incredibly popular.
It also started life as a Twilight alternate universe fanfic, something even major media have been picking up on.
Taking a fanfic and reworking it as an original piece is nothing new – I’m fairly sure one of my favorite space opera sagas started out as a Star Wars story way back in the day, for instance. Cassandra Clare and Naomi Novak may be the best known these days, but they were far from the first to cross over and go pro. It happens, and it’s been happening for a long time.
But it can strike an uncomfortable chord, particularly in cases such as this. Not because of the porn, per say, but because it skirts violating the most sacred – perhaps only – rule of fan fiction: Thou shall not make money off it. (Remember Lori Jareo?) And to boot, the incredible yet completely unsurprising success (yes, ladies do sometimes like porn, deal with it) of this particular case is shining a big, mainstream light on fan fiction in general… One I’m not sure the community wants or needs.
Given the deeply AU nature of her original fanfic, I think it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing James in court. But if the attention continues to spread to fan fiction and the community, if this just is the beginning of a trend, who knows what else will come to light? But only time will tell.
The Pottermore beta has been going on so long and the opening delayed for so long that I, for one, had almost forgot about it. But today, the site announced that the interactive Harry Potter site will be opening for everyone in “early April.”
Part of the holdup, it seems, has been a move to “an entirely different platform” that should (hopefully) hold up to the expected amounts of users. (The beta was/is notoriously slow.)
The Harry Potter author has a deal with Little, Brown in the United States and Britain to publish her first novel for adults. Her last book was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the series finale, in 2007. (The Potter books were published by Bloomsbury in Britain and Scholastic in the U.S.) In the press release, Rowling writes:
Although I’ve enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world. The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry’s success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher. I am delighted to have a second publishing home in Little, Brown, and a publishing team that will be a great partner in this new phase of my writing life.
Further details about the book were not released.
Update: Some news from Rowling’s Twitter account: It’s coming out later this year.