Monthly Archives: April 2010

From /Film:

Stephen King fans were very optimistic over the last couple of years as J.J. Abrams’ company Bad Robot held the option on King’s expansive, ambitious series The Dark Tower. Easy to see why — King’s labyrinthine, multi-layered storyline seems like perfect raw material for the guys behind Lost. But that wasn’t to be, as Abrams, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof decided they couldn’t do the story justice, and gave the option back to King.

Now there are new players: Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman are reportedly taking the rights to The Dark Tower, and their plans are just as ambitious as the books.

THR and Deadline both report on this, and each outlet describes a slightly different deal. In each, Akiva Goldsman would write a feature that Ron Howard would direct and Goldsman and Brian Grazer would produce. That feature would lead into a TV series that finished out the story. But THR says one feature, and Deadline says a trilogy, before the TV series begins. Quite a difference.

Hmm…. Whenever Hollywood money is involved, I take news with a grain of salt. Maybe even a teaspoon, given the conflicting reports coming in about the deal. And, well, a five-pound bag of sodium when it involves a film (or a trilogy of films) leading into a television continuation.

In other words, I’ll believe it when I see it. I’m still bummed that Cuse and Abrams dropped out of the project, given their obvious attachment to the source material.

An early look at Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon SandersonA few weeks ago, a short synopsis of Towers of Midnight, the penultimate volume of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, hit the web. Now, with the release of Tor Book‘s Fall 2010 Catalogue (PDF, Right Click + ‘Save As’), we’ve got a better, longer blurb:

The Last Battle has started. The seals on the Dark One’s prison are crumbling. The Pattern itself is unraveling, and the armies of the Shadow have begun to boil out of the Blight.

The sun has begun to set upon the Third Age.

Perrin Aybara is now hunted by specters from his past: Whitecloaks, a slayer of wolves, and the responsibilities of leadership. All the while, an unseen foe is slowly pulling a noose tight around his neck. To prevail, he must seek answers in Tel’aran’rhiod and find a way—at long last—to master the wolf within him or lose himself to it forever.

Meanwhile, Matrim Cauthon prepares for the most difficult challenge of his life. The creatures beyond the stone gateways—the Aelfinn and the Eelfinn—have confused him, taunted him, and left him hanged, his memory stuffed with bits and pieces of other men’s lives. He had hoped that his last confrontation with them would be the end of it, but the Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills. The time is coming when he will again have to dance with the Snakes and the Foxes, playing a game that cannot be won. The Tower of Ghenjei awaits, and its secrets will reveal the fate of a friend long lost.

Though he says it will be tight, Sanderson seems confident that he will meet the August deadline to complete the manuscript, ensuring Towers of Midnight will release on Octorber, 26, 2010. So, Wheel of Time fans, getting excited yet?

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

From Rothfuss’ blog:

I thought about it. Back in 2007, I was sure I’d have the book done by 2008. But I was hugely ignorant and optimistic back then. So I was dead fucking wrong. That caused a lot of grief.

I told her I was really sure I could have it finished by September.

Come hell or high water? She asked me.

Come hell or high water, I said.

So we agreed that I’d have the book finished by September. It was nice. It made us both happy.

So that’s part of the news, that I’ll be finished writing The Wise Man’s Fear by September.

But here’s the rest of the news: that means that the book can’t come out until March of 2011.

Why? Well, for a bunch of reasons. Mostly because there are a lot of things that have to happen before a mass of text becomes a printed book on a shelf. It needs to be copyedited. The edits need to be confirmed. It needs to be proofed, checked for consistency, fiddled with. Fonts need to be chosen. It needs to go through layout. Then it needs to be proofed again. Marketing needs to happen. It needs to be sent to reviewers, and the reviewers need to have time to read it before they write the reviews. It needs to be put into catalogs of to-be-published-books so people who run bookstores can learn about it and order copies for their stores. It needs to be printed, boxed, warehoused, shipped. We need to sacrifice a black she-goat and pray to strange and terrible gods. Then we need to proofread again.

So, March 1st, 2011. It seems like we finally have a release date that inspires some confidence. Humbly candid, as always from Rothfuss; few authors with that level of popularity are willing to speak so clearly about the issues with and quality of the their works-in-progress.I’m sure I won’t be the only one re-reading The Name of the Wind in February, 2011! Any bets on how long the release of The Wise Man’s Fear buy Rothfuss some respite? A Feast for Crows was barely on store shelves before the vultures devoured it and set back upon poor Mr. Martin.

In any case, cheers to Pat and his publishers for nailing down that much sought after release date!

Last week, I ran an article about one Librarian’s experiences as a buyer for a library chain. It was a nice look at a side of the industry that doesn’t receive a whole lot of coverage online, yet is a very powerful influence on everything from cover art to which books publishers are buying from authors.

* Professional Reviews: I spend time diligently going through Library Journal, Kirkus, Publisher’s Weekly, and other professional review journals. The majority of my selections come from there, and that’s probably what you’ll catch me perusing at the reference desk.

In the article, I was put off by the above comment, which seems to exclude reviewers like myself (bloggers/amateurs/essayist reviewers/etc…) from being useful to this librarian, citing capsule review (short, paragraph-long reviews) from publications like Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly as being part of the determining factors. This came as a surprise to me, as I’ve always felt these capsule reviews were more or less useless. A little egotistical of me? Sure. But a valid curiousity. One tongue-in-cheek comment from myself led to some interesting discussion in the comments section.

As one librarian points out, I’m far from an authority on book buying, with any influence I have swinging towards the enthusiast crowd, so I went to someone I knew had experience writing both as a long-form reviewer and a ‘capsule’ reviewer for Publisher’s Weekly. John Ottinger, from the lovely Grasping for the Wind to drop by and give his insight into how both styles of review benefit the industry in different ways.

The Article

 

About a week ago, Aidan linked to a librarian who posted an essay on how she chooses books for purchase at the local library. It was a fascinating read, but of even more interest were the comments that Aidan’s post generated from several librarians and reviewers on the effectiveness of capsule reviews versus the long and/or more in-depth reviews one can find online.

As someone who writes capsule reviews for Publisher’s Weekly, and who also writes more lengthy, semi-in-depth analyses of different books at my blog, I bridge the gap (at least in terms of what I write) between the two schools of thought, namely, that capsule reviews contain too little information to be of use and online reviews would be a better choice for finding out what readers really want, and that capsule reviews are essential to the industry and without them, librarians could not make decisions about what to buy.

Both types of reviews have value, or I wouldn’t write both. But each has a different sort of value and to expect one to perform as another does is to walk a path of frustration. To my mind, capsule reviews have more value to the librarian due to their format and nature and “online/lengthier reviews have more value to the reader.
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Last week, I received a lovely email informing me that I’d won tickets to the upcoming CBC Radio One Book Club taping featuring Guy Gavriel Kay, one of my absolute writing idols. The even is on May 5th, and will air live on CBC Radio on the following weekend. I’ll be sure to link to any version available online. I’ve never had the chance to meet Kay before, so being able to do so in the intimate setting of a Radio One Book Club is like a dream come true.

A little about the CBC Radio One Book Club:

Welcome to the CBC Radio Studio One Book Club! This program was created to give book lovers the chance to meet their literary heroes in the warm and intimate setting of CBC Radio’s Studio One. It’s a free event for 120 very lucky audience members. The audience also has the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the author’s background, inspiration, and experiences.

For those in the Vancouver area, tickets are still available to be won!

Canada’s own international best-selling fantasy fiction author Guy Gavriel Kay is coming to the CBC Radio Studio One Book Club in Vancouver. His new novel “Under Heaven” is getting rave reviews! It’s set during the glory of the Tang Dynasty in China and is an adventure that has everything readers around the world love about Guy’s epic stories. Come join the discussion with Guy Gavriel Kay in the intimate setting of Studio One on Wednesday May 5 at 6:30 pm at the CBC. The only way to get in, is to win! Go to www.cbc.ca/bc/bookclub to enter for free tickets.

Tell them I sent you, and increase your chance to win!*

As the blurb about the event mentions, I’ll have audience participation is part of the gig, so if you have any questions you’d like me to (try to) throw Kay’s way, just leave ‘em in the comments section! In the meantime, I’ll be doing my damnedest to finish Under Heaven before the event!

*I have no idea if this will work, I just like to feel important….