Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

I wasn’t too impressed with the cover for Words of Radiance, the second volume in Brandon Sanderson’s mega-series, The Stormlight Archive. Despite being a big Michael Whelan fan, the cover felt phoned in, like it had gone through the ringer with the most vanilla focus groups ever.

I was doubly disappointed when the book released with a gorgeous painting from Whelan featuring Shallan, who features most prominently in the novel. Even the usually hyper-masculine /r/fantasy sub-reddit agreed. Why wasn’t that the cover? Sanderson answered that question today on Reddit’s /r/fantasy sub-forum: it wasn’t created until the cover was finished.

“Michael Whelan, the artist, is one of the few in the business who likes to read every book he does a cover for, if possible,” Sanderson explained. “In this case, he had to start working on the illustration before the book was actually done. So I sent him a description of the ending sequence, and he started sketching out the scene that eventually became the cover.” Read More »

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How is Elizabeth Bear following up the best epic fantasy trilogy of the past decade? With a rip-roarin’ standalone Steampunk novel about a prostitute with a heart of gold, of course. Not what you were expecting? Me neither, but Bear is full of surprises and one of the most versatile writers in SFF.

And, just look at that cover by Cynthia Sheppard! Cephalopods? Shotguns? Creamy Steampunk goodness? Checks all around. Read More »

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Angry Robot Books announced on November 17th that they have signed Wesley Chu, author of The Lives of Tao, to a three book, six-figure deal for a follow-up sequel to his critically acclaimed science fiction series. The first volume of The Rise of Io will be released in August, 2016.

“Although The Rise of Io is set in the same warring Genjix and Prophus universe as the Lives of Tao books, this brand new series will open the Quasing world to new readers as well as fans of the hugely successful Lives of Tao books,” Angry Robot Books revealed about the series in their announcement. This is sure to appeal to Chu’s current fans, and newcomers looking to check out his work.

“Wesley Chu’s Tao series has been a runaway success for Angry Robot,” said Marc Gascoigne, Managing Director and Publisher at Angry Robot Books, “and we’re delighted that he has re-signed for us for this brand new trilogy of novels. He manages to combine lofty science fiction themes with pure Hollywood pacing, and quite frankly his novels just rock.” Read More »

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As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Poppy Drayton has landed the role of Amberle Elessedil in MTV’s adaptation of Terry Brooks’ The Elfstones of Shannara. Amberle is an elvish princess in exile after refusing her duties as a Chosen, caretakers of the mystical Ellcrys tree. Her past catches up to her, however, when she is swept away with young Wil Ohmsford on a quest to save the Elvish people from a demonic threat.

I’ve no real objections to Drayton’s casting, though my one bit of exposure to her, Downton Abbey, left me a lukewarm. The Elfstones of Shannara is a novel that relies heavily on the relationships between its myriad characters, and finding other actors that fit well alongside Drayton, and create a natural camaraderie and chemistry with her will be very important.

Like all Shannara fans, I’m most eager/interested/terrified to see who MTV chooses to cast as the looming Druid, Allanon.

Entertainment Weekly also reports that, “Jonathan Liebesman (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) will direct the first two episodes. He’ll also executive produce the series alongside Gough, Millar, Brooks, Dan Farah, and Jon Favreau (Iron Man).”

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The first season of the Game of Thrones adaptation will take place in parallel with events that occur near the end of the television show’s third season and the beginning of its fifth season, and the plot will revolve around the Forresters, vassals of House Glover of Deepwood Motte, and their seat in Ironrath.

The Forresters are a minor house in Martin’s series, only mentioned briefly in A Dance with Dragons, according to Adam Whitehead. He also points out that Telltale’s adaptation is based on the television show, and not directly on Martin’s novels, so events in the game will not influence or necessarily be influenced by Martin’s future novels. The first episode, called “Iron from Ice, after the Forresters’ words, will be released sometime before the end of the year.

Despite its impending release, there are no official screenshots, though those below recently leaked via Twitter user @Lifelower, and give us a first glance at Telltale’s take on Martin’s popular universe.

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For being a minor house, the Forresters certainly role with a who’s who list of Westeros celebrities if the leaked screenshots are anything to go by, including Tyrion and Cersei Lannister, and Margaery Tyrell. Whitehead speculates that the plot of the series’ five episodes appears “to revolve around both the Forresters’ involvement in the War of the Five Kings (presumably in which they support Robb Stark) and their rivalry with House Whitehill.”

The Game of Thrones videogame will be available on PC and all major home consoles when it’s released later this year.