Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

The release of Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance looms on the horizon like a highstorm. Tor continues to drum up excitement for a novel that is sure to be one of the biggest fantasy releases of the year, and heir apparent to Robert Jordan’s completed Wheel of Time series (’cause, something has to fill that spot on Tor’s release schedule, right?), with a generous dose of early-release chapters.

So far released: Prologue, 1, 2, Lift, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 & 9

(Please note: chapter seven has not been released early, so don’t skip it when you read the final book!)

And a little sneak peek (with, I suppose, minor spoilers for those of you sensitive to those things. In which case, why have you read so far through this post?)

Shallan sat again on her box on the ship’s deck, though she now wore a hat on her head, a coat over her dress, and a glove on her freehand—her safehand was, of course, pinned inside its sleeve.

The chill out here on the open ocean was something unreal. The captain said that far to the south, the ocean itself actually froze. That sounded incredible; she’d like to see it. She’d occasionally seen snow and ice in Jah Keved, during the odd winter. But an entire ocean of it? Amazing.

She wrote with gloved fingers as she observed the spren she’d named Pattern. At the moment, he had lifted himself up off the surface of the deck, forming a ball of swirling blackness—infinite lines that twisted in ways she could never have captured on the flat page. Instead, she wrote descriptions supplemented with sketches.

“Food…” Pattern said. The sound had a buzzing quality and he vibrated when he spoke.

“Yes,” Shallan said. “We eat it.” She selected a small limafruit from the bowl beside her and placed it in her mouth, then chewed and swallowed.

“Eat,” Pattern said. “You… make it… into you.”

“Yes! Exactly.”

You might be concerned that Tor is releasing too much of Words of Radiance before the book even hits store shelves. Worry not. By my calculations, the currently released excerpts only cover 0.000839% of the 17,000 page manuscript for Words of Radiance. That’s but a feather atop a mountain.

If you’re looking to catch up on The Way of Kings (Buy: Book/eBook), don’t forget about the reread going on over at Tor.com. If it’s anything like their other rereads, it’s great stuff.

Words of Radiance releases on March 4th, 2014. It is available now for preorder: Book/eBook.

Ben Kenobi by Phil Postma

Pixar-style Ben Kenobi by Phil Postma

Another day, another Star Wars rumour. This time, reports are floating around that Pixar, those awesome folk behind some of the best films of the past decade-and-a-half, are working on a Star Wars. Not Episode VII, presumably, but something entirely separate. Count me intrigued and, well fanboyishly optimistic.

Rob Bricken of io9, however, recognizes that it might be more of a leap-of-faith than a full blown rumour. “Anyone who remembers that Disney owns Star Wars, Disney owns Pixar, and Pixar makes good movies, could probably put all the facts together and come out with the same hypothesis,” he said. “So let’s all pretend it is true, and maybe we’ll force Disney to conform reality to our wishes.”

Adam Whitehead shares his own concerns about Disney’s intentions with the Star Wars Expanded Universe that currently exists in the Star Wars books, videogames, and comic books. “Something that irritates in all of this, “No-one cares about the Star Wars games, books and comics!” stuff is how BS it is,” Whitehead said on Twitter. “The Star Wars Expanded Universe-set materials have made about $6 billion. That’s more than the theatrical gross of the 6 movies. And about a third of the combined films theatrical gross+home video/DVD/Blu-Ray sales. Still very significant.” Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy has sold nearly 20 million copies by itself, which is more than George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (which is up to five books now), which illuminates just how important the EU is to a lot of fans. However, I wonder, how many of those 20 million were sold to the children and young adults that will become obsessed with the Pixar film and fill their parents’ ears for all the associated merchandise?

A Song of Ice and Fire, SejeiA Song of Ice and Fire, SejeiA Song of Ice and Fire, Sejei

We all love a good twist-on-formula, right? We also love interesting artwork? Imgur user Seiji recently published these wonderful (faux-) Japanese woodblock printing-style illustrations of iconic scenes from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire (or, Game of Thrones, to you of the boob tube generation.)

“I thought it would be interesting to draw a retelling of the [A Song of Ice and Fire] universe as if it took place in feudal-era Japan,” said Seiji. “These drawings are inspired by the Ukiyo-e style (traditional woodblock printing).”

If you’ve not read the book, or seen the first season of the HBO show, Game of Thrones, beware spoilers. You can view the rest of Seiji’s woodblock-style renditions here.

Someone Who Loves You

‘Someone Who Loves You’ by James Chance

Star Wars: Episode VII rumours are like crack for the SFF community. We know they’re no good for us, we know they’ll whisper lies and false promises in our ear, but, dammit, it’s just so hard to say no. This latest round of rumours, reported on by The Hollywood Reporter, is chockfull of casting news, including: Smaug, Sherlock and Kahn himself, Benedict Cumberbatch; Chiwetel Ejiofor of 12 Years a Slave fame; and Breaking Bad star Jesse Plemons.

More on those rumours:

Never has a project attracted so much ink about meetings, but such is the passionate interest in Star Wars. Last fall, every few weeks there was a breathless reveal of a meeting, with names such as Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael B. Jordan, Jack O’Connell, Alex Pettyfer, Saoirse Ronan and Sullivan Stapleton coming up. And those are only the names that leaked out.

With all the actors being tossed around — including a report this week that Breaking Bad’s Jesse Plemons was meeting with director J.J. Abrams about a role — Heat Vision thought it was time to check in on Star Wars in general.

Sources confirm Plemons is on the list to chat with Abrams for Episode VII (and possibly the entire trilogy), with a meeting set to take place this week. But he is only one of a long string of actors on Abrams’ meeting list.

Additionally, there is also a rumour that “Abrams and Lucasfilm are now searching for a 20-something female actress who is either of mixed race or black. The rumor is that Obi-Wan Kenobi had a daughter or granddaughter.”

Oscar-winning writer Michael Arndt left the project in the fall of 2013, and The Hollywood Reporter says, “According to multiple insiders, the reason for the parting of ways was not due to a timeframe issue, as has been reported, but rather due to a difference of opinion of which characters to emphasize.”

Reportedly, Arndt’s script involved the children of the Luke, Leia, and Han (whether these characters were based on the existing children from the EU was unclear). “Abrams, however, wanted Episode VII to focus on the classic trio of characters,” says Borys Kit of The Hollywood Reporter. “So audiences could have one more chance to enjoy them before a fitting send-off. The new characters, the offspring, will now be in supporting roles, according to these sources, and take center stage in Episode VIII and IX. Some characters have disappeared from the Arndt script and new ones are being added.”

Because, you know, it’s not like there’s precedent that each of the trilogies would feature a new generation of Skywalkers or anything…

hugo-awards-2013-transparent1

Hugo season is among us. With it comes a lot of enthusiastic discussion about the best that the science fiction and fantasy community had to offer in the previous year. 2013 was a big year for science fiction and fantasy fans. Yesterday, I posted a list what I expect to put on my own Hugo ballot when I cast my nominations in a few weeks.

This, on the flip side, is a collection of A Dribble of Ink‘s finest moments over the past year. For writing and editing A Dribble of Ink, I’m personally eligible for the ‘Best Fan Writer’ Hugo Award, but I believe there are many more suitable writers more prolific and deserving of the award than me (think Jared Shurin, Liz Bourke, Kameron Hurley, Justin Landon, and Foz Meadows.) So, instead, just like last year, this eligibility and ‘Best of…’ post will not focus on my personal output, but instead the wonderful content I had the privilege to publish in 2013. As A Dribble of Ink‘s audience continues to grow, the community and conversation has grown around it, and has contributed positively to the ongoing discussion of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Speculative Fiction in general.

Of note was Kameron Hurley’s tremendous “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the ‘Women, Cattle and Slaves’ Narrative”, which was read over 135,000 times in 2013. Some early Hugo voters are suggesting that it be nominated for “Best Related Work,” and idea that is equally humbling and flattering for both Hurley and A Dribble of Ink.

I hope you’ll consider A Dribble of Ink when you’re making your nominations during this Hugo Award season. Read More »