Posts Tagged: Tor

Morningstar, developed by Industrial Toys

Set 120 years in the future, the premise revolves around a plausible future Earth, one that has developed near space flight, but nothing much faster. The story opens with Earth discovering a signal from an alien life. This discovery kicks off something called the Morning Star protocol, an agreement that outlines what to do if alien intelligence is discovered. The research vessel MSRV-Joplin is outfitted with military weapons and sent to Saturn, where the signal is coming from, to explore.

It’s not so much an announcement, as knowledge of Scalzi’s involvement with the creation of a videogame has been floating around for a while, but this is the first concrete information about the title. Scalzi reports on the project:

As most of you know, for the last year or so I’ve been working on a video game with Industrial Toys, the new video game studio formed by former Bungie founder Alex Seropian. We’ve been quietly chugging along in the background putting the game together; my job has been working with them to create an overall game concept as well as the narrative that fits into that concept. It’s been a hell of a lot of fun, in no small part because my co-workers at Industrial Toys are some of the smartest and most creative people in the video game business.


As the trailer notes, the video game is a first-person shooter, but with a bit of a twist: It’s designed specifically for mobile gaming on tablets, which means that everything — gameplay, controls, story — was put together incorporating both the physical layout of tablets and the gameplay dynamic of mobile gaming. It’s not a port from another video game medium, in other words: It’s at home in mobile. Which is also very exciting.

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Whether you like Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series or not (and there are many reasons to fall on either side of the fence), the upcoming release of its final volume, A Memory of Light, will be one of the biggest Fantasy events in decades. Wheel of Time has helped shaped contemporary Fantasy, and opened the doors for authors like George R.R. Martin (who launched his own series, which you maybe heard of, with a juicy quote from Robert Jordan plastered on the cover), Patrick Rothfuss, and even Brandon Sanderson, who now carries the torch for the late Jordan. To celebrate the life and career of Jordan, Tor has produced a loving video looking back at the aurhor, featuring his wife, Harriet McDougal, Tom Doherty, the big guy at Tor Books, and Brandon Sanderson.

Well, I applaud Tor for putting an old(ish) guy on the cover, and leaving his face unobscured by a silly cloak/hood. Otherwise, it looks a lot like a Dresden Files novel, and not a whole lot like the awesome covers that the series originally debuted with. I don’t mind Chris McGrath’s art, but I think it’s a poor fit for Scholes’ series.

And, to meet my ‘obscure videogame culture reference of the day’ quota, the man’s a dead-ringer for Jeff Green (not this Jeff Green), formerly of Computer Gaming World Magazine, then Games for Windows: The Official Magazine, then Electronic Arts, then PopCap Games, then, by virtue of the universe’s perverse sense of irony, Electronic Arts, again, thanks to their acquisition of PopCap Games. *Phew*

A Memory of LightSo, you might want to file this one away in the ‘Useless Genre Knowledge’ drawer, but I was a little shocked when, in an interview with Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing, Jason Denzel, webmaster of Dragonmount, and one of the few people who have read A Memory of Light, mentioned that there is a chapter in the final Wheel of Time novel that is 50,000 words long and contains as many as 70-80 point-of-view characters. For reference, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is 95,000 words long, and Lord of Chaos, the sixth volume in the Wheel of Time time series, features 47 point-of-view characters in its entirety. That’s a meaty chapter.

From Denzel:

There’s one chapter in the book, one chapter itself, that’s fifty thousand words long, or maybe more. I’ve been saying fifty thousand, but it might actually be more than that. There’s something like seventy or eighty point of views within that single chapter.

Speculating, my best guess is that the chapter covers a single major event (Rand fighting/defeating the Dark One?), viewed by dozens of different characters on the battlefield and/or around the world. At the low-end estimation of 70 characters, that leaves about 700 words and change for each point-of-view, which isn’t a lot to work with, but could be an interesting technique for showcasing the world-altering events that are sure to fill A Memory of Light. It makes me tired just thinking about it. For what it’s worth, Denzel also said that it’s the fastest he’s ever read 50,000 words.

The entire interview with Denzel is worth reading for anyone interested in Wheel of Time fandom, or salivating for the upcoming release of A Memory of Light, which Denzel talks about at length, but avoids spoilers completely.

Update: For those who don’t read the comments section of these posts, Brandon Sanderson dropped by and clarified some of the details about this chapter. It’s both smaller, and larger, than Denzel was suggesting.

Just opened the document, as I figured I could give some hard statistics on this. The chapter is just shy of 79,000 words. It contains (by my quick count) 72 scenes–but only 31 distinct viewpoints, as numerous ones repeat. (There are eight Rand scenes, for example, and six each for Mat and Egwene. Three or four each for another eight characters.)

It is not the last chapter of the book, but is a very important one, as you might have guessed. From the get-go, I lobbied Harriet to let me do this sequence as a single, massive chapter as I felt it fit with what was going on in the book as well as fitting with the series as a whole. I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

79,000 words puts it just 15,000 words (or a decent sized novelette) away from being as long as The Hobbit, and 35% of the length of the entirety of The Path of Daggers. Staggering.

By Grace and Banners Fallen by Robert Jordan and Brandon SandersonIsn’t this kind of silly? The idea of releasing a prologue to a novel, no matter how heavily anticipated the novel is, or the length of the prologue, and then charging three bucks for it has always struck me as an embarrassingly blatant money grab by Tor. Doubly so when you consider that George R.R. Martin releases full chapters from his A Song of Ice and Fire novels, which have easily surpasses Wheel of Time in popularity, years or months in advance, for free.

And to kick the tires promoting the fact that you can now lay down money to pre-order a prologue to a novel, that, being DRM-free, has a limitless number of sellable copies? Shameless.

Dragounmount, where the eBook can be pre-ordered DRM-free, says:

The full prologue is a lengthy, action-packed chapter that has intense scenes and some great surprises. “By Grace and Banners Fallen” is the final Wheel of Time prologue. There’s no doubt that Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson left some great surprises for us.

Pre-ordering a limited-edition chapbook with gorgeous production values? That I can get behind. This, not so much. Unfortunately, I’m sure many Wheel of Time fans will gobble this up, like little Oliver Twist.