A quick round-up of the fantasy-related news items that have been published over the last thirty days.
George RR Martin defends decision to cast Pedro Pascal as the Red Viper in Game of Thrones series
Writer Martin said he wasn’t at the Chilean actor’s audition, but that he thought Pascal would be ‘wonderful’ as Oberyn Martell. Responding to fans’ complaints that Pascal does not have the right colouring to play the Red Viper, Martin wrote on his blog: ‘I wasn’t present for Pedro Pascal’s audition, but I understand that he really killed it with his reading. ‘And since his casting was announced, the producer of another TV show on which he appeared recently has written me to say how terrific Pascal is, and to congratulate us on the casting. So I suspect that he will turn out to be a wonderful Red Viper.’ he writer also discussed the ‘racially and ethnically diverse’ cast of the TV adaptation of Game Of Thrones. It is true that we’ve lost several black characters who appear in the novels. But to balance that, characters like Salladhor Saan (Lucian Msamati) and Xaro Xhoan Daxos (Nonso Anozie) – both white in the books – have been played by black actors.’
Change of Eastern Regional Director of SFWA
Catherynne M. Valente has announced her resignation as the Eastern Regional Director for SFWA. She said, “It was a rewarding and challenging experience to work with a group of dedicated, tireless advocates, but personal circumstances have brought me to the realization that I cannot serve out the remainder of my term effectively. I thank the Board for their service and support, and will continue to be an active member of the organization.” The president, with the confirmation of the board, has appointed E.C. “Eugene” Myers to serve out the remaining year of the Ms. Valente’s term.
J.K. Rowling Renews Call for U.K. Press Regulation
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is among the signatories of a letter urging Britain’s culture secretary to push through press regulation reforms that have been delayed following last year’s recommendations of the Leveson Inquiry into U.K. media standards and ethics. Rowling, Jude Law’s former publicist and 24 other victims of press abuse signed a letter about the topic from activist group Hacked Off, whose supporters include Hugh Grant. It was addressed to culture secretary Maria Miller. "It is more than three months since all parties in parliament gave their backing to the cross-party royal charter closely based on the Leveson recommendations," the open letter said. "We urge you to recall that the March 18 charter has the backing of parliament, is founded on the recommendations of a duly constituted public inquiry that painstakingly took account of the views of all stakeholders, and is supported by the great majority of victims of press abuses." It added: "Standing in opposition to this are representatives of parts of the press, and in particular of a part that was found by the public inquiry to have ‘wreaked havoc in the lives of innocent people.’ In short, a tiny if powerful vested interest with a record of causing harm to the public is challenging the democratic will of parliament." The letter concluded that "it would be appalling if such people, in defiance of the will of the rest of society, were allowed to delay the implementation of a government policy" that has the support of parliament.
Source: Hollywood Reporter
Humble Ebook Bundle II: name your price for Last Unicorn, Wil Wheaton, Lois McMaster Bujold and more
Cory Doctrow: It’s time for another Humble Ebook Bundle! Once again, I was honoured to serve as volunteer curator of the Humble Ebook Bundle, a project from the Humble Indie Bundle people who’ve made Internet history by bundling together awesome, DRM-free media and letting you name your price for it. We did the first Humble Ebook Bundle last fall (with my novel Pirate Cinema) and made over $1.25 million in two weeks (!). The new Ebook Bundle is even cooler. Here’s the line-up:
- The Last Unicorn (deluxe edition), by Peter Beagle
- Just a Geek, by Wil Wheaton
- Little Brother, by Cory Doctorow
- Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest
- Spin, by Robert Charles Wilson
- Shards of Honor, by Lois McMaster Bujold
As with all the bundles, there is a secret stash of releases in the wings for week two; if your payment is higher than the average at the time you make it, you get them for free (and they are sweet!). Otherwise, you can always get them by topping up your payment. And as always, there’s charities involved — you can earmark some or all of your payment for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Child’s Play, and the Science Fiction Writers of America Emergency Medical Fund.
Source: Cory Doctrow on Boing Boing
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman returns for prequel
A quarter-century after his ground-breaking Sandman comic was launched, Neil Gaiman is returning to the character that made him famous with a six-issue prequel about Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams. Gaiman – currently basking in the glory of phenomenal reviews and booming sales for his first adult novel in eight years, The Ocean at the End of the Lane – has penned a limited series that tells a new story about the much-loved character he created for DC comics in 1988 and which ran for 75 issues. Sandman was initially published as part of the main DC comics line but in 1993 was incorporated into the publisher’s new Vertigo imprint which offered edgier, more adult comics. The first issue introduced Morpheus, or Dream, one of the immortal siblings known as the Endless. The ruler of a kingdom known as the Dreaming, the character was an instant hit, and when Gaiman introduced Dream’s sister Death as a cocksure goth girl he won over a legion of fans seemingly for ever. This October sees the first issue of the new comic, Sandman: Overture, produced with artist JH Williams III, 25 years since the first issue of Sandman (it had a January 1989 cover date but was published in October 1988).
Source: The Guardian
Michael Morpurgo reveals he’s writing a new book set in Scilly
He wasn’t giving too much away about the story, which is about the uninhabited island of St Helens, only to say it’s set during the First World War and is connected to the sea and America. He said it was an extraordinary story to come across and he’s returning to the islands in September to continue with the book. Michael says he works better when he’s close to the landscape he’s writing about. Mr Morpurgo, a regular visitor to Bryher, made a special appearance at the new Porthcressa Library yesterday. He read extracts from his book ‘The Wreck of the Zanzibar’ set in Scilly, to a specially invited audience of youngsters.
Margaret Atwood and Mohsin Hamid in new season of BBC World News ‘Talking Books’
BBC World News has launched a new season of Talking Books, the in-depth interview programme featuring international bestselling authors from around the globe. From Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood to Children’s laureate Michael Morpurgo, American historical novelist Tracy Chevalier to Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid, the 12-part series explores the best of 21st century fiction writing. The first episode has kicked off with Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, whose first novel, Purple Hibiscus (2003), was awarded the 2005 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book. Her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun (2006), was awarded the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. Chimamanda’s latest novel, Americanah (2013) focuses on romance, race and identity following a young woman’s journey from Nigeria to America. Presenters Razia Iqbal and Gavin Esler uncover the themes that run through each writer’s work, the characters they have invented and the development of their writing style. It airs weekly on BBC World News every Saturday at 1.00pm and Sunday at 6.00pm.
Source: BBC World
The Seventh Son Release Date Pushed Back Again
Legendary Pictures’ adaptation of Joseph Delaney’s young adult novel, The Spook’s Apprentice, which has been retitled The Seventh Son for the big screen, has been delayed until 2014. The film was originally slated for a February 15th, 2013 release, but, as you may have noticed, February came and went without The Seventh Son appearing in theatres. In May 2012, the release was set back to October 18th, 2013, and as the first images and details of the film were unveiled online. Variety now reports that Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. have decide to part ways rather than extend their distribution and co-financing partnership, and it’s believed that this may have contributed to The Seventh Son‘s release being delayed once more, this time to January 17th, 2014.
Source: Screen Rant and Variety
First-ever sketches of Winnie-the-Pooh tipped to fetch at least £600,000 at auction
The first-ever sketch of children’s favourites Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin by famed illustrator E.H. Shepard has come to light for the first time in 90 years. The ink drawing accompanied Pooh author A.A. Milne’s poem ‘Vespers’ and shows Christopher Robin asleep in bed with a teddy bear lying on his back on the quilt.
It is part of a set of eight original Pooh drawings from private collections around the world tipped to fetch more than £600,000 at auction. One other original Shepard illustration is the iconic 1926 work from Winnie-the-Pooh of Christopher Robin pulling his bear up the stairs by its leg. An almost-identical sketch showing the boy dragging Pooh down the stairs that was owned by the late film director Michael Winner sold last December for £139,250. The Sotheby’s auction is being held on July 10 in London.
Source: Daily Mail
Best-selling authors including Julia Donaldson and Joanne Harris vow to promote independent bookshops
Top-selling authors including The Gruffalo writer Julia Donaldson, Joanne Harris and Kate Morton are planning on altering their websites to link to independent bookshops following complaints that they only promote Amazon and chain retailers. The changes follow claims by an independent bookshop owner in The Bookseller that best-selling writers support the likes of W H Smith and Waterstones “without giving a fig” for struggling smaller shops. Keith Smith, of Warwick and Kenilworth Books, said Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Alison Weir, Ian Rankin, Tom Holland and Patrick Ness are among those who have ignored independent retailers. “Many of these are authors who, when asked, will say they couldn’t imagine life without their local bookshop,” he said. “But words need to be matched by deeds if they are to make a difference.” Julia Donaldson said she had been “feeling guilty” about not having links to independent shops, but added that, “when I first set up my website, this is what was suggested to me would be the easiest thing to do.” Her “online presence” is now under review, according to her publisher.
Source: The Independent
HCB to publish posthumous Diana Wynne Jones tale
HarperCollins Children’s Books fiction publishing director Ruth Alltimes has bought a posthumous novel by fantasy novelist Diana Wynne Jones, The Islands of Chaldea, completed by her sister Ursula Jones. Alltimes acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from agents Laura Cecil and Celia Catchpole and plans to publish a "gorgeous" hardback edition in March 2014. The Islands of Chaldea is about a young girl and her bossy White Witch aunt fighting to free a king’s son held to ransom behind an enchanted forcefield, encountering a giant invisible cat and a fiery lizard along their way. HCB called it a "uniquely humorous picaresque adventure".
Source: The Bookseller
27 well-known extracts taken from J. R. R. Tolkien’s life and works: http://www.deseretnews.com/top/1628/2/-27-best-J-R-R-Tolkien-quotes.html