A lot is happening for writer Chris Roberson: over the last couple months he very publicly left his comic book work for DC behind, created his own webcomic project Monkeybrain, and saw the publication of his latest science-fiction novel "Further: Beyond The Threshold." Published by Amazon.com imprint 47North, "Further" is a "Star Trek" for our current age, one that takes into account not only hot-button topics like trans-humanism and genetic modification, but presents a snapshot of the future that is more realistically diverse (friendly sentient whales notwithstanding).
The novel really feels like two parts, the first being a narrative of what happens to Captain Ramachandra Jason Stone when he wakes up after 12,000 years of cryogenic suspension. Very reminiscent of classic sci-fi dystopian narratives such as H.G. Wells' "The Sleeper Awakes" (sans the jaw-dropping racism), this section of the book very methodically gets "RJ" -- and the reader -- up to speed with what's been going on with Earth over the millennia. And what's been going on include a world-shaking cataclysm, the insurgency and subsequent "banishment" of the thinly-disguised religious fanatics The Iron Mass, and an explosion of advances in technology and genetic splicing which has pretty much rendered humanity near-immortal. Read More...
Is Harry Potter the antichrist? According to Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century 2009 he is...well, sorta. In an advance review by Laura Sneddon that was published in The Independent, Sneddon points out that the literary heroes in Century 2009 find themselves in modern times facing the ultimate in evil who seems to be a touch similar to a fella who looks and sounds and smells like the iconic boy wizard.
The sci-fi anthology The Future is Japanese presents 15 stories either about or in some way involving, well obviously, Japan (with at least one fantasy and one horror story slipping in there along with one Afica-set tale penned by a Japanese writer). And given the eclectic makeup of talent and types of stories, this is your usual grab bag of the very good, to the not-so-great, to the interesting misfires.
The Future Is Japanese winds its way through the usual anxieties about the future, whether they be about the collapse of human knowledge ("Endoastronomy" by Toh EnJoe,), to the collapse of country and communication ("Goddess of Mercy" by Bruce Sterling). But then you get one or two that are very specifically culturally informed by Japan like the gentle story that opens the book, "Mono no Aware" by Ken Liu or the kids-in-mechs drama by David Moles, "Chetai Heiki Koronbin."
Of all of these, the opening and closing stories, (Liu's and TOBI Hirotaka's "Autogenic Dreaming: Interview with the Columns of Clouds") are the best realized of the bunch, particularly as they both dig into feelings and sensation in their own specific ways. "Mono no Ware" is the story of the handful of survivors aboard a vessel taking the last of humanity to their new home, and one passenger's reflections on the meaning of sacrifice and the titular bittersweet feeling that, as I understand it, is akin to nostalgia. "Autogenic Dreaming" meanwhile plumbs the depths of an unrepentant killer's memories for a solution to a pervasive virus destroying the world's great works of fiction. "Mono no Ware" ends on just the perfect note for its character while even at 46 pages, "Autogenic Dreaming" feels like it's just getting started in its evocative world.
This morning, at the age of 91, celebrated science fiction author Ray Bradbury passed away. Best known for his dystopian novels and his imaginative short stories, Bradbury had seen several of his works adapted into radio shows, graphic novels, television shows, and films. His most notable works include The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and I Sing The Body Electric. During his lifetime, Bradbury was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, had an asteroid named after him, earned an Emmy, received an honorary doctorate, and earned countless other citations for his distinguished and prolific and deeply influential career.
The impact Bradbury had on multiple generations of fans was evident on Twitter today, as condolences and celebrations of the master writer's life poured in:
@Ray_Harryhausen: RIP Ray Bradbury. You will be dearly missed x
@edgarwright: A standing ovation for Mr Ray Bradbury. Our imagination will be dimmer without him.
@deadmau5: RIP Ray Bradbury you've touched many lives with your work, and even a few more recently you might not have expected! Sleep well dude!
@woodelijah: very sad to hear of Ray Bradbury's passing. i grew up with his incredible stories.
@rainnwilson: RIP Ray Bradbury You made Mars, time travel & Illustrated Men more real than reality for a 14 year old me. #RIPRay
@levarburton: Ray Bradbury, may flocks of Angels guide thee to thy rest! #oneofthegreats
A partnership between J.K. Rowling, Sony, and Rowling's Pottermore site will bring new Harry Potter stories to life (you can read about how the boy wizard won "Best Hero" at the MTV Movie Awards here). Sony announced at E3 2012 that "Wonderbook: Book of Spells" for the Playstation 3 will use augmented reality to allow players to immerse themselves into the wizarding world of Rowling. Learning spells will be easy the PS Move controllers as wands!
The Rowling deal is only one of a series of "Wonderbook" games/book hybrids that will be released by Sony; Moonbot Studios will create another such experience called "Diggs Nightcrawler."
It is interesting to contemplate the wedding of first-run stories with interactive game elements, and I do wonder if this will be more and more the norm in the future. The latest Stephen King short story -- or even novel -- could be released to a platform like PS3 as an augmented reality mix of text, animation, and games-within-the-story. Perhaps in this way, both Sony and Rowling are pioneers in a new frontier of transmedia storytelling.
Being a celebrity on Twitter has yielded many things, for many people: it's gotten them sitcoms; an incredible number of followers waiting to see them go off the deep end; and for Family Guy writer Alec Sulkin, a brand new book. Robots Feel Nothing When They Hold Hands is a collaboration between Sulkin - better known as @TheSulk on Twitter - and two other writers for the show, collecting their best tweets with new art in the style of Far Side. We chatted with Sulkin - online, of course - about the book, whether a certain notorious tweet made its way between the pages, and how Twitter led to him having sexual relations with a real live woman:
MTV Geek: You mention it in the book, but how’d you decide on releasing a bunch of Twitter posts in novel-length form?
Alec Sulkin: We decided on a book when we realized that we had the best artists in animation working 10 yards from us. We knew they'd be able to bring the tweets to life in a way we never could. Also, we love The Far Side and really wanted to do something like that. Read More...
Comic book fans may be most familiar with Greg Rucka's work on the current Punisher series from Marvel, as well as his critically acclaimed runs on Action Comics, Batwoman, and his creator owned book Queen & Country. But in May, Rucka will be be launching a whole new series... Just not in comic book form. Featuring the exploits of ex-Delta Force operative Jad Bell, the first novel - "Alpha" - thrusts our hero in the middle of a terrorist plot to destroy a theme park. And then things get complicated.
We chatted with Rucka about the novel over the phone, why he needed to embrace cliche with this book in order to reject it, and also, a bit about what's coming up with everyone's favorite skull-wearing vigilante:
MTV Geek: For those who don’t know what Alpha is, there’s a lot of ex-military-ends-up-working-a-shady-job type novels. What makes this one different... Other than of course you writing it?
Greg Rucka: What makes it different? Honestly, this started with me asking myself “what’s the most cliché action story I can think of,” and then trying to take all the pieces of the cliché and breaking them into something new. The book has everything short of a guy saying, “Man, I was three days from retirement, I bought a boat”—you know what I mean? There is an element—it’s not over the top—but there is a certain self-awareness in the story. The scenario is created as plausibly as possible. I mean, I do crazy amounts of research. I want this stuff to “work,” so to speak. I need to be, at least to me, believable—because if I feel if I cannot invest some element of verisimilitude, the reader is absolutely not going to buy in. And the emotional element of the story has to be sincere because if there’s no empathy you lose your audience. So at first blush, this book is about a guy with a gun chasing other guys with guns. But I do think what makes Alpha perhaps distinctive in the genre is both its self-awareness of what it’s doing. I’m certainly not the first guy to go, Hey, terrorist, amusement park, let’s run with it. But it’s the first time in my experience I’ve ever seen anyone run towards it, if that makes sense, the surrealism of the scenario. So there’s that. Read More...
The book is called "Doctor Sleep" and is described by StephenKing.com as follows:
Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.
"Doctor Sleep" hits in 2013!
*The Stand wins.
**This doesn't makes sense.
Nothing is more satisfying than building something with your own two hands-- especially when it's a 1:1 scale AK47 assault rifle! Sure, making a replica firearm out of LEGOs isn't going to be useful when surrounded by zombie hordes, but it also doesn't require a background check. Jack Streat has just authored a how-to book titled LEGO Heavy Weapons that is filled with step-by-step guides on everything from an M-4 to the .50 caliber Desert Eagle pistol. Basically, if you loved any of the weapons you've seen in video games or action flicks (and have a little LEGO building skill) then you can re-create your very own version at home. Granted, it might take a while to collect that many black bricks-- but until then, your weapons shall be like rainbows!
Widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the past century, Maurice Sendak, the beloved author of “Where the Wild Things Are” and "In the Night Kitchen," died this morning this morning from stroke complications. He was 83.
Known for his work on over a dozen storybooks, Mr. Sendak’s books were perennial reading room favorites with universal themes that echoed in the imaginations of children, both young and old. His work was often considered subversive for undermining the traditional, moralistic standards of children's literature at the time. Book after book, story after story, he introduced us to characters that could be bossy, headstrong, troublemaking, or isolationist.
His lyrical use of language and lavish, self-taught pencil work brought him success with with his story about a young boy named Max who after a night of making mischief in his wolf costume, is sent to his room without supper. Max escapes from his room, by boat, and sails to the land of the Wild Things...a land filled with grotesque and fanged monsters, where the real adventures begin. The story, entitled "Where the Wild Things Are", was published by Harper & Row in 1963. In 1964, the American Library Association awarded Mr. Sendak the Caldecott Medal, considered the Pulitzer Prize of children’s book illustration, for “Where the Wild Things Are.” The book, which has since sold over 19 million copies, has since been adapted in an animated short, a feature film, an opera -- and had its own line of toys. Read More...
According to the Associated Press, legendary children's author and illustrator Maurice Sendak died early this morning at 2:45am at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut. Sendak suffered a stroke on Friday and never regained consciousness.
Of the few guides/manuals/histories acting as deconstruction of a genre that I've read over the last few years (and both the online and real-world bookshelves are beginning to swell with them), I've sussed out two very clear approaches which work with varying degrees of success: on one side, you have the type that exists absolutely inside the fiction and doesn't acknowledge the reader or that it's fiction at all (Max Brooks' World War Z being the prime recent example here); Matt D. Wilson's The Supervillain Handbook: The Ultimate How-to Guide to Destruction and Mayhem, is a hybrid of that other sort, where the writer not only acknowledges the reader (the "author" of the book, King Oblivion, PH.D frequently calls out the would-be villains reading his guide), but actually draws attention to the popular fiction that inspired it.
Wilson, a regular contributor to Cracked.com, borrows from that site's style of list-style posts, breaking down the chapters in The Supervillain Handbook into numbered how-to's about picking one's costume, choosing a nemesis, finding the right henchmen, and even the different motivations for becoming someone who screams at someone else from the lip of an active volcano while wearing a cape. Wilson's King Oblivion is a member of the International Society of Supervillains (also a thing online), and he speaks to the reader in a mixture of Silver Age bluster and collected self-help speak (one helpful tip in finding a suitable nemesis: "Match your aptitude"). The character's voice is funny, albeit in short bursts (handily, the chapters are short enough where you can choose to hang with King Oblivion at your own easy pace).
Tuesday, May 1st, you'll finally be able to get closer to Geek Icon Joss Whedon with an in depth look at the method behind his quippy madness, when Titan Books published Joss Whedon: The Complete Companion. The book takes a look at the storied career of the creator, including his work in movies, TV, and of course, comic books.
Lucky you, even though the book doesn't come out until next week, we've got an entire chapter for you focusing on Whedon's run on Astonishing X-Men. It's a fascinating read that draws a line not just between the various great runs on Marvel's Merry Mutants, but also with the events surrounding the book's release in real life history.