Orbit Books Announces Ann Leckie’s First Fantasy Novel The Raven Tower

Ann Leckie The Raven Tower Orbit Books first fantasy novel Ancillary Sword

Exciting news! Orbit Books announced today that it will publish the first fantasy novel from Ann Leckie, whose science fiction novel Ancillary Justice won the Hugo, Nebula, and Arthur C. Clarke Awards. The Raven Tower, to be published in early 2019, features gods speaking to mortals, usurped thrones, and world-changing stakes.

Orbit did not include a complete synopsis in its announcement, only this intriguing tease:

Listen. A god is speaking.
My voice echoes through the stone of your master’s castle.
This castle where he finds his uncle on his father’s throne.
You want to help him. You cannot.
You are the only one who can hear me.
You will change the world.

Check out the full cover, designed by Lauren Panepinto:

Ann Leckie The Raven Tower Orbit Books first fantasy novel Ancillary Sword

The Raven Tower is expected to be published February 12, 2019.

Godzilla Sonnets, Brought to You by Jo Walton

April is National Poetry Month, and we got to thinking about an unlikely fit for meter and rhyme: Godzilla. Turns out the beast is a fit for classic forms of poetry, from kaiju haiku to Elizabethan sonnets. As part of a charity auction in 2015, Jo Walton was asked by fellow author Ada Palmer to write a sonnet with the theme “Godzilla vs. Shakespeare.” But, as Walton notes, “people usually ask me for such boring things, and this was such a fun one that I ended up writing a whole bunch of them.”

The first sonnet clearly inspired Walton to insert Godzilla into a number of tales, Shakespearean and otherwise. Subsequent sonnets show us Verona fallen to those massive feet (the Montague/Capulet feud stood no chance), and the kaiju even weeping for Baldur…

Here’s the poem that started everything:

i) Godzilla Vs Shakespeare

Up on the ramparts all ...

Mary Shelley Finds Her Voice in New Biopic Trailer

Mary Shelley biopic trailer Elle Fanning Frankenstein

Mary Shelley, the biopic that has been in the works since 2014, is finally coming to theaters. IFC Films released the latest trailer, starring Elle Fanning as the Frankenstein author and establishing the love, betrayal, loss, death, and lightning that inspired her to write the first great work of science fiction.

The official synopsis, from IFC Films:

She will forever be remembered as the writer who gave the world Frankenstein. But the real life story of Mary Shelley—and the creation of her immortal monster—is nearly as fantastical as her fiction. Raised by a renowned philosopher father (Stephen Dillane) in 18th-century London, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (Elle Fanning) is a teenage dreamer determined to make her mark on the world when she meets the dashing and brilliant poet Percy Shelley (Douglas Booth). So begins a torrid, bohemian love affair marked by both passion and personal tragedy that will transform Mary and ...

Elastigirl is Our Best Bet in New The Incredibles 2 Trailer

The Incredibles 2 trailer Screenslaver supervillain Elastigirl

Disney•Pixar has released the latest trailer for The Incredibles 2, which builds upon what we already know about the movie: As part of a campaign to change the public opinion of Supers, Helen Parr a.k.a. Elastigirl becomes the breadwinner. That leaves Bob Parr a.k.a. Mr. Incredible taking on the role of stay-at-home dad just as Violet and Dash are still dealing with the whirlwind of the first film and baby Jack-Jack is exhibiting a bevy of wild superpowers. This new look delves more into the media push behind Elastgirl, while introducing the sequel’s supervillain—the Screenslaver.

“You know it’s crazy, right?” Helen asks Bob. “To help my family, I gotta leave it; to fix the law, I gotta break it.” Truer words:

The official synopsis, from Disney•Pixar:

In Incredibles 2, Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is called on to lead a campaign to ...

John Krasinski Adapting Cecil Castellucci’s Story “We Have Always Lived On Mars”

We Have Always Lived On Mars Cecil Castellucci Life on Mars

After the early success of his horror movie A Quiet Place (which he directed, co-wrote, and stars in), John Krasinski is taking on a new project. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he and his fellow A Quiet Place producers will adapt Cecil Castellucci’s Tor.com short story “We Have Always Lived on Mars,” about a descendant of an abandoned Mars colony who discovers that she can breathe the toxic atmosphere of her home planet.

Sources say that it was Krasinski who found the story and brought it to production company Platinum Dunes, which includes A Quiet Place producers Michael Bay, Andrew Form, and Brad Fuller. Krasinski will be producing alongside Allyson Seeger, an executive at his company Sunday Night Productions. In contrast to A Quiet Place, Krasinski is not currently attached as director or writer; he will likely hire someone to adapt the story for the screen.


Harry Potter Series Will Get New Covers For 20th Anniversary Edition

Harry Potter series, 20th anniversary, cover art, Brian Selznick

This year marks Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary, and Scholastic is celebrating by giving them a new cover treatment from Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Brian Selznick.

The whole series of covers form one long mural when placed side by side, allowing readers to follow the characters through the entire series. Selznick had this to say about the project:

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan (a proud Hufflepuff!) and to be asked to illustrate the 20th anniversary edition covers was an absolute honor. I knew this project came with so much responsibility to the stories, as well as to the readers. I revisited the books and was especially moved by the relationships between the characters in J.K. Rowling’s magical world, so I wanted these covers to reflect that. One of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the process was drawing seven independent covers that would stand on their own, while making ...

Harry Potter series, 20th anniversary, cover art, Brian Selznick
Harry Potter series, 20th anniversary, cover art, Brian Selznick
Harry Potter series, 20th anniversary, cover art, Brian Selznick
Harry Potter series, 20th anniversary, cover art, Brian Selznick
Harry Potter series, 20th anniversary, cover art, Brian Selznick
Harry Potter series, 20th anniversary, cover art, Brian Selznick
Harry Potter series, 20th anniversary, cover art, Brian Selznick

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Gondolin to Be Published as a Standalone for the First Time

The Fall of Gondolin J.R.R. Tolkien Christopher Tolkien Alan Lee

HarperCollins UK announced today that it would publish The Fall of Gondolin, J.R.R. Tolkien’s tale documenting the rise of a great but hidden Elven kingdom and its terrible fall, for the first time as a standalone edition. Edited by Christopher Tolkien using the same “history in sequence” mode that he did for 2017’s standalone edition of Beren and Lúthien, and illustrated by Alan Lee, this edition will collect multiple versions of the story together for the first time.

Tolkien has called this story, which he first began writing in 1917, “the first real story of this imaginary world”; i.e., it was one of the first tales to be put to paper. The only complete version of The Fall of Gondolin was published posthumously in The Book of Lost Tales; however, different compressed versions appeared in both The Silmarillion and the collection Unfinished Tales ...

The Fall of Gondolin J.R.R. Tolkien Christopher Tolkien Alan Lee

Representations of the Seven Deadly Sins in Fiction

Gilligan's Island crew

The Seven Deadly Sins have been part of Christian theology since at least the 6th Century, and authors have been borrowing and reinventing them ever since—Dante largely ordered his vision of Hell and Purgatory around the sins, and Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales contains a lengthy treatise on ways to remedy them. Many modern authors and screenwriters, too, have had their fun with with the sins, especially with casts of characters meant to represent specific sins themselves. Whether giving audiences a fascinating insight into human nature or providing reliable antagonism, writers have mined this crew for centuries.


The Sin du Jour Affairs by Matt Wallace

Envy of Angels cover design by Peter Lutjen; Photograph by Getty Images

Matt Wallace’s series of novellas feature chef pals Darren and Lena, two new members of the staff at Sin du Jour Catering & Events. But until their first day on the job, the two ...


Patrick Rothfuss Co-Writing Rick and Morty/Dungeons & Dragons Crossover Comic

Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons crossover comic Patrick Rothfuss Jim Zub

Hapless Morty and genius mad scientist Rick have traveled to parallel dimensions and other planets, but this might be their most incredible journey yet: They’re going into Dungeons & Dragons in a new comic book crossover miniseries from IDW Publishing and Oni Press. And who better to guide them on their campaign than inveterate D&D player and fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss?

In Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons, Morty makes the mistake of asking his grandfather for help mastering D&D in order to keep up with everyone at school obsessed with the role-playing game. Of course, Rick can’t just teach the game, they have to live it—and pretty soon the entire Smith family is rolling for their survival. Rothfuss, author of The Kingkiller Chronicle, will co-write the comic with Jim Zub, himself very experienced in writing D&D comics for IDW. Troy Little (Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and ...

Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons & Dragons comic book crossover Patrick Rothfuss Jim Zub

Movie Adaptation of Ernest Cline’s Armada Gets New Screenwriter

Armada adaptation Ernest Cline

Back in 2012, less than a year after the success of Ready Player One’s publication, author Ernest Cline landed both a publishing deal and an adaptation deal for his next novel, Armada. Universal Pictures snapped up the movie rights to Armada, about a flight simulator video game that turns out to be a training tool for a real alien invasion. Now, following the release of the Ready Player One movie, the studio is moving forward on Armada: Deadline reports that Universal has hired screenwriter Dan Mazeau to write a new draft of the script.

Cline wrote an original draft of the screenplay while simultaneously writing the novel and adapting Ready Player One. As was the case with the RPO screenplay, on which Cline shares a writing credit with Zak Penn, Cline will remain involved in the process as Mazeau (Wrath of the TitansVan Helsing...

Listen to Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz’s New Podcast, Our Opinions Are Correct

Our Opinions Are Correct Annalee Newitz Charlie Jane Anders podcast

Upon leaving io9 in 2016 (a year after her co-founder Annalee Newitz), Charlie Jane Anders penned a thoughtful farewell reflecting on how, since io9’s launch in 2008, we have come to be living in a science fictional era. That sentiment has only grown more true since then, so it’s very fitting that Anders and Newitz are reuniting for a podcast discussing exactly that!

Our Opinions Are Correct, which recently launched, “explor[es] the meaning of science fiction, and how it’s relevant to real-life science and society.” In each episode, Autonomous author Newitz (“a science journalist who writes science fiction”) and All the Birds in the Sky author Anders (“a science fiction writer who is obsessed with science”) delve into science fiction books, movies, TV series, comics, and overall pop culture for considered but concise discussion peppered with plenty of SF references.

While the first episode was based primarily around Star ...

Neil Gaiman and Akiva Goldsman Adapting Gormenghast for Television

Gormenghast adaptation TV FremantleMedia Neil Gaiman Akiva Goldsman Mervyn Peake

FremantleMedia North America, which brought American Gods to television, has acquired the rights to another adaptation project with Neil Gaiman: Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake’s eccentric, darkly humorous series about the inhabitants of Castle Gormenghast. Gaiman (who signed a multi-year, first-look agreement with FMNA in 2017) and Akiva Goldsman will serve as non-writing executive producers, helming the adaptation of the five books in Peake’s series.

A contemporary to J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Peake’s series follows Titus Groan, 77th Earl and reluctant heir to Gormenghast Castle. Though he stands to inherit miles of rambling stone and mortar that make up the castle and its kingdom, it is only when charismatic kitchen boy Steerpike begins to climb the ranks of the castle that Titus desires to protect his birthright. “What follows,” the press release promises, “is an extended fight to the death for Gormenghast itself.”

“There is ...

A Closer Look at the New Sandman Comics Art

Reio Murakami Rice, Sandman, Daniel

Now that the new Sandman Universe has been announced, DC Comics has a closer look at the upcoming titles, including some incredible new artwork…

First, a word from Neil Gaiman about the project:

In case you missed out on the specifics of the four new series, here is the breakdown:

  • House of Whispers, written by Nalo Hopkinson; a series that will “explore how the voodoo deity Erzulie ended up in the Dreaming with her titular house. It might have something to do with a comatose woman named Latoya, whose girlfriend and sisters used the Book of Whispers to try and heal her. Now out of her coma, Latoya is suffering from the Cotard’s Delusion belief that she’s already dead, and is transmitting her belief to others, catalyzing them to become guardians of the gap that has opened in the Dreaming.”
  • Books of Magic, written by Kat Howard; ...
Reiko Murakami, Sandman Universe, Daniel
The Sandman Universe, art by Tiffany Turrill, Daniel-Dream and Matthew
Jana Heidersdorf, Sandman Universe, Eve
Rovina Cai, Sandman Universe, Corinthian

“Revenge is Just a Different Prayer.” Westworld Premieres a New Trailer for Season 2

Westworld Season 2 trailer

Fall into the mellifluou-osity of Jeffrey Wright’s voice (and an orchestral version of Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box”) in the new Westworld trailer! Season 2 joins Dolores, Maeve, and the rest of the gang as they fight for freedom, life, and, we’re assuming, vengeance.

Check out the full Season 2 trailer below!

Westworld‘s second season premieres on April 22nd at 9:00pm on HBO!

[via EW!]

Cixin Liu’s Award-Winning The Three-Body Problem May be Coming to Amazon

Io9 is reporting that Cixin Liu’s Hugo-Award-winning The Three-Body Problem might be coming to Amazon! There are reports from Financial Times that Amazon’s streaming service is interested in adapting Liu’s The Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy into a three-season show. Notably, the reports are also suggesting that Amazon might be willing to pay up to $1 billion for show. This would add another thoughtful, detail-rich story to Amazon’s line-up, which already boasts The Man in the High Castle, Electric Dreams, and Neil Gaiman’s upcoming Good Omens, not to mention the oliphant in the room: the two-season, $500-million-dollar Lord of the Rings adaptation. 

io9 continues:

In a statement reported by Chinese news outlets, YooZoo Pictures stated that it remains the sole owners for the film and TV rights for The Three-Body Problem, though it didn’t comment on whether Amazon had approached the company or were in talks with ...

13 Shakespeare Adaptations Aimed at Teens

Shakespeare adaptations are a dime a dozen—we’ve been putting his work on film practically from the moment film was a thing—but we’re particularly fascinated by a small, persistent subset of movies that aim to bring the Bard’s work to the youth of the day. Some plays seem like a natural fit (Romeo and Juliet already stars teen protagonists in the original) while others are more surprising (who saw a basketball-themed version of Othello coming?).

We’ve gathered 13 such adaptations below. In the best of them, Shakespeare’s work serves as a jumping-off point for meditations on the core truths about the human condition—discussions on race, sexuality, or gender roles presented in a way that speaks to a younger, modern generation. Plus, serious bonus points for including outrageous musical numbers.


Romeo + Juliet (1996)

How is it updated? Romeo and Juliet are the children of wealthy warring families in ...

S.B. Divya’s Runtime Optioned for Film and Television

S. B. Divya Runtime

Cyborg runner Marmeg Guinto could be racing to the big or small screen: Author S.B. Divya announced that Escape Artists Productions has optioned the film and television rights to her Nebula-nominated novella Runtime!

In Divya’s Tor.com Publishing debut, set in a cyberpunk future that’s neither dystopian nor utopian, Marmeg grapples with a universal dilemma—whether she, as the dark horse, has what it takes to enter the big race:

The Minerva Sierra Challenge is a grueling spectacle, the cyborg’s Tour de France. Rich thrill-seekers with corporate sponsorships, extensive support teams, and top-of-the-line exoskeletal and internal augmentations pit themselves against the elements in a day-long race across the Sierra Nevada.

Marmeg Guinto doesn’t have funding, and she doesn’t have support. She cobbled her gear together from parts she found in rich people’s garbage and spent the money her mother wanted her to use for nursing school to enter the race. ...

Read Martha Wells’ Serialized Magic: The Gathering Story “Return to Dominaria”!

Magic: The Gathering Dominaria expansion "Return to Dominaria" serialized story Martha Wells

Dominaria coalesced around Gideon and the first thing that struck him was the stench of rotting plants and dank earth. He stood on a high stone foundation between a ruined town and an overgrown stinking marsh, the landscape desolate under a cloud-covered sky. Gray stone structures once tall and graceful had lost sections of walls and roofs, and some were just heaps of tumbled stone. Mist cloaked the tall grass, bubbling mud pools, and rotting trees of the marsh, empty of any life except clouds of insects. It was like an artist’s attempt to visually capture a representation of death and failure. He couldn’t suppress the bitter thought, How fitting for this moment.

For its 78th expansion, Magic: The Gathering returns to where it all started: Dominaria, the original setting for the card game’s storylines before those narratives branched off into a multiverse full of “Planewalkers” moving between Dominaria ...

It’s Deadpool and Friends! The Final Deadpool 2 Trailer is Here For You

Deadpool 2, X-Force

Sure, it’s fun watching people get confused about who the heck Cable is, but we still needed a Deadpool 2 trailer that let us know what the movie was about. And we have been obliged.

Get ready for a lot of inadvisable ways (and places) to use weapons, kids.

X-FORCE. X-FORCE AND FRIENDS. (I mean it would be nice if Vanessa had something to do in this film aside from being Wade’s conscience and waiting for him to get home but–) LET THE FUN TIMES BEGIN.