Friday, August 21, 2015

Episode #3: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Explicit Language

Rumors and Reports:

Awards Watch for Speculative Fiction:

World Con is ongoing just north of here in Spokane, WA. The winner of the Hugo Awards will be announced on Aug 22. You can watch the ceremony through this live stream.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer won the Shirley Jackson Award. Annihilation was showcased last month on this podcast.

Mythopoeic Awards were announced at MythCon 46 in Colorado Springs on Aug 2. Tales of Rugosa Coven by Sarah Avery won the adult novel category and A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd won the children’s category.

Author News:

Caitlin Keirnan‘s two best known novels The Red Tree and The Drowning Girl were picked up for movie option by Mid World Productions.

Book News:

Both The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell and The Book of Strange New Things  by Michel Faber are now out in paperback.

New books from last month include Half a War by Joe Abercrombie, Kim Stanley Robinson released Aurora and Terry Goodkind rereleased The First Confessor.

This month Liu Cixin of The Three Body Problem published her new novel, The Dark Forest, China MiƩville published Three Moments of an Explosion.

The BBC radio published an audio version of Asimov’s Foundation to the web.

John Scalzi, Hugh Howey and Andy Weir have helped to fuel a comeback of serialized speculative fiction. Now a new start-up company, Serial Box, is trying to capitalize on the comeback of the serial. Unlike most of these start-ups, they are concentrating on a few very good series instead of high volume.

Each story is timed to take about 40 minutes to read or listen to, and will drop each week. Each episode will cost $1.99 for either the text or audio versions ($2.99 for both). A subscription will net you the text and audio $1.59 per episodes.

Episodes are written by collaborating authors in a style similar to TV. Their first offering is Bookburner.

Magic is real, and hungry—trapped in ancient texts and artifacts, only a few who discover it survive to fight back. Detective Sal Brooks is a survivor. Her brother wasn’t so lucky. Freshly awake to just what dangerous are lurking, she joins a Vatican-backed black-ops anti-magic squad—but the demons she’s hunting may be hunting her in turn.


Giorgia Lupi has mapped out how the future looks according to classical science fiction and made it an eye popping timeline.

TV and Film:

SyFy set premiere dates:

The Expanse will kick off with a two-night premiere event starting Monday, Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. ET and continuing on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 10 p.m. ET, before moving to its regular Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET timeslot for the remainder of its 10-episode first season.

Set 200 years in the future after mankind colonized the solar system, The Expanse tells the story of a hardened detective (Thomas Jane) and a rogue ship’s captain (Steven Strait) who come together for what starts as the case of a missing young woman and evolves into a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history.

The six-hour television event Childhood’s End will air over three consecutive nights starting Monday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. ET, running two hours each night through Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Childhood’s End follows the peaceful invasion of Earth by the alien Overlords, who promise to eliminate poverty, war and sickness, ushering in an age of peace. But the Overlords insist on hiding their appearance, making some on earth question where there’s a price to pay. As the truth about the Overlords’ intentions are revealed, humanity will discover its destiny may actually be a nightmare, instead of a dream.

SyFy continues the overhaul of it image and announced that they are developing an adaptation of Fredrick Pohl’s Nebula/Hugo award winning novel Gateway.

In Gateway, humanity discovers an asteroid teeming with the long abandoned spaceships of an advanced alien race — the Heechee – setting in motion a gold rush for alien artifacts and technology. The ships are preprogrammed, transporting their voyagers to distant worlds of riches — or certain death. Undaunted by the peril or the odds, prospector Robinette Broadhead gambles everything on a journey to Gateway. After one nightmare mission, he returns to extraordinary wealth and luxury, but is haunted by the loss of his crewmates, including the love of his life.

Said Bill McGoldrick, Executive Vice President, Original Content, Syfy: “Gateway is thought-provoking and unsettling, raising profound questions about mankind’s possible relationship with alien life.”

Winter is coming and coming and coming for Game of Thrones fans. HBO announced that they are planning 8 seasons of the show.

CBS and Warner Brothers are planning a TV series that leads into a movie of one of my favorite books–The Stand by Stephen King.

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens will be released on Dec 18th. See the trailer.

Disney is adding two 14 acres of parks themed after Star Wars where kids can learn to be a Jedi at the Jedi Academy. Rides?

One will let fans fly the Millennium Falcon on a secret mission, the other will place them in between a fight with the First Order and the Resistance.

Steven Spielberg plans to have Ernest Cline’s geeky fantasy Ready Player One for release in December 2017. Cline published a sequel to the popular novel this year, Armada. He was recently given a 7 figure advance from Crown Publishing for a third novel.

Meanwhile in the Real World:

England is developing a way to charge your electric or hybrid car while you drive.

Showcase Novel: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Close your eyes. Okay, not if you’re driving. Now find the nearest bathroom. That was hard, right? Now find the nearest bathroom with your eyes closed and people waiting in ambush to kill you. Oh, and did I mention that just a glance in the wrong direction at the wrong moment could kill you too? Welcome to life in Josh Malerman’s Bird Box.

Malorie has just discovered that the one night stand she had a few weeks ago has made her pregnant. In the background of her immediate pregnancy crisis are vague reports from the Soviet Union about people becoming murderously insane after exposure to something outside. Unfortunately, no one’s sanity survives long enough to tell the press what they saw immediately before loosing their minds. As Malorie’s pregnancy progresses, the world devolves into isolated handfuls of people barracked in the dark. She finds herself locked in a house with seven strangers trying to survive this new and terrifying world.

Like most speculative fiction, the plot asks the reader to believe the impossible, but that never stopped Stephen King or Alfred Hitchcock from telling a good story. And this story locks you in the attic with a bunch of birds about to peck your eyes out. Malerman has the ability to put you inside his character’s mind, with all the overwhelming fear and uncertainty of a sighted person suddenly deprived of their most valued sense while fending off a murderous foe. The tension had me shielding my eyes and reading between my fingers, right up to the end. An ending which is just right–resonant and perfectly matched to the pitch and tone of the story. Great first novel. I plan to keep my eyes open for anything else Malerman writes.

What was that noise? Did you hear something? Outside. Or maybe it was the attic.

Josh Malerman

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