Chuck Wendig Writes an Open Letter: “Dear Guy Who is Mad Because I Wrote a Gay Character in a Book”

Friday, July 24th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Blackbirds Chuck Wendig-smallChuck Wendig, author of Star Wars: Aftermath, Blackbirds, and The Blue Blazes, has written an open letter to a fan who complained because one of his characters was gay:

Earlier today I got a bit of hate mail — though I guess hate mail is strong, as the writer of said email was not like, threatening to murder me with a brick or anything — from what appears to be a male, adult reader of my young adult series. In particular, he read the third book in the series, which came out last week: The Harvest.

I won’t reprint the email here, but he said, and I quote, “I didn’t like that you had a main gay character reviling [sic] in a homosexual sexual relationship.” (Reveling, I guess he means?) He feels I “corrupted” the book with the presence of “gay male relationships.” He then added that he feels I was jumping on some kind of “bandwagon,” which I assume (he did not clarify) means that I was doing this to fill some kind of diversity bingo card. Finally, he concluded that it “didn’t matter” or “effect [sic] the story” that the character was gay so why include it at all?

Here is my response that I won’t actually bother sending to him, but maybe he’ll read it here.

Read Chuck’s complete response here.

Kelly Swails reviewed Blackbirds for us (“Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds is Punch-You-in-the-Face Good“), and James McGlothlin looked at The Blues Blazes (“Goblins, Demons, Zombies and Fights Aplenty: A Review of The Blue Blazes.”)


Nominees for the 2015 British Fantasy Awards Announced

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Relic Guild Edward Cox-smallThe nominees for the 20015 British Fantasy Awards have been announced by the British Fantasy Society.

The British Fantasy Awards have been given out every year since 1972, when Michael Moorcock received the first award for his novel The Knight of Swords. Back then it was called the August Derleth Fantasy Award, and was only given to novels. As the BFS grew, the awards began to widen their scope, adding categories for Best Short Story, Small Press, Art, Comics, Film, and more. In 2012, the best novel category was divided into best horror novel (the August Derleth Award) and best fantasy novel (the Robert Holdstock Award).

The complete list follows. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Best Fantasy Novel – The Robert Holdstock Award

Breed, KT Davies (Fox Spirit Books)
City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Jo Fletcher Books)
Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)
A Man Lies Dreaming, Lavie Tidhar (Hodder & Stoughton)
The Moon King, Neil Williamson (NewCon Press)
The Relic Guild, Edward Cox (Gollancz)

Read More »


Baen Announces the 2015 Fantasy Adventure Award Nominees

Sunday, July 19th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Baen_logoThe nominees for the second annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award, to be awarded “to the best piece of original short fiction that captures the spirit and tradition” of the great adventure fantasy writers, have been announced. The 2015 Finalists are:

“Saurs,” Craig DeLancey
“Unfound,” Rhiannon Held
“Shell Game,” Joseph L. Kellogg
“Victor the Sword,” Robin Lupton
“Trappists,” Katherine Monasterio
“Burning Savannah,” Alexander Monteagudo
“Kiss from a Queen,” Jeff Provine
“An Old Dragon’s Treasure,” Robert Russell
“The Triton’s Son,” Keith Taylor
“Adroit,” Dave Williams

The grand prize winner wil see their story published on the Baen website, and will receive an engraved award and an assortment of Baen titles. The winner will be officially announced at the Writer’s Symposium at Gen Con, July 30 – August 2, 2015. The winner will be selected by the Baen editorial staff and Larry Correia.

The 2014 Grand Prize winner was “The Golden Knight“ by K. D. Julicher. For more details on the award, see the Baen Books website.


See the First Trailer for The Shannara Chronicles

Saturday, July 18th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never really been much of a fan of Terry Brooks’ Shannara books. So when The Shannara Chronicles, a new scripted series filmed for MTV, was announced, I didn’t really pay much attention.

But the first trailer, released last week at Comic-Con, has managed to pique my interest. The show has a unique look, and the production values are top notch. And the assembled talent — including writing team Alfred Gough & Miles Millar (Spider-Man 2, Smallville), producer Jon Favreau (Iron Man, The Avengers), and cast John Rhys-Davies, Ivana Baquero and Manu Bennett — looks fantastic. Check out the 3-minute trailer above.

The Shannara Chronicles will begin broadcasting in January 2016 on MTV, and be available for binge watching on DVD and Blu-ray later in the year.


Mur Lafferty Wins 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award

Friday, July 17th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Ghost Train to New Orleans-smallMur Lafferty has been awarded the 2015 Manly Wade Wellman Award, for her novel Ghost Train to New Orleans.

The Manly Wade Wellman Award is granted each year by the North Carolina Speculative Fiction Foundation, for outstanding achievement in science fiction and fantasy novels written by North Carolina authors. This year’s nominees also included The Sea Without a Shore by David Drake, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson, Reign of Ash by Gail Z. Martin, and Bad Wizard by James Maxey.

The winner is selected by the combined membership of four North Carolina science fiction and fantasy conventions (illogiCon, ConCarolinas, ConTemporal, and ConGregate). The award was presented on July 11 at ConGregate, in High Point, NC.

Mur Lafferty also won last year’s innaurgual award, for the first novel in the The Shambling Guides series, The Shambling Guide to New York.

Ghost Train to New Orleans (The Shambling Guides #2) was published by Orbit on March 4, 2014.

Read complete details at the North Carolina Speculative Fiction Foundation website.


Is Berkeley Breathed Returning to Bloom County?

Monday, July 13th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Berkeley Breathed draws Bloom CountyBerkeley Breathed, creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip Bloom County, posted the enigmatic image at left on his Facebook page, showing him working on a new Bloom County strip, with the caption, “A return after 25 years. Feels like going home.”

Bloom County, one of the finest comic strips of the 20th Century, ran from December 8, 1980 to August 6, 1989. It featured a great deal of political satire and commentary on pop culture, and introduced the characters Bill the Cat, 10-year-old newspaper reporter Milo Bloom, the completely moral-free attorney Steve Dallas, and Opus the Penguin. Breathed ended the strip in 1989 to focus on a Sunday-only comic, Outland, and later a number of best-selling children’s books, including A Wish for Wings That Work: An Opus Christmas Story (1991), The Last Basselope (1992), Goodnight Opus (1993), and Mars Needs Moms! (2007), adapted into the Disney flop of the same name produced by Robert Zemeckis in 2011.

Breathed has not elaborated the exact meaning of his comment, but it seems pretty clear he’s returning to Bloom County in some fashion (and within hours of his post, speculation had already begun to spread that that’s exactly what he’s doing, in places like the A.V. Club and Comic Book Resources.)

However, there are some clues in the comments. Donald Trump, who was frequently the butt of Breathed’s jokes, and who played a role in the demise of the original strip (the final storyline featuring Trump buying out the strip and firing all the characters, forcing them to find jobs in other comic strips), is now running for President. Asked directly in the comments if Trump’s campaign had any influence on his decision to return, Breathed replied “This creator can’t precisely deny that the chap you mention had nothing do with it.” Stay tuned for additional details.


Tom Piccirilli, May 27, 1965 – July 11, 2015

Saturday, July 11th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Tom Piccirilli-smallFour-time Bram Stoker Award-winning author Tom Piccirilli died today.

The first Piccirilli novel I read was A Choir of Ill Children, which I brought with me on an anniversary getaway to downtown Chicago with my wife a decade ago. We saw a lot of live theatre and shows that weekend, but none was as memorable as that slim novel. That one book made me a fan, and Tom Piccirilli became one of my favorite modern horror writers.

His other novels included A Lower Deep (2001), The Night Class (2001), November Mourns (2005), Headstone City (2006), and The Midnight Road (2007). He also authored eight short story collections, including The Hanging Man (1996), Deep into the Darkness Peering (1999), and This Cape Is Red Because I’ve Been Bleeding (2002).

Piccirilli was also an accomplished editor. He edited the Stoker Award-winning poetry anthology The Devil’s Wine (2004), as well as Four Dark Nights (2002) (with Christopher Golden, Douglas Clegg, Bentley Little), and Midnight Premiere (2007). He was a finalist for the Edgar Award for best paperback original mystery with The Cold Spot (2008), and World Fantasy Award finalist for his collection Deep into that Darkness Peering (2000). He was also nominated for the Macavity Award and Le Grand Prix de L’imagination.

Piccirilli was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2012, and suffered a stroke in 2014. His wife, writer Michelle Scalise, posted this brief message to his Facebook account today: “Tom died today. He was the love of my life, an amazing writer and the best person I have ever known.” He was fifty years old.


Patrick Rothfuss Confirms Bidding War For The Name of the Wind

Saturday, July 11th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Name of the Wind-smallThe Hollywood Reporter is reporting that several major Hollywood studios are in a high-priced bidding war for Patrick Rothfuss’s debut fantasy The Name of the Wind. Perhaps most interesting, the publication notes that, while the book has been around for eight years, the recent frenzy was likely triggered by the upcoming third novel, The Doors of Stone, which presumably provides the series with adequate franchise potential for studios looking to replicate the runaway success of Game of Thrones.

Warner Bros., MGM and Lionsgate are among a group of studios locked in a heated bidding war for Patrick Rothfuss’ mega-best-selling fantasy novel The Name of the Wind, book one in The Kingkiller Chronicle series.

Nearly every studio — also including Fox and Universal — is interested in the book, and the pool of suitors is expected to expand. The Name of the Wind centers on Kvothe, a magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. But unlike most literary bidding wars, The Name of the Wind will see top brass from each studio descend on Comic-Con in San Diego this week to court Rothfuss…

Like George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, another fantasy series of books that sat idle for years before generating Hollywood interest, The Name of the Wind has been around for nearly a decade. The book was published by DAW in March 2007 and spawned a second book, The Wise Man’s Fear, in 2011. A third book, tentatively titled The Doors of Stone, is expected in 2016, and likely sparked the renewed interest in The Kingkiller Chronicle. The fact that the series is seen as having enormous franchise potential [has] stoked the frenzy.

Rothfuss previously optioned the series to New Regency Prods, who were developing it for 20th Century Fox Television, but the option recently lapsed and the rights reverted to the author. Rothfuss confirmed the news on his Facebook page (in a post that’s generated over 1,000 comments in 9 hours), saying “So. Yeah. Here’s some news.”

Read the complete article here.


Get Your Own Star Trek Communicator — At Last

Friday, July 10th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

Get your own Star Trek Communicator-smallEver since Leonard Nimoy was spotted using the Motorola StarTac phone in 2000, I’ve dreamed about getting a cell phone shaped like a Star Trek communicator.

Now Engadget reports that the long, long (long) wait may finally be over, as The Wand Company has procured a license to make and sell a Bluetooth accessory shaped just like a communicator.

In January of 2016, you’ll finally be able to buy an official, screen-accurate, Bluetooth-enabled Star Trek Original Series Communicator.

Technically, the replica prop is just a simple Bluetooth handset with pretty basic functionality: it takes calls and plays music. That’s about it. It’s pretty snazzy looking though — the Communicator is a die-cast metal, aluminum and ABS replica modeled after a 3D scan of the original “Alpha Hero” prop, made and manufactured by The Wand Company. Its magnetic charging connector turns the unit into a pretty nice display piece, too. It’s pricey, though: the Communicator will cost $150 when it starts shipping in January — the same price as the replica phaser (and TV remote control!) the manufacturer made last year.

Read the complete article here.


The 2015 World Fantasy Awards Ballot

Thursday, July 9th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

The Bone Clocks David Mitchell-smallThe 2015 World Fantasy Awards Ballot, compiled by the voting attendees of the World Fantasy Convention, has just been released. If you’re looking for a short list of the best fantasy published last year as you prepare for a length stay on a desert island, your wait is over (and remember: leave room for sunscreen).

For both of the last two years the coveted Life Achievement Award has been given to two recipients (Ellen Datlow and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro in 2014, and Susan Cooper and Tanith Lee in 2013). This year the judges continue that tradition, honoring both Ramsey Campbell and Sheri S. Tepper for their outstanding service to the fantasy field.

The winners in every other category will be selected by a panel of judges. Here’s the complete list of nominees, with links to the online stories (where available) and our previous coverage:

Life Achievement

  • Ramsey Campbell
  • Sheri S. Tepper

Read More »


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