Single tear. December can’t come soon enough.
It may be the six minute run time, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so much jammed into a single trailer before as I have with the upcoming film adaption of David Mitchell’s novel Cloud Atlas. There’s so much going on in this preview that the consensus thoughts on the trailer seem to be that this will either be some sort of sprawling masterpiece or great big disaster. Admittedly, my first impression is that it sort of looks like a fever dream of Terry Gilliam fusing elements of Aronofsky’s The Fountain and Speilberg’s A.I. None of those parties are involved with the film though as this is actually the brainchild of the Wachowskis (The Matrix triolgy) and Tom Tykwer (Run Lola Run).
Here is the synopsis as reported by io9 is:
A reluctant voyager crossing the Pacific in 1850; a disinherited composer blagging a precarious livelihood in between-the-wars Belgium; a high-minded journalist in Governor Reagan’s California; a vanity publisher fleeing his gangland creditors; a genetically modified “dinery server” on death-row; and Zachry, a young Pacific Islander witnessing the nightfall of science and civilisation — the narrators of Cloud Atlas hear each other’s echoes down the corridor of history, and their destinies are changed in ways great and small.
In his captivating third novel, David Mitchell erases the boundaries of language, genre and time to offer a meditation on humanity’s dangerous will to power, and where it may lead us.
This week’s links feature an article on bedside book stacks, advice on how writing for yourself can help produce your best writing, a review of Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchet’s The Long Earth and a list compiling the greatest YA series of all time. I also want to quickly mention that this past weekend was marked by great tragedy and I don’t want to trivialize those events in any way, so this post is going to be rather brief.
I borrowed a page from flavorwire’s profile on bedside reading stacks and used a picture of my own bedside stack for this post. I have to admit, my stack is a bit all over the place, but truthfully, I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, if things were vanilla or uniformly confronting a single subject/genre, I would be rather disappointed. The sad part is that this is just my ‘currently reading’ stack and there are several other stacks from a ‘to read’ stack all the way down to a ‘someday when I’m a more focused individual I will finish you, I promise neglected third chapter dogeared paperback’ stack.
Although it shows up in my bedside book stack, I just finished Shadow Show, the Ray Bradbury tribute collection. To pay all the contributing authors a broad compliment, I would say that Bradbury’s stories always had a way of sticking in my mind long after I’d read them, usually extending from a very specific image being branded into my mind, and many of Shadow Show’s tales accomplished a similar feat. I enjoyed the stories thoroughly and would call the collection a fine tribute for the late great Bradbury.
– Beside Book Snooping (flavorwire)
– Shadow Show: A Fitting Tribute To Ray Bradbury (wired)
– How Writing For Yourself Will Produce Your Best Writing (writersdigest)
– Av Club Reviews Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter’s The Long Earth (avclub)
– New Author Spotlight: Christopher Farnsworth (sfsignal)
– JA Konrath On Exclusivity And Free With Your Books (jakonrath)
– The 10 Greatest YA Series Of All Time (flavorwire)
– How I Got My Agent: Colette Martin (guidetoliteraryagents)
– Steven Spielberg Wants Thor To Star In Robocalypse (io9)
– Hayao Miyzaki’s New Film Will Tell The Story Of The Zero Fighters Designer (twitch)
– Warner Bros. Will Make Donations To Dark Knight Shooting Victims (entertainment)
– The Universe Could Tear Itself Apart Sooner Than Anyone Believed (io9)
Today, we just have a couple quick updates on some of the literary adaptations that are underway or in the pre-planning stages. Many of these bits of information were revealed at last weekend’s Comic-con extravaganza in San Diego that included a lot of cool panels, updates and appearances (even though it’s not based on a book, I’m pretty excited for Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim). So, here are the new updates indulged at Comic-con and elsewhere in the last few weeks.
The Hobbit – It was great to hear that after a not so great initial reaction to footage screened for critics a few months ago, The Hobbit bounced back at Comic-con with glowing reports from sources in attendance. I think the best bit of news to emerge was that Martin Freeman apparently nails the role of Bilbo in the scenes they showed, which is honestly such an important part of making this adaptation work. If Bilbo wasn’t right, then all the CG dragons and dwarf drinking songs in the world couldn’t compensate for that shortcoming. Also revealed at the con was Peter Jackson’s desire to turn The Hobbit into a trilogy. Tolkien’s classic as two movies makes sense, but adding a third might be a little bit of a stretch. We’ll see if that ends up happening or if Jackson will stick to his original two-part, back to back Christmas debuts plan.
Mockingjay – In other franchise lengthening news, it was also revealed that Mockingjay, the finale in the Hunger Games trilogy, will be cut into two movies, ala the two-part Harry Potter finale. Mockingjay certainly has a lot going on within its pages, but I don’t know if the pace of the book really lends itself to being a successful two-part movie. There just doesn’t quite seem to be a great halfway point in Mockingjay unless the filmmakers took it upon themselves to do some serious reshuffling in terms of the order of events. Some sources have already started speculating as to where a viable cutoff point would be.
Snow Piercer – Snow Piercer (aka Le Transperceneige) wrapped principle photography this week, allaying fears that the recent budget troubles might mean delays in the filming schedule. There really hasn’t been much in terms of set photos or promotional materials out for this one yet, but the completion of principle photography is really good news. Although the source material is pretty obscure, I know there are a number of people excited to see The Host helmer Joon-ho Bong’s English language debut. At a budget of $39.2 million dollars, it currently stands as the most expensive Korean production of all time.
Wool – The rights to Hugh Howey’s self published sci-fi hit Wool have been snapped up by Ridley and Tony Scott’s production company. If you’re unfamiliar with it, the internet has been in love with this book and many have already labeled it a sci-fi classic. That is certainly strong praise for a self published book that has experienced a meteoric rise from relative obscurity since it was published in January. No word on who will direct it, but chances are it will probably be one of the Scott brothers, with the more likely candidate being Ridley and his notable sci-fi background.
In celebration of Ray Bradbury’s life, I would urge everyone to check out the recently released Shadow Show: All-new Stories In Celebration Of Ray Bradbury. It is a collection of short stories inspired by the late great sci-fi pioneer, along with some words about what he meant to each author contributing to the anthology.
I have already checked out the story by Neil Gaiman and enjoyed it thoroughly. I can’t wait to make my way through the entire collection and hear about how Bradbury influenced great authors like Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers, Harlan Ellison, Joe Hill and many others. So, be sure to pick up a copy if you are a Bradbury fan or like generally awesome stuff.
Also, in unrelated news, shark attacks are up this year and I’m officially never going in the water again. My irrational fears are becoming less irrational (still pretty irrational though since I don’t live near the ocean).
This week’s writing links feature an especially patriotic 10 Quintessentially American Novels list to celebrate the 4th, the late J.R.R. Tolkien’s Tips For Writers, SF Signal’s Andrew Liptak Discussing Jules Verne’s books about the moon, io9’s list of Upcoming Science Fiction and Fantasy Movies and EW’s 50 Best Movies That You’ve Never Seen compilation (which I mostly included because they put Memories of Murder on there).
In all of the previous month’s madness, I forgot to give a quick update on the Chicago’s Printers Row Lit Festival which has already come and gone. I did get a chance to attend the opening evening dinner before unforeseen circumstances curbed my attendance at the later events and it was a really nice time. The event honored Chicago author Sara Paretsky for her contributions to the city through her fiction and former mayor Richard M. Daley for his dedication to the Public Library system during his run in office. I hope if you were in the city for the Printers Row Festival, you got a chance to attend some of the events, because my limited exposure was definitely a lot of fun.
– 10 Quintessentially American Novels (flavorwire)
– J.R.R. Tolkien’s Tips For Writers (bestsellerlabs)
– AV Club Reviews Andrew Blackwell’s Visit Sunny Chernobyl (avclub)
– New Literary Agent Alert: Brenna Barr (writersdigest)
– First Look At Matt Damon In Elysium (twitchfilm)
– SF Signal’s Andrew Liptak Discusses Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon and Round the Moon (kirkusreview)
– Upcoming Science Fiction And Fantasy Movies (io9)
– Entertainment Weekly’s 50 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen (imgur)