Updates On The Hobbit, The Doors of Stone, Star Wars, Snow Piercer And More

Here are a few quick updates on upcoming books, book adaptations and sci-fi/fantasy films on the horizon.

The Hobbit – Advanced tickets for the Hobbit went on sale last Wednesday. If you’re looking to see it opening weekend, it might be in your best interest to pick up tickets now while there are still seats available. There will be a variety of formats to see the film in, including 2D, 3D and Imax 3D (in addition to the choice of seeing it either in 24 or 48 frame conversions). Also, make sure to check out this cool collection of behind the scenes photos from the set. (imgur)

The Doors of Stone – The last book in Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle is supposedly being revised as we speak. In a recent podcast, Rothfuss said that he is taking his time with the revisions so he can get things just right. He also stated definitively that the series is a trilogy, making this the last book of protagonist Kvothe’s adventures. Since that is the case, I think Rothfuss is more than justified in taking his time to close out the series properly. Here’s to hoping we see the book sometime in the next few years though. Best of luck to him on finishing his epic. (sfsignal)

Snow Piercer – Movie news website Twitch Film is reporting that the Weinstein company has picked up and will now distribute Boon Joon-ho’s Snow Piercer. The upcoming sci-fi adaptation is based off the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige and should be pegged for a likely summer 2013 release. Really happy to see this one get picked up for distribution. Now, perhaps a trailer? Production still? Anything? (twitchfilm)

Pacific Rim – After instituting a post comic-con ban on footage from his robots fight monsters epic Pacific Rim, director Guillermo Del Toro now promises a trailer in December and a 3D conversion of the film for theaters. Guillermo always delivers. (comicbookmovie)

Star Wars Episode VII – Things are moving quickly for the new Star Wars entry when it was announced that Oscar winning screenwriter Michael Arndt of Little Miss Sunshine and Toy Story 3 fame would be penning the script for Episode VII. Needless to say, this is good news. Did you see Toy Story 3? Good lord, animated movies about toys should not make you contemplate life and death in such a fashion. Well done, sir. I will gladly watch your take on Episode VII. (ew)

Ray Bradbury, Why Prometheus Is Good For Sci-Fi As A Whole And Other Updates

The last two weeks have been a bit of a blur, so I’m pooling a few updates into a single post. First off, it was very sad to hear about Ray Bradbury’s passing, but at 91 years old and with over 500 published works, no one can accuse him of not living a very full and inspiring life. I always marvel at the fact that he credits most of his education (he did not attend college) to a decade of veracious reading at the library. I really enjoy the work he produced throughout his career and still count Fahrenheit 451 as my favorite book of all time. I know that his absence will be greatly missed within the literary community.

Consequently, Bradbury’s biographer, Sam Weller (I have met Mr. Weller a few times and must say he is a really nice guy), was already in the process of preparing an anthology of tribute stories to the late great author when he passed away. Although the collection won’t be out until July, sci-fi website io9 has posted an excerpt from the collection, which is entitled Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury. The sample story is written by none other than Neil Gaiman and is certainly worth checking out.

So, Prometheus. There has certainly been quite a bit of discussion about Ridley Scott’s recently released philosophical sci-fi film in the past few weeks. Some are labeling it as a masterpiece, others a misfire and yet another pocket of people who liked the movie but wonder why the supposedly intelligent characters haven’t mastered the ability to run sideways or diagonally when a large object is about to fall on them (I confess, I am in that pocket of people). Regardless of what you thought about Prometheus, I believe its release will be good for sci-fi as a whole, because of the sheer amount of attention that is being paid to the film.

For one thing, the buzz and opening week box office of Prometheus reaffirms that intelligent adult sci-fi still has a place on the big screen. As strange as it may sound, this is a necessary reminder. Every few years or so after a string of sci-fi inspired flops, Hollywood needs a reminder that it’s not just young adult sci-fi adaptations containing preexisting mobs of rapid preteen fans that have a place in movie theaters. Intelligent, philosophical and allegorical science fiction like 2001, Contact, or anything that doesn’t have a cast riddled with Disney channel graduates, still has a place in modern cinema.

I understand that science fiction is a gamble in Hollywood because it generally requires a larger budget to account for the special effects, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away from making these movies altogether. It just means that when you do make these movies and invest a chunk of money into their production, you should take the time to make sure that they are well made. And while there are certainly some flaws to Prometheus, I would say that it is still a very well made sci-fi film. Certainly, it has inspired some polarizing perspectives, but through those disagreements, it has also produced some truly interesting ideas and interpretations about what the film is about (definitely check out Adrian Bott’s theories on the film). It is also an incredibly gorgeous movie to look at and is absolutely worth checking out despite its flaws.

On another note, I got a few emails about the availability of my book, The Exiles of the New World, as to when it will be on the Nook and some other e-readers outside of the Kindle. The update on that situation is that it should be expanding to the Nook and other e-readers by the end of the summer. Amazon has exclusive rights to the e-version which allows them to keep it limited for a couple of months. But for now, it is available in paperback and Kindle form. There might even be a soon-to-be-released audio book recording on the horizon, narrated by me, where I attempt to read the entire book in a different British accent for each character. But seeing as how none of the characters in my book are British and I only have one terrible British accent in my repertoire (cockney shoeshine boy), this may be a lie. Only time will tell.