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BOOK NEWS FOR DECEMBER 4TH, PART 1: ANNE RICE, GOOGLE BOOKS, SCI FI & WESTERNS, AND ‘THE BROKEN KINGDOMS’

The Vulture Transcript: Anne Rice on Twilight, Her Casting Dreams for a New Lestat, and Her Ever-Evolving Religious Beliefs

By: Gwynne Watkins at New York Magazine
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Thirty-five years ago, Anne Rice single-handedly launched a permanent pop-culture vampire fixation with Interview With the Vampire, the first installment of her best-selling ten-book series The Vampire Chronicles. Today, the author is interested in a different sort of eternal life: the kind that comes from religious salvation instead of erotic damnation…For a sprawling Vulture Transcript, we called Rice to discuss demons and angels, and her potential new entries in her Christ the Lord series, as well as more secular topics, like her takes on Twilight and True Blood, and whether she thinks Robert Downey Jr. should succeed Tom Cruise as the next Vampire Lestat.

Do you have a take on the way in which Twilight serves Stephenie Meyer’s Mormon beliefs?
I don’t know enough about Mormon beliefs to see it in that context. What I saw there was woman’s romance. And I don’t mean that in a denigrating way. I saw the same thing that works in the work of Charlotte and Emily Bronte, the idea of a young and vulnerable young woman falling in love with essentially an older, stronger, mysterious person. In Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester is threatening but he’s also protective and loving, and eventually comes around to be totally subdued and tamed by Jane. And that’s really what I saw in Twilight, in the two movies I saw. Young girl falls in love with this boy who’s capable of killing people, he’s a vampire, but he really loves her and protects her. And it was the same old story. Of course, there’s been a lot of writing in the world about why that particular romance functions.

Read (much) More here

Google book store is coming soon

By Stan Schroeder at cnn.com
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Google Editions, the Internet giant’s book store business promised for last summer, is set to launch before the end of 2010, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Google Editions will have a significantly different sales model from most competitors, such as Amazon’s Kindle store or Apple’s iBookStore.

Instead of purchasing books through a single online store, Google will let users buy them either from Google or from independent bookstores and then tie them to a Google account, which will enable them to read the books anywhere and on any device they please.

More Details here

Is Science Fiction This Era’s Western?

by John Scalzi for AMC
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Hey, folks. The e-mail I’m going to answer this week features an epiphany. How often does that happen? Here’s the e-mail:

I was watching the trailer for next year’s Cowboys & Aliens movie when I had an epiphany: Science fiction and Westerns are really a lot alike, separated by several decades. Both are mainly action-oriented, both are meant to appeal to young men. The difference is now westerns are dead. Do you think science fiction will also go the way of westerns, and what will replace it if it does?

With all due apologies to my correspondent, I don’t know that the idea that science fiction is the new Western is all that groundbreaking — if nothing else, the first Toy Story made it explicit that the frontier of space was replacing the Wild West as the locus of the imagination when it had Buzz Lightyear eclipse Woody as the cool toy.

Meanwhile science fiction and its overlapping brethren genres of fantasy and comic-book films have become the places where Hollywood goes to draw young men to the theaters (although not just young men). Science fiction has had a good run of it — it’s been a consistent draw for that demographic for more than three decades — and it doesn’t look like it’s going to run out of steam anytime soon. But could it go the way of the Western? Sure. That said, there are a few things science fiction has going for it that Westerns don’t, which can help contribute to its longevity.

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A Woman Plagued by Gods: N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Kingdoms is an Intimate Epic Fantasy

by paulgoatallen at Barnes and Noble
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As I sit here contemplating The Broken Kingdoms – the second installment of N.K. (Nora) Jemisin’s the Inheritance trilogy (and sequel to The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, her debut novel) – the term that comes to mind is an “intimate epic fantasy.” Sounds like an oxymoron, right? But that’s exactly what The Broken Kingdoms was for me. Let me explain…

While both novels are obviously set in the same sprawling realm, the scope and narrative tone of the first installment of Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy was decidedly grand-scale.

But while The Broken Kingdoms features the same grand-scale backdrop of scheming gods and power-hungry mortals and a comparably serpentine storyline, the primary plotline revolves around the relationship between Oree Shoth, a blind artist living in the city of Shadow (essentially the “commoner” city underneath Sky), and the homeless man that she takes in and allows to live in her home. Although Oree is blind, she can see magic – and this seemingly mute stranger, at times, literally shines with it.

Read More here

That’s an amazing interview with Anne Rice. She mentions her Facebook page, and she is fantastic about interacting with her fans–not just about the books, but current events and religion. I really liked John Scalzi’s arguments for Sci Fi. It’s nice to see it defended by one of it’s big authors. He addresses how broad Sci Fi can be, and why it has such strong staying power.

What did you think of the interview? Do you think Sci Fi is here to stay? Are you interested in A Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms?