Book Buzz: Lightning strikes for ‘Percy Jackson’ sales
By Carol Memmott, Bob Minzesheimer and Deirdre Donahue, USA TODAY
‘Lightning’ strikes: Sales of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson novels are reaching Olympian heights. All five books in the kids’ series are in USA TODAY’s top 10. It’s the first time that has happened, and sales are being driven by the movie version of the first book. (In its first two weeks, Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief has earned $58.7 million.) Accounting for half of the top 10 is impressive, but Riordan has a long way to go to break Stephenie Meyer’s record. The four books in her Twilight series have been in the top 10 a total of 66 weeks. J.K. Rowling had six of the seven Harry Potter titles in the top 10 just one week in 2007.
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Culture clash on the borders of genres: Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover series
Jo Walton at Tor
Marion Zimmer Bradley worked on books set on Darkover pretty much her whole life. They vary tremendously in quality, they also cover a huge range of styles and subjects. Some of them contradict each other, and some of the early ones were rewritten to agree with later ones. She opened the universe up to her friends and published anthologies of multi-author stories. After she died she left plans for future books, which are still being written. Her web page lists them in publication and internal chronological order and with their various different titles.
Because Bradley started thinking about the world when she was fifteen, it has some absurdities and some things that someone older might have thought better of. But because she worked on the world so long it developed something like an actual organic history. She lived through second phase feminism and started to re-examine gender relationships in Darkover, she met gay people and started to re-examine same sex relationships there. She wrote about rebels and conformists, people re-examining the world, aristocrats, peasants, people of early eras and late ones, and most of all she wrote about families and culture clashes. What they’re like is a family saga—I can’t think of anything else in SF or Fantasy that’s quite like this, covering generations in a way where you could write the family tree.
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Has James Frey Secretly Been Writing Best-Selling Sci-Fi Books?
By Amos Barshad at New York Magazine
Famous fake memoirist James Frey is currently co-writing the six-part sci-fi series I Am Number Four along with newcomer Jobie Hughes under the pseudonym Pittacus Lore (he’s already sold it to Michael Bay!). This has apparently set off speculation that Frey is also John Twelve Hawks, the mysterious author of the Fourth Realm Trilogy, a sci-fi series about a group of parallel-universe-traveling rebels fighting a totalitarian society under the control of something called the Vast Machine. Allegedly, Twelve Hawks lives “off the grid,” has never been seen by his publisher at Doubleday, and communicates using a satellite phone and a voice scrambler. The Traveler, the first book in the trilogy, was just optioned this week by Fox, and The Watchmen co-writer Alex Tse has been hired to whip up the screenplay.
So, how’s this tie back to Frey? It doesn’t, really — speculation on Twelve Hawk’s real identity has previously landed on James Patterson, Stephen King, and Michael Chabon, and Frey’s just the latest in line. Frey’s statement to the Post, however, is purposely ambivalent: “I will neither confirm nor deny that I am John Twelve Hawks, Pittacus Lore, or anyone else … I will say that I have done, and I am continuing to do, projects that will come out anonymously or with invented names on them.”
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Kim Stanley Robinson maps the future’s gray areas
By Reed Johnson, via the News Tribune
There are the dark wizards of apocalypse, terrifying us with visions of humanity’s grim comeuppance. And the starry-eyed fantasists, insisting how much better the future will be than the messy, middling present.
And then there’s Kim Stanley Robinson: family man, High Sierras pilgrim and prolific author of several of the most influential science fiction works of the last 25 years. Robinson, 57, doesn’t put much stock in the extremes of Bad New World vs. Bright New Tomorrow. His work restlessly seeks out the third (or fourth, or fifth) possibility, an alternative evolutionary path.
His latest novel, “Galileo’s Dream” (Spectra: 544 pp., $26), deftly lashes together three narratives: a homage to Galileo, a trek to Jupiter’s moons in the year 3020 and a philosophical inquiry into the perpetual tussle between comforting falsehoods and inconvenient truths.
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What do you think about James Frey hinting that he’s been writing those sci fi books?