It’s spring/fall! Depending which hemisphere you’re in.
1) Tiptree Award: The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council has awarded the 2010 Tiptree Award to Baba Yaga Laid an Egg, by Dubravka Ugresic, Ellen Elias-Bursac translator (Canongate, 2010). The novel offers three different modern variations on Baba Yaga folklore that look at female aging, concepts of beauty and the power of myth.
2) Shadows Awards: The 2010 Australian Shadows Horror Awards have been announced:
Best Long Fiction: Under Stones by Bob Franklin (Affirm Press)
Best Edited Publication: Macabre: A Journey through Australia’s Darkest Fears, Edited by Angela Challis & Marty Young (Brimstone Press)
Best Short Fiction: “She Said” by Kirstyn McDermott (Scenes from the Second Storey)
3) While development on his Sandman, the classic comics series, for a t.v. series has been stalled yet again, author Neil Gaiman’s bestselling novel American Gods may finally be getting a live action adaptation. At first it was announced that the book would be a movie, but it now seems to be coming to HBO in the U.S. as a miniseries or t.v. series. Award-winning cinematographer and director Robert Richardson brought the rights to Playtone, run by actor-director Tom Hanks and producer Gary Goetzman, and Playtone took the project to HBO, with whom they’ve done Band of Brothers and other projects. The novel, which won the Stoker Award and Hugo Award, concerns an American ex-con, Shadow, who while grieving for his dead wife, encounters a number of incarnated gods, old and new, and gets caught up in a potential divine war. Richardson and Gaiman will write the pilot episode. Gaiman’s children’s novel, The Graveyard Book, is also being adapted into a film, directed by Neil Jordan, and the ever busy Gaiman also penned an up-coming episode of the ever-running, iconic British t.v. series Doctor Who.
4) Also in the comics arena, F. Paul Wilson’s series of young adult fantasy novels, Jack: Secret Histories, Jack: Secret Circles and Jack: Secret Vengeance, are being turned into a comic series adaptation by Sea Lion Books. The YA series is a prequel trilogy to the author’s famed Repairman Jack novels. The Jack trilogy features the future mercenary as a young adventurer solving mysteries in the world of the occult.
5) Also in YA news, the film adaptation of best-selling SF novel The Hunger Games, the first in the Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins, is rapidly filling in its cast. In addition to Jennifer Lawrence playing the main role of Katniss, the film will star Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Gale. The Hunger Games is a post-apocalypse story in which a blasted and torn North America has become an empire where the rich and privileged live with technology in a central city while the poor struggle to survive in walled-in slums. In retribution for a failed rebellion, these poor neighborhoods have to sacrifice two of their children each year to participate in televised gladiator games to the death, the winners of which will bring prizes and food for their home area. Katniss and Peeta are forced to compete in the games, and Gale tries to help Katniss and protect her family. Other new casting: Willow Shields will play Primrose, Katniss’ sister, Amanda Stenberg will play the pivotal role of Rue, another competitor, and Dayo Okeniyi will play Thresh, an older competitor. The movie is coming out from Lionsgate with Gary Ross directing.
6) Sony Pictures Entertainment announced on Monday that actor Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith will star together in director M. Night Shyamalan’s up-coming science fiction film. The movie is set a thousand years in the future, when the two characters as father and son will have to navigate an abandoned Earth after their spaceship crashes. Shyamalan’s track record on movies for the last several years has been all over the place after the smash horror film The Sixth Sense. Most recently, he annoyed a lot of people in directing the anime martial arts adaptation The Last Airbender with a way more anglo cast than the original creation. It’s to be seen whether Smith, who is co-producing the new film, and his son, who starred in the hit remake The Karate Kid, can provide the juice needed for such a big budget production.
7) Former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger wasted no time after leaving politics in returning to his Hollywood stomping grounds. His first project is a satiric animated superhero t.v. series called The Governator, after the nickname given to The Terminator star when he took political office. Schwarzenegger teamed up with comics legend Stan Lee to produce the series and a tie-in comic book series, and lends his voice to it. The Governator is about the triumph of marketing – also about the man himself taking names as governor and fighting deadly robots or whatever.
8 ) Also a blast from the past, the Wyld Stallions will apparently ride again in a reunion picture of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter earned cult fame playing two California teens who learned that they would one day bring peace and harmony to the Earth through their band and who time travel with the help of George Carlin to complete their high school history project and keep the future on track. In Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey, the sequel, Bill and Ted have to deal with Death and other problems. The franchise also spawned an animated t.v. series. Twenty years later, Reeves and Winter are agreeing to do a third film in which the now grown-up boys find the predicted future didn’t happen and time travel to find out why. George Carlin unfortunately passed on in 2008, but given Reeves’ star status and the cultural touchstone of the films, the new movie is likely to draw a nice cast. Reeves, who throughout his career has been accused of actually being just like Ted, the role he played, is probably going to have a lot of fun with it. Winter became a director as well as continuing to act, and produced the sketch comedy show The Idiot Box.
9) And yet another blast from the past, it’s been confirmed that there will be an Evil Dead re-make. The cult film franchise, the first one guerrilla film-making in their youth by director Sam Raimi and actor-director Bruce Campbell, has become legend, with fans eagerly hoping for a fourth Evil Dead film. That plan never quite came together, but Campbell and Raimi are executive producing the re-make. Campbell, who is currently busy on the spy t.v. series Burn Notice and making My Name is Bruce 2, may make a cameo in the new version of the film that made him a god of all SFF conventions. I can’t see anyone else playing Ash, the young man whose friends turn into demon zombies in a cursed cabin in the woods, but if they’re going to remake something, it might as well be something both crazy and good. Shemp lives!
10) On the book front, since 1968, Anne McCaffrey has been writing novels about the Dragonriders of Pern, the post-apocalypse colony planet with genetically engineered dragons. And now movie-t.v. technology has finally caught up with her, and Dragonflight, the first Pern novel, is being turned into a live action movie. David Hayter, who has worked on everything from Transformers to the up-coming Real Steel, will write the screenplay. I’m guessing it’s going to be in 3-D. I will not lie; I have always wanted a fire lizard.
11) Earlier, it was reported that actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt would join his Inception director Christopher Nolan’s last Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, as Alberto Falcone, son of mob boss Carmine Falcone, played by Tom Wilkinson. This was apparently incorrect. Instead, Gordon-Levitt will be playing John Blake, a Gotham City beat cop who gets a special assignment from Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman.) (I’m guessing one that proves very traumatic.) Other Inception stars are also on board in the new picture: Tom Hardy will play villain Bane, and Marion Cotillard will play Miranda Tate, a Wayne Enterprises board member. Anne Hathaway will be taking on the role of Catwoman, following in the footsteps of Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry and leading to endless costume speculation. After The Dark Knight Rises, they’re going to start all over again with a reboot, because that’s just what they do.
12) The much-anticipated and darkly sumptuous television adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, Game of Thrones, debuted on Sunday, April 17th, to a fruitful audience of 4.2 million, and HBO has already renewed the show for a second season. So we can all breathe easy now. The second season will follow the second book in the series, A Clash of Kings. Game of Thrones is produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
13) After much harrumphing and complaints that they needed to at least come into the year 2000, Analog, the venerable and always cool science fiction magazine, is now accepting electronic submissions of stories. In fact, they say that they will prefer to get their submissions electronically, but through their website, not as email. Editor Stanley Schmidt asks for patience as they get the new system rolling. Authors respond: you really don’t know much about the Internet, do you, Stanley? But at least now the screaming can stop.