New Releases: 6/17/2014

Chasers of the Wind by Alexey PehovChernobyl by Frederik PohlDance in the Vampire Bund: Forgotten Tales by Nozomu TamakiFlight of the Golden Harpy by Susan KlausGakuen Polizi Vol. 1 by  Morinaga MilkGirl of Nightmares by Kendare BlakeHaganai: I Don’t Have Many Friends Vol. 7 by Yomi Hirasaka, art by ItachiStrike Witches: The Sky That Connects Us by Humikane Shimada, art by Yuuki Tanaka

See upcoming releases.

The Week in Review

Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web.

  • Have you been on a literary pub crawl? What do you think of events that combine books and booze? I think they could be a lot of fun. Would you prefer something like this, or a more traditional bookstore event?
  • My favorite science awards happened not too long ago: the Ig Nobel awards!

And, just to make Friday that much sweeter, here’s a list of sweepstakes and sales we have going on!

Book Trailer: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.

Old Gods never die…

Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.

Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra — an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.

These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods — in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.

Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.

Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.

The Goddess War is about to begin.

Antigoddess, by Kendare Blake, released on September 10th!

Throwback Thursdays: The Best, Worst, and BESTWORST Stephen King Adaptations

Welcome to Throwback Thursdays on the Tor/Forge blog! Every other week, we’re delving into our newsletter archives and sharing some of our favorite posts.

On September 10th, Kendare Blake begins a brand new series with the first book in The Goddess Wars, Antigoddess. With Antigoddess, Kendare brings her talent for horror to a whole new world, so to celebrate, we thought we’d dip into our archives and share an article she wrote in August 2012, for the publication of Anna Dressed in Blood. Enjoy this blast from the past, and be sure to check back every other Thursday for more!

Written by Kendare Blake

A couple of months ago, a friend and I were talking about Stephen King adaptations (they were running Stephen King with Story Notes on AMC that week) and got to wondering exactly how many movies had been made from his work. We were able to name so many: Carrie, The Shining, The Stand, Cujo, Misery, The Tommyknockers, Hearts in Atlantis; we could go on and on.

“How many books has the guy written?” my friend wanted to know. “I wonder what percentage have been made into movies?”

So I said, let’s count. “And remember, it’s not only King novels, but short stories that have to be tallied. Movies have been made from short stories, too. 1408, for example. And we might want to track which works have been optioned for film without ever being produced.”

“You’re getting too involved in this,” my friend said.

Based on the rough and lazy count that followed, we arrived at this rough and lazy answer: Stephen King writes a lot of stuff, and a lot of that stuff gets made into movies. Pick up a short story collection, and somewhere inside, a film awaits. The novels are probably optioned before they’re even written. When will we see a movie version of Under The Dome or 11/22/63? The answer?

Someday. Probably. Odds are looking good.

This conversation got me thinking about the best and worst Stephen King adaptations, and I thought I’d share my list, including a special category for the BESTWORST adaptation. And oh yeah, there will probably be spoilers. Here we go.

THE BEST

Stand By Me

Raise your hand if you thought I was going to say The Shawshank Redemption. Ha! Well I didn’t. That would’ve been the obvious choice. Instead I say that this tale, adapted from King’s pensive novella “The Body” does all the things that King does best in his non-supernatural work: it studies the transitory nature of childhood friendships; short-lived but often the most memorable of your life. It’s a beautiful, careful film, carried along by genuine good times and undercut with the constant menace of knowing these kids are in real danger.

THE WORST

Dreamcatcher

Raise your hand if you thought I was going to say Maximum Overdrive. Well I didn’t. I like Maximum Overdrive. It’s hilarious.

No, my vote has to go to Dreamcatcher, a big pile of turd of a movie, complete with horrible CGI aliens that go up your butt and I don’t know, incubate until you poo them out again. If Ridley Scott’s aliens had taken this route, we would never have been able to watch Prometheus, because no other Alien movies would have been made.

Right now, Dreamcatcher is whispering in my ear about how good the acting was, by Jason Lee and Thomas Jane and Damian Lewis and heck, even Morgan Freeman. It’s telling me that the strong childhood friendships are back in abundance. But dammit, no, Dreamcatcher! Just, no.

THE BESTWORST

I was tempted to say Riding the Bullet, because it’s laughably watchable on a Sunday afternoon. And I do recommend you see it, because it’s great watching David Arquette try to make those scary faces. But in my mind, the BESTWORST Stephen King adaptation will always be the 1990 TV miniseries of IT.

I love IT. I own IT, and once a year I order Chinese food and watch IT, and eat right at the part where they get to the Chinese restaurant, because the eyeball in the fortune cookie always makes me giggle. It’s terrible, and fantastic, and features a pre-puberty Seth Green, and a just slightly post puberty John Boy Walton. Is it scary? Not exactly. But Tim Curry flashing between those hanging white bed sheets is undeniably one more reason to distrust clowns.

So there you have it. My list. With so many films based on King’s work, I expect that few will agree with my choices. I invite you to make your case for your own.

It’s important to note that this list is reflective of the movies only, not the works on which they were based. While I don’t doubt that these days King could have a lot of input on how his tales are adapted, I also don’t doubt that for many of these films he had little control, just like most authors. Someday, it would be cool if Anna Dressed in Blood was adapted, and I could be one of those no-control authors. But in case it doesn’t, here’s a short Best/Worst/BestWorst list of possibilities:

Best: Anna Dressed in Awesome: Directed by the dream team of Joss Whedon and Tim Burton, from an adapted screenplay by Neil Gaiman, a dark, visceral tale with undertones the book didn’t even think of and visuals to kill for.

Worst: Anna Dressed in a Red Dress: Anna reimagined as a 1940’s crime noir, in which Anna is a deranged socialite who murders her wealthy stepfather. Hard-boiled private detective Cas Lowood must run down the mystery in a dark coat and one of those hats. Starring an undiscovered Hemsworth brother and a rapidly aging Kardashian sister.

BestWorst: Anna Dressed in Blood: The Musical.

This article is originally from the August 2012 Tor/Forge newsletter. Sign up for the Tor/Forge newsletter now, and get similar content in your inbox twice a month!

Starred Review: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

“Blake presents a gory, thrilling vision of the twilight of the gods, in all their pettiness and power, while letting readers draw their own messages and conclusions.”

Kendare Blake’s Antigoddess got a starred review in Publishers Weekly!

Here’s the full review, from the August 5th issue:

 Blake has a real affinity for the way history shapes the present. In Anna Dressed in Blood, a ghost from the 1950s touched an alienated teen in the present; here, the gods of ancient Greece are living out their final days in agony and war, and taking modern mortals down with them. Cassandra Weaver is an ordinary teenager, aside from her psychic abilities, and she struggles to understand the bloody visions that plague her. She senses a connection with the dying characters in them, but why? And why does her boyfriend, Aidan, so readily accept what’s going on? The action is riveting as tattooed and pierced incarnations of Athena and Hermes close in on Cassandra and Aidan; the more context one brings to the images, the eerier they become. Demeter as a leathery skin stretched across the American desert is creepy; in the context of climate change, she is tragic. Blake presents a gory, thrilling vision of the twilight of the gods, in all their pettiness and power, while letting readers draw their own messages and conclusions. Ages 12–up. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Wolf Literary Services. (Sept.)

Antigoddess published on September 10th.

The Gods are Monsters

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Written by Kendare Blake

Greek gods have always been a source of fascination to me. They are on the one hand, gods, with all that descriptor entails: extreme power, knowledge, immortality. On the other hand, they are oddly human, with more flaws than even their mortal subjects. They’re childish, petty, violent and not above backstabbing. When they do try to help they often do more harm than good (hiding someone by turning them into a tree is not a solution based on good judgment). And considering the oppressive way they ruled, and the punishments doled out at the slightest infraction, “god” probably isn’t the best word for them.

In Antigoddess, the Greek gods are dying. Their deaths seem to come from their very core, their own corruption manifesting itself physically: Poseidon is overtaken by barnacles and slicing coral, his blood turned black as an oil spill. Aphrodite burns with fever and madness, all the love she’s wielded like a weapon on mortals rebounded on her a hundredfold. They’re monsters now, certainly. But weren’t they always? The Greek gods would curse you as soon as look at you. They crushed cities with earthquakes. They waged wars for amusement, treated mortals as if they were plastic soldiers rather than flesh and blood, and held grudges for generations. Sure, they spared some. They even loved some. But with all that red in the bad column, you have to wonder if what’s killing them isn’t just karma.

Or perhaps it isn’t fair to judge them so harshly. Their flaws are our flaws. It’s just that they have the luxury of being untouchable. There’s a scene in Homer’s The Iliad, where the gods, who have been orchestrating the Trojan War, finally grow incensed enough to join the battle physically. They face off. Ares boxes Athena in the ears and she goes crying to Zeus. None sustain real injuries or score real progress in the battle. It’s a temper tantrum. It’s a farce. There will be no lasting scars.

Invulnerability is the monster’s crutch, as it would be for most flawed creatures. Power corrupts, as they say. And absolute power…well. You know. Take it away and you’re left with a panicked, grasping, desperate being with all of a human’s emotional issues and enough muscle to toss a Mack truck.

So when a god of Antigoddess knocks on the door of teenager Cassandra Weaver, it isn’t a savior she sees but a monster. A powerful, frightened monster who has spent an eternity mowing down mortals with no concept of consequence, no concept of time, and no understanding of after. Cassandra sees a god bearing scars, a being that isn’t a force or an embodied idea. It isn’t divine. It walks like a human and bleeds like a human. It wants like a human. But it isn’t human. And Cassandra knows by instinct that it’s going to hurt everyone around her, even when it’s trying to help. That’s just what monsters do.

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From the Tor/Forge September 9th newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

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More from the September 9th Tor/Forge newsletter:

The Week in Review

Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web.

Words of Radiance

  • Speaking of Words of Radiance…in order to make sure that it’s the best sequel it possibly can be, the publication date has been moved to March 4th, 2014.
  • A dedicated fan bought an old Star Trek shuttle craft at auction and restored it to near perfect condition! One of the few times I wish I still lived in Houston (I love Houston, just not the weather, haha).
  • The Name of the Wind may be coming to TV, and Tor.com put together a dream cast for the show. Who would you cast?

And, just to make Friday that much sweeter, here’s a list of sweepstakes and sales we have going on!

Waiting on Wednesday: Antigoddess Sweepstakes

Kendare Blake’s Antigoddess doesn’t hit shelves until September 10, but we have a chance for you to win a copy now!

We have four copies to give away. To enter for the chance to win one, comment below and tell us what your Waiting on Wednesday pick is this week.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins July 31, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. ET. and ends August 6, 2013 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

The Week in Review

Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web.

  • San Diego Comic-Con is here! We’re following all the news coming out of San Diego pretty closely, and are extremely jealous of everyone there (especially our fellow Tor staffers!). If you’re not there either, you may have missed the above video, and it’s totally worth watching – it features George R.R. Martin and Neil Gaiman being awesome.
  • Last but definitely not least, if you’re at San Diego Comic-Con, come say hi!

And, just to make Friday that much sweeter, here’s a list of sweepstakes and sales we have going on!