Time and Goodreads each talk to Audrey Niffenegger about her new novel Her Fearful Symmetry.
NPR’s All Things Considered explores William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch 50 years after publication.
I’m a big fan of the comic series Fables. Bill Willingham, creator of the series, has written a novel set in the universe called Peter & Max: A Fables Novel. io9 reviews the new book.
An anti-prostitution group in Mexico is seeking to halt production on the movie adaptation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel Memories of My Melancholy Whores.
The New York Times profiles A.S. Byatt, whose newest novel The Children’s Book was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.
Margaret Atwood is interviewed by the LA Times’ Jacket Copy blog.
The Times Online unveils the best books of the past 60 years as named by their readers.
Aleksandar Hemon, whose book The Lazarus Project I reviewed earlier, is interviewed at Deutsche Welle.
Prospect interviews Nick Hornby, whose Juliet, Naked
is only nine days from hitting bookstands.
Joe Hill’s awesome Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
was awarded Best Comic Book/Graphic Novel by the British Fantasy Society. We’re big fans of Joe around these parts, and wish our heartiest congratulations to him.
Paste looks at eight books that will be translated to the big screen before the end of 2009.
Mike, my friendly neighborhood comic book store guy, strongly recommended The Unwritten to me as something he was confident I would love. I immediately noted that it’s a book from Vertigo, which does indeed instantly increase its chances of being something I’d go for. Some of my favorite comics are from their imprint, including Fables, Sandman, Air, and Y the Last Man.
The book opens in a world that looks a lot like, well, Harry Potter. There’s a boy hero named Tommy Taylor who wears glasses, and he has two friends – a boy and a girl – who help him in his battle against a dark…something or other. The scene shifts to a comic convention, where a young man named Tom Taylor – the son of the author, who disappeared years ago – is signing books. Tom obviously resents having to rely on his father’s work to make a living, but it’s the only thing that seems to stick (he’s tried being a musician, a writer, all sorts of things).
Things get weird at the convention when a woman in the audience suggests that Tom might not have been the writer’s son after all, and soon he’s accused of faking it to get the writer’s money. Oddly, though, what we find out instead is that Tom in fact seems to be the real Tommy – and that his nemesis is real as well as his childhood friends. A nice element of the art is that Tom undergoes some changes in appearance through issue #1 – and by the end he really does look like a grown-up Tommy.
It’s all a pretty strong setup for a series, and I look forward to seeing where it goes. The art is quite solid (and reminds me of Fables, really). I’ll be getting the next issues (we’re already up to #5) so I can see what happens next.
We all know that Hollywood is creatively bankrupt. Just look at all of the various “re-imaginings”, remakes, and movies based on toys if you have any doubt. Another source for Hollywood inspiration is books of all sorts – novels, non-fiction, graphic novels, kid-lit and comic books. Sometimes, these adaptations work extraordinarily well (The Lord of the Rings, Silence of the Lambs, No Country for Old Men), but more often, people find themselves disappointed that the movie desecrated a book they loved. As they’re about to enter theaters, I’ll take a quick look at these book-to-film projects, starting today with Whiteout.
Whiteout is a thriller/murder mystery set in Antarctica and is based on a limited-run comic book series written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Steve Lieber. The main character is a female US Marshal who struggles against a sinister killer as well as some bitter cold as she attempts to uncover the secrets behind the murders.
I’ve actually read Whiteout, and though its my understanding that it’s fairly highly regarded, it left me a little cold (get it? Ha ha!). I liked that the central character was female and drawn realistically, but that’s about as far as it went. I never found myself particularly invested in their stories, which made it difficult for me to care whether she solved the mystery or if something terrible happened to her. It’s one of those books that I basically forgot about five minutes after I finished it.
It’s surprising, then, that someone thought there was enough mileage in Whiteout to expand to a full-length feature film. (I’d guess that the entire book takes about 40 minutes to read.) Sure, the challenges of filming a story set in Antarctica might be interesting visually, but as far as having a truly gripping story or engaging characters, there would have to be some significant work done. Considering that Kate Beckinsale was cast in the lead role – and she looks more like most “typical” female comic book characters than the one in Whiteout – it seems like the primary redeeming aspect of the book was left behind anyway.
If reviews are any indication, it looks like critics would have you steer clear of the movie, too. As I write this, Whiteout is 2% Fresh (thats *one* out of 50 reviews) at RottenTomatoes, the film review aggregator site. I suppose that’s what comes from choosing to adapt such average material in the first place.