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Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen to launch new Image Comics series 'Descender'

Writer Jeff Lemire and artist Dustin Nguyen are teaming up for Image Comics’ Descender, a monthly, ongoing science fiction series set to launch in March 2015.

Set in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet, Descender is a story about a lifelike artificial boy named TIM-21 and his struggle to stay alive as the entire universe hunts him down.

Mankind’s persecution of machines stems from a tragedy that takes place 10 years before Descender begins. Planet-sized robots called The Harvesters suddenly appeared and wiped out entire planets before disappearing without a trace. Out of fear, humanity blamed millions of its robotic companions for the Harvesters’ massacre, outlawing them and dispatching bounty hunters called Scrappers to scour the universe for any surviving bots. READ FULL STORY

Get a sneak peek at the next Wimpy Kid book 'The Long Haul'

the-long-haul

We’re pretty sure someone’s going to get carsick in The Long Haul, the ninth book in the Wimpy Kid franchise by Jeff Kinney. Before you ride shotgun in the Heffleys’ minivan on Nov. 4, Abrams will be handing out an excerpt tomorrow at Comic-Con — but if you can’t make it to San Diego, you can see it even earlier right here. In the exclusive excerpt below, the whole Wimpy family takes off on a road trip in Heffley style: Greg fends off a deranged seagull, Mr. Heffley fights his bridge-o-phobia, and everyone fights over the radio dial. READ FULL STORY

Really, Man Booker Prize? 10 male authors, 3 female?

So the longlist for the lucrative Man Booker Prize arrived with a thud this morning: On it are 10 men and three women. Ten men, three women. At surface level, it seems inconceivable, not to mention dispiriting, that in this day and age that there’s still so much sexism in the literary prize world—although there clearly is, and it’s by no means limited to the Man Booker. A fascinating recent article which looked at nonfiction prizes over the last 20 years found that 80 percent of the Pulitzer finalists were male, and 95 percent were white.

Once I began looking into it, I realized that it’s possible that this male-centered longlist isn’t entirely the judges’ fault. The Man Booker, it turns out, has an unusually complex submission process: Publishers are limited to the number of books they may submit by the number of their books that have been longlisted in the previous five years. A publisher who hasn’t had a longlisting at all may submit one book, a publisher who’s had one or two longlistings may submit two books, a publisher with three or four longlistings may submit three books, and publishers with five or more longlistings may submit four books. Each publisher also gets to submit a list of five other titles they believe merit consideration.

The judges can call in some of these books—but they’re limited to just 12 per year. In addition, the rules on books’ British publication dates may have excluded some of last year’s most important novels by women, such as The Goldfinch.

In a way, the submission system makes some sense, since it limits the number of books placed before the judges. (In comparison, the National Book Foundation doesn’t limit the number of novels a publisher may submit, and members of its fiction prize panels are famous for practically drowning in books.)

Given all that, it’s possible that publishers are to blame for the longlist if they submitted books mostly by men. One of the Man Booker judges, Sarah Churchwell, basically tweeted as much:

She also tweeted that she had “many many thoughts on this subject but can’t comment now” and hinted that she had her own issues with the list:

Still, says Laurie Muchnick, fiction editor at Kirkus and president of the National Book Critics Circle, “I find it hard to believe they couldn’t find more women no matter what the pool was like.” And I have to agree with her. Really, Man Booker Prize? Ten men and three women—that’s the best you could do?

On the Books: American authors land on Booker Prize longlist

Joshua Ferris, Karen Joy Fowler, Siri Hustvedt, and Richard Powers are the Americans who made this year’s Man Booker Prize longlist. For the first time, Britain’s most prestigious literary award is open to authors in the U.S., as long as the books are also published in Britain. The list is male-dominated: only three of its 13 writers are women. The toast of America’s literary establishment last year, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, was snubbed. Last year, 28-year-old author Eleanor Catton won for her 800-page novel The Luminaries. A shortlist will be announced on September 9th, and the winner on October 14th. [The New York Times]

In Amazon news, vice president of Kindle Content Russ Grandinetti has asked authors to stop complaining about the company. A group of authors—including Lee Child, Stephen King, John Grisham, and James Patterson—are planning to publish a full-page ad in The New York Times explaining why they are siding against Amazon in the Amazon-Hachette dispute. Grandinetti asked the group to stop publication of the ad, and proposed a plan where Amazon to stock Hachette titles and give authors standard royalties on ebooks. While Amazon and Hachette continue to negotiate among themselves, the proceeds each company normally earns would go to a literacy charity. [Publishers Weekly] READ FULL STORY

3 more J.D. Salinger stories published

Three previously uncollected short stories by J.D. Salinger have been published in a new book. J.D. Salinger: Three Early Stories, published by The Devault-Graves Agency, includes “The Young Folks” (published in a 1940 issue of Story magazine), “Go See Eddie” (published in 1940 in the University of Kansas City Review), and “Once a Week Won’t Kill You” (from a 1944 issue of Story).

Tom Graves, one of the publisher’s founders, told Publishers Weekly that this is the first Salinger book with illustrations, which were made by artist Anna Rose Yoken. However, in keeping with the style of Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories, the cover has no illustration, and Salinger’s biography and picture are not included in the book.

Three Early Stories is the first lawfully published Salinger book in more than 50 years, the last being 1953′s Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction. An unauthorized collection of Salinger’s early short stories appeared in 1974, and Salinger sued its publisher. “Some stories, my property, have been stolen,” Salinger then told The New York Times. “Someone’s appropriated them. It’s an illicit act. It’s unfair. Suppose you had a coat you liked and somebody went into your closet and stole it. That’s how I feel.” The three stories published by Devault-Graves are different from the three unauthorized stories—”The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” “Paula,” and “Birthday Boy”—which leaked online last year.

According to the recent book Salinger, by David Shields and Shane Salerno, the Salinger estate plans to publish five more of the author’s books by 2020. Those books will reportedly include a collection of stories about the Glass family (featured in Nine Stories and Franny and Zooey), a collection of stories about the Caulfield family, books based on his experiences in WWII, and a manual of the Hindu Vedanta religion, which he followed in his later years.

Chuck Palahniuk's 'Fight Club' comic-book sequel now has artist, publisher

In case you were prone to doubt the author of a book with a famously unreliable narrator, Fight Club 2 is really happening, and it is definitely going to be a comic book.

The news first broke at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con, although there were few details outside of a quick plot summary. Now, days before this year’s convention, Palahniuk has more to share.

In an interview with USA Today, the author announced that the project now has a publisher and an artist attached. The first issue of Fight Club 2, a 10-issue limited series with art by Cameron Stewart (famous for that hip new Batgirl redesign with fellow artist Babs Tarr), will be available in May 2015.

As for plot, the series will be set 10 years after the novel’s end, but will also deal with events set in the past. The protagonist of the novel has settled down with his troubled love interest Marla Singer and a nine-year-old son, with whom his relationship isn’t all that great.

Also making a return is the narrator’s personified id, Tyler Durden, whom Palahniuk hints is something different than we may have thought him to be.

“Tyler is something that maybe has been around for centuries and is not just this aberration that’s popped into his mind,” Palahniuk told USA Today. 

Read the rest of the interview over at USA Today.

'Eat Pray Love' author Elizabeth Gilbert on the books of her life

To celebrate the paperback publication of her triumphant return to fiction, The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert, author or Eat, Pray, Love, talked to us about the books she loves, her literary blind spots, and the works that have shaped her as a writer and as a person.

My favorite childhood books
The Wizard of Oz series. Those stories are such a wild and unpredictable protofeminist mythological fever dream. What’s not to love? Also, as a restless farm girl myself, I identified, big-time.

The book I enjoyed most in school
In third grade, a thoughtful teacher introduced us to The Phantom Tollbooth. I think school reading pretty much peaked right there.

A book I read in secret
I am a child of the 1970s, so my secret reading was—and could only ever have been—that thrillingly wicked mixed classic cocktail of Forever and Flowers in the Attic.

The book that cemented me as a writer
I love that you think I’m cemented as a writer.

The books I’ve read over and over
The only things I can go back to forever and ever, without tiring, are certain poems. Walt Whitman will always be there. Also, Sharon Olds, Jack Gilbert, Seamus Heaney, Hafiz, Tennyson, good old Mary Oliver. I suppose this is because reading poetry is like listening to music, and you never get tired of your favorite songs.

A classic I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read
God help me, but it’s Ulysses. I’ve tried a dozen times, but I’ve never gotten past the opening pages. I feel like I’m being punk’d whenever I try to read post-Dubliners James Joyce. I always want to look up from the book and ask everyone in the world, “Seriously?! You guys are seriously following this?” READ FULL STORY

Thomas Berger, author of 'Little Big Man,' dies at 89

Thomas Berger, the author of 20 books in a wide range of genres, including the western epic Little Big Man, has died. He was 89.

Published in 1964, Little Big Man tells the tale of Jack Crabb, a character narrating the story of his life at age 111. Crabb was adopted by a Native American tribe after his white settler family was killed, and grows up to meet legendary figures of the wild west. The book was adapted into a movie by Arthur Penn in 1970, starring Dustin Hoffman.

Throughout his career, Berger worked in a wide variety of genres and approached other famous books from different angles. Robert Crews was a survival story in the vein of Robinson CrusoeAdventures of the Artificial Woman was science-fiction, Killing Time was a horror novel, and his four “Reinhart” books were semi-autobiographical.

Berger has been called a recluse, and rarely gave interviews, but he formed a longtime friendship with Time film critic and journalist Richard Schickel. In a 1980 interview with Schickel, published in The New York Times, he shared his thoughts on writing. “Why does one write? Because it isn’t there! Unlike Everest and other celebrated eminences. Beginners sometime ask me how a novel is written, the answer to which is: Any way at all. One knows only when it is finished, and then if one is at all serious, he will never do it the same way again.”

Here are the 15 best short stories you can read at the 'New Yorker'

Now that the New Yorker has opened its paywalled gates for every article since 2007 for the next three months, there’s never been a better time to read through its legendary archive of short stories. Since the magazine’s inception, it’s published work from some of the last century’s most important writers, including John Updike (pictured above), Vladimir Nabokov, J.D. Salinger, and Alice Munro. Many of the stories are behind a paywall, but check them out if you have a subscription. Here are EW’s picks for the New Yorker‘s best stories:

“The Bear Came Over the Mountain” by Alice Munro (free)

“Town of Cats” by Haruki Murakami (free) READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling plans to write more about Cormoran Strike than Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling said that she plans to tell the story of Cormoran Strike, the war-veteran detective who stars in her books The Cuckoo’s Calling and The Silkworm, in more than seven novels, outnumbering her Harry Potter books.

“I really love writing these books, so I don’t know that I’ve got an end point in mind,” Rowling said at Harrogate’s Crime Writing Festival. “One of the things I absolutely love about this genre is that, unlike Harry, where there was an overarching story, a beginning and an end, you’re talking about discrete stories. So while a detective lives, you can keep giving him cases.”

Rowling said she’ll write more more novels than in the Harry Potter series, but the Harry Potter books include more than just seven novels. There are also three others: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find ThemQuidditch Through the Ages, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard. All of those books were written pseudonymously with names from characters of the Harry Potter universe.

Writing more books under the Robert Galbraith pseudonym could be a useful way to divert attention from the overwhelming influence of the Harry Potter series on Rowling’s reputation as a writer; Harry Potter is still Rowling’s signature character, but if “Galbraith” writes more stories with Cormoran Strike, Rowling’s reputation may change. Of course, Harry Potter is a media franchise unto itself, including billion-dollar-grossing movies and theme park rides, while Cormoran Strike is the star of just two books, so it has a long way to go if it wants to compete with Potter.

In addition to the Cormoran Strike series, Rowling is working on screenplays for a trilogy of films based on Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

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