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Richelle Mead talks about latest Bloodlines novel, 'Silver Shadows'

Silver-Shadows

Silver Shadows, the fifth installment in Richelle Mead’s Bloodlines series hits shelves today. Here, Mead answers some of burning (and spoiler-free) questions about the latest novel in her Vampire Academy spin-off series.

As for all those moments that can’t be discussed about until after you’ve read the book, know this: “There’s definitely a lot of unresolved issues from this book that are going to carry over into The Ruby Circle,” Mead says. “Sydney and Adrian deal with a lot in Silver Shadows, and it’s not the kind of stuff you can just shake off.” Below, watch an exclusive trailer for Silver Shadows. READ FULL STORY

On the Books: There are too many poets laureate in the U.S.

The New York Times examines the rampant wave of poets laureate in the United States. “‘I’ve been to places where there is a poet laureate for every ZIP code,’ Billy Collins, a former United States and New York State laureate, said. ‘The country is crawling with them. I think it’s out of control.'” [The New York Times]

An excerpt from Haruki Murakami’s upcoming book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, and an interactive introduction to the novel. [Slate]

Diamond, a comic book distribution company, released its mid-2014 state-of-the-industry report. Comic book merchandise sales are up, but actual comic book sales are down. [Publishers Weekly]

Andrew Crofts, one of the most successful writers you’ve never heard of, speaks about his ghostwriting career. He’s written 80 books in 40 years, and his books have sold over 10 million copies. He earns more than most professional writers, and charges an average of six figures (in pounds) for his books. [The Guardian]

Reviewing three new books about banned literature (UlyssesDoctor Zhivago, and The Satanic Verses), Leo Robinson digs into the history of literary censorship. “An often heard literary argument against censorship is that—as well as misrepresenting novels—it dominates their reputations.” [The New Statesman]

In a wide-ranging interview, The Rumpus talks to novelist and Authors Guild co-vice president Ricard Russo about the Amazon-Hachette dispute, a career in writing fiction, and the future of publishing. [The Rumpus]

The New Yorker highlights five pieces from its archive about New York City. [The New Yorker]

The comics of Comic-Con, Day 1: Image Expo, Marvel's AXIS, and Vertigo

Sure, all the screenings, TV panels, and movie announcements are great, but isn’t Comic-Con about comics? What’s going on with them?

Lots. Throughout the convention, every major publisher in the comics biz will have at least one panel announcing exciting new books and bold new directions, and teasing what may be coming in the near future. Who knows—the basis of your next favorite TV series could be here. Want a quick recap? Here’s what happened on Day 1:

Image

Image Comics got off to an early start, holding their own Image Expo event Wednesday night, the day before the official start of San Diego Comic-Con. After a keynote speech by Publisher Eric Stephenson, the news came hard and fast. Twelve new series were announced as their respective creators were brought on stage to introduce them. The new titles announced:

• Valhalla Mad, by Joe Casey and Paul Maybury, about Norse Gods partying in Manhattan. Begins spring 2015.

• Tooth and Claw by Kurt Busiek, Ben Dewey, and Jordie Bellaire. Described as “Conan meets Game of Thrones meets Kamandi,” the high-fantasy epic begins November 2014.

• Tokyo Ghost by Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, and Matt Hollingsworth. In 2189, the world is a wasteland, and entertainment is the drug that everyone needs—and the mob has. Coming summer 2015.

• The Humans by Keenan Marshall Kellar, Tom Neely, and Kristina Collantes. An ape biker gang, ’70s exploitation-style. No typos there. Starts November 2014.

• Southern Cross by Becky Cloonan and Andy Belanger. On a space tanker to Titan, a woman is haunted by ominous threats. Coming winter 2014.

• Rumble by John Arcudi and James Harren. Described as “like a scarecrow-Conan fighting in a Louis C.K. show directed by David Fincher,” the creators promise a genre bender with heaps of strange. Begins this December.

• Invisible Republic by Gabriel Hardman and Corrina Bechko. A sci-fi action-adventure about the rise of an empire, coming in 2015. Also announced: Hardman’s digital-only series KINSKI will be coming to print in November.

• Intersect by Ray Fawkes. A horror story about a city gone mad. Launching in November.

• Injection by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire. A science fiction series about “the dark future we’ve built for ourselves.” Begins in 2015.

• From Under Mountains  by Marion Churchland, Claire Gibson, and Sloane Leong. A magical fantasy in which rival houses struggle for power in the isolated country of Akhara. Begins in 2015.

• Drifter by Ivan Brandon and Nic Klien. A space transport crashes on a lawless frontier world. Begins this November.

• Descender by Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen. A robot boy struggles to stay alive as the universe hunts him down. Read EW’s first look here. Launches March 2015.

Marvel: AXIS and more

Marvel’s first comic-centric panel was all about October’s big AXIS story, which spins out of the story unfolding in Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers. In Uncanny, the Red Skull has obtained the nigh-unlimited telepathic powers of the late Charles Xavier—and in AXIS, he’s finally mastered them to become The Red Onslaught.

Like any big event comic, the story will have a number of tie-in books, notably featuring Spider-Man villians Hobgoblin and Carnage. Hinted at but not discussed: what the events in AXIS have to do with Iron Man’s new look.

Also announced was All-New Captain America: Fear Him, a six-part digital comic beginning in October which features Sam Wilson, the new Captain America. Written by Dennis Hopeless and illustrated by Szymon Kudranski, the miniseries will have Wilson deciding what sort of Captain America he wants to be while battling The Scarecrow (The Marvel Scarecrow. They have one, too).

Finally, coinciding with the premiere of the next Avengers film will be the new Original Graphic Novel Avengers: Rage of Ultron. Although the title is only one letter removed from the blockbuster film’s title, Rage of Ultron is a standalone story completely unrelated to the plot of the film. The story will focus on redefining the relationship between Ultron and creator Hank Pym for readers new and old (in the film, Ultron is created by Iron Man Tony Stark). The book goes on sale in April 2015.

For a detailed recap of the panel, check out Comics Beat.

Vertigo

No new announcements were made at Vertigo’s panel Thursday night, but creators were on hand to discuss the future of a few of the publisher’s popular titles. Readers can expect Scott Snyder’s American Vampire to feature space chimp vampires (really), along with Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham’s soon-to-be concluded Fables ending with “body bags.”

Also discussed were previously announced upcoming titles Suiciders, The Names, Bodies, and The Kitchen.

For more details, head on over to The Los Angeles Times.

What We're (Re-)Reading Now: 'The Mists of Avalon' by Marion Zimmer Bradley

MISTS-OF-AVALON

You know what I’m a sucker for? Feminism. Also, genre fiction, especially the fantastical sort. Which is why the only reason I hadn’t read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon before this week is that it was published six years before I was born. (A poor reason, given many of the works I love most share this characteristic, but I felt compelled to at least try to explain it.) It’s a re-telling of the Arthurian legend from the perspective of the female leads in the story.

Boom. Femisnist re-tellings, well-established fantasy—hook, line, and sinker, I am in. Please, someone get me a copy!

Unfortunately, I came across this book via a discussion of the child-molestation revelations, accusations, and court-cases against Zimmer Bradley in a recent EW meeting. This knowledge and context has certainly clouded my reading, making passages involving young women and their ‘sexual awakenings’ more than just moderately uncomfortable. In other works handling this time period and religion, I might pass it all off as abhorrent practices that would never be accepted by contemporary society—but that isn’t entirely possible given the circumstances. I didn’t realize how much comfort I take as a reader in assuming that  I share a similar moral compass with an author. That doesn’t exist here, and adds a perpetual unease to the experience. (Note: It’s not a short experience. The book is roughly 900 pages.) READ FULL STORY

J.K. Rowling makes an appearance as male pseudonym Robert Galbraith

As fans of J.K. Rowling know, the author doesn’t make many public appearances—which is why Rowling shocked fans last week when she showed up to the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing festival in England. Only she wasn’t there as J.K. Rowling: She was there as Robert Galbraith. READ FULL STORY

Charlotte Bronte's 1824 school report card: 'Knows nothing of grammar'

Here’s some hopeful news if you were ever told by your teachers that you’d never amount to anything: In grade school, Charlotte Brontë’s teachers at the Clergy Daughters School said she “[wrote] indifferently” and “[knew] nothing of grammar, geography, history, or accomplishments.” Slate dug up the reports, which were reprinted in the January 1900 issue of The Journal of Education: A Monthly Record and Review.

Patrick Brontë sent his four oldest daughters to the school after his wife died. Three of them—Emily, Maria, and Elizabeth—didn’t exactly get positive feedback there. Emily Brontë got the most praise (which is still faint): “Reads very prettily,” her report read. According to the report, Maria Brontë (who died of an illness shortly after leaving the school) “made some progress in reading French, but knows nothing of the language grammatically.” Elizabeth Brontë, who also died young of an illness, “Knows nothing of grammar, geography, history, or accomplishments.”

Of course, Charlotte and Emily Brontë became feminist icons and two of England’s most renowned novelists, and Charlotte’s Jane Eyre and Emily’s Wuthering Heights are in the canon of British literature. Poor Anne Brontë, whose work is often overlooked in favor of her sisters’, didn’t even go to the same school.

Read an excerpt from 'The Infinite Sea' by Rick Yancey

The-Infinite-Sea

The Fifth Wave rocked earth back in 2013, garnering rave reviews and hordes of fans. The alien invasion survival story by Rick Yancey — about a girl named Cassie Sullivan left to fend for herself in a decimated world — has already caught Hollywood’s attention: Sony Pictures has a film in the works with Chloë Grace Moretz to star. The release is planned for Jan. 29, 2016.

In the meantime, the sequel, The Infinite Sea, will hit shelves on Sept. 16 this year. See below for an exclusive, action-packed excerpt! READ FULL STORY

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?

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