We caught the final Harry Potter movie on Sunday. It was an impressive finale to the series, and they clearly made the right decision in splitting the last book across two movies so they could actually put some weight behind the story instead of just running down the bullet points. That was one of the problems I had with the fifth and sixth films

Still, I’m most impressed that the movies finished, and didn’t stop partway through the series with dwindling budgets and audience interest. His Dark Materials couldn’t get past the first film, and based on the box office, it’s pretty clear that the current Narnia films aren’t going to continue beyond Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

Eight movies over a decade, adapting a complete series, and going out with a bang? That’s an impressive feat right there!

One of the panels I hit on Thursday was called “Twisting Genres,” and brought in a bunch of authors who had all written books that mixed and matched traditional genres. (western and horror, historical fiction and dragons, etc.) It was essentially the same topic as the “Blurring the Lines of Genre” discussion I saw at Westercon, but with a completely different set of authors who stayed a bit more on-topic (possibly because they had a moderator).

Of course, just because they stayed on topic doesn’t mean they weren’t funny.


“Where do you shelve that?” Maryelizabeth Hart on the impact of mixed-genre novels on bookstores.

“I’m part-Australian, and required by law to put Australian content in my book. It was either that or the Sydney Opera House.” — Scott Westerfeld, explaining the presence of a Tasmanian Tiger in the Leviathan Trilogy.

“You have these ideas in your head and they start having sex with each other, and these strange webbed babies come out…” — Daryl Gregory(?) on how genre mash-ups are born.

“Awesome plus awesome does not always equal two awesome. Sometimes it’s an abomination, like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.” — China Miéville, a few minutes after Naomi Novik cited them as an example of how mixing things does work.

“It’s Dinosaur Love Story!” China Miéville on the classic Hollywood “X+Y” pitch.


Something that came up at both this panel and the Westercon discussion was that mainstream literature is a genre in itself, with its own sets of rules and expectations. I think it was China Miéville who described it as a genre with a successful thirty-year marketing campaign to convince people that it isn’t a genre.

Justin Cronin explained that he crossed over from mainstream literature when his nine-year-old daughter was terribly concerned that his other books might be boring, so he launched a project with just one rule: it must be interesting. He eventually submitted The Passage under a pseudonym so that his name wouldn’t set up the wrong expectations.

Robert Masello said he once had an editor try to “help” him by explaining that they could take the supernatural elements out of his story and it would work just fine… (Ouch.)

One author had a friend who had written a serious novel with the word “Spices” in the title, and got on a radio show to promote it. The host hadn’t read it, and introduced it as a cookbook. So he spent the next half hour giving out recipes. “Why didn’t you correct him?” “It’ll sell more as a cookbook.”

The question was asked whether there are any two genres that are inherently disastrous. Naomi Novik suggested that no two genres were automatically so. China Miévelle said that his brain immediately responded to that question by trying to think of ridiculous combinations…and then figure out how to write a brilliant book with them.

But yeah, a driver’s manual with an unreliable narrator is probably a bad idea.

»Full index of Comic-Con posts and photos.

Quotes from “Once Upon a Time,” a panel at Comic-Con International in which fantasy authors discussed whether epic fantasy requires larger than life heroes.

Brandon Sanderson: “I would say, if Tolkien did it, it’s okay.”

Christopher Paolini: “I write…Mary Sues, and that’s okay.”

Maryelizabeth Hart: “We’re gonna start with Patrick [Rothfuss] so he can’t argue with anyone.”
Patrick Rothfuss: “I just wanted the opportunity to disagree with myself.”

Megan Whalen Turner on the typical vagueness of prophecies: “What if there was a prophecy that said, ‘The One will come. And he will have a 63% chance of defeating…”

Brent Weeks on the X saves Y structure: “I mean, is there…nobody saves nobody?”
Megan Whalen Turner: “They all die.”
Brent Weeks: “And that’s George Martin.”

Panel held Thursday, July 22, 2010.

»Full index of Comic-Con posts and photos.

Finally! Dynamite Comics has scheduled the final issue of Robert Jordan’s New Spring for June, 2010.


32 pages FC • $3.99 • Teen +


The long awaited conclusion is here!

The Historic binding of Al’Lan Mandragoran as Warder to Moiraine of the Aes Sedai is upon us and the search ensues for the Dragon Reborn, so that he may be saved to fulfill his destiny and oppose the Dark One in an ultimate Last Battle. However, followers of the Dark One also know the prophecy and a desperate race ensues with the fate of all mankind hanging in the balance. The Adventure has just begun!

It looks like they’ve changed artists. Also, I don’t recall Moiraine looking quite so much like Raven from The New Teen Titans. 🙂

The solicitations actually went out at the end of March, but I didn’t notice since I was busy getting ready for vacation at the time. I have a Google Alert set up to catch news, but it turns out I never switched out “Dabel Brothers” for “Dynamite” in the search terms. Oops.

According to Westfield Comics, the planned release date is June 30, 2010. If it ships on time, that’s seven months after Dynamite took over Dabels’ catalog, almost a year after the previous issue shipped, and almost five years since the first issue was published in August 2005.

It’s also the series’ third publisher. The first five issues were produced by Dabel Brothers and published by Red Eagle Entertainment before the series went on hiatus. Then issues #6 and #7 were published directly by Dabel Brothers. And now #8 is coming from Dynamite.

Update: Dynamite has a preview of the issue on their website.

Update 2: It looks like it may be out a lot sooner!.

Update 3: Yes, I picked it up on May 12, 2010!

Wheel of Time: The Gathering StormThis weekend I finished reading the new Wheel of Time novel, The Gathering Storm. Now that I’ve read it, I can definitely say that Brandon Sanderson was a good choice to finish the series from Robert Jordan’s notes, and that splitting the final book into three was the right approach. It may be a doorstopper, but it would be difficult to cut more than a tiny amount without diminishing the impact of what remained.

No spoilers unless you don’t want to know which characters appear in the book. In which case, stop reading now. It focuses primarily on Rand, Egwene, and their respective entourages, though most of the other major characters make appearances. If I were to guess, the next book (Towers of Midnight) will probably focus mainly on Rand and Mat, and maybe Elayne. Katie reminded me that the title is a Seanchan reference, plus there’s another mission — well, quest, really — being built up involving a tower. (Not to mention the White Tower and Black Tower, of course!)

As in Knife of Dreams (and unlike Crossroads of Twilight), things happen in this book! There’s a growing sense of urgency throughout the novel, and everyone who can is pushing hard to have everything in place for the coming apocalypse. For some characters it’s a personal journey. For others it’s political. And for some, it’s simply geographical.

As far as meshing with the rest of the series goes, the only thing that stood out for me was that points of view would switch in the middle of a chapter more often than I expected. It’s not that Robert Jordan never did it, but I remember it being rare outside of the prologues. Brandon Sanderson is more likely to take what would have been two shorter, thematically linked chapters and combine them into one. Katie also noticed one spot early on that one character from Tarabon didn’t speak with the Taraboner dialect — but only the one instance, and one in which the phrasing would have been awkward. It still reads like a Wheel of Time book.

I wish Robert Jordan had been able to finish his epic himself, but it looks like we’re getting the next best thing.