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Chuck Palahniuk working on graphic novel Fight Club sequel

If you purposefully avoided any and all news coming out of San Diego’s Comic-Con this past weekend, well, who could blame you, but amongst the attendees in ill-fitting lycra bodysuits and the adverts for adverts for forthcoming Hollywood blockbusters sat the panel of authors “Ode to Nerds”, and on that panel sat Chuck Palahniuk, who dropped a piece of comic book news that may even be of interest to those who don’t know that Spider-Man is hyphenated. Asked by an audience member what he was currently working on, the ever-prolific Palahniuk revealed that, following his soon-to-be-published novel Doomed, another novel, Beautiful You, and a book of short stories, both due for publication in 2014, he plans to release a sequel to his iconic 1996 debut Fight Club – as a graphic novel. Continue Reading →

Faulkner estate loses fair usage lawsuit you forgot existed

Hey, remember last year when the estate of William Faulkner brought a lawsuit against Sony Pictures Classics for copyright infringement after Woody Allen’s literary 2011 comedy Midnight In Paris paraphrased a famous line consisting of nine words from Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun as the set-up for an otherwise throwaway gag? No, of course you don’t, because the triumph of such a lawsuit would prove nonsensically restrictive to the dialogue that has existed between works of art since time immemorial, its ultimate defeat so foregone a conclusion that to commit even the generalities of the suit to memory would be a waste of grey matter that might be better used amassing quotations from Faulkner’s corpus with which to taunt the miserly spirit who brought the case in the first place. And so it went, with federal judge Michael Mills (not that one) this past Thursday agreeing with Sony that Allen’s nod to the author of The Sound and the Fury did indeed constitute fair usage so [INSERT HACKY JOKE ABOUT SOUND AND FURY SIGNIFYING NOTHING]. Continue Reading →

Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne releasing comic book

Never a man to do things the easy way, whether it’s recording a song that runs a full 24 hours or proceeding to embed five copies of said song on USBs in actual real-life human skulls, Flaming Lips frontman, acid casualty (if ‘casualty’ is the right word) and noted Google Maps bathtub dweller Wayne Coyne has revealed plans for his debut foray into publishing, and needless to say it’s far from the straightforward memoir you might expect from such an alt-rock institution. No, instead Coyne has written and drawn a comic book, The Sun is Sick, which will see its initial release at this weekend’s Comic-Con in San Diego before going on sale in The Flaming Lips’ official webstore this coming Monday, July 22nd. Long-time Lips followers will be in no way surprised to discover that the cover features a naked woman holding a gory eyeball against a psychedelic backdrop, given that that’s a pretty apt summation of where Coyne and the band have been at lately, i.e. always. Continue Reading →

Former Royal Military Policeman turns out to be JK Rowling

Proving once and for all that nothing sells a book like a little showmanship and/or discovering that the author is one of the biggest sellers in the history of print, readers across the country are eagerly awaiting a reprint of Robert Galbraith’s debut novel The Cuckoo’s Calling following Galbraith’s admission to the Sunday Times at the weekend that he isn’t actually a former plain-clothes Royal Military Police investigator who had left the armed forces in 2003 to work in the civilian security industry but is in fact JK Rowling. JK Rowling, in case there was any doubt, is not some coincidentally initialled guy called James Kevin Rowling or something but is definitely the self-same author of the Harry Potter novels and The Casual Vacancy. In other news, this means my own theory that ‘Cormac McCarthy’ is just the pen name James Patterson uses when he wants to stretch his wings a little could still be in play. Continue Reading →

Amazon launching comics imprint

In its continuing efforts to leave no income stream untapped, especially if other people are already drinking from it, definite potential comic book supervillain Amazon has found an entirely appropriate new means of expanding its plans for world domination: By itself printing the adventures of comic book supervillains, with the launch of its new comic and graphic novel imprint Jet City Comics. In a move akin to Apple deciding it wants iTunes to branch out into vinyl, the imprint will publish in both digital and print formats. Continue Reading →

Shortlist announced for this year’s Melita Hume Poetry Prize

Back in February, we reported that the Melita Hume Poetry Prize was open for submissions for its second year of discovering young UK poetry talent. Five months later, publishers and award backers Eyewear and judge Jon Stone have whittled entries down to a shortlist of thirteen nominees which was announced late last week. Having initially predicted a shortlist of between six and ten, the publisher says the number of nominees is down to the year, so for better odds we’d suggest holding off entering as long as you can whilst still being eligible to participate. Continue Reading →

Arthur C. Clarke’s hair to be launched into space

In slightly more optimistic news of sci-fi death than we’ve been accustomed to of late, a strand of Arthur C. Clarke’s hair is set to be launched into space on the Sunjammer solar sail next year. Named after Clarke’s eponymous 1963 short story, the sail will be launched by aerospace funeral company (definitely a thing) Celestis on a memorial flight into deep space, bearing that one piece of the revered author’s remains alongside ash samples from Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry, his wife Majel Barrett Rodenberry and James Doohan, who played Scotty on the original Star Trek series. Somewhere out there, several fanboys are currently mulling over some decisions about their future. Continue Reading →

R.I.P. Richard Matheson

In what has been an exceptionally cruel twelve months for beloved authors of science-fiction, following the deaths of both Ray Bradbury and Iain Banks, word has now also come that Richard Matheson has died aged 87 after a long illness at his home in Calabasas, California. Perhaps best known as a writer of short stories and novels - several of which were adapted into well-known films and episodes of television – his body of work also spanned screenplays, teleplays and even a piece of spiritual philosophy, all of which proved hugely influential to subsequent dabblers in the realm of the fantastic Continue Reading →

Fifty Shades film finally confirms director

In further news of cinematic adaptations of novels that may entail extensive use of prosthetics, it appears that the Fifty Shades of Grey film – which feels like it’s been in production since before the books were actually written even though it still hasn’t started filming – may finally have a confirmed director. Disappointing all those who had hoped Gus Van Sant may have chased his feted ‘Death trilogy’ of Gerry, Elephant and Last Days with a petite mort trilogy, Variety is reporting that the position has been filled (fnar fnar, etc.) by Sam Taylor-Johnson, formerly Sam Taylor-Wood, celebrated visual artist turned director of John Lennon biopic Nowhere Boy and spouse of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, star of that film, Kick-Ass and Anna Karenina. Continue Reading →

Tom Hanks reteams with Cloud Atlas director for Eggers film

Having already acted as hard as his wigs, dentures and sundry other facial prosthetics would allow in the big screen version of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Tom Hanks is to reteam with one of that film’s three directors for a cinematic adaptation of Dave Eggers’ National Book Award nominated novel A Hologram For The King. That director, Tom Tykwer – whose CV also includes the cultishly adored Run Lola Run and his nutzoid, go-for-broke adaptation of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume – has already written a script based on Eggers’ book and it now appears to be a simple case of securing funding for a prestigious literary adaptation starring one of the most popular movie stars on the planet, so shooting should be underway by the time you read this. Continue Reading →

1984 enjoys sales boost from shocked, ill-read populace

In light of the revelations earlier this week that America’s National Security Administration totally cares what you thought of Man of Steel, no really, post some more statuses and links to back up your theory because it’s fascinating, it follows that anyone genuinely surprised that this has been going on for years would immediately go out and buy a copy of George Orwell’s 1984 because they clearly haven’t read it already. And that is indeed what has happened these past few days, with Amazon in the US reporting a sales rise of 5,771% for the novel as of this past Tuesday. Hopefully all those who bought the book as a reaction to the news will read it over the coming days and then be able to laugh at the irony of their act of groupthink. Continue Reading →

Iain Banks dies weeks before publication of final novel

Though we were all aware it was coming, if resolutely optimistic that it somehow wouldn’t, few expected it quite so soon after its initial discovery, and on this past Sunday, word filtered out from his family and friends that Iain Banks had died, aged 59, of the inoperable gall bladder cancer he revealed to the world a little over two months ago. When that news initially broke, I wrote here that an author so thoroughly humanistic, so vital, who revelled so in the here and now, would likely abhor any kind of wailing and gnashing of teeth on his part, and that we should celebrate him while we still had the chance. Now we may no longer have the chance to say it to his face, or in any kind of form that will reach him, but if the legacy of a great man means anything to his readers, the celebration should by no means be ended by a piddling thing like death. Continue Reading →

Malorie Blackman named eighth Children’s Laureate

Malorie Blackman has this week become the latest author to join the storied ranks of the UK’s Children’s Laureates, taking over the biennially awarded position from prior incumbent Julia Donaldson. The role is given to writers or illustrators of work for children as a means of recognising outstanding achievement in their field, with recipients also given a bursary of £15,000 and an inscribed silver medal. The Laureate is chosen by a selection panel who consider nominations from librarians, critics, writers, literature development workers, booksellers and children who vote through the Laureate website. Continue Reading →

…And a Baileys for the Women’s Prize For Fiction

Later today, the winner of this year’s Women’s Prize For Fiction will be announced as either Hilary Mantel, Barbara Kingsolver, Kate Atkinson, A.M. Homes, Zadie Smith or Maria Semple. Yesterday, however, it was revealed that the prize’s name – which, until last year, was more commonly given as the Orange Prize for Fiction after its corporate sponsor, a sponsor which no longer exists as a separate entity in the UK – will be changing yet again, thanks to a new three year sponsorship deal with Baileys. There now follows a pause, the better for you to get all the Mighty Boosh quotations out of your system, person from 2006 who is somehow reading this. Continue Reading →

Waterstones wants to hear about ‘The Book That Made Me…’

In its latest attempt at marketing disguised as just a big ‘aren’t books great?’ love-in, Waterstones is asking readers across the country to submit their recollections of ‘The Book That Made Me…‘. Quoth the blurb: ‘Books are powerful things. They can introduce us to new ideas. Give us the courage to do what we couldn’t do before. Even transform our lives completely. The Book That Made Me… is an ongoing collection of stories about lives that have been changed by books.’ Submissions of 100 words or fewer can be made either in store or, naturally, online via this form, which further elaborates upon the basic idea: ‘What has a book made you do? Maybe it was the book that made you travel the world, decide to get married or take up the ukulele.’ So yes, if that sounds like you, you are probably Zooey Deschanel but also Waterstones would like to hear from you. Continue Reading →

Salt to focus on anthologies rather than individual poets

In what will no doubt be distressing news for poets and readers alike, The Guardian reports that the independent publisher Salt will no longer be releasing collections of work by individual poets, opting instead to focus on anthologies featuring a variety of contributors. The reason, as anyone with any kind of awareness of poetry’s current standing in modern literature could likely guess, is a decrease in sales, both for the form in general and specifically in Salt’s own collections, with the company reporting a decline of over a quarter in the past year and of a full half over the past five years. Continue Reading →

Amazon to sell officially licensed fan fiction

Realising there’s a part of the internet that’s been around even longer than it has that still hasn’t been monetised to full effect, Amazon has signed a licensing deal with Warner Bros. to begin selling officially-sanctioned fan fiction, above and beyond Marvel’s Avengers films (hiyooooo). In a manner similar to the site’s pre-existing self-publishing e-book platform, Kindle Worlds will allow writers of fan fiction the chance to profit from something they’d probably be doing for free anyway, with or without an audience, albeit at a much lower rate than if they, say, changed the characters and settings from Twilight just enough to be legally discernible and then maybe added anal beads or something. Continue Reading →

News Flash! Valobox: wins Constable & Robinson Social and Recommendation Challenge

Valobox, the pay-as-you-go browser-based ebook service, has won an award from IC Tomorrow to develop a solution for lending, gifting or giving short term access to publishing content.

Valobox presented their model to a BookMachine crowd at Publishing Now back in December 2011, and it’s great hear more success stories from the innovative start-up.

The solution will enable Constable and Robinson to ‘Gift, lend and provide granular and/or time limited access to books via email addresses or gift tokens using the ValoBox platform.’

Stephen King bypasses digital with pulpy new novel

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Stephen King has revealed that his latest project – no, not the TV adaptation of 11/22/63, the other thing. No, not his musical with John Mellencamp and Neko Case either, the other other thing. No, not his forthcoming sequel to The Shining, his other other other… look, the man keeps busy, is the point – anyway, King’s next book will bypass digital editions completely for the foreseeable future and be available exclusively in print. Upon its publication in a fortnight, the crime novel Joyland will commit wholly to its pulpy roots and be printed in paperback alone by Hard Case Crime, with a limited run of 2,250 hardback copies to follow a week later. Continue Reading →

Howard Jacobson wins second Wodehouse Prize

Having taken the inaugural award in 2000, Howard Jacobson has this week won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for the second time, garnering top honours for his novel Zoo Time. The Bloomsbury-published title beat Joseph Connolly’s England’s Lane, Helen DeWitt’s Lightning Rods, Michael Frayn’s Skios and Deborah Moggach’s Heartbreak Hotel. It now only remains to be seen what Jacobson is going to do with the traditional prize, seeing as, having won previously, he presumably has a set of the complete works of PG Wodehouse going spare. Maybe he can mull it over over a glass of the Champagne Bollinger Special Cuvée that also forms part of his winning haul, possibly musing aloud to the Gloucestershire Old Spots pig that will now be named after his triumphant novel. Continue Reading →