The Writer's, artist's & reader's Guild

Archive for July, 2016

Robert Kirkman adapting Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber

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According to The Hollywood Reporter Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead and Outcats, and his partner Dave Alpert have decided to bring The Chronicles of Amber to TV. The books were written by Roger Zelazny and have been, along side authors like Terry Brooks, Stephen Donaldson and Robin Hobb part of the canon of fantasy since first written in 1970.

It is no big surprise that Zelazny’s epic work, spanning ten books, there is a lot of source material to pick and choose from like A Song of Ice and Fire or Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time with several layers of intrigue. The story centers on Corwin and his family who can travel across dimensions and has its starting point on Earth.

If Kirkman and Alpert are looking to capitalize on the success of Game of Thrones is not completely clear, but one can speculate. Zelazny has more in common with Brooks’ Shannara series, which was given a surprising second season by MTV (the disappointment of that show was indicated here at the Guild already when it was announced), but Skybound may be the company needed to bring the right air to the coming show.

We hope so!

Read The Hollywood Reporter’s article here


Opinion: Going All the Way by Meat Loaf

meat-loaf-braver-than-we-are-artwork

When it was announced that Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf were once again teaming up to make music my interest was naturally peaked. Bat Out of Hell, as well as their sophomore project Dead Ringer and the long awaited follow up Bat Out of Hell II are some of my favorite albums ever and I often times view them as two of the most complete works of rock ever constructed. Meat Loaf’s production outside this collaboration has not left any lasting impression on me apart from the odd tune here and there, 2003’s Couldn’t Have Said it Better has become a perennial top ten listen.

Going All the Way is the first single from the upcoming album Braver than We Are a project in development since 2013. The upcoming album will contain tracks written by Steinman, new and ones that have been previously recorded by other artists. For a Meat Loaf/Steinman trifecta fan this indeed sounds promising.

But if the lead off single Going All the Way is any indication most of us who fall into that particular fandom will be sorely disappointed. Meat has enlisted some old friends; Ellen Foley and Karla DeVito, who both performed on Paradise By the Dashboard Lights and they are unfortunately the saving grace. For gone is the bombastic grandness that captured the heartstrings of the teenagers of the nineties when I Could Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) would start playing at the high school dance, well at least in my neck of the woods. Instead we are quickly thrown into the song like a child thrown into a cold lake on the first day of summer, and a similar shock ensues. The strength of a Steinman tune is the intro, it sets the mood and tone more than most songs do. It’s the way he constructs it, like a piece of a musical number, the audience gets to feel what the performer is feeling and we are usually in step with Meat Loaf as he serenades the world. This experienced is completely lost and as a listener you are left confused and bewildered about how to feel.

Meat Loaf himself can give no comfort or guidance in the matter either. Whether it is his hectic touring schedule, his recent health scare or just plain old age, but his voice isn’t what it has been in the past. I once read in Time magazine that they very nearly, not quite, but nearly compared him to the old opera singer Jussi Bjorling and Steinman’s epic tunes would not be complete without his voice. When that voice has seemingly lost its potency, well then the entire illusion falls.

Last, but by no means least the compositions itself just doesn’t make it all the way. Steinman’s ability to write a great tune has already been discussed, but his lyrics have always been the heart of the affair. Part nostalgic throwback to a simpler time with outdoor movie theaters, the smell of motor oil, lost loves and reckless youths and part general rebellion, all melded into a baroque anthem. This is not it though. Going all the way is a jumbled mix of nonsensic words and the result is such a mess that one has to step back and say; huh? If this is one of Steinman’s older, rejected songs recycled, then it should have been left on the editing room floor, much like Prince’ later production should have been.

So, is my love affair with Loaf/Steinman over? Only the release of Braver Than We Are in September can answer that question, but this single does not make it look promising and in saying that, this is not a fitting end for Meat Loaf or Jim Steinman.

-Andrew Tobias

Andrew Tobias is a songwriter, music collector and writer who generally believes that Two out of three ain’t bad.

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Adding music opinion

Hi Guildmembers

Our blog here has been quite dead and that has kind of been by design. The site has always been seen as a forum for news and creativity and not random blog posts, but we have seen the need to keep this site more active, as well as the facebook page and so that is why this has come alive.

The reason for this post is to announce a new member of the Guild; Andrew Tobias. He will be running an opinions edition on the site regarding music. Most of it will be about new releases, singles or albums, as well as recommendations that he might have and why. But we’ll let him introduce himself in the coming days.

Also a new story will be making its appearance on the site in the beginning of August, so keep an eye on that.

-Chris


Review: Deadbringer by E.M. Markoff

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Genre: Fantasy

Series: Part one in The Ellderet Series

Publisher: Tomes & Coffee Press

Kira Vidal is a Deadbringer, one of the last of his kind. As such he has been gifted with certain necronomic abilities like unwillingly making objects rot or decay, raising and speaking to the dead. The Deadbringers in this world have all been eradicated due to these abilities by the so called Sanctifiers and it is prudent for Kira to mask his true form. Therefore he works as a mortician, the perfect occupation for someone with his skills, in the city of Opulancae with his uncle Eutau. Eutau is the one who keeps Kira’s secret safe through his own contacts with a place called the Bastion, but he is the keeper of a secret of his own.

Kira and his uncle are lured into a trap when trying to resurrect and question a dead woman and as this is happening he reveals what he is. Forced to leave the city Kira and Eutau become hunted by Sanctifiers across the country, the future uncertain.

Markoff has with The Deadbringer managed to build a world with great depth and background. The history the Deadbringers, the Sanctifiers and creatures like Kataru is intriguing and sparks the imagination as does the city of Opulancae and the universe that houses it all. Unfortunately that is where it ends; as a spark. Markoff tries to cram to much into this first book without delving into any of it. The story of Kira Vidal, a person whose name indicates it to be a woman at first read, is lost in a treacle of story making progress like dragging oneself through mud. The story is promising enough initially and sets a pace early on that captures the reader, but this is halted ones the chase begins. Hints at certain events or significant facts are dropped at regular intervals and that is all well and good, but there is never anything to hook the reader to these things. It peaks ones interest, but not is given to satiate the hunger and making the reader want to proceed.

The writing style is also on the wordy side and it is easy to get lost in odd sentences and overambitious use of words. One rarely becomes invested in the characters and when tragedy befalls them one does not care, this coupled with the fact that focus is switched from Kira and Eutau to the Sanctifiers who hunt them is quite confusing. More is said about the apparent antagonists than the hero. This also adds to the sensation of becoming tired while reading the tale and in the end it hurts what could have been quite a good book.

-C. Marry Hultman


The Jim Henson Company to Bring Pratchett’s Wee Free Men to the Big Screen

The Guild was happy to hear that Wee Free Men by one of our favorite authors is being adapted for the silver screen. It’s a partnership between Pratchett’s own company Narrativia and the famed company that brought us Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. Here follows the official press release:

THE JIM HENSON COMPANY PARTNERS WITH NARRATIVIA TO DEVELOP “WEE FREE MEN” AS FEATURE FILM

Award winning screenwriter Rhianna Pratchett, daughter of Sir Terry Pratchett, will pen the adaptation

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (July 19, 2016) – The Jim Henson Company announced today the development of a feature film based on the great literary legacy of the late Sir Terry Pratchett’s “THE WEE FREE MEN,” part of the wildly popular Discworld series.

The Wee Free Men by Terry PratchettThe long-awaited film adaption will be written by his daughter Rhianna Pratchett, an award-winning scriptwriter for videogames, comics, film and TV. Her work includes the 2013 smash hit reboot of Tomb Raider, the BAFTA nominated Heavenly Sword and the Writers’ Guild winning Overload and Rise of the Tomb Rider. Pratchett, co-director of independent production company Narrativia, has regularly been named one of the top 100 most influential women in the games industry and won the Women in Games Hall of Fame award in 2013.

“THE WEE FREE MEN,” is the first in a series of Discworld novels starring the young witch Tiffany Aching. A nightmarish danger threatens from the other side of reality. Armed with only a frying pan and her common sense, the young witch-to-be must defend her home against the monsters of Fairyland. Luckily she has some very unusual help: the local Nac Mac Feegles—aka the Wee Free Men—a clan of fierce, sheep-stealing, sword-wielding, six-inch-high blue men. Together they must face headless horsemen, ferocious grimhounds, terrifying dreams come true, and ultimately the most powerful force of all – the Queen.

Brian Henson of The Jim Henson Company will serve as producer. Rhianna Pratchett, Rob Wilkins and Rod Brown of Narrativia and Vince Raisa of The Jim Henson Company, will serve as executive producers. WEE FREE MEN is a co-production with Narrativia.

“I’ve loved the Jim Henson Company’s work all my life, so it’s a great honor to team up with them and bring Wee Free Men to the big screen.” said writer Rhianna Pratchett.

“As a family owned company, we fully understand the importance of legacy properties,” said Brian Henson, Chairman of The Jim Henson Company. “The Discworld series is a richly developed world with devoted fans, myself included, and there is no one better than Rhianna to bring Terry’s beloved project to life on the big screen.”

About The Jim Henson Company

The Jim Henson Company has remained an established leader in family entertainment for 60 years and is recognized worldwide as an innovator in puppetry, animatronics and digital animation. Best known as creators of the world famous Muppets, Henson has received over 50 Emmy Awards and nine Grammy Awards. Recent credits include the Emmy®-nominated Sid the Science Kid, Dinosaur Train, and Pajanimals, as well as the CG-animated preschool series Doozers, the upcoming digital citizenship series for preschoolers Dot., and the Netflix series for young preschoolers Word Party. Top titles currently in production include the groundbreaking marine biology series Splash and Bubbles for PBS KIDS® and the Netflix Original preschool show Julie’s Greenroom, starring award-winning actress Julie Andrews. Features include Disney’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, as well as The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and MirrorMask. Television productions include Fraggle Rock, the sci-fi cult series Farscape, Henson Alternative’s No, You Shut Up! and the TV film Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow.

With additional locations in New York and London, The Jim Henson Company is headquartered in Los Angeles on the historic Charlie Chaplin lot, complete with soundstage and postproduction facilities. The Company is home to Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™, a pre-eminent character- building and visual effects group with international film, television, theme park and advertising clients, as well as Henson Recording Studios, one of the music industry’s top recording facilities known for its world-class blend of state-of- the-art and vintage equipment. The Company’s Henson Alternative brand is currently touring Puppet-Up! – Uncensored, a live puppet improvisational show.

About Narrativia

Independent Production Company Narrativia was launched in 2012 by Sir Terry Pratchett. The company owns and controls the exclusive multimedia and merchandising rights to all of Sir Terry’s works, including his Discworld characters and creations. With more than 85 million books sold worldwide, Pratchett’s writing has created a literary phenomenon across the globe and Narrativia protects and unites the management and development of this brand.

The Executive Team, headed by Managing Director and BAFTA winning producer Rod Brown is based in London, where he works closely with co-directors, celebrated writer Rhianna Pratchett and Terry Pratchett’s Business Manager, Rob Wilkins, who all jointly own and control Narrativia.

Narrativia is currently in development and pre-production, hand in hand with a number of high-profile production partners and broadcasters across the globe, on a slate of as yet undisclosed film and television projects, with commencement of filming for the first project due to start in 2016.

PRESS CONTACT


All the Children Shall Lead: Chapter 3

Finally, here is the third chapter in the science-fiction serial All the Children Shall Lead. It’s titled Strange Dimensions and furthers the plot for one of the characters. Enjoy!

All the children III

C.M. Marry Hultman

C.M. Marry Hultman