John Scalzi is on fire!

Not too long ago, news broke that his novel Redshirts was getting a limited run tv series, as well as his Old Man’s War novels. Now comes word from Variety that Legendary TV has acquired the rights to adapt Scalzi’s new novel Lock In into a television pilot for a potential series .Not much else is known at this point — this is still in the very early stages.

The plot of the near-future thriller Lock In revolves around a disease that renders people in a mannequin-like state of immobility, but otherwise aware of their surroundings. Technology is developed that allows those who are infected to inhabit the bodies of others and live through them, a situation that sets the stage for a police procedural.

Here’s the book description:
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John Scaliz’s new science fiction thriller, Lock In (out today!), got a nifty theme song by William Beckett.

Listen to it below.

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Cool News of the Day: SyFy is developing a drama series based on John Scalzi’s novel The Ghost Brigades, one of the books set in the author’s Old Man’s War universe.

Two time Oscar nominee Wolfgang Petersen (Das Boot, In The Line of Fire, Air Force One, The NeverEnding Story) and Scott Stuber (Safe House, Ted) are developing it, with Jake Thornton and Ben Lustig signed on to write the screenplay.

SyFy’s Ghost Brigades follows John Perry, a seventy five year old man who enlists into the Colonial Defense Force to fight a centuries-long war for man’s expansion into the cosmos. Technology allows experiences and consciousness to be transplanted into younger bodies that are outfitted to endure the harsher rigors of war in space. However, soon after John arrives, he finds himself involved with a mysterious woman, and at the same time, at the center of an unraveling conspiracy involving an elite fighting force known as The Ghost Brigades. Oh, and did we mention the BrainPal, a computer that’s located in your brain?

We couldn’t be happier for John Scalzi. We loved the Old Man’s War books and look forward to seeing it on screen.

Deadline is reporting that John Scalzi’s 2012 Hugo-Winning novel Redshirts is getting a limited television series run on FX.

Redshirts takes place in a Star Trek-like future where newly assigned ensign Andrew Dahl realizes something is amiss. Specifically, he notices that the ship’s away missions almost always result in death of low-ranked ensigns while the captain, science officer and handsome Lieutenant move about largely unharmed. It’s a lighthearted novel that pokes fun at the genre without being condescending to its fans.

The FX project only has three names attached thus far: producer Jon Shestack (Dan In Real Life), producer-director Ken Kwapis (Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants) and Kwapis’ partner Alexandra Beattie. Kwapis is going to direct the opening episode.

John Scalzi hasn’t mentioned much yet beyond a pointer to the Deadline article.

REVIEW SUMMARY:The Hugo Award winner from 2012 comes across as a fun and light listen when combined with the audio talents of Wil Wheaton.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Ensign Andrew Dahl, new crewmember on a ship of the Universal Union of Planets, slowly learns that the nature of his reality is stranger than he imagined.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Humorous writing, breezy dialogue and action married to the perfect narrator for the source material.
CONS: The three codas of the novel really feel like padding; non-Star Trek fans are going to find no purchase here.
BOTTOM LINE: An entertaining novel that really comes across well in audio form.

Andrew Dahl is a new officer on the Universal Union ship Intrepid, the flagship of this far future interstellar polity. He quickly learns that there are strange things going on the ship. Co-workers avoid away missions, and the senior staff of the ship in general, like the plague. A mysterious figure in the bowels of the ship provides cryptic warnings and advice. Dahl, and his new shipmates seem to have a target painted on their back. And just what is that mysterious gadget in Xenobiology, really? The answer to Dahl’s investigations, in the novel Redshirts by John Scalzi, is a metafictional trip down the rabbit hole.

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Today’s SF/F Kindle Deal is Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, which you can pick up for $2.99:

John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.

The good news is that humanity finally made it into interstellar space. The bad news is that planets fit to live on are scarce-and aliens willing to fight for them are common. The universe, it turns out, is a hostile place.

So: we fight. To defend Earth (a target for our new enemies, should we let them get close enough) and to stake our own claim to planetary real estate. Far from Earth, the war has gone on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.

Earth itself is a backwater. The bulk of humanity’s resources are in the hands of the Colonial Defense Force, which shields the home planet from too much knowledge of the situation. What’s known to everybody is that when you reach retirement age, you can join the CDF. They don’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth and never allowed to return. You’ll serve your time at the front. And if you survive, you’ll be given a generous homestead stake of your own, on one of our hard-won colony planets.

John Perry is taking that deal. He has only the vaguest idea what to expect. Because the actual fight, light-years from home, is far, far harder than he can imagine-and what he will become is far stranger.

Remember, Kindle books can be read on by downloading the Kindle software for computers and smartphones, or directly on a Kindle device.

[UPDATE] Also: this deal is available for this same price today for the Nook and from Apple.

Tor will be trying something new with John Scalzi’s latest novel in the Old Man’s War series, The Human Division. Before the novel sees its hardcover release date in May 2013, Tor will be publishing a series of digital e-book episodes that comprise the book. Each episode will be a complete story and, taken together, there will be a longer story arc.  You can see the cover for Chapter 6 (“The Back Channel”) right here. This episode will be on-sale on Feb 19, 2013.

Here’s the description of The Human Division as a whole:
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Iain M. Banks’ Consider Phlebas was published in 1987, the first book written of what would come to be known as the Culture sequence (or cycle). Released just this year, The Hydrogen Sonata marks the tenth book in the long running, award winning Space Opera series. But what makes for a good Culture novel, what is the secret to Banks’ longevity?

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: In celebration of Iain Banks’ CULTURE series, what do you think sets this work apart from other space opera fiction? What specifically makes for a good CULTURE novel and why?

Here’s what they said…

John Scalzi
John Scalzi has opposable pinkies.

I’m going to be honest and note that the reason that I read the Culture novels are not for the stories themselves — which are very good, mind you — but because I like wandering around the books like a tourist, gawking at all the cool shit that’s in the Culture. So I suppose what I really want is an “encyclopedia of The Culture” sort of book with pretty pictures and maps and a timeline and crap like that. Which is the exact opposite of a novel. I’m not sure if this makes me a bad reader of Culture novels or just a highly specialized one. What I do know is that I’m always looking out for the next one. So for me, what makes a good Culture novel is that Iain Banks has finished it and his publisher has offered it up for me to buy.
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John Scalzi Interviewed by Sword & Laser at ComicCon 2012

Redshirts by John ScalziIn this video recorded at ComCon 2012, Sword & Laser’s Veronica and Tom interview John Scalzi.

Scalzi talks about his latest book, Redshirts, and the close-but-intentionally-not-quite similarity to Star Trek. He also talks about electronic publishing and the community at his blog, the Whatever.

Good stuff.
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VIDEO INTERVIEW: Sword and Laser Chats with John Scalzi

Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt interview John Scalzi in the latest episode of Sword and Laser.

My favorite part starts at 2:40. :)
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VIDEO: John Scalzi and Pat Rothfuss Do Sketch Comedy at Comic Con

When John Scalzi stopped in Houston for his book tour, I made a point to see him. In case you haven’t been to see Scalzi on tour, you should; he gives a good performance and makes it more than worth your time.

Witness, for example, this video from Comic Con where John and Pat Rothfuss (and a special guest) gave a reading of a short story aligning with Scalzi’s Redshirts book (which you should totally read, by the way). When I saw it performed, the wonderful Karen Burnham did the Rothfuss part.

My advice: Make time to watch this as soon as you can. Life is a little bit better after you do.
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REVIEW: Redshirts by John Scalzi

REVIEW SUMMARY: A book aimed at SciFi fans that respectfully pokes fun at the genre they (and the author) love.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In a Star Trek-like future, ensign Andrew Dahl, newly assigned to the UUC Intrepid, tries to get to the bottom of the strange occurrences that nobody seems to want to talk about.

MY REVIEW:
PROS: Pokes good-natured fun at genre television without disrespecting it; clear and concise writing; humorous without being silly.
CONS: The final “coda” chapters didn’t add all that much and felt like tacked on extras.
BOTTOM LINE: If you like science fiction television (particularly Star Trek) and are looking for a lighthearted read, Redshirts is well worth your time.

Humor is a tough nut to crack within the confines of science fiction, a genre that prides itself on the very unfunny concepts of scientific knowledge and accuracy. To successfully pull it off, it has to avoid the absurd (that is, keep suspending disbelief), not be too over-the-top (lest it fall into the realm of the ridiculous), and — most important of all — actually be funny.
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Zack Parsons is a Chicago-area writer known for his acerbic humor at Something Awful, his non-fiction books like My Tank is Fight! and his contributions to various compilations. His debut sci-fi novelLiminal States, described by author Cory Doctorow as “vivid, and relentless, masterfully plotted,” was released April of 2012.

Book, with Occasional Music

When I set out to write my genre-spanning debut novel, Liminal States, I wanted to music to shape the outcome of my creative process. Ending with a free downloadable companion soundtrack from my friend, Conelrad, was something I hoped would excite readers and enhance their experience.

Listening to music while writing was vital for me. It allowed me to shut out what was going on, no matter where I was at the time, and depending on the music, it could serve as an inspiration for what I was writing. My obsession with scoring every moment made me curious about how more experienced authors of speculative fiction use music.

So I asked.
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Grab your Spartan Armor, folk! It’s time for another Book Cover Smackdown!

Here are the contenders…

Your Mission (should you choose to accept it): Tell us which cover you like best and why.

Books shown here:

NOTE: Bigger, better cover art images are available by clicking the images or title links.

REVIEW: Old Man’s War by John Scalzi

REVIEW SUMMARY: Scalzi takes you on a speculative ride that is fast and rewarding.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The far future: Man has colonized the stars. And they’re hostile. Our solution: Fight back and fight first. Our recruits: Grandma and Grandpa. But not how you knew them. New and improved, like you’ve never seen or imagined.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Dialogue, humor, imaginative and well-used technology.

CONS: Lack of detail and jumps in time

BOTTOM LINE: Scalzi’s imagination and military prowess are superb, while working in a touching story that leaves you satisfied. And don’t worry…there is no Viagra.

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Grab your ray guns and pressure suits! It’s time for another Book Cover Smackdown!

Here are the contenders…

Your Mission (should you choose to accept it): Tell us which cover you like best and why.

Books shown here:

NOTE: Bigger, better cover art images are available by clicking the images or title links.

This week, we turned our attention to SciFi television when we asked our panelists this question:

Q: Which off-the-air science fiction television show deserves a remake? What changes would you make to update it?

Here’s how they responded…

A. Lee Martinez
A. Lee Martinez is a writer you probably haven’t heard of but really should have. He is the author of Gil’s All Fright Diner, In the Company of Ogres, A Nameless Witch, The Automatic Detective, Too Many Curses, Monster and the upcoming Divine Misfortune. He credits comic books and Godzilla movies as his biggest influences, and thinks that every story is better with a dash of ninja.

I thought long and hard on this one, and with so many great candidates, it wasn’t easy. Manimal? The Night Stalker? Misfits of Science? Century City? Oh, the delightful possibilities. How can one man make such a controversial decision? Well, after much soul searching, meditation, and hours of telepathic communion with my ancient Martian spirit guide (his name is Jack), I can only find one worthy answer.

Darkwing Duck.

How would I update this classic show? Good question. I probably wouldn’t change it much. I’d give it a more action oriented update that wouldn’t lose the humor of the original. Something like Batman: The Brave and the Bold. Fun, retro, and sharp. I’d also expand Darkwing’s universe to include more superheroes and villains. In addition to the classics such as Liquidator, Bushroot, and Megavolt, I’d introduce new characters. And of course, you could never go wrong with a Gizmoduck team up on a fairly regular basis. All of this would inevitably lead to my ultimate spinoff series:

Justice Ducks Unlimited.

But one step at a time…

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