It was just announced that IDW Entertainment and Entertainment One Television will be devloping a television series based on the V-Wars, the vampire antholoy edited by Jonathan Maberry that also spawned a related graphic novel series (written by Maberry and others).

The pilot is being written by Tim Schlattmann (Dexter, Smallville), who will also server as executive producer on the series. It’s being pitched as a new take on vampires.

V-Wars puts a new spin on the vampires by grounding the premise on a millennial-old virus that affects different people in different ways, based on their DNA. This leads to vampires that are as diverse as humanity.

Maberry, who is quoted as saying “V-Wars is a head-on collision of real-world science, terrorism, special forces action, ethics, politics and an exploration of what defines us as human,” is also the author of the popular Joe Ledger series, which re-invented the zombie novel as a taut thriller with Patient Zero.

In the meantime, a second anthology of V-Wars (V Wars: Blood and Fire) is scheduled for release this July and features stories by Kevin J. Anderson, Scott Sigler, Larry Corriea, Joe McKinney, Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, Weston Ochse, James A. Moore, and Jonathan Maberry.

[via Keith R.A. DeCandido]

BOOK REVIEW: Code Zero by Jonathan Maberry

REVIEW SUMMARY: Code Zero? More like Code Awesome!

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A new foe has resurrected old threats. With DMS already spread thin, can Joe Ledger and Echo Team end a wave of bio-terrorism that is sweeping the nation?

MY REVIEW
PROS: Best villain in the series to date, nice buildup, Joe Ledger’s trademark wit, phenomenal finale, big potential changes in store for the future.
CONS: Pacing issues due to interludes.
BOTTOM LINE: The series is still going strong and Code Zero is one of the best entries yet.

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MIND MELD: Our Favorite SF/F/H Consumed In 2013

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]
It’s 2014 and that means it’s time to look back at all the SF/F/H available in 2013. Our panelists were asked this question:

Q: What was the best SF/F/H you “consumed” in 2013?

Consumed being anything read/watched/heard during 2013, but not necessarily new in 2013. Here’s what they said…
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[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Today’s Young Adult authors are undoubtedly a big influence on young minds with the stories they tell and the rich worlds they create, but I’ve always wondered what authors and novels made an impression on them when they were young! So I asked them:

Q: As a writer, and especially as a young adult author, you’ve no doubt influenced many young people with your writing and the worlds you create, but what authors and books influenced you the most as a young person, and why?

Here’s what they said…

Mindy McGinnis
Mindy McGinnis is an assistant YA librarian who lives in Ohio and cans her own food. She graduated from Otterbein University magna cum laude with a BA in English Literature and Religion. Mindy has a pond in her back yard but has never shot anyone, as her morals tend to cloud her vision.

I have two rather different answers – Stephen King and Madeleine L’Engle. They both illustrated to me in different ways that you if you set it up properly, you can sell even the most ludicrous of storylines, and have your reader completely invested. If you’ve ever tried doing a one line pitch of any of their books you’ll see – you sound ridiculous! But in your heart you know it’s so good!

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A.C. Wise is the author of numerous short stories appearing in print and online in publications such as Clarkesworld, Apex, Lightspeed, and the Best Horror of the Year Vol. 4. In addition to her fiction, she co-edits The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, an online magazine devoted to fiction and art about bugs. Follow her on twitter as @ac_wise.

Women to Read About: Where to Start

by A.C. Wise

For this installment of Women to Read, I thought I’d try something a little different and suggest some young women to read about. Summer is a time for vacations, for long lazy days reading on the shore of a lake, or up in the branches of a favorite tree. Well, at least it is when you’re a kid. Perhaps you know such a child, an avid devourer of Young Adult and Middle-Grade fiction? And perhaps you’d like to show them that heroes aren’t always boys with great destinies, and girls aren’t always helpless princesses waiting to be rescued? If so, I have some suggestions for you!
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Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestselling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author, writing teacher and more. His novels include Ghost Road Blues, winner of the 2006 Stoker Award for Best first Novel, the novelization of The Wolfman, Patient Zero, the first in his Joe Ledger series which was optioned for TV, Marvel comics including Wolverine, Punisher. In nonfiction, The Cryptopedia, winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction. And ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics Of The Living Dead, which won the Heinzman and Black Quill Awards and was nominated for a Stoker Award.  Jonathan is a Contributing Editor for The Big Thrill (the newsletter of the International Thriller Writers), and a member of SFWA, MWA and HWA. His latest and 5th Joe Ledger book, Extinction Machine is out from St. Martins, a very fun action-thriller read. He can be found on Goodreads, Twitter  as @JonathanMaberry and via his website at JonathanMaberry.com.


SFFWRTCHT: First things first, where’d your interest in speculative fiction come from?

Jonathan Maberry: I met Ray Bradbury and Richard Matheson when I was a kid. They gave me a lot of time and advice about writing and reading.
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REVIEW SUMMARY: Joe Ledger vs. Vampires in his best adventure yet.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: On a top secret mission in Iran, Joe Ledger and Echo Team get news of a threat to global security. Joe must fight on the run with limited support and intelligence if he is going to save the day.

MY REVIEW
PROS: Joe Ledger, the villains (for once!), high velocity action, dark revelations, cool vampires.
CONS: Rudy freaking Sanchez.
BOTTOM LINE: Easily the best Joe Ledger Novel to date.

Assassin’s Code by Jonathan Maberry is the fourth book in the Joe Ledger Novels, a series that I have mad love for. The series is like Resident Evil without the awful dialogue and shoddy plotting. It’s like the hit FOX thriller 24 but with Bond Villains. It’s like Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series with a focus on science instead of the supernatural. And Assassin’s Code? It’s like all that with a dose of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. This is a freaking awesome book. Seriously, if you read my review of The King of Plagues and had any doubts about this series please just do yourself a favor and go buy all four books. Forget about reading this review, just go buy all four books and start reading. Thank me later.

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REVIEW SUMMARY: Joe Ledger vs. The Ten Plagues of Egypt.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A terrorist attack on a hospital in London sees Joe Ledger back on the job, fighting once more against a shadowy cabal with intentions of world domination.

MY REVIEW
PROS: Joe Ledger is a (mostly) great character, fast and heavy action, tighter script than previous novel.
CONS: Rudy freaking Sanchez, somewhat laughable villains, Joe’s grief.
BOTTOM LINE: An improvement over The Dragon Factory, delivering everything a fan might expect from a Joe Ledger Novel.

So let me first introduce Jonathan Maberry’s series of Joe Ledger novels. Think Resident Evil without the horrible dialogue. Think the hit Fox drama 24 with Bond villains. Think Monster Hunter International but less supernatural and more scientific. I really love the Joe Ledger Novels (for the most part) and unless you hate America you will too. The first novel in the series, Patient Zero, is one of my all time favorite zombie stories. The sequel, The Dragon Factory, didn’t quite live up to the quality of the first but it was still a solid thriller. Now here is my review for The King of Plagues.

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Edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen, Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond brings together leading fantasy writers such as Jane Yolen, Tad Williams and Seanan McGuire to create the ultimate anthology for Oz fans—and, really, any reader with an appetite for richly imagined worlds.

Here is the book’s description:

When L. Frank Baum introduced Dorothy and friends to the American public in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz became an instant, bestselling hit. Today the whimsical tale remains a cultural phenomenon that continues to spawn wildly popular books, movies, and musicals.

We asked a few of the authors a couple of questions…

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Edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen, Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond brings together leading fantasy writers such as Jane Yolen, Tad Williams and Seanan McGuire to create the ultimate anthology for Oz fans—and, really, any reader with an appetite for richly imagined worlds.

Here is the book’s description:

When L. Frank Baum introduced Dorothy and friends to the American public in 1900, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz became an instant, bestselling hit. Today the whimsical tale remains a cultural phenomenon that continues to spawn wildly popular books, movies, and musicals.

We asked a few of the authors a couple of questions…

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MIND MELD: Zombies, and Why We Love Them

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

We asked this week’s panelists…

Q: In the spirit of the breathless wait for The Walking Dead to return in February, let’s talk zombies! Why do you think they’ve captured the rotten little hearts and minds of the non- shambling public? If you write about zombies, is it just for pure fun, or are they a metaphor for something deeper and even more diabolical??

Here’s what they said…

Jonathan Maberry
Jonathan Maberry is a NY Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and freelancer for Marvel Comics. His works include ROT & RUIN (now in development for film), PATIENT ZERO, ZOMBIE CSU: The Forensics of the Living Dead; DUST & DECAY, MARVEL ZOMBIES RETURN and others. He was a featured expert on The History Channel special ZOMBIES: A LIVING HISTORY.

Zombies are a useful monster. In creative terms, they serve a few different purposes. First, they are the well-known metaphor generator that allows every writer to explore a different moral, social, societal, philosophical or psychological issue via an entertaining vehicle. This has a long, long tradition in storytelling. Ask Homer. Ask Aesop.

Second, zombies represent a single, massive, shared threat that impacts the lives of every single character in the story. Their impact is so overwhelming that each character’s life is shaken up, which means that the affected elements of their personalities fall away to reveal a truer inner self. In times of great crisis we see personality qualities emerge (or disintegrate) in fascinating and revelatory ways. A corporate CEO who is used to being a lion in the boardroom may be a useless coward when it comes to surviving a crisis; while a kid working a minimum-wage dead-end job at a convenience store might discover qualities of heroism that might otherwise never have emerged. Don’t forget, all real drama is about ordinary people in some kind of crisis. We don’t tell stories about a bunch of nice people having a pleasant day –there’s no drama (and therefore no insight) in that.

And also, the general public has, of late, had their perceptions of what ‘zombie stories’ are. For decades the perceptual standard has been that zombie stories are about death, dying, and visceral slaughter; that these stories were self-indulgent gorefests with nothing redeeming about them. But now that there are so many zombie stories out there, and in so many formats: novels, TV, comics, movies, short stories, video games, toys and more, it’s forced Joe Public to take a closer look. What they’re finding is that the zombie genre has drawn some of today’s top storytellers –writers who understand that the best zombie stories aren’t actually about the zombies. The best zombie stories are about the people. Real people. After all, the title of ‘The Walking Dead’ does not refer to the zombies. The dead men walking are the people whose lives and preconceptions and expectations have died. They are walking from the world that was into an uncertain future, and the name of the landscape through which they walk is ‘drama’.

As long as good writers bring quality storytelling to the genre, zombies will be around for a long, long time. Deservedly so.

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REVIEW SUMMARY: With ancient conspiracies wrapping more genetic mutations and the not quite omniscient Department of Military Sciences, Assassin’s Code is the most enjoyable in this series yet.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Taking a cue from the headlines – after rescuing U.S. students being held as spies in Iran, Joe Ledger and Echo Team are pulled into an ancient hostile agreement between Christian and Muslim factions, with an old foe, some legendary mutations and the past of the DMS leadership complicating their fight against a nuclear holocaust.

MY REVIEW
PROS
: Maberry keeps the pace moving with short chapters, wise-cracking Joe Ledger, lots of action and flashbacks; blends in historical background with enough realism to make you check the facts; large world and history shaking conspiracies.
CONS
: Need some new villains; hopefully background on Church/Deacon/St. Germaine in a future book.
BOTTOM LINE
: Fast-paced, with Joe Ledger getting more and more complicated with each novel, Assassin’s Code is easily the best in the series since Patient Zero…and may be the best of the four.
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TOC: ‘V Wars’ Edited by Jonathan Maberry

Keith R.A. DeCandido has posted the table of contents for the upcoming anthology in which he appears: V War, edited by Jonathan Maberry.

Here’s the description:

A sweeping, threaded narrative of the global phenomenon known as the Vampire Wars! Mankind is silently infected by a millennia-old bacteria unknowingly exhumed by a scientific expedition in Antarctica. Now, in some rare cases, a person’s so-called “junk DNA” becomes activated, and depending on their racial and ethnic heritage they begin to manifest one of the many diverse forms of the “others” that are the true basis for the legends of supernatural creatures. These aren’t your usual vampires and werewolves – it goes much deeper than that. Conceived by Jonathan Maberry, V Wars features stories from various “frontlines” as reported by such contributors as Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, James A. Moore, Gregory Frost, John Everson, Keith R.A. DeCandido, and Scott Nicholson (as well as Maberry himself, of course). The result is a compelling series of tales that create a unique chronicle of mankind’s response to this sudden, hidden threat to humanity.

And here’s the table of contents…
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If you are in the New York City area on Tuesday, March 6th, it’d be worth your time to check out The New York Review of Science Fiction Reading scheduled for that night: A Journey to Barsoom! The event is to help promote John Joseph Adams’ new John Carter anthology Under the Moons of Mars

Press release follows…

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REVIEW: The Dragon Factory by Jonathan Maberry

REVIEW SUMMARY: Joe Ledger is back, he’s mad, and ready to take on genetically enhanced humans, animals and anything in between.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In this follow up to the Bram Stoker nominated Patient Zero, Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Sciences team fight two sets of related genetic mad scientists, one group out for profit and another aiming for race extinction. The crooks try to outwit each other while Joe Ledger and the DMS teams try to track them down. The clock is ticking on “the Extinction Wave”!

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Maberry is one of the best at writing action sequences; Ledger is a believable flawed hero; the scenarios are frighteningly realistic.

CONS: A bit too much genetic science-speak in places; some cliché bad guys and conspiracies (former Nazis are always the genetic mad scientists).

BOTTOM LINE: Global in scope, scary in its realism, this fast paced novel is only slowed by occasional overdoses of science-speak.

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SF Tidbits for 8/2/09

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