For the last couple of years, the USC School of Cinematic Arts World Building Media Lab has been working on a project based on my Leviathan series, in partnership with Intel. I visited the lab last July, and took lots of cool pictures, but have been waiting for them to reveal their work publicly before jumping in. They have, and I am.
What the lab is doing is a combination of high technology and storytelling, or what some of them call “extreme Leviathan fan fiction.” They’ve created a 3-d virtual model of the airship, both inside and out, backstories for all the crew members, and a host of ancillary material, like diaries and historical timelines (more detailed than any in the novels).
This expanded world can be experienced in a lot of ways. As print:
Or by walking around in the 3-D models of the airship using VR helmets and interact with the characters, which is what I’m doing here:
Or in a large group of people, interacting in 3-D with the story-stuff using tablet tech, like here at CES:
Obviously, this is pretty cool. (Note: The whale in that footage can only be seen through a phone or tablet, so many of the people there couldn’t see it. But a lot could, as you can hear from the cheers.) And it’s pretty overwhelming to walk into the labs at SCA and see all these smart people working in my world. It’s not unlike encountering fan-fiction archives based on my work, except this one has a multi-million-dollar budget for multimedia. In terms of material detail, this kind of world expansion takes Leviathan well past where Keith and I did.
And really, this is “future of entertainment” that people blather about. Not any specific technology, like tablet-3D or VR helmets, but this cooperative, expansive world-building. Whether it’s created by corporations who command massive resources and a stage at CES or a few thousand fan-ficcers typing quietly in the night, the thing that’s cool is the same: Someone gets inspired by my text (and Keith’s illustrations, of course) and deciding that this world MUST GET BIGGER, and, by jove, they’re the person to do it.
Of course, this is also the past of entertainment, when nobody “owned” stories, and everyone added to whatever was being told around the campfire. But new technologies do expand the ways we can make stories bigger, both in the objects we can create (3-D models!) and the ways we share them (Deviant Art!). So yeah, it’s not just the campfire anymore. It’s more like a campfire that’s linked to all the other campfire, and we can control the flames.
By the way, I love SCA’s redesign for the Leviathan itself, even though it’s not the bowhead whale of Keith’s (still canonical!) illustrations:
Anyway, I have more of this stuff to share with you (Click here for more from their press kit), but I have the rewrites for Afterworlds due on Monday, so I really should stop procrastiblogging and end here.
Hope you’re having a lovely new year.
(Bonus Info: That Uglies news that I’ve been promising you almost fell through, but then it didn’t. And it will be released for public consumption sooner or later.)
I am working very hard on the rewrites for my next novel, Afterworlds, and as such have not blogged. Sorry.
In lieu of actual content, I give you a cat who looks like Count Volger:
Thank you, Twitter’s @countassmaster for this image.
I challenge you all to find cats who look like the other characters in Leviathan.
In related news, I suck at Photoshop:
Dalek Week 2013, the Deviant Art celebration of all things Deryn and Alek, is about halfway over (depend ending on one’s timezone), and there are some lovely pieces up.
This work by Thisoneofmarvels is for the “Scotland” theme, and uses the Scottish and Austrian flags as motifs:
Very beautiful! I love how serious Deryn is.
There are many more to see, so head over to the Dalek Week 2013 folder to feast your eyes and leave your praise.
It’s almost time for the annual Deryn/Alek (Dalek) week on Deviant art!
Dalek Week goes from Dec 16 to Dec 22, and challenges you to upload one piece of art per day. Each day has a theme:
Click here to enjoy the spoils of Dalek Week. (I’ll be posting a few of the submitted pieces later this week.)
Just received the new Japanese cover for Leviathan, the paperback version!
(Actually, the previous edition was also a paperback, but a larger format. For my future bibliographers: the old one was 184mm x 106mm, and this new one is 148mm x 105mm.)
In any case, here’s the new Japanese cover!
I like how this cover is a bit darker, and steampunkier, than the old one. Alek looks a bit less young, and his goggles are better too. Also, it has a blurb from Hideaki Sena, novelist, microbiologist, and president of the SF&F Writers of Japan. Thanks for that!
For comparison, here’s the old one:
Can’t wait to see the rest of the series come out with this new look.
Click here to see my collected covers, for editions foreign and domestic.
This is pretty cool. It’s a table restoration by Fiona S. and her grandma, featuring monoplanes, the Emperor’s airyacht, and a kraken on the top.
Here’s a close up of the air yacht Stamboul:
But wait, there’s more!
The side panels feature a flechette bat . . .
a strafing hawk . . .
a message lizard . . .
and the ever-popular perspicacious loris!
Truly a magnificent piece. And it’s great to see everything in such vibrant colors. May you have many fine tea parties on this table, Fiona.
Just a wee headsup: There may be some Uglies news before the end of the year, or in early 2014. Look for it right here, or in the pages of your favorite industry rag.
UPDATE: Ebooks of both Uglies and Leviathan are on sale for all of December in the USA. Click here for details.
Please enjoy the Russian cover of Goliath. The book comes out in December in Russia!
And here are the others, for your referencing pleasure:
The lovely Leviathan:
And the possibly even more awesome Behemoth:
Things I like about this series of covers:
Book 1 has Deryn, Book 2 has Alek, and Book 3 has them both. Like the US paperbacks, but with Deryn first.
The clothes are great (especially Alek’s leather trousers). Painter can paint.
Love the Leviathan itself. True to the book, but it glows in a way that only this color medium can produce.
The person in front with the Big Object in the background is kind of a theme of the books. That is, the struggles of the characters are foregrounded, but the scale of background events (and creatures and machines) is always huge and within view. Keith was very careful that the illustrations always alternated between close-ups to pulled-out images, from faces to Big Stuff. It’s nice to see both scales represented here on all three covers.
Well done, Eksmo.
ALSO: If you’ve never read this book I wrote called Uglies before, you can do so now for free on PulseIt, but you have to join up to do so.
I’ll be blogging more about my trip soon, but first a note about the opening of the City of Bones movie next week. Justine and I will be hosting a first-night screening here in Sydney, which is put together by Kinokuniya Bookstore. There will also be a special greeting from Cassie herself, using some sort of magic. (Or possibly recording devices.)
So if you live in Sydney, and enjoy seeing movies on the first night with a screaming, rambunctious, has-read-the-book-several-times crowd, I suggest coming along.
Also, there’s a costume contest!
Here’s the event page on FB, so you can do all that FaceBooky stuff with it. And here are the details for non-FB types:
WHEN: Thursday, 22nd August at 6:30pm
WHERE: Event Cinemas, George Street, Sydney
DRESS: Prizes for best costume
Tickets are on sale now and are strictly limited. Purchases can be made in-store (at the cashier counter) or over the phone: 02 9262-7996.
Be there or be truant.
There’s an iTunes sale on the Levithan series audiobooks. From now until August 27, you can buy any of the three for $5.95. (I assume this is US iTunes store only.)
These are really good, because Alan Cumming rocks.
Note All of these deals are over. But there’s a cool video below, and info about my Sydney Writers Festival appearance.
If you’ve never tried the audio book of Leviathan, it’s pretty awesome. Alan Cumming does a wonderful job with all the accents and characters.
For the next day or so, you can download the audiobook for only $5.99 from Audible. (Offer only good in the US, I think.)
Click here to make it happen. This offer expires at the end of Monday May 20, US time.
As a reminder, here’s one of my interviews with Alan about the books:
Also, on Monday morning, US time, there will be another low-price offer for another of my books, which I’ll announce right here. I’m not allowed to tell you till then, so come back Monday!
Last night I had a great time at the Aurealis Awards in Sydney. And I’ll be appearing at the Sydney Writer’s Festival next week. On Saturday, May 25, at 11:30AM, I’ll be on a panel with Lauren Beukes, David M. Henley, and James Bradley.
What is speculative fiction, and where do the boundaries start to blur between genres and sub-genres? Have the classic genres changed now that we live in a world where technology has caught up?
This is free and no bookings required. Event details.
Just got back from my 50th birthday vacation, and will resume normal blogging shortly. Thanks for sticking around.
When I was at Adelaide Writers Week last month, I did an extended interview with Sean Williams, who writes the Trouble Twisters series with Garth Nix. The ABC was kind enough to film the talk and put it online.
I talk about Uglies, Leviathan and the history of illustrations, living with another writer, from whence inspiration comes, my other books, and pretty much everything else writerly. It’s a whole hour long!
Hope you enjoy it. Thanks to Adelaide Writers Week for having me, to everyone who asked questions, to the ABC, and to Sean for being a great interviewer.
A few notes:
1) For you USians, note that “the ABC” (Australian Broadcasting Company) is not the same as “ABC” (American Broadcasting Company).
2) At 13:15, I meant to say “Book 2″ instead of “Book 3.”
3) Justine, in the audience, is caught tweeting at 26:45.
4) My pronunciation of “manga” is weird sometimes. I’m from Texas.
5) At 36:00 I briefly confuse Miyake with Miyazaki, because I was wearing the former. #humblebrag