Looking Through the Palantir: August 26th



Welcome to Looking Through the Palantir, a weekly recap where I bring you the latest news, features, releases and more from the realm of science fiction/fantasy. So cozy on up to your favorite seeing-stone and check out this week’s divinations.

Welcome back. We’re in that odd time of the year where everything is simultaneously super slow; but speeding up rapidly. We’re all trying to squeeze out that last bit of summer relaxation, while eagerly anticipating the return of school, football, normal television schedules and all those delicious warm fall drinks. What does that mean for sci-fi/fantasy news and releases? Eh, it means that things aren’t exactly moving at a barn burner pace. But there are still exciting things to talk about:

Big news for Wheel of Time fans as Harriet McDougal, Robert Jordan’s widow, revealed during a WonderCon panel, that a new companion book is on the way; which will publish in November of 2015, feature new art and mark the end of the franchise. There are also some interesting comments about the movie/tv rights for the series.

The Hugo Awards were handed out, with Ann Leckie’s debut novel Ancillary Justice taking home the prize for “best novel”. Other notable winners include Game of Thrones show runners David Benioff and DB Weiss who won for the Rains of Castemere episode of the acclaimed HBO show.

Everyone has been taking part in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, helping to raise awareness for the disease (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and contribute money to the efforts to find a cure. If you haven’t yet been challenged to dump ice water on your head, by all means, feel free to do so anyway; and if you’d like to donate to the cause you can follow the link here. Science fiction / fantasy authors and personalities have been particularly active, and a few have even found ways to put a unique spin on the challenge. Observe:

George RR Martin continuing to remind us all that “Winter is Coming”; before jumping into a pool and issuing his own challenges.

Jim Butcher helping deal with the cold by using ice-cream.

Patrick Rothfuss (like a boss) using dry ice. I don’t particularly recommend this, but it looks awesome.

Various cast members from Star Wars and Star Trek (and Steven Spielberg). Several takeaways from this video: All these people are so imminently lovable, Mark Hamill is hilarious, and Patrick Stewart thoroughly dominated the ice bucket challenge like no one else.

Another week with no new releases, but with the end of the summer upon us you’re probably starring at that pile of “books I’m going to read this summer” realizing that it hasn’t shrunk at all. If you’re anything like me, it probably grew as the summer has gone on.

So, in lieu of new books, let’s all agree to cross at least one book off our lists before Labor Day. Then we can all vouch for each other and say that we did “a lot of beach reading” and no one has to be embarrassed. Agreed?

Tom Hoeler is a freelance writer and editor who spends his time collecting stories, felling dragons, scrambling over the rooftops of Gotham, and cooking up delicious food. He serves as the eternal intern and apprentice to the Del Rey and Star Wars Books team under the guise of Darth Internous.