Looking Through the Palantir: August 5th



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.

I think I’m finally recovered from San Diego Comic Con even though I wasn’t actually there. For those that did make the trek and who lived and survived (hopefully) in that swirling vortex of pop culture, I imagine the regeneration process involves a bacta tank and whatever that stuff is that Ollie Queen makes people drink on Arrow whenever they get poisoned.

Yet, now that we’ve returned to some semblance of normal life (ie, seeing Guardians of the Galaxy over and over until the theater manager says “you’ve had enough”) we can catch up on the goings on around the realms.

I’ve been waiting all week to share this web-comic, by David Malki, which is invaluable to any writer (or just anyone who is curious about various groupings). It is also Exhibit A for why the Internet is amazing. A rumpus of phantoms might be my favorite. A fondle of unicorns is my least favorite. The words fondle and unicorn should NEVER be anywhere near each other.

Gizmodo put together a pretty impressive list of “must-read” science fiction that specifically deals with space travel. The list is quite extensive and should probably just replace whatever reading list you’re currently churning your way through. Consider this the replacement to make up for the lack of new releases this week.

The BBC has an insane article about Pierre Boulle, the french author who wrote Planet of the Apes (La Planete des Singes) in 1963. He also wrote The Bridge on the River Kwai, and as the article explains, he apparently knew a lot about what he was writing about. Because Boulle was also a spy!

TOR – which always seems to be doing amazing genre examinations – has an interesting breakdown of how to approach science fiction/fantasy academically, giving a tiered system that will be familiar (and possibly frightening) for anyone who ever attended graduate school. This is a cool way of separating and diving into the genre if you’re really interested in learning about the types of writing within sci/fi or gearing yourself up for a career in it (ahem!)

There are no new releases this week. Sad, right? That’s okay, we all need weeks off. Plus, that Gizmodo list should keep you busy for quite awhile. Before making the jump to lightspeed, I’ve got a book recommendation from your favorite Hobbit author and a special Star Wars book announcement.

JRR Tolkien’s highly anticipated translation of Beowulf was released this past May, and while it garnered quite a bit of fan faire when it was announced, the release came and went without too much commotion. The translation is stunning, and I more or less agree with everything this equally stunning New Yorker review has to say. An absolute must read if you are a Tolkien fan, since Beowulf was a massive influence on Tolkien, and the translation gives more insight into Tolkien the linguist and master of language; rather than Tolkien the master of Hobbits and Middle Earth.

At the aforementioned San Diego Comic Con, Del Rey announced that Christie Golden would be writing an as yet un-titled Star Wars novel starring Asajj Ventress (with Quinlan Vos appearing too). What’s more, it was announced that the book is based off of some unused scripts from what would have been season 7 of the now defunct Clone Wars television show. Vanessa Marshall (voice of Hera on the upcoming Star Wars Rebels) moderated the panel where the announcement was made. Marshall won Comic Con and had the quote of the entire convention, when she called Star Wars books “soul food for a Star Wars fans soul” In other news, Vanessa Marshall is brilliant and awesome.

Until next time…keep it secret, keep it safe.

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.