The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman

The Book of DustRenowned storyteller Philip Pullman returns to the parallel world of Lyra Belacqua and His Dark Materials for a thrilling and epic adventure in which daemons, alethiometers, and the Magisterium all play a part. The Book of Dust will be a work in three parts, like His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass). The title and cover of this first story will remain under wraps until a later date, but it can be revealed that the book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-loved character Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon.
Philip Pullman) “I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.
Question) Is it a prequel? A sequel?
Answer) It’s neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is . . . an equal. It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy…a boy we have glimpsed in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention…who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.
Q) Why return to Lyra’s world?
A) Dust. Questions about that mysterious and troubling substance were already causing strife ten years before His Dark Materials, and at the center of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free. The idea of Dust suffused His Dark Materials. Little by little through that story the idea of what Dust was became clearer and clearer, but I always wanted to return to it and discover more.

iPhone8

Terry Brooks and Anthony Heald

Anthony Heald

Anthony Heald acted in plays throughout high school and college, and spent 15 years working in regional theater before settling in New York. He quickly established himself there by playing Tom in a 1980 Off-Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie, and two years later made his Broadway debut alongside Holly Hunter in Beth Henley’s The Wake of Jamey Foster. His performances in Anything Goes and Love! Valour! Compassion! earned him Tony Award nominations, and he was recognized with an Obie Award for his work in the productions of The Foreigner, Digby, Henry V and Quartemaine’s Terms. In film, he has appeared in Silkwood, Outrageous Fortune, and in Silence of the Lambs, with minor roles in The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, Kiss of Death, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Postcards from the Edge, 8MM, Proof of Life, Red Dragon, and Accepted. His over sixty audiobooks to date include Where the Red Fern Grows, The Pelican Brief, Jurassic Park, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, (which was a Clint Eastwood movie), The Great Gatsby, and many others. He currently resides in Ashland, Oregon with his family, where he is a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival acting company. Our interview at http://AudiobooksToday.blogspot.com 

Terry BrooksTerry Brooks is the bestselling author of dozens of fantasy and SF novels, such as The Heritage of Shannara, Landover, The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, and the Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace. His latest is The Fall of Shannara: The Black Elfstone, read on audio by Simon Vance. He lives in Hawaii.
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TOWER REVIEW: What had you written prior to “The Sword of Shannara,” and what was your reaction to the book’s success?
TERRY BROOKS: Prior to that, I wrote a bunch of junk. It was all experimentation with different forms of fiction, but it was necessary to spend time with it in order to get to a place where I could write the Shannara books.
TR: Were you precocious or shy, growing up?
TB: I was a shy, introverted kid, but I was good in school and liked books. I liked to use my imagination to create scenarios and characters. The kids in the neighborhood would get together to act out stories. I always tell people I was doing role playing before they invented the term.
TR: I know just what you mean. Outside, pretending, instead of watching television. So how do you explain our fascination with the magical, the mystical, and the mysterious?
TB: I think we all read to escape from stress. A few hours with a book, and everything looks different. We are somehow renewed. Fantasy is attractive for any number of reasons. It is the oldest and most familiar form of storytelling. I suppose I could argue that fantasy, with magic and monsters and strange lands, gives us a sense of empowerment we lack in our normal lives. It is no exaggeration to say that we are increasingly made to feel small and vulnerable, dwarfed by government, corporations, technology, and so on. In fantasy, that’s the traditional role of heroes, but somehow they persevere and come through. I think that gives us a reassurance we need.
TR: Regarding The Phantom Menace, did George Lucas just hand you his screenplay and give you free rein to develop the characters within certain guidelines, or did he discuss the novelization with you as you wrote it?
TB: I met with Lucas on the Phantom Menace project at Skywalker Ranch to find out what it was going to be like to work with the LucasBooks people. I admit to some concerns. My experience writing an adaptation to HOOK some years earlier was not a good one. But George was very good about agreeing to allow me to write the book the way I wanted, and to comment on it later. He allowed me to change things from the movie script, including dialogue, and I think that was in part because he understands that books do not work the same way as movies. It is a different experience. He wanted me to consider writing the book more from Anakin’s point of view. That was not hard to arrange. Thus we ended up with additional material in the book that could be more easily worked in there than it could have in the movie. It made a perfect compliment to the movie, rather than just a rehash of it.
TR: Any thoughts on series vs. stand alone novels?
TB: Well, if readers like what they find on their first journey in, they want to go back. The trick for the writer, of course, is not to make the multiple book form seem artificial. There is a certain amount of pressure on writers to just keep doing the same thing because it sold last time, so should sell this time. This is not a good way for a writer to go. It is one of the reasons I only do a certain amount of stories in a world before going away to write something else. It keeps me fresh and interested. On the other hand, now and then a single fantasy novel is sufficient to do what is needed. I think of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Mists of Avalon,” for example. That book was complete all on its own, although she chose to write one or two sequels. I think it depends on the material.
(Note: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is read on audio by Alexander Adams, a pseudonym for Grover Gardner.) 

Mysteries

THE DROWNING POOL by Ross MacDonald: When a millionaire matriarch is found floating face down in the family pool, the prime suspects are her good-for-nothing son and his wife, who stand to inherit, as well as a questionable chauffeur and a tycoon of a company trying to get the woman’s property for the oil under it. Private Investigator Lew Archer takes this case in the Los Angeles suburbs and encounters a moral wasteland of corporate greed and family hatred—and sufficient motive for a dozen murders.

 

Classic Scifi

Jack Vance

Jack Vance Audiobook: he had been granted eternal life—but now he was living on borrowed time. Gavin Waylock had waited seven years for the scandal surrounding his former immortal self to be forgotten and had kept his identity concealed so that he could once again join the ranks of those who lived forever. He had been exceedingly careful about hiding his past. Then he met the Jacynth. She was a beautiful nineteen-year-old, and Gavin wanted her. But he recognized that a wisdom far beyond her years marked her as one who knew too much about him to live. As far as she was concerned, death was a mere inconvenience. But once the Jacynth came back, Gavin Waylock’s life would be an everlasting hell. . .

“Narrator Kevin Kenerly sets a commanding tone of this visionary morality tale…On audio for the first time, the novel illuminates thoughts on race and class in the unique way only science fiction can pull off, and Kenerly’s naturally strong and charming voice is aided by his gift for wry engagement, his subtle yet enthusiastic steering of the story arc, and his effortless creation of both male and female characters. What makes this book special is how it reveals the universal truths of human nature, ending with a befitting twist. Kenerly is the perfect pilot for the ride.”Audiobooks Today

All Our Wrong Todays

all our wrong todaysHow is that possible? Well, it’s possible, but not easy. You’d need connections, experience, and/or proof of concept. The money is just an advance on sales, based on what they think the book may do. They may lose part of it, or they may win big. The publisher is the biggest in the United States, so they are willing and able to take the risk. After all, the author is a screenwriter with a hit under his belt…and so movie possibilities are a “shoe-in.” Since we live in an age of video and movies, with fewer people reading, it makes sense to have as much potential as possible. In fact, Paramount has already bought film rights, and he is writing the screenplay. He also narrates his book, with experience in radio in the past at a university station. If you’d like to support literacy (animals is my other charity) see the About page at this blog, and contribute a short video of you reading by sending me the link to your video. The cover of ALL OUR WRONG TODAYS reminded me of the Leonardo diCaprio movie Inception. The novel on audio can be ordered at TowerReview.com.

There’s no such thing as the life you’re “supposed” to have… You know the future that people in the 1950s imagined we’d have? Well, it happened. In Tom Barren’s world, humanity thrives in a techno-utopian paradise of flying cars, moving sidewalks, and moon bases, where avocados never go bad and punk rock never existed . . . because it wasn’t necessary. Except Tom just can’t seem to find his place in this dazzling, idealistic world, and that’s before his life gets turned upside down. Utterly blindsided by an accident of fate, Tom makes a rash decision that drastically changes not only his own life but the very fabric of the universe itself. In a time-travel mishap, Tom finds himself stranded in our world, what we think of as the real world. For Tom, our normal reality seems like a dystopian wasteland. It’s an intriguing plot with pathos, anecdotes about love and happiness, science, and the possibility of eight new novels by Kurt Vonnegut. Elan Mastai is a screenwriter who co-wrote the movie FURY, starring Samuel L. Jackson. He also wrote THE F WORD, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan.    
Jonathan Lowe) What is your experience related to narration or public speaking, and how was the recording process? 
Elan Mastai) I used to host a radio show back in university, so I’m fairly comfortable sitting in a soundproof booth talking into a microphone for hours at a time. Hopefully that background served me well when recording the audio book.
JL) Regarding the physics of your alternate reality, I’ve heard it postulated that other parallel worlds may have physics different than ours. Is that part of what gave you the idea? Cat’s Cradle defied physics too. 
EM) In terms of the physics of alternate realities, a subject handled with great verve and imagination in Neal Stephenson’s novel ANATHEM, I chose to focus primarily on how technological innovation altered the history and society of my parallel world. But of course I also opened the door to potential discrepancies, like a form of radiation that was discovered in the alternate world that we don’t have here, what I call “tau radiation”—so the suggests differences do exist.
JL) Writing a novel requires a different skill set than screenplays. Have you written fiction before, like short stories? 

EM) You’re absolutely correct that writing a novel requires a different skill set than a screenplay. Screenplays, as you know, are written in the third person present tense, in a visually expressive but lean and laconic style. Of course a terrific novel can be written in that way too, but I chose to write All Our Wrong Todays in the first person, as a kind of faux memoir, because I wanted the protagonist’s point of view to explicitly frame the way the story was told. Drawing off my experience writing dialogue for actors, I wrote the novel in a deliberately casual tone, which was a big help when narrating the audio book. I haven’t published any short stories, All Our Wrong Todays is both my first novel and my first foray into literary fiction. But I’ve been writing movies for over a decade and, although a very different form, that experience greatly informed my novel-writing.