It's not out officially
until the first week of the New Year, but copies of
Grimes: Return of the Emerald Skull have
their way into a few High Street stores. In
his second outing, Paul
Stewart and Chris Riddell's ticktocking
hero must tackle a school
that's been overrun by a terrible curse.
And if he survives that, there's a
third adventure on the cards for him
Grimes: Legion of
has a launch date in July 2008, and it pits our quickwitted
fellow against an awakening zombie
horde - 'Can't wait for that!....
For those who need reminding, Barnaby
Grimes stepped on to the
book scene a few short months ago
in "Barnaby Grimes: Curse of the
Nightwolf". And he arrived with some
very big expectations on his
back, given the pedigree of his creators...
Darren Shan's Demonata series is
still moving on at a horrific pace.
This month, he's revealed the title to Book
7 in the sequence. Death's
will apparently fall upon us in May 2008, and that's one month
earlier than originally scheduled. According
to his December round-up
at the Shanville
Monthly, we can also look forward to Book 8 next October,
with Books 9 and 10 following a similar
pattern, in May and October
2009, respectively. You've got to hand
it to the Shanster, he really
does churn 'em out - in a good way, I mean!...
Or should that be a
nasty way?... Oh, you get the drift!....
With the "Golden
Compass" film now in cinemas, Philip Pullman has
chosen the perfect time to talk to the
Oxford Mail about his forthcoming
mini-adventure in the realms of His Dark
Upon a Time
in the North
is due to be published 8th April 2008 by David Fickling books,
and it follows the earlier adventures of
our favourite aeronaut Lee Scoresby
and his armoured pal Iorek Byrnison. The
book will be published in the
same fab mini-format as "Lyra's Oxford" and
it should keep fans very
happy indeed whilst we await the arrival
of the true Dark Materials
follow-up "The Book Of Dust",
'cos that massively-anticipated tome
won't be with us until 2009...
And, meanwhile, we have that
film. Here in the UK, its promotion is
everywhere, right across the media,
and it appears to be translating into
a solid box-office performance. Reviews
have been mixed, but mostly
favourable and it's all looking very
good for this high budget production,
internationally speaking... But as
for America, well, it seems our
friends across the pond aren't so
convinced. They appear to favour
bears... Which just about says it all...
Skulduggery Pleasant, that
sharpsuited skeletal detective, is preparing
return to our book shelves next April in
what's set to be an equally hip
and snappy adventure from author Derek
puts Mr P and Valkyrie on the trail of evil Baron
Vengeous and a growing hoarde of vampires...
But this reader doean't
want to know anything more in advance,
lest it spoil the surprises in
store. As regular visitors to the
Gnome's pages will know, Skulduggery's
was one of the very best of the year, and he now has
a handsome film deal with the folks
at Warner Bros., which may
well result in a very profitable and
exciting book-to-film franchise....
If you're a fan of Joseph Delaney's
Wardstone Chronicles, then you'll be
thrilled to hear that the Spook and his
young apprentice will be binding still
more ghouls and beasties next year in The
reckoning, it will be the 5th book
in Joseph Delaney's ongoing series.
But if you're wondering why this Gnome
is dithering, then you should take
heed: You see, the original Wardstone
titles aren't really appropriate for
our American friends, so they've removed
any references to spooks from
their titles. In fact, they've redesigned
the covers and presentation too, and
published them as stories of "The
Last Apprentice". And that means, casual
browsers at Amazon and its ilk might
well be fooled into thinking these
are all-new stories to track down. Well,
they're not, and you'd best note
now: The Spook books are British, The Last
Apprentice is American....
See... Easy-peasy, when you know how...
Have you dug your way through Tunnels
yet? - If you have, Mssrs Gordon
and Williams would like to invite
you even deeper into their subterranean realm.
is in fact the title to the forthcoming sequel, due for release next
through Chicken House....
S'funny, we're now six months on from
the initial furore regarding that first
story, and the craziness still shows no
signs of abating. As you'll recall,
"Tunnels" was originally titled
"The Highfield Mole" before it was acquired
upon a wave of hifaluting publicity
- and voila! - those original limited edition
hardbacks and paperbacks shot up, sky-high in
value... And they're still
out there at those top drawer prices,
with no sign of a devaluing on the
horizon ... Who'd have thunk it, eh?
So you're a bestselling author who's
made a fortune from your
devoted young fans, a great many of
whom have queued around
the block and through the night to
get their hands on the next addition
to your spectacular canon of work.
So what do you do next?
Yes, you got it. You go and write
exclusive book, of which only seven
copies will ever see the light of
day - and indeed - only one will ever
enter into the public domain via an
auction that prices out all-but
the Richie Rich's of this world before
it's even begun.
Ouch. Methinks there's a big mis-step
being taken here, even if
is well meant. After all, literature
is for the masses. Surely, you write
to be read? By all means, produce a super-exclusive
edition to do
qwith as you will. But to snub the
very folks who've made you what
you are? - Ooh - You'd better hope your
fans are understanding...
As you can imagine, the younglings
over on the CBBC web site
have some very
mixed opinions about this news!
books may have come and gone now - all seven of 'em - but
Harry Potter is still dominating the book
story refers to a record-breaking auction sale for
"Harry Potter and the Philosopher's
Stone". This is a first edition,
one of only 500, that's just sold
for a wallet-busting £19,700 at
a Christie's auction - that's £200
higher than the price achieved
by a previous sale of the book...
Well, what do you know... Hogwart's
most marvellous magician
(now deceased, of course) has just
by his maker.
JK Rowling was speaking before an
audience in Carnegie Hall
as part of her US Book Tour when she
revealed the truth about
the wizard's "troubled"
past and his affection for his rival Gellert
Grindwald. Yep, Dumbledore is/was
And the reason for this sudden "outing"?
- Apparently, it's down
to the producers of the next Potter
film. They were about to put a
reference to Dumbledore's love life
in the script to "Half-Blood
Prince". They had him smitten
with a woman, in his past, so
JK had to set things - er - straight...
Come on. You had your doubts, didn't
you? The "Golden Compass"
movie didn't look too shiny after
those early promos. But now
there's a glittering
trailer to view, and it's all looking much, much
better. Now there are deamons everywhichway,
just like there
should be. And fighting bears too.
It's not "Lord of The Rings",
of course, so the design is neccessarily
ordinary by comparison.
But you know, they just might pull
this off... If they get the film
finished in time for its December
7th release. Word is, there are
nine effects houses working round
the clock to get the film
completed... And if they haven't mucked
about too much with
the story. The most recent change has been
to excise the last
three chapters of the book, which
means - gulp - no Bridge To
The Stars in this first film. Will it leave
the film adrift, like Lee
Scoresby's balloon? - We'll find out
in just a couple of months...