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Canceling “Dead Pig Collector” by Warren Ellis

It is with regret that we announce that we’re canceling our publication of Warren Ellis’s digital short story, “Dead Pig Collector.” We were and continue to be very excited about the story—it’s brilliant, savage, and funny, and we hope you will have the opportunity to read it soon. However, we will not be coordinating its release with Mr. Ellis.

To the readers who have already preordered “Dead Pig Collector,” please accept our apologies for this cancellation. The vendor with which you placed your order will reverse the transaction.

Keep an eye on Warren Ellis’s many online platforms for developments about the story’s release. We wish Mr. Ellis the best on his future projects.

The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes to be Adapted for TV by MRC and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way

The Shining Girls by Lauren BeukesMulholland Books is thrilled to announce that MRC (House of Cards) and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way will team up to adapt Lauren Beukes’s The Shining Girls for TV. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, “The project marks a rare but splashy foray into TV for Appian, which previously made the environmental reality show Greensburg.” The Shining Girls, a stunning thriller about a time-traveling serial killer, is garnering remarkable praise as this summer’s must-read book, and it is the third novel from South African writer Lauren Beukes. Julian Friedmann at Blake Friedmann and Michael Prevett at the Gotham Group negotiated the deal.

Mulholland Books will publish The Shining Girls in the U.S. tomorrow, Tuesday, June 4, but critics around the world have already emphatically praised the book: the New York Times’s Janet Maslin calls it an “expert hair-raiser” and a “strong contender for this summer’s universal beach read,” and the New York Post says The Shining Girls “has got everyone
talking…and some say it’s this summer’s answer to last year’s mega-hit Gone Girl.” The book is already a London Times Top Ten Bestseller.

Josh Kendall, Editorial Director of Mulholland, said, “I haven’t been this excited about a thriller since first reading The Silence of the Lambs or dazzled by an author’s feel for character and plot since first reading Margaret Atwood. The Shining Girls reimagines what great commercial fiction can do.”

Karin Slaughter’s Story from Vengeance Anthology Wins Edgar Award

Mystery Writers of America Presents VengeanceWe were beyond thrilled to hear that Karin Slaughter’s propulsive story “The Unremarkable Heart” won Best Short Story at last week’s Edgar Awards. This story appears in our anthology, Mystery Writers of America Presents Vengeance, which is just out in paperback.

In the spirit of Short Story Month—which is, you guessed it, May—we’d like to give you a chance to win this star-studded story collection. Simply comment below with your favorite mystery story for a chance to win. See below for our terms and conditions.

While you’re waiting to the sweepstakes to close, we encourage you to visit our mystery story advent calendar, which recommends a chilling new story every day in May.

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J.J. Abrams’ Next Project, a Novel, to be Published by Mulholland Books

Written by Doug Dorst, based on a story by J.J. Abrams
J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

J.J. Abrams has created, written, produced, or directed groundbreaking television shows such as the Emmy and Golden Globe Award–winning Lost and Alias, and Felicity and blockbuster films such as Star Trek, Cloverfield, Super 8, and Mission: Impossible. His work is renowned for its sense of wonder and invention, and for helping reshape what’s possible in film and television today.

S., conceived of and developed by Abrams and written by award-winning author Doug Dorst, is Abrams’s first foray into publishing and will be released by Mulholland Books/Little, Brown and Company on October 29, 2013. At the core of this multilayered literary puzzle of love and adventure is a book of mysterious provenance. In the margins, another tale unfolds—through the hand-scribbled notes, questions, and confrontations of two readers. Between the pages, online, and in the real world, you’ll find evidence of their interaction, ephemera that bring this tale vividly to life.

“We are thrilled to be publishing J.J. Abrams, in partnership with someone as critically acclaimed as Doug Dorst,” says Mulholland Books editorial director Josh Kendall. “S. will be a literary event, and is truly a love letter to the printed word.”

Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, will be promoting the book leading up to and at publication time.

The cover of S. will be released at a later date.

J.J. Abrams is a multiple Emmy Award–winning producer, writer, and director. Doug Dorst is the award-winning author of Alive in Necropolis and The Surf Guru, as well as a former Jeopardy champion, one of only two novelists in the show’s long history.

Preorder S.: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Other Retailers

The top five moments of my video gaming life, or, Du côté de chez Questor

Austin Grossman’s YOU has been praised in the Boston Globe as “razor sharp…a smart meditation on the nature of gaming” and by Tom Bissell in Harper’s as “some of the most startling, acute writing on video games yet essayed.” Find it in bookstores everywhere or pick it up from your e-tailer of choice this week! We’ll have a full links post of the great coverage for YOU tomorrow–in the meantime, check out the below guest post from Austin on some of the most memorable moments of his gaming life.

This isn’t a top-five-games list, although there aren’t any bad games here.  Instead, it’s a list of the five best moments video games have given me.

Now that I’ve started writing at length about them, this is the part that interests me most. There’s a lot of debate as to whether video games are art, whether they deliver the kind of emotional or narrative or profound experiences associated with the idea of what an art form is.  But if we’re going to see clearly what video games are, we have to think about not just the “text” of the game, the art and code and game mechanics, but whatever it is that happens when game meets player, the ephemeral, collaborative experience that results.

You could say the same thing about any medium but for obvious reasons it has a special bite for interactive media. The best video games don’t just tell stories, they generate them.

Ritual caveats: It’s not really a top five, of course – I’ve done way too much gaming for that, and had too good a time doing it. I only have so much space. I could talk about Braid or SpyParty, but I think those are significant more because they’re good games than for a personal experience I had with them.

I’m also excluding games I worked on – no System Shock, no Deus Ex, no Trespasser (although I could – go ahead and call me on it).  In that regard I’m letting  Flight Unlimited in on a technicality, because I mostly just worked on the manual, and because part of what I’m writing about is the hardware peripheral.

1. Halo: Combat Evolved, Bungie, 2004

It was a little ways after midnight. I was at a friend’s house in Oakland on the couch. It had been a couple of years since I had a proper gaming console and I was catching up with some Halo.

I’d been a little dismissive of Halo during the opening levels back on the Pillar of Autumn – I felt it was standard shooter stuff – but then I hit the outdoor levels, out on the Forerunner-built pseudo-planetary surface and I got the point.  Tactical combat moved outdoors, dynamically modeled vehicle physics, and glorious scenery of the Halo, the kind of vistas that induce a uniquely vertiginous awe, the Ringworld sublime.

I’d been living there a few weeks, house-sitting after bailing out of a living situation that – well we won’t debate the rights and wrongs at this point, but there I was.  I was still in the first half of a doctorate I would never complete, pretty lonely, and for three or four hours a day I needed to not be there in my head. I played every night until I fell asleep.

I was almost halfway through the single-player campaign, partway through “Assault on the Control Room” and bogged down in one of those endless canyons. Dying and re-spawning, frustrated, bombarded, I was getting tired and lazy.

It was snowing onscreen, my human squadmates were dying, and I felt like the miserable WWI infantryman in a Wilfred Owen poem, getting shot by enemies I didn’t even notice.  It took me maybe forty-five minutes of grinding shooter gameplay to figure out that I could knock an enemy off its vehicle, and – if the vehicle survived the crash – I could get on it myself, and fly.

That was the moment.  Part of it was just one of those satisfying clicks where you realize that the virtual world is simulated more thoroughly than I had assumed, that they had opted to make me, Covenant troops, and vehicles part of the same universe, with the kind of robust interoperability that makes a simulated world feel complete.

But then there was the absolutely unexpected somatic thrill of the ground dropping away, like I had torn free from something. I pulled back on the stick and streaked up along the cliff face momentarily free, above the rainy, slushy mess of dying Terran and Covenant troops, right out of myself and Oakland and regret and all the memories of a wasted year.

Continue reading “The top five moments of my video gaming life, or, Du côté de chez Questor”

TNT Options Marcia Clark’s Rachel Knight Series

Marcia Clark‘s best-selling crime novels (GUILT BY ASSOCIATION and GUILT BY DEGREES) featuring L.A. Prosecutor Rachel Knight have been set up at TNT as a one hour series. Clark will Executive Produce with Dee Johnson and Nelson McCormick. Show-runner Johnson will also write the pilot and McCormick is attached to direct. The e-book edition of GUILT BY ASSOCIATION is currently available for $2.99 through the month of July wherever e-books are sold.

To learn more about Rachel Knight and her Los Angeles haunts, check out Rachel Knight’s LA the GUILT BY ASSOCIATION edition and the GUILT BY DEGREES edition.

Popping Fresh Popcorn Every Monday

GlacesThree years ago this week, I started a website called Popcorn Fiction. The idea arose from a conversation with my buddy Craig Mazin, in which we were both lamenting that Hollywood never looks at contemporary short fiction anymore for inspiration. A slew of movies had popped up in the aught years based on sci-fi short fiction from the 40s and 50s it seemed, but if contemporary genre stories were being published, Hollywood wasn’t paying attention.
I turned to my brother, Austin, who is a programming whiz, and even though it was beneath him, I asked him to design a website where I could launch a new story each week. He enlisted his wife, Yoko, and they came up with both the code and the look. With that in place, I just needed material.
I hit up all the screenwriters I knew and asked if they were interested. Most were. They had prose itches they wanted to scratch, and the idea of penning something original – instead of working on the latest adaptation – intrigued them. They wouldn’t have to worry about budgets or set-pieces or notes or focus groups; they could just run wild on the page. I asked them to keep it under 8,000 words, and everyone but Les Bohem listened. I paid twenty bucks to make it official, because writers deserve to get paid for their work. ($25 now, because that’s how much you need to be eligible for contests.) I said to write anything you want as long as it wasn’t the type of story that would appear in the New Yorker. Comedy, horror, sci-fi, western, crime… make it count. Just write me the kind of story that would make a good popcorn movie.

Continue reading “Popping Fresh Popcorn Every Monday”

Tijuanasaurus Rex

Crucifijos de los RosariosMulholland Books is pleased to announce the acquisition of Richard Lange’s new novel Angel Baby. Celebrate with us with the below guest post from the Guggenheim Fellowship recipient and author of the acclaimed novel This Wicked World and short story collection Dead Boys. Welcome to the team, Richard!

Tijuana lies sprawled along the line where the U.S. and Mexico crash into each other like two tectonic plates. This convergence leads to a certain seismic instability, and the city is constantly being rattled by tremors of one sort or another, whether it be drug murders or a political scandal. Business continues as usual, though, because that’s what business does, barely taking notice of all of the little calamities that somehow miraculously never add up to a major catastrophe.

It’s a city of two million hardworking people, 7,000 stray dogs, and lots of noisy black ravens. Technically, it sits in Mexico, 20 minutes south of downtown San Diego, three hours from L.A., but it’s a border city, perhaps the quintessential border city, and as such is neither Mexican nor American. “Tijuana isn’t Mexico,” people say, and they’re right, but it’s not a suburb of San Diego either. It’s not even some strange amalgamation of the two. Instead, like all great cities – Los Angeles, New York, Paris – it’s completely unique, possessing a personality that sets it apart from every other place in the world. It has its own culture, its own language, its own dreams and nightmares.

The city was a sleepy backwater until Prohibition, when Hollywood and the mob began to come down to drink and gamble. Later, it became the playground of servicemen stationed in San Diego, offering all the depravity an 18-year-old sailor could want. Regular tourists started venturing across the border in droves in the 1950s. They came in search of spicy food, cheap margaritas, and souvenirs for the folks back home — an oversized sombrero, maybe, or a silver ring that would turn your finger green after a week, or a life-size plaster skull wearing a Nazi helmet.

Today Tijuana isn’t the tourist Mecca it once was, but it’s still one of the fastest-growing cities in Mexico due to the many foreign-owned factories that have located there in order to take advantage of cheap labor. These maquiladoras attract workers from all over the country. There is also a sizeable transient population made up of people who are waiting to slip cross the border into the U.S. or have been deported from there.

The scrappy metropolis has long fascinated me. I’ve written about it in a couple of short stories, and a portion of my new novel, Angel Baby (Mulholland, Spring 2013), takes place there. Some of my visits are chronicled in the half dozen blurry black-and-white photos I have that show me sitting in carts behind different sad-eyed donkeys painted to look like zebras, all shot by various Tijuana street photographers over the years.

Continue reading “Tijuanasaurus Rex”