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Words For Our Times

March 23, 2021 at 8:12 am
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Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

We’ve Been Working on the Railroad

March 19, 2021 at 3:53 pm
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The Santa Fe Southern, that is!

The defunct railroad we bought had only one working locomotive,  number 7.   So one of our first orders of business was to get old number 93 rolling again.   She needed a new engine.

Thanks to John Howell and Daniel Dornbach and their crack team of railroaders, that’s now DONE.

 

Current Mood: excited excited

Horror in New Hampshire

March 12, 2021 at 3:47 pm
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For all you fans and aspiring writers of Lovecraftian cosmic horror… the Odyssey Writer’s Workshop in New Hampshire is open for applicants for their 2021 conference, and financial aid is available from a variety of sources, including my own Miskatonic Scholarship.

Here’s the official announcement:

 Publicity Release Writing Workshops Charitable Trust 

 P.O. Box 75, Mont Vernon, NH 03057 ◘ Phone/Fax (603) 673-6234 ◘ www.odysseyworkshop.org 

 Publicity Release 

February 2021 

GEORGE R. R. MARTIN SCHOLARSHIP 

AND FIVE OTHER SCHOLARHIPS FOR WRITERS ATTENDING 

THE ODYSSEY WRITING WORKSHOP 

The Odyssey Writing Workshop is widely considered one of the top programs in the world for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. Fifty-nine percent of graduates are professionally published, and among graduates are award winners, Amazon bestsellers, and New York Times bestsellers. 

The 2021 workshop will be held from JUNE 7 to JULY 16; only twelve to fifteen writers will be admitted. For those attending, Odyssey is pleased to announce that six scholarships and one work/study position are available. 

Financial aid and scholarships are made available by supporters, alumni, various organizations, and Odyssey itself. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need, merit, or the specific criteria listed below. They range in size from several hundred dollars to over $4000. 

Several of the scholarships require that you fill out the Odyssey Financial Need Statement. Contact Director Jeanne Cavelos for the form, which is due APRIL 1. 

A NOTE ON COVID-19: The workshop is normally held on the campus of Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire. If the world has returned to a post-COVID state of near normality, Odyssey will be held there as usual. If travel for many is not possible, the workshop will be held online, as it was in 2020 with great success. The application deadline is APRIL 1. 

ODYSSEY SCHOLARSHIPS 

The Miskatonic Scholarship 

Bestselling author George R. R. Martin created this scholarship for a horror writer attending Odyssey. The Miskatonic Scholarship will be awarded to a promising new writer of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. It will cover full tuition and housing. To be considered, you must complete the Odyssey Financial Need Statement by April 1 and indicate on the form that you are interested in the Miskatonic Scholarship. A panel of three judges will select the winner from among the applicants who have demonstrated financial need, using the short story or novel excerpts sent with the workshop applications. George describes the criteria for the scholarship this way: “we are not looking for Lovecraft pastiches, nor even Cthulhu Mythos stories. References to Arkham, 

Azathoth, shoggoths, the Necronomicon, and the fungi from Yuggoth are by no means obligatory…though if some candidates choose to include them, that’s fine as well. What we want is the sort of originality that H. P. Lovecraft displayed in his day, something that goes beyond the tired tropes of werewolves, vampires and zombies, into places strange and terrifying and never seen before. What we want are nightmares new and resonant and profound, comic terrors that will haunt our dreams for years to come.” Scholarship monies will be applied directly to tuition and housing for the 2021 workshop. 

The Walter & Kattie Metcalf Singing Spider Scholarship 

Funded by Pam Metcalf Harrington, Odyssey class of 2001, the Walter & Kattie Metcalf Singing Spider Scholarship is offered in honor of Pam’s parents, who encouraged a lifelong passion for reading and writing fantasy. The scholarship is also named for the infamous singing spiders, fictional characters who appeared in a novel excerpt submitted at Odyssey 2001. The scholarship will be awarded to a fantasy writer whose novel excerpt shows great skill and promise. A successful fantasy novelist spins a web of wonder, adventure, and intrigue that captivates readers and holds them spellbound through the lyrical flow of the prose. The novelist is, in essence, a ‘singing spider.’ To be considered for this scholarship, you must complete the Odyssey Financial Need Statement by April 1 and indicate on the form that you are interested in the Walter & Kattie Metcalf Singing Spider Scholarship. You must also use a novel excerpt as the writing sample for your Odyssey workshop application. A panel of three judges will select the winner using those novel excerpts. The scholarship covers full tuition. 

The Fresh Voices Scholarship 

Funded anonymously by an Odyssey graduate, this scholarship provides support to an outstanding writer of color each year. Those eligible include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, writers of color from outside the U.S., and others. The Fresh Voices Scholarship seeks to offer opportunities for underrepresented racial and ethnic minority writers to learn at Odyssey and enrich the fantasy, science fiction, and horror genres as a result. To be considered, you must complete the Odyssey Financial Need Statement by April 1, indicate on the form that you are interested in the Fresh Voices Scholarship, and provide your race/ethnicity. A panel of three judges will select the winner using the short story or novel excerpts sent with the workshop applications. The scholarship awards $2,000 toward Odyssey tuition. 

The Enchanted Bond Scholarship 

Funded anonymously by an Odyssey supporter, this scholarship provides financial aid to an outstanding fantasy writer each year. When readers are immersed in a fresh, vivid, believable fantasy world; engaged with compelling characters; involved in a suspenseful situation; and living, moment by moment, through an experience that could never occur in reality, the author has succeeded in creating an enchanted bond between reader and story. To be considered for this scholarship, you must complete the Odyssey Financial Need Statement by April 1 and indicate on the form that you are interested in the Enchanted Bond Scholarship. A panel of three judges will select the winner using the short story or novel excerpts sent with the workshop applications. The scholarship awards $1,000 toward Odyssey tuition. 

The Quantum Entanglement Scholarship 

Funded anonymously by an Odyssey graduate, this scholarship provides support to an outstanding writer of science fiction each year. According to quantum mechanics, when a pair of particles interact, they become entangled. Entangled particles remain connected so that the state of one determines the state of the other, even when the particles are far apart. Albert Einstein famously referred to this as “spooky action at a distance.” Powerful science fiction not only presents a compelling novum (new idea) based on science and builds a world consistent with that novum; it draws readers in past the science to a moving human story with characters that readers can care about and a conflict in which every twist and turn has an impact on readers’ emotions. When that happens, the author has succeeded in entangling readers and story, an effect that may last long after the story is finished and put away. To be considered for this scholarship, you must complete the Odyssey Financial Need Statement by April 1 and indicate on the form that you are interested in the Quantum Entanglement Scholarship. A panel of three judges will select the winner using the short story or novel excerpts sent with the workshop applications. The scholarship awards $1,000 toward Odyssey tuition. 

The Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship 

The Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship will be offered to a Canadian writer admitted to Odyssey. Chris, a 2013 Odyssey graduate, was an inspiration to many Odyssey alumni and a strong believer in creating systems and participating in events to increase his productivity, such as setting goals, attending workshops, and participating in NaNoWriMo. This scholarship, funded by alumni and friends of Chris, will cover $900 of tuition. A separate application is required and due April 1. Contact Director 

Jeanne Cavelos for the Chris Kelworth Memorial Scholarship application. A panel of three judges will select the winner using the information in the scholarship applications and the short story or novel excerpts sent with the workshop applications. 

OTHER AVAILABLE SCHOLARSHIPS 

Wollheim Memorial Scholarship Fund 

Applicants from the New York Metropolitan Area (including New Jersey) who are accepted into Odyssey are eligible to apply for a scholarship from the Donald A. and Elsie B. Wollheim Memorial Scholarship Fund. This fund was created in 1989 by the New York Science Fiction Society–the Lunarians, one of New York’s oldest and largest science fiction and fantasy clubs, to help developing writers attend major science fiction/fantasy writing programs affiliated with higher institutions of learning. The amount of the scholarship is variable depending on need and the availability of funds. Scholarship monies will be applied directly to tuition for the 2021 workshop. If you are accepted into Odyssey and would like to pursue this possibility, contact Director Jeanne Cavelos for the special Wollheim application form immediately upon your acceptance. 

Horror Writers Association 

If you write horror, you are eligible for one or more of the scholarships offered by the Horror Writers Association, which are worth between $500 and $2,500. The scholarship funds can be applied toward Odyssey tuition and housing. Applications open on May 1. 

Kurt Brown Prizes 

Since Odyssey is a member of the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, those accepted into Odyssey can apply for AWP’s three Kurt Brown Prizes, scholarships of $500 each for emerging writers. Applications are accepted from December 1 to March 30. 

Work/Study Position 

One work/study position is also available. The work/study student spends about six hours per week performing duties for Odyssey, such as photocopying, sending stories to guests, distributing mail to students, and preparing for guest visits. Odyssey reimburses $800 of the work/study student’s tuition, half at the end of Week 3 of the workshop and half at the end of the workshop. 

The work/study student will be expected to fulfill the regular requirements of Odyssey in addition to these duties. This will make for a very demanding six weeks, but for a student who needs the financial assistance, the work/study position offers a good opportunity. Contact Director Jeanne Cavelos for more details and a work/study application. Work/study applications are due April 30. 

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Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

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Coming… Eventually… Maybe

March 11, 2021 at 9:39 am
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The story about the adaptation of IN THE LOST LANDS broke a week or so back.

And now, hard on the heels of that, comes the announcement  about another story of mine being developed as a movie.

“Sandkings” was the story I was best known for, before A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE came along.   Originally published in OMNI, it went on to win the Hugo,  Nebula, and Locus Awards (my only triple crown), and has been anthologized and reprinted more times than I can count.   It was filmed once before as well, as the two-hour premiere episode of the revived OUTER LIMITS.   Melinda Snodgrass did the adaptation; Beau Bridges starred, with his father and his son in supporting roles.

Now the story is in development once again… this time as a feature film rather than a television episode.

Gore Verbinski, the acclaimed director of RANGO, THE RING, PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN, and many other films, will helm the project.   Dennis Kelly, creator of UTOPIA, is writing the script, which promises to be a closer adaptation than the OUTER LIMITS version.   The new version will have a much bigger budget as well; the OUTER LIMITS simply did not have the money to do all the things that they wanted to do.

You can read all the details here:

https://collider.com/sandkings-movie-netflix-gore-verbinski-george-rr-martin/

or here:

Gore Verbinski to Direct Adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Sandkings

We are still in the early stages of development, to be sure.   Dennis Kelly is only now writing the script.   Many things are developed and only a few are ever filmed, so please remember that… it could be a year or two or three before this comes to Netflix, if indeed it ever does.   But we have a great team on it, so I am hopeful.   Cross your fingers and pray for Simon Kress.   (Or don’t).

I am not quite sure why all these stories seem to be breaking now.   The SANDKINGS project has been underway for more than a year (Covid obviously shut things down) and IN THE LOST LANDS for something like six years.   We also have an animated feature of THE ICE DRAGON in development at Warner’s (as it happens I wrote “Sandkings” and “The Ice Dragon” within a couple weeks of each other, during a Christmas break from my job teaching college in Dubuque, Iowa — that was a good break).

And that’s just in the feature sphere.   In television, as seen here, I am working with Kalinda Vazquez on a pilot for Roger Zelazny’s ROADMARKS, and I am part of the terrific team that is trying to bring Nnedi Okorafor’s WHO FEARS DEATH to series on HBO.   I think we’re finally getting close on that one; we’ve been interviewing possible directors lately, and the last one was VERY impressive.   Of course there’s HOUSE OF THE DRAGON at HBO, the GAME OF THRONES prequel series that Ryan and Miguel are helming, and maybe possibly some other stuff for HBO that I cannot tell you about (but it is very exciting), and also a new series for AMC that I also cannot tell you about… yet… (hint, hint).

Oh, and there’s FRIENDS FOREVER.   Just a short film, maybe twenty minutes long.   A labor of love, that I hope you’ll love as much as I do.  That one will happen, if the pandemic ever allows it.   If not for Covid, we would have shot it already.   It is the first of four shorts that I hope to film, based on classic short stories by one of the most idiosyncratic writers our field has ever produced.

That’s what’s on my plate in television and film.

You all know what is on my plate in prose.   I need to finish WINDS, and then maybe write another Dunk & Egg novella, and then get right into A DREAM OF SPRING, and in between edit some more Wild Cards books.

Once more into the breach, dear friends… Westeros beckons.

 

Current Mood: busy busy

Good News and Bad

March 8, 2021 at 9:23 am
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I got the first shot of Covid vaccine last week, I am relieved to report.  The Moderna vaccine.   Second shot scheduled for the end of the month.

Parris has also gotten her first shot.

That’s the good news.

And it does seem that we are finally turning the corner on the pandemic.      We are not out of the woods yet, but I am cautiously hopeful.

The bad news, of course, is that I have lost five friends since November.   Not all to Covid, though that was a factor in some of the deaths.   Death is part of life, I know, it waits for all of us, valar morghulis and all that.   Even so, this is too much too soon, and it has been hitting me hard.  I have friends who struggle with depression, but I have never been prone to such myself… at least not the kind of depression that requires medication… but it is hard to stay upbeat and focused when you are suffering so many losses so close together, blow after blow after blow.

Fuck you, Grim Reaper.   Stick that scythe up your arse and leave my loved ones alone.

Meanwhile, I do my best to lose myself in work.

 

 

Current Mood: angry angry

Covid Claims Another Friend

March 5, 2021 at 3:23 pm
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The Grim Reaper just keeps on reaping, sad to say.

I have lost another friend.   Last night I got a phone call from Michael Cassutt in LA to tell me that our mutual friend Dr. Michael Engelberg had died.   He was a victim of Covid-19, one of the half million we have lost.

Dr. Michael was a physician himself, an oncologist at Cedar-Sinai in Los Angeles, and one of the leaders in his field, though he retired from active practice a few years ago.    Thankfully (knock wood) neither I nor anyone in my immediate circle ever needed to call upon his expertise in the treatment of cancer… but having a good friend who was also a doctor at one of the leading hospitals in the country was definitely something to be thankful for.   He was always the first person I turned to for a second opinion whenever Parris or I had a medical issue of any sort.   There was no one better.   Twenty years ago, asking him for that second opinion saved Parris from having an entirely unnecessary heart procedure, for which we will be eternally grateful.

Dr. Michael lived a double life, however.   By day he was a physician, one of the country’s leading oncologists.   But he was also a hardcore science fiction and fantasy fan, and a film producer… and it was in that capacity that I first met him, back in the early 90s.    I was doing a lot of screenwriting in those days, and Engelberg was looking for writers to script some of the projects he had in development at Disney, so my agent set up a breakfast for us… at Hugo’s, I believe.   (That was a big industry breakfast-and-lunch place in those days.   The food was great…. and, of course, with a name like that, there was no place better for two old fanboys to get together and talk SF).   We hit it off at once, and two decades of friendship ensued.

We also worked together.   Michael was a decade older than me and had been reading SF all his life.   He had an amazing collection, especially of Golden Age material.   He loved Asimov, Heinlein, Sturgeon, Simak, and his dream was to bring some of their classic works to the silver screen.

His favorite was Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Barsoom novels.   Michael was the producer who first brought A PRINCESS OF MARS to Disney, and got it optioned by Hollywood Pictures, a Disney subsidiary.   For more than a decade he fought to get it filmed.   Writer after writer took a crack at it, and at least once the project got a greenlight with a director attached… but then the director demanded another rewrite, and the studio did not like it much, and the green light turned to red.   The director left, and more writers came and went… the last team being me and Melinda Snodgrass.   We did a couple of passes ourselves, and for a while it seemed we were going to get a green light for our version… but then the Mouse changed his mind, decided PRINCESS needed to be animated instead of live action, and took it away from us and Hollywood Pictures and assigned it to Disney proper.  Where nothing happened.   In later years the Disney option expired, and the Burroughs estate sold the rights to Paramount.   Nothing happened there either, alas.   So Disney came back into the picture and bought back the rights to Barsoom, but the Hollywood Pictures division was defunct by then, so a whole new group of people took charge of the project.   I don’t think they ever even looked at the old scripts.   Instead they made JOHN CARTER.   Dr. Michael was not connected with that, and I think it broke his heart a little… but that’s development for you.

A PRINCESS OF MARS was his passion project, but by no means the only one he worked on.    There was a time back in the 90s when I had four — yes, count ’em, four — films in active development at Hollywood Pictures, and Dr. Michael Engelberg was the executive producer and guiding hand on all of them.   Besides PRINCESS, Melinda and I were also developing WILD CARDS as a feature film, collaborating on a screenplay built around our own most iconic characters, Dr. Tachyon and the Great and Powerful Turtle.   Michael also picked up the rights to FADEOUT, an original SF screenplay I had written for a small independent that had gone bust.    For a time there was talk of attaching Sharon Stone to that one, but when that fell through, so did the project.  And Hollywood also optioned my historical horror novel, FEVRE DREAM.  I was so busy with other work — the aforementioned PRINCESS, WILD CARDS, FADEOUT, as well as three television pilots, the Wild Cards books, and this fantasy novel I had started in 1991 — that I did not get around to writing the screenplay for FEVRE DREAM for a while, alas.   Big mistake.   By the time I turned in the script, Hollywood Pictures was on its last legs and had lost all interest in steamboats and vampires.   They put the script in turnaround the day after I turned it in.

None of that was Dr. Michael’s fault.   He was as frustrated as any of us by the vagaries of development hell.   Maybe more so.   I loved working with him, maybe because he had a trufan’s reverence for the original material.  Whether dealing with ERB, RAH, or GRRM, he always argued for staying with the book and doing faithful adaptations.

In the end, Dr. Michael only got one of his numerous projects filmed: the 1994 adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein’s THE PUPPET MASTERS.  That was another book he brought to Disney, and it gave him great joy when the cameras finally began to roll… although I know he would rather that one had stayed a bit closer to RAH’s novel as well.   If Hollywood had more sense, PUPPET MASTERS would have been the first of many Michael Engelberg productions.  Instead it proved to be the first and last.

My friendship with Michael lasted much longer than our working relationship.   Whenever I visited LA, I would make sure I made time to visit him, so we could catch up and talk about the books we’d loved and the movies we wanted to make.   Our favorite haunt was Hop Li, a Chinese restaurant in LA’s Chinatown, where we would gather around a big round table and share a feast with other writers, fans, and movie people.   Melinda Snodgrass, Michael Cassutt, Alan Brennert, Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, David Goyer, Len Wein, Chris Valada were all regulars at our Hop Li gatherings.  And you never knew who else might turn up.   One time it was Deke Slayton, which was pretty damn exciting.

If Covid ever ends and I get to return to LA again, I hope those of us who are left can gather at Hop Li once more and raise a toast to Dr. Michael Engelberg over some tangerine beef, peking duck, and walnut shrimp.   He was one of the good ones.

 

Current Mood: depressed depressed

Gray Alys on the Silver Screen

March 4, 2021 at 2:12 pm
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I cannot seem to keep out of the news these days.

The latest story to break:

https://ew.com/movies/milla-jovovich-paul-w-s-anderson-in-the-lost-lands-dave-bautista/   

“In the Lost Lands” was one of my earliest fantasy stories (most of my work in the 70s was science fiction), the first tale of the mysterious Gray Alys, an enigmatic sorceress who would sell you anything you might desire… though her customers soon learned that you buy from her at your peril.   No doubt my long-time fans all recall the twelve classic tales I wrote about Gray Alys and her customers, which were later collected in the….. WHOA, WHOA, wait a second.   That’s all wrong.   Another of those pesky alternate world memories.   No, truth to tell, I meant to write a whole series of Gray Alys stories, I really did, I even began a second and penned a few of the opening pages… but one day I put it aside and I never got back to it.   In the end I only wrote one Gray Alys story.

“In the Lost Lands.”

And now the story is coming to the big screen.   Paul W.S. Anderson, director of Monster Hunter, Pompeii, and several Resident Evils, will helm the film.   Milla Jovovich will star as Gray Alys, with Dave Bautista of Guardians of the Galaxy as Boyce, who leads her into the Lost Lands.  German film director Constantin Werner, who first optioned the story and tried to get the film made for years,  will be among the producers.

And who knows?   If the movie is a big hit, maybe there will be sequels, and Gray Alys will finally get her series after all.

(So many years have passed, I no longer recall why I never finished that second story.   I loved the character.  Still do.   And there were secrets I meant to reveal in those unwritten stories, and a whole complex backstory, and and and… sigh.  Where do the years go?)

 

 

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

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Words For Our Times

March 1, 2021 at 9:08 am
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Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

You Will Never Guess What’s In-Store

February 26, 2021 at 11:05 am
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The wolf has meowed again.   This time in Las Vegas.

Omega Mart, the strangest supermarket in all the multiverse, has finally opened in Sin City, where it will be the anchor of the new Area 15 mall.  This is the second permanent installation from Meow Wolf, and tickets are available now.

https://meowwolf.com/visit/las-vegas

If you are in Nevada, or close enough to visit, and would like to check out the Mart, do reserve ahead of time and get your tickets on line.    Just showing up at the door is not likely to work.  The opening is subject to Covid restrictions, which means they are limited (for now) to 25% capacity, I believe.   Sellouts will be the rule of the day for a while yet.   (And no, I have not seen the exhibit myself yet.  I am a long way from Las Vegas, in isolation in my mountain cabin, and this is not a good time for me to be travelling.   But I expect I will get there eventually).

So far, the reviews have been splendid.

https://www.santafenewmexican.com/opinion/editorials/omega-mart-pulls-it-off-meow-wolf-in-the-other-las-vegas/article_9403eac2-7553-11eb-bc18-4b2a21f0cc27.html

Many of you reading this may have already seen Meow Wolf’s first permanent exhibit, the House of Eternal Return in Santa Fe.   Be assured, though Omega Mart is part of the same mythos (with more clues to the same underlying mysteries), it is elsewise completely different from the House.   This is not a Disneyland/ Disneyworld/ Euro Disney scenario, the same thing in a different place.   This is a major expansion… and the Vegas exhibit is larger than the original as well.  (And wait till you see what they are building in Denver!)

https://lasvegasweekly.com/news/2021/feb/18/inside-meow-wolfs-immersive-omega-mart-art-install/

There are many more stories out there on the internet, for those who would like to know more.   Just Google.

https://lasvegasweekly.com/photos/galleries/2021/feb/24/20210211_lvw_OMEGA_MART_selects_WV/#/0

Meanwhile, back home in the City Different, the House of Eternal Return remains shuttered for the foreseeable future, in compliance with New Mexico’s own pandemic restrictions.   When Meow Wolf will be clear to reopen we cannot say; that all depends on the pace of vaccination, I suppose.   My theatre, the Jean Cocteau Cinema, remains closed as well.   Next door Beastly Books is open only for mail order.   (But we have plenty of signed books for sale, if you would like to help support us.  Including all of my own titles).

Those of you in Vegas and environs, do check out the Omega Mart if you can… but please, do so safely.   Wear masks, and get your vaccinations as soon as your number is called.

Current Mood: geeky geeky

On the Road with Roger Z

February 24, 2021 at 9:02 am
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The story broke a few days ago, and is now all over the internet: I am developing a new series for HBO, a science fiction show based on ROADMARKS, a novel by the late great Roger Zelazny.   And what do you know — the story is actually true.   Which is more than can be said about most of the stories about me that I stumble over these days, boys and girls.  (I have said it before, and will say it again, but sometimes it seems no one listens.   Do not believe everything you read).

Anyway… YES!   We had not intended to announce anything yet, to be sure.   Development is a long and uncertain process.    Thousands of shows are pitched, hundreds of pilots are written, dozens of pilots are filmed, but only a very few of them ever get greenlit to series.   There is a reason that Hollywood insiders call it “development hell.”  And what’s the point of announcing projects that might never make it to air?   That’s why HBO — like most other networks and streamers — prefers to keep these things quiet.

Even so, even so… you cannot win the lottery unless you buy a ticket, so we all keep playing.

Which brings me back to ROADMARKS.

DEADLINE was the first to break the story, but the best and most complete account appeared on the WERTZONE, here:
https://thewertzone.blogspot.com/2021/02/hbo-developing-roger-zelaznys-roadmarks.html

My career in television started in 1985 when I adapted Roger Zelazny’s “The Last Defender of Camelot” for THE TWILIGHT ZONE.  It was the first script of mine ever to be filmed (starring Richard Kiley and Jenny Agutter and a stuntman whose nose got cut off during the swordfight).  Roger was a friend, a mentor, and one of the greatest science fiction writers who ever lived.   He died in 1995, but his work will live for so long as people read SF and fantasy. It was an honor to be able to bring one of his stories to television.   And now I am hoping we will be able to do it again.

I pitched ROADMARKS to HBO last year — along with four other SF and fantasy works (by various other writers) that I thought had the makings of great shows.   They all had (and have) lots of potential, but ROADMARKS was the one they responded to.  A great choice, I think.   ROADMARKS is not as well as known as some of Roger’s other work, like the Amber series or LORD OF LIGHT (one of the best SF novels ever written, imnsho), but at the core of it is a simply marvelous concept: the Road that extends through all of history and even into alternate timelines, ever growing, ever changing, a road that will take you anywhere if you know how to find it.  Roger’s own title for the novel was LAST EXIT TO BABYLON, which gives you a hint of the flavor of the book.   In Red Dorakeen, he gave us a fascinating protagonist as well, and of course there’s also Leaves and Flowers, and the Black Decade, and some wild supporting characters and bad guys.    Honestly, the concept is as big as Amber and could easily have sustained a whole series of books, though Roger only penned the one.  It’s our hope that it can also sustain a dozen great seasons on HBO.

But that’s a way down the… ahem… road.   Right now we just have a pilot order.

We found a great writer, though.  Her name is Kalinda Vazquez.   I first met her five or six years back, when we worked together on a different project, trying to turn my werewolf novella “The Skin Trade” into a series for Cinemax.   That was going great for a time, till it blew up for various complex legal reasons that annoy me to this day.   (See what I mean about development hell?)  Maybe one day we can return to it.  Afterwards, Kalinda went on to write for all sorts of other shows, including STAR TREK and THE WALKING DEAD, while I… well, most of you know what I have been doing.   But I am looking forward to working with her again.   Although, to be honest, it is Kalinda who will be doing most of the work from this point on.   I am only an executive producer.   Kalinda will be writing the pilot, and if indeed we get a series order, she will be the showrunner, presiding over the writer’s room and in charge of the whole shebang.    She had a great take on Willie and Randi back then, and I think she’ll do right by Red and the Road as well.

Of course, it will be a year or two before a ROADMARKS show could possibly get on the air.

While you are waiting, let me suggest you read ROADMARKS, the novel.   And then NINE PRINCES IN AMBER.   LORD OF LIGHT.   DOORWAYS IN THE SAND.   CREATURES OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS.   THIS IMMORTAL.   THE DREAM MASTER.   Or any of the marvelous haunting evocative short stories.   There was only one Roger Zelazny.

 

 

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful