Friday, October 16, 2009

Book Events: Post-Apocalyptic Teen Fiction panel, Barnes & Noble

So getting to see my favorite authors all the time isn't the reason that I moved to New York City, but it's certainly a nice bonus.

So yesterday on a cold and rainy night (seriously, I feel like we skipped fall and are just plunging head first into winter. I guess June really was our October!) I went to the upper east side Barnes & Noble to see Scott Westerfeld, James Dashner, Carrie Ryan and Michael Grant discuss post-apocalyptic teen fiction.

Scott Westerfeld started the night, talking about Leviathan, which he called more pre-apocalyptic than post-apocalyptic, but whatever. I felt a little bit like a stalker since this is the third time this year I've gone to a Scott Westerfeld event, but this was the first time I got to hear him speak in depth about Leviathan, and he shared some really cool things. Like the illustration process: Scott would write a few chapters, then send them on to Keith Thompson, the illustrator. At one point Keith caught up to Scott and was like "What should I do next?" Scott said that in a couple of chapters the characters were going to be chased by something, so he said Keith should draw something like that and Scott would write it in! I love insights into the creative process like that.

Also, there's going to be a fourth Leviathan book, this one with cutaways and floor plans of the clankers and pictures of the fabricated beasts. He had a picture of the flechette bats - oh man they're gross looking!

He also said during the Q&A that the Midnighters manga, mentioned during the NYC teen authors fest back in March, has been dropped, but NBC has picked up the option for a TV series and is apparently committed to writing a pilot. But Scott is worried because the little summary that NBC has out there says they fight crime! (warning: link goes to TV Tropes. It's a known timesuck. You've been warned) So, in Scott's words, it could be terrible.

Next was James Dashner, though I have to admit I didn't take any notes on him since all he did was summarize his new book, The Maze Runner, which I haven't read yet. I may or may not add it to my to-be-read pile, for while some of it sounds interesting, I also get easily frustrated with heavily male casts, and in this book "The Glade," which is at the center of a maze, is populated only with boys, until randomly a girl is sent there. It could be interesting - after all, I found The Knife of Never Letting Go to be awesome and I'm getting seriously impatient for the library to send me the sequel - so I'm withholding judgment until I can read it for myself.

Carrie Ryan spoke next about The Forest of Hands and Teeth...which apparently I never reviewed on here. Did it come out before the blog did? I don't remember - I do know the book became too bogged down in romance for my taste, but it was really interesting hearing Carrie talk about how the book came about. Not only was she inspired after watching zombie movies and wondering what happened to the survivors (because after all, unlike with a nuclear apocalypse, the survivors of the zombie apocalypse will have time to gather supplies and choose where they'll wait out the zombies, but eventually they'll have to stay in one place), but also about how we can lose stories if they aren't part of our daily lives. In The Forest of Hands and Teeth, Mary has grown up hearing stories of the ocean from her mother, but neither Mary nor her mother have ever actually seen an ocean, since they're in a fenced in village in the forest. Carrie was inspired because there was a family story passed down from her great-grandmother where no one remembers the great punchline the great-grandmother used to use.

Also, the sequel, The Dead Tossed Waves is coming out next March and Carrie Ryan will be back in New York for the book tour. I think I'll probably check it out - I have a feeling some of my romance issues will be resolved with the next book.

Finally up was Michael Grant of Gone and Hunger as well as my beloved Animorphs series. I have to admit I felt extremely vindicated when, during the Q&A session, he brought up the "abrupt" ending of Animorphs (oh man is THAT an understatement!) and acknowledged, "Well, that didn't work out well." So he's promised that he knows how the series is going to end (though not in detail as JK Rowling claimed to know the whole Harry Potter series - he kinda thinks she made that all up just to keep her editors from freaking out) and it won't be abrupt like Animorphs.

Thanks to all the authors and B&N for hosting the event!
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