It’s been a busy week in the wonderful world of science fiction and fantasy. The top five stories are below: read on for your weekly SF informational…

Newscast 1: RIP Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry PratchettSir Terry Pratchett, author of the DISCWORLD series and possibly the most beloved fantasy author in the world, died on 12th March 2015. Aged 66, Sir Terry was the best-selling author of the 1990s, and was very sadly diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2007. It was this condition that lead to his death. He will be very fondly remembered by many who have grown up with his work.

I was lucky enough to be introduced to Sir Terry’s work when I was at secondary school. I attended a very small lecture at a nearby school and found him to be every bit the character that I had expected. His books acted as a gateway to many – me included – and often lead to an interest in other areas of SF or fantasy. His writing style was unique in that it could be appreciated by children and adults alike, and without my English literature teacher’s introduction to his works I doubt that my lifelong interest in SF would have lead to writing my own novels…

Sir Terry’s daughter Rhianna Tweeted via her father account shortly after his death:

AT LAST, SIR TERRY, WE MUST WALK TOGETHER.

Terry took Death’s arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.

The End.

Rest in peace, Sir Terry.

TRON LEGACY poster

Newscast 2: TRON 3 is a go

Disney has officially confirmed TRON 3 is coming. In a Hollywood Reporter article, Joseph Kosinski has also been confirmed to direct. Production is due to start in late 2015.

This is great news. TRON LEGACY wasn’t a movie: it was a multimedia experience. The Daft Punk soundtrack is a masterpiece, and the visuals were incredible. It is a rare example of form trumping substance – to the extent that the human elements and characters almost become redundant. What’s worse is that the formula works…

In many ways, TRON LEGACY reminds me of Tom Cruise’s 2013 SF spectre OBLIVION. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Kosinski actually directed OBLIVION, so he has good pedigree for the upcoming project.

Newscast 3: ROGUE ONE confirmed as STAR WARS standalone movie

The first STAR WARS spin-off film, of many if Disney get their way, will be titled ROGUE ONE. Felicity Jones will lead.

I’m actually not much of a STAR WARS fan, but the trailer released a few months ago had me interested. Even if you are lukewarm on the project, it’s difficult not to get caught up with the fervour that seems to be developing.

star-wars-x-wing

Disney is increasingly playing a role in the development of cinematic science fiction. TRON, STAR WARS and the Marvel Universe are major elements of the next few years in SF: Disney is becoming quite influential in this field. The downside to this development, inevitably, is that Disney-flavoured SF will be pitched for the mass audience…

Newscast 4: James SA Corey’s THE EXPANSE

From the light to the dark, ScyFy will shortly be serving up something for the more discerning SF enthusiast: the television series THE EXPANSE. Check out this awesome slice of classic SF goodness…

All right, I admit that this might not be “news” to some – it broke online a few months ago! – but I’m behind on this one. This week was the first time that I’d seen the YouTube trailer and it immediately got my spidey-senses tingling.

James SA Corey (the pseudonym of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) writes THE EXPANSE series, under my publisher Orbit. I’ll make no secret of the fact that I enjoy their books immensely – I’m up to ABADDON’S GATE (book 3), and find both their writing style and plotting highly enjoyable. It’s just great to see the series being transplanted to the small screen. More often, quality science fiction seems to be finding an outlet via the television serial: there seems to be more room for the ideas breathe, and to explore a wider range of characters, than would be the case in a cinematic project.

Newscast 5: ARTEFACT released on 24th March 2015

LAZARUS WAR ARTEFACTHow could I get through a Top 5 without mentioning the upcoming release of book one of THE LAZARUS WAR – ARTEFACT? I recently revealed the awesome cover image created by my publishers Orbit, and the ebook release is now only ten days away!

Be sure to get your pre-orders in now – ARTEFACT will be available for a limited period at the ridiculously low price of just £2.99! You can order via almost all online retailers, including Amazon, Sainsbury’s ebooks, Google Reader (amongst many others).

I’m currently finishing the edits on THE LAZARUS WAR book 2 – LEGION – and it’ll ramp up the action of ARTEFACT to a whole new level. As a result of the revised released schedule for ARTEFACT, Orbit intends to release LEGION later this year as well; as soon as I have a firm date on this, I’ll be sure to share it.

I have also settled on the title for a novella I’ve just written, which is part of THE LAZARUS WAR universe. REDEMPTION, to be released in November 2015, features a new character and a unique perspective on the war…

Don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter here, and stay updated on all of the new release info.