Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stardust (eBook Edition)

It’s evidently true, no one in Hollywood has a new idea. For once I am applauding!

You see, over the weekend we went to the movies (one of my favorite very-hot-summer-day past times). The trailers were amazing in thier uniformity: four of the five were supernatural, hero based fantasy. Obviously, Hollywood has decided to cash in BIG on the Lord of the Rings/Harry Potter/Narnia phenomenon.

The bright light in this flood of fantasy is the release of Paramount’s Stardust based on the Neil Gaiman’s Stardust adult fairytale comics. But let me digress with a short history lesson for the uninitiated (which I think is almost as interesting as the movie).

The 1980’s DC Comics published a series of innovative new comics by the team of Neil Gaiman (writer) and Charles Vess (illustrator). This Sandman series was something of a “cult” favorites for Nerds and Goths (you can guess which my kids were).

But the secret got out and the comics were “discovered”. They became an almost guilty please for kids, teens, ordinary adults and musicians like Metallica and Tori Amos. And of course, those with intellectual pretensions like Norman Mailer began talking them up.

In 1997 Gaiman and Vess produced a “prestige” comic book serial with four installments called Stardust. It was a more adult comic in many ways with very "black” humor. I often found it laugh out loud funny!

Two years later Gaiman (who holds the copyright) republished it as a conventional novel--Stardust-- immediately and rather eerily (to those erstwhile Nerds and Goths) it went mainstream.

And now it’s a Hollywood movie! Family fun for those who know Gaiman’s work and a great discovery for those who don’t.

I, personally, have a hard time categorizing this a children’s book or just fantasy. . it‘s more of a romance to me. Fantasy romance, perhaps, but romance all the same.

I am thrilled to see it as an eBook edition in our store. While you’re there, check out the other Gaiman titles including Coraline. The ebook has a dozen extras, not available in the standard print edition, including facsimile pages of Neil Gaiman's Coraline notebook and additional illustrations by Dave McKea. And best of all, the movie version is in postproduction and will be released next year.

Ok, so here is the official stuff:

In the sleepy English countryside at the dawn of the Victorian Era, life moves at a leisurely pace in the tiny town of Wall--a secluded hamlet so named for an imposing stone barrier that surrounds a fertile grassland. Armed sentries guard the sole gap in the bulwark to keep the inquisitive from wandering through, relaxing their vigil only once every nine years, when a market fair unlike any other in the world of men comes to the meadow. Here in Wall, young Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to beautiful Victoria Forester. But Victoria is cold and distant--as distant, in fact, as the star she and Tristran see fall from the sky on a crisp October evening. For the coveted prize of Victoria's hand, Tristran vows to retrieve the fallen star and deliver it to his beloved. It is an oath that sends the lovelorn swain over the ancient wall, and propels him into a world that is strange beyond imagining. But Tristran is not the only one seeking the heavenly jewel. There are those for whom it promises youth and beauty, the key to a kingdom, and the rejuvenation of dark, dormant magics. And a lad compelled by love will have to keep his wits about him to succeed and survive in this secret place where fallen stars come in many guises--and where quests have a way of branching off in unexpected directions, even turning back upon themselves in space and in time.

Neil Gaiman works his unique literary magic in new and dazzling ways in Stardust, a novel that will shine in the heart and memory far beyond the turning of its final page." Special e-book feature: ""Writing and the Imagination," a speech by Neil Gaiman

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