Archive for the ‘Scott Westerfeld’ category

More info on the Uglies movie

July 27th, 2011

We’ve been waiting since, like, 2007 to hear solid details about an Uglies movie. Scott Westerfeld mentioned during Comic-Con that the Lola special effects group (the people who put Captain America’s head on a scrawny body in the new film) are doing work on the film. The surges should be pretty cool looking.

Westerfeld also mentioned a manga to be published by Del Rey that takes Shay’s side of the story and expands on it.

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

September 9th, 2010

I realized today that there is no main antagonist in the Leviathan/Behemoth series. It’s straight character vs. self and character vs. society. I wonder if that’s why students don’t quite get into the action. The only complaint I’ve received is that there’s so much focus on the history and not on excitement.

The “focus on history” comment is an interesting one, considering the book is about giant flying whales and steam-powered mechs.

Behemoth is a great sequel to Leviathan. It continues documenting the travels of the airship crew as they delve into the Ottoman Empire. There’s a little bit of airship combat but mostly it’s adventuring in the streets of Istanbul as Alek tries to find help to overthrow the German presence. Real ships and vehicles, like the Goeben and the Orient Express, show up, but in steampunk glory.

There is a cutesy mascot that gets added to the party, in the same vein as Gurgi from the Prydain Chronicles. Lots of babbling, lots of cuteness, and I must admit that, until I knew its true purpose, I sided with Count Volger on killing the thing.

In Behemoth, Westerfeld built up the revolution in Istanbul so that it explodes within the last 50 pages of the book. Students who are looking for battles galore are going to be disappointed that it takes such time to develop. Students who love character interactions and a believable world, though, will enjoy it without a doubt.

I’m marketing this book as an adventure, more like Indiana Jones, where there’s running and crashing and stuff like that alongside witty one-liners. We’ll see how it does in October when it hits the shelf.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

November 3rd, 2009

This is one that I had been waiting for for a long time. In my opinion there are not enough books out there about giant robots.

In addition, there are many more books about World War II than World War I. I wonder if it’s because more veterans from WWII are alive, or if our perceptions of the war have clearer boundaries between right and wrong, or maybe it’s because Indiana Jones fought Nazis and we all want to be like Harrison Ford.

Leviathan is a steampunk version of World War I. The Clankers (Westerfeld has such a knack for fun to say words) consist of the Austrians, Germans, and Ottoman Empire. Alek is a Clanker, trained in the art of fighting with giant robots. Steampunk is a subgenre of sci-fi, with the technology being more like Jules Verne and from that transition into the 20th century. The Clanker mechs run off of kerosene, steam, an a whole lot of levers and gears.

The other side fights with genetically engineered whales. I mean, obviously.

You do have the two perspectives, one protagonist from Clanker, the other from Darwinist, and of course they’re going to cross paths – this is a YA book. Deryn has a whole Mulan thing going on, hiding the fact that she’s a girl so that she can enlist for the Darwinist forces. We’ve seen that plot hook done many times before, but it’s a necessity if you’re talking British military from 1914. We’ve also seen the shipwrecked airship mixed with a feisty female scientist, like Ken Oppel’s Airborn series.

Even though many parts of Westerfeld’s book are tropes used in other stories, Westerfeld still puts his fun spin on them for an enjoyable book. Another fun aspect is looking up the real life events and people from World War I to further explore this alternate history. It is a series; I am anxiously awaiting book two. The first booktalks today for book one drew a lot of student interest.

Scott Westerfeld at Changing Hands

September 18th, 2009

On October 14, Scott Westerfeld will be at Changing Hands at 7pm.

I know I’m excited for the release of Leviathan on October 6. He has a way for naming things – I’ve been saying “clanker” ever since I saw the trailer.

Leviathan Book Trailer

September 1st, 2009

Check out the crazy alternate reality version of World War I in Leviathan:

Alan Cumming reads chapter one of Leviathan

August 27th, 2009

The new book by Scott Westerfeld comes out soon. Click here to read more about chapter one and to listen to a great recording.

Free Uglies!

August 6th, 2009

In celebration of Leviathan (coming out in October), Simon and Schuster is putting Uglies by Scott Westerfeld online for free.

Click here for the download.


May 6th, 2009

I’m officially judging a book by its cover. I want to read this.

On Being Скотт Вестерфельд

December 20th, 2008

Check out Scott Westerfeld’s hilarious post about his Russian alter ego.

Bogus to Bubbly by Scott Westerfeld

November 12th, 2008

If you liked reading about Tally and Shay and all the other bubblies in the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, you’ll definitely like Bogus to Bubbly.

It’s full of trivia about the books. For instance: look at the cover of Uglies. Notice anyone in the girl’s pupil? That’s the reflection of the photographer from the photo shoot. And the design in Aya’s eye on the Extras cover was inspired by the videogame The Last Starfighter.
Check the last word of each book. Notice a pattern?

The real treat is the insight that Scott Westerfeld adds for aspiring authors. He gives quite a bit of honest information about his writing process and the thoughts behind sections of the book.

Floating Ice Rink
I have no idea where this idea came from, except that it allowed me to write a scene that put together my three favorite things: fireworks, falling, and miscreant behavior.

He highlights where the technology from the books intersects with real-life, like how cuttlefish camouflage can actually match checkerboard patterns and that there are flash tattoos under people’s skin that can detect blood sugar. (I did not know that people actually have surgery to put diamonds on their eyes. Ouch.)

And I appreciate Westerfeld’s great sense of humor. The book reads like you’re checking his blog’s RSS feed.

So littlies aren’t considered ugly in Tally’s world – they’re too cute and innocent and small. Like penguins.

If you’ve just created a cool new building that uses smart matter supports, you don’t want someone coming along and turning that matter into, say, liquid. Because that would be bad.

He also describes the process behind creating effective slang and using it in regular conversation. (I actually used “dizzy-making” in conversation with one of the school secretaries without realizing it.) He has an acronym to help with coming up with slang, but I want you to check out this bubbly book.