EXCLUSIVE: Rebecca F. Kuang’s series of fantasy novels including The Poppy War, are set to be adapted for television after Peter Luo’s Starlight Media optioned the rights.
Starlight Media, which has backed films including Crazy Rich Asians and Midway, has taken the rights to The Poppy War, Dragon Republic and The Burning God.
The company has teamed with financing and production banner SA Inc to develop and finance the female-led, fantasy epic, which combines the history of twentieth-century China and a world of gods and monsters.
Allen Fischer from management/production company Artists First is packaging the project with Starlight, and is in the process of attaching a showrunner.
…is now available for free download here. It’s a collection of scenes from Nezha’s POV, and can be read before, after, or concurrently with THE BURNING GOD. There are no spoilers for TBG except the last scene, which is only a very minor spoiler. Happy reading!
Happy launch day! I kicked off the morning chatting to Lucy Nalpathanchil on WNPR radio; thank you to Carmen Baskauf for producing! You can listen to the full archived show here.
Launching a book during a pandemic is weird. Normally I’d be at a local bookstore, signing stock and beaming in satisfaction at seeing my work on shelves (nope, that never gets old!). Today I’m wrapping up a trilogy, but it doesn’t feel as momentous as perhaps it should. I’ll be at home, sipping champagne and plugging away at the next book. I’m doing a modified version of Nanowrimo–I’m just writing about 1000 words a day, but that’s all I need to stay on track to have 190,000 done by the end of the year)–and my streak’s been unbroken so far so if the election couldn’t distract me, launch day sure can’t. But probably that’s the best way to avoid publication jitters–gotta keep my eyes on the next project.
Tonight I’ll be in virtual conversation with Ken Liu at Brookline Booksmith. (Tickets come with books and a signed bookplate). Since reading Ken’s Grace of Kings back in 2015 was what convinced me that there was space for a big China-inspired epic fantasy novel in the Western canon, it means a lot that I get to wrap up this trilogy doing an event with him. Then on Wednesday I’ll return to my favorite DC bookstore, Politics & Prose, with the brilliant Tochi Onyebuchi (tickets here), whose 2019 novella Riot Baby is one of the best things I’ve read recently. And that’s it for the TBG tour!
Some house-keeping things:
TBG will be back in stock on Amazon very soon. They sold out of their current inventory (good news, I think???) but have ordered more, so I don’t think those late November/December delivery dates are accurate. I’ll tweet updates as I learn more!
If you can’t wait for Amazon, I highly encourage getting it from your local indie bookstore, Barnes & Noble, or Bookshop. Most of those, bless up, have NOT run out of stock.
“The Drowning Faith” (the extra Nezha scenes that were the pre-order bonus!) will be sent out to everyone who uploaded proof of purchase by the end of the day.
Three updates in one blog post! I’ve worked on several projects over the past few weeks, which I’m glad to finally get to share:
First, I was recently invited to guest lecture at Professor Erin Keating’s class at the University of Manitoba. My talk was titled “The Poppy War in Context: Asian American Speculative Fiction,” and you can watch the whole thing here. I particularly enjoyed the discussion that followed (somewhere around the 40 minute mark)–the students and audience asked some really wonderful, thought-provoking questions.
Second, I was THRILLED to chat with Evan Winter on Daniel Greene’s Youtube channel. I’ve been on Daniel’s show once before, and it was a delight; it’s always nice when your interviewer asks fresh and difficult questions. But I especially enjoyed this round because I’ve been a huge fan of Evan Winter’s RAGE OF DRAGONS since I read it earlier this year–it’s one of those high-octane, high-stress epic fantasy novels that you swallow over two days because you can’t put it down. It also has some strong thematic similarities to THE POPPY WAR, which we touched on in our conversation. The sequel, THE FIRES OF VENGEANCE, comes out in just one week; happily, I’ve already got a copy.
Third, I’ve got an anthology coming out soon–this time as a translator! I had the honor of translating the title story “The Way Spring Arrives” by Wang Nuonuo for the upcoming anthology edited by Yu Chen and Regina Kanyu Wang. More here from Tor:
“As the home of the critically acclaimed Broken Stars and Invisible Planets, Tom Doherty Associates continues to expand its Chinese science fiction and fantasy program with this brand new collection. It will feature stories by award-winning authors Anna Wu, Xia Jia, Gu Shi, and Wang Nuonuo, among others, with a star-studded team of translators including Rebecca F. Kuang, Carmen Yiling Yan, and Gigi Chang, and many more. The collection will also feature critical essays on the art of translation, the state of science fiction and fantasy in China and the United States by Emily Xueni Jin (Yale University), Xueting Christine Ni (From Kuan Yin to Chairman Mao), and Jing Tsu (Yale University).”
According to Time Magazine this month, I’ve apparently written two of the 100 best fantasy novels of all time. The list had this to say about The Dragon Republic: “The story Kuang weaves around Rin and her battle-hardened comrades-in-arms in The Dragon Republic builds upon the reputation Kuang earned with her debut as one of contemporary fantasy’s most promising writers.”
So that felt pretty good!
“Best of” lists are always kind of silly from conception, and I know there’s no objective way to determine the best 100 fantasy novels of this time, but I see this list as a badly-needed nod to not only where the genre’s been, but also the excitingly diverse directions in which it’s going. There are a lot more women, BIPOC writers, and queer writers on this list than almost any other declaration of the Anglophone fantasy canon that I’ve seen. The composition has a lot to do with that (they actually asked BIPOC writers to consult! imagine!). So that’s why this is an honor. It’s made my month, really.
LeVar Burton recently did a dramatic reading of my short story “The Nine Curves River” (written for the 2020 anthology The Book of Dragons, ed. Jonathan Strahan) , which you can listen to here. I love his narration; it’s heart-breaking. I grew up watching Reading Rainbow, so it was pretty awesome to grow up to write words that LeVar Burton read out loud!
If you preorder THE BURNING GOD from any retailer before the day it comes out, you can upload your proof of purchase at this site to receive some bonus scenes written from Nezha’s perspective on release day. I hope you like them!
Wow. Friday night was a wild ride. I went out to take the dog for a long walk around seven, only to return to a phone blowing up and so many Twitter notifications my app wouldn’t load. Somehow I’d forgotten the Hugo Awards were happening that night–I was convinced they were Saturday, but aha, time zones! New Zealand is in the future!–so imagine my surprise when I opened an email from my agent congratulating me on winning the Astounding Award for Best New Writer :O
Industry awards are all pretty silly; I’ve been to enough conventions now to know that all they reflect is popularity within a very specific, biased set of voters who are in no way representative of the larger reading public. They’re still hard not to covet! I’ve wanted to win the Astounding Award in particular ever since I entered the genre; it seemed like the “you’ve made it” badge; the stamp of approval that would win me the respect of my colleagues; the moment which, ironically given the name, would mark my transition from “unknown debut writer” to “established SFF name.”
Does it actually feel that way? Not really, and all of those assumptions are pretty dumb to begin with, but knowing that a tiara and trophy are coming in the mail is cool. Knowing that I’m following in the footsteps of writers like Ada Palmer, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Jeannette Ng is also pretty cool. Anyhow, I’m just grateful to WorldCon voters for the recognition. I’m also delighted by the Hugo winners across the board this year, particularly Jeannette Ng’s win for Best Related Work. It’s a wonderful reflection of where this genre’s headed and what we’re capable of as we hurtle into the future, undaunted.
Long time no update. I’m plugging away at the word mines over here in lockdown, but wanted to share an awesome conversation I had last week on Instagram Live with the incredible V.E. Schwab. I’ve admired her books for years (VICIOUS is a particular favorite), so it was thrilling to get to chat with her about writing craft, career evolution, and how to move on from one project to the next. It’s all been uploaded to Youtube now, so you can watch below:
More news to come about THE BURNING GOD soon. Stay safe and healthy!