April 1, 2012: Already today it was announced that Tor is set to publish a Manga adaptation of bestselling author John Scalzi’s bestselling and award-winning fantasy trilogy Shadow War of the Night Dragon, with artist Madeleine Rosca on illustration duties:
While this is fantastic news for fans of the series, here at the Audible SF/F blog we have the inside scoop on an exclusive announcement: Macmillan Audio has reached an agreement with Wil Wheaton to narrate the entire trilogy in audio. Inside: extensive info and interviews.
“I’m very excited to be working with John on another audiobook project,” Wheaton said via TweetSkype from EmeraldCityComicon. “It’s funny, while I’ve done a few of his science fiction novels in audio, I hadn’t yet been tipped to bring his massive fantasy backlist to life. Needless to say, I’m really excited about getting started on this trilogy.”
Wheaton’s audiobook credits already include Scalzi’s Agent to the Stars, The Android’s Dream, and Fuzzy Nation (which received a thumbs up from none other than Papa Fuzzy himself), along with Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker, but this will be his first epic fantasy audiobook.
The casting does not come without controversy, however. Epic fantasy author Scott Lynch, having already made his “concerns” known about the manga adaptation, was quick to respond to the audiobook news as well: “They’ll be hearing from my lawyers. The least these scumbags could have done was let me come in to reprise my role as Wrymskrank, one of the twelve lead villains in the second book. But no. Not even that. Well, when I finish my series — by December of this year, by the way — I’ll have more time to put into finally owning their bacon-loving asses over this outrage.”
When asked about Lynch’s criticisms, alongside the overwhelming critical disclaim the books have received outside narrow genre lines, Wheaton shrugged off any possibility of concern. “Hey. I made Ernie Cline’s Ready Player One sound like a masterpiece. I can handle subpar material.”
Later, Wheaton elaborated that he has actually been involved with the series since its beginnings. “Book one, The Dead City? Believe it or not, that actually began at SDCC during a late-night Fiasco campaign. I came up with the early twist, where not only is the night black, and the sky black, and the ground black, and the buildings black, and the fire and candlelight black, but the bloody rain is black. That was me, and it totally makes the series. Never did get credit for it, but what can you do.”
The controversy surrounding the Scalzi trilogy is only the most recent for Wheaton, who recently finished recording an acclaimed comedic rendition of The Bible. “Not quite as funny as Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, but all in all a rewarding time in the studio. And by that I mean they paid me. With a money truck. Full of money trucks.”
When asked by actor Adam Baldwin why he hadn’t chosen the Koran, Wheaton again shrugged. “Well, stoning people for eating shellfish, that’s comedy gold, right? Also, the money trucks.”
But there were some projects that Wheaton said he would not be taking on at any price. “Charles Stross’s Rule 35 is such a blatant money-grab, and I’ve heard it’s just some quest story with a talking horse or something anyway. I have some standards.”
Finally, I asked Wheaton why he thought no announcement had yet been made concerning the audiobook narrator for Scalzi’s forthcoming sf novel, Redshirts. “Well, there’s a holdup in that I feel I should be compensated for having to relive a certain atmosphere from a certain television series. Even though I never was in the position of wearing a red uniform myself, I lost quite a few fictional friends and colleagues over the years who did. That’s the kind of trauma that only a pillow made of money will put to rest.”
When asked about persistent rumors that George Takei was in talks to narrate the book, Wheaton, again, shrugged. “Well, that’s one way they (Macmillan Audio) could go. I think I’m the better fit for the part, but if it isn’t me, he’d be a great pick. Also, he’s holding a phaser to my back right now. At least I hope it’s a phaser. Please, let it be a phaser.”
From somewhere off camera, I could hear a distinctive voice saying, “OH MY!”
UPDATE 4/2: To be clear, this was indeed my contribution to the yearly fun which is April Fool’s Day on the Internet. Every quote is completely fictional. On the other hand, Wheaton was just revealed as the narrator for Redshirts. No fooling.