10. Dezember 2009

Im Eintrag vom 22. Juni 2009 habe ich Auszüge aus meinem Vorwort zum ersten Band von Ted Rypels GONJI gepostet. Mittlerweile ist auch Band 2 erschienen, im Frühjahr folgt der dritte. Die Originalromane kamen in den USA Anfang der Achtzigerjahre heraus und galten als vergessen; darum bin ich nach wie vor sehr begeistert, dass Lübbe meinem Tipp gefolgt ist und die Bücher nach all den Jahren auf Deutsch veröffentlicht hat.
Ted Rypel, der seine Karriere als Schriftsteller längst an den Nagel gehängt hatte, ist jetzt wieder mit jeder Menge Elan bei der Sache und hat gestern eine Rundmail an Freunde und Bekannte über den aktuellen Stand seiner neugewonnenen Schreiblust geschickt. Er hat mir erlaubt, sie hier ins Journal einzustellen.

Nun denn, das Wort hat Ted:

The long-delayed first audio book in the Gonji series has just been released, on both a CD set and as an MP-3 download, from www.audiorealms.com and is available from them as well as from numerous other commercial outlets. These include Dorchester Publishing, with whom Audio Realms is now partnered, and we're all hoping for a domestic re-issue and/or continuation of the series in print with them or elsewhere. The first book is titled RED BLADE FROM THE EAST---my original title for the Zebra Books release called DEATHWIND OF VEDUN (the first part of what became, by default, the "Deathwind Trilogy"). It's just a beautiful piece of work, with a marvelous reading by award-winning voice actor Brian Holsopple, nice cover art---I couldn't be happier with how this turned out. No date yet for the second volume, but Audio Realms is contracted for all the previously released books.

Meanwhile, the first two books in the series have been issued in the German language by Luebbe, with the third due in February. They're very handsomely packaged and were given a wonderful send-off with an introduction to the first book by German fantasy author Kai Meyer. The Gonji titles (in stunningly authoritative-sounding German!) are DER WIND DES TODES (THE WIND OF DEATH); DIE SEELE DES STAHLS (THE SOUL WITHIN THE STEEL); and DIE STUNDE DES DRACHEN (THE HOUR OF THE DRAGON). Best I can tell is that the first two books are performing no better than average in Germany right now. Yet the series does seem to generate a definite momentum, which kept them selling for quite a long time in the '80s. So time will tell. I was also interviewed about Gonji by the German e-mag Phantastik Couch. If anyone is interested, I can send you the English transcription, as computer translations are notoriously clunky.

What's next? Possibly more Gonji. I recently wrote a long synoptic proposal for the completion of the entire cycle of Gonji's saga, which would run to a total of 11 books. The previously published five would chronologically be #s 4-8. (The three "young Gonji" novels would chronicle the character from star-crossed prophesied birth to the siege of Vedun. The final three would carry him to his fated crusade into undreamed-of worlds in opposition to tyrannical powers which have adversely affected human history, an involvement whose stirrings began in the fourth and fifth Zebra editions.) That proposal is in the hands of the German publisher, but I'll naturally also be circulating it to domestic publishers, as we see how these various re-issues are doing. Also, Audio Realms has asked me for a novella-length story for a new download-product line. So that may well turn into the first new Gonji tale in over twenty years. Audio Realms is outspokenly supportive of Gonji.

Beyond planning the future for my resilient samurai, I also wrote the screenplay for a supernatural Western, SAVAGE FRONTIER, for an indie film company called Shadowcast Pictures. I got to work with them last year on a film that's in post-pro (CLOSED FOR THE SEASON). I'm developing the SF script for possible novelization; working on a YA fantasy series proposal that's been on my mind for a long time; and pursuing, in fits and starts, a couple of great looking collaborative projects with comic artist Gary Dumm (AMERICAN SPLENDOR).

But Gonji is closest to my heart, and completing his epic-length saga would be the fulfillment of a longtime dream. And hey---while you're waiting to see whether Gonji gets greenlit again, you can stifle that yawn with a quick dose of great fantasy fiction by David C. Smith, my compadre from the Zebra days. Check out Amazon for used copies of ORON or THE SORCERER'S SHADOW or THE FALL OF THE FIRST WORLD TRILOGY. Dave also wrote continuations of the R.E. Howard characters Red Sonja and Black Vulmea, so there's a lot of Smithcraft too look into!

Thanks for your time investment and encouragement in the Gonji series!
Best, as always,
Ted Rypel