This Week in Mormon Literature, September 15, 2012

I am in Provo, the Mecca of Mormon lit, for a week visiting family. I am looking forward to seeing Persuasion at the Off-Broadway Theater, and buying books. Please send any additions or corrections to mormonlit AT gmail DOT com.

News and blog posts

No Mormon authors won a 2012 Hugo Award, awarded on September 2. As has been discussed here before, there were many nominations: Brad R. Rorgersen, Nancy Fulda, Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler (twice), Jordan Sanderson, and Travis Walton. Dan Wells blogged about the awards ceremony and the voting procedures.

The Writing Excuses podcast did win a Parsec Award for Best Podcast about Speculative Fiction Content Creation.

Scott Hales (The Low-Tech World) continues his study of Nephi Anderson. In On Neutral Ground?: Nephi Anderson and Race, he explores to what degree Anderson’s writings helped perpetuate the folk doctrine tying premoral valiance to moral race. He finds some Deleted Illustrations from Nephi Anderson’s “Romance of a Missionary” (1919), reproduces the 1906 poem The Home Call, explores some post-mortem correspondence in Did Nephi Anderson Predict the Invasion of Poland?, discovers a fan letter from Heber J. Grant in President Heber J. Grant: Nephi Anderson’s #1 Fan.

Futurama and the Gospel”, by Jacob Bener. Ships of Hagoth. Jacob analyzes in detail the 2002 “Goodfellas” episode of Futurama. ““The writers of Futurama did on occasion flesh out the character of Bender Bending Rodriguez as a credible medium for exploring genuinely profound questions in a manner unusual for television. One such example is 2002’s “Godfellas,” an episode of otherwise-satiric television that actually takes seriously questions concerning God’s role in the Universe; the episode even going so far as to introduce a deity who, far from a typical sarcastic caricature, is a surprisingly close conception of my own LDS understanding of God.”

Glen Nelson of the Mormon Artists Group has produced the book Mormons at the Met. The blurb reads: “During the 2011-2012 season at the Metropolitan Opera, six LDS singers were engaged to perform principal roles. This is an unparalleled, historic achievement in our culture, a true Mormon moment. Author Glen Nelson is an opera fan and librettist, and Mormons at the Met is his intimate chronicle of a year at the opera house. Annie Poon created nine illustrations for Mormons at the Met based on operas of the season with LDS singers in the cast.” Theric interviews Nelson about the book at A Motley Vision.

Theric Jepson asks about Triangulating Mormonism at AMV, after reading American Nerd, a memoir, which includes a section with a story about a friend’s bizarre Mormon experience. Theric asks, “Where are casual readers of books like American Nerd going to get alternate views of Mormonism so they can better triangulate the true location of our mystical Mormon identity?”

Kenl Larson keeps our Sundays literary with Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: J. H. Paul on status of Mormon Arts, 1931 and Sunday Lit Crit Sermon: J. H. Paul on status of Mormon Poetry, 1931.

Why There is No Jewish Narnia, by Michael Weingrad, in Jewish Review of Books. Nothing about Mormons specifically, but an interesting discussion of why people with Christian backgrounds are drawn to writing fantasy, while there are few Jewish writers (although plenty of Jewish science fiction authors). As long as I am being ecumenical, here is a nice Paris Review essay on Christian ideas of grace and sacraments in literature. “Small, Good Things”, by Casey N. Cep.

Elna Baker is one of the Keynote Speakers (along with Richard Bushman and Andrew Kimball) at the Mormon Studies New York Regional Conference. September 14-15, New York City.

The winners of the 2012 Utah Original Writing Competition have been announced. I’m not sure whether many of the authors are Mormon or not. Here are some who I think at least have Mormon heritage.

Novel category (judged by Ron Carlson):

First place: Inclemency by Stephen Tuttle, Provo (a BYU professor)

Book-length collection of poetry category, judged by Sue Walker:

Second place: The Stars Come All the Way Down to the Ground by Dawn Houghton, Salt Lake City.

Honorable mention: Miracles, Mutinies & Microbuses by David Robert Boyce, Harrisville.

Juvenile book category, judged by Claudia Mills:

First place: Discovering Isaac by Elaine Vickers, Cedar City. Teaches Chemistry at SUU, and is the younger sister of Alison Condie.

Short story category, judged by Darrell Spencer:

First place: “Petey Immigrates North, Then Moves West” by Larry Menlove, Payson

Second place: “Zuri” by Sarah E. Allen, Provo.

Honorable mention: “One Woman Rescuing Another” by Dawn Houghton, Salt Lake City.

Personal essay category, judged by Phyllis Barber:

First place: “On Understanding” by J. Travis Washburn, Provo.  BYU English department graduate assistant.

Second place: “The Streets of Lisbon” by Nathan M. Robison, Provo.

Honorable mention: “On Becoming a Lord of the Earth” by John Bennion, Provo. BYU faculty.

An awards ceremony honoring the winners will take place October 30, 2012 at the Rio Grande Depot as part of the Utah Humanities Book Festival.

Short stories

Gabriel Gonzalez Nunez’s short story “El viaje que no se dio“ won the 32° Premio Platero de Cuento y Poesía Short Story category, run by the Club del Libro en Español de las Naciones Unidas (United Nations Book-in-Spanish Club). The LDS Uruguayan author went to the United Nations headquarters in Geneva to receive the award. One juror said the story, “contains both the magic of Gabriel García Márquez and the madness of Cervantes’ Don Quixote.”

Brandon Sanderson’s “By Grace and Banners Fallen”, the prologue to A Memory of Light (the final volume of the Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson Wheel of Time series), will be available as an eBook for purchase and download on October 2nd.

New Books and their Reviews

J. (Jewel) Adams. Letters in the Moonlight of Taj Mahal. Self, Sept. 5. Romance set in India.

Stephanie Black. Shadowed. Covenant, Sept. 1. Mystery/suspense. A wealthy woman opens a music school for underprivileged children in an economically depressed town, runs into a murder mystery.

Larry Correia. Monster Hunter Legion. Baen, Sept. 3. Paranormal military science fiction. Monster Hunter series #4. Our heroes battle monsters rampaging in Las Vegas.

Elitist Book Review. “MONSTER HUNTER LEGION is Larry’s most flawless book to date. Not my favorite of his novels, mind you, but certainly the most complete and substantial . . . Larry is the gold standard when it comes to writing action. I have even recommended that publishers slap a Larry Correia Seal of Approval on books that meet the necessary action requirements. The thing is, the man knows his guns. He knows how to orchestrate beautiful battles with explosions that would make Michael Bay weep. As I mentioned earlier, MONSTER HUNTER LEGION is a little more subdued than its predecessors. This time around the steady build of tension is the primary thrilling factor but you better believe that when the finale comes around it is pure adrenaline overdrive. Larry Correia is sort of like Raymond Chandler meets H.P. Lovecraft with a fully automatic shotgun. If all the literary snobs want to get together and declare his novels to be pulp then fine, Larry is the King of Pulp. MONSTER HUNTER LEGION is a superb continuation of the series, not the man’s best novel to date but easily his most solid.”

Deseret News: “One reason Correia’s writing is reminiscent of a Dirk Pitt adventure was in the care of the characters. In every Pitt novel, Cussler seems as if he can’t wait to get his characters back together. That is immediately evident with “Monster Hunter Legion.” . . . An ancient god meddles in affairs and adds even more twists to this already action-packed, fantasy-filled story. With that said, parts of the story can be a little reaching and convenient at times.”

Heather Frost. Demons. Cedar Fort/Sweetwater, Sept. 11. Seers series #2. YA paranormal. A girl can see auras, her boyfriend is immortal, and the Demon Lord is after her.

Mindy, LDSWBR. “5 out of 5 stars. I got to a point where I could not stop reading, and I’ll say it again. The ending of this book is one of the best I’ve ever read.”

Eric Hendershot. At Season’s End. Cedar Fort/Sweetwater, May 8. YA historical. Depression-era family tries to make ends meet. Hendershot, a screenwriter, originally wrote the story as a screenplay, but after it failed to sell, he turned it into a novel, his second.

Deseret News feature story. The Daily Review feature story.

Stacy Henrie. Lady Outlaw. Love Inspired Books, Sept. 4. Historical romance. Debut novel. 19th century woman robs the robbers. She finds romance, and a new start in Utah. Love Inspired is a Christian/faith romance imprint of Harlequin.

Colleen Houck. Tiger’s Destiny. Splinter, Sept. 4. Tiger’s Curse series #4. YA fantasy/romance. Conclusion of the best-selling animal/human shape shifter series.

Kirkus Reviews: “Ablaze with fiery passions—and sheets of actual fire, too—this conclusion to the Tiger’s Curse quartet brings Oregon teenager Kelsey and the two Indian were-tiger princes who have divided her heart through a climactic battle to a final, bittersweet mate selection . . . The end is a long time coming, but readers sufficiently hardened by the preceding adventures’ florid prose to survive lines like “After a few seconds of delicious fantasy, I mentally rebuffed myself,” and “[t]ingling bubbles of power coursed lazily between us,” are sure to be left throbbing and misty-eyed.”

Josi S. Kilpack. Tres Leches Cupcakes. Shadow Mountain, Sept. 12.  Sadie Hoffman #8. Culinary/cozy mystery. Sadie goes undercover as an informant for the Bureau of Land Management on an archeological site in Santa Fe. I like that Shadow Mountain is selling a book that has this sentence in the description: “She’s arrested for starting a bar fight (which was totally not her fault).”

Tristi Pinkston, AML. “It doesn’t appear that our intrepid little detective is losing steam. Her no-nonsense approach, her guts and determination, and her amazing recipes keep readers coming back for more. Perhaps what’s best of all is that these books take everything we love about mysteries and deliver us a story without gruesome details. We get dead bodies but without overt detail, we get romance but without bed scenes, and we get danger but without foul language. Readers know when they pick up a Sadie Hoffmiller mystery that they can trust the contents to entertain without offending. My favorite part of this book is found in the last pages. Picture Sadie crawling along beneath a trailer home and popping up through a trapdoor into a closet, and then escaping the same way—that made me giggle. Leave it to Sadie to do things her own way each and every time.”

Lisa Magnum. After Hello. Shadow Mountain, Sept. 4. YA contemporary. A 17-year old girl visits New York City with her father, gets involved with a young detective, and a series of arts and musicians with turbulent pasts.

Publishers Weekly: “”Moving smoothly from fantasy into realistic fiction, Mangum (the Hourglass Door trilogy) alternates between the two teenagers’ perspectives, creating a tense and believable romance. Sam and Sara’s searching, thoughtful conversations form the heart of this story about letting go of the past and gaining the freedom to become an artist.”

Tristi Pinkston, AML-List. “Lisa Mangum is a beautiful writer. She has a way of putting words down on paper that is like a feast for the eye. Every sentence is carefully constructed, and even the most simple actions performed by the characters becomes something to study . . . More than that, though, Lisa shows us that young adult literature can also be literary. I definitely would call this a literary novel for young adults, and I love that she’s done this—she has paired beautiful writing with an interesting teen storyline, and we aren’t relying on typical adolescent angst or racing hormones or dark plotlines to hold up the book. This isn’t to say that the book doesn’t address difficult topics—Sarah and her father must overcome some misunderstandings and relationship glitches along the way—but these things are handled realistically and respectfully, and I appreciated that.”

Obert Skye. Beyond Foo: Geth and the Deception of Dreams. Shadow Mountain, Sept. 10. Beyond Foo series #2. Middle grade fantasy. Second book in the second Foo series.

Tyler Whitesides. Janitors: Secrets of New Forest Academy. Shadow Mountain, Sept. 4. Janitors series #2. Middle grade fantasy.  Adventure and humor.

Camron Wright. The Rent Collector. Shadow Mountain, Sept 7. Inspirational. Wright’s second novel. Story of a young mother struggling to survive by picking through garbage in Cambodia’s largest municipal dump. She embarks on a desperate journey to save her ailing son from a life of ignorance and poverty. Based on a true story.  Deseret News feature story.

Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine. 5 stars. “One of those rare books that stretches beyond a great story to touch the reader’s soul. It’s based on a real family living in a garbage dump in Cambodia. It is not a depressing book as one might expect. There is much that is sad or deplorable, but the theme is based more on hope, the human drive to move beyond the negative, and the belief that there is always the possibility of a second chance . . . The characters, even the minor ones, are drawn with exquisite care and their growth is touching and real. The plot moves forward at a satisfying pace with surprises hidden in unexpected places. This story is not a tear-jerker, but it delivers an emotional impact that will not soon be forgotten. I like this book; a lot! I think it will appeal to teens as well as to adults and to both men and women. It will be of particular interest to those who love to read or write and who feel an affinity to world literature. It will have an impact, too, on those who understand that happiness, hope, and compassion are not bound by geography or wealth, not even when home is a three story mansion or the city garbage dump.”

Reviews of Older Books

Sonja Herbert. Carnival Girl (Karen Hamilton, AML). “I was pleasantly surprised by the depth and interesting story. This book details Sonja’s life growing up in a traveling carnival. Every summer her family would move from city to city in post WWII Germany. They lived year round in a caravan. With six children, this was not a comfortable life for the family. I learned quite a bit about the struggles of families to survive financially and find housing in the aftermath of the war.”

Tracy Hickman. Wayne of Gotham (USA Today). 3 stars. “Wayne of Gotham might be a Batman story, but by the end of it, the only guy you want to spend extra time with is the Dark Knight’s dear old dad . . . Interspersed with familiar Batman villains such as the Joker and Harley Quinn, Wayne of Gotham puts aside the action-packed panels of the comics and focuses on the Dark Knight as a dark detective . . . Prose gives the character of Batman a different feel than the comic medium does — Hickman gives him little smirks and shows insight into his problem-solving mind-set, while comic scribes often use other characters as the point of view into who the Caped Crusader is. Either way, it’s a welcome reminder to who and what Batman is all about . . . Wayne of Gotham truly digs into new ground, unearthing a Thomas Wayne who is just as interesting as his superhero son.”

Scott M. Hurst. Open Fire: J. Golden Kimball Takes on the South (Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine). 3 stars. “When telling the story of a real person, I find author intrusion particularly annoying both as the author presumes to tell us what the person was thinking and feeling, the little asides explaining what is about to happen, and the personal comments concerning events. There are plenty of these in this book. However, I enjoyed learning more about a man of whom I’ve heard so much. I particularly enjoyed his sermon to the Chattanooga preacher’s congregation. The depiction of the South during the post Civil War years and the deep resentment of the people toward Northerners, the freed slaves, and anyone they perceived as a threat to the South they remembered was accurately portrayed. The casual writing style lends itself well to a story about a man who always remained a bit of a country bumpkin. By the end of the book I knew more about what J. Golden Kimball did, but not a lot more about him as an individual. I usually look for a plot arc in the books I review, but that doesn’t fit this sort of book, so suffice it to say I was never bored, often amused, and sometimes deeply touched by this man’s faith and I don’t hesitate to recommend Open Fire, J. Golden Kimball Takes on the South to others.”

Moriah Jovan. Magdalene (Publishers Weekly). Starred review. “Jovan’s explosive saga about the lives, loves, and deeds of a group of powerful Mormons continues in her outstanding third Dunham novel . . . Filled with nuanced, unforgettable characters and keen insights into Mormon faith and culture, this is a thrilling, romantic page-turner with a sense of optimism that never comes across as forced or cloying. Like the Left Behind series, the Tales of Dunham have great cross-over potential.”

Angie Lofthouse. Defenders of the Covenant (Sheila, LDSWBR). “The main characters are (Mormons) who are trying to survive in a world that has been taken over by aliens . . . There are some very cool and unique ideas found in this story. The action is fast paced. You are seeing action from all parts of the country, from many different characters. I enjoyed Angie’s writing style and liked following each of their stories . . . The only down side in the whole story for me were the aliens. I’m not going to spoil things and tell you what they look like, but the bad guys didn’t feel fully realized. They felt more like caricatures of bad guys than actual aliens capable of true evil.”

Gregg Luke. Deadly Undertakings (Jennie Hansen, Meridian Magazine). 5 stars. “A nail-biter. I’ll admit I learned more about autopsies, embalming, and forensics than I wanted to know, but the science is fascinating and presented in a straightforward way that enhances the story without feeling sick or maudlin . . . The characters are interesting and varied, giving the reader an assortment of personality types. Noticeable growth is seen only in the two main characters, but the sub characters are an interesting study of a broad cross section of nationalities, social values, intelligence, and backgrounds . . . The plot builds at a fast pace and maintains a high level of suspense throughout. There are times when the suspense is high because the reader knows what is going to happen and sometimes the action is a complete surprise. Some clues such as the coins on the victims’ eyes are obvious, easy to figure out, clues. Other clues are so obscure they are overlooked until the denouement. Being a pharmacist with many medical and forensic connections, Luke, brings a realistic level of expertise to this medical suspense novel that give it a gripping element of reality. Both male and female readers will read this one with white knuckles firmly clutching the pages.”

Gregg Luke. Deadly Undertakings (Shelby Schoffild, Deseret News). “An exciting piece of fiction. Though the storyline is sometimes distracting, it is still a fun read for those of all ages . . . A well-thought-out mystery novel. However, the book has references to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that seem out of place. For example, Luke mentions things like temple marriage and LDS missions. These references are awkward, especially since the book is a murder mystery. Ultimately, they are unnecessary to the main plot. The book does have several strengths. The reasoning behind the murders is intricate, complicated and reminiscent of the storyline in The Da Vinci Code.”

Annette Lyon. Paige (Mindy, LDSWBR). 4 stars.

Adam Sidwell. Evertaster (Scott Parkin, AML). “A middle-grade adventure that gleefully explores exotic locations, secret societies, conflicting loyalties, and personal desires in an expansive, delightfully creative romp through a strange and interesting world populated by wonderfully bizarre characters. It’s a fast-paced and cleanly written story that delivers both startling imagination and a strong character conflict in a fun and entertaining package. If I were to pick on anything it would be a slightly rocky start and an oddly elongated climax that I thought belabored its point with too much repetition of an already well-established idea. But those are tiny nitpicks that I had to work hard to come up with. While I generally like to write semi-deconstructive essays as part of my reviews, “Evertaster” provides little to deconstruct. It succeeds on its own terms and fulfills on its promises, with no other pretentions. This is a fun, entertaining, and meaningful book that will bring smiles not only to young readers, but to their parents as well. This appears to be the first of a series that I look forward to reading despite being well older than the target audience. Highly recommended.”

Theater

Jane Austen’s Persuasion, an theatrical adaption by Melissa Leilani Larson, produced by the Zion Theatre Company, performs in Salt Lake City at the Off Broadway Theater on Sept. 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 7:30 pm. This is the third production Larson’s Persuasion, following a 2009 production at Concordia University in Nebraska and a March 2011 BYU production. Previews at BroadwayWorld and Press Release: ZTC Presents Melissa Leilani Larson’s Adaptation of Jane Austen’s_Persuasion.

Amber Peck, Utah Theater Bloggers Association. “Larson’s adaptation leads the audience from Anne’s (and Frederick’s) memories to the real world of unfolding events, back and forth. The memory scenes are portrayed by Rebecca Minson and Kevin O’Keefe as the Young Anne and Young Frederick, respectively. Generally, their interactions are merely observed by the older Anne or Frederick, but there are a few times when that line between memory and reality blurs. I loved those moments, and I don’t dare spoil them for future audience members. I will say that Anne’s interaction with Frederick so surprised and touched me that tears came instantly. And I was pleased with Captain Wentworth’s contact, as well; it created a powerful image . . . And I can’t forget Mary’s letters, always read with a snack. Letter writing is such a wonderful and endearing aspect of Jane Austen’s novels and I love the way Larson interprets it. Letters to and from the characters are delivered as monologues at the front of the stage, and the audience gets to focus on one character and feel what it’s like to be in their shoes . . . I would have liked having more to look at. It’s possible that I have been tainted by high-speed internet and the exorbitant amount of time I spend wandering Target, but I was craving a little visual interest in the form of set and lighting. This group had a small stage to work with and they did well to have specific set pieces (although, there was no credited set designer) for each scene. I could usually tell when the scenes took place at the Musgrove house versus the Elliot’s. But other scenes felt pieced together . . . The first few scenes of the show felt rushed . . . Perhaps it was an attempt at shortening the running time, but I felt it unnecessary. I’ve pointed out some negatives, but the play was written and executed so well that the time flew by. I was able to let go of my preconceived characterizations and enjoy these actors in their production. Listening to Jane Austen in perfect accents and diction is a treat itself. It was a funny and touching night at the theater and I look forward to my next chance to see Persuasion onstage.”

Kara Henry, Front Row Reviewers Utah. “One of the devices the script uses is a series of flashbacks to the events that brought together and then tore apart Anne and Wentworth. Rebecca Minson and Kevin O’Keefe play the younger Anne and Wentworth, and as they interacted with each other and the older versions of themselves, it could have come off as odd or awkward, but it flowed seamlessly. I believed the relationships between all of them. However, I would have liked to see this device established more solidly at first . . . One thing this show did extremely well was make use of the small stage. There was a simple gray set, with a few pieces of small period-looking furniture. Then, the same pieces of furniture were rearranged for each setting. Even though they were the same two chairs, table and settee, it was easy to follow. Set changes were done smoothly and quickly by the actors themselves . . . I was a little worried about how the script would be, knowing it was written/adapted by a local author. That was silly of me, because it was fantastic. One of my favorite devices was the letters being read out loud by the characters who wrote them. This was done superbly by the actors (seriously – so, so well), and this was an excellent piece of direction by Sarah Stewart . . . This show and I were a perfect fit. I’m trying not to gush. Perhaps I’ll just let loose and gush. If you like Jane Austen or period pieces, go see this show. You do not want to miss it.”

Dennis Agle and Ken Agle’s The Fork, will be performed at a part of Short Play Lab Program A, Saturday, September 22, 2012 through Sunday, September 23, 2012, at Stage 2, 300 W 43rd ST. #403, Times Square Arts Center, New York, NY. The Fork, a short play about two Italian brothers running a restaurant, and a restaurant critic, premired last month in the Provo 2012 Echo10 Festival, Erik Orton directs the NYC version. Denis Agle talks about getting the show to NYC in this blog post.

Faith in Darkness: A Review of Zion Theatre Company’s 2012 Production of Mahonri Stewart’s “Swallow the Sun” (Scott Hales). “As a play, Swallow the Sun is well-written, funny, and thought-provoking. Critics of Stewart often cite wordiness as one of his flaws, but the eruption of language that occurs in this play hardly seems out of place for characters like Jack and his friends, all of whom are artists or thinkers who love the sounds of their own voice. Unfortunately, this draws attention to one of the weaknesses of this particular production: the quality of the actors’ accents. Foody, Bently, and Schofield do well enough, but other actors—particularly those playing Irish characters—clearly struggle to keep their accents consistent. Early in the play, this is somewhat distracting, but as the actors warm to their characters their accents begin to sound more convincing and less distracting. Only Lawrence McLay, who plays “Doc” Askins, Janie’s Spiritualist brother, never really finds his voice—which is unfortunate since his character’s boisterous mental breakdown is central to the play’s second act. Another drawback of this production is the venue itself. While Provo’s Castle Theater is a beautiful outdoor amphitheater, it feels altogether too big for a play like Swallow the Sun, which deserves a more personal space to better accentuate the intimate nature of the its action and themes. Like the accents, though, this becomes less of a problem as the play progresses and the stars come out. By the time the second act begins, the sun is long gone and the night has erased all but the spotlit actors . . . Swallow the Sun is a captivating journey from doubt to belief. When the play ends, Jack has not traded his smug atheism for an even smugger Christianity; rather, he has abandoned the safety of believing in nothing for the perilous mystery of faith.”

Film

The Mine. Written, directed, and produced by Jeff Chamberlain, opens this weekend at The District in South Jordan and the Megaplex at Thanksgiving Point, with hopes of expanding to more. Stars Alex Vega (Spy Kids). Chamberlain was a Hollywood actor in the 1970s and 1980s. He was one of the producers of Richard Dutcher’s States of Grace and Falling. At 40 he quit acting and went into business. The Mine is his first time writing and directing.

Deseret News  feature story. “He knew Hollywood would never make “The Mine,” a “different kind” of suspense film aimed at teen audiences . . . Half a dozen years ago, Chamberlain got it in his head that he could and would prove Hollywood wrong. He set out to make a scary teen movie that would stimulate intelligent thought, challenge the target audience’s attention span and have everyone exiting the theater with a positive experience for their $7.75. And one other thing: it would turn a profit.

Meridian Magazine feature story (written by one of the film’s producers). “Chamberlain believes his most recent film “The Mine” is an example of how basic principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be shared with a mass audience in a creative and entertaining way. “I believe that in a teenage suspense thriller movie we’ve been able to weave an allegorical tale depicting the values of personal responsibility and redemption,” he said in a recent interview. Jeff said that his experience with Dutcher revealed “two producers with divergent philosophies.” In his opinion Dutcher seemed preoccupied with the fallen nature of mankind while ignoring the more purposeful climax of mankind’s story – the atonement of Jesus Christ and the redemption it brings in the lives of God’s children

Sean Means, Salt Lake Tribune review. 2.5 stars. “A familiar, but still sturdy, horror-movie premise doesn’t go as far as it could in the Utah-made thriller “The Mine.” Five college-age friends in a small town get together on Halloween night, and ex-jock Brad persuades them to check out a nearby mine that’s supposedly haunted. Soon, five becomes four, and then three, and so on . . . That backstory makes for stronger characters than the genre usually delivers, and Chamberlain adds some surprising twists in the finale. The scares aren’t as plentiful as they should be, though the ones that hit are earned honestly with no overt gore.”

Jonathan Decker, Meridian Magazine Review. B. “After the creative and chilling opening credits it appears, sadly, that the film is going to merely follow genre rules. For much of the first half The Mine proceeds predictably (albeit with an effectively creepy central mythology), with saw-it-coming “jump scares” and one-dimensional characters. Chamberlain and company, to their credit, skillfully use lighting, cinematography, and editing to capture a sense of realistic claustrophobia through it all. At around the halfway point the film starts to pick up steam on all fronts. It provides some truly effective scares and rackets up the tension with some genuinely surprising plot twists. Most importantly, it gives its characters unexpected layers, allowing the actors to stretch and make us care whether they live or die . . . Though it leaves some plot threads dangling and some questions unanswered, The Mine surprises as a nicely-crafted and atmospheric treat as we head into Halloween season, provided, of course, that you’re into that sort of thing.”

The Maze Runner film news. 20th Century Fox has set Wes Ball to direct The Maze Runner, an adaptation of the James Dashner dystopian novel. This comes after the studio acquired his short film Ruin . . . Ball burst on to the scene earlier this year when his short, Ruin, became an internet sensation, amassing close to five million hits. Ball used the short to tell a sliver of the story he had been developing with fellow Florida State Film School alum, screenwriter T.S. Nowlin.

Matched film news. Disney and Offspring Entertainment have bought the film rights to Ally Condie’s trilogy Matched, and is in negotiations with David Slade to direct. The book series revolves around a girl in a dystopian future where choice is taken away, and a young woman falls in love with a guy she has not been matched with. Kieran and Michelle Mulroney (Sherlock Holmes 2) wrote the script and Offspring Entertainment’s Jennifer Gibgot and Adam Shankman are producing. Slade directed 30 Days Of Night and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.

Bestsellers

New York Times Bestseller Lists, Sept. 16th and 23rd. I also note where the books are on the USA Today bestseller list, which lumps all books, hardcover, paperback, fiction, non-fiction, into one 150 book list.

Hardcover Fiction

#10, #23. A SUNLESS SEA, by Anne Perry (2nd week). William Monk #18. USA Today #91 (1 week).

Mass Market Paperbacks

#19, x. ENDER’S GAME, by Orson Scott Card (17th week). Also on USA Today list (22nd week).

Children’s Hardback

#7, #6 MICHAEL VEY: RISE OF THE ELGEN, by Richard Paul Evans (4th week). Down. Reached #15 at USA Today, on the list for two weeks.

PRINCESS ACADEMY: PALACE OF STONE, by Shannon Hale. Fell off the list after one week.

Children’s Paperback

MICHAEL VEY: THE PRISONER OF CELL 25, by Richard Paul Evans. Dropped off the list after 2 weeks.

#9, #10. MATCHED, by Ally Condie (50th week).

Children’s Series

x, #6 TIGER’S CURSE, by Colleen Houck (2nd week). Back on the list with the publication of the fourth volume, Tiger’s Destiny. Tiger’s Destiny is #35 on the USA Today list.

#7, #9 THE MAZE RUNNER TRILOGY, by James Dashner (39th week). If The Kill Order is the fourth book in the series, why is it still called a trilogy? The Kill Order is #143 in its fourth week on the USA Today list.

Deseret Book bestsellers

  1. Come to Zion, Vol. 1: The Winds and the Waves by Dean Hughes
  2. Before I Say Goodbye by Rachel Ann Nunes  ↔
  3. Tres Leches Cupcakes by Josi S. Kilpack
  4. The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
  5. Code Word by Traci Hunter Abramson  ↓
  6. The Newport Ladies Book Club: Paige by Annette Lyon
  7. Line of Fire by Rachel Ann Nunes
  8. Deadly Undertakings by Gregg Luke  NEW
  9. Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
  10. The Walk, Book 2: Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans
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3 Responses to This Week in Mormon Literature, September 15, 2012

  1. Wm says:

    You know, if they get it right, the Matched trilogy could be a great series of films (caveat: I have yet to read Reached).

  2. Marny says:

    The Kill Order is a prequel to the trilogy.

    • Andrew Hall says:

      Yeah, but the NYT is apparently counting it in the total of the weekly sales of the series. So they are counting sales of four books, and call those four books, as a group, a trilogy.

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