Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Real-life mysteries, and the book market expands again

Cornwell is donating $500,000 to researchers who are trying to determine exactly how the famed Hurley submarine was sunk off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina during the Civil War. Interesting to note how this announcement comes two days before the 142nd anniversary of its sinking... a slick bit of public relations, that. But this is still a promising trend. Perhaps Cornwell can next focus her sleuthing skills in an attempt to find, you know, those weapons of mass destruction we've heard so much about.
A brief story from the New York Times:
A novel set in today's Tel Aviv and a nonfiction work about an Iraqi informant have been acquired by Random House Films and Focus Features as the first two projects for their recently announced filmmaking partnership. The novel is "The Attack," by Yasmina Khadra, a pseudonym used by Mohammed Moulessehoul, a former Algerian army officer. It tells of an Arab surgeon living in Tel Aviv who learns a shattering secret about his wife after a suicide bombing. It is to be published in May. The nonfiction work, "Curveball," is being written by Bob Drogin. Derived from his front page article in The Los Angeles Times, it tells of a man who gave deceptive information that was used by the United States government to justify the war in Iraq.
A recent article at Slate by Edward Jay Epstein talked about how the major studios' tunnel vision now has them focused exclusively on remakes and/or sequels, which, the logic seems to go, are a sure bet, from a financial standpoint. Things are in a pretty sorry state indeed when publishing companies have to start their own film divisions to get original material brought back to the multiplexes. The studios, of course, will make whatever they think will turn a profit, regardless of the source material, but this trend is particularly depressing. Hollywood's turned into the Donner Party... eating itself to stay alive. But the publishing companies are looking for more and more ways to keep themselves afloat as well; Signet Classics has started to sell tomes like Anna Karenina and The Hunchback of Notre Dame bundled with DVDs of public-domain film versions of the respective stories. Whatever works, babe, whatever works.

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