Industry News, May 2019

Video Game News

Final Fantasy VII Trailer

As announced on The Verge, the remake of Square Enix’s beloved Final Fantasy VII finally has a trailer! It’s only one minute long, and mostly cinematics, but there’s a little bit of gameplay as well, and reportedly some improvements on detail compared to the bits seen back in 2015 when we last saw a few hints of this remake. Alas, there’s still no release date attached to the game, but Sony has promised more information in June, probably in time for E3 (which will be June 11-13 at the Los Angeles Convention Center).

Cytus on Switch

If you’re a fan of Rayark’s 2012 game Cytus, or of rhythm games in general, you’ll be happy to know that this stylish game is now out on the Nintendo Switch as Cytus Alpha. 200 songs are included in the price, including a few that weren’t released with the original, and this version now includes the option to play with buttons instead of the touchscreen.

Publishing News by Jason Sanford

Return of Weird Tales

According to Usman Malik, an announcement was made at Stokercon 2019 that the classic magazine Weird Tales will resume publishing in July with Jonathan Maberry as one of the editors. As most of the genre knows, the magazine had a resurgence under Ann VanderMeer from 2007 to 2012, winning Weird Tales the magazine’s first-ever Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine. 

However, following the decision to remove VanderMeer as editor in place of Marvin Kaye, and Kaye’s decision to run an excerpt of the controversial book Save the Pearls (with Kaye even declaring that the novel was “thoroughly non-racist” when it wasn’t), Weird Tales soon folded.

Malik mentions some of this history in his post and says the relaunched magazine will be more aligned with VanderMeer’s vision. He adds the magazine is “actively looking for and recruiting writers with similar aesthetics, talent, and background.The first issue will evidently feature fiction by Victor LaValle, Josh Malerman, and Lisa Morton and be released on July 15.

The Dark Contract Changes

Sean Wallace announced that The Dark has dropped two clauses from the magazine’s author contract because “they never made much sense.” The dropped clauses are as follows:

  • The Author grants Publisher the right to use the Author’s name, image, likeness, and biographical material for all advertising, promotion and other exploitation of the Work. Upon request, the Author shall provide the Publisher with a photograph of the Author and appropriate biographical material for such use.
  • The Author will indemnify the Publisher against any loss, injury, or damage finally sustained (including any legal costs or expenses and any compensation costs and disbursements paid by the Publisher) occasioned to the Publisher in connection with or in consequence or any breach of this warranty and which the Publisher is not able to recover under its insurance policies.

I like these changes, which benefit the author. I wish more magazines and publishers would follow The Dark’s lead.

Publishing Shorts

  • Marc Gascoigne, the former publisher and founder of Angry Robot, is launching a novel publishing line for Asmodee Games called Aconyte Books. Complete info on the people involved here and submission guidelines here.
  • Jason Sizemore announces that while Apex Books will continue, Apex Magazine is going on indefinite hiatus. Jason is a wonderful person and, after suffering health issues in recent months, says he needs to “take time to exercise, take some time for my health, do more things for fun, enjoy having my kids around before they leave for college in a few years. I need time to read more books!” Apex Magazine began in 2005 as a print digest and recently published Rebecca Roanhorse’s “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™” which won the genre triple crown of Hugo, Nebula and Sturgeon Awards.
  • Tom Doherty Associates to launch Nightfire, a new horror imprint. Agent DongWon Song likes this development, adding “It’s time for a wave of new voices to shake up the genre. Send me your stories.
  • Trend watch: I’m seeing a number of western SF authors writing stories commissioned by the Chinese government’s Future Affairs Administration (FAA). For example, the novelette “The Memory Artist” by Ian R. MacLeod in the current May/June 2019 Asimov’s Science Fiction has a note saying it was originally published in Chinese by the FAA and was inspired by the FFA-hosted “Technology and the Good Future” SF workshop which MacLeod attended. The FAA is also a sponsor of the science fiction magazine Future SF, edited by Alex Shvartsman. Future SF launched this year and has already published a number of original stories in English by both western and Chinese authors.
  • Publisher Steven Saus emailed authors that his small press Alliteration Ink will be shutting down over the course of 2019. Saus says the press will continue to pay royalties but is unable to provide author copies from this point on. To help authors receive copies Saus said he set all Alliteration Ink books on Amazon at the lowest possible price so authors can receive the books without paying shipping. He added that once book sales are complete, all rights will revert to the authors.
  • Dreamspinner Press sent out a letter dated May 8 which reads “Dreamspinner Press is not in overall financial crisis or in any danger of closing. What we are is working through a temporary crunch in month-to-month cash flow as we wait for more than two years of financial investment and thousands of hours of effort to yield steady results. Dreamspinner’s balance sheet is healthy; our assets outweigh any debts.” Never a good sign when a press has to say they aren’t in danger of closing, but it is encouraging that Dreamspinner is being so open about their troubles. In addition, Dreamspinner is still soliciting submissions as of May 10. I suggest people read the entire letter because it provides a fascinating look inside the business processes and issues facing small genre publishers.
  • According to emails sent out by Wyrd Magazine, they have closed submissions for the near future because of “an unhappy period of illness and family tragedy.” The magazine added their intention is to relaunch soon.
  • Writers are being contacted by a book promoter claiming to represent a literary agency. Beware.
  • Fascinating article about Arcadia Publishing, which releases almost 500 local history titles a year. “Last year, two publishing heavyweights, Michael Lynton, the former CEO of Penguin, and Steinberger, the former CEO of Perseus Books, along with a group of investors they organized, bought the press along with its 14,000-title backlist. And this week, Walter Isaacson, the best-selling biographer, is joining them as an editor-at-large and senior adviser. He is the first big-name author to get involved with Arcadia, but that won’t change its small-town focus.” 
  • Voting for the Hugo Awards and Worldcon site selection is now open and closes on July 31. You must be a member of the Dublin Worldcon to take part. As a bonus, your ballot gives you access to the Hugo Voter Packet, which contains 8.5 gigabytes of stories, books, art, podcasts, graphic novels, and so much more. Kudos to Dublin 2019 for pulling together such a great Hugo Voter Packet. I really like how you can download directly from the ballot under each Hugo category.
  • The 2018 Stoker Award winners have been announced.

TV & Movies News

Sonic the Hedgehog is Coming to the Big Screen… and Looking a Bit Rough

The first trailer for the Sonic the Hedgehog movie was released on April 30, and neither fan nor critical reaction were great. Specifically, a lot of fan chatter disapproved of Sonic’s look, which included some weirdly human teeth, although, as usual with the internet and fandom, there was enough complaint to go around about a lot of things (I’m sorry, I’m not going to link to specific tweets – if you’re interested, you can dig through the tag yourself). There were also fan redesigns, which may or may not have been an improvement.

So the director, Jeff Fowler, announced that the character would be redesigned. Problem solved, right? Of course not, because that would mean sending the VFX team into more work, which, given recent discussion about the bad conditions that game developers and VFX designers work under in general, was also not a popular move. Io9 has a great piece talking with some industry professionals about what this redesign will most likely mean for the team, which will be interesting to anyone who is curious about how this field works, and what will most likely result for the movie.

The Next Star Wars Movie Will Come from the Game of Thrones Showrunners

David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, whose final season of Game of Thrones is currently airing, are confirmed as heading the next movie in Disney’s Star Wars franchise. The jump won’t be immediate, though – right now statements from the company indicate that there will be a three-year gap between The Rise of Skywalker and the next film, as yet untitled.

Disney Takes Over Hulu

Moving from the big screen to the small one, as of May 14 Disney has finalized their takeover of streaming service Hulu, purchasing it from Comcast for at least $5.8 billion. As noted at the link, Disney will also be releasing their own streaming platform, called Disney+, later this year, so it’s unclear right now how, or if, these two will compete with each other, or how the division of content will be arranged.

Comics News

Stan Lee’s Former Manager Charged with Elder Abuse

As reported by Reuters, the former manager of the comic books legend, who died late last year, has been charged with 5 counts of elder abuse against Lee, including false imprisonment, fraud, and forgery. A warrant has been issued for arrest of the manager, named Keya Morgan, who had previously been served with a restraining order after Lee’s family accused him of abuse.

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Jason Sanford

Jason Sanford is a two-time finalist for the Nebula Award and has published more than a dozen stories in the British SF magazine Interzone, which also devoted a special issue to his fiction. In addition he has published numerous stories in magazines such as Asimov’s Science Fiction, Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and other places, along with appearances in multiple "year's best" anthologies and other collections. His fiction has been translated into nearly a dozen languages including Chinese, Spanish, French, Russian, Polish, and Czech. Jason's website is and he publishes a weekly Genre Grapevine column on his Patreon at

Jen Grogan

Jen Grogan is a writer, editor, web content specialist, and nonprofit administrator based out of Seattle, where she lives with her husband, two loud but adorable cats, and too many books. She’s written for Women Write About Comics and a few other online venues, but has not yet convinced herself to call any of her fiction manuscripts complete. As an editor, she encourages others to do as she says, not as she does. In her free time she enjoys knitting, hiking, calligraphy, leading school tours for the Seattle Art Museum, and traveling to find new places to hike and new museums to visit. You can find her online at