James Gurney, author of Dinotopia, the best-selling fantasy series, has just written in his blog about some sketches he did for the folks at Weta. Simon Haupt of Weta’s digital creature department,  gave a gift to the team:  copies of Gurney’s latest book:  Color and Light. Mr. Gurney personally sketched each of the copies. After the jump, you can also find some very nice comments made about the Weta team.

James Gurney is the best-selling author of the Dinotopia series, which was described by the Los Angeles Daily News as “…in the tradition of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and J.R.R. Tolkien… a triumph of the imagination.” His blog, Gurney Journey, is one the five most visited art blogs in the world. His two art books, Imaginative Realism and Color and Light are among amazon’s best-sellers in the category. Mr. Gurney has also painted for the National Geographic Magazine.

For the past four years we have covered the releases of The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica, a series by James A. Owen, in which Tolkien and fellow Inklings C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams are the Caretakers of the Atlas of the Imaginary Lands. October 19 marks the release of Book 5 in the series: The Dragon’s Apprentice.

The Caretakers must fight against their most fearsome enemy ever and attempt to restore Time. They must journey through a forgotten Door from the destroyed Keep of Time in order to seek out the Dragon’s Apprentice. If they fail, it will mean the end of both of the worlds. But success will carry its own price–a price that may be too high even for the Caretakers to bear.

James A. Owen is the author of hit series The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. He was Guest of Honor at Myth Con 2009. Here, There be Dragons, Book 1 in the series, is being prepared for the big screen by producers Rick Porras and Mark Ordesky, who worked in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings.

Shadow Dragons“The Shadow Dragons (Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica),” released October 27, 2009, is the fourth installment of James Owen’s The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica. In this installment, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and Charles Williams, members of the Ancient Society of the Caretakers of the Imaginarum Geographica, are back to protect the Archipelago of Dreams and our world. Legendary Caretakers, past and present, will have to join forces with the mythical Don Quixote to prevent Mordred and his lieutenant, Sir Richard Burton, from rebuilding the collapsed Keep of Time and take over the world –both the Imaginary and our own. Time, space, legendary writers and larger than life characters meet as the Inklings take on the adventure of The Shadow Dragons.

The Indigo King, third book of James A. Owen’s Chronicles of The Imaginarium Geographica, has been officially released. The series features J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as lead characters in a story that spans the world of fantasy and ours:

On a September evening in 1931, John and Jack, two of the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica, discover a cryptic warning on a medieval manuscript — which is not only addressed to them but seems to have been written by their friend, Hugo Dyson! But before they can discover the origin of the strange book, Hugo walks through a door in time — and vanishes into the past.

The Indigo King is available at amazon.com and in bookstores. Also, be sure to pick up the first two parts of the series: Here, There Be Dragons and The Search for the Red Dragon.

gandalf.jpgForummer diedye posted this piece of news from Empire:

Speaking at a special screening of The Dark Knight at London’s Imax cinema on Monday night, he [Ian McKellen] said: “Well, I haven’t had the contract yet but it’s everyone’s intention that I play Gandalf so yes, I will be returning to the role. Although it’s not until 2010, I’m very much excited about returning.

When asked about del Toro and the look of the movie, Sir Ian answered:

Well, if you’re not going to have Peter Jackson, who else can handle the job? To get an international film-maker of his standing who adores the original trilogy, well I don’t think you could possibly find a better replacement, I think the look will be very much as it was, Weta is still involved, it’s still the same workshops, the same designers, I’ll be there, Andy Serkis (now confirmed to return as Gollum) will be there and Peter Jackson will still be around – not that he’ll interfere too much – so it’ll seem like the old family is getting back together again.

So there you go, further confirmation of several things: no one has been officially cast yet (nothing is signed), Sir Ian and Andy Serkis are to return, everyone’s on board with Guillermo del Toro and the look of the movie is expected to be relatively similar to that of the trilogy. [Empire]

Christopher Lee

In a bittersweet note, forummer DiveTwin reports this note that appeared in Cinematical:

Lee isn’t interested in filming in New Zealand again because it is simply too far away, for too long of a time. You can hear the tiredness in his voice — and perhaps a bit of regret too.
That doesn’t mean Lee isn’t interested in being in The Hobbit at all, however! He’ll appear in the film as long as he can stay in London, and there’s a character he’s quite keen to play. Or rather, voice.

Cinematical gives a link to the original Rushprint.no video interview in which Mr. Lee talks about Return of the King, Saruman not appearing in The Hobbit, him not returning to New Zealand and his offer to voice Smaug. [Cinematical] [Rushprint.no]