Sunday, November 20, 2011

Announcement: The Maze Runner Prequel

I'm very happy to finally share some exciting news that has been brewing for a very long time. It's a story that was born even before The Maze Runner was written.

I can't say it any better than the press release from Random House and Delacorte Books. So, here goes. Be sure and visit the official website for more information (and to play the new Scorch Trials game!): CLICK HERE.


Delacorte Press Books

Announces Prequel to James Dashner’s

New York Times Bestselling Maze Runner Trilogy

THE KILL ORDER to be published in August 2012

New York, NY, November 21, 2011Fast on the heels of the publication of The Death Cure, the third novel in James Dashner’s New York Times bestselling trilogy, comes the news that Dashner will be releasing a prequel to the series, entitled THE KILL ORDER on August 14, 2012. The announcement and acquisition was made by Beverly Horowitz, Vice President and Publisher of Delacorte Press Books from Michael Bourret of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management. Krista Marino, Executive Editor with Delacorte Press Books, who worked with Dashner on The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, is also the editor of THE KILL ORDER. Rights for the audiobook, which will be available on CD and as a digital download, were secured by Rebecca Waugh of Listening Library, a division of Random House, from Lauren Abramo of Dystel & Goderich Literary Management.

Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares seared the earth and mankind fell to disease. THE KILL ORDER tells the story of that fall. “The prequel is something that has churned in my mind since before The Maze Runner was even complete. It's been hard to keep it a secret! I'm excited to finally share the news and I can't wait for my readers to see how it all began," shared Dashner. Since the inception of the series, fans have clamored to know more. THE KILL ORDER will answer their most burning questions.

There are currently one million copies of The Maze Runner books in print. All three volumes have been New York Times bestsellers. On October 11th the riveting conclusion, The Death Cure, was published and became an instant bestseller. In the novel, the truth behind WICKED was finally and thrillingly revealed. The first volume in the series, The Maze Runner, was published in October 2009 to both great anticipation and critical acclaim. Packed with intrigue and action, The Maze Runner was a hit upon publication, becoming a standout in the dystopian genre which has since exploded in popularity among young adult readers. The sequel, The Scorch Trials, followed in October 2010, with the story picking up a mere four hours after The Maze Runner left off. The heart-stopping sequel brought further acclaim and a widening fan base to the series.

James Dashner is also the author of the 13th Reality series. James was born and raised in Georgia, but now lives in the Rocky Mountains with his family. Visit him at or follow him on Twitter (@jamesdashner).

Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers is an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann AG, a leading international media company. Visit us on the Web at

Visit & become a fan of The Maze Runner Trilogy on Facebook

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dave Wolverton - Dystopia

(QUICK NOTE: I'm signing at the Costco in Sandy UT this Saturday (the 12th) at 1 pm.)

I'm honored to call myself a friend (and student) of Dave Wolverton, aka David Farland. He has a new book out called NIGHTINGALE, and I've read it, and it's awesome. I highly recommend it. Also, he's doing a blog tour and has written a guest post exclusive to the Dashner Dude. On a topic that I chose (Dystopias and why they're popular). In other words, Dave Wolverton is not only a genius, but a major stud.

You can find out more about him and his book at the following website: CLICK HERE. You'll be amazed enough at the website.

Okay, here are the words of the man himself:

Writing in the Ruins

Dystopias sell, and they’ve been on a long run. Certainly, when H.G. Wells wrote the The Time Machine he was dealing with dystopias, but one can go back further than that. Consider Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist. Doesn’t the story of a boy forced into a workhouse and then escaping to the mean streets of London during an unending depression qualify as a dystopia?

As a child, I recall that many of my fantasies revolved around horrifying scenarios. What if the Russians took over? What if aliens attacked? Wells beat us all to it. What if there was a nuclear war? What if we run out of food and have to start eating each other? What if some weird religious cult took over and tried to force women back into slavery?

You get the idea. There are a lot of ways that the world can end, and all of the scenarios above have been turned into very popular movies and books. So what’s the attraction?

First, I think that we recognize that thinking about the “unthinkable” is a valuable activity. Simply by envisioning the consequences, say, a disaster, we can alter the course of history.

When I was a child, I recall having several school teachers who believed that a nuclear war between the US and Russia was inevitable. Certainly the rhetoric was all there, and Fidel Castro recounts how he begged the Soviet Union to let him launch missiles into the U.S. and start an all-out nuclear war. He says that he knew that Cuba would be wiped off the map in the resulting counter-attack, but he was willing to sacrifice his nation.

But that never gelled. Why?

Probably because a few world leaders understood the consequences all too well. They’d read books by geeky sci-fi writers like me, set a thousand years in the future, where radioactive clouds still swept across the face of a struggling earth, and generations of children, burned and scarred and cancerous, sought to eke out a miserable existence because of their ancestors’ mistakes.

So we dodged a bullet. In fact, we’ve dodged a lot of them. I recall once that a newspaper pointed out during the 1970s that the Russians had enough nerve gas to kill every living creature on the planet 10,000 times over. The next day, President Nixon announced that the U.S. had enough nerve gas to kill everything on the planet 60,000 times over. My, wasn’t that comforting.

It wasn’t long until both countries began destroying their chemical weapons arsenals. In fact, within the next few months, the U.S. will have burned up all of its old munitions—a process that has taken twenty years.

We’ve dodged bullets with industrial pollution, viral outbreaks, and economic ruin over and over again, and much of that success I’m sure comes as a result of the forewarnings by storytellers.

That said, think that readers have other reasons for devouring dystopic fiction. The truth is that when we’re reading fiction, we often enjoy thrusting ourselves into a world, into an imagined scenario, that would crush us in real life. Want to get captured as a child and sold into slavery? Want to die and find out what happens next? Want to see what happens when an asteroid the size of the moon strikes Chicago.

Catastrophes and dystopias make for good fiction in part because they’re not real. No matter how well I write a scene, how well you experience it in fiction, you know that the story isn’t real. (I did have a schizophrenic read one of my novels once, and months later he seemed to believe that he had actually been on another planet and lived through the adventures I had described. Don’t you do that!)

The truth is that all entertainment does roughly the same thing: it puts us in danger, yet keeps us safe. If you watch a football game, you feel a sense of emotional jeopardy as your team is pitted against another. If you jump out of an airplane, you’re putting yourself in physical danger as you wait to see if your parachute opens. Entertaining activities all put us in some sort of jeopardy.

Reading a story is much like any other form of entertainment. Part of our mind accepts the story as truth. Our heart might race when the hero is being chased by a monster. We might weep as the heroine finds her true love. When watching a movie, we scream when the killer leaps from the closet.

When we enjoy a story set in stark and horrifying dystopia, we’re performing an emotional exercise, one that helps us cope with our own real-world problems just a little better. So in a very real sense, reading a story is like going to the gym, where you practice powerful emotional exercises. The setting, the dystopia, is just a part of the exercise equipment.

In short, we enjoy stories set in dystopias because on a subconscious level, we recognize that they’re good for us.

In his latest novel, Nightingale, award-winning, New York Times Bestselling author David Farland imagines a dystopia unlike any that has ever been visited in fiction. Be among the first to discover this thrilling and powerful story. Go to