Lizard Brain is a shared blog about Science Fiction and Fantasy from Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck.

News and trivia

by Daniel Abraham

First off, there’s a contest over at for a copy of the new Balfour & Meriwether novella.  And free stuff is cool.  So that.

Second, no, I haven’t seen the script that Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby have written for the first episode of The Expanse.  But I believe it exists…

Third, I’ve been having a lot of really interesting conversations about a cool new secret project .  More information as less secrecy.

And finally, this:

The new new cover, with extra added Scarlet Hark.

The new new cover, with extra added Scarlet Hark.


Promises, threats, and building a series: Random thoughts on Dragon Age and Korra

by Daniel Abraham

So I’ll get back to work in a minute here, but I was thinking about why I didn’t watch Korra tonight.  The kid was here.  There are new episodes.  We’ve watched Avatar: The Last Airbender about a gajillion times start to finish.  And Korra . . . yeah.  It’s pretty good.  I love the aesthetics of it.  I love the new Avatar who is totally not Ang.  I love having something with a strong female lead that I can show to the kiddo.

But I’m just not feeling it.

The thing about Last Airbender is that is had a story that went from the first episode to the last one.  I knew by twenty minutes in that the basic problem was that the Fire Nation had thrown the world out of balance, and that Ang was going to have to put things right.  Three seasons later, he did.

In Korra, the basic problem is . . . well, shit.  I don’t know.  There was the equalist thing in the first season, and now we’re talking about the spirit world, I guess.  And I figure there’ll be something else after that.  But honestly, it feels like one damn thing after another, and that’s my real life.  I don’t go to my stories for that.

Which brought me to Dragon Age.

If you aren’t a console gamer, I respect that.  I, apparently, am.  I played Dragon Age a *lot*.  Seriously, I went through the whole story five or six times.  My wife played it more than that.  We played the snot out of that game.

Dragon Age II, I played through once and gave the disks to a friend.  The problem was a lot like watching Korra.  In the first game, there was a Blight, and we were going to stop it.  And fifty hours later, four major side quests, and a massive decision tree later, we did it in one of maybe a half a dozen different variations.

And then Dragon Age II came and we . . . well we got Mom a house, and we dealt with the crazy dwarf thing, and there was a big fight with the Arishok, whose position I kind of agreed with by the time I got to him.  And then the Magi and the Templars got weird at the end, and Anders turned into an utter dickhead.  But that first promise — that *simple* promise of restoring the balance of the world from the Fire Nation or defeating the Blight or whatever was never made, so it was never paid off, so I didn’t invest in the ride.

Writing series is a pain.  I know, because it turns out that’s almost all I’ve done.  The Long Price Quartet was four books, with the problem I laid out in the prologue of the first book informing everything that came after and coming to the best conclusion I could manage at the end of book 4.  The Black Sun’s Daughter was built so deep with secrets I could pull out in later volumes that by the time you hit book 5, book 1 looks like a totally different story than the first time through.  The Expanse books were designed so that the scale and scope keep getting bigger and wider and cooler without ever turning away from the questions we asked about humanity in the first book.  And Dragon Age…

Dragon Age III is in production.  I’m going to buy it when it comes out.  Probably the week it comes out.  Maybe I’ll regret it, maybe I won’t.  But I realized that, in my world, I’d already plotted out the series the way I wanted it to build.  It’s not going to be like this, because it’s not my project, but what I saw was that the first game had actually made two promises to me, and had only resolved one.  I’m thinking now that’s the way I’ve built a lot of my series work too.  In the Black Sun’s Daughter, the first book was about Jayne Heller exacting vengeance for the death of her uncle, but it also set up a wider arc about what exactly her uncle did and was.  A Shadow in Summer told the story of Seedless and Heshai and Saraykeht, but it also set up a world where the power structures were unstable and the people who held the power were complaisant and short-sighted.  Leviathan Wakes asked what happened to Julie Mao, and it also set up the long arc of humanity’s expansion into the universe.

Dragon Age was the story of defeating the BLight.   But the Blight came about because the Magi had stormed and corrupted heaven.  So, structurally speaking, the Dragon Age series ought to be a series of games each of which is a complete story with a satisfying conclusion, that ends in the last scene of the last game with redeeming, recreating, and refounding Heaven.

Because *that* would be cool, and the promise has already been made.


Some news, and our new bestest pals

by Ty Franck

So, Alcon entertainment did a press release about their development of an Expanse TV show, written by me and Daniel’s new pals, Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby.










You can read the press release at the Variety website here.

So, yeah, this is what Daniel and I have been working on and shutting ourselves off from the world for.  We’re pretty excited to be working with these guys.  THEY INVENTED AGENT COULSON!!!!


Seriously, we know

by Ty Franck

We’ve been falling down on the job here on the blog for a while, but we’re working on some stuff that will make Expanse fans very happy.  We promise, next week we’ll have some stuff to talk about.  Thanks for your patience.  Daniel owes you the flaky pastry of your choice next time you see him.


In the meantime, look at this thing an amazing fan set up.


Well look what I found on the Internet

by Daniel Abraham

My seven-year-old self now thinks I'm the coolest thing ever.

My seven-year-old self now thinks I’m the coolest thing ever.


San Diego Comic Con

by Daniel Abraham

We are in San Diego along with George RR Martin, Diana Rowland, Jay Lake, and apparently everyone else in the freaking world. So that’s cool.

If you’re one of our fellow attendees, my schedule looks like:



2 pm:  Daniel Abraham signing at the Orbit booth in the exhibitor’s hall


2:30: Epic Fantasy panel (24ABC) Daniel, Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, Raymond Feist, Django Wexler, Melissa de la Cruz, and Christopher Paolini as herded by Colleen Lindsay.  Wish her luck.  (With a panel signing afterward)


1:30 Daniel and George RR Martin singning the new comic book Skin Trade at the Avatar booth (ticketed signing, so grab a ticket if this one’s your bag)


1:00 Science Fiction and the Future (24ABC) Daniel, Ty, Jason Hough, David Wellington, Mira Grant, Daniel Wildon and DJ MacHale as managed and controlled by Margaret Stohl. (With a panel signing afterward)

3:00 Daniel and Ty signing as James SA Corey at the Orbit booth.


Best Fan Art Ever

by Daniel Abraham

Fan art by Expanse fan, freelance translator, and artistEXPANSE holden_coffee Dana Berube.











So this is what being on the New York Times Bestseller List is like. Huh.

by Daniel Abraham

James SA Corey is now officially a New York Times Bestselling Author.  Check it out!

If you want to talk about it (or anything else), I’m going to be doing an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit Fantasy tomorrow night (June 18th).  Ty and I will also be at the Locus Awards at the end of the month, a signing at Page One Books in albuquerque on July 6th and San Diego Comicon.




Best blurb ever, but too long.

by Daniel Abraham

Abaddon’s Gate came out today, and my favorite line from the reviews thus far is from

What happens at the Ring once all these players converge will affect not only these individual characters, but also all of humanity. And not in any abstract, indirect, or metaphorical sense either. Along the way, readers will encounter space battles, hand-to-hand combat, mutinies, terrible acts of terrorism, wrenching deaths, philosophical discussions regarding faith, redemption, and forgiveness; fart jokes (OK, one), an epic moment of mind-blowing grandeur and scale; lots of humor (not involving farts), acts of cowardice, selfishness, and self-aggrandizement; acts of compassion, empathy, bravery, and self-sacrifice.

Hell.  Now I want to read the damned thing.


Lo, Denver Comicon

by Daniel Abraham

After a little excitement at the airport, I’ve arrived at the Denver Comicon.  I’m heading over now to check in and get my final schedule.  If y’all are nearby, I’m taking suggestions on the best restaurant by the convention center.




OK, I have my schedule.  It looks like I’ll be at:


FRIDAY 8PM:  Epic fantasy

SATURDAY 12PM: Fans vs. Writers

SATURDAY 6 PM: Writing outside the lines

SUNDAY 12PM: Read all about it! Superheroes in novel form.

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