Best selling science fiction novels.
Here’s today’s listing from Barnes and Noble:
The Magic of Memory
As an author, Neil Gaiman has been prolific but never predictable in a career that spans novels, short stories, comics, screenplays, Doctor Who episodes, and unclassifiable multimedia projects like his recent Blackberry-sponsored A Calendar of Tales, which was inspired by readers tweets. With The Ocean at the End of the Lane—debuting at #3 this week on our Hardcover Fiction list—Gaiman is back with a traditional novel that explores the lines between adulthood and childhood, reality and magic. The 40-something unnamed narrator returns to his childhood home and recalls a strange family named the Hempstocks, and their daughter Lettie—and his own, bewildered seven-year-old self encountering a world of magic. The multiple levels of memory give Gaiman the chance to explore how the way we remember things makes them magic. The theme of the stranger in an enchanted world informs most of Gaiman’s work—Neverwhere, Coraline, and the Newbery Award–winning The Graveyard Book all contain similar themes. But it also recalls Gaiman’s very first sustained work, a 1987 graphic novel called Violent Cases, which reimagined his own childhood encounter with an osteopath who used to work for Al Capone.
Given Gaiman’s huge following, the book’s strong debut is no surprise—nor is the sold-out, multicontinent tour he’s currently engaged in. (This week he appears in Seattle; Santa Rosa, Calif.; and Ann Arbor, Mich.) Gaiman’s next few projects return to multimedia: the picture book Fortunately, the Milk (illus. by Skottie Young in the U.S. edition), a Sandman prequel, and a stint co-writing Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy comic with Brian Michael Bendis.—Heidi MacDonald
Evanovich, Accomplice Work ‘Heist’
Bestselling Janet Evanovich (100 million copies in print is not an unbelievable number) signed an eight-book deal with Random House’s Ballantine Bantam Dell in June 2012, as reported in PW, and there’s little doubt that she’s worth the astronomical paycheck that won her over from St. Martin’s in 2010. The contract was for four more books in the Stephanie Plum series—Plum being the lingerie buyer from Trenton, N.J., who loses her job and becomes a bounty hunter—and four books in a new series written with Lee Goldberg, a bestselling author and a television writer for the series Monk. The debut title in the series with Goldberg, The Heist, hits our Hardcover Fiction list this week at #2 with 35,000 copies for its first week. Evanovich kicked off publication with an appearance on the CBS Early Show and, according to v-p and director of publicity Susan Corcoran, there are more than 500,000 copies in print. Quite a send-off to introduce the team of FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare and con man Nicholas Fox, who, the jacket copy tells us, O’Hare “wants in more ways than one.” —Louisa Ermelino
No Place Like Dome
The King rules again—this time on the tube. CBS reports that the first episode of Stephen King’s Under the Dome miniseries drew a hefty audience of 13.1 million on June 24. According to a New York Times prediction, that number, from preliminary overnight ratings, is likely to grow, especially when delayed viewing is included. The premiere also played well with the audience that counts for many advertisers—viewers between 18 and 49—where it registered a 3.2 rating. That would count as a hit rating any time of year, noted the Times: “in the summer, when networks have a hard time eclipsing a 1 rating in that category, the numbers for Dome represent a breakout performance.”
Entertainment Weekly, too, noted King’s video success, scoring it B and calling the series “the most-watched summer debut on any network since NBC’s The Singing Bee in 2007.” The article also added that Under the Dome “continued the apocalyptic-TV winning streak: AMC’s The Walking Dead, Revolution and now Dome—which isn’t about the end of the whole world, obviously, but tells an apocalypse story on a small-town scale.”
According to the New York Daily News TV critic, “As usual, CBS shows a good eye for action drama, airs of vague mystery and psychological setups that upset the characters’ equilibrium. It’s really just classic drama executed well, and it has propelled CBS to the top of the heap. By those criteria, Under the Dome hits its marks.”
Given the TV series’ acclaim, it’s no surprise that Gallery’s trade paper edition lands on our list in 10th place with 13,869 year-to-date sales. Originally published by Scribner in 2009, Dome’s hardcover and trade paper editions (the first paper version came out in 2010) total a whopping 907,217 copies, according to Nielsen BookScan. —Dick Donahue
For a title that originally pubbed two summers ago, there’s a pretty sizable amount of current activity surrounding the bestselling novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. A trade paperback edition has just been released, with a 175,000-copy first printing; the author, Ransom Riggs, went on a two-week, nine-city tour earlier this month; and the new edition has landed at #2 on our Children’s Fiction list. Miss Peregrine, a YA fantasy illustrated with black-and-white vintage photographs, was described by PW as “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.” Nielsen BookScan charts sales for the hardcover version at just under 450,000 copies, and Quirk Books reports total sales across all formats at 1.3 million. On the horizon: a graphic novel edition from Yen Press, due in October; a sequel, Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Children, scheduled for next January; and a film, to be made by Fox (the slightly retitled Peregrine’s Home for Peculiars), which has a July 31, 2015, release date. The movie is bound to get even wider attention for the novel: Tim Burton has just been announced as director. —Diane Roback
Stephen C. Meyer enters the Hardcover Nonfiction list at #10 with his latest book, Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. As Meyer notes, when Charles Darwin finished writing On the Origin of the Species, there remained a significant and controversial puzzle in his theory of evolution: the “Cambrian Explosion,” which refers to the rapid appearance of animal life 530 million years ago. Darwin acknowledged that this appearance of animal life was confounding, since there was no evidence of similar ancestral forms in earlier geologic history. Meyer, who directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, expands upon arguments about the origin of life in his previous book, Signature in the Cell, to suggest that the Cambrian animal forms might have arisen from intelligent design. According to the theory of Intelligent Design (, certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, rather than undirected processes such as natural selection. To launch the book, Meyer has appeared on numerous radio shows, including Moody Radio’s In the Market with Janet Parshall, several programs on Salem Radio, DialGlobal Radio’s Denis Miller Show, and Premiere Radio’s Coast to Coast. The book has also been excerpted online in World magazine. —Jessamine Chan
George Orwell may need to prep a thank you note to Edward Snowden. The author’s classic novel, 1984, about a future world with a government that too closely watches its citizens, was the most talked-about book on social media last month. Jeff Costello, v-p of CoverCake, said this was “obviously driven by the revelation that the NSA has been monitoring U.S. citizens, and the efforts to extradite Edward Snowden.” Costello also believes booksellers took a cue from the news cycle and gave 1984 “prominent placement on their stores’ home pages.” According to Nielsen BookScan, sales of 1984 rose from about 3,000 in the last week in May to about 7,000 in the week ended June 16, and the title sold 6,600 in the week ended June 23.
Neil Gaiman joined the list this month, at #6, with The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which Costello noted has been getting positive buzz: “People are really singing this book’s praises.” Also new to the list, at #8, is Rick Riordan’s fourth title in the Percy Jackson series, House of Hades, which does not come out until October. Costello said the chatter is likely thanks to the “hardcore fans” who “can’t wait for the next installment.”
The other surprise Costello saw this month was Happy, Happy, Happy, the autobiography of Phil Robertson, star of the A&E reality show Duck Dynasty. Costello thinks the title “snuck” onto the list, at #10, thanks to fans of the TV show.
Men were more active than usual on social media in June. Happy, Happy, Happy was one of four titles that drew more comments from men than women in June; in most months men account for the most comments on one or two titles.
CoverCake’s Top 10 Books in Social Media, June 2013
|2||World War Z||Max Brooks||9||51||49|
|5||Catching Fire||Suzanne Collins||5||40||60|
|6||The Ocean at the End of the Lane||Neil Gaiman||4||41||59|
|8||House of Hades||Rick Riordan||3||32||68|
|9||Lean In||Sheryl Sandberg||2||31||69|
|10||Happy, Happy, Happy||Phil Robertson||1||68||32|
*How many conversations took place about the book in question for every 10 comments about book #1
Commentary from the mind of the artist
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