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Status Report

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Animorphs lands on Entertainment Weekly!


Thanks to Jenny, an Animorphs adaptation has been pushed for today’s PopWatch column in Entertainment Weekly. Here’s an excerpt:


Even though Applegate’s characters all had highly developed senses of humor, the series was also surprisingly dark — at least for the pre-Hunger Games era. Back then, most mass-market middle-grade tales didn’t bother exploring the shades of gray that lie between the poles of good and evil. But as the Animorphs books progressed, the Animorphs themselves grew increasingly jaded and shell-shocked. They did terrible things in the name of their worthy cause, then struggled to live with their decisions; they grew increasingly alienated from their families and non-Animorph friends, who couldn’t possibly understand the harsh realities of war. The book’s battles were reasonably graphic, but not in a way that glorified violence. Even morphing scenes, in which the kids transformed into tigers or dolphins or houseflies, emphasized how grotesque and disturbing it was for the characters to watch each other suddenly sprout claws or tails or a proboscis. (Also, the books taught kids cool words like “proboscis.”)

Animorphs‘ moral universe was also a lot more sophisticated than non-readers might expect. (…)

The full article can be found at popwatch.ew.com

posted by Issam at 8:52 pm  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

K.A. Applegate wins the 2013 Newbery Medal!
Also, Mississippi bans real Animorphs.


K.A Applegate has won the 2013 Newbery Medal for The One and Only Ivan! A big congrats from all of us here at Hirac Delest! (If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet: Please do. The award is entirely well deserved.)

There have been many publications about this over the last week, but Publisher’s Weekly got a hold of K.A’s reaction approximately two hours after winning:

Normally Katherine Applegate would have been in her house in San Francisco the morning that “the call” came in. But she’d been visiting family in Richmond, Va., with her 13-year-old daughter, and found herself in a hotel room 3000 miles from home when the phone rang. Her daughter had caught a bug and was running a fever, and Applegate’s mind was not on the Newbery committee. “It just never crossed my radar screen,” she said. “They told me it was the medal, and I asked, ‘Are you sure?’ ”

As the news sunk in, Applegate said she told the committee, “ ‘It’s the best thing that happened to me since I gave birth, adopted my daughter, and got married.’ I heard a great deal of laughter on the phone. It was fun.”

Then, she recalled, “I just sat tight and watched the webcast. It was so much easier because I already knew what the outcome would be.” As soon as her Newbery was announced, “the phone started ringing immediately and incessantly. My husband texted me and said, ‘OMG you’re trending on Twitter!’ ”

Read the full article on Publishers Weekly:
Katherine Applegate on Winning the 2013 Newbery: ‘Stunned Disbelief’

In other news: An amusing article has popped up on The Buzz where a new Mississippi bill has been introduced that forbids human-animal hybrids, such as the Animorphs. The HB 819 is The Protection of the Human Person Act, and would have slapped the Animorphs with a fine should they have ever gone public in our time.

The article explains a bit more in depth regarding the circumstances and intent behind the hybrids, and can be read in full at The Buzz.

Thanks to Jason for forwarding this to us!

posted by Issam at 1:28 pm  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Animorphs Cancellation: Officially Confirmed


Dan Letchworth from Scholastic returns again, this time confirming the conclusions we had drawn up in our previous post:

“Hi again, just to put doubts to rest about what we’ve all already deduced–my editor at Scholastic just confirmed with me this morning that Animorphs #8 was cancelled at a very late stage, with no plans for any further rereleases.

Hellfire and damnation!”


Sad to say, this also removes the chances of an Animorphs 2.0 or a movie adaptation any time in the near future. We’d like to thank Dan once again, for keeping us and the fans up-to-date on the official progress of the series.

As a side note: If you were holding out on buying any of the new reprints in paperback, then now might be the best time to get them. They are unlikely to ever get a second printing, making these now ‘limited time editions’ even harder to find than the ones from the original Classic run.

That’s everything for now. As always, we’ll keep you informed should there be any further official announcement to the continuation of the series, and you can find us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with those latest Animorphs-related updates. Until next time!

posted by Issam at 8:22 am  

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Scholastic’s Dan Letchworth talks Animorphs Relaunch! (RE: Cancellation and #8: The Alien)


As a response to our previous post regarding the relaunch cancellation, we recently got a surprising email by Dan Letchworth, the copy editor who worked on all eight of the Animorphs books! In the email, Dan asked us pass along his message to the rest of the fans:


Hi Hirac Delest,

My name’s Dan Letchworth; I do regular freelance work for Scholastic, and I’ve been the copy editor for all 8 of the Animorphs relaunches. Animorphs was the most awesome job I’ve ever done for Scholastic, because they were literally my favorite books as a kid. I fixed the inconsistency about Jake being able to use thought-speech in book #1 to Tobias because I remembered that KASU even way back in 1997! I knew what high expectations the fan community would have for the relaunches, and as a devoted fan who still has all 54+ originals on his shelf, I took on each book with the reverence and attention to the greater continuity I felt it deserved.

(Note that not all of the “modernizations” were me– the editors have final say, and sometimes the edits I suggest don’t make it. Personally I thought it’d be fine if Marco still played Doom with his dad, since kids like retro gaming, but I digress…) I actually consulted fan sites listing KASUs and tried to address them where I could! I even called a Starbucks in Santa Barbara (considering the approximate revealed location of the series…) to find out how much the cup of coffee Ax orders at the mall would cost in 2011 money. :P

So, I’m writing because I share in how bummed out you all are that Scholastic’s not continuing their re-releases past #8. (At least I’ve heard nothing about it since last year.) Honestly I kind of had a feeling they wouldn’t last too long, certainly not through the whole series, though I was holding out hope for at least The Andalite Chronicles to cap things off. So much depends on how much marketing a publisher chooses to put behind a release. Publishers so often “decide” that a book will be a bestseller, while more worthy titles go out of print or aren’t even bought in the first place. But Animorphs had an outstanding original run, and I think of these rereleases as a victory lap more than anything. I’ll put in a strong word of advocacy with the folks I know there to at least get the Andalite Chronicles out, but even if the first 8 is all we get, I have to say I’m still tickled that we got it at all. And I’m encouraged–kids have access to way more resources now than we did in 97, and new fans who discover these 8 and love them will definitely be able to find more if they know where to look.

So glad you’re keeping the love alive here.


Dan Letchworth is a freelance copy editor for Scholastic, and full-time product development assistant at Klutz. His latest project there is Paper Flying Dragons, a book of twelve foldable flyers and fascinating true dragon facts.


Very cool of Dan to drop by, and we thank him for taking the time to let us know of the amount of research and effort it took to relaunching these books.

In related news, it seems like there are still no paperback copies available for Animorphs #8, even though it was released on September 1st. Several fans, including myself, have been unable to find them at any local or online retailer, and no one has been able to provide a direct answer as to why, until I recently received this email stating:

Item Cancelled [...]

Your order was a pre-order unfortunately, information ahead of publication is not foolproof so a new title may be cancelled or postponed indefinitely. An edition scheduled for reprinting may be similarly abandoned by the publishers.


So it looks as though the poor sales of the previous paperbacks have brought on a decision to indefinitely hold off on any further printings, at least for now. However the ebook editions for Kindle and NookBook are still available, and Rijab (who has regularly sent us advanced cover previews for Animorphs books in the past) told us:

I bought the Kindle version and there is no preview in the back for the next book – just a preview for a new book about dragons called “Wings of Fire.” (See full comment)


So there you have it; With no new plans at Scholastic, or any advanced previews being marketed, or anymore paperbacks being printed, it doesn’t look like we’re going to get any more of a confirmation regarding the cancellation of the Animorphs Relaunch. Of course, it hasn’t “officially” been cancelled, so there is a glimmer of hope, however small that may be.

In the mean while, you can still expect Hirac Delest to be running (but, of course, at a much slower pace). The archive project will continue as it always has, and this blog will still be updated should any official announcements arise in the future. To keep up with the latest updates, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

That’s all for now. Until next time!

posted by Issam at 1:24 pm  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cinnamon Bunzuh! interviews David B. Mattingly!


Adam from the Cinnamon Bunzuh! blog has posted an exclusive interview with David B. Mattingly, the Animorphs series cover artist from the Classic run. Here’s a small excerpt:


Adam: When you were working on covers with animals in them, did you have physical animals in front of you to work from sometimes, or did you just use photographic reference, how did that work?

Mattingly: No, I use photographic reference, but its very rare where you find the perfect piece of reference. I also needed to avoid, you go on google and you find a picture of a tiger and morph the character into the tiger, because you’ll get sued for that. There’s actually a zoo in New Jersey that I went to, where I shot a lot of photographs. It’s called the SpaceFarms Zoo. I looked it up the other day, because I wondered if it was the zoo that this Matt Damon movie called I Bought a Zoo was based on, but it wasn’t. But Space Farms New Jersey, it’s sort of a weird private zoo. And they had bears and tigers and all kinds of stuff. And they let you in and you wander around, just like a regular zoo. So that was the source of a lot of reference for the series.

Adam: Likewise, when you were working with human models for the covers, how did you tend to work with them?

Mattingly: I’d shoot models on it, and a problem I had throughout the course of the series is that it went on for I guess five years, and the kids, kids from when they’re ten to fifteen change profoundly, and I’d bring the kid in for another shoot, and he’d look like a completely different person. And Scholastic didn’t want me to reuse old photographs because it would have forced them to re-pay the models, so I consistently shot new models and then attempted to make them look as close to the old models as I could, I’m not sure entirely successfully. The only model who I used throughout the series was the model for Cassie, because she was kind of a petite girl, she might have been a little older when I cast her, and she changed little enough over the course of the book that I used her consistently. She was also a wonderful model.

Read the full interview at Cinnamon Bunzuh! >>


posted by Issam at 9:20 pm  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Animorphs #6 relaunched and K.A Applegate on Twitter! Also, LIVE radio interviews, new books, and more!


There is a lot of new info today, so lets get started:

  1. K.A. Applegate is now officially on Twitter!

    Follow her @KAAauthor.


  3. Michael Grant (co-author/creator of Animorphs) is doing a ridiculous number of LIVE interviews on the radio today (March 1st). If any fan happens to record one of these interviews, then send ‘em our way!

    See full schedule of Michael Grant’s radio interviews.


  5. K.A and Michael are currently doing several school visits as well. Michael is primarily doing his book tour in the U.K, and has posted his schedule on Facebook. His first UK visit is on March 13th, 2012. U.S dates are currently unannounced.

    See the UK schedule for private and public events.


  7. Animorphs #6: The Capture is officially relaunched today in both lenticular paperback and ebook editions.

    See the official summary and order info.


  9. While not official yet, there is some good news for GONE fans regarding the possibility of a movie!
    See Michael Grant’s update for the Gone movie.


  11. EVE AND ADAM is now available to pre-order! No official cover or summary yet, but the release date is set for October 2nd, 2012.

    This will be the first book by both K.A and Michael since Remnants. The only detail we know about the book at this point is that it is a dark comedy with male (Michael) and female (Katherine) perspectives.

    Pre-Orders are currently only available for U.S and Canada.


I think that covers everything for now. Be sure to follow both Michael and Katherine for any upcoming tour dates, as well as us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest info!

posted by Issam at 12:19 am  

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Exclusive: A Q&A with Marlee Roberts, AKA Rachel!


Really cool surprise today! Marlee Roberts (actress/singer) recently revealed that she is the Rachel cover model from the new relaunch books! She also gladly accepted to join us for a quick Q&A here at Hirac Delest. You can read the entire interview all right here:


Hi Marlee, welcome to Hirac Delest! It’s a pleasure to have you here!

Hey! Thanks for having me :)


Tell us a little bit about yourself: How did you get started in this business? What was your first professional role?

I started in the business when I was pretty young, about 4 or 5 years old. It’s been quite a long journey. The first acting gig I did was for an Orajel toothpaste commercial. All I had to do was run up to my actor-grandpa and smile into the camera, haha. It was fun and easy. After that, I made appearances on shows like “David Letterman” and “One Life to Live”. When I reached about 10 years old, I auditioned for a musical called “The American Girls Revue” and got in! I joined the cast as Kirsten, Kit, and Felicity playing the three roles for the next 4 years. I hadn’t had much singing experience before that so the show taught me all the basics. Pretty soon I was writing my own music and after the show closed, I started releasing my own original contemporary pop songs. Throughout all of this, I did a lot of print modeling for brands like Hanes, Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Rose Art, and Scholastic!


It seems like you have a wide range of talents in singing, acting, directing, and now modeling. Do you have a preference of one over the other? What are some of your goals?

Everyone always asks me this! Honestly, I just love the industry. Whatever I do in the entertainment world, I have a great time doing it. Acting has always been my first love because it’s what I started out doing in the business. I also think you can apply acting to anything… when singing, writing, directing, modeling or even presenting a project in front of class at school, my acting experiences have always helped.

My main goal is to continue pursuing what I love. I feel so blessed to have been able to dip my feet into so many aspects of the industry and I could only hope to continue. To me, being an artist (no matter what kind) means reaching out to our society and making a difference in a way nothing else can. To share stories and open up the world to readers, viewers, or listeners is so fulfilling.


For Animorphs, how did you land the role of Rachel? It sounds like you were surprised and only recently found out about this yourself.

My agent called me up one day and said that I got a job. Just like that. He said that I was chosen off of his site because they thought I had the perfect look for Rachel.

I did the photoshoot a little over a year ago so I completely forgot about it! Then some of my friends discovered the site and it all came back to me. I got sooo excited because I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to be morphed into a cat but there is something seriously awesome about watching your face morph into an animal. The new book covers are pretty sweet.


What was the photoshoot process like? Were there any special ‘morphing steps’ or stances you had to go through with animals or other cover models while there?

The photoshoot process was awesome. It was super quick, fun, and easy. Shortly after I arrived in the studio, we got right down to business. The photographer directed me to look fierce, directly into the camera. We tried some different looks and fierce poses and it went by real quick.

The shoot was on my first day of school and I went to the studio during my lunch break and was out in enough time to grab lunch and get back to class on time!

I didn’t get to meet any cover models although I’d like to meet my morphing friends :)


If you could morph into any animal, what would be your first choice? Last choice?

Hmnnn, this is hard. I think it would be cool to morph into a bird and be able to fly. Cats are pretty cool too because they can jump and climb and roll around all day. It seems as if their world is like an ever-changing obstacle course.


How familiar were you of Animorphs before this? Have you had a chance to see or read the new reprints?

Who hasn’t heard of Animorphs!? It’s a classic! I remember the books were such a big trend in elementary school. I haven’t read any of the reprints but I just got the new copy of “The Visitor”.


Rachel is a big favourite amongst fans, and is often nicknamed Xena: Warrior Princess. Is there a superhero or pop-culture icon that best describes your personality?

Ooohh good question! I have to say Rachel is pretty close to me. Shopping, good grades… all pretty important things.


What is your work philosophy? Any advice you would give to those aspiring to do professional work as well?

Never give up. To be successful, no matter what field you are in, takes A LOT of time and effort. But if you do what you love, then it’s never really “work”. It’s never easy but it doesn’t mean the journey can’t be fun.


Any future plans on returning as Rachel?

As part of the SAG book pals, I visit schools to get kids interested and involved in reading. I’m excited to share that I’ll be reading an excerpt of “The Visitor” for all the classrooms I visit this year. And now they can actually meet Rachel!


Very cool! Some of our fans are actually parents and teachers now. Any chance you have schedule or a list of schools you’re planning on visiting?

Generally, I visit schools in the Tri-State area. Parents, teachers, or schools can actually request a visitation via the contact form on my site.


Finally, is there any current or upcoming work we might catch you in?

Yeah! I just finished acting in two feature films: “The English Teacher” will be in theaters soon and “Spaz” premieres in August. This spring I’m also releasing a new EP of three original dance-pop songs. The first music video will be online next month. As far as filmmaking goes, I’m working on a bunch of new short films that will be available online after they run the film festival circuit.

All updates can be found on my site marleeroberts.com and fans can keep in touch through my facebook or twitter.


Thank you so much for your time! We’re looking forward to seeing you again in the future!

Thank you! It’s been a blast.

Marlee will also be returning as Rachel in Animorphs #7: The Stranger (June 2012). You can read more about the book in our relaunch book section, and pre-order it as well. Fans can also contact or follow Marlee at her:

Official Site: marleeroberts.com | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter

posted by Issam at 12:56 pm  

Friday, December 9, 2011

K.A. Applegate’s Q&A on Publishers Weekly!


Following up on our post from yesterday, K.A. Applegate has also made it onto Publishers Weekly for her upcoming book The One and Only Ivan.

In her bestselling Animorphs series, Katherine Applegate introduced teens with the ability to morph into any animal they touch. She offers a very different take on an animal story in The One and Only Ivan, due from Harper in January. The novel is based on a real-life silverback gorilla born in Africa that lived in a glass box for 27 years as an attraction in a circus-themed mall in Tacoma, Wash., before being transferred to Zoo Atlanta, where he still resides. Ivan’s story made a splash in the media and caught the attention of Applegate, who talks about how her novel came to be.

Do you view this novel as a departure for you, in terms of subject and writing style?

I’d say it parallels some of the feeling of Animorphs. In those books, I got to explore what it was like to feel like an animal, so on that level it’s channeling the same kind of thing. Stylistically, this novel is more similar to Home of the Brave [Feiwel and Friends, 2007], which I wrote from the point of view of a refugee of Sudan.

Are there more animal books in your future?

Absolutely! I’m now writing a novel from a dog’s point of view. It’s one of the novels I was working on when I digressed to Ivan. It’s another middle-grade animal fantasy.

You seem to be quite at home in that genre.

Yes, I love those books. I grew up reading and rereading Charlotte’s Web and anything by Jean Craighead George. I loved any book that had to do with animals. As a writer, maybe I’ve finally found the place I’m happiest. It only took me 20 years. Maybe I’m a slow learner?

You can read the entire article at publishersweekly.com.

posted by Issam at 1:29 pm  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Michael Grant launches BZRK! Also, a new book with K.A. Applegate, and more Animorphs Press!


Michael Grant (co-author/co-creator of Animorphs) has officially announced a new transmedia project titled BZRK. It is a multi-platform narrative that is experienced through books, websites, videos, comics, and more.

The digital part of the project has already been launched, and it will tie-in with the first BZRK book, which is set to be released February 2012. A full outline and FAQ for the project is posted at gobzrk.com. Here is the official description for the first book:

The most breathtaking and exhilarating ride you will take this year, this is the first in an incredible new action thriller series from Michael Grant, author of “Gone”.

These are no ordinary soldiers. This is no ordinary war. Welcome to the nano, where the only battle is for sanity. Losing is not an option when a world of madness is at stake. Time is running out for the good guys. But what happens when you don’t know who the good guys really are?

Noah and Sadie: newly initiated to an underground cell so covert that they don’t even know each other’s names. Here they will learn what it means to fight on a nano level. Soon they will become the deadliest warriors the world has ever seen.

Vincent: feels nothing, cares for no one; fighting his own personal battle with Bug Man, the greatest nano warrior alive.

The Armstrong Twins: wealthy, privileged, and fanatical.

Are they the saviours of mankind or authors of the darkest conspiracy the world has ever seen? The nano is uncharted territory. A terrifying world of discovery. And everything is to play for…

In addition to this, we also have an update on the new book currently being written by K.A. Applegate and Michael Grant. It is a dark comedy, and is the first book that the husband and wife duo will be writing together since the Remnants series. The current working title is EVE AND ADAM AND.

The plot and release date is unknown at the moment, but it will be told through both male and female perspectives, where Michael will be writing for the males, and Katherine for the females. We’ll keep you updated on the details as we hear more.

And lastly, there is some more new press for the Animorphs relaunch! A recent article from the School Library Journal shares some quotes from the new series editor and K.A. Applegate herself. Here’s a small highlight:

Zachary Clark, editor of the series, comments on the new design: “We decided early on that part of what made the original series such a success were the dynamic covers. They may look a little hokey to us now, but wow, in the ’90s those morphing kids were so cool. Lenticulars seemed like the best way to capture the spirit of the original books, and also offer something really eye-catching.”

Author K.A. Applegate agrees with this assessment and is “thrilled” with the result: “They [Scholastic] somehow managed to retain the essence of the original covers while bringing them completely up to date. They are so cool: when you walk into a bookstore, they just leap off the shelves. Booksellers have told me they are the easiest books in the world to hand-sell. Even the most reluctant reader wants to grab a book and makes that dude morph into a lizard.”

Launched over a decade ago, the series has had a lasting effect on readers. K.A. Applegate recounts meeting “long-time fans, now in their twenties” at a recent book festival, some of whom “talked about how they’d been struggling readers, and how Animorphs was the way they learned that reading could be fun. Others were born readers who found the story lines compelling. There were soldiers and biology majors and artists and techies and aspiring authors. It was great to see.”

Read the full article: Fresh Approaches: The Return of Animorphs

That’s all for now! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more Animorphs-related updates!

posted by Issam at 12:27 pm  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Animorphs #3: The Encounter OFFICIALLY Released!
Also, Scholastic series discussion panel at ALA 2011!


Animorphs #3 is now officially relaunched today! The book has already been released early at a few select locations, but it should be at all retailers now, including in ebook form. Book summary:


Animorphs #3: The Encounter (Lenticular Edition)

When Tobias and his friends were given the power to morph, they were also given an important warning: Never stay in a morph for more than two hours. But Tobias broke the time limit, and now he’s trapped in the body of a hawk — forever. When he discovers an important Yeerk secret, Tobias knows he has to do everything in his power to destroy it. But to do so, he’ll have to contend with a part of himself that’s wrestling for control. A part that isn’t human.

See: Paperback and eBook Order Links


In addition to this, there’s also some interesting relaunch info by Renata from Why, a Blog!, who attended David Levithan’s panel at the annual American Library Association (ALA) conference this year. Here’s a brief quote:

Anyway, so he starts up his presentation and the first slide is covers of the Babysitters Club and Animorphs relaunch titles, though he said that he didn’t have anything to do with Animorphs (although he did work at Scholastic when Animorphs was being published). He talked about the late 80s and early 90s as the “heyday” of series fiction, when books would come out once a month or twice a month. He cited BSC, Animorphs, and Goosebumps as Scholastic’s “Big Three,” which was interesting to me because I never thought Animorphs were as popular as BSC or Goosebumps? As a kid, I definitely knew more people who read the other two series than Animorphs. But maybe that was just my school. Also, he described all three series as being “episodic” fiction where it didn’t necessarily matter if you read them in order, or read all of them. To some extent that’s true of Animorphs (there are definitely books you could skip, for example) but I don’t think it’s true in the same way it is for BSC or Goosebumps.

Oh, and he talked about revamping the series-es (I think the plural of series is just series but whatev) and making them “time neutral.” The example he gave was if a character was listening to a Walkman, they didn’t change it to “iPod,” since you’d just have to change that again in 10 years. Instead they changed it to “music.” He said it wasn’t that hard to do, which I thought was a little surprising.

I suggest everyone check out the entire post, as it’s an interesting read. She covered the event by posting at both Why, A Blog! and the Animorphs LiveJournal Community.

Lastly, I have also updated the missions archive. Animorphs #1 now has a list of all the relaunch edits that I could find in the re-read (Please let me know of any edits I may have missed), and Animorphs #3 now has the back cover added (via amazon), and a new higher-res front cover.

Oh, and I renewed Hirac Delest’s hosting/domain for another year (We’re now 4 years old!). Thanks to everyone who has supported us through the years! Until next time!

posted by Issam at 1:33 pm  
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