And now… The title, cover and plot of FunJungle 6!

The official title of this book slipped out on the internet a few days ago.  (I’m never quite sure how that happens.)  So I have been given the go-ahead by my publisher to start revealing details about FunJungle 6.

I suppose I might as well reveal the title and the cover simultaneously, seeing as the title is on the cover.  So here you go, another masterpiece by Lucy Cummins:

Now, I know what you’re saying:  ‘Wait a minute.  Tyrannosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago.  So how on earth does this mystery have anything to do with one?’  I’ll let the official synopsis explain everything:

In the latest novel in New York Times bestselling author Stuart Gibbs’s FunJungle series, Teddy Fitzroy returns as FunJungle’s resident sleuth to solve his most improbable mystery yet—with a victim that’s 65 million years old.

Teddy was all set for a campout at his friend Sage’s family ranch—but then Sage gets terrible news: The skull of a rare dinosaur that was being excavated on his property has mysteriously vanished overnight in the middle of a rainstorm, even though it weighed 500 pounds. Not a single footprint has been left behind. Since the dinosaur was top secret, the police don’t believe anyone outside the dig could have stolen it.

A T-rex skull can sell for millions of dollars, and everyone is a suspect—including J.J. McCracken, the owner of FunJungle.

Meanwhile, Teddy’s old foes, the Barksdale twins, have gotten into trouble with an illegally purchased anaconda, and Teddy’s girlfriend Summer wants to find out who’s behind the local trade in black market reptiles. The two cases will drag Teddy into more danger and chaos than ever before, in this mystery that’s stranger than fiction.

 

Right now, the release date is not quite locked in.  Some of you may have seen it listed as April 7, 2020 but that’s not official yet.  In fact, that date is probably wrong.  All I know is, the book will be released in the spring.

 

Since this is not the first time I have posted something like this, I know what is going to happen next.  Many of you are going to write to me with all sorts of other questions about the book.  But I’m not going to answer any of them.

Why?  Because trust me, the less you know about a book before you read it, the more fun it is to read.  What if you had known all the Twists to Avengers: Endgame before you saw it?  That would have sucked, right?  Well, same goes for the book.  Knowing all sorts of details about it before it comes out isn’t going to do anything for you.  Just hang in there.  Spring will be here soon enough.

And if you were going to ask me ‘Is there going to be an exclusive edition of this at Barnes & Noble?’ the answer is: I don’t know yet.  But if there is one, I won’t keep it a secret.  I’ll blog about it.  I promise.

Spy School movie update

Hi everyone –

Lots of you have written to ask me about the potential Spy School movie.  Most of you have one of three questions, which I am going to answer here for everyone to see:

Q: Is the movie going to stick closely to the book?

A: That is my plan.  I have written the first draft of the screenplay.  So far, it stays close to the book, although since it is a movie and not a book, I have made some changes.  They’re not huge, and some might be quite funny, but they were necessary.  I’m sure that things will change, though.  For one thing, the script is a little too long, which probably means a scene or two will need to be cut – so be aware, there’s a good chance that something you like from the book might not be in the movie.

Q: When will the movie come out?

A: I have no idea.  I don’t even know IF it will ever come out.  The problem with getting a movie made is that it is very expensive.  So a lot of things need to fall into place for the movie to happen.  Here’s the progress so far:

I will certainly have to write more drafts of the movie.  I am waiting to get notes from the studio.  However, Fox is the company that bought the idea — but Fox is currently being purchased by Disney.  This is a massive corporate merger and it is slowing the project down.

The best I can say is that, if this movie did get made, the very earliest it could possibly be in theaters is fall 2020.  And that is an extreme long shot.

Q: When is it going to cast and can I try out for it?

A: I know, technically, that’s two questions, but I am always asked them together.  Anyhow, the simple answer is: I don’t know when it will cast, and the chances are probably very slim that you can try out for it.  Sorry.  I do not control casting.  In fact, I probably won’t have any say over casting at all.

I suppose there is a slight possibility that Fox/Disney might decide to have an open casting call for roles in the movie, in which case maybe anyone who wants to try out can do so, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

If there is an open casting call, I will certainly post about it here.

 

I know that’s not a ton of news, but it’s all I have.  Stay tuned to this site for more developments.

UPDATE JULY 22, 2019

Really, all this update is saying is that I have no new information.  But I’m adding it because many of you have been writing to me expressing disbelief that I still don’t have any news to report.  Well folks, that’s the way the movie industry works.  I wish I had more news.  Really. No one wants this movie to get made more than I do.  Except maybe my children.

The Last Musketeer is being re-released and repackaged and it looks amazing.

It’s been a long time since I posted about The Last Musketeer.  But there have been some exciting developments since then.

For those of you who are unaware of what The Last Musketeer even is, it’s a trilogy I wrote back in 2011-12 about a modern day kid named Greg Rich who gets transported back to Paris 400 years ago, where he ends up bringing together the Three Musketeers for their first adventure — and becoming the infamous D’Artagnan.

For the past few years, it has been relatively hard to get these books — and the second two in the series were never even released in paperback.

Well that has all changed!  Some of you may have noticed this beautifully redesigned version of The Last Musketeer in your bookstores recently:

Well, the next two books in the series will be re-released this spring!  (Eagle-eyed readers of this website may have already noticed that this has been mentioned in the ‘Upcoming Releases’ on the right hand side of this site.)  On February 26 (which also happens to be the release date of Lion Down) you will finally be able to get The Last Musketeer: Traitor’s Chase in paperback:

And on May 7, the final book in the series, Double Cross, will be available:

And if you prefer audiobooks, the series will soon be available that way too.

If you have never had the chance to read this series, here it is!  It’s full of adventure, swashbuckling, mystery and humor.  I’ve always been proud of this series (my son used to claim it was his favorite of mine) so I hope you check it out.

You can start by getting The Last Musketeer by clicking here.

Finally… The reveal you’ve been waiting for. Here’s the new series — and the new cover!

Hi readers!

I know I’ve been teasing the new series I’m doing for months.  Much longer than I expected.  I was waiting for my publisher to lock the cover and do their official reveal.  So, rather than draw this out any longer…

Here’s the cover:

Exciting, right?  Another beauty by Lucy Cummins.

Here’s the idea:

Throughout history, the greatest scientists — Einstein, Darwin, Gallileo, Newton — have made discoveries that were too dangerous to trust humanity with, so they hid them.  The CIA — and many other people — have been searching for these for decades to no avail.

But now, an evil organization is closing in on the most dangerous discovery of all  —  an equation developed by Albert Einstein himself that could destroy the world.  Desperate, the CIA has no choice but to recruit the most brilliant person they can find to help them: A twelve-year-old genius named Charlie Thorne.

The catch: Charlie isn’t like any genius you’ve ever encountered before.  She’s a daredevil.  A troublemaker.  And possibly a criminal.

Now, Charlie finds herself unwillingly dragged into a perilous mission that will take her from the ski slopes of Colorado to the tundra of Greenland to the secret tunnels underneath Jerusalem.   Along the way, she’ll have to crack a series of clues left by Einstein himself.  She’ll have no idea who to trust.  And her life will be in constant jeopardy.

But she’ll have to survive.  Because she’s the only one who can save the world.

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation will debut on September 17, 2019.  Only nine months from now!

Update: This book is already available for pre-orders. If you really like buying books way ahead of time, click here.

Another update:  Just got the first review for this book.  It’s from Booklist, and it’s pretty great.  Excerpt:

“Gibbs deftly pens an Alex Rider–level adventure with this series starter… The plot moves at breakneck speed from start to literal cliffhanger finish.  Charlie is a wildly entertaining protagonist whose intelligence is balanced by normal preteen rebellion. It doesn’t take a theoretical physicist to predict that this series will be popular.” Booklist

20th Century Fox acquires Spy School movie rights

So…

When I posted a little while ago that I had some big news coming, this was not the big news I was talking about.

But this is still very good news.

For all of you who have been asking about when one of my book series might be turned into a movie, the first step has taken place.

20th Century Fox, which has done the film versions of books such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Night at the Museum and Percy Jackson, has acquired the rights to make Spy School.

Here are some things to know:

  1. I am going to write the screenplay.
  2. The fact that there is a movie deal is by no means any guarantee that there will actually be a movie.
  3. If there is a movie, it could be a long time until that happens.
  4. We might not be casting for years.  So please don’t write asking if you can be in the movie.

You can learn more about the deal here.

PS that other news — about the new series — is still coming.

Yes, it’s true. Waste Of Space will be the end of the Moon Base Alpha series… for now.

A lot of readers have written to me lately, having noticed that my publisher is referring to Waste of Space as the ‘third and final book’ in the MBA series on sites such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Everyone wants to know if this is really true.

Yes it is.

Here’s why:

When I wrote Space Case, the first book in this series, I really wanted to handle the realities of space travel as realistically as possible.  I think I did a decent job of that, but it created a problem for me: It turns out, the moon is a very limiting place to set a series.

Let me explain:  For my Spy School books, I can really send my characters just about anywhere on earth I want.  And while FunJungle is theoretically tied to FunJungle itself, I can create whatever locations I want inside that park — and I am free to have my characters leave FunJungle as well.  But in the MBA series, the only location fit for human habitation is the moon base itself, which I made quite small — and my characters are not really free to range very far away from it.  Plus, even if they could leave MBA (which they do on occasion) the moon is not a place with much variation.  Yes, there are some hills and craters and lava tubes, but for the most part, the moon is pretty much the same wherever you go.  This — and the fact that humans have to wear space suits — is extremely limiting when I want to develop new action sequences.

Lots of people have made suggestions to me about how to open up the series, but they really won’t work.  To address them:

Why not move the action to Moon Base Beta?

Because I have made it clear that MBB hasn’t even begun construction — and once that happens, it is supposed to take another ten years to build and that plan is probably optimistic, which means MBB won’t be up and running for another 10-15 years, at which point my lead characters will be college graduates.

Why not move the series to Mars or another planet?

Because I have made it clear that even getting to the moon is tremendously difficult (which is the truth).  Getting to other planets is going to be much more difficult, and it would be unlikely that we could have bases on them any time soon, which means that, yes, the terrain might change, but the limitations of having my humans confined to a small location are still there.

Why not move the series to the International Space Station?

Because the ISS is even smaller and more limited than MBA is.  Even by 2041, it won’t be that big — and that’s assuming that we haven’t defunded it and let it fall back to earth (which is a possibility).

So… does this mean that the series is completely dead?

Not necessarily.  I do have some ideas about how I might be able to keep it going, but for now, I would rather focus on my series that do not feel so limited.

Which brings me to my other big news.  Since MBA is ending (for now, at least), I am in the process of creating a new series.  However, my publisher has asked that I not reveal any details about it quite yet.  They will be coming, though.  I promise.  (So please don’t write asking for more details.  I will just tell you to read this post again.)

The plot of Big Game comes true: Some awful person just really killed a rhino in a French zoo

For those of you who don’t know, the plot of my book Big Game is about someone trying to poach an endangered rhino from a zoo, possibly to steal its horn.

Well, that has now happened in real life.  Yesterday, in a French Zoo near Paris, poachers broke in, killed a four year old rhino and stole its horn.  You can read the story by clicking here.  This is the victim:

I am devastated by this news.  When I came up with the idea for Big Game, it was because I actually had a fear that something like this might happen some day.  But I really hoped it wouldn’t.

The reason this happened is because the price of rhino horn is ridiculously high.  There are still horribly misinformed people out there who believe that rhino horn has the power to cure diseases such of cancer, even though that has never been proven.  (Rhino horn is made of keratin, which is the same stuff that your fingernails are made of.)  As long as there is demand for rhino horn, no matter how dumb the reasons, people will be killing rhinos.

One species of rhino, the African northern white rhino, will go extinct in the next few years.  There only three of them left in the world.

But there is also a decent chance that all species will be extinct in the wild soon, unless extreme action is taken.

If you want to help, I suggest you visit these sites and learn what you can do:

rhinos.org

World Wildlife Fund

Save the Rhino

Thanks,

Stuart

An answer to your burning question: Where do I get my ideas?

I get this question more than any other (except ‘When is your next Spy School/FunJungle/Moon Base Alpha novel coming out?’) and it’s one of the most complicated questions to answer.  So I’m going to do my best to answer it right now.

Sort of.  It’s very hard to say where ideas come from.  They just kind of happen.  I didn’t really think, “Where would be an interesting place to set a mystery?” and eventually realize, “Aha!  A zoo!”  Instead, one day, a long time ago, the idea of doing a mystery in a zoo just popped into my head and I realized it was a good one.

So maybe the better question to answer is: What do I do to inspire myself to come up with ideas?

There are two parts to that answer.  1) I tend to write about things that interest me.  Note that this is different than saying “Write what you know.”  A lot of people tell me they’ve been told to write what they know, but if everyone did that, we’d end up with a million books about middle school, high school and college.  There are lots of things that fascinate me: animals, zoos, spies, space travel…

2) I research those things.  This is the fun part, because research isn’t necessarily just reading about something (although that certainly counts).  It’s also trying to experience those things, which I find can generate more ideas than simply hanging around, thinking about something.  For example, walking around a zoo inspires more ideas than merely thinking about a zoo.

It’s pretty amazing how effective immersing yourself in an experience can be to generate ideas.  For example, there’s this volcanic crater in Hawaii — Kilauea Iki — that my son and I love to hike in:

DSC02679

Notice that this crater (which only formed in 1959, by the way) looks pretty alien.  In fact, it’s about as close as you can come to hiking on the lunar surface as possible on earth.  Every time I’m in that crater, I kind of feel like I’m on the moon — and I suddenly find myself besieged with ideas for the Moon Base Alpha series.  Ideas that I might not have come up with otherwise.

It just so happens, there’s a pretty awesome lava tube right near Kilauea Iki.  Fun fact: There are also lava tubes on the moon!  A while back, I sought out the help of some scientists who specialize in potential lunar construction, and they’d told me that if we were to build anything on the moon, we’d probably have to set up our first camps in lava tubes to protect ourselves from meteorite strikes.  (Research!)  Now, while looking at a picture of a lava tube is interesting, actually walking through one is considerably more inspiring:

DSC02671

 

Research like this and inspiration go pretty much hand-in-hand.  If you’re learning about something, inspiration strikes all the time — often for something you weren’t even trying to learn about. For example, I was researching rhinos down at the San Diego Zoo when we dropped by the panda habitat and suddenly, it became evident that FunJungle four ought to be about — you guessed it — pandas.

DSC_0315

 

Meanwhile, somewhere else along the line, I’d had the idea that it would also be interesting to have a story involving dolphins.  So I took it upon myself to do a little research on dolphins as well.  Luckily, a place called Dolphin Quest was happy to do this for me:

IMG_4830

 

Extremely educational — and very inspirational!  (Not to mention awfully fun.  I told you research was the fun part.)  When FunJungle #4 comes out in spring 2017, expect there to be a bit of a dolphin mystery in there, along with the panda mystery.

So if you’re looking for inspiration, I highly recommend trying to experience as much as possible (as long as your parents say its ok.)  Go to zoos and museums and national parks.  Take lessons in things that interest you.  Explore the world!  And read a lot.

(And for those of you still wanting details on Spy School #4 — and what inspired that — I promise you, details will be coming in February some time.)

This is Nola. She’s a northern white rhino. And her species is about to go extinct.

DSC_0134

 

EXCEPTIONALLY SAD UPDATE TO THIS POST:

Shortly after I wrote this, Nola passed away.  So now,  instead of four Northern White Rhinos left on earth… there are three.

Here’s the rest of the original post, though:

Nola lives at the San Diego Safari Park.  By all accounts, she as as sweet and good-natured as any animal can be; she’s like a two ton labrador retriever.  And she is one of only four northern white rhinos left on earth.  That’s right: THERE ARE ONLY FOUR OF THESE RHINOS LEFT ON THE ENTIRE PLANET.

There are none left in the wild.  The other three are in a zoo in Europe.  And they’re all too old to breed, which means there is really nothing we can do to save them.  This beautiful creature is going to die out in your lifetime.

If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you’ll know this isn’t the first time I’ve called attention to this.  However, it seems worth bringing up again.  I’ve been traveling around the USA over the past few weeks, talking about the serious problem of rhino poaching (as it’s at the heart of my newest book, Big Game).  And the school kids I’ve talked to are very, very upset to learn about Nola and the rest of her species.

They’re also very upset to learn about the fact that other rhino species are being killed off at an unsustainable rate, meaning they might go extinct in our lifetimes as well.

They’re upset to learn that on average, THREE RHINOS ARE KILLED ILLEGALLY EVERY DAY.

And they’re also upset to hear that elephants are in serious trouble as well.  Right now, on average, ONE OF THESE BEAUTIFUL CREATURES IS BEING KILLED ILLEGALLY EVERY 14 MINUTES.  THAT’S 96 ELEPHANTS A DAY.

DSC_0521

 

Tanzania estimates it has lost 60% of its elephant population over the last five years.

If you want to get involved, there are many great organizations working to help stop the slaughter.  Please check out at least one of these to find out what you (and your family, and your friends, and your school) can do:

www.rhinos.org

www.96elephants.org

www.savetherhino.org

And check out the Save The World tab at the top of this page to learn about other organizations protecting wildlife and their habitats around the world.

Let’s try to make sure that other species don’t suffer the same fate that Nola will.

Thanks,

Stuart

Space Case gets an awesome review from the New York Times!

When you want to be a writer, there are some things you dream about: Seeing your book on the shelves of a bookstore, hearing from readers who’ve loved your work… And getting a review in the New York Times.  Yes, there are other places that review books, but for me, the Times has always been the gold standard.  (Maybe because I’ve been reading this book review every weekend for a very long time.)

It turns out, the only thing better than getting a review in the Times… is getting a GREAT review in the Times.  If you’d like to read it yourself, just click here.

Or, I could give you some nice excerpts.  Like: “…a delightful and brilliantly constructed ­middle-grade thriller.”  Or: “In a novel with such a highly imagined plot, a protagonist this layered is a rare treat.”  Or even: “At its heart, “Space Case” is about exploration for the sake of exploration, offering up the same wonder as a good long look at the night sky.”

I cannot possibly describe for you all how awesome this is.  It’s simply amazing.

Meanwhile, this has also coincided with my Six Minute interview popping up on LitPick today.  Click here for it.

Have a happy holiday, everyone!  See you in the new year!