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A prequel to "Avatar"?

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Can't get enough of "Avatar"? Soon you may be able to enjoy it on the printed page as well as the screen. According to Jon Landau, the movie's producer, director James Cameron is writing a novel that will serve as a prequel to "Avatar."

Landau stressed in his interview with MTV that Cameron's project will not be a novelization of the events in the film but a distinct story. According to Landau, the book "would be something that would lead up to telling the story of the movie, but it would go into much more depth about all the stories that we didn't have time to deal with – like the schoolhouse and Sigourney [Weaver's character] teaching at the schoolhouse; Jake on Earth and his back story and how he came here; [the death of] Tommy, Jake's brother; and Colonel Quaritch, how he ended up there and all that."

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That the top-grossing movie's fans will embrace such a project seems a given. What remains unknown, however, is when such a book might appear. Fans might want to contain their excitement, suggests the New York Daily News, given that "Cameron has to write his book first," pointing out that "if it's any indication, we know how long his movies take to make."

But Landau remains optimistic about the project's possible speed. "I'm hoping by the end of this year," he says.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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