Brian David Johnson and will.i.am to publish futuristic YA novel with Penguin Random House UK Children’s

will.i.am and Brian David Johnson on stage co-hosting the TRANS4M Conference in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Jarord Harris/Getty.


Penguin Random House UK Children’s is delighted to kick-off their presence at Bologna Children’s Book Fair by announcing that they will be publishing Wizards and Robots, a futuristic action-adventure novel created by renowned futurist, technologist and science-fiction author Brian David Johnson and global music artist and creator will.i.am. World rights were acquired by Shannon Cullen, Publishing Director, and Tig Wallace, Editor. Venus Brown at Buddah Brown Entertainment brokered the deal.

Wizards and Robots is an exciting part of the rich and diverse publishing programme that Penguin Random House Children’s will present at the Fair. 

Set for publication on 25th January 2018, Wizards and Robots follows the story of Ada, a sixteen-year-old who gets caught up in an epic battle between ancient wizards and futuristic robots, the outcome of which will change the course of human history.

Brian, who was previously a futurist for Intel, and will.i.am, who previously served as Director of Creative Innovation for Intel, first met in 2012 where they developed a friendship outside of work. As a result of their shared interests in robotics and science, they together began developing the world of Wizards and Robots, and saw how it might engage a younger generation with the science of a rapidly changing world. They then went onto develop their original manuscript with the award-winning YA writer Tom Becker.

Brian and will.i.am commented: ‘We’re both hugely excited by science and technology, and wanted to show teenagers all over the world how important it is to understand what this means for our world and future. Technology is incredibly liberating, but there is a very real sense of danger that accompanies mankind’s advancements in this area, and that’s what we were especially interested to explore in our story.

They continued: ‘As we developed the universe of Wizards and Robots we wanted the fictional world to spring from the real world. All of the places, historical figures and science are based in reality. The system architecture and weapons of the robots are based on actual robotics. Even the wizards’ spells are based on the spooky world of quantum physics. In our research we have visited the places and sites explored in the story, and even gone so far as to create our own robot.’

Penguin Random House UK Children’s Publishing Director, Shannon Cullen, said: ‘In Wizards and Robots Brian and will.i.am have created an extraordinarily exciting story – think Terminator meets a YA Harry Potter – that embeds science and technology within full-throttle entertainment. Our team and Tom are excited to be working with Brian and will.i.am on bringing their epic creation to readers.’

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