All Sorts of Weird Stuff: News

All Sorts of Weird Stuff offers news and information about George R.R. Martin, in particular about his A Song of Ice and Fire series.

"When I was young, I read all sorts of stuff. One week it would be Lovecraft, the next Vance. It was all imaginative literature, or as my dad called it 'Weird Stuff.' It was all 'Weird Stuff.'"

George R.R. Martin

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New ASoIaF App.

HarperCollins Voyager has launched a new A Song of Ice and Fire iOS app, with a very particular aim: easing viewers of Game of Thrones into reading the novels, by offering maps and samples of text which pair up with scenes they’ll have witnessed across the show’s first five seasons. It’s a very interesting move, and we’ve already seen some very positive feedback from those who’ve tried it.

Voyager has been able to make the app available in most of the world, with the exception of the U.S., Canada, and the Philippines. You can go here to the iTunes store to check it out, as it’s free of charge. For those in the U.S., there’s always the official A World of Ice and Fire app for iOS (named A Game of Thrones Guide for Android), although that is much more of a reference companion.

Calendar Preview

The 2016 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar (Pre-order) is due out by the end of the month, but previews have been making their way onto the internet in conjunction with this past San Diego Comic Con where a limited number of the calendar was released early.

The first of the previews came from Random House itself, with an embedded look at the calendar that provided the first reveal of the scene from The Winds of Winter that would be among the artworks from French artist Magali Villeneuve, whose work graced our The World of Ice and Fire: a moment from one of the TWoW chapters GRRM released on his website last year.

Following that, io9 had an exclusive reveal of a number of the new pieces from Villeneuve—Tommen before the Iron Throne is particularly choice, not least because it captures the enormity of the throne as intended by Martin and as conceptualized by fellow French artist, Marc Simonetti. A little bird has told us that the artist for the 2017 calendar has already been selected, so it’s a matter of time before that’s revealed.

And for those who missed it, later in the year some more artwork will be coming by way of the official coloring book, which will feature a bevy of contributing artists (including the great John Howe).

Exclusive Reveal of the Coloring Book Cover

A little under a month ago, we reported that Random House was going to publish George R.R. Martin’s Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book, a work containing 45 original black-and-white illustrations with the intention that fans and devotees of the novels can color them in themselves. We now have the pleasure of revealing the cover, courtesy of Random House:

There’s quite an impressive list of artists involved, all of them following the brief of drawing inspiration from the A Song of Ice and Fire series (rather than from HBO’s Game of Thrones, the TV adaptation of said series). With GRRM presumably somewhat involved in the process, this means at least some of the images and scenes depicted are likely to hew relatively closely to how he himself imagines it… though in black-and-white, of course, rather than in color! Among involved artists are Yvonne Gilbert, John Howe, Tomislav Tomić, Adam Stower and Levi Pinfold.

The book has been given a tentative release date of October 27th.

Rogues Takes Locus Award

While we were away to Archipelacon, the 2015 Locus Award winners were announced in Seattle. Our many congratulations to George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois for Rogues taking Best Anthology, and to Joe Abercrombie whose story in that same anthology, “Tough Times All Over”, won Best Novellette. And of course a tip of the hat to the great John Picacio who won Best Artist—very well-deserved!

Upcoming Appearances—GRRM and Westeros

For those in Europe, here’s some news regarding George R.R. Martin’s appearances starting this weekend, as well as our own!

First up, George will be in Hamburg for the Harbourfront Literature Festival, where he’ll be reading a chapter from The Winds of Winter, and likely to be answering questions as well. Despite early reports that this event would be livestreamed, this event is apparently not being streamed at all. It’s not impossible there’ll be an after-the-fact video from the event (as there have been with a number of GRRM’s public speaking events), but we’ve no information as yet whether that will be the case.

From there, George is off to Stockholm—and so are we! On Tuesday, the SF Bokhandeln bookstore has invited George to speak at the Royal Armoury. Although this event is sold-out, it’s worth noting that SF Bokhandeln’s three branches—Stockholm, Malmö, and our own Göteborg—will all offer livestreams to customers who could not attend the event. So far as we know, there will be no internet-wide stream, but again, there may be post-event videos. And for those in Stockholm, prior to the event—at 5PM—Linda and I will be at the bookshop to sign copies of The World of Ice and Fire, for those who want us defacing their copies!

After that, we’re all off to Åland for Archipelacon, the SF/F convention (sold out, alas!) where George is Guest of Honor, and his partner Parris is the Fan Guest of Honor. The convention has posted its schedule, and there’s a deal of interest for fans—we’ll share the highlights below:

Coloring Book in the Works

Apparently, coloring books aimed not at 5-year-olds but at adults are actually a thing. Who knew? While the idea may sound a little odd to some, the Los Angeles Times reports that Bantam (publishers of A Song of Ice and Fire, The World of Ice and Fire, and the forthcoming A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, as well as the A Song of Ice and Fire calendars and other related works) has commissioned artists to create a book containing “45 original black and white illustrations, inspired by characters, scenes, locations and other iconic images” from A Song of Ice and Fire.

The book, which can be pre-ordered, will feature art from an impressive list of names: Yvonne Gilbert, John Howe, Tomislav Tomić, Adam Stower and Levi Pinfold. Though the book is named George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones Coloring Book, we clarified with Bantam and they indicated that the art will solely be based on the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

The book is tentatively scheduled for release on October 27th of this year.

Martin and Waldrop Story on Starship Sofa

A pleasant surprise here, as podcast Starship Sofa proudly reveals that its 389th episode features “The Men of Greywater Station”, a science fiction novelette by George R.R. Martin and Howard Waldrop.  As host Tony C. Smith notes, the novelette has never appeared on-line before, so it’s quite the coup for the Hugo Award-winning podcast.

And yes, it’s no coincidence that “Greywater” appears in the title. GRRM is well-known for certain words, phrases, and names cropping up in a multitude in his works.

Talking The World of Ice and Fire in Spain

We’ve not yet had time to fully write up our wonderful visit to Spain to promote the Spanish-language release of The World of Ice and Fire by Gigamesh, but at least we thought we should share some of the interviews and photos from our events in Barcelona and Osuna.

In Barcelona, we had the great pleasure of speaking before a packed room of fans at Gigamesh’s amazing bookstore (easily one of the finest SF/F bookstores—with added attention to games and comics besides—we’ve ever visited, right up there with Sweden’s own SF Bokhandeln). This was live streamed, and you can see it below:

But before that happened, we managed an interview with the extremely amiable Javi Marcos of the Podcast de Hielo y Fuego.  The interview was done on behalf of Spanish fan site Los Siete Reinos, who’ve released the first part of the interview in written form (in Spanish). But they’ve gone the extra mile. Not only have they released the original, English-language audio of the interview, but they’ve released a dubbed version as well! Javi “dubs” himself (hah), while his partner-in-podcast Carlos handles dubbing me and the fan we know as Lady Ashara (who gave us a lovely necklace and bracelet featuring the arms of our mutual favorite house, the Daynes of Starfall) handling dubbing Linda.

Fans curious about some of the details we cut from the world book due to space constraints may find this one particularly interesting, as we drop a few tidbits of information.

Our other visit was to Osuna, and though I’m not sure our presentation of the book or the separate interview we did for it have been released, Gigamesh has released some terrific photos of the visit we and their team had there. More about Osuna in particular later, when we’ve some more time!

All in all, it was a fantastic visit and a terrific opportunity to meet some of the world’s most dedicated A Song of Ice and Fire fans, and Linda and I are already trying to figure out when we’ll be able to make another visit to Spain.

Coins of the Realm

The terrific Shire Post Mint, who’ve been creating A Song of Ice and Fire-related, George R.R. Martin-licensed coinage for years, have come up with another fun project after their last Kickstarter to create actual gold dragon coins proved a great success. This time, instead of aiming at the high-end collectors who go crazy for authenticity, Tom Maringer and company have launched a Kickstarter to make coins/tokens with a bit of A Game of Thrones flair, suitable a variety of games (but they’re particularly suited to Fantasy Flight Games’ Game of Thrones Living Card Game)  and other houses.

Featuring a wide array of subjects—from ancient royal houses to modern great houses to foreign powers—the coins are a treat for any collector or gamer who can make use of them. The Kickstarter has just 9 days to go, and is still just shy of its goal, so we definitely recommend checking it out and giving it your consideration.

For more ASoIaF coins from the Shire Post Mint, see here!

GRRM Talks Winds of Winter, Captain Cosmos

A brief but excellent interview with George R.R. Martin—hot on the heels of his release of a new sample chapter from The Winds of Winter—discusses his efforts on that book (and why it’s taken so long), a major twist that he’s deciding on (and whether the TV show can replicate it or not), and a series in development with HBO that’s currently having its pilot script written.

Absolutely worth checking this one out, not least for the key piece of information that GRRM is making all efforts to have The Winds of Winter published before season 6 of Game of Thrones airs.

New Winds of Winter Excerpt

Ah, George R.R. Martin has finally posted a chapter from The Winds of Winter that Linda and I had the pleasure of reading a couple of years ago. Suffice it to say, it contains spoilers! In fact, we’re not even naming the character in question, for those who’d rather not know.

You can read the chapter here.

A Visit to the Westerlands

George R.R. Martin revealed on his Not a Blog that he had decided to go and update his book samples pages at his official site with a new The World of Ice and Fire sample… but it’s not quite a sample from the book: “The Westerlands” is in fact George’s original write up of Westerlands history, one of a number of such write-ups he did as his contribution for the book. Due to size constraints, Linda and I then worked with our editor Anne Groell to compress it down to fit the book.

Now, one note of caution: this is an unedited, unpublished text. In fact, purusing it, it’s a very close match for the original text George sent, before we turned it around with some comments pointing out some continuity issues. George is aware of them and will doubtless incorporate them in the future if he decides to publish it, but in any case there are differences between the two texts because we incorporated those necessary changes and fixes into TWoIaF. Some have asked us if we can at least consider all details not contradicting the books and TWoIaF as “canon”, but I’d again underline the fact that this isn’t really a published text. Until it’s in a fixed format—as in, published in a book or an anthology—it’s not canonical, as all unpublished details are entirely subject to change at George’s whim. I’d guess very little of it will change if George did decide to publish it, beyond those things already fixed for The World of Ice and Fire, but that’s where it stands.

In any case, go read it!

GRRM on Season 5, Cancelling Appearances

George R.R. Martin has been quite loquacious these past few days on his “Not a Blog” personal site, to the point that the media has been taking notice of his remarks. Among them have been his reiteration of his intention (but not his promise) to have the A Song of Ice and Fire series completed in seven books, his struggle to decide whether he’ll be providing a script for season 6 of Game of Thrones (he passed on writing a script for season 5), his thoughts on the “how many seasons” question, and even some passing remarks on a once-proposed feature animated adaptation that he passed on prior to HBO coming into view.

Most recently, however, George’s post on cancelling his attendance to the World Fantasy Convention and San Diego Comic-Con, stating that he simply had too many things to do. It’s worth noting that these weren’t the only events on his schedule (though as he notes, SDCC was never noted as an official appearance), and in particular it seems like he’s still set to appear at conventions and fairs where he’s a Guest of Honor. Still, freeing up some time and space in his schedule sounds like something he feels will be helpful to him given the various tasks he’s dealing with.

But all that said, it’s the last note in his post that has caused wild speculation:

Last Chance for Hugo Nominations

In January, nominations opened for the 2015 Hugo Awards, which will be presented at the Worldcon in Washington, Sasquan. The ballots will close on March 10th, so if you’ve yet to nominate but are eligible to do so, best get cracking. Locus Magazine’s Recommended Reading List is always a good place to start reviewing some of the literature from last year… but we’ll focus on things connected to GRRM, one way or the other:

George is again each eligible this year for Editor- Short Fiction, thanks to Rogues, and co-editor Gardner Dozois is eligible several times over due to other collections and anthologies he’s edited in the previous year. And speaking of Rogues, all the stories therein are individually eligible in their respective categories. The Locus list linked above notes several of them, by writers such as Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss, and Scott Lynch, but it’s worth noting that Martin’s novelette “The Rogue Prince” is also eligible. (And as to Best Editor - Long Form, Jane Johnson of HarperCollins Voyager and Anne Groell of Random House should be perennial nominees.)

Also eligible, of course, would be Game of Thrones in the Dramatic Presentation - Short Form category; we’d recommend nominating “The Watchers on the Wall”, the spectacular Neil Marshall-directed penultimate episode, and GRRM’s own contribution, “The Lion and the Rose”.

2016 Song of Ice and Fire Calendar Details Revealed

Thanks to a Facebook update by artist Magali Villeneuve—one of the many artists contributed beautiful artwork to The World of Ice and Fire—we see that Random House has released some official information (including a cover image)  regarding the 2016 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar (Pre-order: Amazon.com). Due for release on July 28th, there’s one particularly interesting detail about her work on the calendar:

And, as a special treat, one of Villeneuve’s twelve gorgeous, dynamic paintings depicts a scene from The Winds of Winter, the long-awaited sixth novel in A Song of Ice and Fire.

That should be quite interesting, especially if it were to be from a chapter that no one has gotten a glimpse of yet.