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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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Now, one note of caution: this is an unedited, unpublished text.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 Until it’s in a fixed format—as in, published in a book or an anthology—it’s not canonical, as all unpublished details are entirely subject to change at George’s whim.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.

Dunk & Egg Collection Due October 6

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK) now has an official release date in the UK and North America: October 6.

While a collection of the book has been published in translation in a few countries, this will be the first English-language collection of the three Dunk & Egg novellas—“The Hedge Knight”, “The Sworn Sword”, and “The Mystery Knight”—which are set approximately 90 years prior to the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Also, unlike the foreign editions that came out in recent months, this edition will feature a bevy of interior illustrations by award-winning artist Gary Gianni, perhaps best known for his work in illustrating the stories of Robert E. Howard. This is not Gianni’s first foray into the Seven Kingdoms—he previously illustrated the 2014 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar (preview).

A Peek at What Was

Thanks to Harper Collins Voyager, GRRM’s UK publisher, and UK bookseller Waterstones, we have a glimpse at George R.R. Martin’s very early description (Page 1, Page 2, Page 3) of his plan for the then-trilogy A Song of Ice and Fire series. Suffice it to say, it presents a very different story than what we have had so far. In a letter sent to the late Ralph Vicinanza, a literary agent who was one of GRRM’s representatives, George very loosely outlines the three prospective novels of the series, while giving a more detailed description of his plans for the first book, A Game of Thrones.

It’s quite the eye-opener, showing how much the narrative evolved from its earliest beginnings.

Three Short Stories to be Adapted

According to Variety, it looks like more George R.R. Martin work is going to hit the silver screen. According to the report, In the Lost Lands will go into production in the fourth quarter of this year and may potentially star Milla Jovovich, who is said to be in talks. The film’s story appears to be based on three of Martin’s short stories: the eponymous “In the Lost Lands”, featuring a sorceress called Gray Alys (the role Jovovich will prospectively play); “The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr” (available online at Fantasy Magazine); and a personal favorite of mine, “Bitterblooms”, one of a number of GRRM’s stories inspired by songs (in this case, Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne”).

All three share certain themes—there’s a deep sense of melancholy in all three, and love and betrayal runs through them all—but are otherwise unconnected, so it does raise the question as to whether the film will rework them as being part of a single narrative (which seems to be what’s implied), or whether it will instead be more of an anthology film with some sort of bridging material connecting them together. Some details can be found at Constantine Werner’s page for Rusalka Films, including some character designs and “concept designs” (actually more like design inspirations).

New Game of Thrones Guide App for Android

Although the A Game of Thrones Guide app has been around for just about as long as the iOS version, A World of Ice and Fire, it has not quite received all the features that the iOS version had… until now, that is, as Random House is happy to release an updated, rebuilt app on the US Google Play store. Included in this update are the following:

  • A brand new design for Android.
  • You can now resize type on all profile and excerpt screens.
  • Four brand new categories with 50+ new profiles: Religions, Groups, Creatures, and Things.
  • All of the officially released excerpts from The Winds of Winter and The World of Ice and Fire book.

Unfortunately, at least for the time being, the Android app is only available in the U.S.

 

Feast of Ice and Fire Companion

Here’s a pleasant surprise: the Inn at the Crossroads has announced that they’ve partnered with Random House to publish From the Sands of Dorne: A Feast of Ice and Fire Companion Cookbook (Amazon US), an e-book expansion to the original A Feast of Ice and Fire (Amazon US, Amazon UK) cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer. This book, authored by Monroe-Cassel alone, will focus on cuisine inspired by Dorne. Random House has provided a list of the included recipies:

• Succulent starters: Lemon-Egg Soup; Spicy Shrimp; Roasted Chickpeas.
• Mediterranean-style mains: Lamb with Honey, Lemon, and Fiery Peppers; Eggs and Spicy Sausage; Green Peppers Stuffed with Cheese; Spicy Flatbread.
• Tasty treats: Blood-Orange Granita; Candied Kumquats; Figs Stuffed with Nuts.

From the Sands of Dorne: A Feast of Ice and Fire Companion Cookbook is set to to have an exclusively digital release on February 25th.

Talking the Art of the World of Ice and Fire

Over at Deviant Art, Aesara and Thelma—two fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels and the artwork that they’ve inspired— have begun a regular series, Illustrating Westeros, in which they talk with artists about their work in the setting. In a very special edition, however, they chose to talk to Linda and I about the artwork in The World of Ice and Fire. It’s a wide-ranging interview, discussing the history of the artwork in the book, the areas where George R.R. Martin was particularly heavily involved in making sure things were as close to his imagination as possible, and our own personal favorite works. It’s a lengthy read, richly illustrated with examples of the art from the world book. You can find it here.

Holiday Sales Are Here

The end of Thanksgiving tonight will mark the beginning of “Black Friday” in the U.S. (and anywhere else that has decided to follow American consumer mania)... but a few locales have, of course, jumped the gun and started their sales now. And as it happens, The World of Ice and Fire has been chosen by the powers that be to be a loss-leader for a couple of major players in the U.S. retail market.

First off, The World of Ice and Fire has been deeply discounted in its Kindle edition at Amazon US (here), bringing it down to $7.81, while Google Play has the book down to under $ (here). Perfect opportunity for those who own the hardcover to add an e-book edition to carry around on heir phone or tablet, right?

And Amazon’s gone a step further with a 30% reduction on its current, already-reduced price by using the special promotion code “HOLIDAY30” (valid on any physical book, by the way, not just TWoIaF) at checkout (here). That code is one-use only, by the by, and the offer runs out on November 30th. Just in time for sorting out gifts for the holidays…

Dangerous Women Wins World Fantasy Award

The Dangerous Women anthology (US, UK) edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois and containing (among other things) George’s “The Princess and the Queen”, has just been announced as the winning anthology at this year’s World Fantasy Awards. The awards are determined by a jury, drawing from a selection of nominees drawn in part from the jury’s own selections for consideration and by nomination from attendees. With a strong field, including entries by perennial favorites Ellen Datlow (recipient of a Lifetime Achievent Award at the convention) and Terri Windling, Jonathan Strahan, and more, this is a particularly noteworthy win for the anthology.

Many hearty congratulations to George and Gardner, as well as to all the contributors to the anthology!

Aftermath: Appearances and Interviews

It’s been a hectic three days since the release of The World of Ice and Fire, and Linda and I are only just now getting a chance to catch our breaths. Below, we’re going to give a run down of what we—and George—have been up to in terms of appearances, interviews, and more that have been released surrounding the book.

First, the morning on the 28th opened for Linda and I with the realization that the book was #1 on Amazon.com—that was pretty amazing in and of itself. But we couldn’t sit and marvel at it because that was the morning of our marriage, as well. For those who knew about it, many thanks for your felicitations and support! We’ve been engaged *ahem*sixteen*ahem* years and for various reasons we never quite pulled the trigger on it… so lets just say we’re glad it’s done, once and for all.

No honeymoon for us, however: later that day we had our very first signing of the book, at Gothenburg’s own SF Bokhandlen. A good time was had, as we answered questions and chatted with fans. We signed a few additional copies that should be on the shelves, for anyone looking for a copy with our scrawls in it. Linda will be appearing tomorrow at Comic Con Gameex outside of Stockholm tomorrow to sign more books at SF Bokhandlen’s booth, between 2PM and 4PM.

We’ve done various interviews as well: a two part Reddit AMA (part 1, part 2) was the first big thing we did, although it was just prior to the release of the book so stays more general. A post-release interview followed shortly after, however, at the Podcast of Ice and Fire where we discuss certain new details offered up in the book with host Amin Javadi. We’ve been guests on the podcast several times before, and it’s always been great fun.

More interviews are forthcoming, but in the interim, there’s of course all the things George R.R. Martin has been up to in the run up and following the release. George appeared at Brown University with Tor publisher Tom Doherty to recieve the Harris Literary Award; there they talked about a variety of things, from Robert Jordan to The World of Ice and Fire, the future of publishing, and more. Then George appeared at the 92Y where he spoke at length about the book, followed by an appearance two days later on Late Night with Seth Meyers (where Meyers was knighted in the fine tradition of the Brotherhood without Banners fan group).

With our editor Anne Groell, George discussed the world book further for a promotional video, as he did for HarperCollins Voyager. Most recently, George appeared at the WSJ Cafe for a private appearance where interviewer Christopher Farley asked a number of very interesting questions about George’s career. George notes at his Livejournal that more interviews are to come, and we’ll be sure to share them at the So Spake Martin collection when they’re published.

92Y Livestream of GRRM This Sunday

The 92Y, which will be hosting George R.R. Martin in a public discussion on October 26 at 8PM EST, is offering a livestream of the event over at its Tumblr page. Journalist Laura Miller, who has previously profiled George, will be joining him on stage and interviewing him as he discusses his work on A Song of Ice and Fire, the forthcoming The World of Ice and Fire that hits shelves on Tuesday (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK).

Speaking of the 28th, George will also be appearing on the Seth Myers show that day (or at least, he’ll be filming his appearance, we’re not sure if it means it’ll air that same day or not).

World of Ice and Fire Excerpt in App

The A World of Ice and Fire app (as it’s called on iTunes; it’s called the A Game of Thrones Guide on Android, although we’re uncertain if the update has reached that platform yet) has been updated with an excerpt from the forthcoming The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US Amazon UK). The excerpt is drawn from the section of the book devoted to the ancient history of the Vale up to the point in which the conflict between the Andals and the First Men culminated in the Battle of Seven Stars, where the last First Man king fell and the Arryns came to rule the Kingdom of Mountain and Vale.

The app is free to download, and with the latest update includes all the offiically released excerpts from The Winds of Winter, as well as the World of Ice and Fire excerpt.