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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2017 A Song of Ice and Calendar Announced

George R.R. Martin’s “Not a Blog” features the announcement of the the anticipated 2017 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar.

As noted by GRRM’s assistant Raya Golden, French SF/F artist Didier Graffet (for those keeping track, that’s the third French artist whose work will grace the calendar series, joining Marc Simonetti and Magali Villeneuve) will be handling art duties this time around. Graffet’s work has been featured in several past editions of Spectrum, and has been a nominee for the World Fantasy Award while also winning the Ravenheart award at the 2013 David Gemell Legend awards.

We’ve known about Graffet’s involvement since last year, but never had a chance to see any of the works in progress so this first look at the cover is quite impressive! Raya’s post also features another, unrelated piece of art to give a taste of what’s to come. Graffet’s website features an extensive gallery of his work, for those who want to see more.

 

Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Limited Edition

Subterranean Press, one of the premiere small publishers in the SF/F world, has been noted for their handsome limited editions of George R.R. Martin’s works—not just A Song of Ice and Fire, but also books such as Dying of the Light and Fevre Dream—has stepped once more into the breach by producing a limited edition of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Featuring Gary Gianni’s gorgeous artwork from the wide release—but augmented by new end-papers, richer paper and binding, and eight of the interior illustrations presented in color (as shown here)—the lettered edition sold out immediately (doubtless fueled in part by the fact that the books would be custom bound, a first for Subterranean), while the limited edition of 750—priced at $295—is still available.

For the die-hard fans of GRRM, the Dunk and Egg novellas, or Gary Gianni’s work, this seems like a genuine must-have!

GRRM Updates Status of The Winds of Winter

As George sometimes does at the close of a year, he set to writing a long, contemplative post listing down notable personal events for the previous year. Unlike these other times, however, that long post was lost to the ether thanks to an apparent glitch with Livejournal. Dispirited, GRRM said he’d try to give a “Cliff’s Notes” version of his post afterward, and over the past day he’s done so. For many fans, of course, the primary topic of interest was the status of the highly anticipated sixth novel in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, The Winds of Winter.

George’s final post in his “Cliff’s Notes” round up of the past year was indeed on The Winds of Winter, and it was a long and frank discussion of what’s happened in the novel. The brief version is that while GRRM aimed to finish by the end of the year, the deadlines for getting the book out in time for the sixth season of Game of Thrones have come and gone. He believed at the start of the year he could finish by Halloween, and that was incorrect; he also believed in August that he could finish by January, and that too was incorrect.

GRRM describes in some detail why the progress has been fitful at best, and admits that the pressure of a specific deadline (something he eschewed with his novels prior to “A Song of Ice and Fire”) proved a particular burden, and so going forward he intends to write without a specific deadline in mind—it will be finished when it is finished, and not before. He notes there are dozens of chapters completed, and hundreds of pages done, but “there’s also a lot still left to write. I am months away still… and that’s if the writing goes well.”

At the end, Martin tackles the elephant in the room, whether season 6 of Game of Thrones will “spoil” the novel. The answer? “Yes and no.” He explains in some detail that the show’s many divergences will mean that there’ll be events and characters depicted that will be very different—perhaps entirely different—from his own plans, and he includes a lengthy list of characters who are dead in the show who live on in the novels, and another lengthy list of characters who have never appeared on the show, all of whom may have important roles to play in the novels. It seems clear that the novels and shows will continue the trend of diverging significantly from one another.

The post closes (besides a small post-script confirming that this was his last “Cliff’s Notes” post), with the following:

“Meanwhile, I’ll keep writing. Chapter at a time. Page at a time. Word at a time. That’s all I know how to do.”
Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays fast approaching, we thought that there might be some who are scrambling for last-minute gift suggestions. And what better way to give some suggestions, than to share what we’d give to various characters from A Song of Ice and Fire?

Arya

Far away from home, Arya could use something to help her find her way back to Westeros… so how about The Lands of Ice and Fire map collection?

 

Discussing The Mystery Knight

After a long delay in continuing our series of videos discussing the Dunk & Egg novellas collected in A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. This episode discusses “The Mystery Knight” in detail:

One big note of apology: as we started filming rather spur-of-the-moment, and as I’ve gotten a little bit rusty, forgot to check that the focus was absolutely perfect ... and so half the video is, alas, a bit fuzzy. Won’t happen again, but for those who find it problematic, feel free to consider it a podcast while you browse the web!

 

 

World of Ice and Fire App Goes Global

At last, the Android version of the A World of Ice and Fire app, published by Random House as the official reference app for the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, is finally available in all international Google Play stores! Linda and I have worked with Random House, filling it with much of its content (besides our entries, there’s also a good deal of art!). And on top of all that, the app contains a number of the chapters from The Winds of Winter which George R.R. Martin has previously revealed to the public.

The Android version of the app is named “Game of Thrones Guide” for search engine reasons, but it’s the same app as the iOs A World of Ice and Fire, simply on a different platform. Downloading it is free, and includes the TWoW samples, but additional content covering all the books in the series are an in-app purchase. Do give it a look!

UPDATE: Despite our understanding that it is rolling out globally, and not just in the U.S. and a few other areas, it seems it’s not actually out everywhere just yet. At least one report from India of it being unavailable there. We’re checking with Random House about the timeline to see it rolled out everywhere, but we will say we were reminded of this fact because it was now available in Sweden where it hadn’t been before.

Skin Trade Optioned

As revealed by George R.R. Martin at his “Not a Blog” site, his award-winning novella “The Skin Trade” has been optioned by Cinemax—sister company of HBO—and a pilot script is being written by writer and producer Kalinda Vazquez. Vazquez’s experience includes working as a staff writer on Prison Break, and as a producer on shows such as Nikita and Once Upon a Time. “The Skin Trade” is a well-regarded horror novella by Martin, featuring a cowardly werewolf and a no-nonsense detective who are drawn into a supernatural investigation. As Martin remarks, there always seemed to be potential for a TV series in the basic concept, and he notes that the creation of his Doorways pilot was an unexpected result of his pitching “The Skin Trade” as a TV show back when he was a screenwriter for television.

Also noteworthy is the fact that this deal with Cinemax is cited as being partly due to the efforts of Mike the Pike Producttions, who optioned the novella almost six years ago. Sometimes it’s a very long road forward for literary properties. As GRRM indicates, it’s no certainty that it will go into production at this time, but it’s a big step forward.

The Hedge Knight Approaches

A little over a week ago, we had the pleasure of revealing some exclusive artwork from the forthcoming
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
collection compiling the three Dunk & Egg novellas set in the past of Westeros. That book is now set to be released exactly one week from now, on October 6th.

However, we thought we’d note that it’s not just the book-proper that will be available: an audio book is also waiting in the wings. What’s particularly interesting about this one is that the book features a narrator who we believe has never read any of the ASoIaF material previously, the actor Harry Lloyd. Best remembered by Game of Thrones fans for his first season role as Prince Viserys, Lloyd’s a talented actor who has appeared in a number of film and television projects, including Wolf Hall, Manhattan, The Theory of Everything, and more. Linda and I had the pleasure of meeting him and joining him for dinner last year in Stockholm, and we can only say that we know he’ll provide a fantastic performance. Certainly, the preview at Amazon sounds excellent!

Exclusive: The Art of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Courtesy of Random House, we’re happy to present a few never-before-published examples of Gary Gianni’s artwork for the forthcoming A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, a collection of the three “Dunk & Egg” novellas which introduced fans of A Song of Ice and Fire to the eponymous characters and their adventures in the Targaryen-ruled Seven Kingdoms almost a century prior to the events of the novels.

Gary Gianni needs very little introduction for anyone familiar with comics or SF/F illustration, but suffice it to say he’s one of the great illustrators working today, famous for his renditions of characters such as Solomon Kane and Conan the Barbarian from the oeuvre of Robert E. Howard, as well as his well-known eight-year run on the venerable Prince Valiant comic strip. He also provided the art the 2014 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar. For A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, Gianni actually insisted on producing a tremendous number of illustrations rather than just doing one or two per story, with the end result being over 160 new pieces of art. By way of comparison, our own The World of Ice and Fire had over 170 images! You can see a selection of the art for the book below:

Spanish Publisher on Winds of Winter

The publisher of the A Song of Ice and Fire series in Spain, Alejo Cuervo (who is also an editor, bookseller, and a genuine lynchpin of SF/F fandom in that country) caused a bit of a stir when remarks he made in an interview made the rounds. In brief, the news reports indicated he had “confirmed” the publication of The Winds of Winter in 2016. However, it bears noting that his actual words indicate something different: that the intention or plan is to publish it in 2016, but then he admits that there’s the possibility that something unexpected (a meteorite, in his example) could happen to prevent it from happening.
This is not, exactly, news: George R.R. Martin’s reduction of his touring schedule and various statements he has made indicate that he, too, is hoping to finish the book for release next year. It’s no shock that plans at publishing houses the world over are being formulated with this aim in mind. But it bears repeating that while optimism is a good thing, the fact is that until the book is actually finished, no one can give a confirmed publication date for the book. When will we know it’s done? GRRM will tell us so.

Until then, stay optimistic, but don’t take a 2016 date as being set in stone. The book needs to be done first, and right now it isn’t done.

On a related note, Alejo invited us to Barcelona to present The World of Ice and Fire in the Gigamesh store (one of the finest SF/F bookstores in Europe) and is Osuna, and we had some terrific conversations with him. Frankly, if the Locus Awards were genuinely a global award, Alejo and his Gigamesh publishing company could well be considered among the best genre publishers around. We were amazingly impressed by the genuine devotion to producing (or bringing into translation) the best science fiction and fantasy available, and the stories of Alejo Cuervo’s efforts to forward fandom and the genre in Spain were eye-opening. We’ve been swamped of late, but one of the first videos we plan to make when we get back into it will be about our journies this past year promotiong The World of Ice and Fire, and we’ll have a lot to say about Alejo, Gigamesh, Barcelona, and Osuna.

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: