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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Wild Cards Full Steam Ahead

We’d be remiss not to note that the popularity of the Wild Cards series of superhero stories has continued unabated, so much so that Random House Audio has signed on to continue the release of audio books of the original series of shared-world anthologies that started it all. As reported by George R.R. Martin at his “Not a Blog”, Random House started with the third volume, Jokers Wild, after the first two volumes had been released earlier by Brilliance Audio.

Random House’s first entry features a pretty noteworthy cast of readers: Pam Grier (Jackie Brown, Smallville, Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Guild), and Ron Donachie (Game of Thrones) are among the contributors.

More recently, George has noted that Aces Abroad —the fourth volume in the series, expanded with two newer stories—has just finished recording, and it has an even larger cast including Selma Blair (Hellboy), Adrian Paul (Highlander), and Armin Shimmerman (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek: Deep Space 9). Shimmerman will be reading the parts of the joker Xavier Desmond, and as it happens Aces Abroad is best known for George’s interstitial “From the Journal of Xavier Desmond”. This should be quite good! Next to get the audio treatment will be the fifth book, Down & Dirty.

In related news, GRRM has shared that the latest book in the new Wild Cards series, High Stakes, will be published in hardcover by Tor on August 23rd. George has also pointed to the latest Humble Book Bundle for fans interested in getting two of the more difficult to acquire Wild Cards novels, Deuces Down and Death Draws Five, as well as other works by the likes of the great SF writers Alfred Bester (a personal favorite of mine), Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Roger Zelazny. The Humble Bundle uses a “pay what you want” model, though certain levels are required to get certain works. Best of all, those who pay can decide how to divide up their contribution between the publisher, the Humble Bundle group, and a selection of three worthy charities.

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!

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.

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!

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.

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!

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).

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).

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!

Evening with GRRM and Robin Hobb Tickets Available

Fans who can make it to London on August 19th, take notice: tickets for the Harper Collins Voyager and blinkbox-sponsored evening with George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb now on sale. It’s a world exclusive event, on the eve of the publication of Hobb’s continuation of her landmark Farseer series with Fool’s Assassin, and the two authors will likely discuss their respective works, the fantasy genre in general, and much more. It’s definitely an exclusive opportunity for genre fans!

Rogues Enhanced from Booke

A new social reading app for iOs, Booke, is in the works, and an Indiegogo campaign aims to both help promote the app and generate some exclusive content for the George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois edited Rogues, containing Martin’s “The Rogue Prince”, a historical account of the reign of Viserys I and of his troublesome brother Prince Daemon Targaryen.


Rather than being an e-book reader, Booke is an adjunct to the printed word, a way for publishers, creators, and fellow readers to curate content around books and magazine articles. A book may have had the publisher highlighting quotes and linking to images or videos, or it could have fans providing short annotations and commentaries. Booke has received the support of Random House, publisher of Rogues, to use that book as a particular test case—if the Indiegogo goal is met, they’ll bring aboard artists such as Dagmara Matuszak,Ted Nasmith, Marc Fishman and Marc Simonetti so that they can provide exclusive art to illustrate excerpts from the stories contained in the volume; not just Martin’s own contribution, but also works by Patrick Rothfuss, Neil Gaiman, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Connie Willis, Daniel Abraham, and more.

See below for a video describing Booke, and what it can do for you, in more detail!

The Westeros.org Bookshelf

One of the things that has most often been asked of Linda and I since we started posting videos discussing the A Song of Ice and Fire series, as well as HBO’s Game of Thrones, concerns the many, many books on the bookshelves behind us. In an answer to address the questions—and perhaps help people find some good, summer reading, we’ve put together a video that tries to cover a number of the books and authors that we read. Below the video, you’ll find a list of the authors and the specific works we mention, for those who just want to see what we’ve placed there:

World of Ice and Fire Excerpt: The Rhoynar

As promised, Linda and I are very pleased to present a second excerpt from The World of Ice and Fire  (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK), following George’s excerpt from last month. Our own excerpt features the beginning of “The Ten Thousand Ships”, the section devoted to the events leading to the arrival of the Rhoynar in Westeros, beginning with the relationship—and eventual conflict—between the people of the Rhoyne and the Valyrians. Those of you who’ve looked at the other available glimpses of the book know, the book’s richly illustrated with beautiful artwork from many artists. Below, you’ll find one of those pieces of art, a depiction of Princess Nymeria by artist J.K. Drummond.

And as an added bonus, at the end of the extract is a video Linda and I recoreded from our Youtube channel, discussing the origins of the book, the writing process, and going over some of its content. Enjoy!

The Ten Thousand Ships

The last of the great migrations into Westeros happened long after the coming of the First Men and the Andals. For once the Ghiscari wars had ended, the dragonlords of Valyria turned their gaze toward the west, where the growth of Valyrian power brought the Freehold and its colonies into conflict with the peoples of the Rhoyne.

The mightiest river in the world, the Rhoyne’s many tributaries stretched across much of western Essos. Along their banks had arisen a civilization and culture as storied and ancient as the Old Empire of Ghis. The Rhoynar had grown rich off the bounty of their river; Mother Rhoyne, they named her.

World of Ice and Fire Cover

GRRM has just shared the cover of the forthcoming The World of Ice and Fire  (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK). We’re very excited to share it here as well, co-written with Linda and myself.

As he notes, the text was originally contracted for 50,000 words…. but suffice it to say, it’s much, much longer than that (especially if one includes the text of the World of Ice and Fire app (Buy: iOs, Android) which was originally intended for the book. The book itself is now at the 330-odd page mark, and is chock-full of some truly gorgeous art, more of it being added as we speak. Lots of new information, about the ancient history of the world, about the various regions, about the Targaryens and the Lannisters, and even about the strange, far-off places of Essos, from the Free Cities to Asshai and the Summer Isles.

The process of settling on the exact cover design certainly took awhile, especially when you’ve seen some of the early mock-ups. The three-headed Targaryen dragon really fits, although as you might guess from the above, this isn’t a work exclusively focused on the Targaryens (though it has a great deal to say about them!)

And with that said, stay tuned next week, as we’ll have an exclusive excerpt from the world book to share concerning another group of people who arrived in Westeros, and weren’t necessarily welcome to begin with…

A Taste of the World of Ice and Fire

George R.R. Martin has published an excerpt from The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK), the guide to the setting and history that Martin has co-written with Linda and I.

The sample includes a piece of brand new art from the book, which will be extensively illustrated. The sample features the opening few pages of the section devoted to House Targaryen, describing briefly their time on Dragonstone… and ending with Aegon’s declaration of war against the kingdoms of Westeros, as he and his sisters prepared to invade.