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
New to the series? Read our spoiler-free review of A Game of Thrones.
Over at his “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin has reminded fans that his official website, georgerrmartin.com, is alive and kicking… and if it hasn’t been as updated as it could be, well, he’s been busy. That said, there’s a significant update today as George shares two new sample chapters. The first excerpt is from the 23rd Wild Cards novel, High Stakes. The excerpt comes from Ian Tregillis, who wrote the excellent Bitter Seeds (a dark take on superheroes during WWII) and whose latest book The Mechanical has received rave reviews as the start of a new trilogy in a world where alchemy works and where automatons are nearly human.
The other excerpt, of course, is a chapter from The Winds of Winter. It’s one he’s read before, so there have been scattered reports, but he’s never posted it directly to his website. Here’s how George describes its contents:
“You want to know what the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, Darkstar, and the rest will be up to in WINDS OF WINTER? Quite a lot, actually. The sample will give you a taste. For the rest, you will need to wait.”
(Coincidentally, Linda and I have returned to doing A Song of Ice and Fire videos between episodes of Game of Thrones, and we just happened to have made our first video a question of the political situation in Dorne in the novels, including information from the two relevant chapters from The Winds of Winter that George released. We’ll embed that video below. Specific discussion relevant to The Winds of Winter, and this excerpt, starts at the 32 minute mark)
Some say you haven’t really made it in popular culture until Epic Rap Battles of History features you alongside the greatest figures of modern and present history. Well…
(Of course, George would never battle Tolkien. He admires his work far too much!)
Almost a year ago, George R.R. Martin revealed in an Entertainment Weekly interview that he was contemplating a twist to the story of a character—and a group of characters connected with them—that he had never contemplated before and which, more notably, was something HBO’s Game of Thrones could not do because of choices the show had made that precluded it:
In one intriguing new wrinkle, Martin says he just came up with a big, revealing twist on a long-time character that he never previously considered. “This is going to drive your readers crazy,” he teases, “but I love it. I’m still weighing whether to go that direction or not. It’s a great twist… But it’s nothing I’ve ever thought of before. And it’s nothing they can do in the show, because the show has already—on this particular character—made a couple decisions that will preclude it, where in my case I have not made those decisions.”
The fandom was abuzz with it—it sparked several threads on our forum, for one—as people puzzled over who it might be. As I recall, at the time speculation was centering on Sansa Stark because of signs that the show was going to diverge heavily from her storyline in A Song of Ice and Fire (as it indeed did). However, a brand new interview with George from IGN revisits the topic and reveals some significant new information:
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.
Colony, a new science fiction series that premiered on the USA Network last month, is going to recieve a special screening of two episodes at George R.R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Following the two episodes, the co-creator of the series Ryan Condal will be taking the stage with George R.R. Martin himself for a Q&A that will be moderated by IGN’s entertainment editor Terri Schwartz.
All well and good—this should be a great experience for those who manage to get into the screening! But for those of us not so lucky, it happens that IGN shall be broadcasting the Q&A tonight at 1930 Pacific / 2230 Eastern / 0330 GMT (Friday) via their Periscope Channel. Schwartz has put out a call for questions to GRRM and Condal regarding science fiction and fantasy, Colony, and of course A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones:
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:
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!
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:
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.
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!
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:
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”.
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.
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).
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!
The Westeros network consists of several different sites, including a forum and a wiki, for all your A Song of Ice and Fire needs.