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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Game of Thrones

Empire Magazine Webchat with GRRM

Ah, this reminds me of the late 90’s, when web and IRC chats were the way to chat with authors on-line. These days it’s all interviews with a few sent in questions at times, which has its advantages and disadvantages, but it certainly feels a bit less participatory. I wonder if HBO might ever borrow a page from Starz, where at several points

In any case, Empire Onlne—the portal of the UKs Empire Magazine, which covers film and television with a particular interest in genre—will be hosting a live web-chat with George R.R. Martin this coming Monday at 1PM British time (that’d be 8AM Eastern, 5 AM Pacific). Only room for 500 people to sit in on the chat, which will be moderated by Empire Online’s staff. Some of them have even read the books, so one hopes they’ll grab some excellent questions which aren’t so often asked (please, please, Empire: skip the “Which character is most like you” and “How did you start the series” questions that seem to be a staple of these things!)

Hugo Award Nominees Announced

The annual World Science Fiction Society awards—the Hugo Awards—are to be revealed in September, and at Eastercon we’ve found out just who the final nominees are in the categories. And of course, some of the nominations will be interesting to fans:

  • Best Professional Artist: John Picacio—multi-award winning artist who illustrated the stunning, best-selling 2012 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar—is up for the Hugos yet again. And a newcomer, as well, one that George has championed: Michael Komarck. His most recent A Song of Ice and Fire, a depiction of Robert and Rhaegar at the Trident, can be seen here as it graces Green Ronin’s A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying: A Game of Thrones Edition.
  • Best Dramantic Presentation, Long Form: After looking at the rules, it was generally thought that HBO’s Game of Thrones ought best be placed in the Long Form category, as it is—after all—an adaptation of a single continuous story. And it seemed a lot of voters agreed, as Game of Thrones gets a nomination. Its competition includes Captain America, Hugo, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, and Source Code.
  • Best Editor, Long Form: A Song of Ice and Fire editor-extraordinaire, Anne Groell—our editor, for that matter, on The World of Ice and Fire, and we’ve been working with her on our bit for The Lands of Ice and Fire—has scored a nomination. She actually edits quite a few other books—she’s the editor on Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastards series, for example—but the jewel in the crown is certainly Ice and Fire.
  • Best Novel: Last, but not least, of course A Dance with Dragons received a nomination! Not unexpected, but a thrill as always. Adding extra reason to celebrate is the fact that Leviathan Wakes—written by James S.A. Corey, a shared pen-name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (aka GRRM’s assistant)—has also landed a nomination. There’s stiff competition in this category, with China Mieville’s Embassytown, Mira Grant’s Deadline, and Jo Walton’s Among Others are also in the running.

Congratulations to one and all! For a full list of the nominees, see here.

 

Talking Games with George R.R. Martin

Joystiq has published a good interview with GRRM regarding the work being carried out by Cyanide Studio to develop the Game of Thrones action RPG (Pre-order: Amazon US Xbox, Amazon US PS3)  that’s due to be released May 15th for XBox, PS3, and PC.

Some interesting thoughts, and GRRM reveals his level of involvement (in brief: the plot and dialog is all Cyanide, but he’s been involved in making sure that the story works in a way that works with established canon) in the project. Below, check out the latest trailer from Atlus USA (the publisher in the US; Focus Home Interactive publishes it in Europe) to get a taste of that story:

GRRM Makes His Marvel

A very long, very interesting interview with GRRM has just been published over at Marvel.com, the official website of Marvel Comics. It’s very comics-centric, reaching back to his fan letters in the 60’s, his visits to Comic-Con, his views on the recent Marvel movies, and more. And, yes, some A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones talk.

Check it out!

The BBC Visits Westeros

An article concerning the question of why British accents dominate fantasy takes a cool little detour to the A Song of Ice and Fire forum, where the journalist writing the article—Brian Wheeler—started a thread to query fans on the board on the topic. Rather neat, and an interesting question that ties into the general notion that the “past” sounds English, for whatever reason.

Iain Glen, who plays Ser Jorah Mormont in HBO’s Game of Thrones, also touched on the topic in our interview with him late last month.

Foreign Affairs on ASoIaF

These two essays are terrific reads, and they come from the the venerable Foreign Affairs magazine no less! The first from Charli Carpenter is a response to arguments that the series embodies political realism, noting that some of its features belong more in the realm of human security than realpolitik. Very interesting reading, and some trenchant remarks from Professor Carpenter regarding the subject of gender depiction in the novels (make sure to check out this amusing post on the topic of Drogo’s war speech that she wrote last year).

And the other… well, that one just had me amazed. Historian Kelly DeVries (whose Infantry Warfare in the Early Fourteenth Century is a must-read for anyone with a serious interest in medieval society and warfare) looks at the series through a historical lens, noting that Martin has eschewed the general boring facets of medieval life (really, life in pretty much any time period is generally boring when looked at as a whole—the moments of terror tend to be few and far between for most people at most times) to dramatize things in a way that DeVries approves.

Two Travel-themed Interviews with GRRM

Something must be in the air, because as spring comes around, thoughts clearly turn towards traveling for some. And in this case, they seem to have informed two quite different (and quite good!) interviews from two travel sites. George R.R Martin is certainly no stranger to travel, and in fact is presently in the UK ahead of Eastercon and his appearance at the Bloomsbury Theatre.

First up, Josh Roberts conducts an excellent interview with George for Smarter Travel. As noted at the top of the interview, it has some major spoilers for all five novels in the series, but it’s noted when they’re crossing into the spoiler section. Here’s a favorite part from it:

Editor of Game of Thrones and Philosophy On Blog Talk Radio

The editor of Game of Thrones and Philosophy (Order: US Paperback, US Kindle, UK), Professor Henry O. Jacoby, will be interviewed on the Secret Lives of Men at 3PM Eastern—that’s about an hour from now—concerning the book and the source material that’s inspired its essays from a number of philosophers.

If you miss the interview, it should be in their archive shortly afterward… and while you’re waiting, here’s our own interview with Professor Jacoby regarding the book, for which we were honored to provide the foreword.

Last Part of TIFF In Conversation

TIFF has posted the very last part of the “In Conversation” interview with GRRM, at its Youtube channel. And for fans of the novels, this one’s particularly cool—the last nine minutes feature his reading a short excerpt from a The Winds of Winter chapter! Definite spoilers for those who’ve not yet read all five novels in the series:

GRRM In Conversation at TIFF Now Online

As promised, HBO Canada and TIFF have posted the “In Conversation” with George R.R. Martin, hosted by Teri Hart. Looking at it, it looks to just be the first part of the interview, but there’s definitely plenty to watch as Hart and Martin discuss his work, his fans, and the television show. You can see it below:




Other interviews, and reports about the full “In Conversation” interview, can be found at the March section of the So Spake Martin collection.

Martin on Strombo Tonight

We mentioned yesterday that GRRM was going to appear on the CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos Hour, and to keep an eye out on the official site for the online video. But the show’s producers went the extra mile and posted the full, extended interview on Youtube. We’ve added it to the So Spake Martin collection, along with links to reports and interviews from the TIFF “In Conversation” and other media appearances by GRRM, but you can see it embedded below:

And for those of you in Canada? HBO Canada has the “In Conversation” video up already, and posted here, but it’s region-locked for Canadians only (for now—TIFF.net plans to post it on their Youtube channel next week).

A Look at Game of Thrones RPG Combat

Atlus USA has provided a sneak peek of the combat system used for the Game of Thrones RPG being created by Cyanide Studios, due May 15th: (Pre-order: Amazon US Xbox, Amazon US PS3). It gives a look at both the class and leveling system, and a more detailed look at their combat mechanics which enter a “bullet-time” like mode whenever selecting options or issuing commands, rather than fully stopping the action.

Built using the Unreal 3 engine, the game follows two characters—Mors Westford and Alester Sarwyck—in a campaign that starts just before the first novel, taking them to various locations including the westerlands, the riverlands, King’s Landing, and the Wall. For more information, check out our most recent post which links to the Podcast of Ice and Fire’s recent interview with two members of Atlus.

Atlus Talks Game of Thrones RPG

Cyanide’s Game of Thrones RPG is nearing release, with its publication (both in North America via Atlus and Europe via Focus Home Interactive) set for the middle of May. We’ve been covering the news of the game over the course of the last months, including the most recent news regarding a free art book with pre-orders, but I have to say, the good folks at the Podcast of Ice and Fire have gotten a real scoop: an interview Aram and Scott from Atlus to discuss the game. Good stuff—Amin and Mimi are gamers and they (and their forum members) ask the questions many gamers would like answers to.

Make sure to give it a listen!

And from late last month, here’s another of the taste of the game, with a look at another new location: the seat of Castlewood, where part of the game plays out.

More MMO Details

Thanks to Massively, we’ve gotten quite a few more details concerning Bigpoint‘s officialy licensed Game of Thrones massively multiplayer roleplaying game. They had a chance to sit down with some of the developers of the game during the San Francisco Game Developers Conference, and certainly got some interesting details out of them that expand on our previous report.

Details of the game’s combat system are expanded on, as are its skills-based system. One of the most important points for many players when considering a free-to-play MMO is the fact that there’s a fear players with deep pockets can “buy” their way to the top of the pile… but Bigpoint insists that the game is not balanced that way, and skilled players are always going to trump less skilled players, regardless of what perks the less skilled players have. It’s probably true that when looking between players of equal skill, those bought-for perks are going to give them the edge… but it’s at least a good move to make sure those perks don’t destabilize competition across all levels of play.

The territory-gain system sounds interesting, with three classes of battle—ranging from 20 v 20 fort battles to big, 50 v 50 castle battles to secure a territory for your side. The voting for a Hand each week, on the other hand, does sound sort of strange on the face of it. Who will vote, and how is this mechanic explained in terms that make sense? It’ll be interesting to learn more as the game develops. On the whole, this seems very much a combat-focused game with a secondary political element (which seems largely to be about deciding when to jump ship to a different faction), but it seems to have potential according to what Massively and other gaming sites who were at GDC have to say.

We’ve also added a sub-section in our gallery for the MMO, with the six high-resolution images that Bigpoint has released so far. The game uses hte Unity engine, which provides very robust graphical performance inside the browser, and it certainly does look quite good from these images.

Game of Thrones and Philosophy Winner

Thanks to the scores of people who commented on our two posts regarding Game of Thrones and Philosophy: Logic Cuts Deeper than Swords (pre-order:  US Paperback, US Kindle, UK)!

The copy of the book, signed by Professor Jacoby, has now been won: congratulations to Natalia Nznk! The response on this contest was so great, we’re putting our minds towards a few others in the future.

Remember, the book is out next week, hitting shelves on May 13th.