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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Sites of Interest

Game of Thrones

Considering Masterminds at Tor.com

Linda and I have cooked up our latest article for Tor.com, this one dealing with masterminds—characters that fans generally love to hate, or in some cases fawn over and admire! It’s definitely spoiler material, so avoid it if you’ve not read the books. There’s also a few notes comparing the “masterminds” to their representation in HBO’s Game of Thrones, because the show has taken a different tack with some of them, at least in regards to certain aspects of their scheming.

GRRM at the Time 100 Gala

With the big announcement today of the completion of A Dance with Dragons (preorder: US, UK), it might be easy to forget that just last week GRRM was named on the Time 100 list. Last night, Parris and GRRM attended the gala event for those honored on the list, and NY Magazine’s Vulture has an exclusive conversation with GRRM from the gala.

Featured in it? The fact that he and Carlton Cuse (of Lost) fame had a chat about George’s remarks concerning the show’s finale which started a “feud” with Damon Lindelof. Sounds like it went quite well. Also notable is the fact that Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) is a fan of Game of Thrones, and in particular of Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen. To quote the article:

Poehler: I like the blondie!
Martin: She’s straight out of drama school.
Poehler: You can tell. I think she left all her shirts and bras at drama school.

Free 1st Episode E-book

Suvudu.com, the SF/F gateway produced by Random House (of which Bantam Spectra, publishers of A Song of Ice and Fire, is an imprint), has teamed up with Scribd to offer an exclusive e-book excerpting the “first episode” of HBO’s Game of Thrones—in this case, the first 80 pages of A Game of Thrones, covering almost all the events covered in the premiere episode of the series.

It can be read online (we’ve embedded it below), or even downloaded (in PDF format) for readying an appropriate mobile reading device. Have a friend who’s leery about watching the series or reading the books? Get them to read this preview and see if they can keep themselves from reading more when they get to that last page!

TitanCon Announces First Thrones Guest

TitanCon, a convention in Belfast that’s grown out of the very successful Moots, has announced its first confirmed guest from HBO’s Game of Thrones: KristianNairn, the actor playing the beloved Hodor. TitanCon is trundling along with their plans, and to promote the convention, “Game of Thrones Joe”—Joseph Campo—has created a promotional video for the convention with his usual good-humor.

Speaking of Campo, he’s created a last video entry in his “Get Joe On the Show” campaign, and this may be the best one yet. Good luck to Joe on his quest to join the production!

Feud Ends Before it Starts

The Lindelof-GRRM “feud”—which was mostly Lindelof sharing some tongue-in-cheek “salvos” while highlighting that he took a bit of issue with some of GRRM’s remarks—seems to have wound up with nary a casualty following some coverage. James Poniewozik shared an excerpt from his forthcoming interview with Martin in which his views of Lost were touched upon when Poniewozik asked him if he watched the show. As Poniewozik notes, he himself has often compared the two, which may have prompted the question.

This ultimately led to James Hibberd’s interview with Lindelof, which cleared the air (such as it was). Particular kudos must go to him for admitting that his appreciation of GRRM dates back to reading Wild Cards (he even remember the Ace-Joker-Black Queen distinction!), which made use start day-dreaming about a Lindelof-Martin co-produced Wild Cards TV series…

In any case, that seems all quite well settled. GRRM himself has made no public remark on the matter, although we’re told he is aware of it.

For a good summing-up of the storm in a tea cup, check out Maureen Ryan’s piece at AOL’s TV Squad.

Back on Bestseller Lists

The re-release of A Game of Thrones in the U.S. has led the book to climb up onto the bestseller lists again, this time breaking into the New York Times and Publisher’s Weekly top 10 lists in paperback, in the highest placement that the first volume series has ever had. Previously, it briefly reached #24 back in January.

Thanks to Olaf Keith for pointing it out.

Westeros on the Podcast of Ice and Fire

I was invited back to the second “Guys Night Out” podcast from the fine folks at the Podcast of Ice and Fire, along with Apocalypse Dan of the Movie Night Podcast and Winter is Coming’s Fire and Blood (aka FaBio), joining regulars Amin, Kyle, and Chase.

We cover a diverse range of topics: beverages in Westeros, some actual news discussion concerning Cyandie Studio‘s RTS and RPG, various characters and events, the TV show, and ... well, a lot more. Quite a lot more; it ran some 3 hours, I’m told (haven’t dared listen to the whole thing!)

Being a “guys night out”, I suppose it’s fair to say it may on occasion be crass, bawdy, and occasionally juvenile… but all in good fun, and there’s some interesting theories and speculations bandied about.

2013 Calendar Artist

George R.R. Martin has just announced that plans are already under way for the 2013 A Song of Ice and Fire calendar, with French artist Marc Simonetti—known by fans for some of his beautiful covers for the French editions of the series—set to provide the art. An example of his art can be seen below. As we posted yesterday, the 2012 calendar by John Picacio is available for pre-order, and GRRM notes that Picacio has fully completed eight of twelve pieces, with two nearly complete and two at a rough stage.

In other, interesting news, George mentions that there are discussions at HBO to possibly create a Game of Thrones calendar which would feature photography of actors, scenes, locales, and the like.

U.S. Tie-In and Calendar

The U.S. tie-in cover for Game of Thrones now revealed and is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com and other retailers. Again, featuring the official poster art with Ned on the Iron Throne, it’s a strong image, although purists may take issue with the title losing the the article to match the TV series.

Taking a look at the entry also reminded us of the fact that the 2012 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar is up for pre-order, featuring the stunning art of award-winning artist John Picacio.  We’re hoping that the next couple of months will provide us some more previews, but that image of Ned Stark with Ice in front of the heart tree of Winterfell is pretty amazing in and of itself…

And, via Olaf, it’s been noted to us that there’s a four book set now available, featuring the four new covers with some HBO trade dress on them. Rather handsome. You can see a mock-up of the box with the books in it here, from Random House’s catalog.

TitanCon in Belfast

Fans who’ve been able to make it out to Belfast while Game of Thrones was filming have had the pleasure of taking part in the Belfast Moots with GRRM, Parris, and many of the actors (see my report from the second Moot). They’re terrific events, and many have hoped another Moot would be possible, but various uncertainties—such as when, or even if, Game of Thrones would be filming a second season—has led to the realization that a third Moot simply isn’t something that can be arranged well in advance.

So, instead, the Brotherhood without Banners, Studio NI, and The Others (a Belfast-based SF fan group) have decided to put together TitanCon. Here’s their announcement:

TitanCon is a science fiction and fantasy literature, media and gaming convention for Belfast Northern Ireland including panels on HBO and George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones, organised and run by GRRM fangroup the Brotherhood Without Banners, Studio NI, Northern Ireland’s largest arts and culture group, and The Other Ones a Belfast science fiction and fantasy society.

Our Guest of Honour is SF author and Belfast local Ian McDonald. Sadly George’s schedule this year is just so crazy we don’t know if he will be able to get to Belfast this year. This con isn’t just about GoT, it aims to cover the broad spectrum of SF/F literature, media and gaming.

We cannot confirm any guests from Game of Thrones at this time – we have to wait till season 2 gets the greenlight but we are extremely confident that will happen and we intend to do everything we can to get some cast and crew members along to TitanCon as guests. Even if we fail in that there will be several discussion panels on the show.

We are offering an open invitation to all cast and crew members to come down and be our guests.

I’m not one to prognosticate, but I would guess that even if Game of Thrones were to fail to get a second season, it seems fairly probable some of the local Northern Irish and Irish cast and crew members may still be on hand. And, who knows? If there’s a second season, there might be an even more significant presence… The cost is very reasonable indeed, at just £10 for a full membership or £5 for a supporting membership.

Updates on Dance With Dragons and More

A very busy past week on several fronts. Here’s a quick recap of some notable items for fans of A Song of Ice and Fire:

  • In his latest “Not a Blog” update, GRRM points out the newest trailer from HBO for Game of Thrones (our screen captures and commentary are linked here) and also notes that of the two “krakens” he was wrestling with,  one is down and one was “down to the last tentacle.” Sounds like one chapter done and one nearly done. After them, he said he had a “wolf” to see to. In comments, when asked about page count, he says it’s at present a toss-up whether A Dance with Dragons or A Storm of Swords will be the longest novel in the series.
  • Speaking of A Storm of Swords, it took the #6 place in Tor.com’s Best SF/F of the Decade. Tor.com has a series of guest appreciations of the top ten novels lined up, and we were very graciously asked to provide one for A Storm of Swords, which is set to be published on the 10th. To commemorate the list, Tor.com is also running a contest with one lucky winner recieving copies of each of the top ten novels.
  • And speaking of ourselves… If you missed it, HBO.com very kindly asked to interview me about George’s fandom, the origins of Westeros.org, and my visit to the sets and production offices of Game of Thrones back in October. You can read the interview here, and the first set visit report if you’re interested.
  • Dark Sword Miniatures has revealed that Tom Meier sculpted a bonus diorama for his figures of Jojen Reed, Meera Reed, and Hodor with Bran Stark, and this is being sold as part of a figure pack. Though the diorama isn’t on display, some great pictures of the miniatures can be seen. Meier’s a legend among miniature sculptures, and you can see why from these.
  • Finally, Voyager has followed through and released both A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows for the Kindle in the U.K. Newly proofed, these texts should be superior to those that were available earlier. We’ve also heard from Voyager that mid- to late-March should see the re-release of A Game of Thrones with art from the HBO series (airing on Sky Atlantic in the U.K.)
GRRM Back from LA

George R.R. Martin reports that he is back home after his whirlwind press tour, sitting down for a number of interviews and, of course, his big presentation at TCA. Though still a little tired from his recent illness, he’s planning to get back to work on A Dance with Dragons (aka Kong) tomorrow, although with a curtailed work schedule on doctor’s orders.

We’ll soon have a couple of reports from the Vroman’s signing and the post-signing meetup in the So Spake Martin collection, to add to the other reports that have trickled in.

GRRM Updates

At Not a Blog, George R.R. Martin explains his long silence over this holiday season having been due to an acute infection from E. coli. This led to an extended hospital stay from Christmas morning to just about New Year’s Eve, but antibiotics and other treatment have helped beat the illness. He is still recovering, and remains somewhat tired, but he confirms that he will follow through on his commitment to appear at the media-only TCA event this Friday, and will carry out his signing at Vroman’s bookstore in Pasadena on Sunday (he does ask fans who attend to go easy on him, however, and only bring a book or two for him to sign).

He also indicates that one of the announcements he hoped to make won’t be happening due to this, but he hopes to be fully recovered by the end of the month, and back to work before that. This does suggest he had hoped to spend the holidays finishing up A Dance with Dragons, but it appears he’ll need to get his health back on track.

Our best wishes to him as he recovers!

A Game of Thrones, NYT Bestseller

The New York Times seems to show that fans have been ringing in the New Year with a healthy dose of A Game of Thrones. Their January 2nd list of mass market paperbacks shows George R.R. Martin’s novel—first published in that format in 1996—has entered the list at 25, while their following list places it up a spot to 24.

This resurgence of the series can be put down to the burgeoning awareness thanks to Game of Thrones, the HBO series, and fits the anecdotal evidence we’ve seen via Twitter, with every day seemingly bringing more people reading and tweeting about the series. We expect that Bantam’s planned reissue of the first novel with a cover featuring imagery from the series will likely land even higher as we get closer to the April premiere of the much-anticipated fantasy TV series.

GRRM in LA

Another update from GRRM, one of the Angelenos. He’ll be over in Los Angeles in early January (remember, he’s due to attend the TCA Winter Press Tour panel on January 7th) and he’ll be seeing about arranging some public events, such as a signing (probably in the San Fernando Valley area) or a mini-moot. The latter seems almost a certainty, as he adds that David McCaman—a fixture and long-time organizer of the Brotherhood without Banners fan club—will be organizing event on that same day, January 9th.

Keep an eye out here and on the this thread for more details in the days to come.

George adds a tantalizing final note: he may have something exciting to announce ... and maybe two exciting things, “but don’t quote me on that”.