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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March 2015
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Brotherhood without Banners

LA Weekly and the Brotherhood without Banners

The L.A. Weekly’s “Squid Ink” page, which focuses on “Food in Literature”, discusses the George R.R. Martin unofficial fan club, the Brotherhood without Banners, in relation to the traditional “quest” GRRM assigns fans at various conventions around the world. A leading light of the fandom, David McCaman (who really was the driving force behind the creation of the group) explains the origins of the quests, and gives some examples of past events.

But why is it on “Squid Ink”? Because the quests have inevitably involved tracking down some particular item of food, usually a local delicacy. Those who succeed in the quest—whether it was collecting burnt ends in Kansas City, tasting lamprey pie in Toronto, or finding haggis in Glasgow—were “knighted” by GRRM into a special order. It’s great fun. To add a bit of local color, David notes that at the Worldcon in Anaheim scores of fans participated in getting a hold of hot dogs from Pink’s Hot Dogs. The writer, Margy Rochlin, noted that that was a 70 mile round trip. Now I know why Linda and I didn’t tag along with anyone on that particular quest…

The next change to get knighted by GRRM? Renovation, the 2011 World Science Fiction Convention, held in Reno, Nevada. Having attended two Worldcons, if you’ve any interest in genre literature, or want a great opportunity to meet George and fellow fans, Renovation is going to be a great opportunity. And, you know, the knighthood ain’t bad!

To learn more about the Brotherhood without Banners, feel free to visit the forum at

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!

Locus Online Poll

John Picacio, artist of the 2012 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar, reminds us that tomorrow is the deadline for getting your nominations into the Locus Magazine Poll. Locus is the chief trade magazine for SF/F publishing, and for many years it’s been polling subscribers—and the general public—about the works most deserving of attention.

There’s quite a bit you can nominate, but we’ll particularly note that Warriors was nominated, GRRM’s “The Mystery Knight” also nominated, and several writers published in his anthologies (Warriors and Songs of Love and Death) are also listed. Get to it!

As a write-in, we’d recommend Ted Nasmith for his gorgeous 2011 A Song of Ice and Fire work.

Chuck vs. A Game of Thrones on Hulu

Sort of!

The latest episode of the spy adventure sitcom with a fervent cult following, Chuck, has a juicy reference to A Game of Thrones in its latest episode, “Chuck vs. the family Volkoff”. And better yet, it’s now on! Watch for the reference around the 1:50 remark, as Chuck is reading the A Game of Thrones novel (interestingly, it’s one of the earlier reissue hardcovers, which incorporated Stephen Youll’s paperback art) and remarks with a laugh, “Eddard, you don’t let your kids keep a direwolf! That’s a terrible idea.”

Whether the TV show’s writers are showing their fandom, or if it’s just a clever bit of product placement from Random House or HBO, we don’t know, but we like it either way.

Now, just to get a Community or Robot Chicken parody…

The New Yorker Profiles GRRM

The New Yorker has profiled George R.R. Martin, looking both at his work and his relationship with his fans. It’s a several pages-long piece, including comments from Parris, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss from Game of Thrones, GRRM’s editor, and your humble web admin, among others. There’s also an audio portion to the interview.

Only an excerpt is available on the web, but we note a digital subscription trial is entirely free.

Defend the Wall, Vote Jon Snow!

6 hours left to go in the Suvudu cagematch between Jon Snow and Vin! Vin’s 4,000 vote lead has whittled down to just under 1,000, but Vin’s supporters are rallying more support and the rate of gain has slowed down. Time to redouble our efforts in a final push to get Jon over the top! Despite the current standings in the Quick Ben vs. Perrin match, it seems to us that once Jon contest is decided, WoT fans everywhere will turn their attention to that contest and quickly swamp the wily, many-souled mage…

Which would then mean Perrin could face Jon in the final, a contest so even, so well-matched, that it seems like destiny!

In the first Cagematch, Jaime Lannister only had his wits and his not-very-good swordhand to deal with the Dragon Reborn himself, Rand al’Thor, and that was neck and neck until it ended in Rand’s favor. The following Cage Match, Gregor defeated all the villains ... only for The Powers that Be to decide Rand could go out a second time, and it simply was no surprise whatsoever that the Dragon Reborn crushed the Mountain that Ride.

Are we going to let that happen again? I didn’t think so. Take the black and defend the Wall:  Vote Jon!. Get your friends, family, co-workers in on it—and casual strangers, people you accost at the local internet café, captive audiences in the elevator, and anywhere else you can find them, for that matter…

Vin delenda est... because Winter is Coming.

(Image © Jenny Dolfen)

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.

Rally to Jon Snow

After having crushed all of his competition, Jon Snow faces his toughest challenge in the Final Four of Suvudu’s 2011 Cagematch… and it’s not going well. Supporters of Vin—rallied by Brandon Sanderson’s Wheel of Time-inspired followers—have surged into the vote, adding thousands of votes in mere hours and swamping the competition in her favor! We’re now chipping away at it ... but we could do more!

Even Sanderson once remarked he would like to see a Jon and Perrin final, which seems very likely to happen as Perrin’s likely to trounce his Final Four opponent. Two heroes, friends to wolves, sword to ax (or is the hammer, at last?), to decide the fate of ... well, the 2011 Cagematch, anyways. Fun, yes, in a pure, unadulterated geeky way? Yes. Yes, it is. Support the dream!

Are you going to let the Wall fall because you couldn’t muster fifteen seconds to go to the page and vote? NO! Good to hear…

... and go vote now!

Cage Match: Jon Snow vs. Beowulf

The Suvudu cage match challenge continues! Jon Snow put the hurt on Richard K. Morgan’s Takeshi Kovacs, and now it’s on to the next challenge: Beowulf, the great Geatish hero of the old Anglo-Saxon epic. A worthy opponent, but can he stand up to a son of Winterfell with Valyrian steel in his hand and a direwolf at his side?

I don’t think so.

Go here if you’d like to vote, and read the commentary from Suvudu and their comments!

Appreciating A Storm of Swords

As we mentioned recently, ran a poll asking for the best SF/F novels of the last decade (more or less), and A Storm of Swords landed at the #6 position. Tor sent out to various people to write appreciations for each of the selected works, and they very graciously approached Linda and I. You can read it here.

Focusing a bit on one particular event in A Storm of Swords, we tried to distill a bit of a sense of what it was like to first read that moment, and to be carried through it by one of the best authors working in the field.

Abducted on Game of Thrones

The Abducted web-comic, fun for geeks and nerds the world over, has a special A Game of Thrones installment today that’s rather amusing, especially for those of us wrestling with the question of how to deal with spoilers in relation to the TV show (Linda may have been too traumatized to finish A Storm of Swords, but she’s thoroughly spoiled on it, so not quite the same thing!) One of the co-creators, Aldrin, adds some additional thoughts on the subject, concerning an ultimatum to get the series time in done for A Dance with Dragons (US, UK).

This is not the first web-comic to reference the series, though, and we doubt it’ll be the last. Two of our favorites of the past can be found at Least I Could Do and Ctrl+Alt+Del, as well as M. Luisa Giliberti’s amazing series of chibi-inspired comics (note: contains spoilers from throughout the series).

Suvudu Cage Match: Support Jon Snow

Suvudu has started its latest cage match series, this with a host of science fiction and fantasy favorites, and as has become a tradition, a character is once again championing A Song of Ice and Fire: Jon Snow.

In his first match-up, he’s paired off against Richard K. Morgan’s character Takeshi Kovacs, a man with a past in a future where a mind can be downloaded and placed in just about any body, introduced in Morgan’s amazing Altered Carbon (if you’re a fan of science fiction or of noir-style, gritty stories, definitely give this a try).  Personally, Jon Snow has Ghost… it’d have to be one hot, military tech-level “sleeve” (bodies in which one can be downloaded) to give Kovacs any chance in hand-to-hand. Suvudu’s write-up seems to agree. Do you? Go and vote!

You can see the rest of Suvudu’s cage matches at the bracket.

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’s Best SF/F of the Decade. 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, 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, very kindly asked to interview me about George’s fandom, the origins of, 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.)
Amazing Map of Westeros

Long in the making, yesterday saw the publication of Other-in-Law’s map of Westeros at his Deviant Art page. A huge, 10mb file stretching more than 3,000 by 10,000 pixels, it puts together all of his regional maps and adds both some adjustments and a terrific series of bordering elements, including a depiction of the Seven and King Aerys II with his Kingsguard. There’s a number of “easter eggs” as well, amusing references to figures both past and present. On top of that, it’s an extraordinary catalog of the heraldry of the setting, drawn from the books and GRRM’s heraldic notes (note that the placement of some these arms are, however, speculative).

Although Tear’s map is a stunning achievement for a fan cartographer, easily equalling any other map for the series, we have to say that we’ve never seen a map that’s this outright charming. And all of it created by OiL in MS Paint, which makes the achievement even more remarkable!