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

Brotherhood without Banners

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, Tor.com 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 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.)
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!

Podcast of Ice and Fire Interview

This is a new one for us. Linda and I were invited by the A Podcast of Ice and Fire crew to an audio interview, which is something we’ve never done before. It was a little nerve-wracking, but Mimi, Amin, and the rest of the APoIaF hosts were fantastic! After an interview discussing the website, our history with it, the World of Ice and Fire world book we’re co-authoring with George, and more, we move on to discussing some recent news and then move on to discussing two chapters from A Game of Thrones. It was excellent fun! The APoIaF podcasts are amusing, occasionally irreverent, and filled with some interesting insights from avid fans of the series—check all the rest out!

Two corrections: I was quite wrong about House Manwoody being mentioned in the AGoT appendix. In fact, they aren’t mentioned until A Storm of Swords. However, at the time when George sent us his first set of heraldry notes (April 1999), he had been done with A Clash of Kings and was at work on ASoS, so that’s the first time we had ever heard of the house. Also, as Mimi notes, the wrestler who was the model of Shagga was named Haystacks Calhoun, not Haystacks Howard.

Sean T. Collins on ASoIaF

Blogger Sean T. Collins, who I know best from his incisive commentary on comics (both mainstream and alt), also happens to be a fan of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”. After a recent post about the TV series, he’s decided to expand a comment he made into a persuasive argument aimed at those who are curious about the series but aren’t decided on reading it.

A good piece, covering ground ranging from prose to themes to world-building, and all without spoilers. Have some friends or family you want to get into the series but they just aren’t budging? Point them at Sean’s write-up and it may just push them over the edge to giving the series a try.

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!

GRRM in Pasadena

As George has mentioned, he’ll be in California to promote HBO’s Game of Thrones. We’ve been informed that the details of the bookstore signing he noted was in the planning have now been finalized, and have now added it to our calendar. It will take place on January 9th at 5 PM Pacific Time, at Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena.

Also as noted in George’s post, at some point that day—not sure if it’ll be before or after the signing yet—he’ll be joining fans for a little mini-meet sort of event, just to hang out with them. If you want more details, check out this thread at the Brotherhood without Banners section of the A Song of Ice and Fire forum.

The Mountain vs. the Dragon

After having won this year’s Suvudu 2010 Villains’ Cage Match, the Mountain that Rides faces his last obstacle to claiming complete domination: last year’s winner, Rand al’Thor from Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series. If you’ll recall, last years cage match led to a frenzy of voting with the lead changing back and forth as fans argued the merits of George R.R. Martins’ and Brandon Sanderson’s write-ups for how they thought the match should go.

In the end, the Dragon defeated the Kingslayer… but will al’Thor bite off more than he can chew with Ser Gregor Clegane? You decide with your votes! The poll runs through January 2nd, but don’t delay in voting!

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”.