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.
Subtext, makers of the iPad free social reading app of the same name, have launched a completely overhauled version of their application. The UI is sleeker and more informative, a brand new book search tool has been set, and more.
Last summer, Subtext invited me to be one of three “experts”—joined by series editor Anne Groell (who’s also our editor on The World of Ice and Fire) and Sean T. Collins of Boiled Leather)—to add notes to A Game of Thrones. It was a fun, interesting project, and we amassed something north of 1,000 notes covering the sublime (Sean’s entries are particularly thought-provoking) to the amusing (Anne has some good stories about the behind-the-scenes) to the trivial (well, that’d be my entries, filled with little facts and heraldry and quotes direct from GRRM). The feedback has been quite positive, I’ve been told.
A growing range of books are supported by the app, so that readers, experts, and writers can comment on and communicate with one another about the books they’re reading. It’s a fantastic way to bring books even further into the 21st century, by making them social. Want to argue why a character made a bad choice on page 633? Want to respond to an editor’s funny story about how the author worked his way to writing a particular scene as she did? Want to take argue with someone else’s gloss of the text? You can do all of that with the Subtext app. Or how about embed videos or images that you associate with particular characters, scenes, or events? You can do that, as well.
Books can be imported from various sources, or bought through the Google Books store, and there are nice, clear instructions for how to do it in the app. I believe an Android version is in development, so for now it’s just for iPad, and available only via the siTunes US store. If youv’e an iPad, I really recommend checking it out—I believe there’s a few 50 page previews, with the notes, so you can see what each book they have has to offer.
As the review indicates, it really is a fantastic game—runs a bit long and works best with a full complement of players, and the rules take some learning, but once you have it down, it’s extremely good. So good, that it’s just shy of the top 100 at BoardGameGeek, which ranks something like 5,000 board games. The new 2nd edition is said to be particularly good, bringing in rules from past expansions and marrying them to beautiful art and graphic design. If you’re a fan of deep, strategic board games, the Game of Thrones board game is a terrific choice.
This is one of the coolest things they’ve done in their line of officially-licensed “A Song of Ice and Fire” replicas—including Longclaw, Needle, and Ice, as well as the forthcoming King Robert’s Hammer (also available for pre-order)—and features a real obsidian blade crafted by hand (no two weapons will be exactly alike!), a belt pouch, five obsidian arrowheads, a sheath, and a collectible wooden storage box.
Bear in mind that there may be some restrictions depending on where you live, so read the details carefully at their site.
The David Gemmell Legend Award is a U.K.-based award for fantasy, divided into several categories according to the sub-genre. Presently, the Legend Award has opened up its polls to determine the short lists, and in the Legend category for Best Fantasy Novel of 2011?
You guessed it: A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin, along with many other books besides. The polls close on March 31st, and then voting will open to determine the final winners in each of three categories. To vote, visit the poll (and make sure to check the radio button above the title you want to support).
In their round-up of their plans for 2012, roleplaying game publisher Green Ronin spend a good deal of time discussing their Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying game. The huge boom in interest in all things Ice and Fire thanks to HBO’s Game of Thrones has seriously depleted their stock of the Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying rule book. Instead of reprinting it, they’re announcing a brand new edition, called the A Game of Thrones edition, which will include the entirety of the Peril of King’s Landing adventure that was separately released.
Besides being full color, the RPG will feature a brand new cover from the amazing Michael Komarck, whose provided some of the finest artwork for “A Song of Ice and Fire” to date. Green Ronin’s plans extend past that May release of the AGoT edition, however.
Subterranean Press has just announced that they’ll be producing a limited edition of George R.R. Martin’s first novel, Dying of the Light. A science fiction novel written at a time when Martin had made waves as one of the foremost short fiction writers in the genre, Dying of the Light is a personal favorite, in large part because of the evocative writing and the setting, the dying festival planet of Worlorn which is soon going to see its “dying of the light”. Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire may spot some characters or themes that are precursors to Martin’s bestselling fantasy series.
Unless I’m misunderstanding, I believe this interview was actually recorded in the summer of 2011 during GRRM’s book tour for the release of A Dance with Dragons, but in any case, it was posted two days ago. We’ve linked it in the Citadel’s So Spake Martin collection of correspondence, interviews, and signing reports, but will embed below.
No real spoilers to speak of, and no discussion of the TV series, but some interesting reflections on his work both past and present… as well as one rather inexplicable question.
Tor has launched its 2011 Reader’s Choice Awards, giving fans a chance to have their say in what their favorite works of the last year were. Voting’s easy: just sign up for a; make sure to follow the rules!
You can nominate as many titles you like in the following categories: Best Novel, Best Short Fiction, Best Cover Art, Best Graphic Novel. You all probably have notions for what to suggest as your favorite novels last year, but I’d like to recommend comic book fans consider nominating Criminal: The Last of the Innocent by Ed Brubaker (for my money, one of the best writers working in the field right now) and Sean Phillips. If you’ve read it, you know how good it is as it mixes crime fiction with a deconstruction of the classic Archie comic characters (yes, really). And if you haven’t read it yet, what are you waiting for?
Valyrian Steel, makers of officially licensed replica weapons based on “A Song of Ice and Fire”, have noted via their Facebook page that their stock of Ice—the Stark heirloom sword—has just dipped under 50% of the limited run of about 2,000 weapons.
They have also just noted that a low-numbered case of Arya’s Stark sword Needle turned up, and the next five orders will get numbers 49, 51, 52, 53, or 54. Here’s Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) with an example of Needle that George sent to her as a gift last year.
George R.R. Martin mentioned the interview with noted historical fiction author Bernard Cornwell—creator of the Sharpe series of novels, which were famously brought to television with Sean Bean in the title role (a fact that Martin mentions, in light of Bean’s role in Game of Thrones)—on his Not a Blog, but noted that Amazon could only post an extract. He’s made an update, however, noting that the full interview can now be found on his website in the News section.
As Georged noted earlier, Cornwell’s familiar with “A Song of Ice and Fire”, so there’s some references to them from him scattered across the interview—quite cool!
Last night, we spotted the fact that A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Cookbook Companion to A Game of Thrones was now available to pre-order, with a June 26th publication date.
BenBella Books will be publishing Beyond the Wall: Exploring George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire in June of this year, as part of their Smart Pop series. Edited by James Lowder, the anthology collects critical essays from a number of writers that examine the novels from various perspectives. We’ve seen a partial list of topics, and there promises to be some very interesting material in there.
The full list of contributors or topics can’t be shared yet, but we can name a couple, at least: us.
Thanks to Focus Home Interactive, the European publisher, we have a few new screenshots from the officially licensed Game of Thrones roleplaying game, created by Cyanide. We’ve had a lot of new information of late, so check that out if you want to know a bit more about the game.
These screen shots provide a little additional mystery to the storyline, hinting at curious turns of the plot, some mysterious new figures, a bit of new heraldry, and a glimpse at what combat will look like in terms of information on display as you fight. Also, a couple of shots of Dog—ugly as sin, but he’s surprisingly cute; I think it’s because I expected some sort of direwolf-sized mastiff, and instead he’s… well, not anything that big (very pointy teeth, though).
Thanks to @olafkeith, we were pointed to the fact that some end-of-year information had come out for the publishing industry… and as it happens, “A Song of Ice and Fire” left its mark on the lists on both sides of the Atlantic.
First up, Publisher’s Weekly recaps 2011 in the US market. When discussing how long paperbacks stayed on their bestseller list, this is what they had to say:
This is a bit late, but neat. Via our forum, we learned that Furthur—a band founded by former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lash—held a concert on December 31st… and their “midnight moment”? Daenerys riding a dragon, to the tune of the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up”, followed by “Sugar Magnolia” after midnight. Quite cool! Besides “Dany”, a “Jorah Mormont” is also present for the 8-minute spectacular.
As noted on the forum, the audio of the concert was recorded and is now available at Archive.org.
Below is an embed of the “midnight moment”, and some discussion of how the Grateful Dead were almost involved in a film adaptation of one of Martin’s novels.
The Westeros network consists of several different sites, including a forum and a wiki, for all your A Song of Ice and Fire needs.