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.
Right after Loncon 3—this year’s World Science Fiction Convention—wraps up, George R.R. Martin and fellow fantasist Robin Hobb will be making a special appearance in central London on August 19th. The news, from Martin’s UK publisher Harper Collins Voyager, notes that seating will be limited so tickets are running at £45… but in partnership with sponsor Blinkbox, the event will be streamed on Blinkbox’s Facebook page for all of those who couldn’t get tickets (or live on the wrong continent to consider getting them!)
On a related note, Voyager has recently revealed the UK cover for the forthcoming The World of Ice and Fire, which Linda and I have co-written with George. It’s a variation on the American cover, with a black background and some distinctive flames as well other things like font choices to bring it in line with the U.K’s editions of the A Song of Ice and Fire series.
George R.R. Martin will be streaming live from the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival in Switzerland, while he holds a masterclass discussing his work, his inspirations, and more.
The live stream starts at 3PM Central European Time (in other words, in one hour from the time of this post):
For more about NIFFF, visit the festival’s official site.
Over at EW, James Hibberd had the opportunity to talk with George R.R. Martin and get some exclusive details regarding the forthcoming The Winds of Winter, the sixth volume of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. According to the report, Martin remarks:
He has a few more things to say about the book in the piece which are significantly more spoiler-filled, so if you want them, go over there to check them out!
A new social reading app for iOs, Booke, is in the works, and an Indiegogo campaign aims to both help promote the app and generate some exclusive content for the George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois edited Rogues, containing Martin’s “The Rogue Prince”, a historical account of the reign of Viserys I and of his troublesome brother Prince Daemon Targaryen.
Rather than being an e-book reader, Booke is an adjunct to the printed word, a way for publishers, creators, and fellow readers to curate content around books and magazine articles. A book may have had the publisher highlighting quotes and linking to images or videos, or it could have fans providing short annotations and commentaries. Booke has received the support of Random House, publisher of Rogues, to use that book as a particular test case—if the Indiegogo goal is met, they’ll bring aboard artists such as Dagmara Matuszak,Ted Nasmith, Marc Fishman and Marc Simonetti so that they can provide exclusive art to illustrate excerpts from the stories contained in the volume; not just Martin’s own contribution, but also works by Patrick Rothfuss, Neil Gaiman, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Connie Willis, Daniel Abraham, and more.
See below for a video describing Booke, and what it can do for you, in more detail!
HBO has gotten into the act, helping to spread the word of the latest initiative from George R.R. Martin to help support two charities near and dear to him and his wife Parris McBride. The Prizeo website now has fundraiser running with proceeds going to support the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and the Food Depot. See below for Martin’s personal video describing what it’s all about:
That $200,000 goal is already most of the way to being met, with just $25,000 left to hit its goal. All those who donate are entered into a chance to win an exclusive prize: a trip for two to New Mexico (from anywhere in the world—yes, this is open to people overseas!) to meet George and join him in a helicopter flight to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary. Definitely something to consider if you’ve just a few dollars—a minimum $10 donation will get you two chances to win.
One of the things that has most often been asked of Linda and I since we started posting videos discussing the A Song of Ice and Fire series, as well as HBO’s Game of Thrones, concerns the many, many books on the bookshelves behind us. In an answer to address the questions—and perhaps help people find some good, summer reading, we’ve put together a video that tries to cover a number of the books and authors that we read. Below the video, you’ll find a list of the authors and the specific works we mention, for those who just want to see what we’ve placed there:
As promised, Linda and I are very pleased to present a second excerpt from The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK), following George’s excerpt from last month. Our own excerpt features the beginning of “The Ten Thousand Ships”, the section devoted to the events leading to the arrival of the Rhoynar in Westeros, beginning with the relationship—and eventual conflict—between the people of the Rhoyne and the Valyrians. Those of you who’ve looked at the other available glimpses of the book know, the book’s richly illustrated with beautiful artwork from many artists. Below, you’ll find one of those pieces of art, a depiction of Princess Nymeria by artist J.K. Drummond.
And as an added bonus, at the end of the extract is a video Linda and I recoreded from our Youtube channel, discussing the origins of the book, the writing process, and going over some of its content. Enjoy!
The last of the great migrations into Westeros happened long after the coming of the First Men and the Andals. For once the Ghiscari wars had ended, the dragonlords of Valyria turned their gaze toward the west, where the growth of Valyrian power brought the Freehold and its colonies into conflict with the peoples of the Rhoyne.
The mightiest river in the world, the Rhoyne’s many tributaries stretched across much of western Essos. Along their banks had arisen a civilization and culture as storied and ancient as the Old Empire of Ghis. The Rhoynar had grown rich off the bounty of their river; Mother Rhoyne, they named her.
No, not our excerpt—that’s for Wednesday—but instead you can see some of the updated sample pages that the publishing site Above the Tree Line now features for The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK).
The updated page reveals more of the beautiful art… and reveals the table of contents for the first time. While it doesn’t reveal the full break down of pages devoted to each section, it should give a real sense of the sort of information that will be contained herein. Lots of stuff about far eastern lands, a great deal about the Targaryens, substantial information on the various regions of the Seven Kingdoms before the Conquest, and so on. It’s been a great pleasure and privilege for Linda and I to have been a part in it, and we hope everyone will enjoy it when it hits shelves in October!
As he notes, the text was originally contracted for 50,000 words…. but suffice it to say, it’s much, much longer than that (especially if one includes the text of the World of Ice and Fire app (Buy: iOs, Android) which was originally intended for the book. The book itself is now at the 330-odd page mark, and is chock-full of some truly gorgeous art, more of it being added as we speak. Lots of new information, about the ancient history of the world, about the various regions, about the Targaryens and the Lannisters, and even about the strange, far-off places of Essos, from the Free Cities to Asshai and the Summer Isles.
The process of settling on the exact cover design certainly took awhile, especially when you’ve seen some of the early mock-ups. The three-headed Targaryen dragon really fits, although as you might guess from the above, this isn’t a work exclusively focused on the Targaryens (though it has a great deal to say about them!)
And with that said, stay tuned next week, as we’ll have an exclusive excerpt from the world book to share concerning another group of people who arrived in Westeros, and weren’t necessarily welcome to begin with…
The latest issue of Rolling Stone magazine features a lengthy, very interesting interview with George R.R. Martin, covering some early formative experiences and getting into a number of topics related to his work, particular broader themes that he finds important. Short excerpts have been published to now, but the full interview can be read at the magazine’s website. Very worthwhile reading for those interested in the genesis of the series, and how he views certain topics that are very present in the novels.
The sample includes a piece of brand new art from the book, which will be extensively illustrated. The sample features the opening few pages of the section devoted to House Targaryen, describing briefly their time on Dragonstone… and ending with Aegon’s declaration of war against the kingdoms of Westeros, as he and his sisters prepared to invade.
George R.R. Martin has updated “Not a Blog” with a lengthy post discussing the status of the Dunk & Egg novellas, set about 80 years prior to the time of the novels. Besides the fact that the fourth novella is partially complete but on hold for now, Martin notes he already has a fifth story roughed out in his head, with a prospective title of “The Village Hero” and its setting being the Riverlands. Perhaps more saliently for many who have patiently been waiting for the A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms collection of the first three novellas is the explanation from Martin that the collection will arrive some time in 2015. But it won’t just be a straight-up collection: it will be richly illustrated by award-winning (and, frankly, legendary) artist Gary Gianni. Well-known for his work bringing Robert E. Howard’s Conan, Solomon Kane, and others to visual life, as well as many other pulp figures, most recently Gianni provided the artwork for the 2014 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar.
According to Martin, Gianni’s pitch for illustrating the collection is far beyond the initial handful of illustrations originally envisioned, and instead will feature much more artwork. Very exciting, for fans of Gianni’s work, as well as for fans of the novellas. Martin does not that some foreign language editions of an unillustrated version of the collection have already been published, but the English-language edition will have to wait until 2015 while Gianni finishes the work.
Below, a bit of speculation on “The Village Hero”.
I recall reading in The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien a letter where Tolkien responded to a query from an admirer hoping for more extensive maps. He remarked on how he received a great number of requests, all asking after the special interests of the requesters: botanists wanted detailed descriptions of mallornx and niphredil, archaeologists desired information on metallurgy and ceramics, musicians wanted musical notations and tunes, and so on. One thing that he noted among them were the desire from some to have more “geological indications” on the maps, rather than place names.
Doubtless there have been fans of A Song of Ice and Fire who have wondered all these things, and more… but I must admit that I never thought that the geology of the world of Ice and Fire would get such attention as it’s received from Generation Anthropocene, a group-blog hosted by Stanford University. Featuring researchers and writers working together to write about the ways that humanity impacts the geology of the world. Their latest work is something of a light-hearted diversion from their more serious study, as they’ve examined the geology of Westeros in tremendous detail. Drawing on details drawn from the novels, they’ve attempted to backward-construct the geological history of the world as far back as 500 million years prior to the present. It’s all quite a heady read, pointing out things that Martin himself—who, so far as I know, has no geological training to speak of—likely created in haphazard fashion, but which can be explained by the very learned academics at Generation Anthropocene.
Very much recommended for idle reading, simply to marvel at how much can be made out of passing background details!
Following up on our Season 4 impressions video, Linda and I have finally gotten around to posting a video discussing the new excerpt that GRRM posted on his official site. It’s lengthy, and a little rough around the edges as we’ve fallen out of practice with the whole filming deal, but we do cover a lot of ground both regarding the setting, the events, and the characters. Plus, lots of comments from viewers on the video itself, and some interesting thoughts, so be sure to check them out!
You’ll find the video below:
Delon provides a step-by-step breakdown of the work that went into the piece (the magazine is filled with tutorials for fellow artists), while Grzegorz Ruthkowsk does something similar with a battle sequence drawn from A Song of Ice and Fire. Best of all, a brand new interview with George R.R. Martin will be featured in the magazine.
The magazine can be purchased on newstands as well as via ordering at the ImagineFX site, where both print and digital copies are available.
The Westeros network consists of several different sites, including a forum and a wiki, for all your A Song of Ice and Fire needs.