The Good News: A CLASH OF KINGS has received enough nominations to appear on the Nebula Award preliminary ballot. The members of SFWA (the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) are now voting to decide which five or six books will make it onto the final ballot and become Nebula nominees. You are all welcomed to keep your fingers crossed.
The Bad News: I have not yet delivered A STORM OF SWORDS to my publishers. However, I am getting very close now, and I hope it will not be much longer.
There is an aspect of a SOI&F (and all high/medieval fanatasy) which has me puzzled. Why is there so little technological procees? The Starks have been medieval lords and kings for millenia, and it seems that there is very little chance of Westeros ever progessing beyond a medieval society. Is this becuase the existence of magic inhibits or precludes linear technological progress?
Oh, I wouldn't go that far.
I don't know that "linear technological progress" is necessarily inevitable in a society. In fact, if you look at our real world, it only happened once. Other cultures and societies existed for hundreds and in some cases thousands of years without ever experiencing major technological change.
In the specific case of Westeros, the unpredictable nature of the seasonal changes and the harshness of the winters must play a role.
I do think that magic perhaps makes development of the scientific method less likely. If men can fly by means of a spell, do you ever get the Wright Brothers? Or even daVinci? An interesting question, and I'm not sure I know the answer.
Is it true that you based A Song of Ice and Fire off the War of Roses?
No, not really. Certainly I wanted to give my series a strong grounding in real medieval history, rather than in other fantasy novels, but I drew on a whole number of sources and periods. The Wars of the Roses, yes, but also the Hundred Years War, the Crusades, the Norman Conquest... you name it.
First off, I want to congratulate you on how...what's a good word...anxious you've made everyone by not revealing the newest character addition for A Storm of Swords. One question (no, I won't ask who it is as much as I want to know), do you plan on revealing the character's identity before the book is released, or are you going to stay quiet and let the first blabber-mouth announce it when they get it?
I'll be staying quiet, so I guess the reveal will go to the aforementioned blabber mouth.
Robin Hobb is very good. Her Assassin's Apprentice series was excellent, but I think the current Liveship Traders is even better. And if you haven'r tried him, there is always Jack Vance, whom I regard as the greatest living fantasist. Try any of the Dying Earth series, or the Lyonesse trilogy. Superb stuff.
Thanks for all the kind words. I hope you'll like the forthcoming books as much as you did the first two.
As for signings in California... on the first two volumes, Bantam scheduled signings in San Diego (Mysterious Galaxy), Los Angeles (Dangerous Visions), and the Bay Area (Kepler's in Menlo Park and Dark Carnival in Berkley). I imagine I will be returning to some of the same places once again when A STORM OF SWORDS comes out.
I thought I might pass on the word that the U.S. paperback release of A CLASH OF KINGS has been pushed back to September. It was originally scheduled for February, a year after the hardcover release, but the hardcover edition is still selling very strongly, so Bantam decided to keep it on the racks a while longer.
Readers who can't afford the hardcover edition might check out some of the British bookstores on the web. The British mass market paperback has been out for several months.
I am still working on A STORM OF SWORDS. I am on the home stretch, I'd like to think, and hope to finish and deliver it soon. My publishers are ready and waiting. (Today I got a phone call from my American editor and an email from my Dutch editor, so the readers aren't the only ones asking.) The publication wheels are rolling; on both sides of the Atlantic, my publishers have started work on the covers, and the artists (Jim Burns in the UK and Stephen Youll in the USA) are at work on paintings. They tell me that the Burns painting will feature a swordfight, and the Youll a funeral; both based on scenes from the book.
I will drop another note to all the webmasters when the book is done, just to keep you up to date. In the meantime, I would appreciate if you could ask the fans to stop sending me so many emails asking when the book will be released. I appreciate the interest and all the kind words, but the last thing I need just now is a lot of email to answer. Please understand -- I am not asking the fans to stop writing, just to lay off for a short time while I finish the novel. Once the beast is penned, some of the stress will be off, and I will enjoy getting and answering email again... although I will no doubt continue to be as dilatory as ever in responding to it.
Thanks for your help.
I have also been getting questions about personal appearances during the next year. Bantam will likely be sending me on a promotional tour for A STORM OF SWORDS, but I don't know what dates or cities that will involve. I will be travelling to Germany in October; I plan to appear at a con in Leipzig, to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair, and to do a signing at a shop in Berlin. I will also be in Chicago over Labor Day for the World SF Convention. Rivercon in Louisville, Kentucky in July is a strong possibility, and Westercon in Honolulu over July 4th is a definite. I will be doing readings at most of these cons.
I hope 2000 is a great year for all of us. (It's 300 in the Seven Kingdoms. I thought maybe all the magic should stop working on account of the Y3C spell bug, but then I thought, nah).
[Note: The precise date, beyond 2000, is unknown.]