I just came back from Philly, and since Interstate 95 has congestion even at 11pm I had time to do some digesting of the dinner (forgive the pun). I was 20 minutes early, but was already happy that I was that much on time, considering my 1.5 hour drive. TrackerNeil came in 10 minutes after that, followed by GRRM and Parris. Five minutes later, the floodgates opened and many a board familiar showed their face. I was lucky enough to share a table with GRRM (there were three, sadly enough for some) -- but since I will not be able to make it to the suite party tomorrow night, I cannot feel guilty.
My table included Sam, TrackerNeil, Padraig, Andromeda, GRRM, Telisiane, Trebla and David. Then there was one table with Lannister (whose butt seemed undamaged as far as I could tell), Leader Lodengarl, Lilith, GreenGerg. The third table had Jeff and his mother, babyRaven. I forgot quite a number of people, for that my apologies. The BwB poster did the rounds, beautifully done, with my name gracing (amongst many many others) the bottom -- I felt genuinely surprised by that.
At some point a picture from GRRM's highschool days circulated as well. I have to say, the only reason I spotted him, were the glasses.
Which brings us to the man himself. I had heard his voice before during a radio interview, and he has one of those pleasant distinct voices that carries well without being loud. Since I am not attending the Con itself (something of which I now say "stupid, Stupid, STUPID") I will not hear him read from the new work. Even if it was old work, I am sure I would enjoy it immensely.
He is charming, interesting and interested. He made us all tell what we do in real life. I will leave to you to guess who runs the adult section of a video store. I was a little hesitant to actually bring up the books, but Trebla had no such inhibitions. Nothing revealing, people, I am sorry. Maybe some of the other Conners will con something out of him; apart from the reading that is.
Parris was always a bit of a blank sheet in my mind, but meeting her I was sorry that I didn't have time to talk to her as well. I guess I should skip Disney World and come to xxxCon (wherever the next WorldCon is) instead, eh Parris?
The bottom line for me is that I enjoyed it immensely, and that I am actually a little upset I cannot make it to the suite party tomorrow. It would have been great to debate Jeff Semper Veritas, or find out where Lilith found that sari (saree?), or try to keep up with the sheer amount of witticisms flying across the room. Obscure Cultural References abounded.
I was delayed a bit with some last minute items, but after a two hour drive arrived at Philcon, registered and got to the BWB session about 30 minutes late to find GRRM and Parris answering questions of various sorts for a group of about 20. No new info, except that George mentioned that he had rejected the proposed audio book since they abridged it to 9 hours, and would not go beyond 10. He felt it was missiog too much and that 20 hours would likely be needed. Understandably given the nature of the book. He did mention that the first couple of books were recorded in audio form by audio books for the blind.
Just got some more exciting news about Philcon.
It seems that John Howe has finished his cover painting for the Meisha Merlin limited edition of A CLASH OF KINGS. The painting is on its way from Switzerland to Meisha Merlin's art director even as I type. If everything goes according to plan, we will have it in time for the worldcon in Philadelphia. It is too late to get the piece into the art show, unfortunately, but Ice and Fire fans will be able to check it out at the Meisha Merlin table in the huckster's room.
The painting is a landscape / seascape of the great Greyjoy castle of Pyke perched upon its rocks and stacks. I have seen some of John Howe's rough sketches, and the finished painting ought to be magnificent.
Another reason for all my readers to come to Philadelphia...
Steve Pendergrast of Fictionwise.com writes me to say:
You also might be interested to know that your story "Sandkings" has become the number one all-time highest rated ebook at Fictionwise.com. That's no small achievement since we have five other hugo/nebula double winners as well as some famous stories by asimov, niven, le guin, silverberg, ellison, and others.
See, I did write a few things before A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.
I wanted to bring you all up to date on some on some of the latest publication plans for A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.
Bantam Spectra has just informed me of their plans to issue the first three volumes (and presumably the later ones as well) as trade paperbacks. This will be the first time that the books have been available in this format in the American market. All three volumes will be released simultaneously in trade paperback in June, 2002. This will also be the first American edition of A STORM OF SWORDS.
The mass market paperback of A STORM OF SWORDS will be postponed until some time in 2003. The exact pub date has not yet been set.
For those of you unfamiliar with publishing jargon, a "trade paperback" is the same size as a hardcover, but with soft covers, while a "mass market paperback" is the smaller paperback you see at grocery stores and on spinner racks.)
In addition, Bantam will also be releasing a new hardcover edition of A GAME OF THRONES, something that many readers have been requesting, since the first edition hardcover has become so expensive and hard to find. This new second edition will feature a cover design incorporating the Steve Youll art from the paperback, which will bring it into line with the current hardcover look of A CLASH OF KINGS and A STORM OF SWORDS. The new hardcover edition has also been scheduled for June, 2002.
The series is also doing quite well overseas, and I have been signing a lot of contracts for foreign editions. Italy and Israel will both be continuing with the series, I am pleased to say, and Japanese, Portugese, Chinese (Taiwan), and Korean editions of A GAME OF THRONES are now in the works. This will be the first time that any of my work has been translated into Portugese, Chinese, or Korean, to the best of my knowledge.
On the personal front, I had a wonderful three weeks in Spain, where I visited some old friends and made some new ones, drank too much sangria and ate too many tapas, saw some fantastic museums, Roman ruins, and castles, and enjoyed some wonderful Spanish and Catalan hospitality. And in about a week I will be heading east, for a visit to New York City and my family in Bayonne, followed by the World SF Convention in Philadelphia. I hope I will see many of you there.
Oh... yes, I'm still working on that pesky fourth book as well. I hope to read a few chapters from it at Philcon.