George R.R. Martin’s friend and regular editorial collaborator, Gardner Dozois, has been working away at an anthology titled Book of Swords since 2015, inviting a host of authors to contribute. One of the invited authors, Matthew Hughes, posted a list of some of the authors that were then on board. The list included Ken Liu (whose contribution, “The Hidden Girl”, was optioned for film last year), Ellen Kushner, Scott Lynch, Robin Hobb, Daniel Abraham, K.J. Parker, Garth Nix, C.J Cherryh, Elizabeth Bear, and Cecelia Holland.
Hughes suggested there’d probably be some other significant authors, and as fans have now discovered, one of those names is George R.R. Martin himself. We don’t have a table of contents to share as of yet, but we’ll say that there’s a great deal of speculation among fans related to The World of Ice and Fire and Dunk & Egg.
We’ll see if we can’t shake that table of contents loose.
Although the ultra limited edition of the GRRM Box, with a run of just 200 priced at $600 each, sold out almost instantly (the limited and deluxe limited sets are still available), publisher Random House has announced that they are donating the rarest of them all—Ultra Limited Edition Box #001—in an auction to benefit the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.
Here’s the press release with the full details regarding the auction, which will be hosted on EBay and will begin tomorrow, December 2nd:
Random House donates George R. R. Martin Box ultra limited edition #001 to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary
Box will be Auctioned Off by Wild Spirit to Raise Money for the Wolf Sanctuary
NEW YORK, NY ― December 1, 2016 — Today, Random House announced that it will donate GEORGE R. R. MARTIN BOX ULTRA LIMITED EDITION #001 to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary of Ramah, New Mexico. Wild Spirit will auction the box to raise money for rescuing and providing sanctuary for captive-bred wolves and wolfdogs. The auction will begin on December 2nd, and the winner will be announced at a red carpet premiere of a film about Wild Spirit at George R. R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico on December 13th. The auction will be held online at:
An official website for the Wild Cards superhero shared-world novels, whose origins lay way back in 1983 with a roleplaying game campaign that George R.R. Martin devised, has now been launched.
Of note are a number of initial blog posts from Martin and other members of the Wild Cards Consortium discussing various aspects of the shared world, from its inception and on down to recent days. It’s a good looking site, featuring a cover gallery, interviews, videos (including a 1988 recording of a Worldcon Wild Cards panel!), sample stories, and more.
The latest entry in the series is High Stakes, which was published this August.
Linda and I are off to Eurocon 2016 tomorrow, and looks like we’re leaving at just the right time: we got our very first snowfall in our area today, so the contrast with balmy Barcelona will be quite interesting. We’ve just one panel at the convention: The Influence of European Authors and History in the Work of George R.R. Martin. Joining us will be the esteem Alejo Cuervo, founder of Gigamesh, and our friend Javi Marcos of Los Siete Reinos. For those who couldn’t make it to the con, the good news is that Eurocon 2016 will be streamed in full in association with the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona
In fact, they’ve already got our panel set up, so keep an eye out at 6.30PM (Central European Time):
Besides that, on Saturday we’ll be joining a host of authors and artists (Ian Watson, Adam Roberts, the amazing Enrique Corominas, and more) at an epic signing session at the Gigamesh store (one of the very best SF/F speciality stories in Europe). Should be fun!
There’s a lot of other guests—including Richard Morgan (Altered Carbon, The Steel Remains, Black Man), Andrzej Sapkowski (The Witcher), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, The Way of Kings), Aliette de Bodard (The House of Shattered Wings), and more—and some very interesting panels on a wide range of topics (some in Spanish, some in English), so do check out the streaming schedule. And if you’re going to the con, do say hello!
ETA: And of course I forgot to mention that the winners of the Premio Ignotus—the awards of the Spanish national SF/F convention, similar to the Hugos—will be announced at the convention. The World of Ice and Fire is among the nominees in the translated work category, thanks to the fantastic efforts of Gigamesh and its translators (as well as Corominas for his amazing cover art).
The storming success of the GRRM Box limited edition collection—Random House reports that only 4 of the initial 200 Ultra Limited boxes remain—has led to the publisher and HBO offering fans in the United States (and the U.S. only, alas!) to enter a sweepstakes with the chance to win limited-edition and collectible Game of Thrones prize packs! Three winners will be selected on Tuesday, November 15th. All you have to do to enter—besides live in the U.S. and meet the other rules and requirements—is enter your email address.
What’s in the prize pack? Some amazing stuff, we have to say:
Over at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin has some exciting news for fans of the Wild Cards series: Universal Cable Productions (the studio behind shows like Mr. Robot, The Magicians, Battlestar Galactica, and more) has acquired the rights to adapting the series to television. Development work begins immediately, with Melinda M. Snodgrass (an originator of the Wild Cards series, and GRRM’s right-hand so to speak) attached to executive produce alongside Gregory Noveck.
Interestingly, GRRM notes that due to his development deal with HBO, he will not be working on the series.Of course, he cautions that as with all things, development is never certain to produce a series. Finally, Martin notes that he’s pretty sure that no matter when the series takes place, if it goes forward Croyd Crenson (“The Sleeper”, a beloved character created by the late, great Roger Zelazny) will almost certainly make an appearance.
Finally, it seems that there’s some fluidity in what the potential series will draw on from the many, many novels spanning decades. Martin asks fans to share their thoughts of which characters they’d like to see on the screen in the comments section of his post.
Over at his “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin has reminded fans that his official website, georgerrmartin.com, is alive and kicking… and if it hasn’t been as updated as it could be, well, he’s been busy. That said, there’s a significant update today as George shares two new sample chapters. The first excerpt is from the 23rd Wild Cards novel, High Stakes. The excerpt comes from Ian Tregillis, who wrote the excellent Bitter Seeds (a dark take on superheroes during WWII) and whose latest book The Mechanical has received rave reviews as the start of a new trilogy in a world where alchemy works and where automatons are nearly human.
The other excerpt, of course, is a chapter from The Winds of Winter. It’s one he’s read before, so there have been scattered reports, but he’s never posted it directly to his website. Here’s how George describes its contents:
“You want to know what the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, Darkstar, and the rest will be up to in WINDS OF WINTER? Quite a lot, actually. The sample will give you a taste. For the rest, you will need to wait.”
(Coincidentally, Linda and I have returned to doing A Song of Ice and Fire videos between episodes of Game of Thrones, and we just happened to have made our first video a question of the political situation in Dorne in the novels, including information from the two relevant chapters from The Winds of Winter that George released. We’ll embed that video below. Specific discussion relevant to The Winds of Winter, and this excerpt, starts at the 32 minute mark)
Some say you haven’t really made it in popular culture until Epic Rap Battles of History features you alongside the greatest figures of modern and present history. Well…
(Of course, George would never battle Tolkien. He admires his work far too much!)
Almost a year ago, George R.R. Martin revealed in an Entertainment Weekly interview that he was contemplating a twist to the story of a character—and a group of characters connected with them—that he had never contemplated before and which, more notably, was something HBO’s Game of Thrones could not do because of choices the show had made that precluded it:
In one intriguing new wrinkle, Martin says he just came up with a big, revealing twist on a long-time character that he never previously considered. “This is going to drive your readers crazy,” he teases, “but I love it. I’m still weighing whether to go that direction or not. It’s a great twist… But it’s nothing I’ve ever thought of before. And it’s nothing they can do in the show, because the show has already—on this particular character—made a couple decisions that will preclude it, where in my case I have not made those decisions.”
The fandom was abuzz with it—it sparked several threads on our forum, for one—as people puzzled over who it might be. As I recall, at the time speculation was centering on Sansa Stark because of signs that the show was going to diverge heavily from her storyline in A Song of Ice and Fire (as it indeed did). However, a brand new interview with George from IGN revisits the topic and reveals some significant new information:
We’d be remiss not to note that the popularity of the Wild Cards series of superhero stories has continued unabated, so much so that Random House Audio has signed on to continue the release of audio books of the original series of shared-world anthologies that started it all. As reported by George R.R. Martin at his “Not a Blog”, Random House started with the third volume, Jokers Wild, after the first two volumes had been released earlier by Brilliance Audio.
Random House’s first entry features a pretty noteworthy cast of readers: Pam Grier (Jackie Brown, Smallville, Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Guild), and Ron Donachie (Game of Thrones) are among the contributors.
More recently, George has noted that Aces Abroad —the fourth volume in the series, expanded with two newer stories—has just finished recording, and it has an even larger cast including Selma Blair (Hellboy), Adrian Paul (Highlander), and Armin Shimmerman (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek: Deep Space 9). Shimmerman will be reading the parts of the joker Xavier Desmond, and as it happens Aces Abroad is best known for George’s interstitial “From the Journal of Xavier Desmond”. This should be quite good! Next to get the audio treatment will be the fifth book, Down & Dirty.
In related news, GRRM has shared that the latest book in the new Wild Cards series, High Stakes, will be published in hardcover by Tor on August 23rd. George has also pointed to the latest Humble Book Bundle for fans interested in getting two of the more difficult to acquire Wild Cards novels, Deuces Down and Death Draws Five, as well as other works by the likes of the great SF writers Alfred Bester (a personal favorite of mine), Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and Roger Zelazny. The Humble Bundle uses a “pay what you want” model, though certain levels are required to get certain works. Best of all, those who pay can decide how to divide up their contribution between the publisher, the Humble Bundle group, and a selection of three worthy charities.
Colony, a new science fiction series that premiered on the USA Network last month, is going to recieve a special screening of two episodes at George R.R. Martin’s Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Following the two episodes, the co-creator of the series Ryan Condal will be taking the stage with George R.R. Martin himself for a Q&A that will be moderated by IGN’s entertainment editor Terri Schwartz.
All well and good—this should be a great experience for those who manage to get into the screening! But for those of us not so lucky, it happens that IGN shall be broadcasting the Q&A tonight at 1930 Pacific / 2230 Eastern / 0330 GMT (Friday) via their Periscope Channel. Schwartz has put out a call for questions to GRRM and Condal regarding science fiction and fantasy, Colony, and of course A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones:
As George sometimes does at the close of a year, he set to writing a long, contemplative post listing down notable personal events for the previous year. Unlike these other times, however, that long post was lost to the ether thanks to an apparent glitch with Livejournal. Dispirited, GRRM said he’d try to give a “Cliff’s Notes” version of his post afterward, and over the past day he’s done so. For many fans, of course, the primary topic of interest was the status of the highly anticipated sixth novel in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, The Winds of Winter.
George’s final post in his “Cliff’s Notes” round up of the past year was indeed on The Winds of Winter, and it was a long and frank discussion of what’s happened in the novel. The brief version is that while GRRM aimed to finish by the end of the year, the deadlines for getting the book out in time for the sixth season of Game of Thrones have come and gone. He believed at the start of the year he could finish by Halloween, and that was incorrect; he also believed in August that he could finish by January, and that too was incorrect.
GRRM describes in some detail why the progress has been fitful at best, and admits that the pressure of a specific deadline (something he eschewed with his novels prior to “A Song of Ice and Fire”) proved a particular burden, and so going forward he intends to write without a specific deadline in mind—it will be finished when it is finished, and not before. He notes there are dozens of chapters completed, and hundreds of pages done, but “there’s also a lot still left to write. I am months away still… and that’s if the writing goes well.”
At the end, Martin tackles the elephant in the room, whether season 6 of Game of Thrones will “spoil” the novel. The answer? “Yes and no.” He explains in some detail that the show’s many divergences will mean that there’ll be events and characters depicted that will be very different—perhaps entirely different—from his own plans, and he includes a lengthy list of characters who are dead in the show who live on in the novels, and another lengthy list of characters who have never appeared on the show, all of whom may have important roles to play in the novels. It seems clear that the novels and shows will continue the trend of diverging significantly from one another.
The post closes (besides a small post-script confirming that this was his last “Cliff’s Notes” post), with the following:
While we were away to Archipelacon, the 2015 Locus Award winners were announced in Seattle. Our many congratulations to George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois for Rogues taking Best Anthology, and to Joe Abercrombie whose story in that same anthology, “Tough Times All Over”, won Best Novellette. And of course a tip of the hat to the great John Picacio who won Best Artist—very well-deserved!
For those in Europe, here’s some news regarding George R.R. Martin’s appearances starting this weekend, as well as our own!
First up, George will be in Hamburg for the Harbourfront Literature Festival, where he’ll be reading a chapter from The Winds of Winter, and likely to be answering questions as well. Despite early reports that this event would be livestreamed, this event is apparently not being streamed at all. It’s not impossible there’ll be an after-the-fact video from the event (as there have been with a number of GRRM’s public speaking events), but we’ve no information as yet whether that will be the case.
From there, George is off to Stockholm—and so are we! On Tuesday, the SF Bokhandeln bookstore has invited George to speak at the Royal Armoury. Although this event is sold-out, it’s worth noting that SF Bokhandeln’s three branches—Stockholm, Malmö, and our own Göteborg—will all offer livestreams to customers who could not attend the event. So far as we know, there will be no internet-wide stream, but again, there may be post-event videos. And for those in Stockholm, prior to the event—at 5PM—Linda and I will be at the bookshop to sign copies of The World of Ice and Fire, for those who want us defacing their copies!
After that, we’re all off to Åland for Archipelacon, the SF/F convention (sold out, alas!) where George is Guest of Honor, and his partner Parris is the Fan Guest of Honor. The convention has posted its schedule, and there’s a deal of interest for fans—we’ll share the highlights below:
A brief but excellent interview with George R.R. Martin—hot on the heels of his release of a new sample chapter from The Winds of Winter—discusses his efforts on that book (and why it’s taken so long), a major twist that he’s deciding on (and whether the TV show can replicate it or not), and a series in development with HBO that’s currently having its pilot script written.
Absolutely worth checking this one out, not least for the key piece of information that GRRM is making all efforts to have The Winds of Winter published before season 6 of Game of Thrones airs.