After a whirlwind of travel to Ireland from Sweden, then back for two days before going to Northern Ireland, I’m sufficiently recovered to try to (briefly) cover the amazing time Linda and I had at Dublin 2019 and that I then had at Titancon, the 2019 Eurocon. I probably spent more time chatting with George since ... hmm, maybe 2015 when George visited Sweden and Åland. Much to report, but I really, really want to try to be succinct. So as a general overview, I’ll just say it was fantastic, filled with meeting old friends from the Brotherhood without Banners fan group and making new acquaintances from the ASoIaF/GoT sphere. Many discussions were had—on the SF/F genre, on the Hugo awards past and present, on Worldcon bids, and of course on various matters related to ASoIaF.
(Photo courtesy of Joey Yu, the inaugural winner of George’s Terran Prize writer’s scholarship.)
The first significant event with GRRM was the Wild Cards trivia panel with a host of writers: Walter Jon Williams from the original writers and roleplayers was teamed with Carrie Vaughn, the much-in-demand Wild Cards trivia guru and writer Kevin Andrew Murphy was teamed with Charles Stross and Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Peadar Ó Guilín was joined by Paul Cornell. It was very amusing!
It’s just two weeks to the Dublin 2019 Worldcon, and three weeks to Titancon, Eurocon 2019, and there’s a lot of things to see as both conventions have now published their schedules. Below, we’re going to list appearances, events, panels, and so on featuring George (who actually has one public event taking place before Worldcon) as well as Linda and I, and others who have worked with him in adapting or illustrating his work at one time or another, or otherwise have some connection to the larger universe of Martin’s work. Among these others are the artists John Picacio, Charles Vess, and Raya Golden, actor Miltos Yerolemou
Two new collections of A Song of Ice and Fire artwork have come out this month, and we highly recommend them as they come from two of the greatest living artists to work in the fantasy genre.
First, the A Song of Ice and Fire 2020 Calendar illustrated by the legendary John Howe (recently revealed to be part of the creative team behind Amazon’s forthcoming 2nd Age Middle-earth series) is out today. Focused on the mystical side of the series, it primarily features the strange and exotic creates of Westeros and beyond, including giant krakens, mammoths, direwolves, and ice spiders(!) But it also has a surprise or two waiting within its covers. It looks spectacular.
George R. R. Martin‘s involvement in FromSoftware‘s newly-announced Elden Ring has created a lot of excitement, as well as questions about his contributions to what promises to be a highly-anticiapted, open world action RPG from the famed developer of Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Sekiro, and more. Now some of those questions are answered in an interview with Hidetaka Miyazaki, who reveals he’s been a fan of GRRM’s work going back to Fevre Dream and Tuf Voyaging.
At the XBox E3 briefing, where Microsoft highlights many games coming to their console as well as to PC, the rumored announcement of Elden Ring—a brand new fantasy game from From Software (Dark Souls, Sekiro)—came to pass. The company’s famed president, Hidetaka Miyazaki, is cited as creator of the world ... as is none other than George R.R. Martin, who recently revealed that he was consulting on a game out of Japan.
We haven’t seen an official press release as of yet (other than a vague, leaked one), but THR reports that “the new action role-playing game centers on Viking warriors in a fantastical reimagining of Norse mythology.”
No release date exists for the game, but it will reportedly release on PS4 as well as XBox and Windows PCs.
Over at Not a Blog, George R.R. Martin has shared thoughts on the close of Game of Thrones, how it might be compared to his plans for the final two novels in A Song of Ice and Fire, and more. Well worth a read as a reminiscence and commentary for those who wonder about these things. It’s been a long road for George, for everyone who worked on or covered the show, and for the tens (hundreds?) of millions around the world who’ve watched it.
I had the great privilege to accompany George and Parris to a visit to the set as the first season filmed (the image above comes from that visit, George and I moving down a dark hallway in the Paint Hall studio, led by Bryan Cogman to one of the several sets in that colossal space).
Fire & Blood, George R.R. Martin’s history of the Targaryen dynasty that grew out of The World of Ice and Fire, is among the finalists for the 2019 Locus Award. Hosted by the venerable Locus Magazine, the award has a large body of voters between its subscribers (whose votes are given extra weight) and the public who also take part in the vote, and is considered one of the three most significant awards in the genre alongside the Hugo and the Nebula.
With all the attention on Game of Thrones, it seems this great talk at the Jean Cocteau Cinema between George R.R. Martin and noted literary novelist (and now fantasist, with his Black Leopard, Red Wolf) Marlon James, moderated by Dr. Andrea L. Mays, slipped under the radar. While we’ve added it to the So Spake Martin collection, it’s worth having a post of its own so we’ve embedded it below.
The amazing Unseen Westeros art exhibition, which we reported on and which I attended during its preview opening in Berlin, has in collaboartion with Adobe decided to provide a unique VR look at just a fraction of the gorgeous artworks created by the talented professional concept and matte artists (many of whom have worked on Game of Thrones). You can see the VR experience here on Youtube:
Below is the press release as well as details for the nine images shown:
(Disclosure: Linda and I have known Raya Golden since she she gave us a ride to and from the Chateau Marmont for a party during the 2006 Worldcon in Anaheim. Surviving the inevitable L.A. traffic jam and wondering who that starlet who passed us at the entrance was was a bonding experience never to be forgotten.)
Starport, a massive 272 page graphic novel, is Raya Golden‘s adaptation of George R.R. Martin‘s unproduced pilot script of the same name. Featuring the travails of Chicago’s police force and the many different alien species who come to visit its starport (one of three built on Earth by the league known as the Harmony of Worlds). Martin himself pitched it to studios as “Hill Street Blues meets aliens”, while Golden has suggested more contemporary pairings—“Brooklyn 99 meets Babylon 5... the cast of NYPD Blue on acid, playing laser tag with Alf,” and those are all pretty apt comparisons for the tone of this adaptation. Humor comes first, but as with all of Martin’s work there’s other elements—drama, romance, and even a wee bit of horror.
The A World of Ice and Fire app (iTunes, Google Play), the only official app companion to George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, has received a complete refresh providing a snappier user interface, new maps from The Lands of Ice and Fire, and additional as well as updated entries. Behind the scenes, the app also has had some changes to how data is stored which will make it much easier and quicker for future updates to take place.
Those who already own the app can just update it via the appropriate store, and once you’ve opened it you’ll get the option to restore any of the packs you’ve acquired to extend the information in the app.
Linda and I have worked on this ever since its inception—when it started from the seed of the 70,000 words of “Who’s Who” material we had written for the 50,000 word-contracted The World of Ice and Fire (oops!)—and think Random House has done fine work integrating dynamic map markers and character portraits to give it that much more appeal and usefulness.
Ahead of the Game of Thrones final season, Random House Audio has for the first time released A Game of Thrones—Juego de tronos—as a Spanish-language audio book for the Latin American market. The rest of the series, as well as Fire and Blood (Fuego y sangre) will be released from now to September 2019.
Juego de tronos has released today, and is available at a number of vendors—most notably Audible.com, which gives new members two free audio books when they sign up for a membership.
You can read the press release below, which reveals that all the books will be read by famous Mexican voice actor Víctor Manuel Espinoza, the voice of Homer Simpson for millions of Latin Americans:
Fans of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire will now be able to hear the audiobooks in a new language: Spanish. Penguin Random House Audio will release Spanish-language audiobooks of the bestselling series beginning this spring, just as the final season of the hit TV series premieres.
Actor Víctor Manuel Espinoza, also known as the voice of Homer Simpson in Latin America, will narrate the complete series in Spanish, totaling more than 200 hours, starting with Juego de tronos, on sale April 9.
Espinoza said, “Recording the A Song of Ice and Fire audiobooks has been a great challenge for me. Interpreting each character and representing so many personalities through my voice has been the most complex and most satisfying part of the process.”
Audiobooks are the fastest-growing area of book publishing, a trend driven in large part by the increased availability of titles on audio. Penguin Random House Audio is expanding its Spanish-language audiobook production, publishing Dan Brown’s Origen read by Germán Gijón and Lin Manuel Miranda’s ¡Buen día, buenos noches!, read by his father, Luis A. Miranda, Jr.
George R.R. Martin is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including the acclaimed series A Song of Ice and Fire, which began in 1996 with A Game of Thrones and has since become a worldwide phenomenon, selling over 85 million copies worldwide in 47 languages.
The Folio Society, famous for its bibliophile-oriented hardcovers with beautiful binding and interior illustrations, revealed last month that they were working on a new edition of A Game of Thrones with this tweet:
Today, they’ve now released a sneak peek at four of the eight chapter headers their as-yet-unnamed artist has created. Each represents a specific character, and draws from the heraldry of their families.
From the preview e-mail they sent out:
No release date has been announced as of yet, but the Folio Society has set up a dedicated page where there’ll be new information, as well as a way to sign up for e-mailed updates.
Yes, finally, a video about Fire and Blood ... and it’s about a topic that, I suspect, was not an obvious one to talk about for most. But for me, this particular detail is potentially the single biggest piece of world-building in the entirety of the text. And it’s all because of A Caution for Young Girls.
If you already know the gist of what the Caution is, and what manuscript culture is, jump to the 14 minute mark where I attempt to pull all the pieces together to explain why I think this is such a noteworthy expansion of our understanding of the setting. Also, as noted, the second segment had a recording issue and so I had to use a secondary audio source which doesn’t sound as nice as the rest; apologies about that!
According to a report from Deadline, the SyFy/Netflix production of Nightflyers, an adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s award-winning science fiction-horror novella, has come to an end after a single season.
Per Deadline, this seems quite final—it’s unlikely to see any last-minute saves by Netflix or some other streamer or network picking it up:
Nightflyers had been conceived as an ongoing series but I hear that following its freshman season run, Syfy brass concluded that it was better off as a one-off limited series. The options on the cast were let to expire, and one of the stars, David Ajala, was just cast as a lead in the CBS pilot Under the Bridge.