This month has had its joys and its sorrows, and we’re not even half way through. In the latter column, we must add the very sad news of the passing of Kay McCauley, long-time agent to George R.R. Martin and a host of other writers. George has posted a touching remembrance of the “queen of agents” who did so much to represent his work as part of, and then head, of the agency that her late brother Kirby McCauley founded.
George mentions in passing her parties for the Wild Cards authors, and indeed, it was at one of these—at the swanky Chateau Marmont, during the 2006 Worldcon in Anahiem where we signed the contracts for The World of Ice and Fire—that we first met her. She had negotiated the contract for the book, and had helped us out with various questions including who to talk to at Random House’s royalties department to sort out a problem, and advising us on other matters. She was extremely kind and welcoming to two neophytes such as ourselves, and over the years she always found the time to send a congratulations our way whenever Random House let us know of some new milestone with the book, whether a placement on a bestseller list or a new printing.
She will be much missed.
Over at his “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin has posted a new update on various topics, including HBO’s House of the Dragon as well as where he’s at with the greatly-anticipated The Winds of Winter. Along the way, he gives some hints about what he’s been working on on the “big, big book”:
“Of late I have been spending a lot of time with the Lannisters. Cersei and Tyrion in particular. I’ve also paid a visit to Dorne, and dropped in to Oldtown a time or three. In addition to turning out new chapters, I’ve been revising some old ones (some very old)… including, yes, some stuff I read at cons ages ago, or even posted online as samples. I tweak stuff constantly, and sometimes go beyond tweaking, moving things around, combining chapters, breaking chapters in two, reordering stuff.”
(The newly-released A Storm of Swords (affiliate link) anniversary edition, featuring new illustrations from Gary Gianni.)
Last week, it was reported that George R.R. Martin has filed suit in the Los Angeles Superior Court against Blackstone Manor, LLC, the company that holds the rights to producing “The Skin Trade”, his award-winning 1988 horror novella. According to reports of the suit, it’s alleged that on the day before its option lapsed, Blackstone Manor threw together a skeleton crew and filmed “a few scenes” to try and claim rights to “The Skin Trade” in perpetuity, an act which Martin’s lawyers suggest is tantamount to an “artifice”, a “token production” insufficient to retain the rights.
George R.R. Martin has posted a new entry to his Not a Blog, titled “Back in Westeros”, which discusses the self-imposed isolation he’s been in for much of the year. In a mountain cabin somewhere in the mountains of New Mexico, George has been making progress on The Winds of Winter, and reflects on how the periods in his career where he’s been the most isolated have also been among his most productive.
Towards the end, he gets a little more specific about what he has been working on lately in terms of point of view characters, and one of the one he names is a bit of new information as their presence as a POV had not been confirmed until now.
(No, this is not actually his cabin!)
In a new Not a Blog post titled “Writing, Reading, Writing”, GRRM has written from his cabin hideaway about his isolation during the global pandemic. In the course of being up there, his assistant captured two mice that they’ve now made into pets named Timmy and TomTom, and George notes they have not been too helpful in advising him on The Winds of Winter...
... but he actually has a deal to say about the progress he has made, even if he thinks he won’t be able to recapture the blazing rate of speed in which he wrote A Storm of Swords (which peaked at about 150 manuscript pages a month).
Here’s what he has to say:
“If nothing else, the enforced isolation has helped me write. I am spending long hours every day on THE WINDS OF WINTER, and making steady progress. I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week. But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week. It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go. Please do not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings.”
And below the fold, here’s some additional details that are slightly spoilerish in nature:
George R.R. Martin and Random House have announced the November publication date of A Storm of Swords: The Illustrated Edition. The cover maintains the same style as the two previous editions, but art this time around is being provided by the fantastic Gary Gianni, who has previously illustrated the A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms collection, the 2014 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar, and the Subterranean Press limited edition of Fire & Blood. The lithograph-style image below, published on GRRM’s Twitter account, is gorgeous:
George R.R. Martin has updated his “Not a Blog” page with a long post discussing the current state of affairs in the world, a number of which impact businesses and initaitives he is involved in: Meow Wolf has closed its doors for now, and GRRM has followed suit by temporarialy shuttering the Jean Cocteau Cinema as well as the Stage Coach Foundation (however, he notes employees of both organizations will be paid for the forseeable future). However, in the interim, the Beastly Books store that shares a location with the Jean Cocteau does remain open for the time being for those looking to take some comfort in the familiar act of browsing shelves and picking up something to read.
In the course of writing on this, however, George does touch on those who are concerned about his own well-being. Never fear, he says:
For those of you who may be concerned for me personally… yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition. But I feel fine at the moment, and we are taking all sensible precautions. I am off by myself in a remote isolated location, attended by one of my staff, and I’m not going in to town or seeing anyone. Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day. Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here.
That certainly does sound foreboding.
The Stagecoach Foundation, founded by George R.R. Martin to help provide education, support, and facilities for film and television production aspirants in New Mexico, has a fundraising raffle going on right now that features a rather neat prize: a customized Vespa 946 scooter themed after House Stark, and signed by GRRM himself.
A one-of-a-kind, this Vespa 946 is inspired by the legendary 1945 MP6 that started it all with the classic design language (in fact, the name “Vespa” comes from the company founder’s response to the MP6 prototype that it looked like a wasp). With the additional Game of Thrones-inspired Stark detailings, such as the direwolf sigils and the leather-and-iron effects (unclear if it’s from paint or vinyl wrap), it’s a striking and unique vehicle.
The raffle runs through December 28th.
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
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).
(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 Unseen Westeros art exhibit was a great success in Berlin, and the media who visited it during its run are still producing content. While the one we’re embedding below is mostly in German, it gives a great view of the ambiance of the location and artworks, and also happens to feature me providing some commentary starting at the 6:50 mark:
There are still some limited supplies of the art book and art prints, for those interested