Not a Blog

King’s Anniversary

November 13, 2019 at 7:42 am
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Hard to believe (at least for me), but it’s been twenty years since A CLASH OF KINGS was first published, in 1999.

That being the case, however, we wanted to do something special to mark the occasion.  And we have.

The anniversary edition of CLASH from Bantam is gorgeously and lavishly illustrated by Lauren K. Cannon, with black and white line drawings and full color plates.   The new edition also contains a special introduction by Bernard Cornwell, father of Richard Sharpe and Uhtred son of Uhtred, a giant of historical fiction.   You should be able to find a copy at your favorite local bookstore or from any good online bookseller.

 

If you’re an autograph collector, signed copies are available for $50 from https://jeancocteaucinema.com/product/a-clash-of-kings-the-illustrated-edition-pre-orders/

This new edition to A CLASH OF KINGS is a matched companion volume to the 20th Anniversary Illustrated Edition of A GAME OF THRONES, released in 2016.   That one is also available, signed, from Beastly Books at the Cocteau.

 

With the holidays coming up fast, you might also wanted to check out some of the other goodies available from the Cocteau, where you’ll find titles by Diana Gabaldon, John Scalzi, Lee Child, Mary Robinette Kowal, Walter Jon Williams, Melinda Snodgrass, the late great Victor Milan, Leonard Maltin, Marko Kloos, Carrie Vaughn, Erica Jong, Janis Ian, Dennis Lehane, Richard Kadrey, Ellen Datlow, Gardner Dozois, the Suicide Girls, and many many many more.

And remember, ALL of our books are autographed.

https://jeancocteaucinema.com/shop/

 

Current Mood: happy happy

A Tip o’ the Crown

November 10, 2019 at 9:41 am
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You cannot build a house all alone.   Especially not a HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.

HBO recently announced a full-season ten-episode pickup for HOUSE, the first GAME OF THRONES successor show to go to series.   The show is based on material from my imaginary history, FIRE & BLOOD.  Ryan Condal wrote the pilot script and the series bible, and will serve as showrunner for the series, together with director Miguel Sapochnik.

Even Aegon the Dragon couldn’t conquer the Seven Kingdoms all by himself, however.   He needed the help of his sisters Rhaenys and Visenya.  Ryan and I had some great assistance as well, and I wanted to give a tip of the crown to three talented and hard-working young writers who helped to bring this one home.   WES TOOKE was Ryan’s right hand man on COLONY, where he served as an executive producer and wrote thirteen episodes.  CLAIRE KIECHEL is a young playwright out of New York who came to HOUSE OF THE DRAGON after stints on Netflix’s THE OA and HBO’s new WATCHMEN series.  TI MIKKEL came to the show from my own Fevre River Packet Company, where she’s served as a writer’s assistant, helped in the development of a series of short films I hope to produce, and is spearheading the development of TUF VOYAGING as a television series… when she’s not working on her own novel.

Those unfamiliar with the way television works may wonder… if Ryan Condal wrote the pilot and the bible, what did Wes and Claire and Ti do?  The answer is: a lot.  They sat with Ryan every day in a writer’s room at HBO for months, talking story, going over drafts, giving notes, correcting errors (not that Ryan or I ever made any, no sir, not us), catching inconsistencies, discussing character and plot, offering ideas and suggestions, filling in gaps, breaking down the episodes to come and drawing up a roadmap for the first season and all the seasons to follow.   The HOUSE OF THE DRAGON could never have been built without the help of Ti, Claire, and Wes, three terrific young storytellers.   They have my thanks, and Ryan’s.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

On to Washington

November 8, 2019 at 2:39 pm
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After Chicago, I moved on to Washington, D.C. with my faithful minion Sid.   There, on the evening of October 17, the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation presented me with the 2019 Sir Arthur Clarke Imagination Award.  Scott Shannon of Random House, my publisher, came down from New York to introduce me and help present the award, to my delight.

(It should be noted that there is another Arthur C. Clarke Award.   That one is a juried award given in the UK for the best novel of the year.   This award is not that award, though both of them are sponsored by the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation).

I never had the honor of meeting Sir Arthur C. Clarke, but of course I read his work… pretty much all of his work, to the best of my recollection.   Clarke was one of the giants of science fiction, and his stories and books had a profound influence on generations of writers who came after him.  CHILDHOOOD’S END, A RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA, “The Nine Billion Names of God,” “The Star,” 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, AGAINST THE FALL OF NIGHT… the list goes on and on, a body of work that has few equals.  He was also an articulate and progressive voice on the issues of the day, and an unfailing champion of science… something sorely needed in these troubled times.   I am pleased and proud to be the winner of an award bearing his name.

Imagination is also sorely needed in these times, a subject I spoke about after receiving the award, while being interviewed by Alyssa Rosenberg, the arts and culture columnist for the Washington Post.   This was the first time I’d met Alyssa, but I’ve been reading her for years; her columns about GAME OF THRONES were always accurate and insightful, and she conducted a terrific interview… albeit one that got somewhat dark towards the end, as I contemplated the future of our planet.   Not a lot of laughs there, truth be told, but I hope we gave the audience some things to think about.   Clarke was all about thinking.

I did not attend any baseball games in Washington, but it was a kick being in town when the Nationals won the pennant and punched their ticket to the World Series.  The whole town was giddy.   And we also enjoyed our visit to the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum.  It’s being renovated at the moment, so some exhibits were closed… but the remainder was just as wondrous as I recalled it from my last visit, years ago.   The curators seemed somewhat surprised that I knew so much about the Bell X-1 and Friendship 7 and the various rockets on display.   Hey, long before I set foot in Westeros, I was writing SF about starships, aliens, and distant suns.   Pinto Vortando loves his rocket ships!

Thank you, Washington, for the warm reception, and thank you, Clarke Foundation.

 

 

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful

A Visit to Chicago

November 6, 2019 at 9:16 am
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On October 10, in the City of Big Shoulders, I was presented with the Carl Sandburg Literary Award at the annual gala sponsored by the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

It’s a lovely award, and quite an honor.   Last year’s winners were Judy Blume and Neil DeGrasse Tyson.   Previous winners have included such luminaries as Alice Walker, Larry McMurtry, Margaret Atwood, Scott Turow, Isabel Allende, Roger Ebert, Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Tom Wolfe, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Kurt Vonnegut, and many many others.   That’s a club that I am thrilled and proud to belong to.

I was also happy to share the evening with the amazing Dr. Eve Ewing, who won the foundation’s 21st Century Award, along with 82 other writers from Chicago and the surrounding area, all of whom were brought on stage for a bow (among them were several folks from the SF world, including Mary Robinette Kowal and Alec Nevala-Lee).

The gala was lovely and the award prestigious, and I also got to meet Chicago’s new mayor.  But  the very best part of the evening was being told afterward that we had raised two-and-a-half million dollars for the Chicago Public Library.

https://chicago.suntimes.com/entertainment-and-culture/2019/10/9/20906847/george-r-r-martin-sandburg-award-chicago-public-library-game-of-thrones-humanities-festival

The day after the Sandburg dinner, I appeared at the Chicago Symphony as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival.  One of the most amazing things about that event was the way they sent out the invitations to it — by raven.

The birds did their job admirably, and a huge crowd attended.  Once again I shared the stage with the incredible Eve Ewing, who did a terrific interview of me.   But the fun started with our entrance.   They took us down into the basement and stood us on a riser, and as the Spektral Quartet played the theme to GAME OF THRONES, Eve and I rose up dramatically from below through clouds of dry ice mist.   Now if only I could persuade CoNZealand to do the same next August, when I emcee the Hugo Awards.

http://https://depauliaonline.com/43361/artslife/george-r-r-martin-gives-candid-look-at-what-informs-his-craft-during-chicago-humanities-festival/

After the two big events, I went up to Evanston one day to meet with the dean of the Medill School of Journalism on the Northwestern campus (quite a few changes since my day), and talk to some current Medill students, all of them impossibly young and formidably smart.   Back in the Loop, I also met with some M.F.A. candidates from the Communications department about writing for television and film, and even sat down with the VISTA Volunteers now serving with Chicago Legal Aid… where I served as a VISTA from 1971-1973.

And of course I had to make a couple of visits to Greektown for saganaki and moussaka.  Opaa!  Opaa!  Nobody sets fire to cheese better than the good folks at the Greek Islands.

Chicago remains one of my favorite cities in the world, and it was wonderful to return there for a few days.  While I failed to find my lost youth, it was fun to revisit the scenes of the crimes and meet some of my successors.   My thanks to the Chicago Public Library Foundation, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and Northwestern University for all their hospitality.

 

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Naked, Stoned, and Stabbed

November 6, 2019 at 8:16 am
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Wild Cards fans… we have a brand new Wild Cards original up on Tor.com, from Bad Brad Denton.

Go check it out:

Naked, Stoned, and Stabbed

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

The Shame, the Shame

November 4, 2019 at 12:28 pm
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Watching Adam Gase coach the New York Jets makes me wonder where Rich Kotite is, now that we really need him.

There is no future for Gang Green with Gase coaching.

Lure Bill Parcells out of retirement.   Bring back Rex Ryan.   Get Jim Harbaugh out of Michigan.   Make a play for Lincoln Riley.  Please, please, please.   Anything, anyone.   I cannot bear the shame.

 

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Trick or Treat

November 2, 2019 at 9:39 pm
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A friend sent me this cartoon, which I think is very cute.

Unfortunately, it isn’t true.   For whatever reason, our neighborhood gets almost no trick or treaters.  Damned if I know why.   It’s a safe enough neighorhood, and Parris and my minions and I always stock lots of candy.

This year was the absolute nadir.   We got no one at all, not even people we know with a kid in tow.

A pity.   Halloween used to be my favorite holiday when I was a kid.   I usually went as a monster of one sort or another, and I was fearless trick or treater, prowling late into the night and knocking on doors blocks and blocks from home, on streets I seldom visited during daylight hours.   That brief glimpse into the homes of strangers when the door was opened was part of the thrill.   In those days you got the usual candy, sure, but also cooler treats, cookies and home baked pies and brownies and little cakes, the caramel apple (no razor blades, that urban myth was years in the future).   Nor would it ever have dawned on me to bring my mother along.   I would have been mortified.    All Hallows Eve was for ghoulies and ghosties and kids.

Halloween isn’t what it was, alas.

Current Mood: melancholy melancholy

The Dragons Take Wing

October 30, 2019 at 2:33 pm
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The dragons are coming… back.

Last night in Hollywood at the WarnerMedia Day, HBO made it official.    We have a green light for a GAME OF THRONES successor show… not just a pilot, but a full season order for ten episodes.   HOUSE OF THE DRAGON is the title of the new show, and needless to say it will be centered on House Targaryen, set a couple of centuries before the events of A SONG OF ICE & FIRE and based upon Archmaester Gyldayn’s imaginary history FIRE & BLOOD.

The new series will be helmed by a couple of great showrunners: RYAN CONDAL and MIGUEL SAPOCHNIK.

Miguel’s name will be well known to every GAME OF THRONES fan.   One of the hottest directors in television today, he directed five episodes for GOT, and won an Emmy and a DGA Award for his work on “Battle of the Bastards.”  Sapochnik will be directing the pilot… well, maybe it is more precise to call it “the first episode”… of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and doubtless a number of other episodes as well.   There’s no one better.

Ryan Condal is new to Westeros, but not to me.   I first met Ryan when he came to New Mexico to shoot a pilot for a fantasy western that was not picked up.  I visited his set and we became friendly.  Later Ryan created and served as showrunner for the SF series COLONY, and we had the honor of doing a premiere screening for the show at the Jean Cocteau.   He’s a terrific writer… and a fan of my books since well before we met.   He tells me that he discovered the series just after A STORM OF SWORDS was published, and “I’ve loved the books for 19 years.”   (He is also a huge fan of my Dunk & Egg stories.   In fact, that was the show he wanted to do initially, but I’m not prepared to bring Dunk & Egg to television until I’ve written quite a few more stories).  Working with Ryan on the development of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has been a dream.

The news is all over the internet by now, of course, so I won’t rehash the basics here.   But you can find good, informed accounts on a number of websites.  Check here:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-prequel-house-dragon-gets-hbo-series-order-1250974

https://ew.com/tv/2019/10/30/house-of-the-dragon-thrones/

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has been in development for several years (though the title has changed a couple of times during that process).  It was actually the first concept I pitched to HBO when we started talking about a successor show, way back in the summer of 2016.  If you’d like to know a bit more of what the show will be about… well, I can’t actually spill those beans, but you might want to pick up a copy of two anthologies I did with Gardner Dozois, DANGEROUS WOMEN and ROGUES, and then move on to Archmaester Gyldayn’s history, FIRE & BLOOD.

(For the autograph collectors among you, signed copies of all these books are available via mail order from the bookshop at my Jean Cocteau Cinema, https://jeancocteaucinema.com/shop/ )

Ryan Condal has already done a considerable amount of writing on HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, but a lot of work remains ahead of us.   There’s a writer’s room to be assembled, episodes to be broken down and scripted, a cast and crew to be assembled, budgets and production details to be worked out.   As yet, we don’t even know where we will be shooting… though I expect we will revisit at least some of the countries David & Dan used for GAME OF THRONES (Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Croatia, Morocco, Malta, and Spain).  I expect to be involved in all of this to some extent… and, who knows, if things work out, I may even be able to script a few episodes, as I did for the first four seasons of GAME OF THRONES.

But… let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered WINDS OF WINTER.  Winter is still coming, and WINDS remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes of HOUSE.

As exciting as the series order is, I would be remiss if I did not also mention the bad news.   HBO also announced that it has decided not to proceed with the other successor show we had in development, the one I kept calling THE LONG NIGHT (though it was, and remains, officially untitled), the pilot for which was shot in Northern Ireland last spring and summer.  Set thousands of years before either GAME OF THRONES or HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and centered on the Starks and the White Walkers, the untitled pilot was written by Jane Goldman, directed by S.J. Clarkson, and starred Naomi Watts, Miranda Richardson, and a splendid cast.   It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series.   Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her.   I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had  to do with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.  This was never an either/or situation.  If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and CHICAGO shows… well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters  for a dozen shows.   Heartbreaking as it is to work for years on a pilot, to pour your blood and sweat and tears into it, and  have it come to nought, it’s not at all uncommon.   I’ve been there myself, more than once.   I know Jane and her team are feeling the disappointment just now, and they have all my sympathy… with my thanks for all their hard work, and my good wishes for whatever they do next.

 

 

 

Current Mood: excited excited

Kale Kontest

October 19, 2019 at 9:30 am
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My tortoise Morla and Master P, the visiting peacock, are both unaccountably fond of the kale we put out. (They’re more than welcome to my share)

Current Mood: amused amused

Irish Book Awards

October 7, 2019 at 11:30 am
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The days are rushing by faster and faster, it seems.  We’re already into October and I haven’t yet mentioned all the highlights of our travels to London, Dublin, and Belfast in August.

One of those highlights, beyond a doubt, was when I was presented with the An Post Irish Book Award in Dublin.

The presentation was made at Dublin’s historic General Post Office, the center of the 1916 Easter Rising… the Irish Alamo.  The significance of the site was not lost on me, and inspired my remarks, which centered around history and the need to learn from it.

Accounts of the presentation can be found online at:

https://www.rte.ie/entertainment/2019/0820/1069905-george-rr-martin-to-receive-irish-book-awards

https://www.thebookseller.com/news/george-r-r-martin-wins-international-recognition-award-irish-book-awards-1070641

https://www.irishpost.com/news/game-thrones-author-george-r-r-martin-honoured-irish-book-awards-170445

In addition to the trophy shown in the photographs above, I was also presented with a marvelous bronze statue of the Irish warrior  hero Cuchulainn.

Current Mood: pleased pleased