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All Hail Our Artists

June 2, 2019 at 8:04 am
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I am a lucky guy in a lot of ways… one of them being that I get to work with some of the greatest SF and fantasy artists in the world.

ASFA has just announced this year’s finalists for the Chesley Awards, and I’m thrilled to note that Wild Cards and A Song of Ice and Fire both have artists among this year’s finalists.

Michael Komarck has been doing spectacular Wild Cards covers for Tor for years now, with way too little recognition, so it’s great to see that his cover for LOW CHICAGO is a finalist for Best Cover Illustration, Hardcover.   Marko Kloos’s Khan is the featured character.

The redoubtable John Picacio has no fewer than three nominations on this year’s Chesley ballot… all great, but of course my favorite is the illustration he did for “EverNight,” a Wild Cards story by Victor Milan on Tor.com.   It’s been nominated for Best Interior Illustration.

John tells me he was especially pleased by this nomination.   “I want to celebrate Vic, and I want people to remember him and his story.”

I speak for the whole Wild Cards Consortium when I say how lucky we are to have amazing talents like John Picacio and Michael Komarck bringing our characters to life.

Meanwhile, that other series of mine is also well represented on the Chesley ballot, with a nomination for John Jude Palencar’s 2019 Ice & Fire calendar as Best Product Illustration.   You can see the cover here, but there’s a lot more stunning Ice & Fire art inside.  JJP is one of the premiere artists in the field, and a joy to work with.

 

The entire list of this year’s Chesley nominees can he found here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/17afhGHSQ1c22ogC_LNr2wdx0qxD3SefO_90Sl94keqs/edit#

Congratulations to all the nominees.   I love fantasy art, and it’s nice to see some great work being recognized.

(Signed copies of LOW CHICAGO and the 2019 Palencar calendar are both available from the bookstore at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.  Vic Milan’s “EverNight” can be found and read on Tor.com, along with lots of other great Wild Cards stories).

Current Mood: happy happy

Thanks, New Zealand

May 21, 2019 at 8:20 pm
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I was surprised last night when Air New Zealand went to the internet to invite me down for a visit… to help me finish my book.

I cannot say I was not tempted.  New Zealand is a beautiful place.   As it happens, I have already visited there a number of times.   I’ve been to Auckland and Wellington and Christchurch and Rotoroa… and Hobbiton, of course.   I’ve gone whale watching (we never saw a whale, but there were hundreds of dusky dolphins), checked out the Te Papa, the Weta Workshop, the aquarium in Auckland, and a cool automobile museum somewhere near Wellington.   From Rotoroa I took a helicopter out to White Island, with its boiling mud pools and lovely lake of sulfuric acid.  (With Hobbiton and Mordor on the same island, you really ought to change your name to Middle Earth).   I’ve been to a few hangis too, and my minions have a video of me attempting to do a haka that they periodically use to blackmail me.

In short, I love New Zealand.  You don’t need to convince me.

And as it happens, I already have plans to return.   In the summer of 2020, Wellington is hosting the World Science Fiction Convention, the oldest and most important con in the SF/ fantasy calendar, and they’ve asked me to serve as Toastmaster for the Hugo Awards.   Writers, fans, and artists from all over the world will be headed down to check out all of your wonders.   I hope lots of you Kiwis will join us.

www.conzealand.nz

Of course, I was especially moved by your offer to bring me to New Zealand “on us.”  How wonderfully generous.   As it happens, I do have enough money to make it to New Zealand on my own… but there are many American writers, fans, and artists who do not.   If you’d care to fly, say, twenty or thirty or fifty of them to Wellington in place of me, I have no doubt they would instantly accept, and fall in love with Middle Earth.. er, New Zealand… just as I have.   And you have such big planes, I’m sure you could squeeze them in.

As for finishing my book… I fear that New Zealand would distract me entirely too much.   Best leave me here in Westeros for the nonce.   But I tell you this — if I don’t have THE WINDS OF WINTER in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done.   Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine.

 

 

Current Mood: amused amused

Stuff and Nonsense

May 4, 2019 at 9:24 am
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Just a few jots about various things going on these days, in my life and in the world at large.

Saw the new Avengers movie last night.  ENDGAME is amazing.  Kudos to the writers and director.  I cannot believe they got all those characters into one film, and still managed to do them all justice.   The final battle was epic, exciting, thrilling, full of twists and turns… and strangely beautiful.  But the character scenes earlier in the film really made it for me.   The opening with Hawkeye, the Ant-Man scenes, Tony Stark’s moments communing with his helm… so many more.  There’s plenty of action here, but this is not just A Big Dumb Action movie, of which there are far too many these days.   Stan Lee would have been proud.  Could he ever have dreamed that all those characters he and Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko and the rest of the Marvel team created in the early 60s would one day come to dominate global culture?  There’s an amazing story for you.

Oh… and yay for the rat.   The unsung hero.   They should make him an honorary Avenger.

On other fronts… my imaginary history book, FIRE & BLOOD, had a good long run on the NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller List, hanging on for more than three months in the top ten before finally sliding off.   But hey, hey, hey, as of this week, I’m back!   My Targaryen history has reappeared at #9 on the hardcover fiction list, up from #12.   You can’t keep a good dragon down.

(You can get autographed copies of FIRE & BLOOD from the bookstore at my Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe.  We also have signed copies of all my other books, as well as novels by many other writers… most recently, Alan Brennert and Marlon James).

The graphic novel of STARPORT, adapted and drawn by the talented Raya Golden from a television pilot I wrote in 1994, is also out, and doing nicely.   Raya did a beautiful job, and there’s a chance that there will be more STARPORT graphic novels coming your way in the future.  ((Based on my world and characters, but no, not written by me, I don’t have the time, so calm on down)).   Who knows?  Maybe even the TV series it was originally meant to be.  And wouldn’t THAT be wonderfully exciting.

Oh, and speaking of television, don’t believe everything you read.   Internet reports are notoriously unreliable.  We have had five different GAME OF THRONES successor shows in development (I mislike the term “spinoffs”) at HBO, and three of them are still moving forward nicely.   The one I am not supposed to call THE LONG NIGHT will be shooting later this year, and two other shows remain in the script stage, but are edging closer.   What are they about?  I cannot say.   But maybe some of you should pick up a copy of FIRE & BLOOD and come up with your own theories.

Purely as a viewer, no connection whatsoever, I am enjoying the hell out of the new HBO drama GENTLEMAN JACK.  Only two episodes in, but it’s very well done.  And of course, VEEP is as funny as ever… much funnier than real politics.

Out in the real world, I was pleased that Joe Biden finally announced his candidacy for president.   There are a lot of good Democrats running, maybe too many, and I’d probably vote for any one of them over the present blot upon the Oval Office.  The main things I want in a nominee, however, are twofold: (1) someone who can beat Trump, and (2) someone who would actually be a good/ great president.   Biden qualifies on both counts.  Also, the speech he gave announcing his run was kickass… and so, so true.  I wish him well.

Lots lots more going on, but I have pages to write.   ’nuff said.

 

 

 

Current Mood: busy busy

Clash of Kings Illustrated Edition

April 12, 2019 at 8:17 am
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We’re happy to be the first to show you the cover for Random House’s A Clash of Kings: The Illustrated Edition!

A stunning illustrated edition of the second book in the beloved A Song of Ice and Fire series, for fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones, published in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the book.

This special edition of A Clash of Kings–featuring a gracious forward by Bernard Cornwell and twenty-two gorgeous, original black-and-white illustrations by Lauren K. Cannon.

continues the series of anniversary releases of the iconic A Song of Ice and Fire novels that began with A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition.

on sale 11/5/2019

 

THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER.

Current Mood: pleased pleased

Hugo Recommendations – Best Professional Artist

February 18, 2019 at 1:19 pm
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Nominating for the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist is always especially difficult.   There are so many terrific talents working in science fiction and fantasy just now, it is next to impossible to settle on just four or five as being worthy of a nod.   Nonetheless, that’s the way it works, so…

Once again, I’ve had the honor of working with some astounding artists during the past year.   Let me bring a few of them to your attention.

MICHAEL KOMARCK, who has been the cover artist for most of the Wild Cards books since Tor revived the series, once again excelled this year, with knockout covers for both LOW CHICAGO and TEXAS HOLD ‘EM.   Take a look:

Komarck is a meticulous craftsman who always takes great care to get the characters right.  I can’t imagine anyone capturing Bubbles or Khan any better than he did on these covers.   It is truly past time that Komarck got another Hugo nod.

We had so many Wild Cards titles released last year that Tor brought in other artists to spell Komarck.   One of them was DAVID PALUMBO, who did the art for the reissue of ONE-EYED JACKS, featuring the Oddity.   Palumbo was also the artist for Bantam Spectra’s illustrated edition of NIGHTFLYERS: the cover and the gorgeous interior plates were all his.

Of course, no discussion of Wild Cards artists would be complete without a mention of JOHN PICACIO, who illustrates all of the stand-alone Wild Cards stories that appear on Tor.com.   Here are a couple of the pieces he produced last year, to illustrate Victor Milan’s “EverNight” and Max Gladstone’s “Fitting In.”

 

The biggest book I published during 2018 was not a Wild Cards mosaic, however: it was FIRE & BLOOD, the first volume of my imaginary history of the Targaryen kings of Westeros…. published on November 20 by Bantam in the US and HarperCollins Voyager in the UK in a stunning hardcover edition (still in the top ten on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list, some two months after publication, I am pleased to report).  The edition was extensively and lavishly illustrated by DOUG WHEATLEY.

 

Last… but certainly not least… let me draw your attention to JOHN JUDE PALENCAR, whose powerful (and disturbing) paintings for the 2019 SONG OF ICE AND FIRE calendar make it one of the strongest and most unforgettable in what I like to think has been a very distinguished series.  (Though the calendar covers 2019, it was first released at Comicon in July 2018, so the artwork therein is eligible for this year’s awards).   JJP’s take on Westeros and its denizens is like none other, and I have already arranged to buy several of his originals for my own walls.

(If you are one of the many who no longer uses wall calendars, but loves great art, you can get signed copies (signed by me, not the artist, alas) of the JJP calendar from the bookshop at my Jean Cocteau Cinema).

So there you are: Michael Komarck, David Palumbo, John Picacio, Doug Wheatley, John Jude Palencar.   Keep them in mind when making your Hugo nominations.   I know I will.

 

Current Mood: artistic artistic

Hugo Eligibility – Fire & Blood

February 2, 2019 at 8:09 pm
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I had a big new Westeros book published last year (official publication date November 20, 2018) — FIRE & BLOOD, covering the history of the Targaryen kings from Aegon’s Conquest to the regency of Aegon III.   It’s been doing rather well, thank you.   Debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and is still in the top ten two months later.  And just last week, we got a great review in KIRKUS, a notoriously tough journal.

The question of its Hugo eligibility is… well, trickier than usual.

FIRE & BLOOD is eligible, certainly.  But what category does it belong in?

There’s Best Novel, the “Big One”  A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, A FEAST FOR CROWS, and A STORM OF SWORDS were all nominated for the Best Novel Hugo in years past (they all lost, to be sure, but never mind).   In all of the promotional interviews I did leading up to the book’s release, however, I took pains to stress that FIRE & BLOOD was not a novel  but rather a work of imaginary history (I used to say “fake history,” but some of my readers objected).    I did not want anyone buying the book under the misapprehension that it was the latest volume in A SONG OF ICE & FIRE.   After saying over and over again “this is not a novel,” it would be rather disingenuous of me to accept a Hugo (should it win, which I must admit is rather unlikely) or even a nomination in the Best Novel category.

Alas, there is no Hugo category for “Best Imaginary History.”

It has been pointed out to me that the publication of FIRE & BLOOD makes me eligible for nomination in the new (relatively) Best Series category.   Well, yes, I suppose.  It depends on one’s definition of what constitutes a series.   Worldcon’s definition is considerably broader than my own, for what it’s worth.   Many SF writers have set their stories against a common background or “future history,” a term originated by Heinlein and popularized by Campbell.  My own Thousand Worlds stories fit that template, but I don’t consider them a series.   They share a background, but that’s all; except for the Tuf stories, there are no recurring characters, and the tales are set hundreds of years and hundreds of light years apart.   (The Haviland Tuf stories, a subset of my Thousand Worlds, ARE a series, as I define the term).  At the other extreme, you have what I’ll call “mega-novels,” stories spread across many books because of length.   Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RINGS was not a series, as I see it, but one long novel published in three volumes.

Those are my definitions, however.   Not worldcon’s.   The Hugo rules are much looser, and would seem to include future histories, mega-novels, and true series all in the same Best Series category.

For what it’s worth, I do not consider A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE to be a series.   It’s one story.   A huge complicated story, admittedly, one that will take seven volumes to tell (once I finish the last two).  And in any case, FIRE & BLOOD is not strictly speaking a part of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.   It’s imaginary history set hundreds of years before any of the characters in SONG were born.   Yes, I suppose if you bundle FIRE & BLOOD, the five ASOI&F novels, and the three Dunk & Eggs novellas (collected as A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS) together, you have a series of sorts.   I wouldn’t even know what to call it.   The Westeros series?  The Seven Kingdoms series?  Not GAME OF THRONES or ICE & FIRE, certainly.   So…

I don’t know.

So… if not Best Novel, and not Best Series, where would FIRE & BLOOD fit on the Hugo ballot?  If anywhere?

My suggestion: Best Related Work.

That seems to be the best description of what the book actually is.   It’s an imaginary history, related to five published ICE & FIRE novels, but not a novel and not a part of that story.   A WORLD OF ICE & FIRE, the concordance we published several years ago, was its closest precursor.   That volume got some nominations in Best Related Work, though it did not come close to making the final five.  But there’s a precedent of sorts, so…

If you read and enjoyed FIRE & BLOOD and would like to nominate it for a Hugo, I would urge you to consider Related Work rather than Novel or Series.   (If you haven’t read it yet, hey, you can still get autographed copies from the bookshop at the Jean Cocteau Cinema).

And while I am the subject of the Best Related Work Hugo, let me make a recommendation that has nothing whatsoever to do with my own work (though my name is mentioned once, fwiw): ASTOUNDING, by Alec Nevala-Lee, an amazing and engrossing history of John W. Campbell Jr and his authors, Isaac Asimov, L. Ron Hubbard, and Robert A. Heinlein.   Insightful, entertaining, and compulsively readable, it brings Campbell and his era back to life.   I thought I knew a lot about Astounding, Campbell, and his authors, but Nevala-Lee goes way way deeper than any previous history I’ve read, and his book is full of stuff I never knew.  Of course, I’d love to have my own book nominated (I value the Hugo more than any other award), but I suspect that ASTOUNDING will win the rocket in the end.   It certainly deserves to.

 

Current Mood: confused confused

Twenty Years?

December 19, 2018 at 7:43 pm
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It was twenty years ago today Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.   But for the guys in the band, it probably did not seem that long.

A GAME OF THRONES was published in 1996.   In 2016, to celebrate the twentienth anniversary, Bantam Spectra published a special deluxe leatherbound edition of the novel, lavishly and beautifully illustrated, with an introduction by John Hodgman.

The anniversary edition was a big success, and is still selling strongly two years later.   (If you’d like to snag an autographed copy, you can get one from the bookstore at the Jean Cocteau.   We are out of stock at the moment, but we have more on order, and I will be defacing them with my illegible scrawl as soon as they come in — which will, alas, probably not be in time for Xmas).

So… drum roll please… we’ve going to do it again.

The second volume of A Song of Ice and Fire, A CLASH OF KINGS, was published in 1999.   (Seems like yesterday, honestly.  And I still recall the three years between books, when readers would email me to ask what was taking so long for book two, since Other Fantasy Author [fill in your choice] put out a book a year, rain or shine, and why was I taking so long?  Sigh.   Those were the days, when I was only two years late).  Next year will mark the twentieth anniversary of its release, so Bantam Spectra will be doing a deluxe leatherbound edition of CLASH as well.

As with GOT, the anniversary edition will be lavishly illustrated with both color plates and black and white.

Our artist this time around will be an amazing young talent named LAUREN CANNON.   You can see some samples of her work on her own website, here:  http://navate.com/   I love her paintings, and we’re all looking forward to working with her, and seeing her unique take on my world and characters.

 

 

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

Two Weeks To Remember

December 10, 2018 at 11:08 am
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It’s been a couple of very exciting weeks for me and Archmaester Gyldayn.

My trip back east was a lot of fun, and hugely productive.   I got to have Thanksgiving with my family in Jersey for the first time in more than a decade, I checked in with my editors, publishers, and agents, I had a blast on LATE NIGHT WITH STEPHEN COLBERT… and I signed 1600 copies of FIRE & BLOOD for the big launch at Loew’s Jersey.   Being on the stage of that magnificent old movie palace with my friend John Hodgman, seeing my name on the marquee of a theatre where I saw BEN-HUR and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA as a kid in days gone by… there are no words for that.

And the fans were great as well.   Their excitement and enthusiasm was palpable.   My thanks to everyone who came out… and to all of you who were not able to get tickets as well.   Sorry about that.  (The Friends of the Loew’s hope to have their balcony restored for the next time I return, which will mean a thousand more seats).

FIRE & BLOOD was released the day after the Loew’s event, November 20… in the US, in the United Kingdom, and in various other countries around the world, where my translators had to work around the clock to get the translation done in time to allow simultaneous publication with the English editions.   A number of them did just that, and my hat is off to them.  Great work, folks.

No one really knew how well the book would do, least of all me.   It’s a Westeros book, yes… but not a traditional novel, and not part of the SONG OF ICE AND FIRE/ GAME OF THRONES  sequence.   How would my readers react to a book of imaginary history?

I’m thrilled to say that they have reacted very well.

FIRE & BLOOD debuted at #1 on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list, for hardcover fiction.

FIRE & BLOOD also debuted at #1 for the TIMES list in the United Kingdom.

I’m informed that we were also #1 in Brazil, #2 in Spain, #5 in Germany, and #8 in France.

(Other countries will need to wait on the translations).

Needless to say, I am thrilled.   My thanks go out to Anne Groell, Scott Shannon, and David Moench, my team at Bantam Spectra, to Jane Johnson at Harper Collins Voyager in the UK, to my amazing agents Kay McCauley and Chris Lotts, and to all my editors and publishers and translators around the world.    And thanks as well to the booksellers, without whose support those bestseller lists would not have been possible.

And most of all, my thanks go out to my fans and readers.   I know you want WINDS, and I am going to give it to you… but I am delighted that you stayed with me for this one as well.  Your patience and unflagging support means the world to me.

Enjoy the read.   Me, I am back in my fortress of solitude, and back in Westeros.   It won’t be tomorrow, and it won’t be next week, but you will get the end of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.  Meanwhile, you have the final season of GAME OF THRONES coming, and the new show that is not yet officially called THE LONG NIGHT being cast, and a couple more shows still being scripted… and a few other cool things in the works as well.

Winter is not the only thing that is coming.

Current Mood: excited excited

Another Precinct Heard From

January 16, 2017 at 3:39 pm
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Just signed contracts with TEAS Press for Azerbaijani editions of A Song of Ice and Fire. A first for me.

This marks the forty-seventh different language that Ice & Fire has been translated into. Not half bad. And moving in on the half-century mark.

Makes me wonder how many living languages we have on the planet at the moment. Not counting Klingon and Dothraki and other fictional tongues.

Game of Thrones: Season 5 at the Jean Cocteau #GrrMinionPost

March 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm
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Greetings from Ogre Jenni! I’m one of George's minions at Jean Cocteau Cinema, and I have an awesome announcement to make.

Beginning Monday, March 21st we will show free screenings of HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 5. We are not pre-selling the tickets online. The tickets (and seats) will be available on a first come first serve basis, and they must be obtained directly from our box office on the day of the screening.

There will most likely be a line going around the block, but while you are waiting we will bring food, coffee, signed copies of the Song of Ice and Fire books, and other goodies outside for you to purchase! We are also booking some geeky entertainment for you—not that waiting in line isn't fun in its own right.

We will host a costume contest before each screening, and we are giving away some cool Game of Thrones-themed prizes. So we hope to see plenty of Denaeryses, Hounds, Briennes, Sansas, Podricks, or even White Walkers at the screenings!

EPISODE SCHEDULE:

Monday, March 21st at 7:00 p.m. • Episodes 1 and 2
Monday, March 28th at 7:00 p.m. • Episodes 3 and 4
Monday, April 4th at 7:00 p.m. • Episodes 5 and 6
Monday, April 11th at 7:00 p.m. • Episodes 7 and 8
Monday, April 18th at 7:00 p.m. • Episodes 9 and 10

As you might know, Game of Thrones: Season 6 premieres exclusively on the HBO channel Sunday, April 21st. Check out HBO's website for more information.

See you at the Cocteau!

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