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Rest in Peace, Roy

October 17, 2017 at 6:30 pm
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The world became a little poorer this week. Roy Dotrice has died. He was ninety-four.

Roy first took up acting in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II, and went on to become one of the giants of British stage and screen, decorated by the Queen. He set a record for his one-man play BRIEF LIVES, and performed the key role of Mozart’s father in the film of AMADEUS, among a hundred other credits. He was a supremely gifted actor.

He was also my friend. He lived in the United Kingdom and I lived in New Mexico, so we did not see each other often, but whenever we did get together, it was a delight. I will always treasure the memory of the dinner I shared with Roy and his wife Kay (who passed away a few years ago) at his club, the Garrick, a centuries-old haunt of the legends of the British stage. That was a truly amazing evening. The last time I saw Roy was in Los Angeles, however, at the party his daughter threw him on the occasion of his 90th birthday.

Many of the news stories about Roy’s death identified him as a GAME OF THRONES cast member. He was that, of course. He played the pyromancer Hallyne in two episodes during our second season… and, as with everything he did, he played him wonderfully.

Truth be told, Roy might have had a much larger role in the series. When we first cast the show, he was our choice to play Grand Maester Pycelle, and I have no doubt that he would have been magnificent in that role. Sadly, health problems forced him to bow out. Julian Glover stepped up and performed admirably in his stead, but sometimes I still wonder at what might have been.

Roy’s association with GAME OF THRONES runs far deeper than the television series. He was also the reader of the audiobooks of all five volumes of the series… though calling him a “reader” does not truly reflect his work. Roy performed those books. He gave every character his (or her) own distinctive voice, despite the fact that there were hundreds of them. So many, in fact, that the Guinness Book of World Records recognized him for voicing the most characters in an audibook for his work on A GAME OF THRONES, a record he still holds today (though actually I suspect he broke it himself for his readings of the later books).

I loved what Roy did on the audiobooks. He did not just read my words aloud, he brought them to life, in a way few actors could. And the fans agreed. Roy did the audiobooks for A GAME OF THRONES, A CLASH OF KINGS, and A STORM OF SWORDS, to great acclaim. When it was time to record A FEAST FOR CROWS, however, he was unavailable. Off doing a play in Birmingham, I was told. So my publishers used another reader. But the fans were having none of it. After the audiobook of FEAST was released, Random House received so many complaints that they had no choice but to go back and re-record the book with Roy, and release a second version. So of course when it was time to tape A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, there was never any question as to who would read it.

With Roy gone, I have no idea who will can possibly get to do the audiobooks for THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING. But whoever it is, they will have a hard, hard act to follow.

For all the great work he did on A SONG OF ICE & FIRE, my own memories of Roy Dotrice go back earlier, to the three years we worked together on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST for CBS. Great memories, for me; that was a wonderful show, and a joy to work on. We had an amazing team of writers, and of course a terrific cast, with the likes of Jay Acovone, Linda Hamilton, Jo Anderson, the incredible Ron Perlman… and Roy, of course, as Father. It was an honor and a privilege to write for him.

Those years on B&B meant a lot to Roy as well. Just last month, he posted a farewell messages to all the BEAUTY AND THE BEAST fans around the world. You can find it on YouTube:

Such a fine actor. Such a sweet man.

Everyone who knew him is sad today.

Current Mood: sad sad

Keep Listening

February 26, 2016 at 5:59 am
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Chrysalis SELMA BLAIR
Ti Malice NICHOLAS GUY SMITH
Xbalanque NOEL BEARHEART
Hunapu OZZIE RODRIGUEZ
Troll RICHARD MOLL
Peregrine KATHLEEN TURNER
G.C. Jayewardene SANJIT DE SILVA
Cordelia Chaisson KASEY LANSDALE
Fortunato PRENTICE ONAYEMI
Lady Black DONNABELLA MORTEL
Mackie Messer P.J. OCHLAN
Molniya ADRIAN PAUL
Sara Morgenstern EMILY CARD RANKIN
Dr. Tachyon RAPHAEL SBARGE
Polyakov STEFAN RUDNICKI

It was quite a jigsaw puzzle, with recording taking place over the world, but we think the result will be worth it.

And we’re moving right on to DOWN & DIRTY, where a number of the cast members will be reprising their roles.

Listen To This

January 11, 2016 at 3:08 pm
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Got some exciting news for Wild Cards fans… and for fans of audiobooks.

We’ve got a new deal in place for Wild Cards audiobooks. This time we’ve signed with Random House Audio, the same good folks who have been bringing you the great audiobook versions of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, as well as ROGUES, DANGEROUS WOMEN, and my other anthologies.

Brilliance Audio did the audio editions of the first two volumes in the series, WILD CARDS and ACES HIGH, the last one coming out in 2011. Random House will be picking up the series with the third volume, JOKERS WILD, the first of our full-on mosaic novels.

Luke Daniels was the reader for the two Brilliance volumes, and did a fine job. But as long time fans of the series know, the Wild Cards books are team efforts featuring interwoven stories by a number of different writers set against a common background. Even in a shared world, however, not everything is shared; every writer has his own characters, and every character has his own voice.

Random House Audio wants to capture that with these new audiobooks. Instead of a single reader, therefore, JOKERS WILD and the volumes to follow will feature a multiplicity of narrators, a different voice for every viewpoint character.

JOKERS WILD, the first of our full mosaics, is a seven-way collaboration, set on the fortieth anniversary of the first Wild Cards Day in New York City. All the action takes place in twenty-four hours, and is seen through seven sets of eyes. The writers (and their respective viewpoint characters) were Lewis Shiner (Fortunato), Melinda M. Snodgrass (Roulette), John Jos. Miller (Wraith), Edward Bryant (Sewer Jack), Leanne C. Harper (Bagabond), Walton Simons (Demise), and your truly (Hiram Worchester).

We’ve assembled a very exciting group of readers to give them voice. You’ll hear:

Prentice Onayemi, reading Fortunato,
Pam Grier, reading Roulette,
Molly Quinn, reading Wraith,
Ray Porter, reading Sewer Jack,
Felicia Day, reading Bagabond,
Stephen McHattie, reading Demise,
Ron Donachie, reading Hiram Worchester.

Recording is taking place in London, Edinburgh, Denver, Taipei, Toronto, Burbank, and Los Angeles; we went all around the world to assemble this team.

I can hardly wait to hear how this amazing group of actors bring our characters to life.

Podcast from Greywater

June 10, 2015 at 11:53 pm
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A million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I looked more or less like the guy in the picture there, (1972, actually), I took a train down from Chicago, where I was living and working at the time, to Kansas City. There, at the very first KC science fiction convention, MidAmericaCon (not to be confused with the later worldcon, MidAmericon), I met Howard Waldrop. H’ard and I had been corresponding for almost a decade, since the fall of 1963, when I bought a copy of BRAVE AND BOLD #28 from him for a quarter. But he lived in Texas, and I lived in New Jersey, and never the twain had met.

Till KC.

We were both fledgling sf writers at the time, each of us with a few short story sales under our belt. When we met, we did what fledgling writers often did in those days: we decided to write a story together. We actually left the Playboy Club atop the con hotel to begin it. (Probably just as well. Beers were real expensive up there, I recall — a whole quarter).

We only wrote a few pages at the con, but we kept at it afterwards, sending the manuscript back and forth, until it was done. “Men of Greywater Station,” we called it. Pretty much everybody in the field rejected it until it finally got to the lowest paying magazine, where it was purchased and, finally, published. The readers seemed to like it well enough.

Howard and I remain close friends to this day, but we never collaborated again. Our styles were just too different. But it was fun doing it once.

And now, all these years later, it’s been done as a podcast by Starship Sofa:

http://www.starshipsofa.com/blog/2015/06/03/starshipsofa-no-389-george-r-r-martin/

Check it out for yourself. It’s free, and I thought they did a nice job.

OLD VENUS Audio

May 4, 2015 at 3:55 pm
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Any audiobook fans out there?

Somehow, with Puppygate and the Cocteau and travel and cons WILD CARDS and (yes!!!) working on WINDS, I neglected to mention the OLD VENUS audiobook, which came out a few months ago.

So I am mentioning it now. We have a really astonishing line-up of readers on this one. Take a look for yourself:

Gardner Dozois Introduction & Author Bios SCOTT BRICK
Joe Haldeman !œLiving Hell! W. MORGAN SHEPARD
Garth Nix !œBy Frogsled and Lizardback!¦! HARRY LLOYD
Michael Cassutt !œThe Sunset of Time! MATT FREWER
Allen Steele !œFrogheads! JAKE WEBER
David Brin !œThe Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss ! WIL WHEATON
Matthew Hughes !œGreeves and the Evening Star! STEPHEN FRY
Tobias Buckell !œPale Blue Memories! PRENTICE ONAYEMI
Lavie Tidhar !œThe Drowned Celestial! ROY DOTRICE
Joe R. Lansdale !œThe Wizard of the Trees! MICHAEL DORN
Ian McDonald !œBotanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts…” DAME DIANA RIGG
Eleanor Arnason !œRuins! MANDY WILLIAMS
Paul McAuley !œThe Planet of Fear! TISHA DONNELLY
Elizabeth Bear !œThe Heart’s Filthy Lesson! JANIS IAN
Gwyneth Jones !œA Planet Called Desire! JAKE STORMOEN
Stephen Leigh !œBones of Air, Bones of Stone! GETHIN ANTHONY
Mike Resnick !œThe Godstone of Venus! RON DONACHIE

Happy listening.

Lose Some, Win Some

February 21, 2015 at 12:41 pm
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So GAME OF THRONES failed to win either of the Writers Guild Awards it was nominated for. Congrats to THE GOOD WIFE and TRUE DETECTIVE and all the other winners.

All is not lost on the awards front, however. ROGUES won a Stabby!

The Stabby is given by the folks on Reddit. ROGUES won as last year’s best anthology. Which is very cool. Thank you, Redditters. And thanks to my co-editor, Gardner Dozois, and to an amazing lineup of writers, whose talents made the book what it was.

Rogues comp A March 17 lo res

The trophy is very cool as well: an engraved dagger. I have not received mine yet, but here’s a picture of someone else’s:

stabby

I am informed that Gardner Dozois and I will both receive one of these. I’ll post a picture when it turns up. And it will be great to have an award that I can use to stab my enemies. Battering them to death with my Hugos just takes too long.

For a full list of the Stabby winners, go to:
http://www.reddit.com/r/Fantasy/comments/2rh018/best_of_rfantasy_2014_the_results_thread/

Meanwhile, on other fronts, we’ve also been informed that the audiobook of DANGEROUS WOMEN (the previous massive crossgenre anthology that Gardner and I put together) has been nominated for an Audie Award. We’re a finalist in the category of Short Story Collections. For a full list of nominees, check out: https://www.audiopub.org/Audies15/2015_Audie_Awards_Release.pdf

Thanks again to Gardner and to our writers, to Janet Stark and all the great folks at Random House Audio, and to the amazing cast of voice actors and readers they assembled: Claudia Black, Scott Brick, Karen Dotrice, Jonathan Frakes, Iain Glen, Janis Ian, Stana Katic, Inna Korobkina, Jenna Lamia, Lee Meriwether, Emily Rankin, Maggi-Meg Reed, Fred Sanders, Allan Scott-Douglas, Sophie Turner, Harriet Walter, and Jake Weber.

Audiobooks Times Three

June 9, 2012 at 5:37 pm
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Some cool news for those of you who like listening to books as well as reading them… Random House Audio will be producing brand-new audiobook versions of three of my older novels. If you’re not familiar with any of the work I did before A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE… well, here’s your chance to sample some of it.

And we’ve got some great narrators lined up to read the books as well… names that should need no introduction for fans of HBO’s GAME OF THRONES series.

RON DONACHIE (Ser Rodrik Cassel) will be reading my historical horror novel, FEVRE DREAM.

MICHELLE FAIRLEY (Lady Catelyn Stark) will read WINDHAVEN, the SF adventure I wrote with my dear friend and collaborator Lisa Tuttle.

IAIN GLEN (Ser Jorah Mormont) will be doing the honors and reading my first novel, DYING OF THE LIGHT, a romantic SF tale set in my “Thousand Worlds” history.

These won’t be out for a while yet — recording sessions have to be scheduled, etc — but I will be sure and let you know when they are, so you can give a listen.

It’s a thrill for me to have these three great actors bringing my characters to life again.

You Asked For It

March 24, 2011 at 8:08 pm
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And so did I, for that matter.

Good news for all you audiofans out there.

Bantam has informed me that world record holder Roy Dotrice has been signed to read the audiobook of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. Schedules are being set even as I type.

Roy has always been my first choice as reader, and always will be. He did a great job with the first three books in the series, setting that world record along the way, and I know he will delight us all with DANCE as well.

And it's in no small part thanks to all of you. After FEAST came out, I received hundreds of emails wanting to know why Roy was not the reader and demanding his return. So now he's back.

We aim to please.

Roy Sets a Record

March 11, 2011 at 12:42 pm
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Congratulations to my friend Roy Dotrice, who has been officially awarded a world’s record for his audibook performance of A GAME OF THRONES.

They sent him a certificate and everything:

(I especially like the stain on the certificate, obviously meant to suggest the ring left by a mug of Guinness Stout).

Of course, I am not sure how long this particular record will stand. In fact, I think Roy may well have broken it already with his recordings for A CLASH OF KINGS and (especially) A STORM OF SWORDS. But I will leave the Guinness people to sort that out.

And, yes, yes, we are doing all we can to make sure it is Roy Dotrice who will record the audiobook for A DANCE WITH DRAGONS. He was my choice to begin with, and remains so. So you can all stop sending me emails and messages. I’m with you.