Not a Blog

GRRM Talks JRRT

April 29, 2019 at 3:57 pm
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Modern fantasy would not exist without J.R.R. Tolkien and LORD OF THE RINGS… and that most definitely includes my own A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.   Tolkien’s work redefined fantasy, and all of us who have followed in his footsteps owe him a profound debt.

But who was the man behind the Shire, the Hobbits, and the One Ring?

TOLKIEN, the new motion picture about JRRT’s early life, aspires to answer that question.

I’m thrilled to say that I’m heading out to LA for the premiere, May 8 at the Regency Westwood Village.   After the film, I will be moderating a discussion and Q-and-A with stars Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, and director Dome Karukoski.

 

For those of you who cannot make it to the premiere in person, have no fear.   We’ll be streaming the Q&A on Facebook.

 Head to the TOLKIEN Facebook page (@TolkienFilm) and tune into the Live Stream that will start at 9PM PST. Here is the link to the Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/TolkienFilm/  

See you in the Shire!

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Countdown to Liftoff

March 21, 2016 at 7:45 pm
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Only ten more days remain until the close of nominations for the 2016 Hugo Awards, to be presented in Kansas City at MidAmericon II.

Are you a member of MidAmericon? Were you a member of Sasquan, last year’s worldcon in Spokane? Are you a member of the 2017 worldcon, to be held in Helsinki, Finland? If so, you’re eligible to nominate the books and stories and artists you loved best in 2015.

So, please… NOMINATE!

You can do it here: http://midamericon2.org/the-hugo-awards/hugo-nominations/

No fan of good will, no one who truly loves SF and fantasy and worldcon and fandom, wants a repeat of what happened to the Hugo Awards last year. I am not going to rehash that sorry mess; there’s no point to it, everything that needed to be said has been said, and a lot more besides. I would rather look to the future. Let’s restore the silver rocket to its former glory (and, by doing so, make a second round of Alfie Awards unnecessary) as a true measure of the year’s best work in imaginative literature.

I made my objections to the Puppy slates clear last year. This time around, the Sad Puppies at least changed from a slate to a recommendation list, to which I have no objections. I’ve looked at their list. There’s some great work on it. There’s some bad work on it, writers and books that I don’t think belong anywhere near a Hugo. And there’s a lot of books and stories that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet. The same could be said for most any list, however. There’s stuff on the Nebula shortlist I don’t like as well, and a lot of books on the LOCUS list that I have not read yet. (I will get to some of them. Too many books, too little time). Sad Puppies 4 played fair, in my estimation, and for that I commend them.

((The Rabid Puppies produced another slate. They have entirely different aims. And no, we will not discuss them here)).

And how about my own recommendations?

I’ve made a few. I did not issue them all at once, in a single list, but rather category by category over the past five months. I did not get to every category, and even with those I did, my recommendations are by no means exhaustive.

My intent, whenever I make a recommendation, is NOT to say, “Vote for this,” but rather, “Here’s something I really liked, take a look it it, you may find it deserving as well.”

Some of the other recommended reading lists are just lists of titles and names. Fine and good, I suppose, but I prefer to do a little more: to talk about the categories, the books, the authors, the artists and editors, and where I can to discuss WHY I think they deserve a nomination.

My posts are still up. For those who want to read them, here are links:

Short Fiction:
http://grrm.livejournal.com/476905.html

Professional Editor, Long Form:
http://grrm.livejournal.com/474144.html
http://grrm.livejournal.com/472316.html
http://grrm.livejournal.com/471834.html
http://grrm.livejournal.com/470764.html

Professional Editor, Short Form:
http://grrm.livejournal.com/471135.html

Professional Artist:
http://grrm.livejournal.com/462350.html

Graphic Story:
http://grrm.livejournal.com/460106.html

Related Work:
http://grrm.livejournal.com/458605.html

Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:
http://grrm.livejournal.com/453648.html

Dramatic Presentation, Long Form:
http://grrm.livejournal.com/452587.html

Novel:
http://grrm.livejournal.com/457140.html

If any of you go back and read those — and I hope you will — read the comments too. There are plenty of other recommendations to be found there, recommendations from my readers and friends. I am only one (overworked) guy, I can’t get to everything, it’s great to hear from other precincts. Especially when they tell you why they liked whatever it is they liked…

I did mean to get to some of the other categories. Alas, I failed. I am just not knowledgeable enough to make recommendations in some areas.

I did overlook some good choices even in the categories I covered. Naomi Novik’s UPROOTED is her best work to date, a very strong fantasy (though I had problems with the ending) and probably worth a nomination in Novel. I forgot about EX MACHINA when talking about Long Form Drama, but it’s a gripping and well done film, worthy of consideration. I recommended OUTLANDER for Short Form Drama, but it should be noted that the first season was telecast in two eight-episode arcs, and only the second eight are eligible, as the first eight were broadcast in 2014. I think JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR. NORRELL should be nominated in Long Form as a whole, rather than in Short Form, by episode, but others disagree.

Anyway… quibbles and additions aside… read, watch, consider… and please…

NOMINATE!

Reading for Rockets

April 12, 2015 at 5:18 pm
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I have blogged a great deal about Puppygate and this year’s Hugo ballot. However much I mislike how we arrived at this ballot, here it is and here it will remain, and we will have to deal with it. As I’ve said in my previous posts, I am not endorsing either of the NO AWARD responses, the “Vote NO AWARD on everything” nuclear option, or the milder “Rank All Puppy Nominees Below NO AWARD” alternative. But I certainly do intend to vote, and I urge all of you to do the same.

That means I have a lot of reading to do.

I am not going to report on everything I read on my Not A Blog. I have been a book reviewer and critic in the past, but I’m not one at present. Besides, I have never really liked writing killer reviews, or reading them, and I have the feeling that there will be lots of stuff on this year’s ballot that I will not like very much. Also, when reviewing something I feel an ethical obligation to read all of it, and I suspect I will not be reading every word of every story and book on this year’s ballot. You don’t have to eat a whole steak to know the meat is off. But I will at least sample everything that’s been nominated.

Anyway, I may share my thoughts here from time to time, as I read. If you don’t see something mentioned, it’s either because (1) I didn’t like it much, or (2) I haven’t gotten to it yet. No doubt my reading program will be aided by the Hugo Packet, where Sasquan sends that out… but as that has not happened yet, I decided to get a head start. (I read all the time in any case, so that’s no big change). I don’t think I am going to make formal endorsements here — “You should vote for this” — though I reserve the right to change my mind about that. And these will not be real reviews, as I said. Just me sharing a few thoughts.

Let me start with Best Novel.

The Big One, as I have called it in the past. Traditionally the last award to be given out on Hugo night, and the most important. The finalists are SKIN GAME by Jim Butcher, LINES OF DEPARTURE by Marko Kloos, THE DARK BETWEEN THE STARS by Kevin J. Anderson, ANCILLARY SWORD by Anne Leckie, and THE GOBLIN EMPEROR by Katherine Addison. The first three were Puppy picks, the last two were not. Just to provide some context, and be upfront about any predispositions I might have, let me state that I am very familiar with the work of both Jim Butcher and Kevin J. Anderson. I have never met Butcher in the flesh, to the best of recollection, but I’ve traded emails with him and bought stories from him for my anthologies. Kevin Anderson is someone I have known for decades, crossing paths with him at many conventions, on panels and at parties. I have never met either Marko Kloos or Katherine Addison, and in fact had never heard of either of them until this ballot. Anne Leckie won the Hugo last year for ANCILLARY JUSTICE, the prequel to this year’s contender. I may have met her at Loncon… but if I did, it was only in passing, and I don’t recall… I met a lot of people at LonCon.

Enough prelude. To the books. Or book, since I have only read one of them as of yet: Katherine Addison’s THE GOBLIN EMPEROR.

I liked it.

It’s a fantasy, a novel of court intrigue. Those of you who like that aspect of my own work will probably like THE GOBLIN EMPEROR as well. The characters were well drawn, especially the protagonist, who I found likeable and sympathetic. This is a “low magic” fantasy, something else it shares with GAME OF THRONES. In fact, there’s even less magic here than in my own books. No dragons to be found, and though there’s talk of ogres and trolls, we never see any. The setting is an Elvish empire, and the hero is the late elf emperor’s half-goblin fourth son, unexpectedly elevated to the throne by a tragedy. But Addison’s elves are not Tolkien’s elves, and her goblins are not Tolkien’s goblins, and in fact it is easy to forget that you are reading about elves and goblins entirely, since they all seem just like… well, like people. Which is actually fine by me, you know. I like reading about people.

Do I have cavils? Sure, a few. Some readers complain that my own books have too many characters, and maybe they do… but I swear, THE GOBLIN EMPEROR seems to have just as many, in a book maybe a third the size of one of mine. And the names… Addison has a very complex naming system, which is detailed in an appendix at the end of the book. It’s very well worked out and consistent, admirable really, but I confess, all those long complicated hard-to-pronounce hard-to-tell-apart names were giving me a headache after awhile, and I found myself yearning for a goblin named Bob to turn up somewhere (none ever did). Also — mild spoiler ahead here — while I loved all the court intrigue, I rather wished for a few more twists. The characters, while well drawn, all struck me as bit too predictable. The ones who seemed to be bad guys turned out to be the bad guys; the ones who seemed to be good guys were all okay. Maybe it’s just my own taste, but I would have liked for some of them to have fooled Maia (and me).

Oh, and I really wanted a map. It’s fantasy, got to have a map. I kept wanting to look up where all these places were, and there was no map.

Overall, though, I thought this was an enjoyable book. I am glad I read it, and if there’s a sequel I will read that as well. THE GOBLIN EMPEROR did not knock me out the way Emily St. John Mandel’s STATION ELEVEN (the book I was recommending for the Hugo last month) did, but since STATION ELEVEN is not on the ballot, that’s moot. I have yet to read the other four books that ARE on the ballot, so I don’t know what my final vote will be… but I know I won’t be voting NO AWARD. I’d not be at all displeased if THE GOBLIN EMPEROR claimed the rocket.

(Please keep all comments on topic).

R.I.P. Terry Pratchett

March 12, 2015 at 10:22 pm
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Terry Pratchett is gone, and the world of fantasy is that much poorer this morning.

The creator of Discworld, and author of more novels than I can dare to contemplate, Terry was one of our greatest fantasists, and beyond a doubt the funniest. He was as witty as he was prolific, and that's saying something. The BBC has an obituary for him here:

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-31858156

I cannot claim to have known Terry well, but I ran into him at dozens of conventions over the decades, shared a stage with him a few times, and once or twice had the privilege of sharing a pint or a curry. He was always a delight. A bright, funny, insightful, warm, and kindly man, a man of infinite patience, a man who truly knew how to enjoy life… and books.

terry

He is survived by Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Mort, Death, Death of Rats, Commander Vimes, the Librarian, Cohen the Barbarian, Rincewind the Wizard, the Luggage, and hundreds of other unforgettable characters, whose adventures will continue to delight and surprise readers all over the world for many years to come.

Terry Pratchett was one of the good guys. He'll be missed.

Peter Beagle Is Coming Back

March 10, 2015 at 12:42 pm
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The unicorns are coming! The unicorns are coming! (Back)

Yes, Peter S. Beagle is returning to the Jean Cocteau Cineman this weekend, and he’s bringing THE LAST UNICORN with him once again.

Peter visited us last year, and we had one of our most successful days ever at the Cocteau, with three sold-out screenings and a great signing. So we figured, hell, let’s do it again.

direwolf v unicorn

We’ll be screening THE LAST UNICORN at 6pm on Friday, March 13, and at 2pm and 7pm on Saturday, March 14. Advance tickets can be purchased through our website at http://www.jeancocteaucinema.com/
And of course Peter will be on hand in person, to answer questions, sign books and posters and videos, and tell his stories. (He tells wonderful stories. In person, and in print).

Peter_S._Beagle_(7271128160)

Come join us!

Carrie Is Coming

January 8, 2015 at 11:55 am
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We have another cool author event Monday night at the Jean Cocteau.

CARRIE VAUGHN will be driving down to Denver to join us for the evening.  We'll be having an hour of conversation and taking some questions from the audience, after which we'll adjourn to the lobby so Carrie can sign books.

carrielow mid

Carrie is best known as the author of the bestselling urban fantasy series KITTY AND THE MIDNIGHT HOUR and its many sequels, about the adventures of a werewolf talk show host.  LOW MIDNIGHT, her newest book, is a spinoff of sorts from the Kitty series, featuring one of the most popular of Kitty's supporting cast.

She has also been one of the mainstays of the revived Wild Cards series, creator of Earth Witch and Curveball and the whole American Hero concept that launched the "next generation" WC books in INSIDE STRAIGHT.  If you haven't sampled any of her Wild Cards work, check out her Earth Witch story on Tor.com: http://www.tor.com/stories/2014/10/nuestra-senora-de-la-esperanza-carrie-vaughn

She also has her own "superpowers" universe, as seem in AFTER THE GOLDEN AGE and DREAMS OF THE GOLDEN AGE, and has written some terrific stand-alone historicals for my anthologies DANGEROUS WOMEN and ROGUES.

An amazing writer, an amazing person.  Come meet her Monday night at 7pm, at the Jean Cocteau.

The Ice Dragon coming out today with New Art

October 21, 2014 at 8:00 am
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Today Tor is releasing THE ICE DRAGON back out into the wide world with brand new art by LUIS ROYO.

ice-dragon-cover-small

This message was brought to you by the Minions of Fevre River.

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Return of the Ice Dragon

July 30, 2014 at 4:01 pm
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My children's book THE ICE DRAGON — actually an illustrated and edited version of a short story that I wrote back in the 70s — has been out of print in the US for some time, as a number of my readers have informed me over the past year.

That's because Tor was preparing an entirely new edition, which I'm now thrilled to be able to announce.

Same story, but ALL NEW ARTWORK.  This edition of THE ICE DRAGON will be lavishly illustrated by award-winning fantasy artist LUIS ROYO.

Have a look at the cover:

ice-dragon-cvr

The new ICE DRAGON will be flying to a bookstore near you on OCTOBER 21 of this year!

Coolest Dragons Ever

February 10, 2014 at 4:52 pm
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Vermithrax-Pejorative
VERMITHRAX PERJORATIVE

Thehobbit-smaug-blog630-jpg_201437
SMAUG

game-of-thrones-10
DROGON

Gotta love them dragons.

I have long maintained that Vermithrax Perjorative was the coolest dragon ever put on film… but Peter Jackson's version of Smaug, from the second HOBBIT film, may have stolen his laurels.

And I gotta say, our own baby Drogon is growing up fast.

Beagles and Unicorns

January 28, 2014 at 12:40 pm
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You can't say enough about Peter S. Beagle.  One of the great masters of modern fantasy, author of THE LAST UNICORN, A FINE AND PRIVATE PLACE, LILA THE WEREWOLF, GIANT BONES, I SEE BY MY OUTFIT, and so much more… classic novels, moving novellas, terrific short stories… and he's just as wonderful a storyteller in person as he is on the page.

We were honored to have him as our guest at the Jean Cocteau Cinema last Saturday.  We screened the animated film of THE LAST UNICORN thrice to big crowds, and Peter and I talked about fantasy, his books, his film career, and his life for the better part of an hour.

You shoulda been there!

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photo by Tara Gibbens

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photo by Tara Gibbens

After each screening, Peter signed books, comics, artwork, and merchandise for his fans.  The man is tireless… and always charming.  A delight all around.  I suspect he signed his name hundreds, maybe thousands, of times on Saturday… but before we let him go, we made him sign a few more items for the cinema.  So we do have some autographed Peter S. Beagle books available at the Jean Cocteau for those who missed the event… while the supply lasts.  It won't last for long.  (We also have lots of signed books by yours truly, a few by Neil Gaiman, Michael Chabon, and Pat Conroy as well).

Beagle is a real rock star of fantasy, and he tours like one.  The day before he brought his travelling LAST UNICORN tour to Santa Fe, he was in Tucson… and as soon as he was done, he and Freff and Cat and the rest of his faithful minions packed up their vans and hit the road for Fort Collins, Colorado.   Check out the tour details at http://www.conlanpress.com/ and find out when Peter and Schmendrick and the Red Bull are coming to your corner of the lilac woods.

He is not to be missed.

Thanks so much, Peter.