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British Fantasy Awards

March 21, 2010 at 2:10 pm
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The British Fantasy Society has released its Long List of nominees for its 2010 awards.

It is a very long list, mind you, but I am pleased to say that SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH is among the nominees for Best Anthology, and three of the stories therein have been nominated as well — Matthew Hughes and Walter Jon Williams in Best Novella, and Robert Silverberg in Best Short Story. (There is no “novelette” category in the BSFS awards. Not sure what the word limits are).

The full list can be seen at:

Congratulations to Matthew, Walter, and Bob.

The next step for the BSFS is to whittle this Long List down to five finalists in each category for the Short List.

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Grey Days

March 18, 2010 at 12:19 pm
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Strange days here in Santa Fe. One night we get a blizzard that dumps six inches of snow on us, the next day is so bright and warm that the snow is gone by noon. Many grey days, damp, overcast, chilly without being freezing. Winter is holding on.

I cannot seem to shake this crud. Taking vitamin D and C, taking various cold remedies and allergy meds, and all of them help, but I’m still congested and coughing. It’s more annoying than anything else. The worst part is how tired it makes me feel. Just when I most need to be shifting into high gear, I have no bloody energy. Not much good work getting done.

Ty is on vacation too, visiting Minnesota with his lovely wife. So stuff is piling up here, and I seem further behind with every passing day.

Plus bad news on various fronts that I cannot talk about.

Ah, don’t mind me. I’m just in a fool mood.

I’m going back to the DANCE. I need to kill someone.

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Suvudu Cage Matches, Round Two

March 17, 2010 at 6:22 pm
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The great Suvudu cage match continues.

In round one, Jaime Lannister made short work of short stuff Hermione Granger, thanks in large part of all of you. Thanks!

In round two, however, Jaime faces somewhat larger opposition. The big green guy himself, Cthulhu of R’lyeh.

To read Suvudu’s account of their clash, and register your vote, go to:

As for my own version of how things might go, here ’tis:

“Books?” Jaime said. “How can books help me in a fight?”

“They can tell you more about this thing you’re fighting.” Tyrion dumped the dusty tomes down on the table.

“Cthulhu,” said Jaime. “It sounds like the noise old men make when they’re bringing up phelgm.” He rummaged through the books with his good hand. They had odd titles, in languages he did not know, though he was not surprised his brother did. “Abdul Alhazared,” he pronounced, leafing through a few pages. “This is written in gibberish. What tongue is this?”

“A fair question,” said Tyrion, “to which I have no answer. That comes from the shadowlands beyond Asshai. But here, look at this. It is a translation of a translation of a translation, I understand.” The dwarf flipped through the pages, until he found the one he wanted. “And there are illuminations. Here. This is Cthulhu.”

Jaime stared. “That?”


“It’s as big as Casterly Rock.”

“Bigger. If Casterly Rock fell on its head it might not even notice.”

“Seven bloody hells.” Even if he still had two good hands, Jaime Lannister was not certain how he was supposed to fight something like that. “Those tentacles… this thing looks as though it just ate twenty giant krakens, but hasn’t quite finished swallowing them yet.” He sat down, and began turning pages. “Maybe if I had a dragon… “

“Maybe if you had a hundred dragons.” Tyrion sat cross-legged on his stool and began rummaging through another book, called Mysteries of the Worm.
“Read. I’ll do the same. You haven’t much time.”

“I suppose not,” Jaime admitted. “What am I looking for?”


Jaime looked at the picture of Cthulhu again. “It has eyes,” he said. “A vulnerable point, perhaps. A spear through the eye will kill a dragon.” How could he reach the eyes, though? The thing was taller than the Wall. “A rope and a grapnel… I could scale the damned thing, as if it were a mountain… but I’d need too good hands to pull myself up…” He did not have two good hands.

“You could have twenty good hands,” said Tyrion. He did not even look up from his book. “The tentacles would catch you and pull you apart like a wishbone.” He turned another page. “You had best start reading, if you ever want to fuck our sweet sister again.”

Jaime started reading. It was not at all his favorite pastime, but he saw his little brother’s point.

The better part of an hour passed before he looked up. “Here’s something,” he said. “Elder signs.” He turned the book around and showed it to Tyrion.

The dwarf scratched at his nose, considering. “Hmmm. Yes. Protective wards. Those could be useful.”

“I can paint one on my shield,” said Jaime.

“On your shield and all over your armor,” suggested Tyrion. “But paint can be stripped away too easily. Have these Elder Signs etched into the metal.”

“Agreed.” Jaime rose and summoned his armorer and set him to work. “Along my sword as well,” he told the man. “Both sides.”

Tyrion was still reading. “That’s unfortunate.”

“What?” Jaime poured each of them a cup of wine. This reading was thirsty work.

“Well, it says here that the mere sight of this Cthulhu will drive you mad with terror.”

Jaime laughed. “What, me?” He took a sip of wine. “Sometimes a little terror just makes a man fight harder.”

“They’re talking about a lot of terror,” said the dwarf. “Not the fight-harder kind, alas. The shit-your-breeches-and-curl-up-in-a-ball kind.”

Now that was really vexing. Even covered with Elder Signs, how could he be expected to fight the damn thing if he could not even look at it? “Do I need to go into battle blind?” he asked his brother. “There was Symeon Star-Eyes, true, but he had years of experience fighting sightless. I do not. How do I even find the bloody thing?”

“Well, I imagine there will be a smell,” said Tyrion. His frown deepened. “It would appear you can’t kill it either.”

“A thrust through the eye… ” insisted Jaime, clinging to that hope.

“… is like to inconvenience it, but the thing’s already dead, or undead, or… Listen to this. That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons even death may die.”

“I doubt that I can wait aeons,” said Jaime. “So the thing’s a god, is it?”

“Pretty much.” Scowling, Tyrion turned more pages. Then he grinned. “Oh, hold on. Here is it.”

“What now?” asked Jaime.

“It’s sleeping.” Tyrion tapped the page. “Says so right here. And in the other book as well. Cthulhu is sleeping in R’yleh beneath the sea.”

“How does that help us?” asked Jaime.

“Well,” said Tyrion, “let’s not wake it. If Cthulhu doesn’t turn up, you win the match by default. Big fellow like that needs its sleep. I’d hate to disturb its dreaming, wouldn’t you?”

“We all need to dream,” said Jaime, with a wry smile. “But someone will want to it wake it up, I fear.”

“A lot of someones,” the dwarf confessed. “There’s heavy coin down on the big guy.”

He was not wrong. When Jaime strode onto the battleground beside the sea, he found more than twenty of them: priests and acolytes with bulging eyes, fish-belly white skin, receding chins, and the odd gill or two. The moment they saw him, they all started chanting, “Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn,”and dancing about in a circle, their pale limbs flopping. Their eyes were all on the waves. None of them paid the least bit of attention to Jaime… until he shrugged off his cloak and let it puddle to the ground, revealing the golden armor beneath, covered over head to heel with Elder Signs.
Then they started shrieking. Smiling happily, Jaime donned his helm, and unsheathed his longsword.

The priests were slow and clumsy, at least on land. None of them were armed, and his blade went through their pale soft flesh like a fishwife’s knife through a fresh catch, the Elder Signs along its length brightening with each kill. Green ichor splattered everywhere. Before long the ground was slippery with scales and webbed hands and stinking fish innards. No one was chanting anymore.

Cthulhu never showed. Jaime hoped it was having a nice dream. Maybe it has a sweet sister too.

“I think you’ve won this one,” said Tyrion, as the sun was going down. There was no one left to dispute it. “Let’s go collect our winnings. You won’t believe the odds I got on you, brother.”


As before, post your thoughts and comments on Suvudu for your fellow fight fans. Not here, please.

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On Sale Today

March 16, 2010 at 1:07 pm
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WARRIORS was officially released today, and should be available at your favorite local bookstore.

For the latest adventure of Dunk & Egg, a new Lord John story from Diana Gabaldon, an Emberverse tale from S.M. Stirling, and original stories by Joe Haldeman, Howard Waldrop, David Morrell, Tad William, Naomi Novik, Lawrence Block, James Rollins, Robin Hobb, and many many others, go ye forth and snag a copy.

Enjoy the read!

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Creeping Crud

March 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm
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Been fighting the crud for the past week. Nothing major, just annoying. Started as a slight sore throat which crept down into my chest and now has me hacking up phlegm. The sore throat is gone now and I keep expecting the rest to be gone any day now, but the damn thing is lingering. Pisses me off. It is slowing me down at the time when I desperately need not to be slowed down. I’m running at maybe 75%, my sleep cycle is screwed to hell, and I am tiring much too easily.

Well, never mind. *cough cough*

Aside from that, life is good.

The Jets seem to have acquired LaDamian Tomlinson. Good for them, I guess. I still refuse to call him LT. There’s only one LT and his name is Lawrence Taylor. Tomlinson can be LD. I hope he can still run. Replacing Thomas Jones won’t be easy.

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Hugo Nomination Deadline

March 12, 2010 at 11:13 pm
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Just a reminder: tomorrow is the last day to get in your Hugo nominations for works first published in 2009. There’s an online nominating ballot on the Aussiecon 4 website at

If you were a member of Anticipation, last year’s Montreal worldcon, you can nominate without being a member of Aussiecon 4. Of course, all members of Aussiecon 4 can nominate as well.

I know I sound like a broken record about this, since I say the same thing every year… but nominating is the most important part of the whole process, IMNSHO. Lots of people vote every year, choosing one of the five finalists in each category, but only a comparative handful bother to nominate and determine who gets on that final ballot. It IS an honor just to be nominated — and can be a career boost as well, especially for a new writer. If you look at the results released each year after the Hugos, you’ll see that in many many cases a single nomination makes the difference between who makes the cut and who doesn’t.

So NOMINATE, folks. If you don’t, don’t complain to me about the final ballot.

As to what you should nominate… well, that’s up to you, of course.

In past years I’ve done a whole series of posts about books, stories, writers, and artists who I thought who were worthy of nomination. This year I don’t have the time… and anyway, those postings never seemed to have much effect. So let me just say that I still think Michael Komarck deserves a place on the Best Professional Artist list, that Ian Tregillis would make a terrific nominee for the Campbell Award, that Daniel Abraham’s THE PRICE OF SPRING was surely one of last year;s best novels, and that all the stories in SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH are eligible in their respective categories (short story, novelette, novella), and that THIS IS ME, JACK VANCE! should be considered for Best Related Book.

I liked WATCHMEN too, and hope it makes the list in Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, although I fear that nothing will withstand the AVATAR juggernaut.

Now go ye forth and nominate. The clock is ticking.

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Want to Work on A GAME OF THRONES?

March 12, 2010 at 1:10 pm
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I get emails all the time from fans who want to be part of the filming.

Well, now’s your chance.

It would help if you live in Northern Ireland. Or at least the UK or the Republic of Ireland. Some actual experience in film or television production would be good as well. I’m sorry, it really doesn’t matter how much you love my books if you live in South Dakota and have no experience.

Anyway, here’s the skinny:

If you want to apply, please note the instructions therein and follow them precisely. DO NOT SEND EMAILS OR RESUMES TO ME! I will not be hiring anyone. Nor am I willing to write recommendations for people I have never met, no matter how sincere or enthusiastic you may be.

If this is something you really want, though, hey, take a shot. Can’t hurt. Who knows, perhaps the stars will align, and YOU will end up being Floor Runner #2.

(No, I don’t know what Floor Runner #2 does either. Possibly that’s British for what we called “gopher” when I was in Hollywood. Something to do with running about the floor, at a guess).

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Suvudu Cage Match

March 12, 2010 at 12:28 pm
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The results are in for the first two brackets of the Suvudu cage matches.

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Meanwhile, brackets three and four are still on-going, and Jaime Lannister is locked in his death struggle with that witch from Hogwart’s. You can weigh in at:

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Fond Memories of Spain

March 12, 2010 at 12:23 am
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One thing I’m really really bad at is writing trip reports. I always have good intentions, especially when headed overseas, but whenever I get back from a long trip I find myself buried in emails, bills, snail mail, deadlines, and other pressing matters, and by the time I dig myself out from under it’s time to get back to work.

I was sorting through some of my photos this evening, however, and I came across some pictures from our visit to Spain in 2008 that brought back some wonderful memories. The Spanish fans were really amazing, and the annual summer literary festival in Gijon, Semana Negra, is like no other event I’ve ever been to. If you ever get a chance to attend, do. Parris and I have been twice now, and I expect we’ll be back again someday.

Meanwhile, although it’s way too late to write a trip report, I thought I would share some of the pictures with you guys.

Here’s a panel from Semana Negra. Me and Scott Bakker and Diego, the most amazing translator.

This was from a party that the Spanish fans threw for me in Gijon. Many of them were in costume. Herewith me and a mass o’ Melisandres.

And here’s Parris with the men of the Night’s Watch:

Some of the men of the Night’s Watch were actually women, of course. (Damn, why didn’t I think to make Jon Snow a really cute girl?)

This one breaks my heart. It’s me with the specially engraved sword that was presented to me by the members of the fan group Asshai.

Alas, this was one of the swords that was stolen when my office was burglarized last year.
Since it’s engraved to me, I actually hoped the cops might be able to recover it, but of course not. If anyone ever sees a sword like this in a flea market or pawn shop… well, it won’t be hard to recognize with the engraving…

There’s lots more fond memories that I don’t have pictures for… but Spain is an amazing place, and we WILL be back one day.

(Portugal was great as well. I’ll post those pictures next).

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Coming to Chicago

March 10, 2010 at 2:34 pm
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Now it can be told. I’ll be headed back to Chicago (my old stomping grounds, in my younger days) next month, April 16-18, as a guest of Avatar Press at C2E2, the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo. For more details check out

and the rest of the C2E2 website.

Avatar is bringing me in to help promote the debut of their adaptation of my historical horror novel FEVRE DREAM, due out that month. They’re doing the novel as a ten-issue miniseries, scripted by Daniel Abraham, with art by Rafa Lopez. I’ll be doing the usual round of panels and readings, and also spending a lot of time at the Avatar booth in the dealer’s room, signing copies of the first issue of FEVRE DREAM and whatever else you might want me to sign.

See you there, I hope!

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