Not a Blog

Now Shipping

June 17, 2010 at 6:01 pm
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Green Ronin has just released the new Campaign Guide for its SONG OF ICE AND FIRE ROLE-PLAYING GAME. The book is now shipping, and should be available soon at your favorite game store. It can also be ordered directly from:

The cover, featuring the Kingslayer and the Iron Throne, is another spectacular piece of work from Michael Komarck.

Happy gaming!

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Stuff and Nonsense

June 16, 2010 at 12:34 pm
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Busy days.

The reaction to the teaser that HBO ran before TRUE BLOOD has been amazing. Of course, it’s turned up all over the internet, and people are analyzing it frame by frame. Makes me wonder what it would have been like in those dark days before Tivo and YouTube, when those fifteen seconds would have flashed by once, with no way to rerun ’em, let alone freeze frame.

Casting continues apace. Mycah, Janos Slynt, Gendry, Tobho Mott, Old Nan, Shagga, Syrio, Marillion, Doreah, Alliser Thorne, Grenn, Pyp, Rast, Osha… oh, why oh why did I invent so many blasted characters??? Didn’t I know what it would cost? Oh, wait… in a book, a cast of thousands and a cast of two costs the same. For some roles, hard choices between lots of very qualified, talented actors. For other roles, hard searches, where no one seems to be quite right. Nina Gold is finding some great people, though. And the search goes on.

Another monkey may soon be off my back. All but two of the stories are in on DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS, the latest crossgenre anthology I’m editing with Gardner Dozois. We hope to be able to deliver that one by month’s end. A great lineup once again.

Meanwhile, I’ve been wrestling with Kong. For more than a week I’ve been pounding on the epilogue, but still can’t get it to gel. This morning I put that aside for a bit and went back to rewrite a Tyrion chapter, and that’s going much better. (Don’t get too excited over me mentioning the epilogue, please. I don’t always write these chapters in the order you read them. The epilogue will close the book, but it won’t be the last chapter written. For instance, the last chapter written on A STORM OF SWORDS was the Red Wedding).

Come July, I’m off to San Diego to teach a week at Clarion. There will be a signing at Mysterious Galaxy as well, I believe.

But, alas, the San Diego Comicon is looking less and less likely, so that will probably be the only visit I make to San Diego this year. On the other hand, there’s now a good chance I’ll be at the NYC Comicon in October. We shall see.

I need more hours in the day, more days in the week, more weeks in the month.

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A Change in My Policy

June 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm
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I’m glad that you many of you enjoyed last night’s teaser on HBO. I did too.

Glancing over some of the comments, however, has made me realize that I need to make a change as to what’s allowed and what’s not allowed on this Not A Blog.

Up to now, I’ve pretty much shrugged off spoilers. Even the most recent book came out years ago, after all — as some of you delight in reminding me — and the vast majority of the folks who come here have read all four of the published series to date. So I figured that a passing reference to a character who dies in the first book, a plot twist in the second, a wedding in the third, etc was No Big Deal.

But that’s about to change. Already, just on the basis of the teaser, we’re starting to hear from people who have never read the books, but may be intrigued enough to go try them, based on what they’ve seen on the tube. As more and longer trailers appear, their numbers are only going to rise. And when the series actually begins to air in 2011, whole lots of them may find their way here.

Therefore, as of today, NO REVEALS WILL BE ALLOWED in any comments here. No, not even to things that happen in book one. A GAME OF THRONES may have been published in 1996, but if you haven’t read it yet, it will be all new to you. I don’t want new readers to have their first experience of the story spoiled by someone’s offhand comment.

My assistant Ty reviews all the comments here, and decides what gets unscreened and what gets deleted. Henceforth any spoiler or plot reveal, no matter how offhand or minor, is going to mean your comment won’t be posted. I realize that most such are perfectly innocent, of course… but I want to protect those who are coming to the story for the first time.

Thanks for your understanding.

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Missed the Teaser?

June 13, 2010 at 7:38 pm
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Don’t worry about it.

Here you go, for everyone in Europe and Asia and Saturn’s moons, and those who don’t have HBO (yet, I hope), and those who just want to watch it thirty times (hey, I’m way ahead of you):

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And for lagniappe, check out HBO’s brand new GAME OF THRONES web page:

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If you’ve got HBO…

June 13, 2010 at 1:18 pm
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… be sure and watch the third season premiere of TRUE BLOOD tonight, for a little taste of what’s coming on HBO, including (yes) A GAME OF THRONES.

In fact, you might want to tune in fifteen minutes early, to catch the pre-premiere feature. I’m not exactly sure when the GOT teaser will run. Before the pre-show, as part of the pre-show, between the pre-show and premiere… I’ll be TIVOing the whole shebang myself.

(And for those of you who DON’T get HBO… sorry. You snooze, you lose).

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Iron Guy

June 9, 2010 at 5:09 pm
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SPOILERS abound in what follows. Read at your own risk.

So I saw IRON MAN 2 last night. Well after the rest of the world, yes. What can I say? I’ve been kind of busy.

I enjoyed the film well enough. The first one was better, but this one kept me entertained from start to finish. Lots of iron action and stuff blowing up. I certainly didn’t feel any need to demand my money back or anything.

Which is not to say I don’t have some gripes, cavils, and observations. I mean, I know this iron guy, all the way back to the beginning. Which I say as an original member of the Merry Marvel Marching Society.

Iron Man is a guy in an armored suit. Cool. So in the first movie, he fights another guy in an armored suit. Well, okay. I mean, Iron Man in the comics fought a lot of guys in armored suits too. There was the Crimson Dynamo, there was Titanium Man, there was… well, you get the idea. And the movie kicked along well enough.

So here’s the second movie, and who does he fight? ANOTHER guy in an armored suit. Plus a bunch of drones. Yawn. The drones were about as effective as the drones from STAR WARS. They’re just there to get blown apart. No personality, no menace, no suspense.

And Whiplash in his armored suit ended up being much wimpier than Jeff Bridges in his armored suit from the first movie. And what was with those electric whips? Sure, they looked cool, and they seemed very dangerous at first when he was slicing Grand Prix cars apart with every stroke, shearing right through the steel. So how come he couldn’t shear right through Iron Man’s steel armor (and the limbs beneath) the same way? It’s not as if he never hit him.

All those issues of Iron Man to work from, and the scriptwriters couldn’t find a better villain? C’mon. I mean, okay, okay, the Mandarin is probably pretty much off limits these days, on political correctness/ yellow peril grounds, fine, let’s scratch him. But hey, why not Hawkeye? He began as an Iron Man villain. Teamed with the Black Widow, who was a Russian agent before she ever heard of SHIELD. I love looking at Scarlett Johansson as much as the next guy, but she was pretty much wasted here. Even her big action sequence, going down a hallway and kicking the crap out of a bunch of security guys, was much less effective than the virtually identical sequence in KICKASS, where Hit Girl goes down a hall and kills a few dozen Mafia goons.

I will say that Mickey Rourke did a nice job portraying Whiplash. And the secondary villain, the rival armiger Hammer, was a hoot. Though his role too seemed a bit of a reprise of Jeff Bridges from the first film. Just as the hostile senator seemed a retread of the hostile senator from the first X-Men film. C’mon, guys, there are hundreds and hundreds of Iron Man comics to mine, give us something new.

This thing of superdudes battling it out with supervillians with the exact same power is getting old, though. They did the same thing in the HULK film (the good one, not that awful Ang Lee thing), where the giant green gamma-ray-irradiated Hulk fights another giant green gamma-ray irradiated guy, the Abomination. It was okay, but really… would have been much more interesting if they’d mixed it up, and had the Hulk fight the guys in the armored suits while Iron Man took on the Abomination. Actually, having Iron Man fight the Hulk would have been the best of all… which is why I am looking forward to the eventual AVENGERS film.

And speaking of the Avengers…


The little throwaway bit with Captain America’s shield was very cool. But I thought they would do more with it. I knew there would be a post-credits epilogue scene, as in the last IRON MAN movie, but didn’t know what it would be… so when I saw that I thought maybe it would Cap showing up in Tony’s lab and demanding back his shield.

Instead we got the scene in New Mexico. After a bit of misdirection. We’re supposed to think the SHIELD agent has gone to New Mexico to deal with something involving the Hulk, of course. I mean, it’s always been the Hulk stomping around the desert. Instead we get Thor’s hammer in a crater. No, no, no. That’s wrong on so many levels. Thor’s hammer does not belong in a crater in New Mexico, it belongs in a cave in Norway. And anyway, if it had been buried for any length of time, it would have turned back into a stick. Do these guys presume to rewrite the immortal Marvel mythology as devised by Stan Lee??? Sacrilege! Burn them!

(Good rule for all superhero movies: the closer they stick to the original comics, the better they are. The more they change and add and fiddle with, the more they stink).

I now have deep forebodings about the THOR movie. But then, I always had keep forebodings about the THOR movie. Thor is a great character in the comics, but on screen I fear he’s going to seem like a kind of cross between Conan and the Swedish Chef.

And in conclusion, let me say that if they don’t include Ant-Man and the Wasp in their AVENGERS movie, it won’t be the real Avengers. Ant-Man Rules!!!

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A Casting We Will Go

June 9, 2010 at 12:23 pm
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Auditions continue in Dublin, Belfast, and London for a whole bunch of parts, both major and minor, on HBO’s GAME OF THRONES.

Sometimes it is a very hard job.

I’ve just reviewed the tapes of twelve young women reading for the part of Shae.

Excuse me. I need to go take a cold shower now.

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Ned, Sam, and the Crow’s Eye

June 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm
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Dark Sword has posted some great painted versions of their latest trio of Ice & Fire pewter miniatures, and I thought I’d share them.

Here’s Lord Eddard Stark. (No, he doesn’t look like Sean Bean. We’re not allowed to make him look like Sean Bean. These are based on the books, not the TV show). Sculpt by Tom Meier, painting by Matt Verzani.

And here’s young Samwell Tarly, Sam the Slayer his own self, with obsidian dagger in hand. Paint by Matt Verzani, sculpt by Tom Meier. (We’re casting Sam right now for the TV show. Two excellent young actors stand out above the rest. A damned hard choice).

Last — but definitely not least — comes Euron Greyjoy, the Crow’s Eye, Lord of Pyke and King of the Iron Islands, with his hellhorn in hand. Sculpt by Jeff Grace, paint by Matt Verzani.

All these miniatures, and many more, are available at your favorite gaming store, or direct from Dark Sword via their website: Of course, you’ll have to paint ’em yourself. Sorry, Matt Verzani not included.

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Road Trip

June 2, 2010 at 10:56 pm
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As much as I hate flying… or rather, what flying has become, thanks to the airlines and the TSA… I love long drives. Seeing the country as you pass through it, rather than just flying over it. Road trips are especially great if you can get off the Interstates. Stopping to eat at little mom & pop eateries, taking in the small towns, visiting the roadside attractions (the weirder, the better).

Our plan was to travel to ConQuest by road in a two-car caravan, with our Aussie friends Stephen Boucher and Janice Gelb. Sad to say, Parris came down with a killer cold and had to bow out, so two cars shrunk down to one… but Melinda Snodgrass made a last minute decision to join us over breakfast at Tecolote, and come Wednesday morning we headed off to Kansas City.

We all missed Parris, but it was a great trip anyway. Well, aside from the food. Mom and pop did not come through for us this time, I fear. A lot of mediocre eateries.

But the roadside attractions were great. Cement dinosaurs and real dino tracks in Clayton, New Mexico. The replica bomb crater in Boise City, Oklahoma (only mainland American city to be bombed during WWII) which almost had Melinda die of laughing. Hooker, Oklahoma, which seems to sell two kinds of t-shirts: ones extolling Jesus, and ones cashing in on the name “Hooker.” The Straight Road of Guyman, Oklahoma (it’s straight! really straight!! for a long way!!!). In Liberal, Kansas, we bought flying monkeys at Dorothy’s Oz House, though Stephen would not let us take the tour (he has a terrible fear of munchkins) and stayed at a motel that looked like a prison (though it proved to be surprisingly comfortable) on Pancake Road. Dodge City’s Boot Hill attraction and western museum has grown much more impressive since my last visit in 1978. In Greenburg, Kansas, we visited the Big Well (#1 of the Eight Wonders of Kansas) and I bought t-shirts and mugs to help the town rebuild (it was devastated by a tornado a few years back, but is rebuilding as a green community). Alas, the Cosmodrome in Hutchinson, Kansas was closed by the time we reached it… but it does look cool, with a full-sized Atlas and Mercury Redstone standing outside. Maybe a rival to Alamagordo’s space museum, and a “definite” the next time we take a road trip to Kansas City. We finally found something good to eat in Emporia, but by then it was dark.

So after that it was KC and Conquest, one of my favorite regional cons. I’ll write about that later. Maybe.

Flew home on Monday. It wasn’t the same.

Nothing beats a road trip with friends.

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