Not a Blog

Grab For The Ring

February 28, 2022 at 3:46 pm
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The wait is over.   Years in the making, ELDEN RING was released last week, and has been taking the gaming world by storm.

But don’t listen to me.   From Software brought me on to do their worldbuilding, so I can hardly pretend to be objective.

Take a look at a few of the reviews:

And… well, there’s more.   Lots more.

“Once in a generation… masterpiece… beautiful and brutal… a sumptuous open world… ”

Music to the ears.

Of course, almost all the credit should go to Hidetaka Miyazaki and his astonishing team of games designers who have been laboring on this game for half a decade or more, determined to create the best videogame ever.   I am honored to have met them and worked with them, and to have have played a part, however small, in creating this fantastic world and making ELDEN RING the landmark megahit that it is.

Here’s a taste:

Happy Gaming.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

Dark Winds Blowing

February 26, 2022 at 6:23 pm
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It was back in 2015, I seem to recall, that my friends Robert Redford and Chris Eyre brought me into their dream project, to help develop and sell a television series based on Tony Hillerman’s novels about Navajo tribal policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee.   It took us quite a few years, with many an up and down along the way, but I am pleased to announce that DARK WINDS is finally done… almost.

AMC will be screening the first season later this year.   Six episodes long, the story is adapated from the Leaphorn novel LISTENING WOMAN,  with additional material from later novels.   The show was filmed in and around Santa Fe, adjacent tribal lands, and the Camel Rock Casino.   I’ve seen rough cuts of all six episodes, and I’m very pleased by what I’m seeing.

I wish I could share the trailer with you, but I can’t… not yet.   They are still working on it.   But soon, soon.   AMC did a panel (virtual) and presentation on the show at the recent TCA meeting (that’s the Television Critics Association), and they tell me it was very well received.

AMC has not set a date for the DARK WINDS premiere either, but most likely it will be sometime this spring or summer.   You’ll know when I do.  (If I can ever get up to date on this blog).

The pilot was written by Graham Roland and directed by Chris Eyre, and will star Zahn McClarnon as Joe Leaphorn, all of them also EPs on the show… and Native Americans.   Robert Redford and I are Executive Producers as well.  DARK WINDS will also star Native Americans Kiowa Gordon as Jim Chee, Jessice Matten as Bernadette Manuelito, and Deanna Allison as Emma Leaphorn, as well as Rainn Wilson and Noah Emmerich.

Tony wrote eighteen novels about Leaphorn and Chee and his daughter Anne has continued the series since his passing, so there is a wealth of material available to us, and our dream is to continue DARK WINDS for many more seasons.   But of course that will depend on how this first season does…

While you’re waiting for the show to premiere, pick up a Tony Hillerman novel.   They’re terrific.


Current Mood: pleased pleased

The Cards Keep Turning

February 22, 2022 at 9:01 am
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Wild Cards fans have a lot to look forward to in the next couple of years, in addition to the Marvel comics series announced below.

We have three new books in the pipeline.   FULL HOUSE will be a collection of some of the stand-alone stories that been published online on in the past few years, but have never before appeared in print.   Contributing writers will include  Daniel Abraham, Victor C. Milan, Caroline Spector, Carrie Vaughn, David D. Levine, Paul Cornell, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Stephen Leigh, Walter Jon Williams, and Marko Kloos.   It’s a great bunch of stories, featuring some of your favorite characters.  FULL HOUSE is scheduled for hardcover publication on AUGUST 2.

And further ahead we have two brand new volumes of originals, just delivered last year and as yet unscheduled.

PAIRING UP will feature tales of love and lust in the world of ace and jokers.   We’ll have stories from Walton (Bud) Simons, Brad Denton, Peter Newman, Gwenda Bond, Christopher Rowe, Marko Kloos, Melinda M. Snodgrass, and Kevin Andrew Murphy.

And then we’ll have SLEEPER STRADDLES,  untold tales about the wildest card of them all, Roger Zelazny’s Sleeper, Croyd Crenson.  Chronicling the Sleeper’s adventures will be Christopher Rowe, William F. Wu, Carrie Vaughn, Walter Jon Williams,  Mary Anne Mohanraj, Max Gladstone, and Cherie Priest.

Keep watching this space for further news — the WILD CARDS tv show is still in development — and keep on shuffling.  You’re all aces.



Current Mood: busy busy

The Pens Behind the Swords

February 20, 2022 at 11:10 am
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HOUSE OF THE DRAGON has a great pair of showrunners in Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik.

And it has an amazing cast as well.   You’ve been reading about them for months.  Matt Smith, Emma d’Arcy, Milly Alcock, Olivia Cooke, Paddy Considine, Emily Carey, Rhys Ifans, Steve Touissant, Fabien Frankel, and more, and more.   You may not know their names now, but I think you will before the year ends.  You will hate some of them, love some of them, mourn for some of them.

There’s another group of contributors, equally important, whose names you may not know either.   But you should.  Without them , there would be no show.   If there was, it would certainly not be as good as I think HOUSE is going to be.   Here are the folks I am talking about:

Yes… it’s the writers.  

HOUSE OF THE DRAGON is based on my novellas “The Princess and the Queen” and “The Rogue Prince,” and other materials from my Targaryen history FIRE & BLOOD… but FIRE & BLOOD is an imaginary history, not a traditional novel.   To turn it into a television series requires a lot more work than adapting a novel or short story.   The scriptwriters need to make history come alive.

Ryan Condal assembled a pretty amazing team to do just that.    The photograph above was taken during one of my visits to LA — the last, I think, before Covid descended on us all, and shut down my travels — when I sat down with Ryan and his writers for dinner.  It was a big loud lively dinner at a long table, but the food was great and the company was greater.   I loved talking dragons with the team, and I was impressed with the depth of their knowledge of my world, and their enthusiasm for the project.

The first season of HOUSE is now wrapped, and in large part thanks to the talents of our scribes.  So please raise your glasses and toast our writers:  Sara Hess, Gabe Fonseca, Ira Parker, Ti Mikkel, Charmaine DeGrate, Kevin Lau, and Eileen Shim.   And of course Ryan Condal himself, the ringmaster and dragon tamer.   Oh, and though they are not in the picture, I should also salute Claire Kiechel and Wes Tooke, who joined Ryan and Ti in the mini writer’s room that preceded this one, before there was even a pick up.

(And me, you ask?  No, I did not write a script for the first season of HOUSE… part of me would have loved to, but I have been kind of busy with WINDS OF WINTER, the other THRONES successor shows, various WILD CARDS books, the WILD CARDS tv pilot for Peacock and UCP, DARK WINDS for AMC, ROADMARKS for HBO, NIGHT OF THE COOTERS and a couple other really cool Howard Waldrop projects, and… well, yeah, okay, I bought a railroad, never mind.   I did co-create the series with Ryan and help give it its shape, and he and I have been in constant contact ever since).

Hollywood is a land of change, and writers are always moving around in today’s television landscape.   Some of the folks in the photo above moved on to other shows and other networks before season one of HOUSE even began to film.   Others have been with us all the way through the first season, and will be returning for season two (if indeed HBO gives us a season two, cross your fingers).   But all of them played a part.

So here’s to the writers!   Huzzah!


Current Mood: pleased pleased

Make Mine Marvel

February 19, 2022 at 11:32 am
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Me and Marvel Comics go way back.

The first words of mine ever to appear in print (well, not counting my high school newspaper) were “Dear Stan and Jack,” the opening of my letter of comment in FANTASTIC FOUR #20.   That was my first appearance in the lettercols, but not my last.   I became almost a regular in Marvel letter columns over the next few years… which led me to the nascent comics fandom… and my first published stories in the comics fanzines of the early 60s, superhero stories in prose featuring characters of my own creation like the White Raider, Manta Ray, and Garizan the Mechanical Warrior, along with a few I was “hired” to write (without pay) like Powerman and Dr. Weird.

Those tales started my career, in a strange roundabout way.   As a professional, I wrote science fiction, fantasy, and horror… but I never lost my love of superheroes.   And that eventually led me to a role-playing game called SuperWorld, which in turn led to the creation of the Wild Cards series along about 1986-7.   And now, some thirty-odd books and thirty-six years later, Wild Cards and Marvel are coming together once again.

The series is an adaptation of the Wild Cards origin story, scripted by our own Paul Cornell, novelist, scriptwriter, and creator of Abigail the Understudy, a serious actress.   Mike Hawthorne provided the art, and Steve Morris the cover.

If you haven’t been reading the Wild Cards books for the last  thirty years… well, shame on you… but here’s your chance to see how it all began.   Jetboy, Dr. Tachyon, the Four Aces, and the Great and Powerful Turtle are waiting for you.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy


February 17, 2022 at 5:27 pm
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Exciting news out of London — I am informed that shooting has WRAPPED for the first season of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.

Yes, all ten episodes.   I have seen rough cuts of a few of them, and I’m loving them.  Of course, a lot more work needs to be done.   Special effects, color timing, score, all the post production work.

But the writing, the directing, the acting all look terrific.   I hope you will like them as much as I do.   My hat is off to Ryan and Miguel and their team, and to our amazing cast.

So when will you get to see it, you ask?   When will the dragons dance?

I wish I could tell you.   Lots of work remains to be done, as I said, and covid makes planning difficult.   This spring?  Unlikely.  Maybe summer?  Could be.   Fall?  Who knows?

You’ll know when we do.

Current Mood: excited excited