If the books and TV show seem to be revelling in the worst aspects of human nature, that’s partly because those aspects are what Westeros helps us to recognize in ourselves.
In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, George R.R. Martin discussed the past, present, and future of his mega-popular series, A Song of Ice and Fire, and its television adaptation, Game of Thrones. Some of the most interesting moments in the interview concern the future of HBO series and the potential that it might catch up with Martin’s work on the novels.
“The minute you have a series [of books] and a book comes out,” Martin explained (surprising no one), “people immediately begin asking, ‘Where’s the next book?’ And the more successful the series is, the more people ask that question, and the more pressure you begin to feel.”
Martin’s struggle against that pressure is one of the most publicized and scrutinized stories to hit SFF fandom is the past decade. Here’s a creator working on a seminal work of fantasy, adored by millions of people around the world, who is also crushed under the weight of his fame, criticized for his own fannish activities (such as watching football, or attending conventions) and condemned for not writing fast enough. As if works the calibre of those he’s producing can come over night.
Prominence of this issue hit its peak when Neil Gaiman, another writer who understands the intricacies of dabbling in many mediums, wrote an open letter to Martin’s detractors. “George R.R. Martin is not your bitch,” he famously said. “This is a useful thing to know, perhaps a useful thing to point out when you find yourself thinking that possibly George is, indeed, your bitch, and should be out there typing what you want to read right now.
“People are not machines. Writers and artists aren’t machines.” Read More »
We got very lucky. That has a lot to do with it. [We] managed not to turn into squeeing fanboys.
James S.A. Corey has a lot of fans. ‘His’ books, The Expanse series, have been nominated for the Hugo and appeared on the New York Times Bestsellers list. It wasn’t much of a surprise, then, when Variety revealed that The Expanse series was optioned for television by some of the people behind the Iron Man films and Breaking Bad. I reached out to ‘Corey’ to find out more about the project.
“We got very lucky. That has a lot to do with it,” said Daniel Abraham (who, along with Ty Franck, forms James S.A. Corey) when I asked him about how the project came together. As often happens in Hollywood (or an industry as small as science fiction/fantasy publishing), it all began with a daisy-chain of acquaintances and friendly introductions. “We actually had a fair number of inquiries from one place and another about the film rights, and we have a manager out there — Brian Lipson — who knows his way around. He put us together with Sean Daniel and Jason Brown, who’d been handed Leviathan Wakes by Ben Cook. Sean, in addition to producing some obscene percentage of all the good films ever made, knew Mark and Hawk.” Read More »
With the upcoming release of Scott Lynch’s The Republic of Thieves, the long-anticipated third volume in his Gentlemen Bastards sequence, excitement among fans (especially creative ones) is higher than ever, to the point that Lynch recently released a statement regarding fan fiction in his universe. One of those fan projects is the video above, by filmmaker Milena Aijala. Aijala created title sequence for a hypothetical television series based on the series, and discusses the process on her blog. It’s a gorgeous piece of animation. Even cooler is Lynch’s excitement and endorsement of the project. There’s no television series in the works, but, dammit if this doesn’t set my mouth watering for one.
So. Much. Sadistic. Pleasure.
By now, you’ve either seen last night’s episode, or seen the immense fallout from the events that happen at the end. A Song of Ice and Fire fans who read A Storm of Swords on release, have been waiting for last night’s episode for years. And, my oh my, it was delicious.
I should admit, I can’t take credit for the application of the animated gif as a reaction to Game of Thrones, I saw it on twitter. But, it’s perfect.
The great old stories break and bend rules modern audiences take for granted. For example: Journey to the West, which I talked about last month, is a story of high-flying magic, transformation, kung fu, divine war, and so on—that, for all its epic scope, reads more like Sword and Sorcery.
That is, to borrow Liz Bourke’s definition of S&S: Journey to the West is a story of encounter, in which central characters going about their daily business keep running into strange, fascinating, terrifying things—and befriending them, or beating them about the head and shoulders, or both.
By contrast, let’s talk about one of the best war-and-intrigue novels of all time, the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. At first glance, Three Kingdoms seems an epic fantasy, in that it describes the fall of a massive empire through the lens of central characters with dynastic ambition. But, though set in a time of miracles, Three Kingdoms relies on the traditional Sword & Sorcery mix of cleverness, combat, and betrayal rather than prophecy or magic. Read More »