Posts Tagged: Bantam Spectra

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 »

The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin

The original, totally awesome badge, minus my facetious photoshopping, is by Storied Threads/Veronica Bailey

George R.R. Martin provided an update this weekend on progress for both The Winds of Winter and The World of Ice and Fire. He says:

We all know how long the last novel took. And now I am writing the “sidebar” (hoo hah) about the first Dance of the Dragons, the fratricidal civil war between King Aegon II and his half-sister Rhaenyra, for THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE, and it’s turned into a monster too.

As of today, I have a hundred and three bloody manuscript pages (some VERY bloody) and still no end at hand. I had hoped to finish this one today, but… no, not even close. Lots more to write.

I think there’s some good stuff here, and judging by the reception my reading got at Chicon, most of you seem to like the fake history too. But DAMN, there a lot of it.

The ‘sidebar’ he’s referring to will appear in The World of Ice and Fire, an encyclopaedic volume collecting much of the history, maps, characters and vast backstory that Martin has created for A Song of Ice and Fire, but which will likely never appear in the novels themselves. I’m sure there will be much sniffing at the fact that he’s not dedicating all of his time directly to The Winds of Winter, but, hey, any A Song of Ice and Fire content is welcome to this fan.

UPDATE: As pointed out below, that’s 103 pages of manuscript for The World of Ice and Fire, not The Winds of Winter, which is further along.

Actual progress on the novel seems slow at 103 pages. By comparison, when submitted, A Dance with Dragons was 1510 manuscript pages. So, not even 10% of the way through. In other words, it’s going to be a long wait, fans. My suggestion? Go read some Daniel Abraham, then follow it up with some N.K. Jemisin, Greg Keyes, David Anthony Durham, Kate Elliott and Tad Williams. After that, you’ll still have to wait a while, but, hell, at least you’ll have experienced some damn fine novels.

A Dance with Dragons... a year later

When A Dance with Dragons was released, I didn’t write a review of it, in fact, I barely discussed within my community of fellow Fantasy fans. I wrote a piece or two about it, debated a bit with friends, but otherwise, I let one of Fantasy’s most impactful and anticipated releases slip me by. This is odd given that I run a fairly well trafficked Fantasy and Science Fiction publication, A Dribble of Ink, and a lot of my readers were interested in hearing my take on the fifth volume of Martin’s mega-successful A Song of Ice and Fire. But, I let them down, and, a year later, I’ve thought a lot of why I never wrote about the book, never formally reviewed it, despite enjoying it a fair bit more than the average fan seems to have, and it’s all because of expectations. Mine, and those of the fans around the world.

At first, as an entrenched fan, I felt special. Because, you see, I’d discovered Martin years earlier. He was my little secret. But, then it became clear that Martin wasn’t just a fad, wasn’t just a passing ghost of geekdom on the mainstream, he was a real thing. Maybe it was seeing Martin spoofed on Saturday Night Live, or when he was sitting there in the crowd at the Emmys, but finally it clicked with me. He’s not my secret anymore. Hell, he’s not even our secret anymore. Fantasy has a new ringleader, he wears a Greek sailor’s hat, thick glasses, and rides a wave of popularity the likes the genre hasn’t seen since The Lord of the Rings. Read More »

Game of Thrones RPG
Okay, I’ll admit it, I first loaded up Game of Thrones, a full-on Dragon Age-style RPG developed by Canadian/French developer Cyanide Entertainment, with some hesitancy. Like many Fantasy fans, I consider Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire to be a pre-eminent work of Fantasy and place it among my very favourite pieces of fiction, regardless of medium. Though there is recent precedent for the adaptation of the series into other formats (particularily HBO’s television series and the Graphic Novel, adapted in part my Daniel Abraham), videogames have always been a difficult transition due to the non-linear style of storytelling that they often employ. Added to this, developer Cyanide Studio doesn’t exactly have the strongest back library of games and their previous attempt at a Game of Thrones videogame, A Game of Thrones: Genesis was poorly received (so much so that the publisher of Game of Thrones, Atlus, very clearly points out in the press material that this game was developed by an entirely different team at Cyanide!)


So, then, I booted up my PS3, eager but also weary of what I’d find. First impression? A twenty-plus minute mandatory install to my PS3’s harddrive. No flavour text or history to read through, no stirring music or pretty screenshots. Just twenty-plus minutes of a bar slowly filling up.

The graphics are pretty dire. While the art direction is decent at times (if a little over-the-top for Martin’s generally reserved world), the first environment (Castle Black) is bland and lifeless, textures are poor, the characters animate awkwardly, and the faces are almost as bad as an Elder Scrolls game. Further, thought this might be a PS3 issue, which has always Framerate is junky and there’s a noticeable amount of tearing.
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I stumbled across this the other day and thought there might be some interest, since so many of you are also fans of Game of Thrones. This concept art was created by artist Kimberley Pope in the early stages of development for Game of Thrones, helping to solidify the foundations for the ‘look’ of the show as it brought George R.R. Martin’s words to life. Beautiful stuff.

Game of Thrones Concept Art by Kimberley Pope Read More »