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Homecoming

ireland
Back home again, and once more buried. I was only gone for four days. How the hell does so much mail and email pile up IN FOUR F*CKING DAYS, I ask you?? It makes me dread what will await me when I return from the much, much longer trip to the Australian worldcon this fall.

Could be worse, I suppose. I could be somewhere in Northern Europe, sleeping in an airport while I waited for air travel to resume. One wonders what will happen if this volcano keeps spewing ash... not for days or even months, but for years. It has done so before, I am told. Try to imagine a long-term shutdown of all air traffic over the British Isles. Time to invest in steamship lines?

Air traffic in and out of Chicago was unaffected, thankfully, and I had a good time at C2E2. Comicons are very different beasts than the SF cons that I usally attend -- much larger, but less social, with the main activity revolving around the dealer's room rather than the room parties that are the heart of worldcon, etc -- but still fun. Mostly I sat at the Avatar booth, signing books and comic books. The first issue of FEVRE DREAM was released there, with not one, not two, not three, not four, but FIVE variant covers.



There were plenty of readers and fans on hand, more than enough to keep my signing hand limber, but not so many that I could not spare the time to visit with people as they came up. It's always nice to have a few moments to chat, something the really large shows (that's another difference between comicons and SF cons, comicons are "shows" and SF cons are "cons") and booksignings do not allow. Also got to meet and hang some with some of Avatar's other stalwarts, including artists Jacen Burrows and Mike Wolfer and writers Garth Ennis and Max Brooks. Cool.



In between my panels, my reading, and hours and hours of signing, I found the time to devour a couple of great steaks (Chicago is a great steak town) and sample some not-so-great deep dish pizza (Chicago is a crap pizza town, with delusions of grandeur). Every few years, when visiting Chitown, I do try a deep dish, just to make certain it is still as "meh" as I remember. This time the pizza was from Lou Malnati's, supposedly one of the good joints. It was... filling. Not bad. But not pizza.

Sunday night I went to Greektown with a group of stalwarts from the BWB. Mary Anne Mohanraj joined us there as well. She's one of the Class of 2009 new recruits for Wild Cards, and an up-and-coming writer in her own right; it was great to finally meet her face to face, and of course it's always fun to hang with Kate and Treb (Dallas Cowboys scum though he is) and the rest of the Bros. Opaa! Opaa!

Lots of news and developments on the funny book front. FEVRE DREAM debuted at the con, as I said. That miniseries will run to ten issues, then be collected as a graphic novel. Art by Rafa Lopez of Malaga, Spain, adaptation by Daniel Abraham.

A sample can be found here:

http://www.bleedingcool.com/2010/04/13/avatar-plug-of-the-week-george-r-r-martins-fevre-dream-1/

Avatar has two more series based on my work in the works as well. There's IN THE HOUSE OF THE WORM, based on my novella of the same title. Adaptation by John Jos. Miller, art by Ivan Rodriguez. A four-issue miniseries, the art for which is half-finished. I saw the pages for the first two issues at the con, and thought they looked spectacular. Also coming... eventually... is a comic book version of my werewolf novella, THE SKIN TRADE. Daniel Abraham did the script for that one too. Unfortunately, we just lost the third (!) artist to have been assigned to the project (he failed to turn in any actual work), so we're now back to square one. But Avatar will find someone great eventually, I have no doubt.

Meanwhile, IDW Comics decided that C2E2 was the place to break the news about the comic I will be doing with them: a graphic adaptation of DOORWAYS, the alternate world show that I wrote and produced for ABC Television back in 1992-93. We're starting with the pilot, but if the sales are good enough, there's no reason we couldn't continue and do the unproduced back-up scripts as well, and then maybe some originals. The series was designed to be open-ended, and the comic will be as well. Still very early on this one, so we don't have an artist to announce as yet, but IDW promises me we'll attach someone great soon. I'm especially pleased to get this one going, so the wider world will finally get to meet Cat and Tom and share some of the adventures I had planned for them. There's nothing as frustrating as working for close on two years on a project no one ever gets to see (well, the bloated two-hour version of DOORWAYS was released on videotape way back when, so a few people got to see it, but the comic will be based on my script, not the episode as filmed [in other words, the characters will not look like the actors, the SFX will be much better, the costume and set design and other visuals should be better, etc]).

(And before some of the Ice & Fire purists out there get their panties in a twist, please note, all my writing on DOORWAYS was done in 1992 and 1993, the ball will now be in the hand of IDW Comics and the artist they select, this project will NOT take any writing time away from A DANCE WITH DRAGONS or subsequent Ice & Fire novels, even if it runs for ten years).

C2E2 also included lots of talk about adaptating Ice & Fire itself to graphic novel form. I have a half dozen different comics publishers actively pursuing those rights, and I took meetings with most of them during the weekend. No decision, but I listened. I may or may not sign on for this... still undecided at this point... but I gather some formal proposals may soon be forthcoming, so I will at least consider those. If we do authorize a comic series or graphic novels, it will be based on the novels, NOT on the HBO television series. That's a separation of rights issue.

I also had a great lunch with Mo Ryan of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. We ate at Berghoff's in the Loop, a real Old Chicago sort of place, and a former haunt of mine (once a month or so, when I could afford it) from the days when I was a VISTA volunteer attached to the Cook County Legal Assistance Foundation, and working in the Loop. I could tell you what we talked about, but then I'd have to kill you...

Comments

( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
wmslawhorn
Apr. 20th, 2010 05:43 pm (UTC)
Chicago Pizza
Not a big fan of the deepdish either, I grew up eating cracker thin crust. I ate at Pizzeria Duo a couple years ago... but got the thin crust. The only Deep Dish I ever liked was from Rocky Roccoco's and that was mostly sauce and sausage based. Rocky's has awesome breadsticks.
bbeitel
Apr. 20th, 2010 05:51 pm (UTC)
I like Chicago-style pizza, although the extra crust is murder for my blood sugar. I guess you like that New York style, where the crust is so thin you have to fold it over or the toppings end up in your lap? To be honest, I like both or a happy medium. Pretty much anything pizza-like with lots of cheese. Especially if you can find some Linguica to put on it!
grrm
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:21 pm (UTC)
Yes, a great slice should be folded.

One other odd-thing about Chicago pizza: when they do thin crust (it is not all deep dish there), they cut into little squares instead of pie-shaped slices. Very odd. I first encountered that in my college years at Northwestern, but they still do it.

"Lots of cheese" does not make good pizza, though. The important thing is the quality of the cheese, not the quantity. Many bad pizzas try to make up for their shortcomings by piling odd cheap mozzarella, which congeals into a rubbery mat if the 'za gets cold.

odiedragon
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
I have zero actual knowledge about this, but I'm wondering if the thin-crust-cut-in-squares thing was started just so you COULDN'T pick up a piece and fold it in half? Kind of a passive aggressive We Hate New York And Everything About It thing, and then it just became something people did without thinking.

Call it not-pizza if you like, but Lou's is wonderful. I will not listen to your lies and slander, ser! ;)
m00nprophet
Apr. 20th, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
As a native of NW Suburban Chicago, I agree that most of the pizza in the area is crap, but Lou Malnati's is one of the best in the area, in my opinion, so whoever recommended them didn't steer you wrong. Since you weren't all that impressed with Lou's, I have to ask, if I could travel to any city in the US for pizza, where would you recommend I go? As a big fan of pizza, I feel like I'm missing out on some great pizza by living in Chicago.
grrm
Apr. 20th, 2010 08:07 pm (UTC)
If you could travel to any US city for pizza, I'd say it would have to be NYC.

New Haven, Connecticut might rate a look, though. New Haven is a famous pizza town, with a number of celebrated places. I was supposed to do a "pizza crawl" there a few years ago, but I got sick in Boston just beforehand, and had to cancel.

My own stomping grounds in New Jersey has some great pizza too. Basically NYC style. The "bar pies" you get in taverns are wonderful... (if they're making them the old way, some joints these days just microwave frozen pizza, which is crap).
spreadpanic
Apr. 20th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
NYC Pizza Is Indeed The Best
Koronet Pizzeria, across the street from my favorite bar in college. Ah, those were the days.

An Ice & Fire graphic novel...in my dreams. Wet dreams. I truly hope that you take some additional meetings in that regard.
evil_lep
Apr. 22nd, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC)
I agree on NYC in general. However, do not make the same mistake I did the first time I craved pizza while in NYC, and assume that it's going to be good because it's in NYC. Crap pizza is everywhere... ask somebody you trust for a good specific pizza joint.
wmslawhorn
Apr. 20th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
Growing up in central WI, I never knew pizza came any way but cut in squares until I went to college. The cut in squares is kid friendly... and the 4 little triangle corners created are much sought after.

Sauce is key for me and in the midwest as well. Spice and seasoning to reduce the paste flavor. But then again, if it has goat cheese it ain't pizza...
cailin_t
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:26 pm (UTC)
new york pizza is the only pizza with a right to call itself such. ;)
hippoiathanatoi
Apr. 20th, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
I have never been able to find the videotape of Doorways, and I've looked. This'll be better in some ways, though, and I can't wait for more news.

Now, as I recall, the script you published in Doorways was your preferred take, with the second half in the "winter world" as opposed to the world of bioengineered, oil-eating bacteria which ABC made you write instead for the shooting script.

Which script will be the basis of the comic? I'm guessing the former.
grrm
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
We'll do No Oil world in the first series. If the comic continues, we'll work Winter World back in later on.
k26dp
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
Chicago's a great town, wish I could have gone to this con... or show... or whatever they call it. Agree completely re: pizza and steak. Meat in general is just better in Chicago. The only city I've found that competes with it in sausage is Milwaukee.

Looking foward to the collected edition of Fevre Dream.
araya213
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:19 pm (UTC)
Picked up the first issue in 2 different covers. I love it! Haven't read the book but I own it and will read it after wrapping up AFFC. Rafa Lopez is doing a great job! Just ordered a signed Fevre Dream promo from Cavalcade but there was little detail about it so I'm not sure exactly what I'm getting but it's Fevre Dream related so I WANT IT! Keep up the good work!
inkoverblood
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:28 pm (UTC)
HBO Game of Thrones article!!
GRRM: Hey, that article said some characters might be cut out of the show. Anyone in particular??

its at http://www.mcccagora.com/
hippoiathanatoi
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:30 pm (UTC)
Mo Ryan has teased the interview with one question and answer from it. She says the rest will show up later this week or early next.
noonecomesnear
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:35 pm (UTC)
It was awesome seeing you at the con! You've no idea how happy you made the Boyfriend and I. We had to miss the Friday night event because of some unforeseen circumstances, but on Saturday, after the Neil Gaiman event, we ended up in a cab with Patrick Rothfuss' personal assistant, who told us about the Q&A on Sunday (we weren't originally planning on going on Sunday but she changed our minds). Thank you so much! You probably don't remember me, but I was the nervous redhead girl who asked you about the transition from journalism to fiction writing and had the single copy of Dreamsongs, Vol. 1.

As for pizza... I've been living here about nine months, and I've got to say, I'm not a gigantic fan of Chicago pizza; however I've found a couple of wonderful places. The Art of Pizza in Paulina is very good for a slice, and I grow increasingly fond Lou Manelli's (just a couple blocks down State street from Berghoff's) every time I go there.

Glad you had fun in Chicago, please come back and visit soon!
inter_connected
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:39 pm (UTC)
Ice and Fire GReaphic Novels would be awsome
I think ASOIAF graphic novels should definitely be done, but since the novels are so huge, they would be broken down into too many volumes, it might be better to separate them into different point-of-view novels, like having one graphic novel for Arya's story, one 'for Jon's story, one for Tyrion and his family's story. etc. or maybe have two main characters in each graphic novel, that way people can collect the different stories from their favorite characters. I think Arya's story or Jon's story would make cool graphic novels.
isulunchbox
Apr. 20th, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC)
Pizza
Hello! First time poster long time reader. I love your books by the way. cant wait for Dance! I live in chicago and I just thought it was funny how people from outside of chicago thinks chicago pizza is so so while people from chicago think other pizza is awful. Just found that funny. Wish I could have seen you at the comic con but couldnt make it
monstrrr
Apr. 20th, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
I would absolutely love to see you come to Norwescon sometime, in Seattle. Think about it! It's a year away, now. Norwescon is always the Thursday-Sunday of Easter.
lauriemann
Apr. 20th, 2010 07:15 pm (UTC)
Being away from your E-mail for a long time...

We'll be over in Australia/New Zealand for about 2 1/2 weeks. I'm going to vacation hold all of my mailing lists, and beg my boss and co-workers to collect any messages to me in one file and not write to me while I'm gone. A lot of spam gets immediately junked...but not all of it.

forbiddenkisss
Apr. 20th, 2010 07:48 pm (UTC)
(Chicago is a crap pizza town, with delusions of grandeur)

My husband and I argue about this ALL THE TIME. He's from the Chicago suburbs, I'm from New Jersey. We have very different pizza tastes. I say I should have to fold my pizza to eat it and it should be dripping with grease. He says a knife and fork should be a requirement.

He's wrong, obviously.
jilly_bear
Apr. 20th, 2010 07:49 pm (UTC)
Not a big fan of deep dish either - but I grew up with MONICALS - a down-state favorite in Illinois. It's thin crust cut into squares. There is an art to square shaped pizza. Everyone has their favorites - either the inside pieces or the outside pieces. I like the outside so when we order it we get the mushrooms only on the outside - makes a funny looking pizza and some of the Monicals that don't know us look at us funny but they do it! :)
tungsai
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:04 am (UTC)
MONICAL'S!
The owner of Monical's chain opened a place 5 minutes from my place (Walking no less!) with a special of "order one alcoholic beverage, get one large one-topping pizza" for $5. Used to be $3, can you imagine? The line was out the door by 5pm every Tuesday.. and it is *exactly* the Monical's pizza
woodbyrne
Apr. 20th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
You sound very cranky lately. It's all good, ser. It's all good.
sevvem
Apr. 20th, 2010 08:29 pm (UTC)
mail
About your email problem... don't you have a webmail with your internet service provider? (or wherever you have your mail)
You would be able to check them at least every evening, wouldn't you?

just sayin'... :)
drewr15
Apr. 20th, 2010 08:43 pm (UTC)
Comic
I would love to see a comic series on Fire and Ice - just because it could be as you said, strictly based on the books so it would just be bringing your visuals forward and it could go way more in depth than the TV series could. I am really looking forward to the HBO adaption but I also realize alot of side characters and small encounters will get necessarily left out. Plus a comic can follow your narrative exactly and flashback in time exactly as the books do. I can't envision how HBO will pull that off. So for me I hope you do it. Of course I am a comic book junkie so I am biased.

And I am so with you on the deep dish pizza. Not a fan. And I could eat pizza every day.
asharpton
Apr. 20th, 2010 09:33 pm (UTC)
looking forward to shaking your hand at your next con apperance in NYC.
dothraki
Apr. 20th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
Welcome back!

(Though I should note this post left me aching for Berkeley pizza. Now I'm hungry—and there's no pizza of any kind in the house—and I no longer live in the Bay Area. Grrr...)
maine_character
Apr. 20th, 2010 09:34 pm (UTC)
You can twist my panties any day. And you usually do - in the best of all possible ways.
(Deleted comment)
grrm
Apr. 20th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
Isn't Due the same ownership as Uno? Used to be when I lived in chicago, anyway... though that was a long time ago.
brudewollen
Apr. 20th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
Baltimore Pizza...
...sadly, there is no special tradition of pizza in Baltimore, where I grew up. I always preferred Chicago style, though that is almost sacrilege to say openly now that I live in Brooklyn.

At least growing up in Baltimore we had the world's best steamed crabs.
guessingo
Apr. 21st, 2010 12:01 am (UTC)
get Chicago hotdogs
I used to live in Chicago. There are two things that I got there that I have not seen anywhere else. Chicago Style hotdogs and the Italian Beef sandwich.

I never heard of the italian beef sandwich before I moved there. I live outside DC now. I can get food from Ethiopia, but I can't get an Italian beef sandwich. Go figure?

When did you live in Chicago? I figured you were a New Yorker since your Giant/Jet fan?
grrm
Apr. 21st, 2010 04:15 am (UTC)
Re: get Chicago hotdogs
Born and raised in New Jersey, yes. But I went to school at Northwestern, 1966-1971, and lived in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood afterwards, 1971-1976. So all in all I was in the area ten years, and in Chicago proper for five.

You can find more details on my website, the "Life & Times" page.
m00nprophet
Apr. 21st, 2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
Re: get Chicago hotdogs
Italian Beef is great here, even better is the "Cheesy Beef", which is amazing!! Also, some pizza places now have a "Cheesy Beef Pizza" basicaly a pizza with Italian Beef and Giardiniera as the toppings, its my personal favorite. From what I've heard this is a Chicago exclusive.
saxster
Apr. 21st, 2010 08:26 pm (UTC)
Re: get Chicago hotdogs
Yep, Mel's Hotdogs in Tampa are Chicago-style and they are damn near perfect. Not quite as taste-tastic as Zweigle's from Upstate NY (Rochester), but they are a different style of dog and just can't be beat...
elfich47
Apr. 21st, 2010 12:25 am (UTC)
You need to go Villa Rosa on the South West side on Archer (by Midway). Order a special.

Choice 2: Thin crust from Obbie's, also on Archer on the South Side (also by Midway). They do not have eat in. Being from New York, I highly recommend Obbies. Very good sauce.
danielrun
Apr. 21st, 2010 01:11 am (UTC)
Sometimes I have trouble visually picturing your characters, so the Fevre Dream comic will be a godsend! (It's my alltime favourite of your books btw) Glad you had a good time.
trebla1972
Apr. 21st, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
I have to agree with you that Lou Malnati's is overrated. My dad loves it but there isn't much taste. Just cheese. I prefer thin pizza from a place called Rosati's.

I'll just have to disagree with you about my BELOVED Cowboys. Don't be hatin'! :P

The NFL schedule came out today. I was hoping the Cowboys would open the season against the Giants in their new stadium so they could return the favor from last season. Instead they open against McNabb and the Redskins in Washington on Sunday night. Bah. They should have had the Cowboys in NY and the the Skins at Philly. That would have been EPIC.
womaninphysics
Apr. 21st, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
YES PLEASE!!!!
If you get a good artist, I would so love to purchase and read over and over the Ice and Fire graphic novels. I can only imagine how awesome they would be.
thanners
Apr. 21st, 2010 06:31 am (UTC)
the much, much longer trip to the Australian worldcon this fall.

Another convincing reason for me to go to Worldcon. (c:

kibet
Apr. 21st, 2010 06:32 am (UTC)
I watched Doorways at least 3-4 times over the years, far before I had heard of you. Because I was younger when I watched it, all i can remember is the needlelike gun and when some guy says to Cat something like "ooh a toy gun, Bang Bang" it was met with a shake of the head and Cat says "Pfffit Boom" before it cuts away to you seeing the explosion (in the trees?).

I am surprised it does not pop up on TV every now and again.
flowerydreams
Apr. 21st, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
Glad to have you back George :)
jilly_bear
Apr. 21st, 2010 02:55 pm (UTC)
"One wonders what will happen if this volcano keeps spewing ash... not for days or even months, but for years. It has done so before, I am told. Try to imagine a long-term shutdown of all air traffic over the British Isles. Time to invest in steamship lines?"

Perhaps we need to build a wall and have Jon Snow keep the 'fire and ice' away from the rest of the world. :)
twilightthief
Apr. 21st, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks for coming to C2E2-it was great! Loved hearing you read the new Jon chapter from "Dance" and you signed all my stuff. Hope you'll come next year.
the2ndvariety
Apr. 22nd, 2010 12:27 am (UTC)
It was great seeing you at the convention.
I'm shy and didn't say much but I appreciated the Dreamsongs signature.
Hope you come back soon.
rocco787
Apr. 22nd, 2010 02:43 am (UTC)
Mmmm pizza!
Maybe I'm weird, but I have a near equal appreciation of both NY and Chicago deep dish style pizzas. I do prefer the thin, greasy, fold-in-half pies of NY about 2/3s of the time. But when I crave a true Chicago style deep dish that must be eaten, then there is absolutely no substitute!

They are definitely two different dining experiences. To me NY is more about the cheese and the lightness of the crust. Chicago's best comes from the sauces and tomatoes. These just wouldn't sit well on the thin crust. And I must agree chain pizza places just aren't as good. The best pizzas I've always found are from the small, privately run establishments. Pizza is a very personal thing to me :)

I can sort of understand the loyalties people have, but I can't imagine a world without the best of both. It would be like asking me to choose between wine and beer!
tungsai
Apr. 27th, 2010 02:07 am (UTC)
Chicago? 1971-1976?
OK George... Tell me if you remember this...

"Five eight eight... Two Three Hundred... Empire!"

giggle...
( 48 comments — Leave a comment )

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