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Odds and Ends

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I have been buried in work since getting back from England and Portugal. So much stuff piles up when I am away for any length of time, and there are only so many hours in the day. There were a number of subjects I wanted to make long Not A Blog posts about... but the time just wasn't there, and I needed my energy for other things.

Anyway, it's too late to do the posts now, but let me at least touch on a number of the things I would have talked about at length, if I had found the time.

The Hugos. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS made the Hugo shortlist for Best Novel. I am very pleased by that. DANCE has received a number of awards and honors since it was published, not to mention the best reviews of my career (and I have always been pretty well reviewed), but I'm an old fanboy, and the Hugo is special to me. It's the Big One: the oldest award in the field, and the most meaningful, since it's voted by the fans. So I am thrilled to be on the ballot. And I'm just as thrilled... well, no, not really, ALMOST just as thrilled... that one of the books DANCE will be contending against is LEVIATHAN WAKES, by James S.A. Corey, who is really my friends Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. LEVIATHAN's a terrific read as well. So congrats to Corey, and to the other books on the ballot. And to Anne Groell and Michael Komarck, nominated for the first time for Best Editor (Long Form) and Best Professional Artist, respectively. Long deserved. Finally, there's Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, where HBO's GAME OF THRONES is a finalist. I'm pleased by that as well. Congrats to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss and their terrific team at HBO. Now all we have to do is beat four major motion pictures with budgets that dwarf ours... though that's probably an easier go than winning in Short Form, where I think the double juggernaut of the Neil Gaiman episode of DR. WHO will steamroller all opposition. Anyway... win, lose, or draw, it IS fun to have a horse in the race. Thanks to everyone who nominated.

The NFL. Yes, I did watch the rest of the draft. Every bloody round. Of course, since I do not follow college football, the deeper we get into the draft, the more the names are just names to me. Overall, I came away with the feeling that the Giants had a better draft than the Jets, but only time will tell. I was interested to see how many second generation players came out this year... the sons of players I once cheered on. Dave Meggett's son. Al Toon's son. And I see the younger son of Phil Simms has just been signed by the Jets as a free agent. Talk about making me feel old. I remember when their fathers were rookies. sigh

The TV show. I finished and delivered my script for season three of GAME OF THRONES. It's episode 307, with the working title "Autumn Storms." David and Dan seem to like it. Casting is in full swing for the new season, so I'm watching auditions every night. Froggy may be turning up soon, but don't hold your breath. I'm too busy to devote much time to whipping up obscure clues.

New deals. Gardner Dozois and I have sold three new original anthologies: a big crossgenre anthology called ROGUES, in the tradition of our old WARRIORS anthology, and a set of paired Retro-SF anthologies called OLD MARS and OLD VENUS. Or did I mention that already? Sorry, all you aspiring writers out there, they are by invitation only. I wish I had time to read unsolicited submissions, but I don't.

Old deals. Our DANGEROUS WOMEN anthology is edging toward completion. Waiting on some rewrites and one last major story. We'll likely be late delivering that one.

WILD CARDS. Close to a deal for a new original and four more reprints. Meanwhile, Melinda Snodgrass and I are working on volume twenty-two, LOWBALL, a sequel to FORT FREAK. And speaking of FORT FREAK, that one is out in paperback. Melinda is also scripting the Wild Cards movie for SyFy films. And a new Wild Cards comic miniseries is in the works.

Next trip. Seems like I just got home, and I don't believe all my suitcases are unpacked yet, but Miscon in Missoula, Montana is coming up soon, so I'll be hopping on a plane again in a couple of weeks. I hope to see some old friends there, and make some new ones.

Reading. I just finished THE KING'S BLOOD, the second volume of Daniel Abraham's "Dagger and Coin" series. Books like this remind me why I love epic fantasy. Yes, I'm prejudiced, Daniel is a friend and sometime collaborator... but damn, that was a good book. Great world, great characters, thoroughly engrossing story. The only problem was, it ended too soon. I want more. I want to know what happens to Cithrin, and Marcus, and Geder, and Clara. And I want to know NOW. God damn you, Daniel Abraham. I know for a fact that you are writing more Expanse books with Ty, and more urban fantasies as M.L.N. Hanover, and doing short stories for some hack anthologist, and scripting some goddamn COMIC BOOK, and even sleeping with your wife and playing with your daughter. STOP ALL THAT AT ONCE, and get to writing on the next Dagger and Coin. I refuse to wait.

(Yes, for the irony impaired, the paragraph above is me being snarky. I WAS disappointed when Daniel's book was over, though... and the moment the next volume is available, I intend to snatch it up at once. Meanwhile, there are other good books to read).

Calendar. Just got advance copies of the 2013 Ice & Fire calendar, illustrated by Marc Simonetti. My, but it's gorgeous. The rest of you will be able to buy calendars in July. As in previous years, the calendar will debut at the San Diego Comicon. And yes, I will be at the San Diego Comicon again. Not for the whole thing, no. San Diego was not on my schedule this year, but HBO wants me there for the GAME OF THRONES panel, so I'm going to squeeze in a quick visit on my way to Spain.

More calendar. I've been seeing some preliminary sketches from Gary Gianni for the 2014 calendar, and that one is going to be a knockout as well.

THE LANDS OF ICE & FIRE. Map book. In the pipeline. My part is done, now the mapmakers and artists are doing theirs.

THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE. Concordance. Working on it. Just sent a big chunk to Bantam.

WINDS OF WINTER. Yes, I'm working on that too. At the moment, I am writing about the Dothraki. More than that, I sayeth not, you know I don't like to talk about this stuff.

Other stuff? Yes, lots of other stuff... but it's late and I'm tired, so this will have to hold you for now. More odds and more ends another day. Talk amongst yourselves.

Comments

grrm
May. 13th, 2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
I liked THE AVENGERS a lot... but maybe "loved" is too strong. I do have quibbles.

I definitely want to see it again, this time in 2D. I did not think the 3D added much, and the process made many of the scenes too dark. I am really not in love with today's 3D process. Yes, sometimes it works very well, as on HUGO, but mostly it doesn't.

Lots of lots of great stuff in THE AVENGERS, which most of the world has commented on, so I won't. The action scenes were spectacular, and overall I thought they did very well with Iron Man, the Hulk, Thor, Captain America, and Nick Fury. All great characters, all handled well, their interactions were one of the best part of the films.

However, I think they wasted the Black Widow and Hawkeye. Hawkeye is actually one of my favorite Avengers, so that saddened me. I missed the dynamic from the comics, where it's Hawkeye who is the cynical smartass (not Iron Man), always in conflict with the super straight guy Captain America. I guess, having capitalized on the undeniable talents of Robert Downey Junior to create a terrific character in Movie Iron Man, they did not feel there was room for a second wise-cracking iconoclast. Fine, but it left Hawkeye without a personality. Or much to do.

Same's true of the Black Widow. Scarlett Johanssen looked great in that outfit, but she seemed to be there only as eye candy. The shot in the middle of the battle where she pulls out a pistol was silly. I don't know who this Black Widow was, and I don't think the screenwriter did either. She wasn't the original comic Black Widow, the Russian femme fatale who seduces Hawkeye into trying to kill Iron Man. She wasn't the later comic book Black Widow, who dons a costume, comes over to the good guys, and teams with first Hawkeye and then Daredevil. She was just... there.

My own golden rule for these Marvel movies is simple -- stay with the way Stan Lee did it, and you won't go far wrong. THE AVENGERS should have done that. Hawkeye was not actually a founding member of the group, he came in later... around the same time Iron Man and Thor were leaving. Black Widow came in even later than that. So I would have followed Stan's scenario, left them out of this first movie, and replaced them with... Ant-Man and the Wasp! Who WERE founding members of the Avengers. They wanted a woman in the group, sure, but the Wasp would have done just as well as Black Widow, and Ant-Man... hey, I love Hank Pym.

All that being said... these are, ultimately, just quibbles. I did really like the film. The Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form next year in San Antonio is really going to be a fanboy bloodbath, with AVENGERS, PROMETHEUS, and THE HOBBIT all contending for the same rocket.

'Nuff said.
stephen1985
May. 14th, 2012 04:51 pm (UTC)
Ant Man!
Exactly! Where was Ant Man, one of the Avengers founders?! I mean, don't get me wrong, I love Scarlett and even met her when she visited us in Kuwait (she's beautiful!)...but c'mon! Where is Ant Man? And when she was shooting the two pistols against the invading army I thought it was cheesy as hell. They could have made her Wasp instead and had her fly around with Iron Man and I would have been much happier. Plus my two year old son LOVES Iron Man and Wasp. Avengers is his fav show/cartoon, and he sat through this whole movie in my lap without making a sound, completely engrossed in the movie. And RDJ plays Stark perfectly. Love the Iron Man movies. Avengers- good movie, but I had a few gripes as well.
werthead
May. 17th, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
"The Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form next year in San Antonio is really going to be a fanboy bloodbath, with AVENGERS, PROMETHEUS, and THE HOBBIT all contending for the same rocket."

Not to mention the second season of a certain epic fantasy series airing on HBO :-)
rawr_balrog
May. 17th, 2012 10:20 pm (UTC)
I don't know... in context, if I got magically brainwashed into murdering my friends and allies, I wouldn't be feeling very snarky afterward. I thought his quietness read effectively as an awkward sense of guilt. But that could be me writing things between the lines, I suppose.

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