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Nowadays they call 'em graphic novels. Which is a fancy way of saying "big thick trade paperback or hardcover comic books sold in bookstores instead of comic shops," really. When I was a kid we called them "funny books," but I don't think anyone but me and Howard Waldrop still remembers that. Never mind. I ramble.

The point is, I have all sorts of cool news on the funny book/ comic book/ graphic novel front. Which I am not going to spill here all at once, because, well, it's more fun to torment you guys with one announcement at the time.

Here's the first: MEATHOUSE MAN, the graphic novel.

Those of you who know me only from A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE may be wondering, what the hell is MEATHOUSE MAN?? The short answer is, "one of my old SF short stories." (Actually, a novelette).

The long answer is, "the darkest, bleakest, sickest, most twisted thing I ever wrote."

I wrote it back in the late 1970s, in response to an invitation from Harlan Ellison, who wanted something of mine for THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS. Most of my own visions, back then, were more romantic and melancholy than dangerous, but I wanted in that book, so I took up the challenge, opened a vein, and with my very own blood (no, not really) wrote this disturbing tale of zombie necrophilia, and... well, it was a painful story to write, and painful to read as well. When I sent it to Harlan, he rejected it... but Damon Knight bought it, and it was published in ORBIT 18. I've reprinted it a few times since. I really cannot say I "like" the story (it is not the sort of story that lends itself to liking), but it is a powerful piece.

And now it is going to be a funny book... er... graphic novel.


For that, blame must go to Raya Golden, my talented (and somewhat twisted) Second Minion, a terrific young artist. Raya wanted to adapt something of mine as a comic, so when I offered her the choice of all the stuff in DREAMSONGS not already under option, she surprised the seven hells out of me by choosing "Meathouse Man." (And she seems so sane and happy). Then she took the ball and ran with it.

Raya broke down the story, adapted it to comic form, wrote the script, did the pencils, the inks, the coloring, the covers. This is her MEATHOUSE MAN as much as it is mine.

Amazon's publishing arm 47 North will be bringing it out in October... as an e-book for Kindle for sure. Raya and the gang at Amazon have done some interesting and innovative stuff to marry the medium to the format; this whole e-comic thing is a brave new world. (E-funny books? Who woulda thunk it?) A print edition is also possible, but not definite, waiting on final word on that.

So that's the first of my funny books making its way toward you. Raya's done an an amazing job on it, I think... I hope you'll check it out, and... well, "enjoy" may not be the word, the story is kind of a punch in the gut, but...

That's MEATHOUSE MAN. Coming this October to a Kindle near you.


Apr. 30th, 2013 01:17 am (UTC)
Last night's Game of Thrones was stellar. Two particular scenes were among the most beautifully shot I've ever seen on TV. The scene between Tywin, Tyrion and Ceseri and the "hot tub" scene with Brienne and Jamie. This Alex Graves dude knows his stuff!
Apr. 30th, 2013 01:21 am (UTC)
Congratulations to Raya! "Meathouse Man" is quite the story to adapt.
Apr. 30th, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
I can testify to the awesomeness of both Raya and this, not actually that fucking funny book.
Apr. 30th, 2013 01:38 am (UTC)
(E-funny books? Who woulda thunk it?)

Actually, nowadays there's also webcomics - online-funny books? - that sort of jump the border between "story written for the public" and "story written to be sold"; a lot of them take advantage of the internet's ability to have long and short pages, and use layout that's too-long/oddly-shaped/strange on the printed page. There's a lot of really good ones out there, and if you liked funny books as a kid, you'd probably find webcomics you'd enjoy as well. If you need any recommendations I'd be happy to add some.
Apr. 30th, 2013 02:02 am (UTC)
Sounds cool.

I have finally come around to the term Graphic Novel mostly because of Scott McCloud and Reimagining Comics where he talked about Will Eisner's struggles to make sure that the medium was taken seriously (against fans and writers)

Sounds cool. So when do you think that Last Dangerous Visions will be coming out? :)

And darn it - I thought I was being all innovative when I wrote my Zombie Porn story. And I find out that this story has been around since before I was born. Oh well.
Apr. 30th, 2013 02:11 am (UTC)
Meathouse Courtesy
Glad there is a lot of sick people out there. Look forward to cringing to your story again.
Apr. 30th, 2013 02:15 am (UTC)
Hmm, my Kindle does words, does pictures in b&w, doesn't do colour. Do more recent Kindles (mine's from 2010) do colour pictures? Do I need to upgrade already???? Sadly clueless about that - and I thought I'd read pretty much all your work, Mr. Martin, but "Meathouse Man" doesn't ring a bell and it sounds like I'd remember it! I guess it's time to save the (now non-existent in Canada) pennies for an upgraded Kindle by October!
Apr. 30th, 2013 03:38 am (UTC)
They will have an app for other devices as well as a kindle, so if you have an iPad, iPhone, or even your laptop will be able to download a free app and check out the comic if you dare ;)
Apr. 30th, 2013 10:19 am (UTC)
Re: Kindle
Congratulations Raya. I'll be buying a copy for sure!
Apr. 30th, 2013 11:43 am (UTC)
Re: Kindle
So excited for you, Raya!!
Apr. 30th, 2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
Re: Kindle
Hi Raya! Can't wait to see it! Hopefully it will download to my iMAC because I have an old, B&W Nook.
Apr. 30th, 2013 02:39 am (UTC)

This is the first I've ever read of Harlan rejecting a story for The Last Dangerous Visions.

Apr. 30th, 2013 03:06 am (UTC)
The more interesting stories are the stories that were accepted for Last Dangerous Visions and never saw the light of day.
Mark Stackpole
May. 3rd, 2013 12:58 pm (UTC)
Someday, take a gander at the list of contents for The Last Dangerous Visions as of 1979 which has been posted on the International Science Fiction Database (I can't add the link since LiveJournal interprets http as spam).

Bester, Simak, King, Butler, Reynolds, Pangborn, Dickson, Reamy, Pournelle, Effinger, Sheckley, Keyes etc. etc. - all sitting since the early Seventies unread in a file cabinet somewhere in the hills above Los Angeles.

It breaks the heart.
Apr. 30th, 2013 03:10 am (UTC)
E-funny book
Well, I'm excited. Thank you for the heads up. I will await in anticipation (the usual).
Brandon Butler
Apr. 30th, 2013 03:16 am (UTC)
On the MEATHOUSE MAN as a graphic novel... I think.

I like the "open vein" reference to Harlan's writing. However, looking at my own scarred wrists now from just reading both your stories, I really wonder if there hadn't been an easier way...
Apr. 30th, 2013 04:19 am (UTC)
Oh. My. God. I love your short stories as much as I love ASOIAF but I could not get through that story. It's one of the few things that disturbed me too much to continue reading. I cannot even imagine it as a comic.

Thinking about it makes me shudder. In a mostly good way. But still...
Apr. 30th, 2013 04:29 am (UTC)
The other graphic novels in the works will be quite different in tone, rest assured... watch this space...
May. 2nd, 2013 04:41 pm (UTC)
Dear Mr. GRRM,
Sorry to post this very personal message here, but I just want to let you know that you were my son Miguel's favorite author. He passed away due to cancer last April 05 at the young age of 23. He encouraged all of us to read game of thrones way back before it became a series. he promoted the books and lent them to his friends. sadly, he had one of your books which he didn't get to read- dreamsongs vol 1. it remains in his bookshelf still, and when i'm done with my grief, i'll read it.
miguel's favorite was stannis, but there was a time when he was for house martell, so i was wondering if it would be ok to use "unbowed, unbent, unbroken" in his epitaph, as cancer couldn't break him. i can't find any appropriate stannis quotes for him, so..
many thanks!
May. 2nd, 2013 05:28 pm (UTC)
Very sorry for your loss.
Apr. 30th, 2013 04:56 am (UTC)
Despite how macabre "Meathouse Man" was, I kinda actually liked it. If it came out in print, I'd definitely buy it... but barring that, maybe I'll finally jump on the e-book bandwagon - after all, being able to carry ASOIAF with me all the time certainly has it's allure
Apr. 30th, 2013 05:33 am (UTC)
Very cool. I, however, would like to see less attention paid to this silly A Song of Ice and Fire distraction, and more attention paid to your best work, Tuf Voyaging. The world needs more Haviland Tuf.
Apr. 30th, 2013 11:06 am (UTC)
funny books
I also remember "funny books". There was a candy store around the corner of where I lived that sold "funny books". I remember haggling with my dad to give me 10 cents (remember 10cent comics?) to buy one. He would always say, "Why do you want another funny book?", but eventually he'd give me the 10 cents. That nostalgia makes me resistant to Kindle and all its ilk. There is nothing like the feel and smell of a "funny book", new or old. My first graphic novel was the first Superman annual which cost 50 cents, a small fortune at the time (1950's). My mother promised me the two quarters if I passed 4th grade. I did, ran home through the projects yelling "I passed, I passed." Those were the days!
It's nice to see that you have a dark side as well, although it comes through in some scenes of a Song of Ice and Fire
Apr. 30th, 2013 11:42 am (UTC)
Raya is an amazing talent and I am so effing excited to see her tackle the project. Despite the gnarly aspects of the story itself, it's still one of my favorites (for various values of "favorite" because it isn't a story one can "like") of your short fiction.

Congrats to both of you!
Apr. 30th, 2013 02:22 pm (UTC)
Awesome. Congrats to Raya!
Apr. 30th, 2013 05:37 pm (UTC)
Raya was kind enough to show me previews of some of the panels while I was visiting down in NM the other week and they were impressive/creepy at the same time. This of course is a good thing given the source material.

Rock on Raya!

Apr. 30th, 2013 08:47 pm (UTC)
Very cool!

While I wouldn't categorize you as a pure Splatterpunk author, MEATHOUSE MAN certainly fits in the vein of that particular subgenre of horror. Definitely a well written piece. Personally, as much as I love fantasy, my true love is horror. Especially well written short horror stories such as MEAT MAN.

I find it interesting that you frequently feature stories in your anthologies that you edit by Joe Lansdale who is considered one of the masters of extreme horror. NIGHT THEY MISSED THE HORROR SHOW is one of the most disturbing examples of extreme horror that I've ever read. In reading the story, you get the impression that Joe had a lot of fun writing it, as twisted as it sounds. That's a testament to Joe's skills as a writer. He wrote another story called INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD that was pretty cool.

Edward Lee is another prolific author in the Splatterpunk vein. While I find him intriguing, he frequently bludgeons readers with so much sex and violence that you eventually become numb to it. THE BIGHEAD is a perfect example. Way too over the top.

Richard Christian Matheson, son of the great Richard Matheson, also is renowned in the Splatterpunk movement. His short story RED is only two pages long but definitely hits you like a punch to the stomach.

Of course the greatest writer considered part of the Splatterpunk genre would have to be Clive Barker. While some of his work could be considered extreme, his creativity and fantastic imagination could almost be considered Lovecraftian in that he created entire worlds and myths that are horrible and stunning at the same time (see THE HELLBOUND HEART (what the HELLRAISER movies were based upon) as well as WEAVEWORLD).
Apr. 30th, 2013 11:51 pm (UTC)
Joe Lansdale is amazing, yeah.

And I was the editor who first bought and published "The Hellbound Heart," way back before anyone knew who Clive Barker was.
May. 1st, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
At the risk of sounding a bit like a brown-noser, that's something else to thank you for!

Even way before Game of Thrones came out on HBO, I obsessed about your books to the point that my wife rolled her eyes whenever I mentioned anything about them. I've been slacking somewhat as of lately and only managed to read A Dance With Dragons only once. I'll have to rectify that soon!

I know you probably get it all the time, but I'd just like to thank you for the work that you do and let you know the joy and pleasure that your books have brought into my life.

Thanks, George, and keep up the good work!

Edited at 2013-05-01 01:36 am (UTC)
Apr. 30th, 2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
I may be only 26 years old, but I couldn't take a comic to my grandparents' house as a child without questions being asked about my 'funny book'. I literally thought that was what they were called by everyone until I was in my early teens.

Personally, I kind of like the term still. Up with funny books, I say!
Apr. 30th, 2013 09:07 pm (UTC)
Looking forward to this. The story is certainly not fun or easy to read, but it explores some interesting themes and is VERY well written (not that that's unusual for George). I read it in the Dreamsongs collection a couple of years ago and it's one of the stories that has stuck with me longest (the other jewel in that collection, apart from The Hedge Knight, has got to be Sandkings, which I hope also gets a comic).
Apr. 30th, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)
SANDKINGS had a comic years ago, from DC. The late great Julie Schwartz was the editor. You can probably find a copy easily enough, I don't think it's rare or expensive.
Apr. 30th, 2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
Where could one find Meathouse Man today? Is it part of any anthology currently in print?
Apr. 30th, 2013 11:48 pm (UTC)
It's in DREAMSONGS, my short story collection. Also in some zombie anthologies... though my zombies aren't true zombies.
Apr. 30th, 2013 11:35 pm (UTC)
Great story! Yes, definitely a bit disturbing, but original, engrossing, and memorable!
May. 1st, 2013 01:05 am (UTC)
is most excellent, good sir. 'tis a shame I have no Kindle in which to read it.
Amaresh Datta
May. 1st, 2013 07:45 am (UTC)
on comic book and graphic novels
I think 'comic book' in the US is a complete misnomer. There is nothing comical in (almost) any of them. The whole genre is monopolized by picture format stories of violent (not even slapstick and quite often gory) adventures of skimpily dressed bulging-muscled super-heroes (gender neutral). In that respect 'graphic novel' is a much more appropriate name. One can call it 'cartoon book' (simply 'cartoon' being reserved for cartoon movie/strips).

European comics are still true to the nature/genre ... I have seen a bunch of recent French and German comics that have pun, humour and other comical aspects. Even their adventure graphic stories are much better than their US counterparts ... in terms of drawing style and more importantly, content wise ... much more historical or fantasy based rather than one-dimensional super-hero stories.

Speaking of 'comic' and good book, I would promote 'Cartoon History of the Universe' all the volumes ... an exceptionally entertaining ans immensely edifying work. Anyone who likes comic books and EVERYONE who likes history (of the human race as a whole) should read/buy it.

May. 2nd, 2013 02:10 am (UTC)
I remember them being called funny books!
Well, actually, I remember other (older)people calling them funny books ...
May. 2nd, 2013 04:01 am (UTC)
sounds intriguing!
Sean Hall
May. 3rd, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
Sounds interesting
Wow, this certainly sounds fascinating. Will definitely have to check it out!
May. 5th, 2013 09:49 am (UTC)
Tremendous news!
I'm so happy to hear about this. When I first read DREAMSONGS I instantly fell in love with this story. Strange thing to say, what with the horrific and disturbing subject matter, but I couldn't help but enjoy the dark beauty of the story. George, you created a story with so much depth and feeling that I can't help but read it on a regular basis. I can't wait to get my hands on this and see how the artist has interpreted the images within. Congratulations, George. I'll be sure to suggest this (among your other works) to more of my friends. Hopefully we get to see more of your work receive the recognition it deserves. Cheers, sir.
May. 6th, 2013 09:40 pm (UTC)
rir Mr Jnsson
May. 9th, 2013 09:56 pm (UTC)
Meathouse Man
Ohh! Meathouse Man as a graphic novel. What great news. My absolute favourite story from Dreamsongs. Macabre, dreary and grim, yes, but very enjoyable nevertheless (or perhaps therefore). Looking forward too it, and will try to hunt down a copy of Sandkings while I wait.
May. 12th, 2013 09:41 pm (UTC)
HAHA Ramble on, Old Man! It rocks. The wisdom and thoughts of sages from times past.

I am very much looking forward to this.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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