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Something Old, Something New...

... or rather, the old becomes new again tomorrow, when Tor releases the latest volume in their series of Wild Cards reissues: DEAD MAN'S HAND, the seventh book in the original sequence.

I've had some readers complain about my name being featured on the covers of the Wild Cards books because I "didn't write them." That's a bullshit complaint, IMSHO. No, I am not the sole author of the Wild Cards stories, I am only one of... ah, lemme see, I believe it was forty-one writers at last count.

I am, however, the editor of every single one of the twenty-three volumes published to date, and the new ones in the pipeline as well... the guy who recruits all those writers, determines the 'overplots' of the triads, solicits proposals, accepts and rejects, and gives extensive notes on rewrites. (And there's a LOT of rewriting in Wild Cards, to make all the bits fit together so the whole will be more than the sum of its parts). It's a lot more work than any other sort of anthology, believe me... though I love it, so I don't complain... too much. I earn those credits, and to suggest that my name is just being 'slapped on' the covers while someone else does the work is as ignorant as it is offensive.

Besides which, I DO write for Wild Cards, in addition to editing the series. More so in the early days, admittedly, before Westeros and Ice & Fire arose to eat up almost all of my writing time. Truth be told, I'd love nothing better than to write some more Wild Cards stories. I have some old favorite characters I'd love to revisit (Popinjay, the Turtle), and some newer characters that I've hardly written about at all (Lohengrin, Hoodoo Mama)... and I have stories to tell. But all that will need to wait until I've finished WINDS OF WINTER, and maybe DREAM OF SPRING as well.

Which brings me back to DEAD MAN'S HAND.

If you're one of those who hasn't tried Wild Cards because there's not enough of my own writing in it, well, here's your chance to hop in. Because this volume has LOTS of my own writing. The typical Wild Cards mosaic novel features work by half a dozen or more writers and as many characters, but on this outing there were only two of us. DEAD MAN'S HAND is a sort of noir mystery novel, as two very different detectives attempt to unravel a grotesque murder in Jokertown. The stars are Yeoman, the ace of spades vigilante, written by John Jos. Miller... and my very own Popinjay, Jay Ackroyd, a rumpled private eye and projecting teleport.

The Tor reissue has a great new cover from Michael Komarck as well.

DEAD MAN'S HAND goes on sale tomorrow, at your favorite local bookstore and/or online retailer.



Jun. 12th, 2017 07:33 pm (UTC)
Another lovely Komarck piece -- digging Yeoman, in particular.

I'd be quite interested in John sharing the origins and inspirations behind Yeoman in a future Wild Cards blog post. The obvious comic book antecedents are Green Arrow and the Punisher, but I wonder what drew him particularly to the idea of a normal (if very gifted), non-Wild Card infected character surrounded by fellow players/writers messing around with Aces and Jokers.
Umar MF
Jun. 12th, 2017 08:01 pm (UTC)
Giving Wild Cards a Try
Haven't really done much wildcards reading but I think I'll start. Dead Man's Hand sounds interesting. Will give WC a start. Anyway, I don't think you should mind people who say mean things about writers such as yourself who write so extensively. Everything is earned. To risk sounding childish but such people are losers and you shouldn't waste your time on losers.
Jun. 12th, 2017 08:02 pm (UTC)
Bit off topic
Hello George,
This may be a bit off topic but if you had to recommend some books that present the real history in a very reader friendly way, what would you suggest. I know that you like Accursed Kings(which I am about to finish) alot but apart from that what would you suggest. I don't necessarily want a POV structure just something that presents history in a very readable way.

Regarding WildCards, do what your heart says. No good will come out of giving attention to random people online.
(Oh wait!)
Jun. 13th, 2017 03:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Bit off topic
Not Mr. Martin but an avid reader of medieval history.

Hugh Bicheno's Battle Royal and Blood Royal is a good two volume history of the War of the Roses (and he acknowledges Mr. Martin's influence on interest in the topic).

Princes in the Tower is also good "popular" history. Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror has held up well (a great "your are there" version of the Battle of Potiers).

Suprisingly Frossiart (an original source) is a very lively "popular" history (through written in the late 1300's).

Juliet Barker's Agincourt and Conquest cover the late Hundred Years War and are fine for general readers.

If you want to jump into the deep end try Sumption's multi-volumne History of the Hunderd Years War (but don't start there...)

Happy reading - keeps us busy to Winds blows through...

William Gicking
Jun. 12th, 2017 08:12 pm (UTC)
Good stuff
Honestly I have said before that I disagree with more famous authors getting such a prominent placement on the covers for editing books written by other authors but obviously that doesn't seem to apply here.

Also, as an outside perspective, I would say if you feel like you wanna write a wild cards story then that is what you should write. Readers will complain no matter what and you only live once so you might as well follow your inspiration wherever it may take you. As I'd said that's from my perspective outside of the burden that you carry with such a huge following but just two cents from a guy who although has no best sellers to his credit, HAS written a few drunken comments about the Mets that I feel are worthy of a Pulitzer and mayhaps a Nobel prize as well. Just sayin. (Yes that is a joke for those here without a sense of humor)

Edited at 2017-06-12 08:13 pm (UTC)
Jun. 12th, 2017 08:19 pm (UTC)
Where to start?
Wild Cards looks intriguing to me but one reason I haven't jumped in is it seems very daunting, with so many books, characters, and stories. Where do I start? Do I have to start with the first book and read everything sequentially? You seem to suggest with this post that readers can jump on anywhere. If that's the case, great! Then again, will the reading experience be better if started from Book 1? Or, if I was just going to sample one book to see how I like it, what's the best place to start if not starting at Book 1?
Jun. 12th, 2017 08:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Where to start?

But I've known people to start on just about every book, and then backtrack.
Jun. 13th, 2017 02:20 am (UTC)
Re: Where to start?
Just started the original "Wild Cards" after finishing "A song fory Lya". Really interested in the Dr. Tachyon character, obviously, as he's the first real contact with outside beings. Looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Jun. 14th, 2017 08:26 am (UTC)
RE: Re: Where to start?
I did read a bit of 'Wild Cards' following your recommendation of where to start reading the series. However, I swapped to reading 'Dead Man's Hand' after it was released as I love your style of writing - you weave a vivid world. (I loved Tolkien when I was a young thing but you are Tolkien on steroids.) DMH will keep me happy while you finish 'Winds of Winter'.

Which other Wild Cards novels contain your stories? You mentioned that you wrote more for the series in the early days. ( I know you edited them all.)
Brendan Coffey
Jun. 13th, 2017 09:06 am (UTC)
Re: Where to start?
Well, to my mind, the tow most logical starting points are either book 1 WILD CARDS, or if that huge reading list looms a bit too large, than I'd start with INSIDE STRAIGHT, the beginning of he current generation of tales.
Jun. 12th, 2017 10:26 pm (UTC)
Collaborating on a novel seems like it would be so much work! How is it different from writing solo?
Lucas Murtinho
Jun. 12th, 2017 10:39 pm (UTC)
Ace in a Dead Man's Hand?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Ace in the Hole and Dead Man's Hand started out as a single novel, right? And then the original publisher asked for it to be split in two because it was too long.

Soooo.... Any chance we may see a remix/redux of both novels in the future? (The suggested title above strikes me as a better option than Dead Man's Hole...)
Jun. 13th, 2017 02:37 am (UTC)
Re: Ace in a Dead Man's Hand?
Yes, originally ACE IN THE HOLE was a seven-writer mosaic, but it got too long, and our publisher wanted it cut by a hundred pages or more.

That would have gutted it, so instead I broke the book in two -- five characters went to ACE, two to DEAD MAN's. The split worked very well, I think.
Creed Borden
Jun. 12th, 2017 11:09 pm (UTC)
Hartmann vs Trump.
Hey George given all of the Trump news with the Comey testimony and his manipulative ties to Russia it got me thinking. Between Gregg Hartmann and Donald Trump who do you think would be a worse president?
Jun. 13th, 2017 02:39 am (UTC)
Re: Hartmann vs Trump.
Well, Hartmann far and away. He was much smarter and his policies would have been better for the country, and millions of people. That is, if you didn't mind the occasional person that he tormented and murdered in his Puppetman persona. So far as we know, Trump does not do that.
Jun. 15th, 2017 12:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Hartmann vs Trump.
Yep. An occasional person tormented and murdered beats God only knows how many people suffering or dying because the Republicans took away their health care any day of the week. Scale is important.

Of course, it would still be better to have someone who both won't take away your health care and won't occasionally murder people, but hey, you can't have everything, I guess.
Jun. 13th, 2017 01:02 am (UTC)
I'm not religious, but "Pearls before swine" my friend. Editing is a freaking task. I think more than HALF of my writing time is self-editing, and after I post something I STILL end up finding mistakes if I do a reread!
Jun. 13th, 2017 07:08 am (UTC)
I'm an editor by profession and I can speak to how vital yet underappreciated it is.
Ognjen Stepanović
Jun. 13th, 2017 09:23 am (UTC)
After reading the Dark Tower series....
I would just like to tell you one thing - Please, please, please, take your time. Write one chapter a month, if you will, go back and rewrite whatever you think should be rewritten, do whatever you think you need to do to get the story right.
I am a King-fan and I like his work. Most of all I liked the D. T. series, apart from the last book.
The last book manifests the difference between you, writing one book for 5 years and him, writing 3 books a year.
ASOIAF is a great novel. Please, please, please, don't make the same mistake as King did.
Sincerely, a fan from Serbia.
Jun. 13th, 2017 12:51 pm (UTC)
Just started reading the first Wild Card book...
Jun. 14th, 2017 01:43 am (UTC)
Prequel pilot
Hi George,

I wrote a pilot script for a Game of Thrones prequel when I heard that HBO was looking for pitches, but then HBO announced that you have found some writers who are developing scripts.

Are you and HBO still open to pitches? The series I'd started writing chronicles the Rhoynar wars and the flight of Princess Nymeria with her 10,000 ships to Dorne. There are also a set of concurrent plot lines and characters set in Valyria and Volantis. A bulk of the events, of course, are based on the histories you wrote in A World of Ice and Fire.

I'm not sure if this is already a concept being worked on, but I'm a baby writer and I'd appreciate the chance to assist the writing staff on one of the productions if they develop further.

I guess I'm wondering if there's still time for me to pitch, or has that ship already sailed?

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
Jun. 19th, 2017 10:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Prequel pilot
Sorry, no, HBO has hired the writers for the successor shows, and no pitches are being scheduled.

In any case, I am not the one to approach about such matters.
Jun. 14th, 2017 03:10 pm (UTC)
World Con Appearance
Hi George, I am planning to go to World Con this year. Could you please tell me which day you will appear. I am booking the flight to Helsinki and wonder if I can leave early on the last day of the con (Sunday August 13th).

Edited at 2017-06-14 03:13 pm (UTC)
Jun. 14th, 2017 05:14 pm (UTC)
RE: World Con Appearance
I will be there for the entire con, but the dates and times of my program items have not been finaluzed yet. I will be doing two signings, and probably a couple of panels... and of course the parties.
Jun. 14th, 2017 05:39 pm (UTC)
Piece of mind for your most loyal fans
I am very excited for all the upcoming projects you are working on and I am always happy when a great author especially my favorite gets the recognition and opportunities they deserve. Yet there is one project that many of your long time fans have been dying for. I need not mention the name. Out of love and courtesy for those of us who are restless to see just where things lay at the moment could you possibly give an estimated manuscript page count? It would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you for your consideration
Jun. 14th, 2017 10:37 pm (UTC)
Interesting you'd use the name "Hoodoo Mama," as 'Hoodoo' is a bit more obscure than 'Voodoo.' Wikipedia says it comes from Mississippi but I was raised to believe it originates here among the Gullah people of the islands around Savannah...
Jun. 15th, 2017 02:58 am (UTC)
Dead Man's Hand Audiobook
Hi George,

Just finished listening to the audiobook version of Dead Man's Hand. It was great to see Adrian back but I absolutely LOVED Jay Acovone's performance as Popinjay (and all the other voices he did). He captured Popinjay's wry humor perfectly.

Can't wait for the next one!
Cassie Otero
Jun. 15th, 2017 05:08 am (UTC)
Jean Cocteau and Meow Wolf
I flew up from NC with my family this week to attend a week long internship for my grad school in Colorado, and I was granted one afternoon of leisure. When I noticed that Santa Fe was approximately 2.5 hours away from our motel, we decided to head over to visit my favorite author's haunts (your cinema, and your art museum). Although, (tragically) we did not see you at these venues, we still had a blast--it was great to see these places in person after hearing about them on your blog for so long: what an altogether surreal experience!

The Meow Wolf felt like a live-action video game; also, everyone at the cinema was especially so nice! They showed us your VIP booth, and our son even got a Bravosi coin!

Wish I could have met you to thank you personally, but it was equally wonderful to experience your hometown in person.

The employees at author George R. R. Martin's cinema were amazing! They took us on a special tour which included sitting in George's private booth, and they also kindly gave E a special gift: a Bravosi coin. @jeancocteautheatre

The employees at author George R. R. Martin's cinema were amazing! They took us on a special tour which included sitting in George's private booth, and they also kindly gave E a special gift: a Bravosi coin. @jeancocteautheatre
Jun. 16th, 2017 06:14 am (UTC)
RE: Jean Cocteau and Meow Wolf
I am glad you enjoyed your visit to Santa Fe. Thanks for the kind words.
Alex McDonough
Jun. 15th, 2017 02:28 pm (UTC)
Thomas Swann
Hello George,

I was wondering if you've ever read "The Weirwoods" by Thomas Burnett Swann? The name of this book is far too eye-catching. I had to order it off of Amazon ;)

Edited at 2017-06-15 02:29 pm (UTC)
Jun. 16th, 2017 06:13 am (UTC)
RE: Thomas Swann
Afraid not.
Jun. 16th, 2017 08:28 pm (UTC)
Enhanced versions of ASOIAF

I just want to say that I love books, I love the smell of them, I love the feel of them, I love seeing a book on my shelf and knowing that I conquered it, and I swore a vow (not before a weirwood tree) never to use a kindle or ipad to read a book. It felt like cheating to me.

I decided to start reading the ASOIAF novels again (third time through) because I love them and I wanted a bit more knowledge of the ancillary characters and geography that I just don't have the brain power to commit to memory any longer... so I decided to try the enhanced version on iTunes. I'm not a shill, I don't like everything I buy and I'm suspicious of technology for technology's sake, but man oh man do I love the enhanced versions. I'm 200 pages shy of finishing ADwD and it's been the most enjoyable reading. I love the hyperlinks, I love the editor's notes, and I love the character recaps before the chapters which really is crucial as FFC and ADwD start to merge.

Whoever had the idea, whether it was yours or someone else's, I send my regards. I found a few typos (especially in SoS and FFC) but nothing that I couldn't get through. Just well done all around.
Jun. 17th, 2017 03:50 pm (UTC)
Hello, Martin. Please, take me out a question: do you send signed bookplates? Please say yes! The highlight of my life as a reader is sure to receive something like this, since you do not seem to be coming to Brazil any time soon (I know it's not your fault). I hope you can see and can respond to this comment. Valar Morghulis.
Jun. 19th, 2017 05:29 am (UTC)
Not at this time, sorry. I used to, but the number if requests grew overwhelming.

However, you can buy signed copies of all my books from the Jean Cocteau website.
Jun. 20th, 2017 04:39 pm (UTC)
I understand it. Thank you very much. Keep writing wonderful stories!
Zoey Fisher
Jun. 20th, 2017 11:54 am (UTC)
I find that the old expression that "opinions are like assholes and everyone has one" Unfortunately, you are going to have a large percentage of those assholes expressing their opinions in very a very negative way even when they don't really know all the facts or what goes on on your end of the process.

There is another express that they fulfill when they do express their opinions "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt." Unfortunately, once those fools put their words into print, there is an effect similar to the effect of the Dung Beetle building his ball of crap. People read it, believe it, don't see anything to the contrary, so they add their crap to it....making a bigger ball of crap grow and grow.

I can understand your frustration and the reason why you have to make statements regarding the fools fans who gripe about something that is really none of their business or effects them in any way. Then the press changes your statement to make it seem like you are fed up with ALL your fans

It's damn either way situation, isn't it?

I wish you and your wife all the best in the world and look forward to reading anything with your name on it. That's right, I have an opinion too but I'm not an asshole about it, worrying that someone with such awesome talent is going places I never will in the real world.

I'm happy enough reading your work and other authors like you and taking trips to places that are no longer part of this world.
Frank Probst
Jun. 20th, 2017 05:00 pm (UTC)
Appearance in St Petersburg
Apologies for being off-topic, but I just noticed that you'll be appearing at a con in St Petersburg. Do you have a tentative schedule yet? Will there be any readings or signings?
Jun. 20th, 2017 10:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Appearance in St Petersburg
Signings, yes. I believe I will also be doing interviews, maybe panels. Probably no reading.
Jun. 20th, 2017 05:03 pm (UTC)
Awesome thing from a big fan
It was just a joke. I don't know if it's an incredible thing for real. However, if you are reading this message, I can say that it is an incredible thing for me.

First of all, I want you to know that I admire your work. Especially ASOIAF, of course, but all the others too. I recently had to read Hunter's Run to talk a little about the work at an event of your publisher here in Brazil. I must say that you, Dozois and Graham did a really incredible job.

Anyway. All this text is just for me to ask you this question: would you like to answer an interview with a fan who maintains a blog about epic fantasy? Thing of five questions, as I know you do not have much time.

Keep being nice. (I wait) See you.

(Sorry for sending the message here, I can not find any other place to send).
Jun. 20th, 2017 06:31 pm (UTC)
Wild Cards Art / Fantasy Art
Any thoughts on the shift in style and tone on book cover art, specifically Science Fiction and Fantasy, in the past couple of decades? The early editions of the Wild Cards books have a gulf of style between the newer ones.
Jun. 20th, 2017 10:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Wild Cards Art / Fantasy Art
Any book that lasts long enough will have a lot of different covers over time. Publishers love to repackage.

Wild Cards has seen a lot of different styles over its thirty year history, especially if you take the covers on our foreign editions into account as well. We've had some great covers... and, yes, some truly awful ones.

Myself, I think the covers we're getting right now are the best we've ever had -- the Tor covers by Michael Komarck, and the covers on the Brazilian and French editions from Marc Simonetti, are both spectacular.

Philip Alexander
Jun. 21st, 2017 12:14 am (UTC)
Something Old, Something New
Hello Mr. Martin, I hope I don't offend you by going off topic, but I was just wondering if you were aware of Tad Williams' new Osten Ard series, "The Last King of Osten Ard"? I kind of just stumbled onto the news of Tad Williams' return to Osten Ard when I was visiting my local Barnes & Noble and came across Tad Williams' new Osten Ard novella, "The Heart of What Was Lost". The first book in the new series is called "The Witchwood Crown" and it takes place 34 years after the events of "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn". I thought I read somewhere that Tad Williams' "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn" series was part of what inspired you to write your ASOIAF series, so I was just curious what your thoughts on the new Osten Ard novels might be. Anyway, I'm a huge fan of ASOIAF. I've been reading (and re-reading) every book since I was a teenager in the late 90's. Now I'm in my mid 30's and I'm still looking forward to your next installment, lol! Thank you very much for that Mr. Martin; thank you for sharing so much of your passion, creativity, talent and TIME with millions of fans who can sometimes be unappreciative assholes.


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

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