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Spiders! And Neil Gaiman!

(Not for arachnophobes)

If you've driven past the Jean Cocteau Cinema today, you may have noticed a giant spider crawling up the side of our building at 418 Montezuma.

That's because tomorrow night we are premiering SIXTEEN LEGS!

Neil Gaiman himself will be skyping in to introducer the film. And we have the Tasmanian film makers on hand as well.

Giant Tasmanian Cave Spiders and Neil Gaiman!! What more could you possibly want???

I'm Number Four

The fourth most powerful writer in Hollywood, that is.

Or so says The Hollywood Reporter: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/hollywoods-25-powerful-authors-2016-931979

I seem to recall dimly that I was number seven a few years ago, so I guess I am getting more powerful by the day. Soon I will rule the world.

Actually, though... I am delighted to see so many of my friends and colleagues on the list this year. They've got Diana Gabaldon at #14, Ernie Cline at #12, Gillian Flynn at #11, Dennis Lehane at #10, Neil Gaiman at #9, and Stephen King at #2. All writers I've published, worked with, hosted at the Jean Cocteau, and just been friends with, for varying lengths of time. All amazing talents, too. As are the other authors on the list, the ones I don't know.

As to how much "power" any writer actually has, however... well, that's another question.

An Enhanced Apple

This post has been brought to you by the Minions of Fevre River #GRRMinion

I’m reaching out to everyone to let you know about the new enhanced iBook edition of the 20th anniversary of the first publication of Game of Thrones. This luscious digital edition will host some amazing features brought to us by the fabulous folks at Apple.

It's now officially available exclusively on iBooks.

Click HERE to see the glory.

Delve deeper into the history of some of the great houses of Westeros and stay on top of the epic storylines through enhanced content, including:

• Gorgeous new covers
• Interactive character maps
• Extensive annotations
• Character journeys and timelines
• Family trees and histories
• House and sigil summaries
• Stunning illustrations

A GAME OF THRONES: ENHANCED EDITION is available exclusively on iBooks in the U.S. and Canada.

Enhanced Editions of Books 2-5 in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series are available for pre-order.

We hope you love all the great features as much as we Minions do!


This post has been brought to you by the Minions of Fevre River #GRRMinion

Come Visit Westworld...

... at the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

HBO's big new drama series WESTWORLD debuts on Sunday, October 2... but we'll be showing it a day early at the Jean Cocteau.

That's right. We have a special Santa Fe PREMIERE scheduled for Saturday, October 1, with three showings of the first episode. A morning showing in Spanish, an afternoon screening in English, both open to the general public on a first come, first seated basis, and a special invitation-only (sorry) VIP screening in the evening.

All showings will be completely FREE.

WESTWORLD is based on the classic 1973 film of the same name, written and directed by Michael Crichton and starring Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, and James Brolin. It's a science fiction thriller in Western clothes, about a futuristic theme park where patrons can live out their six-gun fantasies, gunning down robot outlaws and frolicking with robot dance hall girls... until something goes wrong.

HBO's version has been completely reimagined and redeveloped by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, however (hey, it's not 1973 any more), and stars Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and Evan Rachel Wood. Everything I've heard about it sounds terrific; I can't wait to see it.

Here's a taste.

We're planning to have some gunslingers and dance hall girls of our own on site to help with the festivities. Whether they will be robots ot not... well, you'll need to puzzle that one out on your own. Come join the fun!

Another Bloody Sunday

Ah, football Sunday...

The Giants came out looking like they were going to dominate the Redskins. Then they shot themselves in the foot. Then they shot themselves in the other foot. Then they shot themselves in the calves, the thighs... stupid penalties, fumbles, interceptions, more stupid penalties. Horrors.

The Jets missed their flight to Kansas City. I don't know who those guys were wearing the green and white uniforms.

Life is meaningless and full of pain.


Catching Up

I'm back from LA and the Emmy Awards, and as usual there's a zillion things to catch up on.

The Giants and Jets both won last weekend. They both made it more exciting than it needed to be, of course, but a win is a win is a win, and I'll take them. Life is magical and full of joy.

GAME OF THRONES also won big, as those of you who watched the Emmy telecast know. Three more wins, for writing, directing, and show. Added to the nine that we won last weekend, that's twelve, and gave GOT the record for most Emmys ever won by a primetime scripted series. With thirty-eight, we edged past FRAZIER. Congrats to all, and especially to Dan and Dave, who have put together a truly amazing team and made some television history in the process.

(I do wish our nominated actors and actresses had brought some gold home as well, though. With two finalists in Best Supporting Actor, and three in Best Supporting Actress, we ended up dividing the vote and competing against ourselves, I fear. But the performances we got from Peter, Kit, Lena, Maisie, and Emilia speaks for themselves, trophies notwithstanding).

Jimmy Kimmel did a great job as host.

For me, a couple of personal highlights were meeting Jim Kimmel, Jimmy's father, who is a big fan of GAMES, and getting the Emmy from Dennis Franz, an amazing actor whose work on NYPD BLUE remains some of the finest ever seen on television. Best police show ever, imnsho).

There were great parties both before and after the awards themselves... though I fear I may getting too old for such things. I turned sixty-eight on September 20th, and may have reached the age where I prefer quieter parties with comfortable chairs.

And now I'm home, and there's more work to do. Later, folks.

Emmys, Emmys, Emmys

GAME OF THRONES kicked ass and took names last weekend in LA, at the Creative Arts Emmys, racking up nine victories, way more than any other show.

"Dominates," the Hollywood press is saying. Hey, cool, I will go with that.


GAME OF THRONES took home the Emmys for casting, for makeup (non-prosthetic), for makeup (prosthetic).

Also for production design, for costuming, and for sound mixing.

And for editing, for stunt coordination, and for special visual effects (that was the fifth consecutive win for our SFX guys)

I'd say "eight is enough, and nine is even better," but we also lost some... so instead I will just say congratulations to all our winners, and condolences to all our losers, and to all the other nominees as well. Hugo, Nebula, Oscar, or Emmy, it IS an honor just to be nominated.

With these nine wins, GAME OF THRONES has now taken home more Emmy Awards than any other drama in the entire history of television. That is a tribute to HBO, which truly has no rivals when it comes to production quality, and to David Benioff and Dan Weiss and the outrageously talented cast and crew they assembled to bring the Seven Kingdoms and their people to life. I have been thrilled to be a part of this.

And who knows? There are more Emmys Awards this weekend, so we may not be done making television history quite yet. Tune in on Sunday night to find out.

Football Is Back

The NFL regular season is upon us. And with it, the agony and the ecstasy.

I got a taste of both yesterday from my two teams.

The Jets ripped my guts out and stomped on them with an agonizing one-point loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the morning game, as the Jets have a habit of doing. But in the afternoon game, the Giants made me smile and whoop and cheer with a rousing one-point win over the Dallas Cowboys.

A single point was the difference in both games. The difference between joy and despair.

Ah, we sports fans are a strange and peverse bunch. It really makes no difference whatsoever to my life whether my teams win or lose... yet somehow it makes a vast difference to my mood. And these close games are going to kill me, I swear. Even that wonderful Giants victory could easily have become a second agonizing defeat, if a certain Dallas wideout had cut right instead of left when he caught the game's final pass from the rookie Cowboy qb.

Fwiw, the Jet defense looked formidable even in defeat, sacking Bengals qb Andy Dalton seven times. How Gang Green managed to lose the game despite that boggles belief, but after decades as a Jets fan, I am used to being boggled.

The Giants defense was not nearly as impressive... but given that last year Big Blue had the worst defense in the NFL, I still have to give them props. I had rather hoped the Giant offense would rack up hundreds of passing yards against a weak Dallas D and crush the boys, but that did not happen, alas. Still, they played well enough to win. Odell is still amazing, the rookie wideout Shepard looks like the real deal, but the real highlight of the day for me was seeing Victor Cruz catch a touchdown pass and do his salsa dance. Cruz is one of my favorite Giants of all time, a true Cinderella story, and a lot of people thought he would never make it back after his devastating injury two years ago. It was so great to see him dancing.

Ah, well. A long season awaits. More agony, more ecstasy.

P.S. I love Chris Berman, but NFL COUNTDOWN, long my favorite pregame show, is not the same without Tom Jackson. I missed Mike Ditka and Chris Carter too, but Jackson and Berman were the Huntley and Brinkley of sports.


A Salute to Immigrants

The United States is a nation of immigrants.

The vast majority of you reading this are descended from immigrants (aside from those few who are Native American). I know I am. My paternal grandfather came over from Italy as a child. My maternal grandfather was Irish-American, a Brady whose own ancestors hailed from Oldcastle in County Meath. My paternal grandmother was half German and half Welsh. My maternal grandmother had French and English ancestry. I am a mongrel to the bone. In short, American.

Wherever they came from, and whenever they made the crossing, all of my immigrant ancestors faced hardships, poverty, and discrimination when they came here. They came looking for freedom, they came looking for a better life. And they found it, or made it... and in the process they stopped being Irish or Italian or German and became Americans.

The process is still going on today. Men and women dreaming of a better life still look to America, and cross oceans and deserts by whatever means they can to find that better life. They face hardships and discrimination as well. Not everyone welcomes them. Some talk of walls, of keeping people out, of sending them back. My ancestors faced the same sort of talk. So did yours. It's an old old story, as old as our republic. Millard Fillmore is dead and forgotten, but the Know Nothing Party is alive and well today, under other names. They still know nothing.

But some of us remember where we came from. Some of us remember that it was the immigrants, those tired poor huddled masses, who made America great to begin with.

From September 23 to September 30, the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe will proudly be screening five great films about immigration and the immigrant experience. A mix of old films and new films, featuring a wide range of actors of all races, colors, and ethnicities, by some of cinema's finest writers and directors. Comedy, drama, terror; immigrants have known it all, and these movies will reflect that. Some are among my own favorite movies. Others I have yet to see.

Here are the trailers for the films we'll be screening:






Check the Jean Cocteau website for dates and showtimes.

In addition to the films themselves, we plan to feature some appearances by the actors, directors, and some of our local political figures, talking about the movies, their own families, the issues surrounding immigration, and the like. We'll have more details on that as the dates firm up. But I know I will be kicking things off myself on Friday, September 23.

And as a way of welcoming our newest Americans, during the entire week, admission to all shows will be FREE for anyone who can show us a green card.

(And while I cannot promise a taco truck on every corner, we do hope to have a wide variety of food trucks turning up in front of the JCC at peak times, offering all sorts of tasty treats).

Losers and Winners

The highlight of the Hugo Losers Party was our midnight madness: the presentation of this year's Alfie Awards.

Those who came in late may be wondering -- what the hell are the Alfie Awards?

Well, to understand that, it helps to know a bit about Hugo history. The first Hugo Awards were presented in 1953 at the 11th worldcon, in Philadelphia. Alfred Bester won for Best Novel (the big one, then as now) with his soon-to-be-classic THE DEMOLISHED MAN. Fannish legend tells us the first awards were made from Oldsmobile hood ornaments... but that's not quite true, as it turns out. Maryland fan Jack McKnight made those first awards himself in his machine shop, working all through the con and finishing just in time for the presentation. Which is not to say that the 'hood ornament' legend is entirely wrong. Just the date is off. It was the 1956 Hugos that are actually Oldsmobile hood ornaments. Dave Kyle made the awards that year. Kyle presumably lacked McKnight's machine shop and metal-working skills, so he raided some junkyards for hood ornaments from the 1950 or 1951 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, and screwed them to an upright wooden stand.

Fast forward to 1976, and that first Hugo Loser Party in Kansas City. I have written, below, of how Gardner Dozois acted as a herald/ doorman at that bash, loudly announcing each guest who attempted to enter, and proclaiming them either a winner or a loser. Losers were cheered and welcomed, winners booed and pelted with peanuts, etc. Which leads me to the moment when Alfred Bester himself appeared in the door. "ALFIE BESTER," Gargoo roared. "You won the FIRST Hugo!!!" Alfie was undeterred. "Yes," he shouted back, "but it was an Oldsmobile hood ornament, and it's all pitted and rusted and corroded now!" And the boos changed to cheers, and Alfie entered the party and proceeded to drink us all under the table.

When I decided last year to give some tokens to the writers, fans, and stories who were pushed off the Hugo ballot by the Puppy slates, I decided to call them "Alfies" in Bester's honor, and of course they had to be made out of old hood ornaments.

Herewith, the Alfie trophies for 2016:

((The old car buffs among you may have some fun figuring out what makes and models supplied the rockets for each of those Alfie trophies. Have at it)).

This was the second time I've given out Alfies, which supposedly makes them an ancient and hallowed fannish tradition... though it's a tradition I would gladly put to rest, if peace, good will, and normalcy should ever return to the Hugo Awards. (We can hope).

Hugo night was a lot less fraught in Kansas City than at Spokane. There were some great and worthy winners, no boos, no walkouts, and only two categories that went to No Award... which is not as good as none, but is certainly better than five. Sad Puppies 4 produced a recommendation list, not a slate, and I applaud them for that. But the Rabids continued to slate, and there were still good people and great work pushed off the ballot by VD and his followers.

Awards... all awards... are at heart no more than a slap on the back, a way of telling someone, "You did good! Great work! Hurrah!" The trophies, however handsome or ugly or controversial, may look nice on a mantle, but they have little intrinsic worth in and of themselves, and the supposed financial gains and career boosts that go to award winners are largely legendary (there are a lot of Oscar-winning actors out there looking for work, boys and girls). Nonetheless, it is nice to win an award. And yes, it's even nice to be nominated and lose, though it may sting for a moment; that's what the Hugo Losers Party is all about. Awards should be about joy and celebration, a community applauding its own. That's certainly what the Hugo Awards were all about, until Puppygate.

Aside from two 'committee awards' (I am the 'committee'), I do not choose the Alfie winners. The fans do, with their nominations. The Alfies go to those who produced outstanding work in 2015, but were denied a spot on the ballot, and thus the chance to compete for the Hugo, by slating.

BEST FANCAST was the first Alfie awarded at the Midland. The award went to TEA AND JEOPARDY, by Emma and Peter Newman, which garnered 212 nominations.

One of my special 'committee awards' went to BLACK GATE, which had 461 nominations in the Fanzine category, second among all nominees and good for a place on the ballot. But Black Gate turned down the nomination, just as they did last year, to disassociate themselves from the slates. Turning down one Hugo nomination is hard, turning down two must be agony. Integrity like that deserves recognition, as does Black Gate itself. Editor John O'Neill was on hand to accept the Alfie.

Our Alfie for BEST FAN WRITER went to ALEXANDRA ERIN, whose 213 nominations led all non-slate nominees in this category. (I note that I myself got 103 nominations in the category, good for thirteenth place. What the hell, guys, really? I thank you, but... I know professionals have won in this category before, but I'm really more comfortable leaving the Fan Writer awards for fans).

JOURNEY PLANET, by James Bacon and Christopher J. Garcia, had 108 nominations for BEST FANZINE, and took the Alfie in that category. Have to say, I loved Bacon's enthusiasm (and he's the calm, quiet, shy one of the two).

We had a couple of distinguished guest presenters in the next categories. Hugo and Chesley award-winning artist John Picacio joined me on stage to present the Alfie for BEST GRAPHIC STORY to BITCH PLANET VOL 1: EXTRAORDINARY MACHINE, from Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma, and Robert Wilson, which racked up 271 nominations. And Irene Gallo, the distinguished award-winning art director from Tor Books came up to announce our BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST, JULIE DILLON. Julie has won the last two Hugo Awards in this category, and her 244 nominations suggest that she would have had an excellent shot at making it three in a row, if slating had not kept her off the ballot. Instead she gets an Alfie to keep her two Hugos company.

The winner of my second special 'committee award' was Liza Groen Trombi and the staff of LOCUS. Once upon a time, LOCUS won the fanzine Hugo almost every year, until the rules were changed to make it ineligible. A new category, Semiprozine, was created. Thereafter LOCUS won that category almost every year... until, once more, the rules were jiggered to make it ineligible. Rules change, but one thing does not: the continued excellence of LOCUS, which remains required reading for anyone who loves science fiction and fantasy.

Of all the categories in this year's Hugo, the one most adversely affected by the slating was BEST RELATED WORK, where the Hugo finalists consisted of a critical study of the works of Gene Wolfe and some truly reprehensible stuff. A pity, since there was some terrific related works published in 2015, including Adam Whitehead's history of epic fantasy, Felicia Day's delightful memoir, and the Alfie winner, with 359 nominations: LETTERS TO TIPTREE, from Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce.

The last Alfie of the evening was in the category of BEST SHORT STORY. To present that, the only fiction award, I called upon the winner of one of last year's special 'committee' Alfies, ROBERT SILVERBERG, the only man to have attended every Hugo Awards ceremony... and now, every Alfie ceremony as well.

I had to debate whether to give an Alfie in this category, since the Hugo for Best Short Story had gone to a legitimate nominee, Naomi Kritzer's delightful "Cat Pictures Please." (Naomi was sitting next to me during the Hugos, and her excitement when her name was read out reminded me of what these awards are all supposed to be about). "Cat Pictures" was only on the ballot because one of the slated nominees refused his nomination (Thomas Mays, who deserves recognition for that), and lots of other good strong short stories were denied a shot at the ballot. I could not rectify all of that, but I could recognize at least one story that 'shoulda been a contender.'

The last Alfie of the evening went to ALYSSA WONG, for "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers," which had 253 nominations. Alyssa was there herself to accept.

Congratulations to all the Alfie winners... and to the Hugo winners too, of course.

You did good work, guys and girls.

And that's what it's all about, Alfie.


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

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