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Back In The USA

So we're back home in Santa Fe, after ten days on the road in Germany, Sweden, and Finland.

A wonderful trip, all in all. Yes, much of it was work... I did numerous interviews in Hamburg, more in Stockholm, still more on the Alands, yadda yadda yadda... but in between we had some fine old times.

Some highlights:
-- touring MiniatureLand in Hamburg. Wow. Biggest toy train set in the world, but the landscapes and miniatures dwarf the trains. Very glad my hosts took me to see this.
-- the big public event in Hamburg, 3000 fans, sold out months ago.
-- hanging with Sibel Kekilli and her boyfriend, and my German publicist, Sebastian. Sibel fed me Turkish food and showed me some of Hamburg's nightlife, to reciprocate for the tour of Santa Fe I gave her on INTO THE NIGHT. Hamburg stays up later than Santa Fe, you will be surprised to learn, but chile con queso is nowhere to be found. We drank White Russians while huddled under blankets in an outdoor cafe. Took a canal boat tour as well.
-- Stockholm. What a gorgeous city. Comes of not having a major war since Napoleon. That way your gorgeous old buildings don't get bombed into rubble.
-- the Vasa Museum. Okay, the ship never made it our of the harbor, but it makes a great centerpiece for a museum,
-- the Royal Armory, where you can actually see the bloodstained clothing that Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII were wearing when they died,
-- Marieham, on the Aland islands. Just a lovely place.
-- the Aland Vikings, who fed us pancakes and mead and hammered at each other with axe and sword and spear for our amusement. They are building a very cool Viking village, definitely worth a visit if you visit the islands.

And of course Archipelacon was great fun as well. The Finnish fans are second to none, and we had plenty of Swedes on hand as well, and a strong BWB contigent who taught them all how to party. It is events like this that remind me what fandom is all about -- a celebration of science fiction and fantasy, of friendship and family.

Locus Award to ROGUES

Would that I could be in two places at once. While I was off in Germany, Sweden, Finland, and the Aland Islands, I was winning an award in Seattle.

ROGUES, the latest in the series of massive cross-genre anthologies I've edited with Gardner Dozois, won the Locus Award for the Best Anthology of 2014. The award is voted annually by the readers and subcribers of LOCUS, the PUBLISHER WEEKLY of science fiction, and a "must read" publication for anyone seriously interested in our genre.



I'm thrilled to say that one of the stories in the book also took home a Locus plaque -- Joe Abercrombie won Best Novelette for "Tough Times All Over." ROGUES also had two runners-up on the list, a novella by Patrick Rothfuss and a novelette by Scott Lynch.

The full results can be found here: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2015/06/2015-locus-awards-winners/

The two LOCUS Awards are the latest additions to the anthology's awards haul. Gillian Flynn's story for ROGUES earlier won an Edgar, and the book itself was voted a Stabby Award by the members of the Reddit online community.

If you'd like to check out the book for yourself, autographed hardcovers are still available from the bookstore at the Jean Cocteau Cinema: http://www.jeancocteaubooks.com/

We're Number One... Again

Much to my surprise, my editor Anne Groell sent me an email while I was over in Europe (Germany, Sweden, Aland) to let me know that the mass market paperback of A GAME OF THRONES had hit number one on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list for the week of July 5.

The July 5 list shows:

New York Times Bestseller List
July 5th, 2015

Trade Paperback Fiction
11. A GAME OF THRONES

Mass Market Fiction
1. A GAME OF THRONES
10. A DANCE WITH DRAGONS
11. A CLASH OF KINGS
17. A STORM OF SWORDS

Advice, How-To and Miscellaneous
13. THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE

E-book Fiction
19. A GAME OF THRONES: FIVE-BOOK SET

Combined Fiction
14. A GAME OF THRONES


All great, of course, but I have to confess, that return to #1 especially tickles.

Pretty damn good for a book first published in 1996.

(It is the return to the show to the airwaves that's responsible, of course, so thanks to HBO and David and Dan and Bryan and our amazing cast and directors... and also to Anne, and all the great folks at Bantam Spectra, who have kept all of the books in print and available for lo these long years. Long may we reign).

Getting Hectic Here

Things are getting hectic here. I am doing what I hope is the final round of editing on HIGH STAKES, the new Wild Cards mosaic novel, in hopes of delivering that one to the good folks (and they are) at Tor before I take off for Europe.

On Thursday, we're off to Germany. I have a big event in Hamburg, and Sibel Kekilli has promised to show me her city... seeing as how I showed her Santa Fe a few months ago, it's only fair. From there I'll be flying to Sweden for a few days in Stockholm, then taking a ferry to the Aland Islands for my long-planned appearance as GOG at Archipelacon.

I will try to post a few more details about the trip before we fly off.

(Meanwhile, of course, I still have Puppies nipping at my ankles. Even the sad ones seem to have gone rabid of late. tsk)

Hugo Voting Continues

With the Puppy Wars heating up again -- not that they have ever really cooled down -- this seems an opportune moment to remind all and sundry that there is still plenty of time left to join Sasquan and cast your ballot for this year's Hugo awards.

With the electronic ballot, once you have a membership number and a PIN, you can go and post some preferences and votes now, then return a day later, or a week later, or a month later, and change them, or add some more rankings. Your vote does not get counted until balloting closes.

The ballot is here: http://sasquan.org/hugo-awards/voting/

If you have not voted the Hugo Awards before, please note that it is an "Australian ballot," a preferential system whereby one ranks the nominees. You don't just vote for one. You can rank NO AWARD as if it were any other finalist; ahead of some nominees, behind others.

(Which is the way I believe one should use NO AWARD. As I have stated previously, I am opposed to the nuclear option of just blindly voting NO AWARD in every category).

Of course, you need to be a member to vote. Supporting Memberships will cost you $40. You can sign up to buy one at https://sasquan.swoc.us/sasquan/reg.php

In addition to voting privileges, a Supporting Membership will get you the convention's program book (usually a handsome item, though it varies from year to year) and other publications.

You can also sign up as an ATTENDING member and actually attend the convention, which is the course I strongly recommend for those who have the time and the money. Cons are fun, especially worldcon; that's what they are all about. Reading, panel discussions, the art show, the dealers' room, the masquerade, filksinging... all sorts of great stuff goes on. Something for all tastes. And EVERYONE is welcome, despite what you have heard. (Just don't be an asshole. Assholes get welcomed too, but the welcome wears out more quickly).

Both supporting and attending members get an electronic "Hugo packet" that will enable you to read many of the works nominated for this year's rockets. You should do that, no matter what side of the Puppy Wars you are on; we want informed voters. Yes, sadly, IMNSHO this is the weakest Hugo ballot in recent memory, thanks to the Puppy slates... but there's still some damn strong work there, especially in Novel and Dramatic Presentation. And of course it is possible that your own tastes may differ from mine.

So join, read, vote. And fifty years from now, when your fannish grandchildren ask you, "Say, gramps, what did you do in the Great Hugo War?" you'll have an answer for them.

CHANGE Is Coming...

... but not to the Jean Cocteau Cinema.

We have our latest author event scheduled for Monday: a launch party and booksigning for the original anthology, THE CHANGE, edited by S.M. Stirling and set in his "Emberverse" universe.



Steve himself will be on hand, of course... what's more, he's arranged to bring in nine of the writers who contributed stories to THE CHANGE, including DIANA PAXSON, WALTER JON WILLIAMS, JANE LINDSKOLD, JOHN JOS. MILLER, and EMILY MAH.

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MATT (M.T) REITAN, KEIR SALMON, VICTOR MILAN, and LAUREN TEFFEAU will also be attending.

The event starts at 7:00 pm. We will have some readings from the stories, a panel discussion moderated by Steve Stirling himself, a q&A with the audience, and of course a mass signing session where you can get your copy defaced by all the writers.

HOWEVER... because we cannot possibly get ten writers up on the little itty-bitty stage at the Jean Cocteau, we have moved this event down the road a little, to the brand new VIOLET CROWN CINEMA two blocks south. They have lots more room than we do. (And a whole lot of cool beers on tap as well).

See you there!

Podcast from Greywater

A million years ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I looked more or less like the guy in the picture there, (1972, actually), I took a train down from Chicago, where I was living and working at the time, to Kansas City. There, at the very first KC science fiction convention, MidAmericaCon (not to be confused with the later worldcon, MidAmericon), I met Howard Waldrop. H'ard and I had been corresponding for almost a decade, since the fall of 1963, when I bought a copy of BRAVE AND BOLD #28 from him for a quarter. But he lived in Texas, and I lived in New Jersey, and never the twain had met.

Till KC.

We were both fledgling sf writers at the time, each of us with a few short story sales under our belt. When we met, we did what fledgling writers often did in those days: we decided to write a story together. We actually left the Playboy Club atop the con hotel to begin it. (Probably just as well. Beers were real expensive up there, I recall -- a whole quarter).

We only wrote a few pages at the con, but we kept at it afterwards, sending the manuscript back and forth, until it was done. "Men of Greywater Station," we called it. Pretty much everybody in the field rejected it until it finally got to the lowest paying magazine, where it was purchased and, finally, published. The readers seemed to like it well enough.

Howard and I remain close friends to this day, but we never collaborated again. Our styles were just too different. But it was fun doing it once.

And now, all these years later, it's been done as a podcast by Starship Sofa:

http://www.starshipsofa.com/blog/2015/06/03/starshipsofa-no-389-george-r-r-martin/

Check it out for yourself. It's free, and I thought they did a nice job.

Wars, Woes, Work

Life is impossibly busy right now. I am wrestling with the Son of Kong (that is, working on THE WINDS OF WINTER), trying to wrap up a final round of edits and revisions on the twenty-third Wild Cards book (HIGH STAKES), developing three new series concepts for HBO and Cinemax, hiring writers and directors for three short low-budget films I am hoping to produce based on some classic SF short stories (more on that in the months to come), making my way through the Hugo Packet to prepare to vote, looking forward to opening JURASSIC WORLD at the Cocteay and to hosting a ten-author special event for the release of Steve Stirling's new "Emberverse" anthology, THE CHANGE. In a week's time, we'll be flying off to Europe for long-planned appearances in Germany (Hamburg) and Sweden (Stockholm), en route to Archipelacon on the island of Aland, where I am to be the Guest of Honor...

In the midst of all this, wars old and new continue to rage all around me.

I had rather hoped that the Puppy Wars would have died down by now. Naive of me. Far from it, things keep getting worse. All the grisly details of this ongoing nastiness can be seen at FILE 770 over at http://file770.com/. ((Mike Glyer deserves the 2016 Best Fanzine Hugo for his even-handed and thorough coverage of Puppygate, linking to virtually everything posted on the subject anywhere on the internet)).

I want to single out the postings of Eric Flint. The latest, at http://www.ericflint.net/index.php/2015/06/09/a-response-to-brad-torgersen/ , is a devastating point-by-point deconstruction and refutation of the latest round of Puppystuff from Brad Torgersen. Flint says what I would have said, if I had the time or the energy, but he says it better than I ever could. ((I will be nominating him for a Hugo too. For Best Fan Writer)). His earlier posts on Puppygate are all worth reading too. He is a voice of reason in a sea of venom.

I will add one point. The emptiness of the Puppy arguments is indicated clearly by how much time they seem to spend in coming up with new insulting terms for those who oppose them. The facts are against them, logic is against them, history is against them, so they go for sneers and mocking names. First it was SJWs. Then CHORFs. The latest is "Puppy-kickers." Next week, no doubt, they will have something else. Reading all the blogs and comments that Glyer links to from FILE 770 has convinced me that anyone who starts throwing these terms around can pretty much be discounted; you will find no sense in what they say, only sneers and talking points.

Meanwhile, other wars are breaking out on other fronts, centered around the last few episodes of GAME OF THRONES. It is not my intention to get involved in those, nor to allow them to take over my blog and website, so please stop emailing me about them, or posting off-topic comments here on my Not A Blog. Wage those battles on Westeros, or Tower of the Hand, or Boiled Leather, or Winter Is Coming, or Watchers on the Walls. Anyplace that isn't here, actually.

Yes, I know that THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER named me "the third most powerful writer in Hollywood" last December. You would be surprised at how little that means. I cannot control what anyone else says or does, or make them stop saying or doing it, be it on the fannish or professional fronts. What I can control is what happens in my books, so I am going to return to that chapter I've been writing on THE WINDS OF WINTER now, thank you very much.

More Signed Books

Speaking of signing books... as I was in the post below...

For all of you who are enjoying OUTLANDER, the marvelous adaptation of Diana Gabaldon's time travel novels that just finished its first season on STARZ... well, the show is terrific, but the books are even better (as is so often the case), and we have AUTOGRAPHED COPIES of the whole Outlander series and the 'Lord John' spinoff books as well available via mail order from the Jean Cocteau Bookshop





If you haven't been watching OUTLANDER, you're missing a terrific TV series. Gorgeous to look at, and the performances by the three leads are terrific. Tobias Menzies, who played Brutus on HBO's ROME and Edmure Tully on GAME OF THRONES, is especially noteworthy in a double role. (I just hope we'll be able to get him back, if and when D&D decide to return to the riverlands).

(OUTLANDER 'feels' like a cross of historical fiction and romantic adventure, but the time travel element definitely qualifies it as SF, or at least fantasy, so it's a show worth remembering next year when Hugo nomination time comes round again).

OUTLANDER films in Scotland, GAME OF THRONES primarily in Northern Ireland. Between the two shows, I doubt there's a single major actor in the British Isles we haven't used yet. Great casts. Diana got sixteen episodes for one novel, two eight-episode half-seasons, which had me gnashing my teeth in envy... until I remembered that OUTLANDER has no dragons, direwolves, or ice zombies, and so far no major battles either. Though, if I recall my history, that will be coming... the battles, that is, not the dragons.

I might also mention WOLF HALL, another excellent TV series from the UK based on novels, in this case on Hilary Mantel's novel of the same name and its sequel. Makes an interesting contrast with THE TUDORS series that Showtime ran a couple of years ago. We do not, alas, have signed copies of WOLF HALL available, since Hilary Mantel has never visited Santa Fe...

... but we do have the OUTLANDER books. While they last. And lots more besides.

http://www.jeancocteaubooks.com/

Autograph Hounds

For all of you autograph collectors out there...

My partner in crime Gardner Dozois is cleaning out his house in scenic Philadelphia, and he just send me two big boxes of OLD MARS and OLD VENUS hardcovers, all signed.

I've added my own illegible scrawl to the title pages, to go with his.

Since Gardner and I live two thousand miles apart, getting a copy of one of our anthologies signed by both of us is not easy. So here's your chance.



Matching copies of OLD MARS and OLD VENUS signed by both editors can be purchased (while the supply lasts, which may not be long) from the Jean Cocteau bookstore, at:
http://www.jeancocteaubooks.com/

Lots of other autographed books are available from the same site, of course, including titles by Diana Gabaldon, Ellen Datlow, Lisa See, Carrie Vaughn. Junot Diaz, Lev Grossman, Dennis Lehane, and that George R.R. Martin guy.

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