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A Taste of This, A Taste of That

Some of you may not realize that, in addition to my Not A Blog, I also have an actual homepage / website. You can find it here: http://www.georgerrmartin.com/ Check it out, if you have not visited before. There's lots and lots of content there, all sorts of things to explore.

I must confess, though, I don't update it as often as I should. What can I say? I'm busy.

But today we uploaded a couple of new items that some of you may be interested in: new samples from two forthcoming books.

For all the Wild Cards fans out there, we've got a taste of HIGH STAKES, due out this August. HIGH STAKES is the twenty-third volume in the overall series, and the third and concluding part of the 'Fort Freak' triad. The sample is from the pen of the talented Ian Tregillis, and features Mollie Steunenberg, aka Tesseract. You'll find it at: http://www.georgerrmartin.com/wild-cards-excerpt/

((Readers with weak stomachs be warned, HIGH STAKES is our Lovecraftian horror book, and things do get graphic and bloody and... well... horrible. Althought not so much in the sample)).

And... because I know how much bitching I'd get if I offered a new sample from Wild Cards without also doing one from A SONG OF ICE & FIRE... we've also changed the WINDS OF WINTER sample on my wesbite, replacing the Alayne chapter that's been there for the past year with one featuring Arianne Martell. (Some of you may have heard me read this one at cons).

Have a read at: http://www.georgerrmartin.com/excerpt-from-the-winds-of-winter/

You want to know what the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, Darkstar, and the rest will be up to in WINDS OF WINTER? Quite a lot, actually. The sample will give you a taste. For the rest, you will need to wait.

And no, just to spike any bullshit rumors, changing the sample chapter does NOT mean I am done. See the icon up above? Monkey is still on my back... but he's growing, he is, and one day...

Jean Cocteau Book Sale! #GRRMinion

Jenni the Ogre here! I work for Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, and we are having another book sale. All of our books are by authors who have visited the Cocteau, and they are all signed. The following signed books are 50% off. Get 'em while they're hot!




Mary Robinette Kowal's Of Noble Family: NOW $14.00




Jane and Vincent have finally gotten some much-needed rest after their adventures in Italy when Vincent receives word that his estranged father has passed away on one of his properties in the West Indies. His brother, who manages the estate, is overwhelmed, and no one else in his family can go. Grudgingly, out of filial duty the couple decide to go. Read more!

Stuart Woods' Hot Pursuit: NOW $14.00

Stone Barrington is back in the exciting new adventure from perennial fan favorite Stuart Woods. It’s not often that Stone Barrington finds a woman as accustomed to the jet-set lifestyle as he, so he’s pleasantly surprised when he meets a gorgeous pilot who’s soon moving to New York, and available for closer acquaintance. Their travels together lead them from Wichita to Europe, but trailing them is some unwanted baggage: his new lady love’s unstable, criminal ex-boyfriend. Read more!

Jane Lindskold's Artemis Awakening: NOW $12.50



Artemis Awakening is the start of a new series by New York Times bestseller Jane Lindskold. The distant world Artemis is a pleasure planet created out of bare rock by a technologically advanced human empire that provided its richest citizens with a veritable Eden to play in. All tech was concealed and the animals (and the humans brought to live there) were bioengineered to help the guests enjoy their stay…but there was always the possibility of danger so that visitors could brag that they had "bested" the environment. Read more!

See you at the Cocteau!

—THIS MESSAGE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER—

Not Me

I see from the internet that I made a hilarious tweet on Mother's Day, trolling my readers.

It's good to know that I'm so funny. Except...
(1) I don't troll my readers, and,
(2) I don't do Twitter (my minions tweet echoes of what I post here),
(3) it wasn't me.

Sorry.

But really boys and girls, don't believe everything you read on the internet.

PS from the MINIONS: #GRRMinion is what you'll see when its one of us on Social Media or here on Live Journal, and ONLY @GRRMspeaking Tweets are from the Fevre River office. Thanks from the Minions-

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Cool Stuff at the JCC

We had a great author event last night at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, when Stephen Graham Jones dropped by to read to us from his new werewolf novel MONGRELS. Who knew the danger posed to werewolves by french fries and pantyhose? I certainly didn't. We made Stephen sign a large stock of MONGRELS hardcovers before let him leave, so if you'd like to check it out, autographed copies will be available from the Cocteau bookstore. http://www.jeancocteaubooks.com/ ((Signed copies of Ernie Cline's ARMADA and lots of cool titles from Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon, Joe Lansdale, yours truly, and lots of other great authors are still available as well)).



Next up: JOE HILL. You will be here on Monday, May 23, to sign copies of his new novel THE FIREMAN. And we'll have the usual interview and Q&A as well. Reserve your seats now from the JCC website; we're expecting a sellout.

Meanwhile, we have some terrific movies showing. On Friday we opened THE MERMAID, a blockbuster out of China; highest-grossing film in the history of Chinese cinema.



And next Friday, we're very excited to be opening HIGH RISE, based on the novel by J.G. Ballard. Ballard, as every SF fans knows, was one of the giants of the British "New Wave" in science fiction, the author of such classics as THE DROWNED WORLD, THE CRYSTAL WORLD, "Why I Want to Fuck Ronald Reagan," CRASH, VERMILLION SANDS, EMPIRE OF THE SUN, and "The Assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy Considered As a Downhill Motor Race." HIGH RISE is one of his major works, an important (and disturbing) novel, and we're all excited to see the film.



See you at the movies!

The Replacements

MidAmericon II has finally announced the replacements for the two Hugo nominees who withdrew from the ballot as originally announced.

Replacing BLACK GATE in Best Fanzine is LADY BUSINESS, which can be found here http://ladybusiness.dreamwidth.org/

Replacing "The Commuter" by Thomas Mays in Short Story is "Cat Pictures Please" by Naomi Kritzer, which was originally published in CLARKESWORLD http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/kritzer_01_15/

I am not familiar with either of the new nominees... but since they were not part of any slate, I think both of them are likely to be strong contenders. I look forward to checking them out.

(As I said in a previous post, sixth place has never been so important).

((Though I am curious as to whether these two new finalists were indeed sixth. It seemed to take MAC a rather long time to announce the replacements after the withdrawal, something that could presumably be accomplished in minutes just by looking at the list and seeing who was next up -- unless, perhaps, there were other withdrawals along the way? We'll find out come August)).

Short Story and Fanzine were two categories where the Rabid Puppies had swept the field, top to bottom. Accordingly, they were also two categories that I had earmarked as being in need of Alfies. But the withdrawals and replacements broke the Rabid stranglehold, leaving me with a decision to make -- do I still present Alfies in those categories, or no?

I am going to need to ponder that for a while.

Another post from Ogre Jenni—hope you kids don't mind. I work at George's cinema in Santa Fe—what a lucky ogre I am!

Beginning this Friday, Jean Cocteau Cinema will proudly screen The Mermaid (Mei Ren Yu), the latest film by Stephen Chow. Chow is the Chinese filmmaker (and talented martial artist) responsible for Shaolin Soccer (2001) and Kung Fu Hustle (2004). Chow brilliantly parodies absurd action and kung fu movie tropes, and he is well known for his over-the-top martial arts sequences, bizarre circumstantial comedy, and quirky characters.


Who doesn’t love the surly chain-smoking landlady from Kung Fu Hustle?


And who won't love the half-octopus mer-uncle sushi chef in The Mermaid?

David Ehrlich from Slate says of Chow's latest film, “...it's demented. Great. And a hit." He also adds that, "…Chow, without overlooking his hometown crowd, directs with a primal wit that appeals to all audiences with the immediacy of silent cinema.” Read his full review here!

MORE ABOUT THE FILM:

Xuan's estate project involving reclamation of the sea threatens the livelihood of the mermaids who rely on the sea to survive. A mermaid named Shan is dispatched to assassinate Xuan, but this inevitably leads to a complicated, interspecies, office romance. Out of his love for Shan, Xuan plans to stop the reclamation. Unfortunately, Shan and the other mermaids are hunted by a hidden organisatio, and Xuan has to save Shan before it's too late.



See you at the Cocteau!

–THIS MESSAGE WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS AT FEVRE RIVER—

Awards, Awards

The Hugo Awards may be the best-known and most prestigious awards for science fiction and fantasy, but they're not the only ones. With the controversies about this year's ballot raging on every side, we risk losing sight of the some other awards.

Such as the Locus Awards. Locus just announced the shortlist for those, which you can find here:http://www.locusmag.com/News/2016/05/2016-locus-awards-finalists/

I'm delighted to see that OLD VENUS is one of the finalists in Best Anthology, and that one of the stories therein, Elizabeth Bear's "The Heart's Filthy Lesson," is a nominee in Best Novelette. Congratulations, Elizabeth! Oh, and Gardner Dozois was nominated as Best Editor. Congratulations, Gargy. Congratulations, Venus. Congratulations, me!



(OLD VENUS and OLD MARS both done very well, both critically and commercially. That's very gratifying. If I ever find some spare time, Gardner and I need to do some more of those. OLD URANUS, anyone?)

The Locus Awards winners will be announced in Seattle, June 24 to 26.

Well before that, we will learn the winner of this year's Nebula Awards. The Nebula Banquet is going to be in Chicago next weekend, May 14. My friend John Hodgman will be the master of ceremonies. You can still get a ticket, I think. Check it out: http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/2016-nebula-conference/

Oh, and I've also been informed that the Spanish language edition of THE WORLD OF ICE & FIRE, the massive "fake history" book I did with Elio Garcia and Linda Antonnson, has been nominated for the Ignotus Award, one of the biggest SF/ awards prizes in Spain.



The full list of nominees is here: http://www.aefcft.com/nominaciones-a-los-premios-ignotus-2016/

Win or lose, as always, it is an honor just to be nominated.

Is it another post from Ogre Jenni instead of the famous George R.R. Martin? Why, yes! Yes, it is! I’m here to tell you about an exciting author event coming up at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe.

Jean Cocteau Cinema has the honor of hosting an interview, reading, Q&A, and book signing with Stephen Graham Jones on May 7th. One of our favorite journalists in Santa Fe, Lorene Mills, will interview Jones and moderate the audience Q&A. Jones will read excerpts from his latest novel (and lycanthropic masterpiece), Mongrels, which is described by author Benjamin Percy as existing “somewhere in the borderlands of literary and genre fiction, full of horror and humor and heart…” Lorene Mills says, "This book is a great read, as are his other unique and dazzling books."

Tickets are available here!

ABOUT THE BOOK:



He was born an outsider, like the rest of his family. Poor yet resilient, he lives in the shadows with his aunt Libby and uncle Darren, folk who stubbornly make their way in a society that does not understand or want them. They are mongrels, mixedblood, neither this nor that. The boy at the center of Mongrels must decide if he belongs on the road with his aunt and uncle, or if he fits with the people on the other side of the tracks.

For ten years, he and his family have lived a life of late-night exits and narrow escapes—always on the move across the South to stay one step ahead of the law. But the time is drawing near when Darren and Libby will finally know if their nephew is like them or not. And the close calls they’ve been running from for so long are catching up fast now. Everything is about to change.

A compelling and fascinating journey, Mongrels alternates between past and present to create an unforgettable portrait of a boy trying to understand his family and his place in a complex and unforgiving world. A smart and innovative story— funny, bloody, raw, and real—told in a rhythmic voice full of heart, Mongrels is a deeply moving, sometimes grisly, novel that illuminates the challenges and tender joys of a life beyond the ordinary in a bold and imaginative new way.

“With lupine tongue tucked well into cheek, Mongrels is at once an adolescent romp through the tangled woods of family history and a rich compendium of werewolf lore, old and new. Stephen Graham Jones gifts us with fun characters, imaginative set pieces, and an immersive tour of the flat-broke American South that spares no plastic orchid or cable-spool coffee table.” — Christopher Buehlman, author of The Lesser Dead.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Stephen Graham Jones is the author of fifteen novels and six story collections. He has received numerous awards including the NEA Fellowship in Fiction, the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Award for Fiction, the Independent Publishers Award for Multicultural Fiction, the This is Horror Award, as well as making Bloody Disgusting’s Top Ten Novels of the Year. Stephen was raised in West Texas. He now lives in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and children. He is a Blackfoot Native American, and he has been invited to speak at The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center for their “Spotlight on Native Writers.”

See you at the Cocteau!

—THIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE MINIONS OF FEVRE RIVER—

Hugo Withdrawal

I see that the fanzine BLACK GATE has withdrawn from the Hugo race, after being slated by the Rabid Puppies and nominated (perhaps) as a result of that.

You can read their reasons here:
https://www.blackgate.com/2016/05/01/black-gate-declines-hugo-nomination/

This is the second year that BLACK GATE has refused a nomination, so one certainly has to admire them for their consistency. And no one can deny that this is a very difficult decision for those, like BLACK GATE, that were put on the ballot by the Rabids without their consent (it is an easy decision for the Rabids themselves and their allies, of course, most of whom are squealing as happily as pigs in shit).

Since I'm on record as urging the "hostages" to stand their ground, I can't applaud this decision. But I will not criticize it either. They had a tough call and they made it, consistent with their own politics and principles.

I will quibble, however, about one of their assertions: that even if BLACK GATE had elected to remain on the ballot, they had no chance of winning. I am not going to go so far as to say they were the favorite... but I think they would have had a shot. All five of this year's nominees were on the Rabid Slate, yes. But two of the five -- BLACK GATE and FILE 770 -- are clearly hostages, slated without their consent. Despite the success of No Award in last year's voting, I think the presence of so many hostages this year changes the equation. My hope is that fewer fans will resort to the Nuclear Option. If so, I think FILE 770 will win here... but BLACK GATE would have given Glyer's zine its strongest competition. Oh, and yes, No Award will be contending too. TANGENT might have a very slim outside chance.

BLACK GATE's withdrawal changes all that, of course. The big question is, what takes its place? Whatever it is, I'd say that it instantly becomes a major contender here, just as THREE BODY PROBLEM became a contender last year after Marko Kloos pulled out of novel. My guess is that the rocket goes to either FILE 770 or the new nominee...

(One also wonders what will take place of the "The Commuter," the Thomas Mays nominee in Short Story. Mays has also withdrawn).

Sixth place has never been so crucial.

A Response to John C. Wright

The GUARDIAN interviewed me a couple of weeks ago about Puppygate and the Hugo Awards (before the ballot was announced, fwiw), and quoted me in the article that resulted. Here's what they said about what I said (of course, I said a lot more, but only a few bits were quoted):

“The prestige of the Hugos derives from its history. Robert A Heinlein won four times, Ursula K Le Guin won, Harlan Ellison won. That’s a club any aspiring writer wants to be a member of,” George RR Martin says. “When the Hugo ballot came out last year it was not just a right-wing ballot, it was a bad ballot. It was the weakest we’d seen for years.”

Now it appears that John C. Wright has taken umbrage at my opinion. He writes on his journal:

"Evidence enough that Mr. Martin had not read the works on the ballot. I say no more, lest I be accused of self-aggrandizement, for the works he thus criticizes are mine. He did not have so poor an opinion of my work when he bought it for his SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH anthology, however: a fact he conveniently forgot when he began leveling absurd and absurdly false accusations against me."

In the comments section of the same journal entry, someone named "Paul B" says:

"Sir, is it possible that Mr Martin never actually read (at least majority of) submissions for that Dying Earth tribute anthology? I know not how these things tend to work, or if you had any personal exchanges with him during that time (of the sort that included his personal thoughts on your story), but I know of many a case where a name of widely known author on the cover of various anthologies was used to bait potential buyers while said author had little or no involvement with said anthologies (think of those ghost and horror story anthologies of yore, where stories were advertised as “hand picked” by Alfred Hitchcock and the like)."

To which, John C. Wright replies:

" Certainly it is possible. It is possible that he did not do the jobs for which he was paid. That is one of the two possibilities, neither of which redound to his glory. Either he is lying now, when he uses the prestige of his name to belittle my worthy work as unworthy, or he was lying then, by putting his name on a book to lure the unwary reader into purchase, ergo using the prestige of his name to inflate my unworthy work as worthy. Either way, it is a lie."


I am not going to get down into the cesspool with Wright here, though, believe me, the temptation is strong. I will not let his comments go unanswered, however.

So let me just restrict my reply to the facts.

For the elucidation of Paul B, who admits that he does not know how these things work but feels the need to hold forth anyway, I have read every word of every story in all my anthologies, both the ones I co-edit with Gardner Dozois and the ones I edit solo, like WILD CARDS. In the collaborations, Gardner handles the bulk of the paperwork; the contracts, pro rata calculations, paying royalties, etc. But all the creative work is shared equally between us, and no story is purchased unless both of us agree that it is acceptable.

And yes, Gardner and I did purchase and publish a story from John C. Wright for SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, our Jack Vance tribute anthology. The story is "Guyal the Curator." I thought then, and I think now, that it's a good story. Read it and judge for yourself. If you're a Jack Vance fan, I think you will enjoy it. Wright himself is a huge Vance fan. I don't recall how I knew that, but I did, and that fact was certainly foremost in my mind when I suggested to Gardner that we invite him into the book. He replied enthusiastically, and gave us a good story. If it had not been a good story, we would not have published it. Gardner and I did have to reject one of the other stories we had solicited for SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, by another writer; we paid him a kill fee. And there were three or four additional stories that required extensive work; we bought them, but only after giving notes and asking for revisions. "Guyal the Curator" required none of that. It was a solid, professional piece of work, a nice Vance tribute, an entertaining read.

All that being said, I do not know why Wright seems to believe that by purchasing and publishing one of his stories seven years ago, I am therefore somehow required to like everything that he writes subsequently, to the extent that I would feel it Hugo worthy.

It should be pointed out that "Guyal the Curator" was not itself nominated for a Hugo (there being no Puppies around in 2009 to push it). None of the stories from SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH were Hugo finalists, truth be told. Do I think some were worthy of that honor? Sure I do. I cannot pretend to be objective, I'm proud of the anthologies I edit and the stories I publish. Do I think that all the stories in SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH (or ROGUES, or OLD MARS, or OLD VENUS, or LOWBALL, or any of my anthologies) are Hugo-worthy? Of course not. In a normal year, the Hugo finalists are supposed to represent the five best stories of the year in that word length. Was "Guyal the Curator" one of the five best short stories (actually, it might have been a novelette, after so long I do not recall the word length) of 2009? No. It was a good story, not a great story. The Hugo Awards demand greatness. It was an entertaining Vance tribute, but it was not a patch on real Vance, on "The Last Castle" or "The Dragon Masters" or "Guyal of Sfere." And truth be told, it was not even one of the five best stories in SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH. A good story, yes, I'll say that again. But there were better in the book. (And how not? We had an amazing lineup of contributors).

Which brings us back to Puppygate, and last year's Hugo ballot.

I read every word in every story in the anthologies I edit, as I've said. I did not read every word in every story on last year's Hugo ballot, no (or on any Hugo ballot, for that matter). I start every story and give them a few pages. If they grab me, I keep reading. If they bore me or offend me, or fail to interest me for whatever reason, I put them aside. Mr. Wright seems convinced that I did not read his stories on last year's ballot. He's half-right: I did not read all of them. But I started all of them (there were five), finished some, set others aside. The same as I do with any story I read; no special treatment.

I did not find any of them Hugo-worthy. Not one of them was as good as "Guyal the Curator," in my opinion. No doubt others liked them better.

It should be pointed out that the comments quoted by the GUARDIAN, to which Mr. Wright takes such umbrage, make no mention whatsoever of him or his work. I merely said that it was a bad ballot, the weakest seen in years. I stand by those comments; your mileage may differ. And yes, with his five finalists, John C. Wright was part of that, but hardly the whole of it. Truth be told, while I did not and do not feel his stories were Hugo-worthy, there was MUCH worse to be found on last year's ballot in other categories. But that horse has been beaten to death, so I see no need to give it any more whacks.

The bottom line here is that liking some of a writer's work does not oblige you to like all of his work. I yield to no one in my admiration for Robert A. Heinlein, but my love for HAVE SPACE SUIT, WILL TRAVEL and THE PUPPET MASTERS and "All You Zombies" and "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag" does not make me like I WILL FEAR NO EVIL or TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE any better.

In closing, let me suggest to John C. Wright that you do yourself no favors by boasting constantly about the worth and brilliance and "literary" qualities of your own work. You might do better to take a lesson from a writer that we both love: Jack Vance. I had several conversations with Jack when Gardner and I were putting together SONGS OF THE DYING EARTH, and never once did he tell me how amazing and eloquent and literary he was. Quite the opposite. He never called his stories anything but "my junk" when speaking to me, and seemed bemused and flattered that so many other writers had found such inspiration in them. Vance was amazing and eloquent and literary, of course, one of the greatest wordsmiths our genre has ever produced, but he left it to others to sing his praises.

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