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HIGH STAKES Hits The Stands

HIGH STAKES, the latest Wild Cards mosaic novels, was released in hardcover by Tor on August 30, and should now be available at your local bookstore or from your favorite online bookseller.

This is the third and concluding volume in the current Wild Cards triad, which began with FORT FREAK and continued in LOWBALL. It's a full mosaic, six storylines interwoven to make a single collaborative novel. This time around the featured characters (and their writers) are Infamous Black Tongue (David Anthony Durham), Detective Francis Xavier Black (Melinda M. Snodgrass), the Midnight Angel (John Jos. Miller), the Amazing Bubbles (Caroline Spector), Babel (Stephen Leigh), and Tesseract (Ian Tregillis)... but you'll be seeing plenty of Hoodoo Mama, Carnifex, Baba Yaga, Lohengrin, and many of your other favorite characters as well. Editing was by yours truly, assisted as ever by Melinda M. Snodgrass.

So far, the reviews for this one have been great:

Although the official publication date was August 30, we launched HIGH STAKES two weeks early with a mass signing at worldcon in Kansas City, sponsored by Rainy Day Books. And I'm pleased to say the launch was a huge success, probably the largest Wild Cards signing in the entire thirty-year history of the series (yes, I've done ICE & FIRE signings that dwarfed it, but that's not just a different animal, it's a whole 'nother genus). Four of the six HIGH STAKES authors were on hand to assist me in defacing the hardcovers (David Anthony Durham and Ian Tregillis were not at the con, alas), along with another dozen odd Wild Carders, and the line went on and on forever. We must have signed four hundred copies of HIGH STAKES, easy, and probably an equal number of older WC titles. And then we signed lots and lots of additional stock as well. So if you couldn't make it to Kansas City, but would like to snag one of the "five signature" copies of HIGH STAKES, go to http://www.rainydaybooks.com/

Tor also had some video cameras on hand, to take advantage of having so many Wild Carders on hand in the same place at the same time, and interviewed just about everyone. The plan is to release a series of short promo trailers about the series. Here's the first of them, featuring Melinda Snodgrass, Michael Cassutt, and yours truly. Many more to follow.


September Morn

Can it really be September? What the hell happened to August?

Oh, I remember... a week of meetings in LA, a week at worldcon, Bubonicon, house guests and visitors, business meetings... damn...

I wanted to blog about worldcon and the Hugo Awards and the Alfies and an EPIC Hugo Losers Party and the presidential election and HIGH STAKES and a very special week we have planned at the Jean Cocteau and lots of other stuff, and maybe I still will in the days to come, but right at the moment I am too tired. Some of that stuff already seems like ages ago. And I have lots to catch up on.

But it's been a while, so I thought I should at least say hi, and wave, and let everyone know that I'm still here, back at the old homestead and back at work.

Also, I wanted to give a shout out to Ogre Jenni, who, alas, has left the Jean Cocteau and Fevre River to accept a full-time teaching job. That's great news for Jenni, and all the kids that she will be teaching in the years to come, but sad news for us. Jenni was terrific, a wonderful member of our crew here, and we miss her lots already. At least she is still in town, so we will get to see her socially from time to time. Fly high, Higginbotham!

Our Kansas City Revels

Forty years ago, at the first MidAmericon in 1976, the very first Hugo Losers Party was held in my room at the Muehlebach Hotel in Kansas City.

The night before, at the awards ceremony, I had lost two rockets (one to Larry Niven, one to Roger Zelazny, fwiw). The affair began as a modest little party in a modest little room, with some peanuts and cheese curls and whatever booze we had been able to scrounge from other parties. But as fate would have it, my room was next to the pool deck, which allowed us to overflow the confines of my double, which we soon did, to become the loudest, largest, and most memorable party of the con. Gardner Dozois was our 'herald,' announcing each guest as they appeared, and naming them either a winner or a loser. Losers were cheered and welcomed, winners were booed and cursed and pelted with peanuts... unless they told a good story about they were really losers. (Which Alfie Bester did most memorably). Thus did that first Losers Party pass into fannish legend.

In the decades that followed, the Hugo Losers Party became a worldcon tradition. Many more great parties were thrown (most notably, I think, the 1981 party in Rusty Hevelin's suite at Denvention), and eventually the party became somehow 'official' and a tradition arose whereby the following year's worldcon concom threw the bash after every Hugo ceremony. That worked for a while, but gradually the original spirit of the party was lost, as the event became stuffier and duller and more institutional, finally even abandoning the name 'Hugo Losers Party' because some sensitive (and irony-impaired) souls did not like being called losers. (Hey, we're all losers, boys and girls). The nadir was the 'party' the Sasquan concom threw at Loncon, which was truly a dismal affair. So last year, at Sasquan, I decided to reclaim the party that Gardner and I had started... but since life (and fandom) have been good to me, I was able to do a little more than we'd been able to do in 1976.

The Sasquan party was a great success, I think. But of course that meant I had to do it again. I mean, how not? This was fortieth anniversary, and we were returning to Kansas City. I did toy for a moment with the idea of trying to book my original 1976 hotel room... and the adjoining pool deck... but, alas, the room, the deck, and the pool itself are all gone, demolished in one of the hotel's numerous renovations over the past forty years. (The old gorgeous historic Muehlebach still stands, but alas, remained dark and unused throughout Big Mac II, with the con confined to the newer Marriott wing, and the even newer Marriott across the skybridge).

Instead we went two blocks away and rented out the Midland, a gorgeous old 1930s movie palace. I mean, how could I resist? I LOVE old movie theatres, especially the art deco palaces of the 30s and 20s, and the vaudeville houses that preceded them. And the Midland was stunning, as I think all our guests agreed.

Drinks were drunk, barbeque was eated, losers were feted, winners were mocked, Alfies were given (more on those next rock). And when two in the morning rolled round, the band played "Teen Angel" and we all remembered Dave Hartwell, who was sorely missed.

What more is there to say? It was a party to remember, I think. Just like 1976.

Off to Worldcon

It's August, so it must be time for worldcon. (Truth be told, that sentence should read "It's Labor Day, so it must be time for worldcon, but that fight may be lost, alas, alas). The annual gathering of the tribes, our fannish family reunion. Time for rockets, time for parties, time for the fannish faithful to gather and howl at the moon.

This year the gathering takes place in Kansas City, Missouri. MidAmericon II. Which just happens to be forty years after MidAmericon I in 1976, the first KC worldcon and (in my not so humble opinion) one of the best worldcons ever, and certainly the most innovative. MAC II has a lot to live up to, but I'm looking forward to a great week.

All that and world class barbeque too! Burnt ends rule!!!

For those of you who will be attending, here's my own schedule at the con:

THURSDAY August 18
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm AUTOGRAPHING Convention Center, room 3501H

FRIDAY August 19
12:00 noon - 1:00 pm READING Convention Center, room 3501H

5:00pm - 8:00 pm HIGH STAKES launch and mass Wild Cards signing, Count Basie Ballroom,
Downtown Marriott (ticketed event)

SATURDAY August 20
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm AUTOGRAPHING Convention Center, room 3501H

3:00pm - 5:00pm WILD CARDS Death Matches Convention Center, Tucker Stage

SUNDAY August 21

11:45 am KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS signing w/ Gary Gianni
dealer's room, Convention Center

2:00pm - 3:00 pm panel: REMEMBERING BIG MAC I Convention Center, Tucker Stage

Those are my Official Public Appearances.

Mind you, I will be around for the rest of the con as well. You'll see me at parties, wandering the dealer's room, enjoying the art shows, popping into other panels, attending the Hugo Awards, drinking at the bar, eating at various local restaurants and barbeque joints. And of course, I'm always glad to say hi. Especially at those parties. Parties are the soul of worldcon.

That being said, I would ask that you do NOT ask me to sign books or pose for photographs at these sorts of chance encounters. I've scheduled seven hours for autographing, spread over several days and several venues... the rest of the time I just want to enjoy the con like everyone else.

(A good thing to keep in mind in dealing with ALL your favorite writers, by the way, not just me).

And yes, I will be throwing another Hugo Losers Party. How not? This is the fortieth anniversary of the first one, held in my room at the old Muehlebach Hotel, the night after I lost two Hugos. But I haven't listed that here since it's not open to the general public, sorry. Invitation only.

See you in KC. Let's party like it's 1976!


We have some exciting new for all the Wild Cards fans out there.

Universal Cable Productions (UCP) has acquired the rights to adapt our long-running Wild Cards series of anthologies and mosaic novels for television. Development will begin immediately on what we hope will be the first of several interlocking series. Melinda M. Snodgrass, my assistant editor and right-hand man on Wild Cards since its inception, the creator of Dr. Tachyon, Double Helix, and Franny Black, and a seasoned television writer/ producer whose credits include STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION ("Measure of a Man"), REASONABLE DOUBTS, THE PROFILER, and STAR COMMAND, is attached as an executive producer on the project, together with Gregory Noveck of RED, Slow Learner, and SyFy Films

UCP creates innovative and critically acclaimed television and digital content across various media platforms for domestic and international distribution. Their programming can be seen across numerous networks and channels across the world, and includes the Golden Globe and Peabody award-winning drama MR. ROBOT, the exciting new SF series COLONY, PLAYING HOUSE, ROYAL PAINS, and SUITS on the USA Network; Lev Grossman's brilliant THE MAGICIANS, 12 MONKEYS, and KILLJOYS on SyFY; GIRLFRIENDS' GUIDE TO DIVORCE on Bravo; THE ROYALS on E!; and DIFFICULT PEOPLE on Hulu. UCP's content library includes such fan favorites such as the Emmy-award winning MONK, PYSCH, and BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. Universal Cable Productions is a part of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies. (Follow them at @UCPisTV).

The shared world of the Wild Cards diverged from our own on September 15, 1946 when an alien virus was released in the skies over Manhattan, and spread across an unsuspecting Earth. Of those infected, 90% died horribly, drawing the black queen, 9% were twisted and deformed into jokers, while a lucky 1% became blessed with extraordinary and unpredictable powers and became aces. The world was never the same.

The first volume of the Wild Cards series was published in 1986, and was a finalist for that year's Hugo Award, ultimately losing to Alan Moore's WATCHMEN. Twenty-two volumes have been published to date, with a twenty-third (HIGH STAKES) scheduled for hardcover release later this month, and three more in the works. Translations and reprints of many of the Wild Cards books and stories have been published around the globe, in France, Germany, Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Russia, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Comic books, graphic novels, and role-playing games have also chronicled the adventures of the aces and jokers of the WC universe.

Generations of writers, from bold new voices to visionary grand masters, have contributed to the Wild Cards universe over the past three decades. Our roster of writers and creators includes Howard Waldrop, Walter Jon Williams, Stephen Leigh, Victor Milan, John Jos. Miller, Gail Gerstner Miller, Edward Bryant, Leanne C. Harper, Arthur Byron Cover, Chris Claremont, Lewis Shiner, Walton (Bud) Simons, Steve Perrin, Royce Wideman, Pat Cadigan, Sage Walker, Laura J. Mixon, Parris, William F. Wu, Michael Cassutt, Kevin Andrew Murphy, Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, Bob Wayne, S.L. Farrell, Carrie Vaughn, Caroline Spector, Christopher Rowe, Ian Tregillis, David D. Levine, David Anthony Durham, Cherie Priest, Paul Cornell, Craig Chrissinger, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Max Gladstone, Marko Kloos, Diana Rowland, Bradley Denton, Saladin Ahmed, the late great Roger Zelazny, and of course Melinda Snodgrass and yours truly.

Wild Cards is a series of books, graphic novels, games... but most of all it is a universe, as large and diverse and exciting as the comic book universes of Marvel and DC (though somewhat grittier, and considerably more realistic and more consistent), with an enormous cast of characters both major and minor. There are thousands of stories to be told in the world of the Wild Cards, and Gregory and Melinda and UPC hope to be able to tell many of them.

Which stories will be adapted? Which characters will be featured? Hard to say at this early stage. Let's see... we have Jetboy, the Four Aces, Dr. Tachyon, the Great and Powerful Turtle, Modular Man, Yeoman, Wraith, Cap'n Trips, Fortunato, Puppetman, Chrysalis, Popinjay, the Oddity, Father Squid, Water Lily, Sewer Jack, Bagabond, Peregrine, Carnifex, Infamous Black Tongue, Bugsy, Curveball, Earth Witch, Cameo, Elephant Girl, Demise, Ramshead, Mackie Messer, Mr. Nobody, Double Helix, the Amazing Bubbles, Stuntman, Rustbelt, Lohengrin, Hoodoo Mama, Drummer Boy, Abigail the Understudy, the Midnight Angel, and many many MANY more. Which ones will you see? I don't know. Which ones do you want to see? Tell us below, in the comments. I am sure that Melinda and Gregory and UPC will be listening.

Only one thing I can say for (almost) sure. You will be seeing Croyd Crenson, no matter shape the eventual show or shows ends up taking. It wouldn't be Wild Cards without the Sleeper.

So there it is. I hope you're as excited as I am. Of course, Hollywood is Hollywood, and nothing is ever certain in development... but I think I hope I cross my fingers that the Wild Cards will be coming to your home screens in the next year or two.

I won't be working on the series myself... my own development deal is exclusive to HBO, and I am writing THE WINDS OF WINTER, as I believe most of you will recall... but I have every confidence in Melinda Snodgrass and Gregory Noveck. They know and love the Wild Cards universe almost as well as I do, and I think they will do a terrific job. Wish them luck.

((And be sure to come to the Wild Cards Cage Matchs at worldcon, and snap up HIGH STAKES when it hits the stands later this month)).

Clear skies and tailwinds, as Jetboy would say.

((Please stay on topic in your comments. ANY comment not related to Wild Cards will be screened and deleted unread)).
This message comes to you from Ogre Jenni, not George R.R. Martin. I am but a prisoner within this green and Hulkish form.

The Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe is proud to host a film screening and fundraiser for Save the Elephants on Sunday, August 14th. We will screen Naledi: A Baby Elephant's Tale, and facilitate a discussion with Albuquerque's BioPark Elephant Specialist, Rhonda Saiers. Tickets are $20.00, and all ticket sales will be donated directly to Save the Elephants. If you cannot attend this event in person, consider making a donation this week—however big or small—to Save the Elephants or another charity of your choice.


It is extraordinarily expensive trying to save elephants from poaching and habitat loss. I really wish they would just let me eat the poachers, but Save the Elephants tells me that's not productive, and it only addresses one part of the slaughter of elephants. I would have to somehow eat the circumstances that funnel people into the poaching business (poverty, the greedy ivory market, etc.), and also eat all of the issues that force humans to further encroach upon elephant territory (poverty again, growing populations, etc.). Through extensive research and direct intervention, Save the Elephants has made significant progress addressing and changing harmful international policies. But their work is far from over, and they need our help.


Naledi: A Baby Elephant's Tale is the incredible, true-life story of a baby elephant born into a rescue camp in the wilderness of Botswana. When she's suddenly orphaned at six weeks of age, it's up to the men who look after her herd to save her life.

Born on an incredibly starry summer night in 2013, Naledi (which means ‘star’ in Setswana) was orphaned just six weeks later when her mother passed away in January 2014. This meant that immediate action had to be taken to both comfort Naledi and save her life. It took a dedicated team of men working around the clock to nurse her back to health. Naledi has a rambunctious yet loving personality and deep bonds with the men at the rescue camp as well as the female elephants of the rescue camp herd.

See you at the Cocteau!


The Long Game... of Thrones

It was twenty years ago today... not when Sgt Pepper taught the band the play, no, that was much earlier... when GAME OF THRONES was first published. August, 1996. That was when the big glossy hardcover with the silver foil cover first hit the bookstores (though some comp copies had been handed out earlier at the ABA in Chicago).

Reviews were generally good, sales were... well, okay. Solid. But nothing spectacular. No bestseller lists, certainly. I went on a book tour around that same time, signing copies in Houston, Austin, and Denton, Texas; in St. Louis, Missouri; in Chicago and Minneapolis; and up the west coast to San Diego, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Portland, and Seattle. Turnouts were modest in most places. The crowds didn't reach one hundred anywhere, and at one stop (St. Louis, if you must know), not only was attendance zero but I actually drove four patrons out of the bookshop, allowing me to set my all time "bad signing" record at minus four (on the plus side, I had the time for long friendly talks with the readers who did show up).

But my oh my, things have changed a bit in these last twenty years.

My crowds are larger now (though, sadly, I can no longer chat for five or ten minutes with every customer). The novels appear on every bestseller list in the country, and most of those in the UK and the rest of the world as well. There's a successful television show that you may have heard of, with record ratings, record piracy, and a record number of Emmy Awards. There are games, miniatures, slot machines, pinball machines, cosplayers, dolls, action figures, coins, t-shirts, graphic novels, translations in more than forty languages.

It has been a helluva twenty years, twenty years that have transformed my life and career, twenty years during which the novel has never been out of print. And something like that has to be commemorated. So... well, let me quote the official announcement from my friends at Bantam Spectra.

"First published on August 1st, 1996, A Game of Thrones marks its twentieth anniversary today. In celebration of the fantasy masterpiece that started a cultural phenomenon, we’re excited to announce the publication of a special illustrated edition."

An anniversary like this requires something special, something more than just a reprint and a new novel. This new edition will be very special, I think. Same story, of course. But we've added an introduction by the World Famous Nebula Toastmaster John Hodgman... and a truly astonishing amount of artwork... a total of seventy-three (73) black and white interior illustrations, and eight (8) spectacular full color plates. Some of the artwork is drawn from the Ice & Fire calendars, from The World of Ice and Fire, and from the card and board games and RPGs... but forty-eight (48) of these pieces are completely new, never-before-seen artwork. Bantam says, "With gorgeous full-page illustrations to open every chapter, the mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure of this magnificent saga come to life as never before."

Here's a sample of some of the art we'll be including: one old piece, one new one.

The list of participating artists reads like an all star roster of fantasy illustrators, and includes such luminaries as John Picacio, Paul Youll, Gary Gianni, Didier Graffet, Victor Moreno, Michael Komarck, Arantza Sestayo, Magali Villeneuve, Ted Nasmith, Levi Pinfold, Marc Simonetti, and many more. We've had some stunning illustrated editions of A Game of Thrones before, to be sure, with the limited editions from Meisha Merlin and Subterranean Press... but each of those was illustrated only by a single artist. This will be the first edition to feature such a galaxy of talent.

A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition goes on sale October 18, 2016.

And no, before someone asks, I had no idea when this all started where it would lead... or how long the road would be. That picture of me up above was taken in 1995 in Scotland, after I'd signed the contracts for the first three books but before I'd delivered any of them. Back then, I'd thought the whole story could be told in three books, and that it would take me three years to write them, a year per book. That picture was taken just a few weeks after I blew my first (bot not my last, oh no) deadline on the series. Ah, how innocent I was... little did that guy in the picture imagine that he would be spending most of the next two decades in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros with Tyrion, Daenerys, Arya, Sansa, Jon Snow, Bran, and all the rest.

But here I am, twenty years later... still working on book six... ((and no, sorry, I have no announcement to make on that front)).

Suicide Squad at the Cocteau #GRRMinion

Ogre Jenni here again (not George). I work for the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, and I'll eat human flesh if they let me! But they never let me...

Jean Cocteau Cinema will show Suicide Squad! It begins Thursday, August 4th, and our tickets are only $8.00 for regular shows, and $7.00 for matinees. Cosplayers rejoice! For better or for worse, we don't have rules barring costumes or masks in our cinema. You can go all out for this one. We will actually have a professional cosplayer at the cinema on Friday and Saturday, so stop by and take a picture with Harley! If they let me out of the basement FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE, I'm going to dress up as the Joker with roller skates. And, as always, we have presents for people who come to the movies in costume.

We will also have 44 ounce Suicide Squad cups availalbe for purchase. Logically, they come with a soda of your choice. We recommend kids make a "Suicide," which (for people who had sodaless/joyless childhoods) is a mixture of all the sodas available at the concessions stand. It's surprisingly drinkable unless you put Diet Coke in there. Anyway, good parents get their kids 44 ounces of soda.

See you at the Cocteau!


The Chimes at Midnight

Today is the last day to get those Hugo Awards ballots in.

Vote now, or you'll only have yourself to blame in Kansas City when the envelopes are opened.




(May the best stories win).

Hugo Deadline Approaches

Just a reminder for all of you who are members of this year's worldcon... the deadline for voting on the Hugo Awards is almost upon us.

Voting will be closing at the end of the month, so if you've been meaning to cast a ballot, this is the time to do so. Go here: https://midamericon2.org/home/hugo-awards-and-wsfs/2016-hugo-ballot/

The Hugo is science fiction's oldest and most prestigious award. These past few years, however, the awards have been under siege, and that's true this year as well.

Nonetheless, there are some worthy books and stories up for this year's rockets, along with some reprehensible shit. I will leave it to your own judgements as to which is which.

Vote your own taste.

Vote your own conscience.

But vote. Every ballot counts.


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

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