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Odds, Ends, Fun Stuff

Lots of gloom and doom around, but today I just want to burble about good stuff, the little things that make life worth living. Books, movies, TV shows, friends, fun.

Let me start with television. How many of you have been watching HBO's big new drama WESTWORLD? If not, you don't know what you're missing. It's intriguing. The old Yul Brynner / Michael Crichton movie was just the seed, this one goes way way way beyond that. It's gorgeous to look at, and the writing and acting and directing are all first rate. And hey, how many of you spotted Yul in last week's episode?

I am also watching the two new time travel shows, TIMELESS and FREQUENCY, mainly because I am an SF geek who loves time travel yarns. FREQUENCY is based on the film of the same title, one of the very best treatments of time paradoxes and the butterfly effect I've ever seen. The show started out strong as well, though lately, I don't know, I worry that it's spinning its wheels. I don't mind that they changed the present day character from a man to a woman, I only mind a little that they changed the past character from a fireman to a cop... but I hate that they lost the Amazin' Mets, one of the great parts of the movie.

On other fronts, we hope to have a brand new official Wild Cards website up soon. Watch this space for further details. My crack staff of minions and ogres are revamping and updating the Jean Cocteau website as well.

We had a great event with Emily St. John Mandel at the JCC on Monday night, before Black Tuesday. What a delightful person, and what an amazing writer. If you haven't read her STATION ELEVEN yet, grab yourself a signed copy from the JCC Bookshop, it's a brilliant book. We also have autographed copies of her first three novels, which I mean to check out myself.

This weekend the JCC will host the magic of George Tovar. Tickets available from our website. We could all use more magic in our lives about now.

I won't be able to see the show myself, alas, since I will be in Tucson for Tuscon, where I am Guest of Honor. If you have a ticket, I will see you there. If you don't, alas, I can't tell you where to get one; they have been sold out for months. (This whole idea of SF cons selling out is strange to an old phan like me). I have been cutting way back on my travel lately but Tuscon has been on my schedule for several years. It's my last convention for 2016... though next month I will be flying to Mexico for the Guadalajara Book Fair, which has been booked even longer. Tuscon should be fun; I am looking forward to spending some quality time with old friends, and to making some new ones. And yes, I'll be signing books there. Lots and lots of books.

Latest fun read: the new Melinda Snodgrass novel THE HIGH GROUND, first volume of her space opera series. Space cadets! This is her best work yet, I think. Looking forward to the next. Next up is the new Lisa Tuttle, THE SOMNAMBULIST AND THE PSYCHIC THIEF, a Victorian supernatural mystery featuring the two characters she originally introduced in stories for a couple of my anthologies.


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Nov. 10th, 2016 11:55 pm (UTC)
How in the world do you keep up with everything?
Nov. 10th, 2016 11:55 pm (UTC)
I was hooked the moment the intro music started and I could hear Ramin Djawadi's expertise at work. The story line immediately grabbed me; the maze, the man in black, the humanity the hosts seem to possess, and don't let me get started on Thandie Newton's performance so far.

One thing I could buy into though, Westerosworld.

Edited at 2016-11-10 11:55 pm (UTC)
Nov. 10th, 2016 11:55 pm (UTC)
Everyone needs a good burble
Yes, Westworld is amazing. I was a fan of the original as well, Sir. This thing has me simultaneously staring at the tube and scratching my head and then face planting when I see the answer. I love it. Congrats on the Wild Card page going up. May there be peace in ALL OUR realms.
Nov. 10th, 2016 11:59 pm (UTC)
A new Wild Cards website? That's cool news. I just now am rereading ACE IN THE HOLE, which has gained whole new levels of relevance this week due to recent events. I hope to see the reissue soon.
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:34 am (UTC)
We will have a reissue of ACE IN THE HOLE in February, with a gorgeous new cover.
Jeremy Laws
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:07 am (UTC)
More Good News
While we're on the topic of good news, I received my autographed copy of the illustrated edition of A Game of Thrones today. I wanted to take a moment to thank you once again for creating this strange and beautiful world. The illustrations are wonderful and I am thrilled to have such a collectible edition of this story. Good day to you, sir. And keep up all the amazing work.
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:10 am (UTC)

I've been watching Dark Matter on Netflix. It's pretty good.

Orla Roche
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:12 am (UTC)
You should try Humans which was made by Channel 4 in Britain. Better than Westworld in a lot of ways.
Looking forward to watching the new episode of frequency in the morning! Might even watch the movie at the weekend.

Edited at 2016-11-11 12:13 am (UTC)
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:35 am (UTC)
I enjoyed HUMANS, but cannot agree that it is better than WESTWORLD.
Westworld - gman109 - Nov. 11th, 2016 03:04 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dragonborngurl - Nov. 11th, 2016 03:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:13 am (UTC)
Westworld Theories
As you might know, your series has produced a lot of critical analysis and theorizing by fans. But if you put your fan-hat on for a moment on Westworld, do you have any theories that you've come up with/others have come up with and you believe?

More broadly, the Westworld TV phenomenon has brought an interesting discussion on how we enjoy media. Do we enjoy the storytelling and try not to theorize too much or do we knock ourselves out with theorizing plot-points and endgame things? Where do you fall on that spectrum as a fan?
Nov. 11th, 2016 03:08 am (UTC)
Re: Westworld Theories
I'm interested in this too - for example, there are many who think that some of the programmers, key actors/characters like Jeff Wright's Lowe or Cullen, or perhaps even Hopkins/Ford are themselves creations and not humans. There is a lot going on in this show, every time I rewatch an episode I feel I'm missing a lot of things just below the surface, the complexity is fantastic.
Joe Cooper
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:15 am (UTC)
Westworld is awesome. I haven't seen the original movie. Found out the other day it was the source for The Simpsons Itchy and Scratchy Land episode. They only parody the great stories (Sandkings).

Hope you feel better you can always create a character called Trumpo the fool.
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:36 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks and question
That subject was beaten to death in older comment threads.
Re: Thanks and question - redpanda67 - Nov. 11th, 2016 02:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:24 am (UTC)
Amazing, mysterious show. Reminds me of Truman Show. Ed Harris and Thandie Newton are particularly excellent with their characters. I just don't understand how the hosts get in and out of the world for cleaning/maintenance without the guests seeing the jumpsuit workers and the story lines getting distrusted.
Thank god for fantasy..
Nov. 11th, 2016 03:12 am (UTC)
Re: Westworld
I agree in many respects, a certain amount of suspension of belief is required here - example, sure technology seems to keep guests from shooting one another through some sort of magic bullets, however how would that stop one guest from stabbing another, or pushing him off a cliff, and so forth. We see a robotic/cyborg/whatever defend Dr Ford from an edged weapon, but what if there is no park creations around and 2 guests decide to fight it out with blunt force or edged weapons instead of their magic pistols?

This is my only real complaint, along with the aforementioned forays of workers into the park not being disruptive, but these things are easy to set aside for me as the rest of the work here is so superb. Easily my favorite new program for 2016.
Erin Gaughn
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:33 am (UTC)
Life must go on, but my heart aches for the most vulnerable in our nation and my gut reaction is to ask, "How???" I hope people will watch their politicians like hawks and make their voices heard . . . being vocal and vigilant is one of our few hopes now. I also try to remind myself that this is a country that is filled with many people living in pain. I may not agree with people who voted for Trump, but this article helped me understand where some of them were coming from. (Not all, but some.) I never expected to see an article of such quality from Cracked. I guess life is full of surprises. http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-trumps-rise-that-no-one-talks-about/
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:42 am (UTC)
Keep Positive
Good for you Mr. Martin, keeping positive. Winter is Coming, but we'll survive this older version of Joffrey!
Nov. 11th, 2016 12:54 am (UTC)
Hi, enormous fan, etc. Selfproducing a movie inspired by ASOIAF, not fantasy or anything, just inspired. In July I moved from LA to New Mexico to take in the "energy" that fueled the greatest story of all time, your epic in progress, as I write my own little thing.
And now, as soon as I get a visa, I'm outta this continent to a remote and hopefully safer sector of the globe. Dont want to leave, but I can't shake the knowing that things will get unpredictable, dangerous, violent, explosive. We're now having to trust an Aerys II/Joffrey combo to defend us. Everything in his character suggests he will be the danger. Even most smart people against him dont seem to see the existential threat here that goes beyond social/bigotry stuff. We're handing the most powerful military and arsenal ever to an evil moronic game show host who's never filled a tank of gas or been in a Walmart or even locker room. He will not resist exercising "tremendous" power earned through being a maniacal asshole, and seems to think it will be expected of him. I pray, pray, pray it will not get to this.
So, shit's bad, anyone with half a brain can tell. But people like you that I admire, who have strived and worked on creating good, being good for the world- its uplifting to see that even in this darkness, good is still there, and I'm not alone, and that I can keep trying. Just want to encourage you to keep doing what youre doing, enlighten more, fight more- it's right and good and it matters. Thanks
Kristy Montaney
Nov. 11th, 2016 01:21 am (UTC)
So glad you're coming to TusCon this year! This is my first con ever and knowing you're the guest of honor nudged me to take the leap. See you in a couple of days, sir!
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George R.R. Martin
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