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Something Old, Something New...

... or rather, the old becomes new again tomorrow, when Tor releases the latest volume in their series of Wild Cards reissues: DEAD MAN'S HAND, the seventh book in the original sequence.

I've had some readers complain about my name being featured on the covers of the Wild Cards books because I "didn't write them." That's a bullshit complaint, IMSHO. No, I am not the sole author of the Wild Cards stories, I am only one of... ah, lemme see, I believe it was forty-one writers at last count.

I am, however, the editor of every single one of the twenty-three volumes published to date, and the new ones in the pipeline as well... the guy who recruits all those writers, determines the 'overplots' of the triads, solicits proposals, accepts and rejects, and gives extensive notes on rewrites. (And there's a LOT of rewriting in Wild Cards, to make all the bits fit together so the whole will be more than the sum of its parts). It's a lot more work than any other sort of anthology, believe me... though I love it, so I don't complain... too much. I earn those credits, and to suggest that my name is just being 'slapped on' the covers while someone else does the work is as ignorant as it is offensive.

Besides which, I DO write for Wild Cards, in addition to editing the series. More so in the early days, admittedly, before Westeros and Ice & Fire arose to eat up almost all of my writing time. Truth be told, I'd love nothing better than to write some more Wild Cards stories. I have some old favorite characters I'd love to revisit (Popinjay, the Turtle), and some newer characters that I've hardly written about at all (Lohengrin, Hoodoo Mama)... and I have stories to tell. But all that will need to wait until I've finished WINDS OF WINTER, and maybe DREAM OF SPRING as well.

Which brings me back to DEAD MAN'S HAND.

If you're one of those who hasn't tried Wild Cards because there's not enough of my own writing in it, well, here's your chance to hop in. Because this volume has LOTS of my own writing. The typical Wild Cards mosaic novel features work by half a dozen or more writers and as many characters, but on this outing there were only two of us. DEAD MAN'S HAND is a sort of noir mystery novel, as two very different detectives attempt to unravel a grotesque murder in Jokertown. The stars are Yeoman, the ace of spades vigilante, written by John Jos. Miller... and my very own Popinjay, Jay Ackroyd, a rumpled private eye and projecting teleport.

The Tor reissue has a great new cover from Michael Komarck as well.



DEAD MAN'S HAND goes on sale tomorrow, at your favorite local bookstore and/or online retailer.

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( 42 comments )
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hippoiathanatoi
Jun. 12th, 2017 07:33 pm (UTC)
Another lovely Komarck piece -- digging Yeoman, in particular.

I'd be quite interested in John sharing the origins and inspirations behind Yeoman in a future Wild Cards blog post. The obvious comic book antecedents are Green Arrow and the Punisher, but I wonder what drew him particularly to the idea of a normal (if very gifted), non-Wild Card infected character surrounded by fellow players/writers messing around with Aces and Jokers.
Umar MF
Jun. 12th, 2017 08:01 pm (UTC)
Giving Wild Cards a Try
Haven't really done much wildcards reading but I think I'll start. Dead Man's Hand sounds interesting. Will give WC a start. Anyway, I don't think you should mind people who say mean things about writers such as yourself who write so extensively. Everything is earned. To risk sounding childish but such people are losers and you shouldn't waste your time on losers.
chetan0208
Jun. 12th, 2017 08:02 pm (UTC)
Bit off topic
Hello George,
This may be a bit off topic but if you had to recommend some books that present the real history in a very reader friendly way, what would you suggest. I know that you like Accursed Kings(which I am about to finish) alot but apart from that what would you suggest. I don't necessarily want a POV structure just something that presents history in a very readable way.

Regarding WildCards, do what your heart says. No good will come out of giving attention to random people online.
(Oh wait!)
starkdad
Jun. 13th, 2017 03:51 pm (UTC)
Re: Bit off topic
Not Mr. Martin but an avid reader of medieval history.

Hugh Bicheno's Battle Royal and Blood Royal is a good two volume history of the War of the Roses (and he acknowledges Mr. Martin's influence on interest in the topic).

Princes in the Tower is also good "popular" history. Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror has held up well (a great "your are there" version of the Battle of Potiers).

Suprisingly Frossiart (an original source) is a very lively "popular" history (through written in the late 1300's).

Juliet Barker's Agincourt and Conquest cover the late Hundred Years War and are fine for general readers.

If you want to jump into the deep end try Sumption's multi-volumne History of the Hunderd Years War (but don't start there...)

Happy reading - keeps us busy to Winds blows through...

TomT
William Gicking
Jun. 12th, 2017 08:12 pm (UTC)
Good stuff
Honestly I have said before that I disagree with more famous authors getting such a prominent placement on the covers for editing books written by other authors but obviously that doesn't seem to apply here.

Also, as an outside perspective, I would say if you feel like you wanna write a wild cards story then that is what you should write. Readers will complain no matter what and you only live once so you might as well follow your inspiration wherever it may take you. As I'd said that's from my perspective outside of the burden that you carry with such a huge following but just two cents from a guy who although has no best sellers to his credit, HAS written a few drunken comments about the Mets that I feel are worthy of a Pulitzer and mayhaps a Nobel prize as well. Just sayin. (Yes that is a joke for those here without a sense of humor)

Edited at 2017-06-12 08:13 pm (UTC)
congobill
Jun. 12th, 2017 08:19 pm (UTC)
Where to start?
Wild Cards looks intriguing to me but one reason I haven't jumped in is it seems very daunting, with so many books, characters, and stories. Where do I start? Do I have to start with the first book and read everything sequentially? You seem to suggest with this post that readers can jump on anywhere. If that's the case, great! Then again, will the reading experience be better if started from Book 1? Or, if I was just going to sample one book to see how I like it, what's the best place to start if not starting at Book 1?
grrm
Jun. 12th, 2017 08:49 pm (UTC)
Re: Where to start?
Best places to start: WILD CARDS, INSIDE STRAIGHT, FORT FREAK.

But I've known people to start on just about every book, and then backtrack.
Re: Where to start? - _travis2323 - Jun. 13th, 2017 02:20 am (UTC) - Expand
RE: Re: Where to start? - wazat - Jun. 14th, 2017 08:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Where to start? - Brendan Coffey - Jun. 13th, 2017 09:06 am (UTC) - Expand
elizabethmain
Jun. 12th, 2017 10:26 pm (UTC)
Cheers
Collaborating on a novel seems like it would be so much work! How is it different from writing solo?
Lucas Murtinho
Jun. 12th, 2017 10:39 pm (UTC)
Ace in a Dead Man's Hand?
Correct me if I'm wrong, but Ace in the Hole and Dead Man's Hand started out as a single novel, right? And then the original publisher asked for it to be split in two because it was too long.

Soooo.... Any chance we may see a remix/redux of both novels in the future? (The suggested title above strikes me as a better option than Dead Man's Hole...)
grrm
Jun. 13th, 2017 02:37 am (UTC)
Re: Ace in a Dead Man's Hand?
Yes, originally ACE IN THE HOLE was a seven-writer mosaic, but it got too long, and our publisher wanted it cut by a hundred pages or more.

That would have gutted it, so instead I broke the book in two -- five characters went to ACE, two to DEAD MAN's. The split worked very well, I think.
Creed Borden
Jun. 12th, 2017 11:09 pm (UTC)
Hartmann vs Trump.
Hey George given all of the Trump news with the Comey testimony and his manipulative ties to Russia it got me thinking. Between Gregg Hartmann and Donald Trump who do you think would be a worse president?
grrm
Jun. 13th, 2017 02:39 am (UTC)
Re: Hartmann vs Trump.
Well, Hartmann far and away. He was much smarter and his policies would have been better for the country, and millions of people. That is, if you didn't mind the occasional person that he tormented and murdered in his Puppetman persona. So far as we know, Trump does not do that.
Re: Hartmann vs Trump. - sdschaffer - Jun. 15th, 2017 12:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
spankingfemme
Jun. 13th, 2017 01:02 am (UTC)
I'm not religious, but "Pearls before swine" my friend. Editing is a freaking task. I think more than HALF of my writing time is self-editing, and after I post something I STILL end up finding mistakes if I do a reread!
noybusiness
Jun. 13th, 2017 07:08 am (UTC)
I'm an editor by profession and I can speak to how vital yet underappreciated it is.
Ognjen Stepanović
Jun. 13th, 2017 09:23 am (UTC)
After reading the Dark Tower series....
I would just like to tell you one thing - Please, please, please, take your time. Write one chapter a month, if you will, go back and rewrite whatever you think should be rewritten, do whatever you think you need to do to get the story right.
I am a King-fan and I like his work. Most of all I liked the D. T. series, apart from the last book.
The last book manifests the difference between you, writing one book for 5 years and him, writing 3 books a year.
ASOIAF is a great novel. Please, please, please, don't make the same mistake as King did.
Sincerely, a fan from Serbia.
dmedicus
Jun. 13th, 2017 12:51 pm (UTC)
Just started reading the first Wild Card book...
jeanne_stivers
Jun. 14th, 2017 01:43 am (UTC)
Prequel pilot
Hi George,

I wrote a pilot script for a Game of Thrones prequel when I heard that HBO was looking for pitches, but then HBO announced that you have found some writers who are developing scripts.

Are you and HBO still open to pitches? The series I'd started writing chronicles the Rhoynar wars and the flight of Princess Nymeria with her 10,000 ships to Dorne. There are also a set of concurrent plot lines and characters set in Valyria and Volantis. A bulk of the events, of course, are based on the histories you wrote in A World of Ice and Fire.

I'm not sure if this is already a concept being worked on, but I'm a baby writer and I'd appreciate the chance to assist the writing staff on one of the productions if they develop further.

I guess I'm wondering if there's still time for me to pitch, or has that ship already sailed?

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
grrm
Jun. 19th, 2017 10:45 pm (UTC)
Re: Prequel pilot
Sorry, no, HBO has hired the writers for the successor shows, and no pitches are being scheduled.

In any case, I am not the one to approach about such matters.
bluexisting
Jun. 14th, 2017 03:10 pm (UTC)
World Con Appearance
Hi George, I am planning to go to World Con this year. Could you please tell me which day you will appear. I am booking the flight to Helsinki and wonder if I can leave early on the last day of the con (Sunday August 13th).


Edited at 2017-06-14 03:13 pm (UTC)
grrm
Jun. 14th, 2017 05:14 pm (UTC)
RE: World Con Appearance
I will be there for the entire con, but the dates and times of my program items have not been finaluzed yet. I will be doing two signings, and probably a couple of panels... and of course the parties.
notagrrm
Jun. 14th, 2017 05:39 pm (UTC)
Piece of mind for your most loyal fans
I am very excited for all the upcoming projects you are working on and I am always happy when a great author especially my favorite gets the recognition and opportunities they deserve. Yet there is one project that many of your long time fans have been dying for. I need not mention the name. Out of love and courtesy for those of us who are restless to see just where things lay at the moment could you possibly give an estimated manuscript page count? It would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you for your consideration
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