Reading is an activity that needs both attention and imagination. It’s not a passive chore, rather it puts you into an active role in the story it’s telling. Literature has inspired a large part of cinema and TV. The most popular show of the last decade, Game of Thrones got its flesh from the books of A Song of Ice and Fire series. But the wizard behind that series, George R.R. Martin does a lot of other literary work apart from the Westerosi saga. It involves being an editor and author of the stories in the Wild Cards series. George recently announced the arrival of three offerings from the series on his Not a Blog. Read on to find out more.
The first to arrive was TEXAS HOLD ‘EM on April 28. It’s the third book in the American triad of the Wild Cards series, released by Tor Books as a paperback reissue of the 2018 version. The earlier two are Mississippi Roll and Low Chicago and GRRM has edited all three of them. “Hop on the bus with Amazing Bubbles, Rubberband, Rustbelt, and the Jokertown mob and travel down to San Antonio for a high school jazz competition like none you have ever seen before!” George wrote for the novel.
The local bookstores might have copies, but they perhaps remain closed due to COVID-19 lockdowns. So, you can buy it online on “Amazon, B&N, or Beastly Books”.Wild Cards is a series of science fiction tales that consists of anthologies, mosaic novels, and solo novels. The stories play out in an alternate historical period after World War II in the USA; where human beings have contracted an alien virus called, Wild Card virus. Unlike the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (don’t blindly trust the conspiracy theories), this is a man-made bioweapon. The virus has varying effects on everyone. Although it kills almost ninety percent of the infected, it provides superhuman abilities to one percent (called Aces) and crippling/physically repulsive conditions to the remaining nine (called Jokers). More than forty authors have contributed to the series for which GRRM has served as an editor since 1986.
The second offering is a new one; it’s the hardcover edition of THREE KINGS, the twenty-ninth volume in the Wild Cards series. Harper Collins Voyager released it on Friday, May 1 in the UK. “This one is a sequel to KNAVES OVER QUEENS, and like that volume it is set entirely in the British Isles, featuring a cast of English and Irish aces, jokers, and knaves, including the Seamstress, the Green Man, Badh, Double Helix, and Enigma”. Martin wrote about Three Kings.
Three Kings is a mosaic novel where different authors weaved a single-story, each writing from the point of view of their characters. The writers who contributed to the story are Melinda M. Snodgrass, Peadar O Guilin, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Caroline Spector, and Peter Newman. It’s a complex collaborative effort edited by GRRM and assistant editor, Melinda M. Snodgrass. However, George states that Melinda’s work deserves more credit than his own on Three Kings. But since George has constantly held the editor’s position from the start, the cover classifies Three Kings in the same series of GRRM edited Wild Cards books.
Tor Books will also release an American edition of Three Kings, but that might take one or two years. Currently, you can read a preview and buy the book here.
The third arrival is also a new story, Berlin Is Never Berlin by Marko Kloos. It will release on May 6 on Tor.com. It features “Khan, half man-half tiger kicking ass and taking names”, shown in the cover art by Micah Epstein. GRRM describes it as “a helluva trip”. Moreover, it will be available to read for free, alongside many other Wild Cards tales by Daniel Abraham, Carrie Vaughn, Stephen Leigh, and more. So, you can check these out on Tor.com. It’s not The Winds of Winter but GRRM has always recommended the Wild Cards stories.
What are your thoughts about this news? Tell us in the comments section.
The Folio Society releases a new collector’s edition of ‘A Clash of Kings’
Great work starts with great imagination, be it any form of art. An artist’s creative force builds a world that imitates reality closely. The visionary depth of George R.R. Martin gave us the book series A Song of Ice and Fire, which then translated into the commonly known TV show Game of Thrones. But now that the show is over, and we await the arrival of the last two books in the ASOIAF series, The Folio Society has treated us with its special edition of the second book, A Clash of Kings.
It’s a collector’s edition with an entirely reimagined physical make-up of the book; albeit its soul of Martin’s literary power remains intact. The London-based publishing house excels at producing such prized editions. The quality of pages, the method of binding, type size, illustrations, maps, cover, family trees, formal house listings; everything updated to a high-end form. To maintain ease of keeping and reading, The Folio Society has turned the original single volume into a two-volume set. They released a similar version of the first book, A Game of Thrones last year.
However, such a luxurious read and beautiful design do not sell cheap. Priced at $195, the book aims at avid fans who intend to enrich their collection with this elegant variant; containing six full-page illustrations and two double-page spreads in each volume by the artist, Jonathan Burton. The art and publishing team at The Folio Society explained their interest in revisiting the old in an exclusive chat with The Verge.
“The culmination of the television series of Game of Thrones marked a new level of passion and commitment in its fans, but it also took many thousands back to Martin’s books,” the publishing director Tom Walker said. “Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire are dedicated by nature. The Folio Society can now reward their dedication by bringing them the most perfectly realized editions of the books they so admire; editions that they will be able to hand down through generations,” he said.
While The Folio Society ran each and every single detail through GRRM’s team, they worked upon new changes that reflect their originality. Jonathan Burton has worked on both the books in the series. He created cover designs that represent the major houses locked in a conflict with each other through the length of the story in a volume. Another striking feature of the new book is its “narrator motifs”. Each character comes as a distinct persona in an image at the top before the start of its new chapter. The image combines the house sigil and traits of that character to make it unique and exciting. The use of black and gold ink throughout assigns a regal look to the book.
The illustrator Jonathan Burton shed light on his work in an interview with tor.com. “I am coming to these novels completely cold having not seen the TV series; so, I was excited to see what happens to these characters. I was constantly surprised by the unfolding events and I had a few jaw-dropping moments; including Melisandre’s true nature and what happens to Renly. The new character of Brienne is a gift. My favorite is Arya with her feisty yet innocent character constantly up against the most monstrous and manipulative.”
The illustrations need to cover the book with an even spread-out. So, the struggle with the choice of scenes to illustrate led Jonathan to make “a balancing selection of main characters and settings, iconic moments and things that he couldn’t stop himself drawing”. Rather than the “political intrigue” that surrounds the story, Jonathan chose to draw the moments that were “visually evocative”.
Moreover, he used different colors to draw different characters in order to ground them in their view of reality. Thus, Sansa’s “romantic view of the world” got vivid greens and reds, Jon’s dismal inner world depicted by whites and blacks, and Arya’s harsh reality drawn with earthy tones. “Renly’s death” and “Arya facing up the prisoners in the wagon” (including Jaqen H’ghar) stood out as favorite illustrated scenes for Jonathan.
The Folio Society wants to publish the series right to its end. And they are quite ready to wait alongside the fans for the upcoming books. Well, that’s the attitude the fans of ASOIAF have developed over the years. They will wait till their watch ends.
What are your thoughts about the new book? Tell us in the comments section.
George R. R. Martin offers an exclusive look at the new illustrated edition of A Storm of Swords
Game of Thrones has been one of our favorite things from the last decade. The story of Westeros spanning over eight seasons thrilled us to our core. However, before the show, there were books. And as much credit Game of Thrones owes to its creators, David Benioff and Dan Weiss, even more, remains due to the author, George R. R. Martin. Starting in 1996, the American writer has published five books in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire along with a few novellas and reference books. There are two more in the frontline of the story – The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, which are long-awaited. While there are no signs of The Winds, GRRM has thrown some color at us by announcing that A Storm of Swords (ASOS) is set to appear in a new illustrated form.
The world could use some color right about now. Very excited to debut the cover and some exclusive art from the illustrated edition of A STORM OF SWORDS with beautiful new lithograph like illustrations from Gary Gianni, coming Nov 3! https://t.co/uc0mfDFE56 pic.twitter.com/Tp6WHHacaE
— George RR Martin (@GRRMspeaking) March 23, 2020
George broke the news through his twitter handle, and let us know that the illustrated edition of A Storm of Swords, the third book in the series, will release on November 3, 2020. His post offered an exclusive look at the artwork from the book. He shared a picture that shows Daenerys Targaryen trying to feed her three dragons while on a ship. The dragons are growing, but are still very small. The mother of dragons is seemingly tangled in her adventures in Essos.
Gary Gianni, an American artist, has done the artwork for the book, that Martin describes as “lithograph-like”. Before ASOS, the first two books – A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings – have also released in illustrated forms. Gary Gianni had also contributed to the artwork for A Game of Thrones. We also have a look at the cover for the illustrated version of ASOS.
This is definitely great news during these grim times of coronavirus lockdowns. Martin had informed us through his Not a Blog, that he is in a “remote isolated location” and he “feels fine”. He also wrote that he’s “spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day”. So, that means we might just get The Winds earlier than expected. It would be a delight on the other side of the global pandemic tunnel.
You can pre-order the new edition of ASOS here.
What are your thoughts about the new illustrated edition? What time do you expect The Winds of Winter to release? Tell us your views in the comments.
Fire & Blood set to release again in paperback with brand new illustrations
After A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF), the hottest property out there right now is Fire & Blood as it’s the first of the two-volume set dedicated to the history of Targaryens. Even more so, because it serves as the cornerstone to create the new spin-off series, House of the Dragon. We have already heard about the likelihood of the series premiere in 2022. Now, there is a new announcement regarding the book, and it comes from the man behind all the mischief in this fantasy world, George R.R. Martin.
Happy to announce that Fire & Blood, the inspiration behind the upcoming House of the Dragon, will release in paperback on May 5th in the US, Canada, and UK. This paperback edition will include 5 brand new illustrations. Pre-orders begin soon! https://t.co/yluQ0zFfcJ pic.twitter.com/sYq0HwTPjJ
— George RR Martin (@GRRMspeaking) January 13, 2020
Fire & Blood is getting a paperback release in US, UK, and Canada with five brand new illustrations on May 5, 2020. GRRM broke the news through his twitter handle. It has been more than a year since Fire & Blood released in November, 2018. Doug Wheatley had drawn about eighty black & white illustrations for the original release, which were quite amazing. We will get five more of those to peek further into the story of Targaryens in Westeros.
Martin had earlier announced that he was on a speedy route to finishing The Winds of Winter, and that he wouldn’t engage with anything else before it gets completed. So much so that he denied to direct or write any episodes on House of the Dragon until he finishes the long-awaited book in ASOIAF. This news about the release of Fire and Blood might just irk some of the fans who are unwilling to hear about any other books except WoW.
Whether we are happy or not, a release is around the corner. It’s not what everyone wants, but it keeps the wheel of Westeros rolling. Though there are no sneak peeks of the new illustrations in the book, we expect them to be wonderful and fascinating. What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments section below.
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