Prime Time Replay:


George R. R. Martin
on A Game of Thrones




MsgId: *omni_visions(19)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:01:30 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_Mod At: 206.80.181.45

Good evening, Mr. & Ms. America, and all the ships in space! This is another edition of Omni Visions Prime Time with Ed Bryant. My guest tonight is that stellar writer of science fiction, fantasy, novels, short fiction, films, and TV, George R.R. Martin. Good evening, George!
MsgId: *omni_visions(23)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:03:49 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.173

For the record, let me say I never worked on ST:TNG, despite the credit Ellen gave me when she was publicizing this. So no questions about Data, please. Vincent I can handle... well, as much as anyone can handle Vincent.
MsgId: *omni_visions(27)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:06:46 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.173

Have we lost Ed?
MsgId: *omni_visions(31)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:09:07 EST 1996
From: ellendat At: 152.169.42.24

While Ed tries to get back to us I'd like to apologize to George for misremembering his participation in ST:TNG.
MsgId: *omni_visions(33)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:09:56 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.173

I think Ed has fallen through the floor. He warned me this might happen.
MsgId: *omni_visions(32)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:09:55 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_Mod At: 206.80.181.45

Oops, sorry, folks! My terrific intro for George suddenly vanished and I got cut off with a "server error" message. I'm ba-a-ack, so I'll take it from the top. (more)
MsgId: *omni_visions(35)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:10:54 EST 1996
From: ellendat At: 152.169.42.24

I know I can speak for many of your readers (and probably members of the audience here) that it's good to have you back writing prose fiction after several years concentrating on television.
MsgId: *omni_visions(36)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:12:57 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.173

There are days when I am very pleased to be "back" (although I never really went away, you know -- all during my Hollywood Years I was writing and editing WILD CARDS). There are other days when I miss TV. I certainly miss the big wheelbarrows of money they used to roll into my office.
MsgId: *omni_visions(37)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:13:27 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_Mod At: 206.80.181.45

For those of you who may be new to sf, George Richard Raymond Martin started publishing professionally in 1971 with a short story for GALAXY. His subsequent books have included DYING OF THE LIGHT, TUF VOYAGING, FEVRE DREAM, ARMAGEDDON RAG, the WILD CARDS series (as participant and editor), WINDHAVEN (with Lisa Tuttle), and, among many other things, A GAME OF THRONES, the huge first volume in a massive epic fantasy series. *whew* Besides that, he's had a sojourn in Hollywood working with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and the reborn TWILIGHT ZONE. So, George. When do you sleep, and how long before you finish the fantasy series?
MsgId: *omni_visions(38)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:17:11 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.173

I plan to sleep between the third and fourth volumes, Ed. I'd sleep a little between the second and third, but right now that time is earmarked for writing a screenplay of FEVRE DREAM that I owe Hollywood Pictures. Hollywood Pictures no longer exists, to be sure, but I still owe the screenplay. If I stay on schedule, I ought to finsish A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE by the end of 1998, but don't hold your breath. These books are three times the size of ordinary novels, even big novels like FEVRE DREAM, and I am learning the hard way just how long it takes to write one.
MsgId: *omni_visions(39)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:19:18 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_Mod At: 206.80.181.45

Perhaps you're an adrenalin junkie, George. About the fantasy series. Why? to put it bluntly. This isn't your grandpa's fantasy, to be sure. It's tough but romantic. What intrigued you about embarking on such a massive project?
MsgId: *omni_visions(41)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:24:38 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.173

Damned if I know. I actually began the book back in the summer of 1991. I was between Hollywood projects, so I decided to make a start on a new novel, see how far I got. The novel I began was an SF book called AVALON, set in the same "future history" as DYING OF THE LIGHT and many of my short stories. I actually worte three chapters. But then one day the opening chapter of A GAME OF THRONES came to me, so vividly I =had= to write it. Not the prologue, mind you, but the first chapters proper, where Bran sees the man beheaded and finds the direwolves in the snow. Next thing I knew AVALON had been put in a drawer and the fantasy had seized me completely. I knew I was lost when I started drawing maps. As it happened, of course, DOORWAYS got picked up and I was summoned back to Hollywood, but the book was never far from my thoughts.
MsgId: *omni_visions(42)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:27:25 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_Mod At: 206.80.181.45

Intriguing... Backspace a little. When you were younger, before you started writing, what part did fantasy play in your life? What did you read? Did you play games of dragon and direwolf? And where have your tastes along those lines developed as an adult reader and writer?
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:38:10 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.173

I seem to be having some trouble here. The system ate my answer.
MsgId: *omni_visions(52)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:42:39 EST 1996
From: guest At: 199.183.42.87

Ellen, Gardner Dozois here. When George and Ed get up and running, ask him if he has any plans to publish Turtle Castle one of these days.
MsgId: *omni_visions(54)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:43:34 EST 1996
From: ellendat At: 152.169.42.24

Gardner, your question is here for everyone to see:) shhh.
MsgId: *omni_visions(51)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:41:36 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

I am back, I hope. I logged off and back on. The whole system had frozen on me, and none of the commands seemed to work.
MsgId: *omni_visions(53)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:43:00 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Let me try that answer again. As a kid, I read mostly SF and comics... there =was= no fantasy being published back then. I discovered JRR Tolkien in high school, when Ace published the unauthorized LORD OF THE RINGS. Blew me away. I read Robert E. Howard too, probably before Tolkien. Conan was fun, but Middle earth was magical and wondrous. The =place= was as important as the plot or characters, I believe. It's that way in all great fantasy. I'm trying to make my world, my Seven Kingdoms, as vividly real as JRR did his.
MsgId: *omni_visions(57)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:46:01 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Hi, Gargy. No one sees TURTLE CASTLE.
MsgId: *omni_visions(59)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:47:08 EST 1996
From: guest At: 199.183.42.87

Gdozois: I picture it as this lost masterpiece that will be discovered after your death and catapult you to world fame.
MsgId: *omni_visions(58)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:47:06 EST 1996
From: guest At: 169.197.15.29

What about Burroughs and Wells?
MsgId: *omni_visions(61)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:48:51 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

I tried one Edgar Rice Burroughs. One of the "Moon" books, I think. I must have been too old, because I hated it and never tried another until Melinda Snodgrass and I were hired to do the screenplay for A PRINCESS OF MARS. I did read H.G. Wells, of course. THE TIME MACHINE in particular was == and is == a favorite.
MsgId: *omni_visions(60)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:47:19 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_mod At: 206.80.181.42

George, along with fantasy, you seem to have many writing interests. In the interstices between mega-fantasies and Hollywood work, any hopes for further sf or horror? There are those of us who remember FEVRE DREAM and ARMAGEDDON RAG with undisguised fondness.
MsgId: *omni_visions(63)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:51:13 EST 1996
From: guest At: 169.197.15.29

Think I was 10 or 12 when I picked up Burroughs. It's what got me started, I think.
MsgId: *omni_visions(64)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:51:27 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Oh, I will definitely do other things eventually, if the fantasy is ever finished. I have notes for two sequels to FEVRE DREAM, I have two hundred pages of the Jack the Ripper novel I began in 1985 and never could sell, and I want to make a book out of one of my unfilmed TV pilots. That one is pure SF.
MsgId: *omni_visions(65)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:52:17 EST 1996
From: guest At: 199.183.42.87

While you are nagging him, Ed. I'd like to get him to write some new science fictions stories as well. --Gardner
MsgId: *omni_visions(66)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:53:07 EST 1996
From: ellendat At: 152.169.42.24

Yeah. Me too.
MsgId: *omni_visions(67)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:54:18 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Actually, Gargy, that's why I was phoning you the other day. I had this notion... well, it's too complicated to go into here, and we shouldn't talk about it in public anyway, but it's an idea I'd like to explore with you when you have a half-hour or so.
MsgId: *omni_visions(68)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:54:29 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_mod At: 206.80.181.42

The PRINCESS OF MARS mention bids me ask... Besides the wheelbarrow loads of money, what's the attraction of Hollywood? You saw your story "Sandkings" become the pilot for the reborn OUTER LIMITS -- did Melinda Snodgrass (the writer) and the producers/directors/actors visualize your story in a way you could recognize?
MsgId: *omni_visions(69)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:55:29 EST 1996
From: guest At: 199.183.42.87

You know how to get hold of me, George. Any time.--Gardner
MsgId: *omni_visions(70)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:55:29 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Also, there's this novella called "Shadow Twin" that a certain Mr. Dozois and I were collaborating on. Ellen, want to buy a Dozois/Martin novella?
MsgId: *omni_visions(71)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:56:25 EST 1996
From: guest At: 199.183.42.87

Maybe we can merge SHADOW TWIN with TURTLE CASTLE.--Gardner
MsgId: *omni_visions(72)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:56:58 EST 1996
From: ellendat At: 152.169.42.24

I'm certainly interested. Is it finished?
MsgId: *omni_visions(73)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:57:33 EST 1996
From: guest At: 169.197.15.29

Novice writer turns green.
MsgId: *omni_visions(74)
Date: Thu Nov 21 22:58:06 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Hollywood ... well, that's a complicated answer. You really have to subdivide Hollywood into two seperate arenas, TV and Film. I worked in both. TV was very exciting, stressful but fulfilling. I worked on some good shows, wrote scripts that I was proud of, saw them filmed, moved up the ladder from a lowly Staff Writer to an exalted Supervising Producer, and almost got my own show. I hated living in LA, but mostly liked working in TV.

Film, on the other hand, I have come to hate. The writer is king in TV; in film, the writer is shit. I spent three or four years of my life doing screenplays, several of them with Melinda, and don't have a foot of film to show for it. In fact, no one ever =saw= the screenplays except a few development execs. I love going to movies, but if I am lucky I will never have to "develop" one again.


MsgId: *omni_visions(76)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:00:35 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_mod At: 206.80.181.42

With something like your own show...DOORWAYS. That was a lovely, sophisticated, sf concept with some thought applied to parallel world jaunting. What sort of forces came to bear to kill it?
MsgId: *omni_visions(77)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:02:33 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Never finished, Ellen... but one of these days. First I need to get it scanned and put on disk. The pages we have (quite a large chunk) were actually written on a =typewriter=. Remember them? I at least had an electric typewriter, but Gardner ...
MsgId: *omni_visions(78)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:02:55 EST 1996
From: guest At: 169.197.15.29

I thought it mutated (without your influence) into Sliders. (not a very good show BTW)-- David Felts
MsgId: *omni_visions(79)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:06:25 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

DOORWAYS was largely killed by bad timing. In August of 1992, when we first screened the pilot for the network, ABC was slavering to order it, and did in fact order six back up scripts, a very high number. But we were too late for the fall 1992 season, so we had to wait until the following May. In between August and May, both of our biggest champions at the netwrok, the execs who had worked on the show with us, left for other jobs. Their successors looked on us as something left over from the old regime. When it came to crunch time, ABC decided they wanted only one new SF show on their schedule, and went with LOIS & CLARK, which had been developed by the later regime. And for those who don't know what DOORWAYS was... well, it was SLIDERS. Only good.
MsgId: *omni_visions(80)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:08:21 EST 1996
From: guest At: 199.183.42.87

George, we're going to head out now. Have a good interview and say Hello to Parris for us. Goodnight Ellen, Ed and everyone.--Gardner
MsgId: *omni_visions(81)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:08:47 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_mod At: 206.80.181.42

A question in another area. WILD CARDS, that long series of Bantam and Baen books about superdudes and dudettes alive and sometimes well in a world they did indeed make--any chance that will continue in some form? There still seems to be an audience.
MsgId: *omni_visions(82)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:12:20 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

I would love to continue with WILD CARDS, but right now there's a lot of other stuff on my plate. Also, we don't have a publisher. In hindsight, switching to Baen was a big mistake. They paid us more money, but did not sell the books as effectively as Bantam, and then blamed us for the poor sales. I suspect WILD CARDS will come back eventually, in some form, though there may be a hiatus of a few years. Some of the writers are making noises about doing stand-alone stories about their characters and selling them to the magazines. If I ever find the time, I'd probably do some Turtle and Popinjay stories myself.
MsgId: *omni_visions(84)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:16:18 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_mod At: 206.80.181.42

Speaking of WILD CARDS, just in case either of our systems crashes again, I wanted to ask about a question that haunts most of us writers. As books shuttle into out-of-printdom with great speed, they become hopeless situations for the reader too slow to have caught them during the eight hours they were on sale... You're one of the activist writers who's made an effort to keep your books available through your own efforts. Is that working? And how can readers avail themselves of your service in this area?
MsgId: *omni_visions(85)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:19:54 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Yes, I do indeed keep stocks of my out-of-print and remaindered books, both hardcovers and paperbacks. With WILD CARDS, I have volumes 1,2,6,7,9, and 11. I also have British paperbacks of SANDKINGS and TUF VOYAGING, the lovely signed numbered limited edition of ARAMGEDDON RAG in slipcase, and first edition hardcovers of FEVRE DREAM, WINDHAVEN, and PORTRAITS OF HIS CHILDREN. Anyone who wants any of these should send me email at GeoRR@aol.com or g.martin15@genie.com. Prices are very reasonable, and autographs are free. Not only will you get a lovely signed book, you'll help support my toy soldier habit. Since starting the fantasy, I have become addicted to collecting miniature knights.
MsgId: *omni_visions(87)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:22:43 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_mod At: 206.80.181.42

Great. I'll remind folks that signed and personalized books make great holiday gifts. Back to WILD CARDS momentarily. An awful lot of material got published over a few years of feverish hard work. What do you think the major appeal was?
MsgId: *omni_visions(89)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:25:21 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Well, we had some awfully good writers and some terrific stories, but I think it was more than that. What I noticed about WILD CARDS was the intense interest the readers developed in the characters. They were not just Wild Cards fans, they were Turtle fans, or Tachyon fans, or Fortunato fans. Each readers had characters he loved and others he hated just as passionately, and they wanted to follow their lives. I support it's the same thing that makes people follow soap operas.
MsgId: *omni_visions(88)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:24:45 EST 1996
From: Marilee At: 152.170.218.26

George, I always read all the stories in Asimov's, even the fantasies, but frequently I'm not interested in buying a book related to a fantasy story. I read "Blood of the Dragon" in the July issue and immediately ordered A GAME OF THRONES (which is working it's way to the top of the to-read pile). What made you decide to do a fantasy now?
MsgId: *omni_visions(90)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:27:27 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Marilee, I answered that one uptopic, perhaps before you signed on. I don't know if there's any way to scroll back, but... in brief, the book gave me no choice. I was working on another novel entirely, but A GAME OF THRONES just took me over. I'm glad you liked "Blood of the Dragon." I was working on a Daenerys chapter today, oddly enough.

In an odd way, I think I could never have written A GAME OF THRONES unless I had done WILD CARDS first, by the way. The large cast of characters in GOT is very unlike my earlier novels, which focuses very tightly on a single protagonist (DYING OF THE LIGHT, WINDHAVEN, ARMAGEDDON RAG), or at most two (FEVRE DREAM). WILD CARDS, on the other hand, positively =teemed= with characters, and editing those books, especially the mosaic novels, gave me a lot of practice in juggling mutliple points of view. Structurally, A GAME OF THRONES is a WILD CARDS mosaic novel, only with me writing all the parts.


MsgId: *omni_visions(94)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:32:02 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_mod At: 206.80.181.42

George, now that you've been well-blooded in Hollywood, do you think some of the same forces are starting to warp print publishing as well? Are new authors with stand-alone novels doomed? And what about web publishing? Feel free to address whichever...
MsgId: *omni_visions(97)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:37:50 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

A depressing question, and an even more depressing answer... but yes, I have to say, I do think publishing is being Hollywooded, and I have a great deal of empathy for new writers trying to break in. I think it is still going to be possible to do good work, but much less possible to make a living off it. The living will be made by the people working the franchises and servicing the established flavors like Trek and Star Wars. It's a grim picture for someone who actually wants to be a full-time writer. On the other hand, before 1970 there were very few full time SF writers, so maybe we are just going back to the way things were in the Golden Age.
MsgId: *omni_visions(98)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:43:15 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_mod At: 206.80.181.63

Depressing, indeed. What about the brave new world of on-line publication? Any bright areas you can conceive?
MsgId: *omni_visions(102)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:45:38 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

I am not yet convinced that online publishing can work. I mean, I don't see how anyone makes money off it. Also, I must admit, I love books, the feel of them, the look of them, the convenience. I read them in the tub, I read them in bed, I read them sitting outdoors. I can't do that with an online reader, and I'm not keen on printing out novels either, and having to wrestle with unwieldy stacks of paper.
MsgId: *omni_visions(103)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:48:12 EST 1996
From: Marilee At: 152.170.218.26

I read all the OMNI novellas on my HP200LX -- a pocket computer that is lighter and smaller than most paperbacks, and can be held like one. I read them in doctors' offices, restaurants, anywhere I had to wait. It'd be pretty expensive if you just wanted it to read books, though.
MsgId: *omni_visions(100)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:45:06 EST 1996
From: guest At: 206.113.120.25

What are your upcoming appearances in the Whimpy Zone?--Keith
MsgId: *omni_visions(104)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:48:20 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Not much travel in my current plans. I did a fifteen-city tour for A GAME OF THRONES back in September and October, plus Worldcon, Archon, and the World Fantasy Con, so right now I'm just pleased to be home. I will be at Archon again next October, and of course at worldcon in San Antonio, and in February I go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Beyond that, I don't know. I may make the Neulas in Kansas City.
MsgId: *omni_visions(101)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:45:29 EST 1996
From: Marilee At: 152.170.218.26

What are you going to do with the toy knights when you get them? I have lots of Lego spaceguys, but they mostly sit on the shelf and get rearranged every now and then.
MsgId: *omni_visions(105)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:48:56 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_mod At: 206.80.181.63

Hmm, George. Maybe you could become a packager and start lines of novels exploring the worlds of Lego spaceguys and toy knights. Publish them the way Ron Goulart used to write when he was in advertising...on the back of the packages...

Maybe a final question or two as the time dwindles. Where do you see yourself as a writer in ten or twenty years, George? Still doing the same admittedly wide range of fiction? Or are there new frontiers you want to tackle?


MsgId: *omni_visions(107)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:52:05 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

As for the knights, yeah, I put them on the shelves, arrange dioramas, rearrange them, and buy ever larger and more expensive display cabinets. I don't do Lego, though. I have Britains, Pings, Timpos, Banners Forward, Arsenyevs, Hornungs, Tiffany Soldiers, Staddens, Wyvern Standards, Traditions, and a dozen other makers, and I also buy the cheap plastic recasts and paint them up myself. These are not gaming miniatures, you understand. These are trdaitional toy soldier size, 54mm to 70mm. Gaming miniatures are either 15mm or 25mm, tiny by comparison. My great fantasy is to find the mother lode of Courtenays being sold at a flea market for three dollars each. Grin.

Ed, to tell the truth, I'm not certain what I'm going to be writing five years from now, let alone twenty. Books, TV, short fiction ... I'd like to do it all, but there's never enough time. Especially since I have the vague desire to try and have a life too. I have not really done all that well at that last part; sometimes I look back gloomily over all the years spent sitting in front of one keyboard or another, writing about passion and adventure and wonders, when what I really want is to =live= some of that. But maybe that's the curse of all writers. Most biographies of writers are deadly dull, except to other writers -- pages and pages of, "And then he wrote." Ah, well.


MsgId: *omni_visions(113)
Date: Fri Nov 22 00:00:35 EST 1996
From: Ed_Bryant_mod At: 206.80.181.63

What I'll wish for you, George, is that perhaps you'll be able to split your time between the keyboard and the world. It truly never is too late to have some genuine adventure. So good fortune. And don't take any wooden toy soldiers. Thanks very much for being on Omni Visions Prime Time tonight. And to the rest of you, thanks for participating. Good night, all.
MsgId: *omni_visions(109)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:58:17 EST 1996
From: Marilee At: 152.170.218.26

Thanks for coming out, George!
MsgId: *omni_visions(110)
Date: Thu Nov 21 23:59:16 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Glad to be here. Ed, Ellen, thanks for inviting me. Once we got past the glitches, it was fun.
MsgId: *omni_visions(115)
Date: Fri Nov 22 00:02:10 EST 1996
From: GeoRR At: 198.59.109.155

Good night, folks.
MsgId: *omni_visions(116)
Date: Fri Nov 22 00:02:45 EST 1996
From: ellendat At: 152.169.42.24

Good night George and thanks for coming on.

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