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George R. R. Martin

Fiction and Excerpts [6]

Fiction and Excerpts [6]

High Stakes

|| The 23rd collaborative Wild Cards novel delves deeper into the world of aces, jokers, and the hard-boiled men and women of the Fort Freak police precinct in a pulpy, page-turning novel of superheroics and Lovecraftian horror!

Texas Hold’em

San Antonio, home of the Alamo, is also host to the nation’s top high school jazz competition, and the musicians at Xavier Desmond High are excited to outplay their rivals. They are also jokers, kids with strange abilities and even stranger looks. On top of that, well, they are teenagers, apt for mischief, mishaps, and romantic misunderstandings.

Michelle Pond, aka The Amazing Bubbles, thinks that her superhero (and supermom) know-how has prepared her to chaperone the event. But when her students start going wayward, she’ll soon discover the true meaning of “Don’t mess with Texas.”

Part of George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards universe, Texas Hold’em features the writing talents of David Anthony Durham, Max Gladstone, Victor Milan, Diana Rowland, Walton Simons, Caroline Spector and William F. Wu. Available October 23d from Tor Books.

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High Stakes

After the concluding events of Lowball, Officer Francis Black of Fort Freak, vigilante joker Marcus “The Infamous Black Tongue” Morgan, and ace thief Mollie “Tesseract” Steunenberg get stuck in Talas, Kazahkstan. There, the coldblooded Baba Yaga forces jokers into an illegal fighting ring, but her hidden agenda is much darker: her fighters’ deaths serve to placate a vicious monster from another dimension. When the last line of defense against this world weakens, all hell breaks loose, literally….

The Committee in New York sends a team of aces to investigate. One by one, each falls victim to evil forces—including the dark impulses within themselves. Only the perseverance of the most unlikely of heroes has a chance of saving the world before utter chaos erupts on Earth.

Edited by George R. R. Martin, High Stakes—the 23rd novel in the Wild Cards shared-universe series—features the writing talents of Melinda M. Snodgrass, John Jos. Miller, David Anthony Durham, Caroline Spector, Stephen Leigh, and Ian Tregillis. Dive deeper into the world of aces, jokers, and the hard-boiled men and women of the Fort Freak police precinct in a pulpy, page-turning novel of superheroics and Lovecraftian horror—available August 30th from Tor Books!

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A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Taking place nearly a century before the events of A Game of Thrones, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R. R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. These never-before-collected adventures recount an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living consciousness.

Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne, there was Dunk and Egg. A young, naïve but ultimately courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals—in stature if not experience. Tagging along is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg—whose true name (hidden from all he and Dunk encounter) is Aegon Targaryen. Though more improbable heroes may not be found in all of Westeros, great destinies lay ahead for these two… as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.

Featuring more than 160 all-new illustrations by Gary Gianni, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a must-have collection that proves chivalry isn’t dead—yet. Available October 6th from Bantam!

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George R. R. Martin’s The Ice Dragon: “Secret in the Snow” (Excerpt)

The Ice Dragon is an enchanting tale of courage and sacrifice for young readers and adults by the wildly popular author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Song of Ice and Fire series, George R.R. Martin. Lavish illustrations by acclaimed artist Luis Royo enrich this captivating and heartwarming story of a young girl and her dragon.

The ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember. 

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold.

Read “Secret in the Snow,” an excerpt from The Ice Dragon, with richly detailed interior illustrations by Luis Royo.

[George R. R. Martin's The Ice Dragon, “Secret in the Snow”]

Dangerous Women: “The Princess and The Queen, or, The Blacks and The Greens” (Excerpt)

Commissioned by editors George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, these tales of dangerous women by the most stellar names in fiction are publishing this autumn from Tor Books as a three-volume paperback!

Dangerous Women: Volume One features an original 35,000 word novella by George R.R. Martin set in the world of his Song of Ice and Fire series. Other authors in this volume of warriors, bad girls and dragonriders include worldwide bestselling authors Brandon Sanderson, Lawrence Block and Nancy Kress.

George R.R. Martin’s “The Princess and The Queen, or, The Blacks and The Greens,” gives us a Westerosi history lesson on the Targaryen Civil War. Known as the Dance of the Dragons, the war pits Targaryen against Targaryen and dragon against dragon. Read on, then join Bridget McGovern for her review and analysis of the full story.Gideon Smith amazon buy link

[Read an excerpt]

Dangerous Women: “The Princess and The Queen, or, The Blacks and The Greens” (Excerpt)

We are very excited to be able to preview Dangerous Women, a new anthology edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, and featuring 21 new stories from some of the biggest authors in the science fiction/fantasy field. The anthology is available on December 3rd from Tor Books!

Every morning until July 30th, we’ll be previewing excerpts from the stories, returning you to the world of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Brandon Sanderson’s cosmere, and even Westeros itself. Keep an eye on the Dangerous Women index to keep track of them all.

In “The Princess and The Queen, or, The Blacks and The Greens,” George R. R. Martin gives us a Westerosi history lesson on the Targaryen Civil War. Read on, then join Bridget McGovern for her review and analysis of the full story.

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Series: Dangerous Women on

Neither Fish Nor Fowl, or, How Down Got Dirty

WARNING: excessive editorial honesty ahead. Proceed at your own risk.

Editing Down & Dirty almost drove me mad.

You’ve read the book by now (if not, shame on you for reading this part first—there’s a reason we call them Afterwords, you know). I hope that you enjoyed it. Many of the stories are first rate, as good as those in any other volume of the series. There are some fabulous scenes, characters, moments. The rise and fall of Typhoid Croyd. The murder of Kahina, among the most chilling ever depicted in Wild Cards. Modular Man’s battles against the reborn Snotman. Water Lily’s enslavement to the vile Ti Malice. And more…

Good stories are enough for an ordinary anthology, no doubt, but shared worlds demand something more, and Wild Cards was meant to go a step beyond even shared worlds. Our intent was always for the books to be more than just a collection of individual stories, however excellent. We called them “mosaic novels,” and set out to make the whole more than the sum of its parts.

Usually we succeeded…but not in this case, I fear.

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Series: Wild Cards on

Shuffling the Deck or, Book Four and the World Tour

{HERE THERE BE SPOILERS! You do not want to read what follows until after you’ve finished Aces Abroad and the three books before it}

Wild Cards began with a three-book contract, but the series was always intended to be open-ended. So when the first three volumes were published to excellent reviews and very strong sales and Bantam asked me for more, my writers and I were pleased to oblige. We loved this world and the characters who peopled it, and knew we had many more stories to tell about them.

The question was, where should we go from here?

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Series: Wild Cards on

Making a Mosaic, or, Third Time’s the Charm

The great boom in shared world anthologies began in 1979, when Ace Books published Robert Asprin’s Thieves World, the first volume in a long-running fantasy series about the imaginary city of Sanctuary and the motley cast of swordsmen, sorcerers, princes, rogues, and thieves who roamed its streets, with occasional guest appearances by an equally motley assortment of gods.

Thieves World had its precursors, to be sure. In comic books, both the Marvel and DC universes were shared worlds, wherein the heroes and villains lived in the same world, constantly crossed paths with one another, and had their friendships, feuds, and love affairs. In prose there was H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Lovecraft encouraged his writer friends to borrow elements from his stories, and to add their own, and Robert E. Howard, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, August Derleth, and others gleefully took up the game. HPL himself would then make mention of the gods, cults, and accursed books the others had contributed, and the mythos became ever richer and more detailed.

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Series: Wild Cards on

From Game to Book or, the Birth of a Shared World

Once upon a time—it was September 20, 1983, if you insist on being picky—Vic Milan gave me a role-playing game called SuperWorld for my birthday.

A fateful gift indeed. It triggered a two-year-long role playing orgy that engulfed not only me, but the rest of my Albuquerque gaming circle as well. We had great fun while the addiction lasted, but in the end I came to the realization that the game was absorbing too much of my time and creative energies. You can’t pay your mortgage by rolling dice (well, you can, but the dice better be loaded). The fever dream that was SuperWorld finally broke on the day I said to myself, “There’s got to be some way to make some money from this.” I knew we had some great characters. And I knew there were some great stories to be told about them; funny stories, sad stories, exciting stories. What was needed was a way to get the stories to an audience.

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Series: Wild Cards on

The First Wild Cards Day or, the Game That Ate My Life

In the books, Wild Cards Day is celebrated every September 15, in memory of September 15, 1946, the day that Jetboy spoke his immortal last words while Dr. Tod loosed an alien virus over Manhattan. In real life, September 15, 1946 happens to be the day that Howard Waldrop was born…and Howard, coincidentally, wrote “Thirty Minutes Over Broadway,” the opening story of the first Wild Cards book, wherein all these events take place.

In the books, September 20 is a day of no special note. In real life, however, it marks the day of my birth, two years and five days after H’ard. September 20 is the true Wild Cards Day. It was on that day in 1983 that Vic Milan gave me a role-playing game called Superworld as a birthday present, thereby unknowingly planting the first seed of the Wild Cards universe.

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Series: Wild Cards on

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