Monday, April 02, 2012

The World created by George R R Martin is as dire as it is magical. I fell in love with the book and its characters soon after the first three chapters. The characters are human, with human frailty and shortcomings. The politics, back stabbing and intrigue had me hooked and most often shocked. The depravity of some is so clearly narrated that even their own warnings not to trust them goes unheeded by the reader. The world is vivid and seems to be part of our not-so distant past. I adore this series already and have now only finished the first book. I simply can't wait to start on the second book in the series. Sooner rather than later. Jon, the Dire Wolfs and the weather which is as much a character as any of the others has me hooked. For those of you interested here is open source information that I found fascinating. Remember that this was an audio book thus the review of the narrator, whom I personally found to be a true master of his game. Info via Amazon - audio book reviews Why we think it's Essential: A favorite of Audible listeners, the first book in Martin's series introduces a world of deep intrigue, dark fantasy, and varied characters. It might prove overwhelming, were it not for Roy Dotrice. With a voice so seasoned and gripping that he may have stepped from, well, a George R. R. Martin novel, Dotrice gives each character their own persona and regionality, helping to anchor the listener throughout the action and intrigue. —Ed Walloga Publisher's Summary In a time long forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons off balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. As the cold returns, sinister forces are massing beyond the protective wall of the kingdom of Winterfell. To the south, the king's powers are failing, with his most trusted advisor mysteriously dead and enemies emerging from the throne's shadow. At the center of the conflict, the Starks of Winterfell hold the key: a reluctant Lord Eddard is summoned to serve as the king's new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder both family and kingdom. In this land of extremes, plots and counterplots, soldiers and sorcerers, each side fights to win the deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones. ©1996 George R.R. Martin, (P)2003 Books On Tape, Inc., published in arrangement with Random House Audio Group,a division of Random House, Inc. What the Critics Say • Locus Award, 1997 "Martin's trophy case is already stuffed with major prizes...He's probably going to have to add another shelf, at least." (Publishers Weekly) "The first volume in Martin's first fantasy saga combines intrigue, action, romance, and mystery in a family saga." (Booklist) "Grabs hold and won't let go. It's brilliant." (Robert Jordan) "This novel is an absorbing combination of the mythic, the sweepingly historical, and the intensely personal." (Chicago Sun-Times) oy Dotrice was born on the Island of Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of France and part of the United Kingdom. He was the first child of Louis and Neva Dotrice who were well respected, quality bakers. But when the Germans occupied the island in 1940, Roy, his mother and brother escaped to England. Here, in 1942 at age 16, Roy joined the Royal Air Force and was trained as a wireless operator and air gunner. He was soon flying missions, bombing enemy territory until his plane was shot down. Captured and taken prisoner, Roy spent the rest of the war as a P.O.W., where his first taste for the theater took root, performing concerts to raise the spirits of his fellow inmates. At the end of the war, Roy decided to follow his instincts and pursue an acting career. It was at this time Roy met and married actress Kay Newman, and for the next three and half years, they acted in repertory with Charles Denville and the Denville Players. During this time, Roy also produced and directed some three hundred plays, with a new one being performed each week. In 1957, Roy joined the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford, England, (later to become the Royal Shakespeare Company), and for the next nine years performed in all of Shakespeare's plays while working with the world's greatest actors and directors. Interestingly enough, Roy considers his greatest achievement was to introduce baseball into what had been a cricket stronghold, and in 1959 he pitched for his team that included at first base, Paul Robeson (Othello); second base, Sam Wanamaker (Iago); third base, Laurence Olivier (Coriolanus), short stop, Peter O'Toole (Shylock); Charles Laughton (Lear) plate umpire and Albert Finney his catcher. The training he received was to lead him into radio, film, television, and a multitude of wonderful theater productions staged throughout the world. Roy has appeared in ten Broadway productions and received a Tony nomination for his work in A Life, and on June 4, 2000 received a Tony award for his outstanding performance in A Moon for the Misbegotten. Roy and Kay have been married for 53 years and have three daughters, all whom have become actresses. George R. R. Martin From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia George Raymond Richard Martin[1] (born September 20, 1948), sometimes referred to as GRRM,[2] is an American author and screenwriter of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. He is best known for A Song of Ice and Fire, his bestselling series of epic fantasy novels that HBO adapted for their dramatic pay-cable series Game of Thrones. Martin was selected by Time magazine as one of the "2011 Time 100", a list of the "most influential people in the world".[3] Biography George R. R. Martin was born on September 20, 1948 in Bayonne, New Jersey,[5] the son of a longshoreman. The family lived in a federal housing project near the Bayonne docks. He attended Marist High School, where he developed interest in the superheroes of the Marvel Comics titles.[6] He avidly read and collected 1960s comic books. Fantastic Four #20 (Nov 1963) featured a letter to the editor he wrote. He credits[where?] attention garnered from this letter as inspiration for his becoming a professional writer. In 1965 Martin won an Alley Award for his story "Powerman vs. The Blue Barrier," the first of many awards he would win. Eligible for the draft during the Vietnam War, to which he objected, Martin applied for and obtained conscientious objector status;[7]he instead did alternative service work as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer. In 1970 Martin received a B.S. in Journalism from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, graduating summa cum laude. He went on to complete a M.S. in Journalism in 1971, also from Northwestern. Martin began to write science-fiction short stories in the early 1970s. His first story nominated for the Hugo Award[citation needed] and the Nebula Award was With Morning Comes Mistfall, published in 1973 by Analog magazine. In 1976 for Kansas City's MidAmeriCon, the 34th World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), Martin and his friend and fellow writer-editor Gardner Dozois conceived of and organized the first Hugo Losers Party for the benefit of all past and present Hugo-losing writers, their friends, and family the evening following the convention's Hugo Awards ceremony. Martin was nominated for two Hugoes that year but ultimately wound up losing both awards, for the novelette "...and Seven Times Never Kill Man" and the novella "The Storms of Windhaven", co-written with Lisa Tuttle[citation needed]. The Hugo Losers Party became an annual Worldcon event thereafter, its formal title eventually evolving into something a little more politically correct as both its size and prestige grew. Although much of his work is fantasy or horror, a number of his earlier works are science fiction occurring in a loosely defined future history, known informally as 'The Thousand Worlds' or 'The manrealm'. He has also written at least one piece of political-military fiction, "Night of the Vampyres", collected in Harry Turtledove's anthology The Best Military Science Fiction of the 20th Century.[8] During the 1980s Martin also began to write for television while continuing his career as a series book editor. For television, he worked in Hollywood on the revival of Twilight Zone and the dramatic-fantasy series Beauty and the Beast. As a book series editor, he oversaw the development of the lengthy Wild Cards cycle, which takes place in a shared universe in which a small slice of post-World War II humanity gains superpowers after the release of an alien-engineered virus. In Second Person Martin "gives a personal account of the close-knit RPG gaming culture that gave rise to his Wild Cards shared-world anthologies".[9] Martin's own contributions to the multiple-author series often feature Thomas Tudbury, "The Great and Powerful Turtle", a powerful psychokinetic whose flying "shell" consisted of an armored VW Beetle. Twenty-one volumes had been published in the series as of June 2011. Earlier that year, Martin signed the contract for the twenty-second Wild Cards volume, to be called Low Ball when published by Tor Books. Martin's novella, Nightflyers, was adapted into a 1987 feature film of the same title. G. Martin signing books in a bookstore in Ljubljana, Slovenia (June 2011) Martin was also a college instructor in journalism and a chess tournament director. In his spare time he collects medieval-themed miniatures, reading and collecting science fiction, fantasy, and horror books, and treasuring his still-growing comics collection, which includes the first issues of Marvel's "silver age" Spider-Man and Fantastic Four. On February 15, 2011, Martin married his longtime paramour Parris McBride during a small ceremony at their Santa Fe, New Mexico home; the couple exchanged custom made, Celtic-inspired wedding rings made for them by local artisans. Area friends were in attendance and helped them celebrate the occasion.[citation needed]On August 19, 2011, they held a larger wedding ceremony and reception at Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention, in Reno, Nevada for their larger circle of friends within the fantasy and science fiction fields.[citation needed] [edit] A Song of Ice and Fire Main article: A Song of Ice and Fire In 1991 Martin briefly returned to writing novels, and began what would eventually turn into his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire (reportedly inspired by the Wars of the Roses and Ivanhoe), which will run to at least seven volumes. The first volume A Game of Thrones was published in 1996. In November 2005, A Feast for Crows, the fourth book in this series, became The New York Times #1 Bestseller and also achieved #1 ranking on The Wall Street Journal bestseller list. In addition, in September 2006, A Feast for Crows was nominated for both a Quill Award and the British Fantasy Award.[10] The fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, was published in July 2011, quickly becoming a huge international bestseller, including a #1 ranking on the New York Times Bestseller list and many others. The series has received critical praise from authors, readers, and critics alike. Critics have described Martin's work as dark and cynical.[12] His first novel, Dying of the Light, set the tone for most of his future work; it is set on a mostly abandoned planet that is slowly becoming uninhabitable as it moves away from its sun. This story, and many of Martin's others, have a strong sense of melancholy. His characters are often unhappy, or at least unsatisfied — trying to stay idealistic in a ruthless world. Many have elements of tragic heroes in them. Reviewer T. M. Wagner writes, "Let it never be said Martin doesn't share Shakespeare's fondness for the senselessly tragic."[13] This gloominess can be an obstacle for some readers. The Inchoatus Group writes, "If this absence of joy is going to trouble you, or you’re looking for something more affirming, then you should probably seek elsewhere."[14] Martin's characters are multi-faceted, each with surprisingly intricate pasts, inspirations, and ambitions. Publishers Weekly writes of his ongoing epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire, "The complexity of characters such as Daenarys [sic], Arya and the Kingslayer will keep readers turning even the vast number of pages contained in this volume, for the author, like Tolkien or Jordan, makes us care about their fates."[15] No one is given an unrealistic string of luck, however; so misfortune, injury, and death (and even false death) can befall any character, major or minor, no matter how attached the reader has become. Martin has described his penchant for killing off important characters as being necessary for the story's depth: "...when my characters are in danger, I want you to be afraid to turn the page, (so) you need to show right from the beginning that you're playing for keeps." Major themes and areas of exploration in his short fiction include loneliness, connection, tragically doomed love, idealism, romanticism and hard truth versus comforting deceit. Many of these occur in his magnum opus as well, but most of them are more abundant and obvious in his shorter works. Martin has been criticized by some readers for the long delays between books in the Ice and Fire series, notably the six-year gap between the fourth volume, A Feast for Crows (2005), and the fifth volume, A Dance with Dragons (2011).[16] [17] In 2012, musical duo Paul and Storm, in a song dedicated to Martin, asked him to "write faster".[18] In 2010, Martin responded to these concerns, saying he was unwilling to write his Ice and Fire series exclusively, saying that other writing and editing different projects has always been part of his working process.[19] Martin is strongly opposed to fan fiction, believing it to be copyright infringement and a bad exercise for aspiring writers.[20][21]

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