Voyager UK |

The special editions are coming…

On 28 March 2013, these beauties will join the gorgeous Hobbit clothbound edition on our shelves.  Click through to see each of the jackets in more detail…

Apart from The Hobbit, which is out now, the other seven will be hitting shops in the UK on 28th March.

What do you think?

Voyager UK |

George R.R. Martin interview with Jane Johnson – Part One

Jane: I’ve heard you say that historical fiction and fantasy are “sisters under the skin”. Can you tell me more about what you mean by that?

George: Historical books are a little grittier, which is one of the things I wanted to do when combining the two; to take that sort of gritty realism you find in a historical novel and combine it with the imagination and wonder of Fantasy.

I have thought about writing historical fiction myself, when I interviewed Bernard Cornwell for Harper a few months ago we talked about this.  For me the frustration in writing real historical fiction is that if you know history you know how it comes out. You can write about the actual Wars of the Roses and you know what’s going to happen to those princes in the tower and you know what’s going to happen at the battle of Bosworth Field. With my books I like to keep them a little off balance. Ultimately you don’t know what’s going to happen to the kids in my books or who’s going to live or die or end up with their head on a spike.

But the reading experience can be quite similar. Jane has been reading the Accursed Kings series by the great Maurice Druon – a wonderful series of historical novels.  One of the great things for me when I read them was that I didn’t know a lot of the history. You know, French people may know all of this but for me it wasn’t something that was covered on our history courses, nor presumably, in history courses here. I didn’t know who these people were, even only the most abstract terms, or how this was going to come out. That was a very similar reading experience to a fantasy novel.

Jane: They read incredibly fresh. We’ve just bought the world rights to publish them because they’ve been out of print since the sixties, I think it’s going to be great fun to make them available to people. They read as if they were written yesterday, they’re really sharp and funny, as well.

The brothers Goncourt said: “History is a novel that has been lived…” I think that’s a really good quote but I feel also that with A Game of Thrones, you feel that every character in your books has a life that goes on behind the scenes: they’re not just walking out on stage and playing out what you want them to play out. You do see them as real people. How much of that elaboration do you have in your head before you set out writing your characters?

George: I’m not actually deluded enough to think that they are real people. I know that I’m making them up. It seems obvious but I’ve met some writers over the years that have peculiar views on the subject and seem to think they’re receiving emanations from other dimensions or something. I don’t buy into that but certainly when I’m writing these characters and living with them they achieve enormous reality to me.

You know, many years ago I wrote a short story, a novelette actually, that won the Nebula award called “Portraits of His Children”. It is about a writer and his relationship with his characters. Its sort of a cliché that characters are a writer’s children but there’s a great amount of truth to it. At least for a writer like myself; the characters I have created over the years are a part of me, are a part of my life. They are not me, but they are created by me and are a part of me. The analogy with the children has a certain apt-ness to it.

Jane: Well you’re a cruel father

George: I take after the Romans; they had the whole “paterfamilias” thing going on there. If you were a disappointing son “I’m sorry son you’re disappointing me would you please commit suicide”…“Yes dad I’d be happy to”. We’ve lost some of these traditions over the years.

Voyager UK |

You Win or You Die!

 If, like the rest of us here at Voyager, you are counting down the days till the second Season of Game of Thrones airs in April, we have some links that might keep your occupied. HBO have released a tantalising trailer called ‘You Win or you Die’:

Game of Thrones Season 2 Trailer

If you haven’t seen the chilling teaser narrated by Stannis (perfectly cast as the gravelly Stephen Dillane), then look no further! He isn’t too happy that Cersei and Joffrey have usurped his rightful throne.

Stannis Teaser

And if that’s not enough to keep you going, you can get a glimpse of a few more scenes including King’s Landing and the Iron Islands, and some fascinating production insight, in these videos:

Behind the scenes: Croatia

Behind the scenes: Belfast

Finally, you can find a detailed on set diary, updated regularly, with some pretty hilarious posts and videos on costume design and fight choreography:

http://www.makinggameofthrones.com/

Our personal favourite, from a post called One Extra to Another:

One extra to another: “I will sword you.”

In the tea tent: “Forget the Baratheons! We must guard the cake. We ARE the chocolate cake guard.”

During a fight: AD: “Can you move to your left?” Soldier: “I can’t. I haven’t got my glasses on.”

 

April can’t come soon enough!

Voyager UK |

A Game of Thrones – the enhanced ebook

If you haven’t heard about or seen this yet then get reading! The enhanced ebook features three new maps, – Westeros, King’s Landing and the Wall – audio content from the audio book read by Roy Dotrice, and hyperlinked character names.

Watch the video:

The Product Page to Download the full version is here:

http://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/a-game-thrones-enhanced-ebook/id435840365?mt=11

Voyager UK, Voyager US |

Why Fantasy? Why Now? by David Chandler

 The popularity of genre books has stayed strong for over a hundred years now, but it’s interesting—the individual genres seem to come and go.  Oh, there will always be good horror novels out there, and fantasy books seem to sell regardless of what year it is.  But there are definitely cycles at work here.  This is a great year for fantasy.  A Game of Thrones is huge.  There’s enormous interest in the Hobbit movie.  In books you’ve got the recent blockbuster success of Brent Weeks and Patrick Rothfuss.  Tangentially there’s the John Carter movie and of course the blow-out finale to the Harry Potter series.  I don’t think I could have picked a better time to release my own fantasy novel, Den of Thieves.

Meanwhile science fiction is slowing down, and despite the continued (and inexplicable) fascination with vampires and zombies, horror seems to be taking a backseat.  I have a theory why this is so.  Now keep in mind this is just off-the-cuff stuff, with no historiographical research or longitudinal studies to back it up.  But it seems like there might be strong currents in this sea of books.

Science fiction, it seems, is most popular when people are excited and hopeful about the future.  It was huge in the 50s and 60s, and well into the 70s, until Star Wars kind of knocked it off its perch (Star Wars being a fantasy story, not science fiction, but that’s a topic for another essay).  Obviously the Apollo program and the promise of space had something to do with that.  You could say the same about the resurgence of SF in the 80s and say it was the space shuttle (oh, the poor STS!), but I think that had more to do with the rise of personal computers—after all, the big story in the 80s was cyberpunk.

            Horror, on the other hand, seems to be most popular when people are terrified of the world around them.  Zombies and vampires blew up after September Eleventh and I don’t think it was a coincidence.  The last time horror was that popular was in the 30s, when people were terrified of economic depression and Nazi imperialism—a time that gave us both H.P. Lovecraft and also the phenomenal Universal monster movies (Robert Pattison will never live up to the standard set by Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff).  Perversely enough when people are scared of each other, they enjoy being scared by monsters, too—especially if, unlike, say, global terrorism, the threat of Frankenstein’s Monster was over after two hours.

But why fantasy, why now?  Horror does well in times of cultural anxiety, and science fiction in decades of national optimism.  But fantasy—fantasy does great when people are bored.

 Fantasy is escapism.  When I was a kid I looked forward to being an astronaut (whoops, that didn’t work out so well), but I dreamed of being a wizard and studying arcane tomes or a knight fighting orcs and goblins with a flashing broadsword.  It could never happen but that just seemed to make it cooler.  People want to escape when their lives seem dull.  Not terrifying, and not like something big is just around the corner.  It looks like the long nightmare of the Noughts is finally over with the death of Osama Bin Laden—I know, the real bad guys are still out there, but is anyone as scared these days as they were in 2001?  The economy is pretty lousy, but not Great Depression lousy.  And with the end of the American manned space program the future looks like it’s about smartphones and precision targeted web advertising (gee, I can’t wait), not the glorious adventure of space.

  So we’re living in a dusty age.  It happens.  And at least we have worlds of wonder to fly away to.  Thank heavens for fantasy!

- David Chandler

Don’t miss David’s Ancient Blades Trilogy! DEN OF THIEVES A THIEF IN THE NIGHT, and HONOR AMONG THIEVES , all available now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK editions