Thursday, January 12, 2006

"Thanks For the Review - All Best Wishes"

I met him, dear readers.
I went to the bookstore where George R. R. Martin was holding a booksigning on his Canadian Book Tour. I arrived 45 minutes earlier, and there was already a substantial lineup. No matter. The line-up got a lot longer as time went by, and one of my friends from The Gateway managed to wrangle me a spot further up the line. Anyway, finally George R. R. Martin appeared, and I found myself reduced to childhood, as I had to stand on tip-toe and jump up and down and shift every which way so that I could see him better. His Darwinian beard was longer, and whiter, than it appeared in the photo on the dust jacket of A Feast For Crows, but he was wearing the exact same hat. Maybe it's his lucky writing hat, I don't know.

He had a very amusing talk at the beginning about how his first book signings for Game of Thrones were very unsuccessful, and how pleased he was that so many people showed up to see him here. "Lots of writers complain about book signings where nobody showed up," he said, "But I had a booksigning where -4 people showed up." Meaning, four people, upon hearing the announcement that science fiction/fantasy writer George R. R. Martin was ready to sign books and talk about his work, got up and left.

He also had a book signing that was upstaged by Clifford the Big Red Dog. 100 people showed up to have a junior employee of the bookstore in a ratty red dog costume smear inky pawprints onto their children's books, while 2 people showed up for him.
After his talk, he answered a few questions. His favourite character? Tyrion - this statement was met with whistles and cheers. His least favourite character? Bran - because he was the youngest of everyone else and still had to view things through a child's eyes. I got to ask a question - so I asked about why the chapter headings in A Feast For Crows were titled "The Drowned Man", "The Prophet", "The Soiled Knight", instead of just plain names. He went on to explain that he'd written certain scenes as a type of prologue - but the events became so long and intricate he couldn't put them all into a lump couple of chapters - it came up to 250 pages. So he spread it out throughout the whole book, but with the changing chapter titles to show the progress.

Then came the book signing. I told him how I'd reviewed his books for The Green Man Review. It was a brave move of me - my review for A Feast For Crows isn't entirely positive (feel free to go to to read it), but George R. R. Martin gave no indication that he recognized the my name, the review, or Green Man at all. I did get to tell him that I found out he'd written "The Pear-Shaped Man", the only horror story I've ever read that truly creeped him out. He laughed (he had a very good, earnest laugh - he sounded like he was really enjoying the whole booksigning experience to the utmost), and said he'd based it on a real pear-shaped man who had creeped out one of his acquaintances. He did hope that the real Pear-Shaped Man hadn't read the story and recognized himself. I made the tentative joke that maybe he (the Pear-shaped Man) identified himself more as a Banana-Shaped Man. George R. R. Martin laughed at that, and then I was off and the person behind me got his lucky chance.

Inside my copy of A Feast For Crows was written: "Thanks For the Review - All Best Wishes", followed by a long, unidentifiable squiggle, two loopy deformed Rs, and another squiggle. Hurrah!

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