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By Patrick (2008-01-27)
Many thanks are due to both Elio García and Iain Cupples (Ran and Mormont on asoiaf.westeros.org) for helping me put this Q&A together. Their help was invaluable, and I would be remiss if I didn't say that the interview turned out to be this good because of the questions they each submitted. Also, thanks to George and his collaborators for accepting to do this.
Naturally, this one is a monster, so you might want to grab a cup of coffee before sitting down and reading it. I was afraid that it would turn into something of a nuthouse, but the interview is informative, entertaining, and fun.
There's even some ADwD news pertaining to its release date at the very end. . .
To make things a little easier to follow:
GRRM: George R. R. Martin
MS: Melinda M. Snodgrass
CV: Carrie Vaughn
CS: Caroline Spector
IT: Ian Tregillis
SL: S. L. Farrell
DA: Daniel Abraham
JM: John Jos. Miller
MC: Michael Cassutt
- GRRM and MS: After a hiatus, how much fun is it to be back in the Wild Cards universe, this time with some of the old gang and a couple of new faces? With Inside Straight being the first volume of a new trilogy showcasing a "new generation" of Wild Cards, are the expectations higher than they were before?
GRRM: Wild Cards is always fun. I love the world, I love the characters, and I love working with the gang (well, most of them, most of the time). In its heydey in the late 80s and early 90s, the series was a phenomeon -- sales were terrific, we were nominated for a Hugo (for the overall series) and a Nebula (for Walter Jon Williams' story "Witness" in book one), two regional conventions brought in the entire Wild Cards consortium as GOHs, Wild Cards panels at worldcons were packed and noisy. I think we did some good work too. The fact that we have ardent fans all these years later is proof of that. I don't think any of us were ready for the series to end when we hit our seven-year hiatus, in between Baen and iBooks. We were all convinced Wild Cards would return one of these years, and now it has. It feels like coming home again. Some of the faces have changed, and there's an empty chair by the fire, but most of the old gang is back and some new young writers have joined the madness. The first incarnation of Wild Cards ran for seventeen volumes, and outlasted every other shared world anthology series. My hope is that this new series will go twice as long. So, yes, I guess you can say our expectations are high.
MELINDA: Wild Cards has been one of those projects that just haunts you and never completely lets go. I have the added advantage (or curse) of having written a Wild Card spec movie script, and I'm still hoping we'll place it somewhere after the strike ends. This is such a rich and vibrant world that it feels real to me, and my mind has often gone back to great characters and great moments in the earlier books. Now we're getting to bring new, fresh minds to the project and how they view our world has been fascinating.
- GRRM and MS: Without giving anything away, what can readers expect from this new trilogy?
MELINDA: Something a little hipper, more glib, and with a good deal more humor laced in among the real world issues that we're still going to address. I think readers will be pleased.
GRRM: "Who the fuck was Jetboy?" is how the book begins. That's Daniel's character Jonathan Hive writing in his blog, and he sets the tone for what we're trying to do here.
This is 'Wild Cards, the Next Generation' - the same world, but with a whole new cast of characters. The old characters are still around (the one who aren't dead), mind you, but this time the spotlight is on "the kids," the young aces and jokers who were born into the world transformed by the wild card.
The Marvel and DC universes have traditionally played fast and loose with their timelines, but the Wild Cards chronology has always hewn closer to our own alternative version of "real time." In Wild Cards, years pass just as they do in the real world, people age and change, children grow up, etc. As a result, many of our original characters are now close to retirement age, and some have been collecting social security for decades.
Also, after twenty-one years and seventeen volumes, the continuity had grown huge, complex, and daunting. There was so much history and backstory that it was hard for even the writers to keep track of it all, let alone the readers. I suppose we could have simplified all this with some sort of bogus "crisis" retrofit, but frankly, that's a cheat, and I hate it when the comic publishers do it. We're not abolishing the Wild Cards past, not at all. We're just turning our attention to the present and the future. It's been very liberating. If the readers have half as much fun with this as the writers did, they ought to love this book.