… And my traveling foolishness continues…
I whirl-winded my way through Balticon 2016 with GRRM, and fumbled my way way through the Fire & Blood release in New Jersey, now I am transporting myself to NY for Starport.
With real life functions perpetually plaguing playtime, I have to chose my excursions wisely. These past few weeks of October 2019, George R.R. Martin has peeked out of his shell a few times. I could not make it to all functions, mostly those in Chicago, but when he came closer to me for the Arthur C. Clarke Awards, I had to start making real plans.
- Watch the Clarke awards stream here- George comes in around the 1hr 45m mark: https://livestream.com/internetsociety/unleash2019/videos/197920468
But then there was the Starport signing with artist Raya Golden at Midtown Comics in New York the following week, and of the two, this gave me a chance to actually have some interaction with GRRM, so that was the winner for me.
Briefly, Starport was originally supposed to be a story created for an early 1990’s television show. Instead of humans discovering space and other alien species, the aliens discover us here on Earth. Conspiracy and sexy times with a side cops and robbers ensue. Readers of Martinworld works will recognize many of the same themes and setting details that GRRM first established in his story Run to Starlight (currently in the works of being transcribed and will update here when complete).
How the day went down
In order to get a signing of Starport and one other approved item, you had to be at the comic store in the morning to purchase Starport from Midtown Comics, get a signing ticket, and then return later for the signing. A two-part process.
As with most of my experiences with the fandom at events like this, I found everyone around me in line to be very friendly and easy to talk to and fun to meet in person. It definitely helps pass the time. I did notice that this time around, not a single person (near me at least) was talking ASOIAF (or even the show version), no theories, no complaints about GRRM… we were all just talking. It was a good time.
My train left at 3:15 that morning, I arrived in NY at 6:20 am, hoofed it to the store, making it there at 8:20 am, then snagged my beautiful book.
When I returned home the next morning, I pulled out my Martin anthology book, Quartet, and compared this graphic novel to the original material and it is a near exact match. Excellent job, Raya!
And it is a beautiful book…
I get my book, tuck my signing ticket away, and hunt for coffee, coffee, coffee…
I spend a few hours doing some minor sightseeing and absorbing the artwork in my new graphic novel, then decide to return to the comic store a little early to check out the line for the signing. The signing started at 2pm, and I arrived back at the shop at 12:30… where I proceeded to get in line then because this second time around I was about 60 people back.
There were a few shop guys outside that were monitoring the wait line, and one of them kept mentioning what a good mood and how upbeat GRRM seemed to be in, which yeah, I’ll take it.
Once the line got to moving, it was really movin‘. The shop is small, so they were only allowing 10 at a time to go inside. It was like an extremely well oiled assembly line, and it was moving fast! Like I mentioned above, I was about #60 in line, but was in and out of there in less than a half hour.
Once inside you were lead over to another line where your Starport book and ticket were checked out, as well as that one other item you wanted to have signed. I decided to forgo any ASOIAF material and went instead with a Martinworld piece titled The Glass Flower; a story set in his Thousand Worlds universe, the last full Thousand Worlds story he finished before Avalon was abandoned to start A Song of Ice and Fire because of his Bran and direwolf pups visions. This is a pivotal story that prototypes Daenerys in most every way.
My first stop at the signing table was with Raya. She was super nice, chatty enough based-on the fast pacing of the event, and she loved the old trade mag I brought for George. She graciously signed her Starport book (in gold, GRRM in silver), but then thumbed (carefully) through The Glass Flower. I really wish I had more time to ask her a few questions about art and technique, to give her my compliments on her job illustrating the Meathouse Man graphic, but alas, the line was movin‘.
I then stepped to my right and was now with George. Raya still had my Glass Flower story and she handed it to him, and a broad, cheery smile stretched across his face. He looked up at me and said, “Is this yours?”, I answered ‘yes’ and that this story is a favorite of mine. Martin then replied, “Old school. Very good. Very good. An important one. That’s a good thing to read.”
I told him that I have all of his works and all of these first published rag-mags where these works premiered. He seemed rather pleased that someone had taken the time to read his works outside of ASOIAF. Because the signing was so fast, I did somehow miss out on the one picture opportunity you were allowed, however, it could only be a pic with the authors holding the books- no selfies with them. Oh well.
And that was it.
Well, except for this beauty right here…
Wrap it up…
The pace the comic shop keepers were keeping was no joke. I wish I had more time with both Raya and GRRM, however, I am grateful for what I was able to achieve that day. A day-cation and romp round NYC all at my own pace and few new books for the to-read pile.
I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the day. Forty-eight hours with no sleep because of travel, my phone battery died four times, my legs were screaming at me to “sit the fark down”, but it was all totally worth it. Would I do it again? Heck yeah.
UPDATING: Just want to add that Midtown Comics has just posted a short video of the event (less than 8 minutes). If you want to get a glimpse of the atmosphere and a short interview with Raya Golden and George R.R. Martin, watch the video here.
What to read next?
If you enjoyed reading this and would like an old GRRM story transcribed and noted, try one of these that have already been done (with more to come):
- The Lonely Songs of Laren Dorr – Discarded Knights guards the gates as Sharra feels the Seven while searching for lost love. Many Sansa and Ashara Dayne prototyping here as well.
- …And Seven Times Never Kill Man– A look into a proto-Andal+Targaryen fiery world as the Jaenshi way of life is erased. But who is controlling these events? Black & Red Pyramids who merge with Bakkalon are on full display in this story.
- The Last Super Bowl– Football meets SciFi tech with plenty of ASOIAF carryover battle elements.
- Nobody Leaves New Pittsburg– first in the Corpse Handler trio, and sets a lot of tone for future ASOIAF thematics.
- Closing Time– A short story that shows many precursor themes for future GRRM stories, including skinchanging, Sneaky Pete’s, catastrophic long nights…
- The Glass Flower– a tale of how the drive for perfection creates mindlords and mental slavery.
- Run to Starlight– A tale of coexistence and morality set to a high stakes game of football.
- Remembering Melody– A ghost story as told by GRRM.
- Fast-Friend transcribed and noted. Written in December 1973, this story is a precursor to skinchanging, Bran, Euron, Daenerys, and ways to scheme to reclaim lost love.
- The Steel Andal Invasion– A re-read of a partial section of The World of Ice and Fire text compared to the story …And Seven Times Never Kill Man. This has to do with both fire and ice Others in ASOIAF.
- A Song for Lya– A novella about a psi-link couple investigating a fiery ‘god’. Very much a trees vs fire motif, and one of GRRM’s best stories out there.
- For A Single Yesterday– A short story about learning from the past to rebuild the future.
- This Tower of Ashes– A story of how lost love, mother’s milk, and spiders don’t mix all too well.
- A Peripheral Affair (1973)– When a Terran scout ship on a routine patrol through the Periphery suddenly disappears, a battle-hungry admiral prepares to renew the border war.
- The Stone City– a have-not surviving while stranded on a corporate planet. Practically a GRRM autobiography in itself.
- Slide Show– a story of putting the stars before the children.
- Only Kids are Afraid of the Dark– rubies, fire, blood sacrifice, and Saagael- oh my!
- A Night at the Tarn House– a magical game of life and death played at an inn at a crossroads.
- Men of Greywater Station– Is it the trees, the fungus, or is the real danger humans?
- The Computer Cried Charge!– what are we fighting for and is it worth it?
- The Needle Men– the fiery hand wields itself again, only, why are we looking for men?
- Black and White and Red All Over– a partial take on a partial story.
- Fire & Blood excerpt; Alysanne in the north– not a full story, but transcribed and noted section of the book Fire & Blood, volume 1.
If you want to browse my own thoughts and speculations on the A Song of Ice and Fire world using GRRM’s own work history, use the drop-down menu above for the most content, or click on the page that just shows recent posts -> Recent Posts Page.
Thank you for reading the jambles and jumbles of the GRRMspreader, the Fattest Leech of Ice and Fire, by Gumbo!
Woot! Yeah, he was so glad when I gave him Dreamsongs to sign at Titancon too late August. And he commented about it as well: “You’re reading my older stuff?” Told him “Absolutely!” and that “Seven Times Never Kill a Man” was my favourite so far.
Glad you had fun! Also missed out on the signing pic, but that’s alright, as I did end up with a surprise selfie with George at Castle Ward.
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So awesome and so good to hear when fans know him for more than just ASOAIF. Cheers to you!