George R.R. Martin
fringe and you're listening to talk. Hi Welcome to a Special Sifi talk with George R R Martin. Back from nine thousand nine hundred ninety six and he spoke to me and my co host. Ernest Lilley and we talked about his then. Novel game of thrones which now premiered on. Hbo As a TV series. Let's go to the conversation with his very talented on. George Are Madness. Accessible television screenwriter. He wrote for both beauty and the beast and the twilight zone revival as an author. He has won Hugo and Nebula awards. The bram Stoker Award and locus award is currently returning to writing novels fulltime in his working on a sequel to his popular novel. A game of thrones. Welcome to Sifi. Talk Mr Martin. How are there well? Glad to be with you okay. I had spoken to Howard Gordon who was a colleague of yours on beauty and the beast. And he said one of your strengths was creating and fleshing out the underground world that Vinson inhabited so to me that kind of translates Into into the same kind of creation for a game of thrones. What kind of process How does this differ from the process on beauty? Considering at this point you didn't have a budget For the novel because you don't need one well they both have advantages and disadvantages I was notorious. I'm beating a beast for Let us say challenging. Our budget I was always thinking of things like the Chambers of the wind or the the whispering gallery of these kind of extraordinary underground Locations and writing in large action sequences and and other things that would Tax The resources of a show that was produced on a million one Per episode which was a fairly tight budget even The Nice thing about novels of courses I can. I can be as big as I want. I can invent says that are Fabu listen Gargantuan and can have as many battles and as many Participants in those battles as I care too and I don't have to worry about the budget because I can do it all George. I understand you started writing fairly young. Most kids sell lemonade to you. Actually Sell Monster Stories. Well for a brief period. Yes I would. I would write these little stories and I'd sell them the other kids in the projects And New Jersey. Where I was I was born and raised and And then I would have to do it. Dramatic reading of the story because of my customers actually read that well but I was a pretty good reader even then and I would offer for a couple of months but then one of my customers started getting nightmares and his mother came to my mother and that was the end of my Childhood Career early to scare the other children screen For Game of thrones what What part of it was easier to write for you than other parts? And did you have a favorite character that you enjoyed that you created for that novel? I actually I think I sort of love all the characters but that's an interesting question. That's the question I usually ask rather than answer when when people approach me and tell me that they liked the game of thrones. I do have a cast of I believe seven or eight point characters that I switch between I. I like to ask people who their favorite. I quite a range of responses which I take as encouragement. That means Because I think my goal here is to is to paint these people realistically and in Shades of Gray Mountain to do heroes and villains per se but the show that everybody has strengths and weaknesses. Every even the best and most Novalis of people have have Flaws and even the most vile villain is capable of of certain loves and loyalties and the fact that everybody can identify with different characters. And I get a broad range of responses Indicates to me that I'm succeeding to an extent which pleased with you know a question. I've asked a few authors and I. I always wonder how they do this. How did they get themselves into mindset to actually write an evil character today? Is it a way where they Think that everyone else is wrong and that character is right but how how? How did you go about it? How did you get into that person's mind to make them an evil character I well? I don't think evil characters per se As sometimes the in films really really exist. I mean I don't think even Adolf Hitler got up in the morning said I'm evil You know he thought he was the hero of the story Deeply deluded as he was. We all think we're the heroes of the story and the villain is is the hero of the other side is Someone said once. I think there's an element of truth to that. So I get inside of characters head. I try to understand what What motivates him? What was he what does he want? character who perform evil solely for the sake of evil Exists only in the sort of comic books? I'm George GATEMOUTH. Ron Certainly looks like it has potential You've won a lot of awards for writing. What have you want Hugo's for I won my first. You go in seventy five from my Novella Song for lineup. And then I want to in Nineteen Eighty for A novel let called Sand Kings got a short story called the way of Cross and dragon of the awards you've won. What was the one that you're happiest to have one? I suppose the first one is is always special to you for a song for lineup. Back in seventy five. That was pretty much at the dawn of my career. My Soul my first story in seventy one so it was only a few years into it. I was pretty young and that the acclaim and recognition Meant mental. Great deal to me it sort of elevated me into the into the major leagues indicated to me that I was I was doing something right. Also song rely was one of the most ambitious of my of might really stories of the things I wrote in the seventies. Maybe one of the most accomplished But all of them are really nice. I mean even the ones you lose their nice nice to be nominated. Nice people. Think of you We form. I've lost a great many of these swords to that is this happened nominated for it and seen it go to someone else. We have the Yugo Nebula losers club that we use conventions by by getting drunk and doing winner. So that's as much as winning. Yes it is I I I wanted to ask you About beauty and the beast. Do you have any particular fond memories Of the episode of episodes or stories that you've done on the show I wa. I was pretty pleased with the work I did for show. It was a great experience. We have the perfect writing staff. I've been very lucky in both shows I was on. I'm staff on in that regard but working with people like Hell Gordon Alex. They've been pecking poor. Ron Koslow we were. We were pretty good writing team and then we had the pleasure of having some terrific actors to do it I don't know I suppose My favorite episode of the Second Season One Brothers episode. I did in which Vincent meets up Sort of an elephant man type character was a a character character piece but I thought it worked very nicely in the guest started a beautiful performance and then there was an episode that I that I wrote. It came in over the TRANSOM From writer who had never sold anything before you know the scripts like that flood in all the time and normally you you read them where you have one of your systems or secretaries read them and they fled back out because they're terrible but this script although it was obviously not written by professional has sparked or something special about it so we bought it and I revised it to you know bring in line with the show so it's really not entirely my work but I think I did contribute to it. It was called one the bluebirds things. It was one of our lighter episodes About an artist who may or may not be a ghost but it was. It was very romantic and very magical and my mind up captured something that we really do very much on beating the beast. But in retrospect I think we should have done done more of which was the those episodes. Were little on the lighter side. I thought was a a big challenge. That you folks took on in the early eighties win. You've decided to Redo the twilight zone. No you were story editor on the show. Those are some very big shoes to fill of Rod. Serling on ticketed. I must've been. You must have seen his specter sort of looking at you know yeah. It was pretty intimidating and The network and reviewers of course Made it even more intimidating and Gave us up. I don't know some additional burdens. I don't think we really needed but The network was always pressuring us to remake shows from original series Which we did a few of but we really were resistant to doing more of because we WANNA to Tell our own stories and just the stories that that Rodney original Original show done one thing. They've done them so well that When we redid them we almost always Kind of looked worse than original. And that's Something you don't you don't really Wanna Russian and do well. You had your gems there. I must say George. I want to sneak two questions at the same time. Oh He's one. This is the obvious question but but twilight zone favorite episode. And I also happen to know that you read Robert Heinlein when you're younger and or maybe still do I certainly do. What did you like out of both of those or well? I Robert Heinlein started me It was the first time I've already have space travel given to me as a Christmas present by friend of my mother's when I was like and it was a hardback book. One of those old scrivener's juveniles. I just like The only hardcover book I owned for a decade because after online goes looks into me I went out and bought my own but they were like to the thirty five cents. Ace Ace doubles and the cheap books that I could afford as a kid Yeah Hi line. Remained my favorite off the author for many years and I think undeniably had some influence Not As perhaps as much on me as he has some of the other people but You know that someone you read as much when you're young does does have an impact. I lied juvenile very durable. Yes they are still making a bunch of them in Hollywood this The rumor mill is true. I Guess Star is filming starship troopers up troopers. Which wasn't published as driven was written as one I have to ask you about Game of thrones and obviously there is room for a sequel. It's part of a series. And Are you working on that? Now yes it's the first of four And I'm presently Into the second volume which is going to be called a question of kings and there'll be two more after that when we'll be clashes kings Well if I can essentially by the end of the year which is my deadline Then it should come out Next August just about the time that Ah Game of thrones made its hardcover debut and at the same time. A game of thrones will be released in paperback so so books will be newly available in that that same period. I just have one last question. Could you ever see yourself returning to television conceivably You know this the fantasy project. To game of thrones on itself are are enormous book so they're really going to occupy me for the next few years but After after I do get those done if the right. Tv project is out there. I could I could certainly go back and.