Yes, this weekend we are at Balticon in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and it is their 50th anniversary which means there are a LOT of people here and a lot of great authors. So…from the title, you can guess who one of them was. Over the weekend there are several Q&As and for those of us who didn’t quite make it in to the very crowded rooms, Hamfast42, took some great notes. You can find them here and here but I put a few of the Q&A stories down below to whet your appetite.
From his Introductory Remarks:
- In the 70s, GRRM had “six hippy roomates” in Chicago
- The first time he came to a Baltimore Convention was to “chase women”. Specifically he went to meet up with his now wife Parris.
- So in 1983, George had a bit more change in his pocket, so he decided to splurge. The harbor in Baltimore has normal padleboats but he poneyed up and rented electric paddleboats. “Something about being out in that harbor made us feel like we were pirates. So we started talking like pirates.” Then he got other boats to talk like pirates. Then he went to a succession of parties where he got everyone to talk like pirates. He even got one of the keynote speakers, Norman Spinrad to talk like a pirate. Soon the whole con was talking like pirates. (Note from Day: There was quite a bit of talking like a pirate THIS YEAR too!)
- He ended his speech quite nicely with something to the effect of “I want to be remembered not just for my professional work. But also for the time I got a whole con to talk like a pirate.”
From his more informal Q&A:
- When asked why he doesn’t write “easy black and white villains” he had a lot of good stuff to say. “as a kid i was fed this narrative of good and evil. From all entertainment. Cowboys, comic books, even Tolkien.” But in all these he had a problem with the “externality of evil. Like ugly villains that wore all black.” Like in Vietnam, there are layers and layers of complexity. Not just bad guys and good guys but all these historical groups and complicated factors like colonialism. He didn’t like how some of the blue collar people were taking a very black and white approach of “getting those commies” without thinking critically. But he also didn’t like how the anti war movement was so black and white as well and thought everyone over there were baby killers. The soldiers made the best of the situation they had. “anytime you have more than two people in a group, it becomes very dangerous to generalize.” And in researching Vietnam, some people were “heroic on Tuesday and horrible on Wednesday.” Even in Henry the fifth, a normally great king also kills a bunch of unarmed prisoners. GRRM said that he really wanted to show the complexity of the human condition.