DISCLAIMER: This article was originally posted on Odyssey.
If I was at a conference and I was given the mike during the Q&A session, I would personally ask George R. R. Martin one of these questions based on curiosities and unanswered questions.
About An Expanded Universe Of Ice And Fire
Considering how you did diligent work with “The Lands of Ice and Fire” and “The World of Ice and Fire” and how you collaborate with Daniel Abraham, Gardner Dozois, and other authors, would you trust them to write “Ice and Fire” canon stories that take place outside of Westeros, like writing about the Braavosi adventurer who recorded the Dothraki war against the Ibbish?
You wanted to write a science fiction novel titled “Avalon” which eventually became “A Game of Thrones.” I found it interesting that in your early science fiction work, one of the planets was named “Avalon.” In fact, there are a lot of similarities between “The Song of Ice and Fire” and your earlier work. So my question would be: Where did you originally have “A Game of Thrones” fit in this canon, like as a sequel to “Dying of the Light” or as its own stand-alone novel?
About Literary Influences
Which three of your literary influences would you like to have dinner with?
When I first read “A Game of Thrones,” I admit that I had a hard time pronouncing the names like I would pronounce Tyrion as [tih-ree-AWN]; Daenerys as [DAY-neh-ris]; Yronwood as [ee-RAWN-wood]. Alongside the “The World Of Ice And Fire,” have you thought of working alongside linguist David J. Peterson in releasing a pronunciation guide?
About Another Writer Also Dubbed A “Tolkien”
I am sure you heard of M. A. R. Barker. He was the writer of the “Tekumel” science fiction series and he was also compared to Tolkien, for the same reasons you were in terms of in-depth world-building. What would you say is considered Tolkienian?
I noticed a lot of similarities between the “Song of Ice and Fire” and your early fantasy short stories, such as “The Ice Dragon” and “In The Lost Lands.” Have you always wanted to write a fantasy epic before writing “A Game Of Thrones?”
About Tortured Artists
There is a problem with creative people who are hurting. This leads to the archetype of the Tortured Artist. Considering how your suffering inspired “This Second Kind Of Loneliness” and “A Song For Lya,” what advice would you have for writers who feel cheap and disposable?
About Jack Vance
I found it interesting how the people of the Thousand Islands and the Jogos Nhai plains have this Vancean variety of strangeness compared to Westeros and the rest of Essos. You mentioned how you were paying homages to H. P. Lovecraft but were you also paying homages to Jack Vance as well?
About Literary Fiction
Your short story “Remembering Melody” comes very close to what can be defined as literary fiction, since it seems to deal more with the fractured relationship between the narrator and Melody than Melody’s own supposed existence. Have you wanted to write literary fiction?
About The Struggle To Be A Writer
You also helped to create the Worldbuilders scholarship, in order to help aspiring fantasy writers. Are there ways in which to pay for one’s education in such programs like Clarion West Writer’s Workshop?