By George!

What's going on with HBO turning Song of Ice and Fire into a TV series? —NYC Fan
Well, the script has been written by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and it was submitted a few months ago. HBO liked it, I've been told, and they're doing a budget on it now, but they still haven't given it a green light. Of course, the writers strike has hit now, so there's no telling what's happening in Hollywood. But HBO is what I've wanted for this from the beginning. The book series will be about 10,000 manuscript pages when it's all done, so the story's just too big for even a series of movies. And there's a lot of sex and violence, which is one reason I couldn't look too seriously at the broadcast networks. HBO can do it the way it would have to be done. I've got my fingers crossed. It's all in HBO's hands now.

Do you know how you want to end the Ice and Fire series? —Filthydelphia Eagles Fan
Oh yeah, I know the end. I like to use the metaphor of a journey. If I set out from New York to Los Angeles, I can look at a map and know that I'm gonna go through Chicago and then Denver. But that doesn't mean I know what's around every turn and bend of the journey, where there's gonna be a detour or there's gonna be a hitchhiker. Those are the things I discover on the journey. And that, for me, is the joy of writing.

Do you think literary highbrows are wrong to exclude fantasy work such as Tolkien from consideration in the high-art canon? —Kayelle
Yes, I do actually. [Laughs] I wouldn't use the phrase ''literary highbrows,'' which is sort of reverse-elitist. But I do think fantasy and science fiction are a legitimate part of literature. I think I speak for virtually all fantasy and science-fiction writers that it's a constant annoyance for anyone who works in these fields, that whenever a great piece of work is produced, you get reviewers saying, ''Oh, this isn't science fiction, it's too good.'' Most recently, that's happened with Cormac McCarthy and The Road. Which is definitely a science-fiction book, and yet it's winning all these prizes and people are saying, ''No, no, it's science fiction.'' Well, it's literature and it's science fiction. It's a breath mint and a candy mint!

How did Wheel of Time author Robert Jordan's recent death affect your personal and professional priorities? —Johnny Tex
I can't say it changed anything, but it saddened me immensely. I knew Jim — Jim Rigney was his real name — and he was a very kind and generous man. He gave me a blurb when my series was starting out, an endorsement for the cover that got me a lot of readers. And his own work really made my series possible. Jordan essentially broke the trilogy template that Tolkien helped set up. He showed us how to do a book that's bigger than a trilogy. I don't think my series would've been possible without The Wheel of Time being as successful as it was. I've always wanted to sprawl, and Jordan, to a great extent, made that possible with his series.

NEXT PAGE: ''Loved Fevre Dream. Will you ever write a horror novel again?''


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