Herein lies the tale of FaBio’s intrepid adventure at the Vroman’s Bookstore signing on Sunday in Pasadena, California. Names have not been changed to protect the innocent. This was a GRRM signing; “innocents” were not easily found.
The fact that I found easy parking lured me into a false sense of safety. Perhaps this will be an intimate gathering, I thought. I had images of a quiet, library-like atmosphere in my mind’s eye, perhaps with soft violin music gently wafting through the air as a few choice intellectuals and esteemed gentlepersons stood casually about in sweater-vests and khakis and discussed the pros and cons of the reign of Aegon I.
That was not the case. “Are they out of f@%#ing books? Tell me they’re not out of f@%#ing books!” screeched a frazzled-looking girl who was being forced to stand with her buttocks pressed against the glass of one of the entry-level doors. I had to come in through the OUT door.
(No, they were not out of f@%#ing books. She just needed to look in the right f@%#ing place.)
Being that the downstairs level of Vroman’s Bookstore had a very snakey-looking line that wove in and out of various aisles, I immediately assumed the signing was also taking place on that same level. Of course it was not. I followed the line through the aisles and around a corner, and then discovered there were actually two lines: one for people waiting to get to the second floor–where the signing was actually taking place–and one for people who were waiting to get tickets…
…so they could then stand in line on the first floor in order to go to the second floor where they could then get their books signed. Fair enough. I ascended a packed stairwell, made a few dozen enemies with my sharpened elbows, and arrived on the second floor approximately ten minutes later. I got to see THIS.
Blurry? Well, of course. This wavering picture is not due to the unsteady hand of an amateur photographer* but rather the result of waves of heat pouring up from the mass of humanity. It was hot! I was amazed the mood was as good as it was, though there was indeed a sense of brotherhood. And, clearly, being ASoIaF fans they all had impeccable taste and a superior intellect. An added bonus was that it did not smell as I feared it might. (Any of you who have ever been to Gen-Con know exactly what I’m talking about.) Perhaps the general good cheer was due to a general sense of good cleanliness.
George was there, happily signing books and chatting with fans. Despite his recent illness, he looked great. The turn-out had a wide range of ages, as well as a nearly-balanced mix of genders; there were easily just as many women as there were men (plus one rather sublimely-dressed trannie), and all seemed THRILLED to get their books vandalized by The Man.
Perhaps the coolest thing (or the strangest, depending on how you score things at home) was the appearance of Jeffrey and his Tight Tee Harem. Jeffrey, the amiable-looking chap down front, designed each of the ASoIaF-themed tee-shirts you see here. Sadly they are not for sale. No, he made them for his harem, which is also not for sale. And it’s an attractive harem. For a bunch of kids, I mean. Even George wants to be in the picture. (Get out of the damned picture, George! Does everything have to be about you?! Cripes!)
We’re still trying to pressure Jeffrey into making a copy of THIS ONE so we can send it to Emilia. That’s brilliant. Almost as brilliant as Jeffrey claiming not to be dating** anyone in his harem, even though he quietly pulled me aside*** and admitted he was secretly seeing each one without any of the others knowing. You go, Jeff.
There were also a few HBO representatives on hand (I was asked not to name them), just to see the hubub firsthand, and I have to say they seemed moderately surprised by the wide variety of GRRM fans. And I don’t blame them; I too am from a generation where fantasy nerds only came in two sizes (skinny male and fat male), so the fact that this guy who looks like ol’ Captain Abner Marsh (sans his mighty steamboat) had men and women of all ages eating out of his hand…
Well, I think it’s safe to say they are pleased to see he can cross both generational and gender lines even without their marketing teams. George R.R. Martin is his own force of nature.
Lest any of you think this event was of the lurid sort (that tale comes later from the BwB gathering), let me also remind you this was a family-friendly event, and nothing says “family” quite like Baby Dany.
That’s right, little Daenerys was brought forth so that the author might approve of his latest (literary) get, and smiles abounded. A very inspiring moment. If I ever have another kid, I’m naming him Shaggydog. If it’s a girl, it’ll be Weasel.
Lastly we have the A Dance with Dragons news: The news is…
There is no news. Officially. In fact, it’s so “officially” that George openly lamented about how much he had wanted to be able to give us “the news,” but because he had been sick, he’d “lost a week,” and therefore “the news” could not be told just yet. Not quite yet. Even though he had been making “GREAT” progress on ADwD up until a week ago, and then–
I’ll spell this out for the slow: Any week now. Could this be a GRRM-sized week? Perhaps. (That could equate to a month. Maybe two. Who really knows what other projects he’s going to be juggling?) Do I know anything official? No. But I know Hodor-sized hints when I hear them.
I’m going to bet my hat we see A Dance with Dragons on the shelves before the airing of the season 1 finale of Game of Thrones. Sooner than that if they can find a jacket big enough to fit the bindings of that behemoth book. I don’t think they will do the re-issue of AGoT (with the new cover) at the exact same time they release Dance.
But in the end, what do I know? Nothing. Jon Snow and I have that in common, at least.
Lastly… Well, lastly, this post is long. So I’d best be going, and get cracking on my BwB post. But I will leave you with this:
The very charming Ti Mikkel: Hello, dahling. It is so very sexy-time to see you again.
The only slightly less charming Ty Franck: Uh.
Ti: It was you with me in gay Paris, was it not? The moonlight? The Sauvignon and Cyrah? The tiny little Papillon**** costume?
Ty: I—No, it—hey, don’t take that picture. FaBio! Stop!
Ty: I’m married! I’m happily married! You can’t do this to me! FaaaaaaaBiiiioooo!
Don’t worry, Ty. Only a few of my closest friends will ever see this. And thanks, Ti. You’re the best.
(Ty and Ti. Sure, you all think it’s damned cute, but try getting one’s attention over the other sometime. Especially in a crowded room. It’s like shouting for Mumet in Istanbul. I tried that too.)
* This is indeed the work of an amateur photographer. Don’t let FaBio lie to you so blatantly. He can’t take pictures worth a shit.
** And by “dating” we mean tomfoolery.
***He really didn’t, but he’s a cool guy, and I only pick on people I like.
****In truth it was a pekingese costume. She was drunk. In Paris, I mean, not at the signing. You’d have to be drunk to mistake Gilles Marini for Ty Franck.
(Ty is GRRM’s assistant by day / crimefighter & Parisian street mime impressionist by night. His hair is long. Ti is fantastic and could easily play Catwoman in the next Batman flick. Someone call Chris Nolan.)