I'm saddened by the loss of Splitter, a forum member of Is Winter Coming? for the longest time. Last weekend, he was defeated by cancer. Though I only knew him through the forum, he was a great fellow and he will be missed by all of us at the site.
Not only was he a good man and so-called "detractor", he also wrote excellent crime fiction. You can buy "The Reluctant" and "The Willing" for almost nothing at Amazon.
I hate that Splitter will never know how Ice & Fire ends.
Myself, I am wrapping up another year's work and preparing for the summer holidays. I'll be traveling around a bit, taking with me books to read by Kindle (it's such a luxury to not have to carry a ton of books around), some hard-hitting music and of course, the family. I'm such a family man these days.
Yesterday, I ran seven teenagers through a session of AD&D® session (I guess you can't call that work but hey, it was activity day, I needed a role playing fix, and the kids wanted to) taking place in the Forgotten Realms®.
I'm becoming more obsessed with the setting the more I read about it; what I once dismissed as cheesy vanilla high fantasy has grown into something a lot more impressive than what I initially thought it to be. Having discovered the forums of Candlekeep and the Realms-devotees there, and reading Ed Greenwood (creator of the Realms) interacting with his fans in a fantastic manner and seeing how he thinks when he creates (and boy is he creative), I am quite enthralled by his setting (not the silliest bits) and sucking up so-called 'realmslore' daily. Greenwood is a bit like Steven Erikson, in that he's a gift that keeps on giving. I mean, fans ask him all manner of questions and he takes time out of his schedule to answer them (and often in long, detailed replies); he's such a nice, friendly and caring guy, I wish I could have him as my game master. I have discovered that Ed's Realms is darker and edgier than the one presented by TSR/Wizards of the Coast, and the sheer richness of his creation is staggering (then, I am a fan of world-building). I have realized that this man, who's been building the Realms since the sixties, deserves a lot more respect than he gets. And so I continue to flip through a sourcebook or three day, learning a little here and a little there about the Forgotten Realms, and trying to complete my second edition Realms collection. This has interfered somewhat with my schedule, obviously, reading less and writing less and gaming less too, but I suppose that the holidays will free up some time to get the re-read rolling again (I know, I'm as slow as you can get with this blog, ironically mirroring the man I have ranted so much about in regards to being slow at writing...)
So, in short, I'm living a two-sided life; the "real" one, with family, friends, work, duties and chores etc., and a second one, in which I mostly roam the landscapes of the Realms and the Internet (and medieval France in Cornwell's 1356, gods I'm a slow reader). Well, my mother's been saying it since forever - my head's in the clouds. Been quiet on the Not a Blog front too, since Martin returned home. Fingers crossed it means progress is being made on The Winds of Winter. If not for us, then for his and HBO's sake. Ka-zing.