George R.R. Martin has announced a new version of his first book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series- A Game of Thrones to celebrate its 20th anniversary. It has been exactly 2 decades (August 1996) since the first novel came out and Martin announced the new version of the book on his blog (with 70+ new illustrations) and also shared his remarkable journey during the course of the series, highlighting the popularity of TV show which has completely turned things around for him in the last 6 years or so.
Here’s an excerpt from his post:
“It was twenty years ago today when GAME OF THRONES was first published. August, 1996. That was when the big glossy hardcover (above) with the silver foil cover first hit the bookstores. Reviews were generally good, sales were… well, okay. Solid. But nothing spectacular. No bestseller lists, certainly. I went on a book tour around that same time. Turnouts were modest in most places. The crowds didn’t reach one hundred anywhere, and at one stop (St. Louis), not only was attendance zero but I actually drove four patrons out of the bookshop, allowing me to set my all time “bad signing” record at minus four.
But my oh my, things have changed a bit in these last twenty years.
My crowds are larger now (though, sadly, I can no longer chat for five or ten minutes with every customer). The novels appear on every bestseller list in the country, and most of those in the UK and the rest of the world as well. There’s a successful television show that you may have heard of, with record ratings, record piracy, and a record number of Emmy Awards. There are games, miniatures, slot machines, pinball machines, cosplayers, dolls, action figures, coins, t-shirts, graphic novels, translations in more than forty languages.
It has been a helluva twenty years, twenty years that have transformed my life and career, twenty years during which the novel has never been out of print. And something like that has to be commemorated. So… well, let me quote the official announcement from my friends at Bantam Spectra:
‘First published on August 1st, 1996, A Game of Thrones marks its twentieth anniversary today. In celebration of the fantasy masterpiece that started a cultural phenomenon, we’re excited to announce the publication of a special illustrated edition.With gorgeous full-page illustrations to open every chapter, the mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure of this magnificent saga come to life as never before.'”
Martin then shared more details about the new version which will consist of ‘a total of seventy-three (73) black and white interior illustrations, and eight (8) spectacular full color plates’ and also shared the cover & some sample art from the book:
“A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition goes on sale October 18, 2016,” Martin announced and then ended his post with a bad news on The Winds of Winter front. There is still no release date for the sixth ASOIAF book:
“And no, before someone asks, I had no idea when this all started where it would lead… or how long the road would be. That picture of me up above was taken in 1995 in Scotland, after I’d signed the contracts for the first three books but before I’d delivered any of them. Back then, I’d thought the whole story could be told in three books, and that it would take me three years to write them, a year per book. That picture was taken just a few weeks after I blew my first (bot not my last, oh no) deadline on the series. Ah, how innocent I was… little did that guy in the picture imagine that he would be spending most of the next two decades in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros with Tyrion, Daenerys, Arya, Sansa, Jon Snow, Bran, and all the rest.
But here I am, twenty years later… still working on book six… ((and no, sorry, I have no announcement to make on that front)).”