Tad Williams reveals “Empire of Grass” cover, answers Reddit questions

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oday, legendary Science Fiction and Fantasy writer Tad Williams, author of the “Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn” novels as well as the “Otherland”, “Shadowmarch”, and “Bobby Dollar” series, participated in an “Ask Me Anything” Reddit chat with readers. During the AMA chat, he revealed the cover of his latest novel (sixth in the Osten Ard series), Empire of Grass, which will be published in May 2019.

The new cover, as with all previous full-length Osten Ard novels, was painted by the uber-talented and award-winning Michael Whelan. The beautiful cover art features one of the elvish-like Sithi at the edge of Aldheorte Forest, surrounded by ruins of one of the lost Gardenborn cities. Behind the trees, grassland can be seen. Since the cover has been disseminated, we at Treacherous Paths can present it here.

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There has, of course, been some speculation about which one of the Gardenborn settlements is depicted in Whelan’s painting. Nine great cities were named in Williams’ original Osten Ard novels: Nakkiga, Enki e-Shayosaye, Da’ai Chikiza, Kementari, Hikehikayo, Asu’a, Mezutu’a, Jhina T’senei, and Tumet’ai were named as the nine. But Nakkiga and Tumet’ai are now covered in ice, Mezutu’a and Asu’a are deep underground, and Jhina T’senei was lost under the waves. Da’ai Chikiza and parts of Asu’a were previously depicted by Whelan in earlier artwork, as was a smaller settlement, Sesu’adra.

The full cover artwork, including the wrap-around (showing the backside as well), can be found at Michael Whelan’s official site.

thewitchwoodcrownHeart_of_what_was_lost_Tad_WilliamsDuring the Ask Me Anything Reddit chat, Williams was asked by many long-time readers about his plans for the upcoming novels (which include Empire of Grass, The Navigator’s Children, and The Shadow of Things to Come, among other projects). The questions from readers included some spoilers for The Heart of What was Lost and The Witchwood Crown, both new Osten Ard novels published in 2017.

One reader asked, “Norn society changed a lot during this time span, with an obvious example being the mixing with mortals but several other things can probably be included. Is it fair to say that this process is due to the change of leadership from set-in-her-ways-for-millennia (ultra-conservative if I may) Utuk’ku to a little more flexible Akhenabi and maybe some others?”

Williams responded: “The long-term direction of Norn society will definitely be an important part of the third volume. Hard to say more without spoiling all the little hints smuggled into the first two volumes.”

Another reader, named Novander, writes, “I was reading Memory, Sorrow and Thorn around the time I was starting university and didn’t want my screen name to be something horribly goth and edgy anymore, so I stole your word for November in Osten Ard, which may be part of my legal name now. So my question is, you cool with that?”

(We at Treacherous Paths sincerely hope Novander’s last name isn’t Holyfield).

Another reader, a Christopher Paolini, writes: “Dude! It’s been ages! (Life has a way of throwing curveballs at us all.) I really enjoyed The Heart of What Was Lost, and I’m finally — FINALLY — starting in on the Witchwood Crown. My questions are these: Given the size of your main novels, how do you go about tackling them, both before and during the writing? As I remember, you tend to be pretty methodical in your approach. What habits have you found helpful? What’s your day-to-day process like? Also, what was it like returning to the world and characters of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn after so long?

Williams responded, “Hi, Christopher! Yes, it’s been ages — please give my love to all your family. My day to day process is very much about preparing to write as much as writing. I like to spend a lot of time figuring out — by trying lots of thought experiments — how to move the story forward appropriately, and what kind of scenes would make good reading. I spend a lot of time lying down thinking. Some would say I am merely napping, but that’s a terrible, unfair lie. (I only spend part of that time napping.) Returning to Osten Ard has been an unexpectedly rich and satisfying experience for me, which is why I no longer say I won’t do this kind of thing. In fact, I’m planning to write more Osten Ard after this set of linked projects, although I don’t know if that will necessarily be the next thing I write.”

A fourth reader writes: “Ok, my question: are we going to see what happened to Prince Josua? I’m not expecting a happy family reunion or anything, but… He’s not just gone, is he? Also, the ending to Witchwood Crown… Holy shit. How’d you pull that judo move? I never saw it coming…”

Williams responds, “Question one: I guarantee we’ll find out quite a bit more about what happened to Josua. More than that I cannot say now. Question two: Good! Thank you! That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. We writers love to deliver an honest shock every now and then, and it’s especially difficult with my readers, because they’re smart and they’ve read a lot of books, so they’re often trying to outthink me and guess what’s going to happen.”

More of Williams’ AMA thread can be found here.

 

Tad Williams, George R.R. Martin, Deborah Beale, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, others appear at WorldCon 2018

Today legendary speculative fiction authors Tad Williams (“Memory, Sorrow and Thorn”), George R. R. Martin (“A Song of Ice and Fire”), Deborah Beale (The Dragons of Ordinary Farm), Nina Kiriki Hoffman (A Fistful of Sky), Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn), and many others appeared at WorldCon 2018 in San Jose, California. Here are some photos of the event, some taken at the Tachyon Publications kiosk:

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Deborah Beale, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Tad Williams.

 

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George R. R. Martin, Tad Williams. Photo credit: Deborah Beale.

 

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Tad Williams, Peter S. Beagle. Photo credit: Deborah Beale.

More about marvelous Merch

Today is Tad’s birthday and Deborah treat us with first pics what things will look like.

But first this: If you participate in the campaign and be it with 1$ only you’ll get

EXCLUSIVE FIRST EXTRACTS FROM EMPIRE OF GRASS.

THEY’RE THERE ALREADY, GO FOR IT:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tad-williams-is-making-merch-entertainment/x/18288753#/

And here are the promised pictures, the long awaited scrollbearer pendants

and an impression of Isaac Stewart’s stunningly beautiful map:

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Marvelous Merch of Osten Ard and Otherland

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ome of us have been waiting for this for years – official merch from Tad’s worlds. Now it is finally happening. Deborah Beale, Tad’s wife and business partner and a few faithful frends have put together an Indiegogo campaign with new original art from Osten Ard and Otherland to have and to hold.

Find the campaign here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/tad-williams-is-making-merch-entertainment/x/18288753#/

For as little as $3 you’ll get a new and exclusive short story by Tad. Here are a few examples of the shinies that are also out there FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY.

T-shirts with original art from Djamilia Knopf depicting Osten Ard:

 

Isaac Stewart’s Osten Ard map as seen in  The Witchwood Crown printed on metallic foil:

 

More T-shirts with Otherland themes which will also feature in the revitalised – and hopefully thriving – Otherland MMOG (the Wicked Tribe picture from MarzKartoons is my fav thing in the whole campaign):

 

 

The campaign will last throughout March and then all the pretty things (except for the Otherland shirts) will be gone again forever. So it is now or never folks …

The Witchwood Crown nominated for Best Fantasy Novel by Goodreads

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he Witchwood Crown, Tad Williams’ latest Osten Ard novel, has been nominated by Goodreads, in the category “Best Fantasy novel of 2017”. Other nominees include J.K. Rowlings’ Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, and Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Fate.

Williams’ return to the world of Osten Ard after a more than twenty-year gap has been lauded by critics, with Den of Geek calling the novel “a rich world populated with characters that compliment each other,” while SFFWorld.com states the novel is “a weighty, emotional, and engrossing launch” and is “highly recommended”. Barnes and Noble calls it a “triumphant return to a beloved Fantasy world”. Even Kirkus Reviews, no fans of Williams’ previous works, calls The Witchwood Crown “stunning” and “virtually un-put-down-able… an instant fantasy classic”.

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The huge volume, more than 700 pages in length, was written from 2014 to 2017. Set 34 years after the end of the last Osten Ard novel, To Green Angel Tower, The Witchwood Crown continues the story, as Simon and Miriamele now rule the land over which they successfully won a war more than three decades ago. Although they have rebuilt the kingdom of Osten Ard, their lives have been shattered by personal loss. And now the shadow of a threat moves once more, as their old enemies, the immortal Norns, stir again in the far north.

The Goodreads Choice Awards is a major book award decided by readers. Goodreads members may vote for their favorites. Voting for the first round will end on November 6th.

Tad Williams & friends

Last week, on the best Friday the 13th EVER, Deborah Beale and Tad Williams came to my home town Kassel for a reading in my favourite bookstore, an evening with family and friends from all over Germany and even Austria and the Netherlands and a far to brief stay at my house.

Here is the video of the reading:

And here is the video of the highly entertaining Q&A that followed.
[Edited to add: A few days later Tad was asked if he would have been a good rockstar. His answer was a first hesitant but then heartfelt yes. This is proof.]

 

In the afternoon I had picked up Deb and Tad from the train station and we had coffee and chats in the autumn sun in front of  our house  …

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My very dear friend Q was sick and could not attend the reading. So he at least came over to have his books signed and thus gave me the chance to introduce Tad and Deb to the local incarnation of young Simon Snowlock:

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A pre-event phot- op to record our awesome matching outfits:

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On our way to the book shop we stopped at my parents’ place who had a gazillion books waiting to be signed:

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During the reading my friend and awesome photographer Frank Gerhold took pictures. These are my favourites:

And after it was all was said and done and a lot more books had been signed family and friends had food and drinks and more happy chatter:

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And thus ended a most memorable day …

“Die Hexenholzkrone 1” von Tad Williams – Osten Ard lebt

Indepth musings on Tad’s return to Osten Ard for those of you who speak German. Kudos @AstroLibrium!

AstroLibrium

„Die Hexenholzkrone“ von Tad Williams

„Sie werden einander so eng verbunden sein, wie Bruder und Schwester nur sein können, obwohl sie viele Jahre getrennt leben werden. Sie wird Länder bereisen, die nie zuvor von einer Sterblichen betreten worden sind, wird verlieren, was sie am meisten liebt, und mit dem, das sie einst verachtet hat, ihr Glück finden… Er wird einen neuen Namen bekommen. Niemals wird ihm ein Thron gehören, aber seine Hand wird Königreiche erheben und stürzen.“

Diese Prophezeiung begleitet mich seit 1994. Es sind die Worte, die im letzten Band der „Osten-Ard-Saga“ von Tad Williams hoffen ließen, dass ich „Das Geheimnis dergroßen Schwerter“ am Ende noch gar nicht gelöst hatte. Diese geheimnisvollen Worte am Tag der Geburt der Zwillinge Deornoth und Derra, die Prinz Josua und seiner Frau Vara geschenkt wurden, schrieb ich mir ebenso auf, wie mögliche Handlungsstränge in der großen Saga, die vielleicht…

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