'The Expanse' Author Saved George R.R. Martin From a Beard-snipping Fan

George R.R. Martin, author of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, recently cut back on blogging and convention appearances to focus on several writing projects, including the recently announced Game of Thrones prequel series set during the Long Night, a generation-long winter thousands of years in the past. And, of course, there's the sixth book in the ASOIAF series, The Winds of Winter.

"I have cut way down on the number of cons I attend, due to the press of work, but there's no way I'd miss a worldcon," Martin wrote on his Not a Blog. "I've only missed one in the last thirty years. Dragoncon and San Diego Comic-Con and GenCon and many other cons are now much bigger, but worldcon remains the original, and the best, the heart of the fannish community."

The World Science Fiction Convention, or Worldcon, will be held in San Jose, Calif. in August. First held in 1939, Worldcon is also home to the Hugo Awards, which named N.K. Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate Best Novel at the 2017 event. This year's nominees include novels by Jemisin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ann Leckie, John Scalzi, Yoon Ha Lee and Mur Lafferty.

While Martin uses the con to catch up with friends, editors and writers, he also announced three autograph signings. "I will sign things other than books. Games, cards, replica swords, photographs, program books, interesting body parts," Martin stipulates. "I don't sign babies, pets, or books written by other authors."

Replying to comments beneath his Worldcon post, Martin described some of the pet autographs he's been asked to sign. "To be fair, they don't usually want me to sign the animal itself. But doggie sweaters, cat collars, that sort of thing," he explained.

But babies and pets are far from the weirdest fan interaction the author's endured during a convention signing. Responding to a commenter's invented standard for weird behavior—"when the fans start collecting your bodily fluids, things have gone too far"—Martin described the closest incident.

"I did once have a fan try to sneak up behind me with a pair of scissors to cut off a lock of my hair," he wrote.

Martin's assistant, Ty Franck, blocked the beard-hungry fan and "wrestled away the scissors." Franck would later co-write The Expanse series under pen name James S.A. Corey.

It is a nice beard. Gage Skidmore / Creative Commons 2.0 Attribution-Sharealike

As commenter Vera pointed out, "People can be very weird."

"Some of it is just an excess of enthusiasm, to be sure," Martin replied. "One tries to be understanding."