(Man, George Martin really does have a fire under his ass now.)
Let the whining about the next book not being finished begin!
This does indeed look pretty incredible. I dunno if Martin will be able to finish the books in time for the end of the series–assuming the show lasts that long–but the people behind the show are talented writers, and I don’t think I’d have a big problem with them finishing the story on their own.
Next book is apparently only a couple chapters from completion. And yay, that looks awesome!
Shall we start circulating the petition to bring it back from cancelation now, or would it be better to wait until the first episode airs?
@supergp: I’m new to the Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire bandwagon, but it does seem as if Martin has a habit of promising that the book is almost finished when it isn’t. However, I bet his publishers would really, really like a fifth book to be hitting the shelves around the time the TV series airs, so there’s that pressure. And Martin does sound pretty convincing when he says it’s nearing completion. So, fingers crossed.
(I want to make clear: I am not bitter or angry at Martin for taking his time. His fandom can be utterly obnoxious, whiny, and entitled, and it drives me crazy. Five years is not an unreasonable amount of time to wait for a 1000+ page novel. That said, obviously I want to read the thing as soon as possible.)
Five years is not an unreasonable amount of time to wait for a 1000+ page novel.
Actually, at this point it seems the primary problem is that the book is over 1500 pages and they’re trying to figure out what to cut and delay into the sixth book.
I pretty much feel about /any/ fantasy series at this point that I get them when I get them and I’m happy to get them at all. It does help that Steven Erikson puts out at least a book a year and those are much fun.
@MGK: right. I think Martin recently said he was chopping a whole bunch out and moving it forward to the next book, but yes, it seems like editing is a problem. “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one”, and all that.
@Josh R: I know HBO has a thing about canceling shows too early, but it does sound like Rome and Deadwood were flukes caused by a change of management. I think they’ve even said that they wouldn’t have canceled them if they had the chance to do it over, despite the expense. And GoT is apparently, suprisingly, less expensive than Deadwood, at least so far.
I also have to figure that the success of Walking Dead bodes well for this.
Yeah, but didn’t he say that about the last book? I’m only buying that story for so long. I think this is why my boss just reads romance novels.
Two things; five years isn’t an unreasonable amount of time to wait for a thousand pages, but five years for the chopped-out other half of the previously written novel might be. And at this point we’re looking at something like ten-year cycles in-between character sightings; that’s… problematical. Especially when you end TWO characters in Feast on cliffhangers.
And I confess I don’t worry overmuch about Martin finishing the books in time to catch up with a potentially-successful TV series; I worry about him leaving the series completely unfinished. He’s said multiple times that if he goes out, he’s going to do it like Roger Zelazny (with no notes and no answers) only unlike Zelazny, HE will make it as legally impossible as he can for anyone to play in his garden. (Although in Zelazny’s case, that would have been a good thing.)
People talk about Martin as if he were building a house or digging a ditch or something–like it’s just a matter of putting in the effort. As if just had to physically type out 1000 words and he’d be finished. And they act like the fact that he claimed it was basically finished five years ago is this huge betrayal.
But it’s completely logical that he could look at what he’d written and realize that it needed much, much more revision than he’d originally thought. That’s how writing works, sometimes. It’s not about filling X number of pages, it’s about making sure everything hangs together properly. It’s more like a Rubik’s Cube–it doesn’t matter if you’ve got 95% of it in the right order, if that last bit doesn’t match up you’re going to have to rework.
And gee, is it a shock that Martin’s a little hostile to people who essentially say “FINISH THE BOOKS BEFORE YOU CROAK YOU FAT FUCK”? I mean, where did that “Martin’s going to die any minute now” meme come from anyway? I especially like the implication that it’s OK if he dies AFTER finishing the books. That’s got to make you feel really well-loved, as an author. If I’d gone through that, I might want to give a fuck-you to my “fans”, too. Not that I believe that the series would legally remain unfinished, especially with the possibility that the people making the TV show would need to continue the story past book five.
Seriously, the level of vitriol amongst Martin’s “fans” is one of those things that looks borderline insane to anyone looking in from the outside.
If he doesn’t hurry they’re gonna have to get Brandon Sanderson to finish them. *cough*
But seriously, the problem seems to be less with Martin and more with his editor (or lack thereof). The series wasn’t originally slated for seven books but he keeps adding and adding and changing what each book will be about, seemingly without anyone telling him to cut it out.
That said, he’ll have about 4 and a half years to get the next book done, and another on top of that to have a seventh..and given the “well it’s cuz he has to move stuff from five to six” talk is true, six will be much faster.
Still, hurry the fuck up *mad*
It is wholly reasonable that Martin would be not just a little hostile, but wholly dismissive of people who take a massively entitled attitude towards his work. It is equally reasonable that he be hostile and dismissive towards those who seem to expect he spend every minute chained to his desk, and to those who insist he work only on SOIaF and nothing else; no Wild Cards anthologies, no awesome Jack Vance stuff, no short stories. Those people are choads. I’m pretty sure that’s non-controversial.
Martin is in his early sixties. He’s released two major books in the last decade. There are at least three to go. That puts him into into his mid-seventies. And while he is not in ill health, he is not what you’d describe as ‘robust’. I don’t feel its unfair, as a fan, for me to feel like he ought to have a Robert Jordan (born in the same year!) style plan in his drawer, rather than him having said, point-blank, ‘If something happens to me, if I’m hit by lightning, the series will NEVER be finished and you will never know what I intended.’ That seems like sort of a dick move on his part.
I also used to be annoyed that someone who admits he can’t write for shit while traveling goes on multiple months-long trips a year, but for the past three or four those have ALL been business related with the exception of a few short vacations. Flying around for all the Game of Thrones shoots must have been exhausting.
Honestly, he’d probably get a fraction of the vitriol without the blog. That doesn’t make seizing upon every ‘Wild Cards’ update as some fresh betrayal less absurd, but it’s the nature of courting the internet beast.
Having said that, the success of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ does not retroactively make Wild Cards a good series. It’s not. It reads like a GURPS Supers game where nobody at the table minded if you brought your weird fetish into the session. Martin should spend his time in whatever way he feels is best, but judging the quality of the work he produces (or edits, in this case) does not a sense of entitlement make.
After watching this latest trailer, I am sorely tempted to either add HBO to my cable plan, or get my parents a DVR so that I can have them record it for me to watch over at their house.
But, see, Murc, the problem is that Martin’s fans all have this sort of dead pool going, which is kinda messed up. I mean, if I were George R. R. Martin and people were constantly talking about my imminent death, with the implication that they only care because I hadn’t finished the books yet, I might want to make a fuck-you statement like that as well. It’s like all the cranky things Alan Moore has been saying lately…try and see it from his perspective.
Again: I seriously doubt that the books wouldn’t be finished in some form or another. If Martin did say that (and I’m only hearing this now, from you) I suspect he’s just doing it to torment all the ghoulish folks who don’t seem to care IF HE DIES.
The problem is, in many ways, that Martin’s fans aren’t a single monolithic hivemind, nor do they have a single driving emotion.
I can only speak for myself. I got into the series only recently (about a year or so ago) because of the release of the RPG. So, maybe it’s just that I have only had this one book to look forward to, since previous books have also had some time between them.
There are a number of conflicting emotions at play. First is just flat out admiration. I want another book because the books are so good … he has done such a good job that I just want more, which is at least one way of measuring success of a book series … that the reader is anxiously awaiting what is next.
There is frustration, not just in the matter of there being time between the releases, but the seemingly exponential expansion of the novels. The books become bigger and bigger, split into more and more books. While, if it reached an end, most would probably be disappointed and want more … it does seem to some extent that the delay is because of the expansion, as stuff is being saved for later books, etc … it does seem like a bit of torture.
Related to the expansion is that as the story goes forward, the scope is constantly growing. It isn’t just about the Stark’s and the Lannisters. Minor characters, or areas previously unexplored become their own main characters with their own stories and chapters. Groups of characters are split up, each following their own stories, etc … A few die, but when two books are happening more or less simultaneously and split by geographical region … you know you have a LOT of characters spanning a LOT of ground. It’s a lot of plates spinning all at once. It does seem, to some extent, that it would have been easier to reign things in a bit. More characters in more places means more work … and it also means longer time until the next book comes out AND longer time before the final book is done, etc …
Is it selfish and entitled to want the series completed by it’s original author instead of being left incomplete because of his death? Yes, it is. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t something people would actually feel and worry about. While it isn’t exactly the same … how many people refuse to watch a new TV show until they can pick up the full season on DVD … or that won’t pick up a comic, but only read the trades. To some extent, it may just be convenience, but for some … it’s not wanting to get an incomplete story.
Ultimately, I don’t know GRR Martin very much. He doesn’t really owe me anything, and I’ve paid for the books, and I enjoyed them, meaning that both of us have pretty much lived up to our sides of the bargain. I’ll admit, I would be disappointed if GRR Martin died with his series incomplete. And if he died with the series complete, I’d probably feel about the same ammount of emotion as I did for the recent death of Leslie Neilson. My connection to both is basically through their work. I look back fondly at their work, feel a saddened that there will be no new work from them, and sort of bittersweet happiness that they were able to live a long and happy life.
But really, I rarely think about the books (more so now with the TV series). I’ll be watching it, and probaly will have a number of “the book was better” grumblings to go along with it, but ultimately there are enough entertainment sources out there that I’m able to move on to something else. I’ll probably pick up the new book within a week of it coming out, but until then, I’m not going to lose sleep over it.
But really, if you have even thousands of fans that each once ask you when the new book will come out, it’s easy to see what is genuine interest and a desire to see more of your characters and world as a bunch of ingrateful jerks hounding you to get back to work. It’s a matter of perspective, but I guess I’d rather know that people anxiously await my work than to hear a deafening chasm of indifference.
All I know is: “Winter is Coming.” Ranks in the top ten badass one liners.
Holy crap there is a lot of sword-drawing in that 😛
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