Home » Books in General, Fantasy/SciFi » George RR Martin’s The Winds of Winter: no plans for publication in 2015

George RR Martin’s The Winds of Winter: no plans for publication in 2015

31 January 2015

From The Guardian:

Another year of waiting for The Winds of Winter to blow is in store for fans of George RR Martin, as his publisher confirmed there are no plans for the much-anticipated latest volume from his A Song of Ice and Fire series to appear in 2015. Instead, readers will have to comfort themselves with an illustrated edition of three previously anthologised novellas set in the world of Westeros.

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms takes place nearly a century before the bloody events of the A Song of Ice and Fire series, when the Iron Throne was still held by the Targaryens. Out in October, it is a compilation of the first three official prequel novellas to the series, The Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword and The Mystery Knight, never before collected, and now set for release in a new illustrated edition.

Martin’s publisher Jane Johnson at HarperCollins promised that fans will pick up all sorts of clues from reading them.

“The novellas,” said Johnson, “are illustrated in black and white line drawings throughout by Gary Gianni in classic style. It will be a truly lovely book, and I adore these clever, funny stories.” They “give fascinating insights into the ongoing story, from the point of view of Ser Duncan the Tall, a hedge knight, and his squire Egg – who may be rather more than he first seems,” she said. “The short novels have been previously published in separate anthologies but never put together before, and this will be a particularly beautiful edition.”

However, Johnson confirmed that The Winds of Winter, the next novel in the series that has been filmed by HBO as A Game of Thrones, is not in this year’s schedule. “I have no information on likely delivery,” she said. “These are increasingly complex books and require immense amounts of concentration to write. Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers.”

Link to the rest at The Guardian

Perhaps his memory is flawed today, but PG can’t remember another story in a major newspaper announcing an author would not be publishing a book.

Books in General, Fantasy/SciFi

173 Comments to “George RR Martin’s The Winds of Winter: no plans for publication in 2015”

  1. Well, I’m officially done with this series. I find it ridiculous to wait several years for a book that will undoubtedly be hugely bloated and nearly incomprehensible because of it.

    Besides, Jon Snow is likely really dead (though we might not even truly know the way these books have been going). He’s the only character I really gave a damn about anyway.

    • Bloat is right. Fire and Ice is right up there with Wheel of Time and other massive series. Maybe Amazon can create a new sub category under “Fantasy” called “Never-Ending Stories” or “Fantasy Soap Operas”. The stories just keep on going for decades, like those old TV dramas, without any real advance in the plot.

      • The stories just keep on going for decades, like those old TV dramas, without any real advance in the plot.

        That is why I gave up on The Wheel of Time at about volume 5. The various sequels kept diving into side issues with no progress – none – on the terrible and grandiose problem presented in the first volume.

        I became convinced that the rest of the series would be side issue after side issue, and that either the primary problem never would be solved, or else it would be unsatisfactorily solved in the nth volume, when the author no longer cared about it.

        I never started the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Not my cup of tea.

        • Everyone in our household stopped reading Wheel of Time at book 5 for the exact same reasons. Although now that Brandon Sanderson has finished the series, I have considered going back to read the rest of it. I haven’t gotten low enough on other reading material to be motivated to do it though.

          People are completely paranoid that Martin is going to pass away before he finishes the series. That said, Jordan’s publishers and Sanderson proved that it can be carried on successfully (and GoT likely will be finished even if Martin’s not the one to do it, because unless there’s something totally unusual legally speaking, the publishers own the rights to that story and can finish it).

          I’ve only read the first of the books. Not long after I read it, I swore off reading incomplete series. Too many of them were being abandoned by authors, publishers, or both.

      • Most writers of really long ‘doorstop’ fantasies lose their way in the second half of the story, and wind up taking far longer than expected to finish. Tolkien himself, when he was 31 chapters into writing The Lord of the Rings, told his publisher that it would take ‘at least six more’ chapters to finish it. It turned out there were 31 more, so he was exactly halfway through at the time. And we all remember how the Harry Potter books turned from tidy little YA books into morbidly obese tomes as the series went on.

        If anyone is interested, I have written about this problem, and what lessons we writers might learn from it, in a little piece called ‘Zeno’s mountains’.

      • I ended up skimming a lot of book 4 and 5 in GoT, but there is frankly no comparison to the pointless exercise that is Wheel of Time, which I initially loved. I stopped reading with book 6, for the reasons Ney-Grimm above named.
        It seemed quite obvious to me that the Jordan had been asked or had decided, to stretch out a successful series as long as humanly possible, by following side-loops and refusing to move the central thread forward.

        Whatever complaints you can make about GRRM, the series continues to progress forward along the central story-line, and GRRM will finish in 2 more books.

        • and GRRM will finish in 2 more books.

          Unless he doesn’t. He is on record as saying that seven books is a firm limit ‘until I decide not to be firm’.

          • He’s unusually extroverted for a writer, imho. He adores conventions and all the attention that has come along with the series. I think, honestly, given the option, he’d continue writing it for the rest of his life.

            For the 30 minutes a week that he spends on it anyway, in between personal appearances. 🙂

      • Wheel of Time is the greatest epic fantasy series ever written. In fact, it is so good that I will never need to read another one. There would be no point. My time would be better spent rereading Wheel of Time to appreciate the bits I missed on first reading.

        There should be a word for the dread one feels when one gets to the 85% mark of a book and realizes that nothing will be wrapped up and that one has been suckered into reading the first book of a trilogy.

        If you want to read fantasy by someone who can write a complete story in one book, check out Steven Brust. (And if you like trilogies or 5-book series, check out Steven Brust’s The Phoenix Guards.)

        (ETA: Nothing against GRRM. I read Tuff Voyaging and thought it was really fun.)

        • I second the rec of Phoenix Guard. It’s a wonderful pastiche of The Three Musketeers. I’m in awe of Brust’s style in that book — the flowery narrative and absolutely baroque dialogue carry me right through every time. 🙂

          Angie

          • I adored The Phoenix Guards and its sequel, Five Hundred Years After. Truly awesome stories – rich setting, brilliant characters, engaging plot, and incredible humor. I re-read them every few years. I didn’t like the sequels after Five Hundred Years nearly so well, however.

    • Um, Jon Snow appears in the Season 5 official trailer…

      • Season 5 is still covering books 4 and 5. The Winds of Winter will be book 6.

      • I’m not talking about the TV show, which I haven’t seen. I’m talking about the books.

        While I’m here, another series I have no interest in any more is S. M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire. Could have been beautifully done in three books, yet is still going and going and going…

        • I gave up on the Dies the Fire series after the fourth book. Maybe I’ll pick ’em up if he ever finishes.
          The alt series that follows the people of Nantucket (or wherever it was) thrown back in time was interesting, but again, just fizzed out in the end.

        • It is?
          I was hoping he’d finish and get back to Nantucket.
          Then again, I wouldn’t buy even if he did.
          Not now.

    • Jon snow isn’t even remotely dead. I could spoil it all for you if you want. Can tell you who his real parents are, too. 😉

      I’d rather wait years for a truly excellent, long book than read a rush job hacked out to satisfy complaining fans. Martin is a master at world-building and manages a pretty turn of phrase, too. Well worth the patience.

      • I agree. And somehow given the world and the successions and the wars, I’ve never been surprised at the body count. I never supposed for a moment that George was killing off characters at random any more than any good writer would do.

        These books have given me a look into the lives of many unforgettable and complicated characters, of whom Jon Snow, much as I like him, is one of the least complex (and that doesn’t harm him at all as a great character). Some of these people I liked immediately. Some I disliked pretty quickly, but he taught me to know and love them over time. Some I never liked, but damned if he didn’t make me understand far, far more about many of them and feel for them despite my dislike. And of course there are a few really good unrepentant villains. And an amazing world. And a whopping good story. George knows the major plot points up to the end, and so do the HBO producers. And he’s right there to give input. He’s a TV veteran. They’re not going to run out of story.

        And no, Edward and Eric, it’s not a soap opera that will go on without end. Every storyline is going somewhere, and will get there at the author’s own good time. And like Libby and a lot of other folks, I’ll be there waiting for each book as it comes out.

      • Libbie, you have inside information about Jon Snow surviving? Because he’s attacked and goes down in the last book. Also, the common assumption is that Ned Stark is his father (though I believe he’s taken the boy in for some reason, he’s still a Stark), mother unknown. Again, insider knowledge from the next book?

        Hm.

        • I can’t answer for Libbie, but as a writer I know that putting a character into a seemingly-inescapable situation at the end of a book is a great way to create a cliffhanger. If Jon Snow is actually dead, that ending would be a terrible cheat, and I’m pretty sure George knows enough not to do that.

          As to Jon Snow’s parentage, I can think of at least a couple of reasons why Ned might have raised him and had him believed his bastard rather than reveal his parentage. I’m looking forward to finding out the answer to the mystery in its time, but I don’t think that the “common assumption” is necessarily the truth of the story. I love a mystery.

        • All I can say is R + L = J. Go down that rabbit hole if you wish. I’m a believer in that theory for Jon, until George shows us otherwise. Ned is most likely not his father.

          • One thing to keep in mind is that Jon also bonded with a dire wolf, just as the rest of the Stark kids.
            Thematically it fits in with the family crest and the series title. I suspect that interesting things will happen when he comes face to face with the mother of Dragons.

  2. The PR folks say the delays are caused by his great attention to detail, but I doubt it. If GRRM was still enthralled with his own series, he would have dug in and finished these babies over a decade ago. He would have felt an inner compulsion to do so.

    It has been 18 years since Book 1 was copyrighted (1996) and 4 years since Book 5 came out. I can’t imagine spending two decades on just one series. Just finish it off and move on, GRRM. Don’t turn this into another Wheel of Time. That series took from 1990 to 2012 (and 2 authors) to complete.

    • My understanding is that he gets too sidetracked with other things and doesn’t get any writing done. At one point last year, he (or someone representing him, possibly an HBO exec I think?) said he was finally going to stop spending so much time at Cons and would not be actively working on the TV show season 5, so he could spend more time at home actually writing book 6.

  3. I don’t read his books for one simple reason, he’s too free with his axe. I want to love characters and I want them to be there tomorrow.

    So looking at this from the outside, it cracks me up when he says, (from his non blog)

    “The announcement will be straightforward and to the point. I won’t time it to coincide with Xmas or Valentine’s Day or Lincoln’s Birthday, the book will not rise from the dead with Jesus on Easter Sunday. When it is done, I will say that’s it is done, on whatever day I happen to finish,”

    I kind of adore the old coot.

    • “I don’t read his books for one simple reason, he’s too free with his axe. I want to love characters and I want them to be there tomorrow.”

      Robin,

      Amen.

      I hope other authors take note of this stricture. Far too many are lopping off heads of good characters in a misunderstanding of Hemingways dictum.

      brendan

      • And yet, it’s one of the most successful series of all time.

        I don’t think the body count is the issue. If the series were complete by now, we’d have all finished it.

        • For me, and Brendan Stallard, and Robin, and Dianna Dann Narciso, and Edward M. Grant, just to mention people in this thread who started ASOIAF but dropped out, the body count is the issue, or one of several issues. Even if the series were complete, we would not have finished it, because we lost interest. So it is unquestionably not true to say that we would all have finished it.

          • Okay, not everyone. But of those made it to the end of book one, i’m guessing a lit more people would have forgiven his murderous impulse in a complete set of 5-7 books.

            There’s plenty of folks who didn’t lipove Potter’s tone who completed it because it was a romp, and because it kept coming out.

            Of course, I can’t prove anything.

          • I agree with Tom. I stopped at Book 5. It just wasn’t worth it to me any more. I started watching the series, but stopped after season 2 because it became clear to me why I stopped reading the series to begin with.

          • The body count was only part of it. I found it grim, depressing, and overly wordy. I quit at whatever number book A Storm of Swords was.

            If you want short, fantastic, excellently written fantasy, pick up any of Patricia McKillip’s books. Her more recent are Alphabet of Thorn (my all-time favorite), The Bell at Sealey Head (a Jane Austenish fantasy novel that utterly works!), and Od Magic. All three are wonderful, as is her early work like The Riddle-Master trilogy.

            McKillip never disappoints. I wish she wrote more, though.

          • I read the Riddle-Master trilogy years ago and love it. Will definitely try some of her newer stuff! Thanks, Meryl.

      • Yes, this. I read the first book and it was just so depressing I didn’t want to read anymore.

    • That’s why I have little interest in watching the TV show any more. I don’t really care about any of the remaining characters, and there’s little point in caring when he’ll just kill them off for no good reason.

    • Yeah, this is why I didn’t start Song of Ice and Fire. I’d been warned, so I knew it wasn’t my cup of tea. I read something else of his instead and I liked it.

    • Absolutely.

      I quit reading after the Red Wedding. (I think that’s in the third book, but it’s been a while and I don’t remember for sure) I need to have characters to root for and have little to no interest in reading “anti-heroes”, which I feel 90% of his characters are. After a while, it just becomes numbing. Like shock treatments in an insane asylum.

      • I was so mad about the Red Wedding! What is it with writing characters that are all so horrible? The few I could relate to end up dead. The books were just so depressing all around it became a trial to finish one without becoming suicidal or murderous myself.

        And I don’t care how successful the series is, or how much money GRRM made from it, or hey, there’s a TV series, or any of that. I’m still entitled to not like the way the books are going, and not read them anymore.

  4. The shannara books from Terry Brooks have been going on since the late 70s. But at least he has had the forsight to end old and start new story arcs over the years.

    • Yep this is the right way to do it – build a great world, and write multiple series in it so people get a “finished story” each book (or small set of books). David Eddings did the same.

  5. Are you frackin’ kidding me??? I am so done. I thought I was done before but now I’m really really done. Done. You hear that GRRM?
    I agree with Eric. I think he’s waiting for someone else to finish it. Besides, he’s pretty much killed off or backburnered any character I cared about.

    • I actually don’t think he’s waiting for someone else to finish it. I think I remember him saying, years ago, that no one else would be finishing it (in response to people making comments about his age and/or the state of his health, implying he might not live to finish it). Personally, I think he’s just a discovery writer who started writing something huge and although he has a vague idea of where it’s going, he doesn’t really know how to get it there. So he’s making it up as he goes, which requires lots and lots of rewriting. And the books are super long, which makes the rewriting take looooonger.

      • I think that’s a fair guess Claire.

        One thing I wonder, is who is his editor and what kind of editor is it? one that helps or one that has marketing breathing down his/her neck trying to dictate [without polling actual readers, lol] what they think/know in their own minds, will sell.

        I wonder because of comments here about ‘unfinishability’ of reading the books. What is the issue the editor is bypassing or veering the author into?

        I agree with the remarks about potter books too somehow losing blood as they went along, I think it must be quite a challenge to write so long… but also Maud Montgomery’s series and many many more, including the huge Michner raft of researchers-written novels… I wanted to not just read but remember what was in Poland, and in Hawaii, but all I remember is in Hawaii the completely creepy christian missionaries abused the native people. But, we already knew that from our own relatives. I wonder too, how much readers might remember of actual LOR book, if the films hadnt been made. It seems to me that far more remember the film… or GRRM’s tv operas.

        • “I wonder too, how much readers might remember of actual LOR book, if the films hadnt been made.”

          USAF,

          I read the books and then it seems to me-straight after the series was on BBC Radio4 which is a universally admired theatrical performance of the LOTR.

          I’m pretty certain I had a very good memory of it from both book and radio.

          I saw, I think, 1 and 2 of LOTR at the movies. I quite enjoyed parts of 1. The casting of Orlando Bloom as Legolas coming out of the hedge was astounding-he was perfect. The cinematic view of the arrival of The Balrog was also shocking and terrific. The rest, ho hum with all that CGI.

          brendan

          • What a wonderful testament Brendan. Also, I did not know there was a radio show/theatrical of LOR. Wow. I wonder if it is avail anywhere. How cool would that be?

          • wow, thanks for the link Brendan

            for some reason the interface here wont let me reply to your comment with the link, so hope you see my thanks to you up here.

        • I wonder too, how much readers might remember of actual LOR book, if the films hadnt been made.

          Back in 1997, years before the first film came out, in a survey of British readers conducted by Channel 4, The Lord of the Rings was voted ‘book of the century’. In 1999, a survey of Amazon customers chose LOTR as the book not of the century, but of the millennium. For confirmation of these facts, I can point you to a Salon.com article which was itself published six months before the first film was released.

          I assure you, Tolkien’s work was very well remembered indeed for half a century without the aid of the films; and it seems altogether probable that the books will go on being read when the films have been forgotten.

        • Re: Potter… I’m pretty sure that as she became more popular (and thus more powerful), the editing just slowed to a trickle by book 4 and stopped completely from book 5 on. There were entire chapters in the last few books that had no reason to exist, and any good editor would have insisted on their removal prior to publication. The Empress had no clothes, but nobody was going to tell her that. 🙂

          • The problem, as I see it, is that editing has a negative effect on a mainstream author.

            At the point you’re a phenomenon, people want bigger, and they want more. Anything else is a disappointment.

            At that point, an editor is just interfering. Steven King’s the Stand was the experiment that proved it.

          • At the point you’re a phenomenon, people want bigger, and they want more. Anything else is a disappointment.

            With the last few Potter books, it was more that editing takes time and people want it RIGHT NOW. So they pried Rowling’s first drafts out of her hands the minute they were done, and rushed them to press pretty much as they were.

            This, too, is an occupational hazard for writers who blithely blow through their deadlines.

          • That’s my take on it too, Mia. Book 5 could have pruned and made into something truly worthy, IMO. Books 6 and 7, I didn’t really care too much any more, but I wanted to get to the end. I learned my lesson about that – about wanting to get to the end – be careful what you wish for.

          • Well, I can really only speak for myself as a Potter fan, but I thought the last two books were the best and most enjoyable. And Goblet of Fire (the first BIG one) seems to be extremely well regarded in the Potter fan community.

            I really enjoyed the longer books in the case of Harry Potter. It meant spending more time with the characters and learning more about the world.

          • Another vote for liking the longer books as much as the shorter. In fact, the first… basically three, and definitely the first two, were more episodic, like she (or more probably, the publisher) didn’t know for sure whether they’d be popular enough to do the whole series arc, so the early books were essentially stand-alone. Once it was obvious how popular they were, she started adding more larger-arc stuff, plus more worldbuilding and more characterization. Worked for me.

            Angie

          • @Sarah McCabe

            I liked the last book most of all. I think I even re-read it. A lot more depth and character development than the earlier ones which seemed to me more surfacey action adventure. I like my action adventure to have a little more to it.

      • I think he’s waiting for the television writers to finish the stories for him. Besides, the last two books were, as someone else mention, unreadable tomes. Felt like slogging through quicksand. Gave up on Harry Potter after book two.

        • “Another vote for liking the longer books as much as the shorter.”

          Angie,

          Absolutely. I was so sick of reading the horrible things parents give to kids, (The brothers Grimm, et al,) that I deliberately read, “War and Peace,” when I was 6 years old. I’ve carried that with me ever since. I get “lost,” in a long work.

          brendan

      • He might say nobody is going to finish it… but unless he has a really unusual publishing contract, the publisher owns the rights to the characters etc., and since he originally signed in the 90s it’s doubtful.

        There is SO much money in these books the publisher will absolutely see them finished, if not by Martin, then someone else.

        • unless he has a really unusual publishing contract, the publisher owns the rights to the characters etc.,

          I’ve seldom heard of a publishing contract that gave a publisher ownership of the characters or setting, except when it was a work-for-hire deal. Non-compete clauses can restrict writers from doing more work in the same series for other publishers, but it’s very rare that they go so far as to give the publisher the right to farm the series out to other writers.

          • All the cases of series continued posthumously by other authors that I know of were contracted by the estate of the original author. The publisher might shovel money around to enable it but if the estate digs in its heels the sequels won’t happen.

          • Mr. Torres:

            This is true in all the cases that I know of, too.

          • The first name is there for a reason, sir. 😉

      • Maintaining continuity in a series of that length must be a nightmare unless you’re super-organized. Tolkien had some trouble with that, too, as I recall.

        Various database/note tools would help, but Martin seems to be a bit of a technophobe, so I don’t know if that’s an option for him.

        I personally believe that Martin does have a specific end in mind (and have some ideas about what that might be), but I think he may be stuck finding a path to get there.

        • “All the cases of series continued posthumously by other authors that I know of were contracted by the estate of the original author.”

          Felix, (anyone)

          These series continued posthumously, do any of them achieve literary or reader satisfaction-as opposed to publisher/commercial success.

          I’ve read a few of the Bond/Bourne type, and I was much less than impressed.

          I rather think for decency that once the writer is gone, that should be it. No matter how disappointing it is.

          brendan

          • As a rule, yes.

            But rules have exceptions.
            For all the antics of the Doyle estate, the world would be a tad poorer if Sherlock Holmes had ended with the author.

        • He may be a bit of a technophobe, but he hires someone who is not to keep his database.

          • Well, he has the guy who keeps the best SOIAF website as a consultant, anyway.

            But I’m coming to think Martin’s insistence on using 80s technology to write his books is far more of an excuse than anything else.

            And why, really? I can see some genuine utility in process that incorporates drafting on a manual typewriter, but you could easily find a dozen tools that go far beyond any genuine value you could get from sticking with WordStar.

          • I don’t know about technophobe so much as resistant to changing what works. If my fingers had to put out what his do I’d sure be happier with something that I was so familiar with I never had to think about how to make it do the things I want done.

  6. If the TV show is anything to go by, it’s a fantasy soap opera. Soap operas rarely end.

    • The TV show, to date, has been about 90% faithful.
      The one time they departed from the intent of the book they took massive flack.

  7. I’ll wait, and pick up the collection mentioned in the meantime. I still have to watch the first four seasons of GoT anyway. =)

  8. I understand your rage, everyone, but I have just one word for you: Arya.

    I will continue reading about Arya until Arya is no more. So whether that means waiting 5 years or 10, I’m in.

    • That’s the ticket! That little sociopath better be riding a dragon in whatever final battle GRRM cooks up. With zombie Hound riding shotgun.

    • Yes! A friend loaned me the books, and I ended up skipping the bits about all the other characters to read the sections that were about her. What a nasty bunch of people in those books. Either violent and evil or wimpy whiny victims. (At least that’s the impression I got from skimming the great majority of every book).

    • That’s the thing, people read for their favorite characters. But characters get axed indiscriminately. Every time someone’s favorite character or the last character that they cared about dies readers are lost.

      Personally, I never liked Arya. Honestly, I never really liked anyone except Eddard. As soon as it was clear that no one was going to step up and be as awesome as he was (I had hope for Rob… yeah) I stopped reading.

      • I’m also not a big Arya fan — a little too “spooky serial-killer” for my tastes (I’m not saying she doesn’t have reasons for being that way).

        Eddard was okay.

        Even though he has his flaws (and how), Tyrion is the most consistently interesting and entertaining character to me.

        He’s also one of the few characters that you figure wouldn’t kill you on a whim.

        He’d kill you if there were something significant to gain, of course, but probably not simply because he didn’t like the shirt you were wearing that day.

        • I liked Tyrion! He was the most normal, human character in the whole book. You could understand why he’s the way he is, considering his family.

          Arya isn’t a favorite of mine, I think she’s tipped over the edge into crazy after everything that’s happened to her. Don’t like Stanza, either.

          I miss Ned. Sucky way to go. 🙁

  9. I love the books and have no plans to stop reading. If I thought a beloved character (who clearly has a special destiny in the series) was dead every time a cliffhanger book ending made it appear so, I’d have stopped reading a lot of good series prematurely. I’m really sorry I won’t have a new volume to read this year. Maybe next year. On I go.

    • I cried – I was 9 – when Sherlock Holmes went over the Falls with Moriarty.

      But then I got the next book (a family friend was lending them to me, in Mexico, and I had to walk a long way to get them).

      It wasn’t until later that I learned Conan Doyle was trying to get away from his creation.

    • Same for me. I’ll buy it whenever George is ready to sell it. And I don’t think the character in question is dead either. I think there are 3 characters who are endgame and safe until the last book, and he’s one of them. We’ll see if I’m right… someday.

      But I’m not going to lie–I’m happy HBO is going to start giving me some of the story GRRM isn’t in the meantime. I think major plot points will follow George’s plan. So even if I can’t fully trust them anymore because they seem to be cutting Frey pie (OMG I HATE YOU FOR CUTTING FREY PIE), if D&D tell me who Jon Snow’s mother is, I’m going to believe them. 🙂

      • Jen, go back and read A Game of Thrones again. GRRM drops a ton of clues of who Jon’s mother is. But it’s only a crumb at a time so few people have noticed.

        • I need to know. Tell me. TELL ME. 🙂

          • Elka it’s the spoiler of all spoilers. I will link you the best telling of it by ComicBookGirl19

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIIzuqIRB2g

          • That’s so great. Thank you.

          • Thanks for the link, Uncle Jo! One of DH’s friends has been bugging me to check out ComicBookGirl19.

          • She keeps me connected with what’s going on in comic book land and movie land. We have similar tastes but not too similar, so I get a lot of good recommends through her. Like She Hulk. Super powered attorney! Check out the Dan Slott run and the recent 12 issue (2014) run.

            I’m working on a super hero series with a female protag, so I’m a fan of CG19 from various angles.

            Her GoT and Prometheus videos are the best on the web. Her side kick Robot and cat Kufu are also fun characters.

          • @Elka

            If you ever want to talk ASoIaF, contact me. 🙂 My cousin Frank shoved the first HC into my hands at his brother’s wedding reception in 1996 and whispered, “You have to read this!”

          • @Suzan
            It’s sounds like your cousin is a lot like mine, even though he doesn’t introduce me to the new books, but to the new shows. Have dropped you a line.

  10. And Kindle has revitalized the novella.

    Dan

  11. “Kindle has revitalized the novella.”

    Dan,

    Perhaps for some.

    I’m much more inclined to read a doorstop novel in an ebook version because it’s easier to hold.

    The novellas-nah, not fer this reader.

    brendan ($109 Kindle 80+ audible in january 2015)

    • Maybe novellas are not for you, but they are for some. That’s what matters.

      The rise of the ereader and digital downloads has fractured the market. Everybody is now a niche writer. Some come to this realization slower than others.

      You read what you like. I’ll read what I like.

  12. I say let the guy alone. He made his big mark and is chilling out now, or maybe he’s hard and work and having the internal problems so many writers face.

    Do your thing GRRM and be happy. You’ve made it. Thanks for the books and especially the TV show.

    If Sanderson has to finish it that’s no biggie.

    • Chances that Tor will release Sanderson from his cage to finish the best-selling fantasy property of Bantam: Zero followed by an infinite string of noughts. (Unless, of course, RHP merges with Macmillan.)

      Meanwhile, I’m old-fashioned about these things. If an author is being paid millions to tell a story, he has an obligation to bloody well finish it.

      • Old fashioned? More like alternate reality.

        The ego on people is astounding on this topic. The feeling that GRRM owes anyone anything is lunacy especially after he has given so much.

        • Oh, he doesn’t owe me a damned thing. I threw Book 3 across the room after the Red Wedding and never looked back. By that point, every character I liked was dead except for Jon Snow, and it was pretty obvious that he was killing them purely for shock value.

          But he has contractual obligations to Bantam and HBO, and he’s not living up to them. Go say rude things about their ego if you want someone to be snotty to.

          • Tom are you saying you’ve seen this contract or are you just fabricating obligations to fit your “old fashioned” world view? Whatever that is.

            You are a smart guy Tom but you are doubling down on b******* here. Pretending to know how GRRM should and shouldn’t behave, what he has and hasn’t promised. Conflating moral obligation and contractual obligation.

            Poor Bantam and HBO, getting screwed over because GRRM is not a stand up guy and lacks that old fashioned work ethic that beat the Japanese. Lol.

            Hear that Georgie! You’ve been judged and found lacking. Ha. Okay I’m just having fun now.

          • Tom are you saying you’ve seen this contract or are you just fabricating obligations to fit your “old fashioned” world view? Whatever that is.

            I’ve never seen a publisher’s contract that did not contain a deadline for delivery, and I have read a number of times of delays to scheduled release dates for this particular series – release dates that would have been met if Mr. Martin had made his deadlines.

            You are a smart guy Tom but you are doubling down on b******* here. Pretending to know how GRRM should and shouldn’t behave, what he has and hasn’t promised.

            Well, he promised HBO that he would be done writing the books in time for them to be adapted for TV. HBO is already scrambling for a Plan B when (not if) he fails to meet that obligation.

            Conflating moral obligation and contractual obligation.

            Here’s a hint for you: If you sign a contract, you have a moral obligation to fulfil your contractual obligation. There is nothing to conflate. But maybe that’s part of my ‘whatever that is’ worldview that you are incapable of understanding.

            Poor Bantam and HBO, getting screwed over because GRRM is not a stand up guy and lacks that old fashioned work ethic that beat the Japanese. Lol.

            Tell you what. You make a contract with Bantam or HBO and blow off the deadline by several years. See if they ever choose to deal with you again.

            What you appear to be saying is that Mr. Martin can do whatever he pleases, and has no obligations to anyone, contract or no contract, because he is too big to be held accountable for anything. My God. I’m glad I don’t have to do business with you, if that is your idea of business ethics. I’d lose my shirt, and you would laugh at me for expecting you to deliver.

          • No I’m saying that stuff is between him and his business partners who are making hundreds of millions off that property. Judgey internet warriors slamming him like they know the situation enough to declare him immoral are being righteous and ignorant.

            I suppose you picture GRRM as sitting there on his fat duff ignoring all of this. That would be immoral, sure, lazy. But that’s not what has happened. That’s just what you imagine is happening. He’s put a ton of time and effort into the show to make a huge success. Writing, directing, promoting. Missing deadlines is such a minor thing when HBO and Bantam are making out like bandits.

            I’m not responding to you so much Simon as I’m responding to the bazillion keyboard warriors out there spouting the same nonsense. Pretending to know what GRRM should be doing with his life. Acting like blowing deadlines and being writer’s blocked is some big f*** you to fans and HBO or something. It’s ridiculous.

            I will agree that blowing deadlines is a moral failing but it’s so minor and common place I can’t believe anyone would damn a person for that.

            EDIT: I imagine, probably rightly, that the pressure to produce something that lives up to the hype of his previous entries is a huge ball of fear and pressure that is stifling his writing. If that’s the case I don’t find it immoral, but rather sad and unfortunate, and I wish him well.

          • I’m not responding to you so much Simon as I’m responding to the bazillion keyboard warriors out there spouting the same nonsense.

            Then go and respond to them. If your response does not apply to me, then kindly refrain from using me as a lay figure on which to vent your spleen.

            I will agree that blowing deadlines is a moral failing but it’s so minor and common place I can’t believe anyone would damn a person for that.

            Repeatedly blowing deadlines by a matter of years is neither minor nor commonplace. Rumour saith that Mr. Martin will be the first inductee into the Dilatory Writers’ Hall of Fame – if they ever get round to building it.

            If you’d like a contrasting example, consider Tolkien. Yes, it took him vastly longer to write The Lord of the Rings than he first anticipated: 12 years instead of the projected one or two. But he had no contractual obligation to provide Allen & Unwin with a sequel to The Hobbit. He did have an option clause in the Hobbit contract, but he discharged that by submitting five other books or partials to them, every one of which was rejected. At that point, he had neither a legal obligation to his publishers nor a moral obligation to his readers, for he had not published part of any story and promised the rest for later delivery. And he made absolutely no attempt to market The Lord of the Rings until the entire manuscript was finished; nor did he ever ask for, or receive, any advance against royalties. His dealings with both publishers and readers were conducted with scrupulous legality and punctilious honour.

            Or if Tolkien is not to your taste, how about Heinlein? There we have a writer who wrote and sold dozens of science fiction novels and stories (with an aggregate sale in the tens of millions of copies), some on spec but most on contract. He was decades into his career before he ever missed a publisher’s deadline by even one day; he justly regarded this extreme dependability as one of his best selling points in dealing with those publishers. When at last he did miss a deadline, as I have read, it was because of a life-threatening illness – a series of TIAs brought on by a blocked carotid artery, which made him incapable of working at all. Heinlein was at least as gregarious as Martin is, and in far more demand at SF cons and other public events; but he always made time to meet his obligations – and if he suspected that he would not have the time, he did not undertake the contract.

            No, Sir, I have not the slightest sympathy for George R. R. Martin. If he is in a pickle with HBO, he put himself into it.

          • Tom I think you make good points. I think it’s just a matter of degree. Blowing deadlines, yes that’s a problem. I just don’t see anyone being harmed. I’m not ready to call him out as a failure or an immoral person or whatever. He’s already sat down with HBO and told them what happens. They’ll make their money and so will Bantam.

            I’m more about saying thanks for what he’s done, if he needs a break then fine. So I guess that’s a double standard. But it’s one I’m comfortable with.

            If you think about it though, something is going on in that guy’s head. He’s paralyzed in his writing for some reason. I theorize it’s the pressure.

            I think it’s people like you applying that pressure. And that’s where I think you are in the wrong. Actively in the wrong. Not just wrong headed, but actively causing a problem by decrying him.

        • Ego? Really? To state that I’m not happy with the way the series is going, and that I’m not interested in waiting umpteen years to finally read the next book? Funny thing about being a reader. I have opinions.

          Whatever.

          At this rate, _I’ll_ be dead before GRRM finishes book six, and the universe knows when the final book will ever be done. All I guess I can do is hope to reincarnate as somebody who gives a damn, and maybe I’ll read the series in the next life.

  13. Maybe he is living his life the way he wants to live it, and is writing what he wants when he wants.

    Maybe he has decided he’s in charge. Kind of like those independent authors who hit the Amazon upload button when they want..

    • Head nod.

    • Maybe he has decided he’s in charge.

      Then maybe he shouldn’t have signed contracts that specified deadlines.

    • Sounds like it’s time for the “George Martin is not your b****” meme, courtesy of Mr. Gaiman.

      http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2009/05/entitlement-issues.html

      • George Martin is not your b**** or mine, but he is most definitely HBO’s b****. And if they run out of plot for the TV series because he can’t be arsed to get the next book out in time, they are going to have a very legitimate beef.

        • He’s told them how it ends, in case something does happen to him.

          • That’s some consolation if he dies; but what if he lives, and the 2015–16 television season rolls around, and there is no new book for that season’s episodes to be based on? That, at present, is by far the likelier outcome. In fact, based upon this latest announcement, it seems virtually certain.

        • George Martin is not your b**** or mine, but he is most definitely HBO’s b****.

          Colonel Bat Guano: “You’re gonna have to answer to the CocaCola company!”

        • According, at least, to public statements and interviews by Martin and by the showrunners, HBO already knows what they’re going to do. They don’t actually need him to write the rest. (And they’ve veered from the books in so many places now that I doubt they COULD stick slavishly to his original plans anyway.) The books, if they do end, and the show might get to the same conclusion, but I’d be very surprised if they hit all the same stops on the way. And that’s not the biggest deal of all time. Very rarely do the audiovisual and written media match exactly. I can’t remember the last time I saw a book and the film/show of the book do the same thing. Sometimes both properties still turn out pretty acceptable. Just ask Cressida Cowell.

          My suspicion has always been that this isn’t the story of individual people, but of the fate of the world — a world undergoing a sort of Ragnarok, about to be reborn. As there’s only one character left that I actually like even slightly, and yet I still find myself completely addicted to finding out what happens to the named nations at least, I’ll be clinging to that belief. (I’m hoping they all Balkanize and the Iron Throne gets smashed to bits. I’d also like a smallfolk revolution and the installation of a Parliamentary system with elected representatives, but let’s not get crazy here.)

          • Jacintha, that’s very good. If I had looked it with that mind set I might have been able to go down this path with GRRM. in fact it gives me hope that I might actually read the series some day looking at it through those lenses. That’s very good. It makes the whole story bigger then the individual characters.

      • Martin is no one’s b****, that’s true. If he doesn’t want to write, he doesn’t have to write.

        But fans aren’t his b**** either. If they want to complain, they have a right to complain.

        I stopped worrying about when the next book will come out long ago. Life’s too short. If the next book is published, I may still be interested enough to buy it.

        If it’s never published, I won’t lose any sleep over it.

      • I really hate that meme because it ignores the reality of the writer-reader relationship and in doing so throws all its weight behind the myths of traditional publishing.

        No, Martin is not any reader’s b****, but if he expects to have an audience buying his books then yes he has certain obligations to his readers. One of those obligations is to finish the frelling story that the readers have been spending their hard earned dollars on before those readers get fed up with his inability to keep his butt in chair.

        • He can expect whatever he chooses, but that places no obligation on him.

          We might say it is necessary to write books if one wants an audience.

          But there is no obligation to do what is necessary to fulfill his expectations. His expectations can remain unmet.

  14. “Maybe he is living his life the way he wants to live it, and is writing what he wants when he wants.”

    Terrence,

    Yewbetcha. I’m 64, most of the bills are paid-and I’d get right shirty if anyone told me I couldn’t go round and get glad handed by all them lunatic fans if I’d written me a big series like that. It must make him think he did something worthwhile.

    He looks pretty lived in, rode hard, put up wet, he must have dough in the bank.

    I’d do what the hell I wanted at that point. If I wanted to write, I would. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t.

    Sod ’em, for Gomorrah we die!

    brendan

  15. Martin can do whatever he wants, but it’s disappointing to watch his book series sailing off into the sunset.

    I’m happy that television will give us a finished version of the stories, but it would be better for novels as a medium if he buckled down and got the writing done. A finished series would bring a lot more people to the novel format.

    Martin’s an inveterate pantser. He’s chosen to do it the hard way, but having made that choice, I think he should put in hours it would take to finish it.

    That’s my opinion. He doesn’t owe me anything, but I’m guessing it would be better for him as well. I love watching Rowling’s post-Potter career. What an interesting place to be!

  16. “I think he should take up astronomy.”

    Terrence,

    Oh, I wish. I’ve done course after course, but I just can’t get the damn calculus. Too Ficke:)

    brendan

  17. After all I’ve read from authors here saying they don’t owe readers anything… This is one giant boo hoo party.

    Boo boo, he kills off chars and I refuse to read or watch anymore. Boo hoo he takes too long to write. Boo boo he takes 800 pages and doesn’t move the plot the way I want.

    And yet it is probably the most popular TV show ever, the books are hugely popular, and they’ll stay that way without you. The amount of butt-hurt here is epic, but it’s author butt-hurt over another author who is more famous than all of us combined, so not surprising.

    • You think there might be jealousy at play Travis? Perhaps.

      I feel kinda bad for the guy. The pressure to be brilliant is probably paralyzing.

    • And yet it is probably the most popular TV show ever

      Don’t exaggerate. For the fourth season, HBO is claiming an average audience of 18.6 million ‘including all repeats and on-demand viewings’. About half of that figure represents first-run viewers. This is a record-breaking figure for HBO, but mediocre by the standards of the broadcast networks. More people watch an average episode of Big Bang Theory on the night that it first airs, than watch an average episode of A Game of Thrones over the course of the whole year.

      And that’s just comparing it with current series, when there are hundreds of channels competing for viewers. Biggest of all time? It is to laugh. By way of comparison, 9 million viewers for a first-run broadcast translates roughly into a Nielsen rating (not share) of about 4. In 1986-87, The Cosby Show had an average rating of 34.9. In 1971–72, the ratings king was All in the Family with a 34. Of course nobody will ever top the ratings of I Love Lucy, a 67.3 average for the whole 1952–53 season; but the number of TV households in the U.S. at that time was so small that even a huge rating did not mean an audience in tens of millions. But every year at least since the 1960s, it’s safe to say, the networks have produced multiple series that were more popular than A Game of Thrones has ever been during its run.

      the books are hugely popular, and they’ll stay that way without you.

      So what? There are a great many people who have stopped reading the series at some point or other. Their opinions don’t count because some other people haven’t?

      The amount of butt-hurt here is epic, but it’s author butt-hurt over another author who is more famous than all of us combined, so not surprising.

      You’re a fool, Mr. Hill, but we already knew that. You cannot imagine any reason why a writer would dislike a book except envy and ‘butthurt’. The idea that some of us dislike the books as readers, that over-the-top violence and non-stop betrayal are not our cup of tea no matter how many other people happen to like them, does not even occur to you.

      I suggest you stop pretending to be a mind-reader. You are really astonishingly bad at it, and it makes you look grotesquely foolish.

      • I don’t understand why you always seem so angry, Tom.:(

        • How do you normally react when someone calls you ‘butthurt’, accuses you of having a ‘boo hoo party’, and otherwise abuses you in public, because of a difference of opinion – and then makes no attempt to justify or defend his own opinion?

          Frankly, I’m angry because I keep having to deal with a few particular idiots who think they are my categorical superiors in every respect, yet have no way of demonstrating this alleged superiority except by insults. Wouldn’t you be angry if you kept having to deal with people who treated you with total contempt?

          • No Tom. It’s the internet. You don’t have to deal with anyone.

          • I usually snort and go on, because I had my fill of internet drama years ago. At my age, I’ve reached the “don’t give a damn”stage about many things. 🙂

            But you do realize that Travis didn’t single you out, don’t you? He was stating his thoughts about several comments, not just yours.

      • In the early days of television, there were only three channels (for the most part). Comparing percentages of viewers from then and now is not a good way to say which shows are/were more popular than others.

    • Who said authors don’t owe readers anything? Not me. I owe readers a good story, and do my best to tell them one.

      Why do you feel the need to be nasty to people who have done nothing more than express perfectly valid opinions about something? Who made you the proper response police? You don’t like reading our opinions, back out of the comment section and find something more to your liking?

      Pity there’s not an ignore function here.

      • Producers owe consumers a quality product if the consumers buy it.

        Producers have no obligation to produce the product so consumers can buy it.

        So, in the absence of a product, producers have no obligation to create it.

        The fact that an idea is carried in an opinion doesn’t matter. The idea is fair game regardless of how it is packaged.

  18. Look, for my part, I couldn’t care less. I think the world is richly developed, and the first book was pretty good. Since then, it’s felt like steadily drying cement, and I long ago gave up on it. It’s not often the movie version is better than the print, but this is one of those times. Still, people can like and enjoy whatever they want, whether they really like it or whether they’re just jumping on the bandwagon like people so often do.

    That said, he can do whatever he wants as allowed by his contractual obligations. BUT, as someone who couldn’t care less (and probably thinks HBO will do a better job writing the ending anyway), I will say I think behavior like this is less than commendable. Displaying such disregard for the fans who made you a millionaire is a d*ck thing to do. And convincing yourself your books are such meticulous masterpieces that it takes years and years to write them is uncontrolled egomania.

    He’s entitled to do what he wants, just as people are entitled to have their own opinions on all of it.

  19. I’ve seen worse. The writer of the evangelical knockoff didn’t release the second book in his generic fantasy ripoff series because he was too busy stalking people.

  20. Ah well, there are too many books to read and I’ll be lucky to live to be 95. That means I can’t possibly even scratch the TBR pile in the next 50 years.

    If Martin’s series never ends or gets finished or whatever, there is plenty more to read out there.

    I can see author’s getting tired of people demanding things of them, but I also see some validity to the consternation among others. When you see Book 1 of X series, you assume there will be a book 2….

    That said, I hardly think anything is worth getting the blood pressure up for…. I’m a Mets fan – disappointment is a lifestyle.

    • One great and beautiful advantage of baseball over some other entertainments is that games may be called on account of rain, but no game was ever called on account of ‘To Be Continued’. Nobody ever had to buy another ticket to find out the final score.

  21. My daughters are still beating me up verbally for refusing to read any of the Harry Potter novels before the series was complete. I saw the movies as they came out, but I wanted the experience of reading the entire set nonstop. I think it took me about three weeks and the fam survived on take-away pizza.

    • I have a friend that’s the same way. There’s no guarantee a series will continue. He has yet to watch a single episode of GoT, and he’s a huge fan of the genre.

      My only fear is he won’t live to see the series complete and will never see the best show I’ve ever seen. His fear is that he’ll get into it and then wait in agony week after week and year after year.

      I see his point.

      Sometimes I yearn for the old Star Trek model. Adventure of the week. Maybe a weak season arc. Firefly had that.

      • Honestly, I think the failure of big name fantasy writers to write their stories in a timely fashion to the point where fans have to worry about them dying before it’s done has made A LOT of fantasy readers become more leery of long series. I see that sentiment a lot more often lately: “I don’t want to start it until it’s actually finished.” A sentiment I understand all too well, but it is a bit worrying for fantasy writers in general.

        • If each book is satisfying within itself I’m happy to read them as they come. I have read a lot of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Saint Germaine books and at one time was quite depressed because her publisher was no longer putting them out. But I didn’t feel like I had been left hanging. Now she’s up to about #27 and I own most of them in hardcover.

          If I find out through a review or just chatter that there is a cliff hanger I wait until the series is finished before picking up the first one. This has been my policy for ages.

  22. (Raises hand from the back of the room): Uh, might I suggest another fantasy fix to keep y’all occupied while you’re waiting for GRRM to finish up with his series? It’s the SIX KINGDOMS series and I promise you that any one of the three books to date (a fourth coming soon)is as well-written as Mr. Martin’s and at half the length, with twice the narrative octane. True, the books lack characters with names like Stark and Jon Snow but I understand the author of the series has a thing about giving his characters names you can find in the employee directory at a Home Depot. (Sits back down again).

  23. OK, I complained about GRRM upstream in the comments (as a reader) but I must confess that my own epic series is going rather slow. Book 1 came out in 2013, Book 2 comes out later this year, Book 3 & 4 in ?2016? Yeah, I’m slow at this series, but at least I’ve done other writing. Took a break to write shorter works (finishing off my Ways of Camelot series by this Spring, etc. etc.) and stuff under a pen name.

    There, I confessed my own GRRM moves. I really need to speed up my writing pace on the fat fantasies. Now back to complaining as a reader 🙂

  24. Man, all you folks saying you won’t read his books because he gets gritty and kills characters… Don’t read my next Egyptian series! You’ll hate it. But it’s not my fault. It’s history’s fault!

    • I think it’s a question of what does the audience expect.

      Fantasy audiences don’t expect main characters to die right and left without any real meaning other than “Surprise! Your favorite character is dead now.” Martin has admitted that he did it for the shock value.

      An audience of historical novels dealing with political intrigue would, I would think, know to expect a fair amount of death, surprise or not.

  25. Well, I’ve never read any of his books. I find some fantasy novels just too stuffy and sloggy and I like the fantasy genre. I plan to write in it. We all have our own reading tastes. There is probably a fantasy out there to suit everyone. It matter little to me how long he takes as I don’t have any plans on reading his work or watching the TV show. It’s just not to my taste.

  26. Is it true, or just an urban legend that fantasy/SF writers can’t write just one book? These stories always seem to end up a five-to-seven-part trilogy.

    • I’m a fantasy writer. So far, although there are connections between my books, each one stands alone.

    • For SF and Fantasy, you spend a lot of time developing a world to set the story in. Writing multiple stories in that world is much easier and faster than developing a whole new world each time. It’s little different to say, historical fiction writers specializing in one period of history where they’ve already done extensive research.

    • The problem the last couple of decades has been advice from agents NOT to write stand-alone genre books because they’re harder to sell. I heard this personally from two agents: “Great proposal (or book, or synopsis, etc.), but I’m not going to be able to sell it without being able to say that it’s the first of a series.” That happened with both fantasy and mystery works.

      Now, of course, that’s not a bar to publication, but I think that advice didn’t come out of nowhere. Readers like series, and series guarantee a publisher at least SOME future book sales.

    • What Bridget Said. [nod] I attended an SF convention panel like… eight years ago? Somewhere in there? about writing series, and the concensus of every writer on the panel was that the “right” way to do it was to write a linked-story-arc series, and that the connected-stand-alone series wasn’t even worth talking about. In fact I remember a few seconds of snark about it before they moved back to talking about “real” series.

      I don’t remember who-all was on the panel, but the one name I do remember has won a couple of Hugos, so we’re not talking about a bunch of ignorant newbs.

      And just because this is PG’s place, I’ll mention that they all agreed that when you pitched your, say, five book series to your publisher, it was common to be asked, “How would you stretch this out if we wanted seven books?” or “What would you do if we only gave you three books? Or one?” and that this was perfectly normal and you’d better be able to stretch or compress your story to fit the number of books the publisher wanted to “give” you. Yet another nail in the coffin of any desire I might’ve still had at the time to sub to the BPHs, ’cause that right there? That’s b*******. [sigh]

      Angie

  27. I like connected-stand-alones. As far as I’ve seen (by being subjected to the audio book version of THE WHEEL OF TIME by my husband), these books aren’t like that. I love reading continuities. For some reason, Eddings’ “Belgariad” didn’t bother me this way. Maybe because I was aware going in that there were only five books?

    • I like connected stand alones as well. Discworld is one of my favorite series and a great example of how a good series doesn’t have to be a continuous story.

      • Not to get too off track but a few of you mentioned Terry Pratchett…. His discworld series is very long. In retrospect if you were going to start it for the first time today would you start with the very first book and work forward? I wouldn’t ask this if it were say mystery they tend to be pretty straight forward but you never know with fantasy writers. 🙂

        • I would, because I’m kind of neurotic about book order, but I don’t recommend others start at the beginning. I usually recommend starting with something like Thief of Time, Hogfather, or Going Postal or any of the ones about the Watch. But it really doesn’t matter all that much where you start.

          • I normally am also but as I say a long series written by a fantasy writer can turn on itself in ways most others don’t. I’ll start at the beginning. Thanks Sarah. 🙂

        • I wouldn’t recommend starting the Discworld books at the beginning. It’s just a matter of taste, but IMO the Rincewind books are the weakest, and the series starts with them. I read the first book, and I think started the second, back in the late 80s, said “Meh,” and wandered away. Then tried again in the 00s after watching an animated Weird Sisters and liking it a lot. I’ve now read all of them, and still don’t like the Rincewind books. The “Ancient Civilizations” books are okay, but not great. My favorites are the “City Watch” books, followed by the “Witches” books, then the rest fall down to merely “really good.” 🙂 Don’t miss the YA books — Tiffany Aching is great.

          Angie

          • I think what I’ll do after reading both comments is read one of the ones that was specified as a good one and if I like it I’ll go back to the beginning and satisfy that part of me that has to have it all.

            Thank you

  28. I’ve often wondered what there is about GRRM in particular (whose persona certainly seems affable) that makes his pace so controversial compared to the pace of other writers.

    #1 NYT bestseller Diana Gabaldon, whose audience is probably as big (or nearly so) and whose Outlander-series books are of a similar length, takes about as long as GRRM does between Outlander releases (her books 4 through 8 have all had 4-5 years between releases, and her series has certainly included some cliffhanger endings that readers wait years to see addressed, as well as mysteries/questions established in book #1 (released 1991) that still haven’t been resolved or answered. But although there’s bound to be some reader irritation, I don’t ever see anywhere near the level of anger and vitriol directed at her that I routinely see directed at GRRM (let alone constant specliation about whether she’ll live to finish her series (though she’s only 3 years younger than GRRM and, unlike him, has made very little reference to having a concrete end in sight for the end of her epic series, whereas GRRM does seem to have a finish-line in mind).

    I can think of other writers (though not necessarily such big megastars) who are very slow and/or very far behind on books and/or take several years to write a roughly 400K-word sequel. But I can’t think of any others that attract the anger that GRRM does. I’m curious about why, since I don’t see what’s different enough about him to incite this.

    • Maybe it’s not the writers, but the audiences they cater to. There maybe some cross over between the two but my guess not that much.

    • There are some of us who’ve commented who aren’t in any way vitriolic, but have just expressed that we were no longer (or never were) interested in the series for whatever reason.

      There’s nothing even personal in that, it’s just an opinion about the work, not the man who wrote it.

      FWIW, I gave up on the Outlander series after book 5 as well – too many reviewers complained about the cliffhanger at the end of book 6 and now (it appears) in book 7 as well. Due to the nature of her historical research, Gabaldon needs time to write her thick books, and I don’t have anything against that. But I just kind of lost interest after book 5.

      • I wasn’t soeaking of readers who simply say they’ve lost interest in the series, but of the vitriol regularly directed against GRRM.

        Many of his “fans” unkindly refer to him as Fatman rather than as GRRM, Martin, George, etc. Not in a teasing/affectionate way, but while complaining that he’s so fat he’ll die of a heart attack before finishing the books, and expressing anger that he’s watching football games instead of writing GoT #6, or traveling to cons instead of writing it, or releasing other stuff instead of writing it, and accusing him of trying to milk cash from his readers with these extra projects while they wait years between GoT books, and claim he doesn’t care about the series and is just milking readers for cash by dragging it out, etc., etc. I was on a panel at a con a decade or so ago with GRRM, and I was shocked by how rude an audience member was, insisting GRRM tell her how the series would end so that she didn’t have to wait for the books to be written. GRRM politely declined… yet this reader wouldn’t accept his answer, sit down, shut up, or let us move on–she just kept repeating angrily that he had an obligation to tell her NOW how the story ended, that it was WRONG for him to expect readers to wait on the next book.

        None of this is stuff I recall seeing with other writes. Some readers get vitriolic toward them about the contents of the series (Hamilton, Harris, Gabaldon, Evanovich, and others have all been subjected to amazingly angry online commentary over the contents of their books–I don’t just mean harsh criticism, I mean people getting personal, accusatary, and venomously enraged at the authors), but GRRM is the only one I can think of who attracts such venom simply for being SLOW.

    • Part of the vitriol aimed at Martin may be because readers see other authors putting out 250,000 to 350,000 word books annually.

      For instance, David Weber writes military SF with political intrigue, and is able to produce a 250,000 word novel every 9 to 15 months in two major series with the occasional standalone or smaller series novel. He has gotten into the “series creep” that seems to hit long running series.

  29. “I don’t ever see anywhere near the level of anger and vitriol directed at her ”

    Laura,

    I don’t know if she still does it, but when Compuserve was hot, she had a forum and spent plenty of time interacting with fans and wannabes. I’m pretty certain that forum went onto the wreckage of what followed Compuserve.

    I started reading one once-and I was shocked at the er, bonkbusterating nature of the text. It was explicit and ferocious. I’ve not seen writing quite like it.

    brendan

    • I do think Gabaldon has been smart about maintaining connection with fans and making fans feel included in the work. She has always regularly asked research questions online and engaged in discussions of her research with readers throughout the writing process. Her Acknowledgments in each book often include readers who’ve answered her questions or offered expertise.

      She also frequently posts individual scenes or snippets online from her current MS, so readers see-and-know that she’s working on it and progress is being made. Which is also smart, IMO, when you’re going 4-5 years between releases. Readers are perhaps less inclined to claim you’re just goofing off on the money made from previous books if they regularly see proof that you’re moving forward on the current WIP.

      Additionally, most (all?) of the additional or side projects Ganaldon works on are related to her Outlander series, so when she releases a new short story or novella or graphic novel or shorter novel, they’re always about Outlander characters in the Outlander world, and so many of her readers are interested in them. There are fans who complain they’d rather she skip all that and JUST write about the two main characters in her main book series, but a lot of readers seem to feel they’re getting good “snacks” between the big books by the author releasing these projects.

      Hugh Howey is absolutely right IMO (along with others) in his criticism of the scarcity model of publishing. The day after a book is released, you start getting reader mail saying, “I read it last night. When is the next one due out?” But you don’t get many complaints if you’re releasing a book every single year in a series. When going 4-5 years between books, though, as Gabaldon does, I think she’s employed some smart strategies.

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