Monday, June 01, 2009

Winter is Coming... but what about A Dance With Dragons?

About all of Humanity (OK, I'm exagerating) is looking forward for the release of George R. R. Martin's new book, "A Dance With Dragons". For those who don't know anything about the book, it will be the latest in the NYT bestselling series A Song of Ice and Fire, about a land where the winters last for years, where politics is a game in which one wins or dies, and in which an ancient evil is making its way towards Civilization. Its a brilliant series, with one big problem - it never ends!

The last complete book "A Storm of Swords", was published in 2000. 2000! You know, when Bill Clinton was President and Britney Spears was sexy. Then in 2005, Martin published HALF a book - a continuation of half the story from "A Storm of Swords". Many of the most interesting characters and story lines from "A Storm of Swords" failed to appear in that book, called "A Feast for Crows". In the book's end, Martin promised that the next book, "A Feast for Crows" would appear "next year", that is, in 2006. Famous Last Words.

Back in February, Martin has predicted that the book would be finished in June, and that it would be released in 2009. This now appears unlikely.

Now, I've met Martin, and he's a Gentlemen and a really, really great guy. He's also hands down the best writer of epic fantasy today. Some of his other stuff, novels like "Fevre Dream" and short stories like "The Way of Cross and Dragon" are utterly brilliant, too.

But what Martin is making his fans endure is really too much. If Martin misses this month's deadline (which I assume is pretty certain) that probably mean the book will not be out until 2010. This means 10 years will have passed between one chapter and the next in his story. This is too much.

Now the internet is filled with defences of the series, arguing that Martin is not behind schedule, or only slighly so, or its not his fault. Some use very complicated reasoning to get there.

In my view, Martin is unfair to his fans. He is a professional writer, who simply does not write! He spends excessively large quantities of his time in other projects (I don't begrudge Martin his recreational activities, but he has edited and contributed to several anthologies in the last few years, as well as worked on a series of A Song of Ice and Fire tie ins).

I will buy "A Dance with Dragons" on Hardback the second it will come out (2011?). I will follow the rest of the books. But I can no longer recommand the series to new readers. They should wait until an era of peace and prosperity, when the wolf lies down with the lamb, and the last book is delivered.


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