No Dancing, by George

There must be pigs flying over a frosty ground in Hades today, because George RR Martin announced that his long-awaited book A Dance With Dragons will be published in July of this year, though “long-awaited” may be too kind of an understatement, I suppose.  For the uninitiated, Martin is the author of one of the more popular fantasy series of recent years A Song of Ice and Fire. This forthcoming book is the fifth in the series and has been six years in the writing.

With many updates from the author claiming that he was “almost done” and that it was “coming together” and hopeful predicted publication dates of 2008, 2009 and 2010 that all had less substance than any spectre that might haunt one of his characters, it’s a little hard to get too excited.  Even though the announcement is “official” now, I’m still skeptical.

I guess I’ll believe it when I see it.  But then again, when I see it, I won’t buy it.

A Dance With Dragons

Now don’t get me wrong – the series has been great and the first book Game of Thrones is maybe the best fantasy book I’ve read. Period.  But let’s look at the series’ publication record. The first book came out in 1996, the second in 1998, and the third in 2000.  Pretty good , right?  Two years a pop.  Well, the fourth installment came out in 2005 after what seemed an interminable wait.  Forward to now and that means that for fans of the series there’s been ONLY ONE BOOK IN MORE THAN A DECADE!  Part of me recommends this series more than anything I’ve read in a long time and the another part of me is thinking, “Enter at your own risk!” Arrrrgh!

I don’t think I’m the only one to feel a little jilted by Martin.  If you go to his Amazon author page, one of the top threads is “Screw You GRR Martin!”  Readers and fans are dismayed because Martin seems to have ample time to travel the world attending convention after convention, collaborate with HBO to make a television series out of the material, as well as produce other works – seemingly do everything except the one thing that created his fanbase in the first place.  I will be very curious to see how it sells or whether people have cooled to it.  I certainly have – though I have to admit I’m really excited to see the HBO version of A Game of Thrones – so how’s that for double-standarding?

A Game of Thrones

Martin has been stung by opinions like mine (which I’m sure he been barraged by) because he claims as a writer he wants to pursue his passion and produce the best material he can and asserts that can’t be expected to be done on a timetable. I get that – I really do.  But that doesn’t mean I have to like it (or maybe more importantly, buy into it). It’s a funny thing, the relationship between an author and their fans, isn’t it?  I wonder if people were like this with Stephen King and the 6 year hiatuses between books in the middle of The Dark Tower series.  I’m sure they were.  I just came to the series after it was completed so I didn’t care.

And in a way that’s what I plan to do with A Song of Ice and Fire.  After enduring two 5+ year waits, I think I’m going to keep my personal curiosity bottled up until the end of the series (which should be book 7 or 8) is in sight.  Because let’s face it, to really enjoy it I’m going to have to start over and I’m only going to do that sort of reboot once.

Keep ’em coming, George.

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16 thoughts on “No Dancing, by George

    • I can only imagine how annoyed I would have been after The Waste Lands (which also might have been my least favorite of the series.) At least it was followed by W&G, which I loved.

      • It’s interesting to talk to readers who read the series AFTER it was done because some readers who read the books as they came out LOVED the first 4 books and weren’t as happy with the last 3… But no matter when they read the series, everyone seems to love W&G!

        • I can definitely see how the tone of the books really changed between W&G and ‘Calla’, and I have to say that I liked the first ones more — they were more dream-like and ethereal, whereas the last three were more “normal” King. Though ‘Calla’ may have my favorite scene — where Roland lets himself dance.

  1. I’m being a distrustful curmudgeon about this whole thing as well. He has made no mention of “I’m done!!” on his blog, yet the pub is tossing a date out there.

    and with this specific title, and a supposed release date only 4 months away, don’t you think the ARCs would be floating around by now and well known book bloggers would be bragging and teasing?

    like you, I am very, very skeptical.

    • Thanks for the comment, Red. I think the pub date showed up on his website yesterday — but I agree, there doesn’t seem to be any buzz, though I guess they have a month or two. We’re a little skeptical in our house that this has all been orchestrated to tie-in with the HBO series.

  2. “A Game of Thrones?” Uh….wow. That was about what?

    I’m joking, but honestly, I just gave up on the series. I figured Martin had burned out and was simply avoiding going back to the keyboard to write again. But I don’t think I have it in me to go all the way back and re-read all four books to get up to speed with the new one. For one thing, I either sold or gave away all of my old Ice and Fire books. For the other—meh. I just don’t want to. I’ve moved on. Sorry, hon. The torch has gone out.

    I’ll trust that you’ll review the new books when they come out, Steve. If you don’t, well, no love lost. :-)

    • HG — I certainly get it. I was that way with “The Wheel of Time” series. I loved the first couple of books and then the next few were oh-kay and I gave up around book 7 or 8. I just didn’t care. Apparently, Robert Jordan DIED before he could finish (something the un-svelte Martin-devotees should consider as a cautionary tale) and the publishers had to draft someone else to complete the series, which I think went to 12 or 13 books. Good grief.

      I really have enjoyed them enough that I’ll come back to them. I promise to review them from the start when I reboot. You know, in 14 years… :)

      • Never have read any of these books, but have seen two people blogging about the new one today. The other person was a lot happier about it, lol.

        And as I read your blog I was trying to think of something I’d read a couple of years ago about an author who kept re-writing the next volume of his saga … and then died before finishing it. Couldn’t remember who it was … but it was the one you mention here. And I remember the publishers getting someone to finish the series using the original writer’s notes … and fans not being all that thrilled over the outcome.

      • I thought I read somewhere that it was Jordan’s son who completed the book he was writing when he died?

        I haven’t read any of Martin’s books but I’d like to read Game of Thrones before the HBO series starts.

        I’ve been following several series where the fans kind of turn on the author in my genre of choice (Urban Fantasy). Its sad when it happens and good theatre at the same time.

        Oh, the human condition.

  3. I am even more bitter. I figure the delay between ‘first set of books’ and yet-to-be-published books has more to do with deal making (first Hollywood, then HBO as Plan B?) than writer’s block. Count me as waiting ’til ALL are published (and made-into-a-movie) before reading another page of George R-stinkin-R Martin.

    and, yes, I will watch the series on HBO…………….

  4. Imagine you’re on an open, sun-drenched porch on the island of Anguilla, enjoying the warm, steady breeze and your view of St. Martin’s hilly coast across a narrow channel of the Caribbean Sea, as you finally unwind from a hectic several months with a copy of a book your friend Steve has given you as a gift. Then imagine coming to the last page and finding out it’s only the first book of some massive, probably never-to-be-finished series.
    I’m still in therapy.
    Thanks, Steve.

  5. Pingback: 30 DoB Day 3: Favorite Series | Stevil

  6. I’m so thrilled to find folks of like mind here.
    Yes, to A Song of Fire and Ice. Yes, to The Dark Tower. Yes, to Thomas Covenant. Yes, to Earth Sea Trilogy. Ahhhhh. It’s like slipping into a hot bath.

    Fortunately with Steve-O, he published plenty of other books between those of the Dark Tower series to keep me satisfied (though I so loved those haunting earlier books in the series). And I get that authors get bored and need to write from the juicy bits of their psyches. But, I, too, cast a gimlet eye toward this “announcement.”

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