So there’s been this huge controversy-ish-type-thing on the nerdternet over the last couple of weeks, people being pissy at George RR Martin for not finishing A Dance With Dragons, the fourth book in his A Song of Ice and Fire cycle sooner. John Scalzi weighs in on the matter, and offers some wise words:
Give the man a friggin’ break. Yes, it’s taking a while. Yes, he’s doing other things. But I assume it’s taking time because GRRM believes it’s worth getting right, and I assume he’s doing other things because we wants to stay sane. Let the guy do what he needs to do to make himself happy, and happy with the writing. You’ll benefit from a book that you’ll actually want to read, as opposed to a book that is simply there to have.
In other words, you’ll get something more like A Game of Thrones and less like A Feast for Crows.
Am I as frustrated as any fan out there by George’s slow pace on ADwD? Sure. I’m eager to see what happens next, moreso because the next volume will focus on my favorite characters: Jon Snow, Tyrion and Dany. One of my problems with A Feast for Crows was that, apart from a few Arya chapters, none of the characters I care about most were in it. I didn’t particularly care that Cersei was slowly but surely going bugshit crazy, at least not enough to read several chapters from Cersei’s POV about it. Brienne, the Maid of Tarth, is an interesting supporting character, but was dull as dogshit as a POV character. I want A Dance with Dragons soon, but I also want it to be good.
Still, the waiting is aggravating. But…waiting is all any of us can do. There’s this absurd idea rippling through certain nerds out there that GRRM owes them something. Which, to be honest he does – but it’s not what the Idiot Fanboys seem to think it is. GRRM doesn’t owe you eighteen hours a day doing nothing but hacking away at the book we’re all waiting for. He doesn’t owe you THE BOOK YOU WANT, NOW. What he owes you is his best work. That’s all.
Or is it? In response to the whole kerfuffle, GRRM himself writes:
I have to admit, the rising tide of venom about the lateness of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS has gotten pretty discouraging. Emails, message boards, blogs, LJ comments, everywhere I look (and lots of places where I don’t), people seem to be attacking me, defending me, using me as a bad example of something or other, whatever.
Well, boo-fucking-hoo, George. You said back in 2005 (nearly four years ago!) that ADwD was half-done and would probably come out in 2007. I’ll defend your right to spend Sundays watching football, and to go to conventions and go on vacation and work on other projects as you see fit. But in this case, you’ve been hoist with your own petard.
And the fact is, you do owe us one other thing, George. You owe something to everyone who walked into a bookstore, saw A Game of Thrones on a shelf, said, “Good title,” and picked up the book. You owe something to everyone who had A Game of Thrones pressed into their hands by a friend who, wide-eyed, exclaimed, “You gotta read this!” You owe something to everyone who opened up that book and started reading about brothers of the Night’s Watch and Jon Snow finding a litter of direwolves and fell into the world you made.
And what you owe us is an ending to this story. And the first step on that road is to deliver, at long last, A Dance with Dragons. You have the right to be pissed at the insane fanboys who think you shouldn’t be watching football or doing anything but writing the book. But you also have to be flattered – because what’s really happening is that you’ve got a huge group of fans who are simply desperate to find out what happens next.
So please don’t leave us hanging.