Friday, 20 February 2009

GRRM speaks out about Dance

George R. R. Martin has spoken out about A Dance with Dragons, after receiving another flurry of emails from fans who 'helpfully' pointed out it had been a year since his last update. 

Here's his post in full:

"No, it's not done.

Yes, I am aware that more than a year has passed since my last update. A lot of you have been emailing me to point that out. Thanks, but really, I did know. Unlike many of you out there, I got my copies of the Song of Ice & Fire calendar, so I knew what date it was.

No, I'm not planning to update the update, for reasons stated in the update itself. Until such time as I can write, "It's done," it will remain the last update... aside from what I may say here from time to time, on my Not-A-Blog.

I made a lot of progress on the book in the first half of 2008. So much so that I was optimistic that I would be done by the end of the year. Unfortunately, I did not make much progress on the book in the second half of 2008. Indeed, I made some regress. (That Sansa chapter I talked about finishing, for instance. It's still finished, but my editor and I decided it belongs in THE WINDS OF WINTER, not A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, so it's been moved into the next book. Sansa will not appear in DANCE.)

Some of the reasons were literary, arising from problems in the narrative itself. I'm not going to discuss them here, because I really do not like talking about questions I am still wrestling with on a work in progress. It never helps. Art is not a democracy, and these are problems I need to solve myself. Having a few hundred readers weigh in with their thoughts and opinions -- which seems to be what happens whenever I post here about DWD -- does not advance the process. I'm sorry, but that's true. I know that many of you would like to help me, but you can't. I have editors and I have two capable assistants, and that's sufficient. I'm the only one who can dance this dance.

Some of other reasons for the delay have nothing to do with the book itself. They're extra-literary, arising from other things in my life. I could sketch out some of them here, sure, but what good would it do? Those who are inclined to understand would send me messages of sympathy and support. Those are not so inclined would dismiss them as "excuses," or even "feeble excuses." A few will even go so far as to accuse me of lying.

That's the part that really bothers me. For the record, I have never lied about anything having to do with A DANCE WITH DRAGONS or the series as a whole. I have been wrong, yes. I have been wrong lots of time, especially when I've tried to predict how long it will take me to complete the book, or when it will be published. Being wrong is not the same as lying. Since the very beginning of this series, I have been guilty of being over-optimistic about how long it would take me to finish the next book, the next chapter, or the series as a whole. I cannot deny that. I have always been bad with deadlines... one reason why I did my best to avoid them for the first fifteen years of my career. That's an option I no longer have, however. Or at least will not have until A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is complete.

That's the main reason why I no longer want to give any completion dates. I am sick and tired of people jumping down my throat when I miss them.

This latest flood of emails has worn down my resolve, however. So in hopes of quieting it, once more I will step into the breach --

I am trying to finish the book by June. I think I can do that. If I do, A DANCE WITH DRAGONS will likely be published in September or October.

(Yes, I am aware that I have previously said that I hoped to finish by the end of 2008. And before that, I said that I hoped to finish by June 2008, before I went to Spain and Portugal. And before that, I said I hoped to finish by the end of 2007. I know, I know, I know. No, I was not lying. I was wrong. And wrong again. And wrong before that. This time I hope that I am right. But you know, I can't swear that in blood. I write one chapter at a time. One page at a time. One word at a time. And then the next.)

That's all I have. But it's more than Amazon has, or anyone else.

The INSTANT that I finish the novel and put it in the mail to Bantam, I will post that fact here, just as I did for SUICIDE KINGS a few days ago. Until and unless you read that announcement here, believe nothing you hear from any other source.

I have made a lot of progress on the book since August 2007. Thanks for your continued support... and for your patience."

GRRM has covered some issues raised in articles around the genre blogosphere; he's stated that yes, he's made mistakes, and no, he's not lied about anything (as some deluded individuals seem to think). He's highlighted some of the difficulties he's faced in the writing and has explained why he chooses not to share these problems. Perhaps most significantly, he's - somewhat reluctantly, I feel - given a prospective publication date of September/October 2009, which is good to see. 

So, you anti-fans have got your precious update - happy now? 

GRRM has also posted a message to his 'detractors' (as he calls them - I told you he was a real gent):

"If you are not one of my detractors, this is not about you. Thanks for your support.

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.

I can and do avoid most of the online discussions, although I do regularly get emails from people eager to point out the latest URL where DANCE and I are being hashed over. I can do that, and I can screen the trollish comments here on LJ, but there's no avoiding the emails.

Some of you are angry about the miniatures, the swords, the resin busts, the games. You don't want me "wasting time" on those, or talking about them here.

Some of you are angry that I watch football during the fall. You don't want me "wasting time" on the NFL, or talking about it here.

Some of you hate my other projects. You don't want me co-editing WARRIORS or the Vance anthology or STAR-CROSSED LOVERS or any of the other projects I'm doing with my old friend Gardner Dozois, and you get angry when I post about them here. For reasons I don't quite comprehend, the people who hate those projects seem to hate WILD CARDS even more. You really don't want me working on that, "wasting time" on that, and posting about it here.

Some of you don't want me attending conventions, teaching workshops, touring and doing promo, or visiting places like Spain and Portugal (last year) or Finland (this year). More wasting time, when I should be home working on A DANCE WITH DRAGONS.

After all, as some of you like to point out in your emails, I am sixty years old and fat, and you don't want me to "pull a Robert Jordan" on you and deny you your book.

Okay, I've got the message. You don't want me doing anything except A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE. Ever. (Well, maybe it's okay if I take a leak once in a while?)"

Here's my reply."

It's pretty clear that GRRM's pissed off and upset about all this bullshit abuse he's had, so all you anti-fans can congratulate yourselves on a job well done. You've managed to upset a guy whose only crime was to write a brilliant fantasy series and give you hours of entertainment. I hope you all feel proud of yourselves. Perhaps now you'll actually go and do something constructive, rather than hurling juvenile abuse around (well, we can all hope - no doubt some of you will leave some bullshit in the comments section below, as you're wont to do).  


Balerion said...

I don't expect them to be chastened, and they'll continue on on their merry way.


ediFanoB said...

GRRM's 'detractors' will never stop.
It is part of their life.
And they deny to understand.

I really appreciate ASoIaF. It is a great series. Of course I want to read the next book. And of course it is sad to wait and wait. BUT there are a lot of other good books available.
So I prefer to read instead of writing abusive remarks.

T.D. Newton said...

Good update, and devoid of all swear words. Have to respect a guy who responds on kind to the sort of abuse he's been delivered (I can't even imagine what's been sent to his email box) for trying to do his job.

Here's to hoping the book is done & published this year. If not, well, "darn."

Word verif: "borraliz". A reptile that digs.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. We all know he's still spending more time doing non-writing than his JOB--writing. And editing? I'm sure his bud Ty does all that.

Rob Oakes said...

I had an eye opening experience the other day with a reporter that made me appreciate how utterly clueless many of the "anti-fans" are. In the past six months, we have been struggling to publish an extremely complicated research paper. It started out as such a simple manuscript, but we found something extremely cool and unexpected.

Since the results are unexpected and greatly change many things that we know about atrial fibrillation (the medical disease I study), getting it published has been an ordeal. It's now been through six rounds of peer-review, with no apparent end in site. It's also been over a year since we presented the topic at conferences and people are beginning to act like we are guilty of fraud. During the hour of the interview, I found myself fielding questions like, "Where's the manuscript? Why should we believe your claims?" Further, the reporter was downright snide and offensive while she grilled me.

While this experience doesn't nearly arise to the level of abuse that George R.R. Martin has been taking ... Nonetheless, fielding said reporters comments opened my eyes. She was absolutely and utterly clueless to the scientific or creative process. She doesn't understand how peer-review or publishing works, and she doesn't get that sometimes problems arise that require complicated solutions. Complicated almost invariably means time or money (usually both). After the interview, I started thinking about why she might be so clueless. My conclusion? She's never actually created anything complicated or involved. Unless you've worked on something big and messy, you don't understand what kinds of issues can crop up.

If anything, Fire and Ice is a complicated series. I think it's more complicated than Martin ever intended it to be and it looks as though he's trying to simplify it. (While some fans might be concerned that he'll pull a Jordan by dying, I'm more concerned he'll pull a Jordan by letting it get too big.) Making hard changes and simplifications is hard work, and more to the point, it's unpleasant and nasty work.

I dread sitting down to work on the Neverending Paper. These blog entries appear to indicate that Martin has come to dread working on his own novel. That is not a good thing, and serves as yet another reason to hate anti-fan wankers. By persecuting the artist, they may have inadvertently hurt the quality of the art.

%% Swearing Starts Here %%

Anonymous said...


It's actually kind of unethical to be speaking to reporters when your paper has not yet passed peer-review which kind of suggests that the reporter knew what she was doing.


Rob Oakes said...

The interview was in relation to components of the paper presented at a Cardiac conference, not completely unreviewed work. It isn't entirely accurate to say that it was not peer-reviewed. Just not given the absurdly over the top beating often associated with journal articles. Which, no one in my group is claiming that it has received said beating or that it has been accepted for publication. But to stop presenting the results of our work at peer-reviewed meetings, as suggested by the reporter, is simply not necessary or warranted. Both scientific meetings and peer-reviewed journals are proper forums to disclose scientific content.

If I were simply talking to the media, I could see how that would be unethical. Which wasn't the case in this circumstance. (Sorry for the strong response, but the "where's the paper" statement is starting to wear thin. The simple truth is that it's in peer-review. I can't move it to another journal because the editors won't tell me if it is going to be accepted or rejected. After multiple rounds of review lasting over a year, I feel that I am entitled to a definitive answer.)

Jebus said...

Shawn Speakman started all this latest bullshit, go blame him.

The guys at FTBG are snide arseholes but they're funny so I like 'em and don't mind their blog.

Everyone else who yells and screams and disses George or complains (including myself, I've been known to whine about that it should be done or that GRRM should update more) can go fuck 'emselves. Go read something else in the mean time and allow him to do what he does and if it doesn't get finished who cares? There are worse things in life than a book not being finished.