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Monday, May 06, 2013

Now he's just screwing with everyone

George Martin announces a new book in time for Christmas.  And a Westeros book, no less!
George R R Martin fans will have a new book for Christmas, with HarperVoyager releasing The Wit and Wisdom of Tyrion Lannister. The book was announced at HarperCollins' showcase of autumn titles to retailers, held on Wednesday evening (1st May). The small, gift-format hardback title will gather together "clever and naughty quips" from the popular character from the A Song of Ice and Fire series, played in the HBO series by actor Peter Dinklage.
At this point, our best hope for ever seeing the series resolved may be for him to kick off sometime after Book Two is released, somehow leading to me being asked to finish the series by Harper Collins.  I'll have to think about how I'd go about fixing all the unnecessary loose ends he created in tying the Mereen Knot, but I think the first thing I would do is kill off Reek and the Bastard of Bolton in an unfortunate accident involving chicken bones, a rich cheese sauce, and a sadistic feast-orgy.

The first fifty pages would make the Red Wedding look like a meeting of the small council to discuss regularizing the issuance of tax-farming licenses, as I methodically removed every tedious and extraneous perspective character added in the last two books from the mix.  Basically, I'd take the approach that David Brin took to the Second Foundation trilogy built upon the flimsy framework of the two Gregs, Benford and Bear, and do my best to quickly paper over the mess of the previous two books in order to get on with the story.

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59 Comments:

Anonymous SFWriterMustache May 06, 2013 4:38 PM  

My advice... take a lesson from TV dramas like Lost or Dallas....

It was all a dream... or time travel. ..but REBOOT time.

Anonymous Alexander May 06, 2013 4:47 PM  

Indeed. And Ned Stark awakens and concludes being the Hand of the King is a really bad idea.

Anonymous TWS May 06, 2013 4:47 PM  

Anyone at this point is better than Martin. It's his 'Monster That Ate Poughkeepsie'. When fanfic starts to look better than the author's own work you know somethings wrong.

Anonymous Josh May 06, 2013 4:50 PM  

I'm two thirds of the way through a feast for crows, is it worth slogging on through to the end? Also, is a dance with dragons worth reading?

Anonymous . May 06, 2013 4:51 PM  

Ned Stark awakens and concludes being the Hand of the King is a really bad idea.

Ned Stark awakens and says, screw honor, let the bloodbath begin! Death to the Lannisters and all their bastard spawn!

Anonymous . May 06, 2013 4:52 PM  

two thirds of the way through a feast for crows, is it worth slogging on through to the end?

No, it's horrible, I'm surprised you got even that far.

I reread the whole series again before ADWD but didn't bother with that botched abortion.

Anonymous . May 06, 2013 4:53 PM  

As for ADWD, well, you can pretty much skip to the end.

Most of it is a long travel story in which the characters go places but never actually get there. Blech.

Anonymous VD May 06, 2013 4:58 PM  

I'm two thirds of the way through a feast for crows, is it worth slogging on through to the end? Also, is a dance with dragons worth reading?

Yeah, probably. Definitely not. Finishing Feast will convince you that there is no need to read Dance. Dance is worse. Considerably worse.

Anonymous Josh May 06, 2013 5:02 PM  

No, it's horrible, I'm surprised you got even that far.

It's been a considerable challenge.

Blogger vandelay May 06, 2013 5:02 PM  

He's just trolling us at this point, right? I mean, what other explanation could there be?

Anonymous Josh May 06, 2013 5:10 PM  

He's just trolling us at this point, right? I mean, what other explanation could there be?

He's obviously stuck and can't seem to write his way out of it, so he's going to stall until he dies.

Anonymous Eric May 06, 2013 5:20 PM  

Josh,

I'm almost in the exact same place and I've been stuck there for about a month and a half. I've read a bunch of books in the interim including Dave Barry's Peter and the Starcatchers series. Not Narnia or Middle Earth, but certainly better than Westeros at this point.

Anonymous Lars Walker May 06, 2013 5:29 PM  

This is the most hopeful thing I've read in a while. Even if it is daydreaming.

Blogger RobertT May 06, 2013 5:40 PM  

Martin is going mainstream. Like Mattel and Disney. Now we're getting spin-offs like Ken and doll houses and corvettes. Or Clarabelle Cow and Goofy. Next year maybe we'll get the opportunity to buy a bobble head of Martin himself.

Blogger vandelay May 06, 2013 5:41 PM  

Judging from some interviews with Martin I've read since ADWD it sounds like he might know where he went wrong, though he's not explicitly admitting it. He's said that he's not going to split the characters up again, and everything does seem primed to start heading towards some kind of final confrontation/resolution. The fact that one of the Winds of Winter sample chapters is an Arianne viewpoint and another is Asha doesn't really bode well though. I mean, who gives a damn? The only secondary (or is it tertiary?) plot I'm interested in is Victarion/Euron.

Anonymous Emperor of Icecream May 06, 2013 5:48 PM  

You guys are still reading Martin's endless crap? Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Anonymous Daniel May 06, 2013 6:07 PM  

See, the problem with this solution is that the handlers wouldn't let it pass. When I was a little kid, I expected a total housecleaning during the then infamous "Mutant Massacre" for the one (or it might have been two by that point) X-Men comics.

Instead, it spawned 14 jillion new mutants (culminating in a guy whose "mutant power" was dealing playing cards.) and about 19 spinoff comics.

You solution will lead to A Game of Thrones breakfast cereal. Now with real chicken bones!

Blogger vandelay May 06, 2013 6:12 PM  

You guys are still reading Martin's endless crap? Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

We deserved that.

Anonymous Sean May 06, 2013 6:15 PM  

I haven't read any Martin, but if he's half as nihilistic as I've heard people describe his books to be, I would be surprised if he isn't screwing with everyone and milking this for as long as he can.

Anonymous Pinakeli May 06, 2013 6:29 PM  

Ned Stark awakens and says, "Send for my cousin, Tony. He has a suit that will solve our problems!"

Anonymous Noah B. May 06, 2013 6:29 PM  

Take a bunch of random notes and turn them into an easy book for some quick cash. Makes sense to me.

Anonymous kelso May 06, 2013 6:42 PM  

"The first fifty pages would make the Red Wedding look like a meeting of the small council to discuss regularizing the issuance of tax-farming licenses, as I methodically removed every tedious and extraneous perspective character added in the last two books from the mix. Basically, I'd take the approach that David Brin took to the Second Foundation trilogy built upon the flimsy framework of the two Gregs, Benford and Bear, and do my best to quickly paper over the mess of the previous two books in order to get on with the story."

Said the best selling noveli....Oh, wait.

Anonymous Sensei May 06, 2013 7:02 PM  

Said the best selling noveli....Oh, wait. -kelso

Are you, perhaps, very very naive? Or was your implication that in today's book selling industry sales = talent accidental?

Blogger Christina May 06, 2013 7:20 PM  

I think he should've gone with the original plan. Put everyone in place by end of 3rd book and put the last book 5 years down the road and resolve it all. And if book 3 hadn't been written 5 years before FoC, I woulda said it was the TV show that made him milk it for all it was worth.

He had a great idea and I loved the first 3, but I get the idea he's a super unorganized, unfocused narcissist who was lucky enough to get a lot of people into the first few books.

However, I'll keep reading because I want to see Arya find Nymeria and Bran fly - and if that doesn't mean Bran in the mind of one of Dany's dragons, I'll burn his books.

Anonymous VD May 06, 2013 7:21 PM  

Said the best selling noveli....Oh, wait.

You were hoping EL James would finish the series? I suppose the scene where Reek and the Bastard finally negotiate a contract for their BDSM would be an interesting one. And Cersei is one for kinky fuckery.

Blogger Duke of Earl May 06, 2013 7:28 PM  

If you want a bit of a laugh Vox, have one of your characters tell a story similar to that of A Game of Thrones to another, but wind it up in the way you describe. Might be a fun way to fill a couple of pages.

Anonymous Gapeseed May 06, 2013 7:29 PM  

Martin needs an equivalent of The Stand's bomb in the closet to cull the loose strands.

Anonymous Will Best May 06, 2013 7:44 PM  

When HBO released this a friend asked if I had watched the show or read the books, and I responded with, "so-in-so brought the books to my attention in 2007 or 2008 and I told him to remind me again in a decade so I don't have to wait for a resolution."

Apparently at the time I was being overly generous in my assessment of things.

Anonymous The Next to Last Samurai May 06, 2013 7:45 PM  

No, and no. Dance with Dragons is awful. Read the Wikipedia summary instead.

Anonymous Harsh May 06, 2013 7:54 PM  

Said the best selling noveli....Oh, wait.

If you're going to be a troll, at least be a clever troll.

Blogger Penrose May 06, 2013 8:11 PM  

Brandon Sanderson earned his as successor to Jordan by writing a eulogy and impressing his wife. My tip for anyone try to seize the reigns on this is to game the widow.

Blogger Penrose May 06, 2013 8:13 PM  

No, and no. Dance with Dragons is awful. Read the Wikipedia summary instead.

That book is the reason I stopped enjoying fantasy. Everyone wants to publish a thousand page tome where nothing much happens.

Anonymous Azimus May 06, 2013 8:22 PM  

VD: "... And a Westeros book, no less!"

I would prefer a Westeros book, even a crappy one, to a volume of Saxon poetry, or a novella about life as an Armenian hooker. Guys who build their name on a franchise shouldn't abandon it out of boredom - ESPECIALLY if they haven't finished it yet... its just wrong. I couldn't care less how much Metallica want to write a symphony - you're freakin' rockers, so rock! Same thing with Martin - you are the Game of Thrones guy, I don't want to read your painstakingly researched history of the Inuit people... Don't peddle me something I don't want, sell me what I'm already buyingand want more of!

Anonymous Jonathan May 06, 2013 8:51 PM  

Next Valentine's Day Martin intends to release Cersei Lannister's Guide To Pleasing A Man.

Anonymous DA May 06, 2013 8:57 PM  

The biggest threat to ASOIAF is the cops getting a good look at GRRM's hard drive.

Anonymous kh123 May 06, 2013 9:12 PM  

"Guys who build their name on a franchise shouldn't abandon it out of boredom - ESPECIALLY if they haven't finished it yet... its just wrong."

The other half of this is realizing that not everyone has the ability or experience to move beyond their initial success. There's also the hurting of credibility once they not only display their table scraps but try to sell them as well.

Anonymous Eric May 06, 2013 9:12 PM  

Next Valentine's Day Martin intends to release Cersei Lannister's Guide To Pleasing A Man.

Double entendre FTW.

(Although don't Asher and Tad deserve some lovin' too?)

Anonymous Vidad May 06, 2013 9:36 PM  

VD: "You were hoping EL James would finish the series?"

Personally, I've got $10 on Bakker.

Anonymous Azimus May 06, 2013 9:58 PM  

@ kh

Hey, they lick the boots of Kafka for finishing the castle mid-sentence... so even abad end trumps no end at all. Then again, he seems to be publishing AGOT's version of "the zany adventures of jar jar binks" rather than actually pushing to a resolution, so you have a point.

Anonymous Worker Bee May 06, 2013 10:05 PM  

Personally, I've got $10 on Bakker.

Not six...? ;)

Anonymous Aeoli Pera May 06, 2013 10:16 PM  

You were hoping EL James would finish the series? I suppose the scene where Reek and the Bastard finally negotiate a contract for their BDSM would be an interesting one. And Cersei is one for kinky fuckery.

lulz. I've only read A Game of Thrones, but from the reviews it sounds like this would be more interesting than A Dance With Dragons.

Incidentally, count me in with those who enjoyed Qalabi Dawn more than A Wardog's Coin. Particularly the wise old lion chief.

Blogger Desert Cat May 06, 2013 10:52 PM  

"...somehow leading to me being asked to finish the series by Harper Collins."

Oh, at this I literally LOL'ed!

Blogger Desert Cat May 06, 2013 11:06 PM  

"...somehow leading to me being asked to finish the series by Harper Collins."

Oh, at this I literally LOL'ed!

Anonymous Anonymous May 07, 2013 12:13 AM  

I thought Martin said he was going to destroy all his notes if he died during the series, so it would remain unpublished. Did he change his mind somewhere along the line?

ASOIAF definitely shows how ugly it can get when an author hits his limitations.

Anonymous Telluride May 07, 2013 1:26 AM  

"Said the best selling noveli....Oh, wait.

You were hoping EL James would finish the series? I suppose the scene where Reek and the Bastard finally negotiate a contract for their BDSM would be an interesting one. And Cersei is one for kinky fuckery."

No, I was hoping they'd call on you to introduce elves into the series. Sometimes you need elf experts with oh so great talent to spice things up. (people still read about Elves?)

Anonymous The other skeptic May 07, 2013 1:30 AM  

Making a hero of a vaccine developer

Anonymous The other skeptic May 07, 2013 1:34 AM  

Diversity is strength

Anonymous Jonathan May 07, 2013 2:14 AM  

@ The other skeptic

d'oh. Rescued by a black man. Or was that your point?

Look, even people who are ripe for race realism have friends and valued associates who are of other races. You're going to have to offer an integrated solution to the current circumstances to attract a critical mass - simply offering the mocking "diversity is strength" isn't going to cut it.

Anonymous Jonathan May 07, 2013 2:27 AM  

My youngest brother's best friend of twenty years is politically black, by which I mean he has noticeably black ancestry. His dad is jet black and his mom is white and they are upper middle class churchians.

This friend of his has been disowned by his family because he has messed up his life (heroine and other bad decisions) and we are his only family. He calls my parents "mom" and "dad and openly identifies as white - hey, he's half white. We have put him through rehab and he visits my my parents at least four or five times a month.

That is what you need to incorporate into your race realism.

Anonymous Toby Temple May 07, 2013 2:41 AM  

So the book turns bad. I sensed that somehow from watching season 2 of the series. Still, I never enjoyed the first one anyway...

Anonymous VryeDenker May 07, 2013 3:42 AM  

If I'm stupid, tell me, but wouldn't one write a better, more coherent trilogy/quadrilogy/septilogy/whatever if one starts out thinking about the grand conclusion and then work backwards from there, before picking up the metaphorical pen and writing the first chapter?

I'm sure Tolkien had a good idea about where the Ring was supposed to go before Bilbo's birthday party was even put to paper.

Blogger Christina May 07, 2013 8:04 AM  

If I'm stupid, tell me, but wouldn't one write a better, more coherent trilogy/quadrilogy/septilogy/whatever if one starts out thinking about the grand conclusion and then work backwards from there, before picking up the metaphorical pen and writing the first chapter?

Here's one that agrees with you. Especially in fantasy with allusions... The book needs to be driving to the end, not taking a meandering, leisurely drive and ending up in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the country with no way of moving forward without going back the way you came.

Comparing him to Tolkien on his books' jackets is shameful. There are children's authors better than him.

I still think he's a decent writer, but there's more to novels than putting words to paper and creating something you can easily see in the mind's eye. He's disorganized and scatter-brained.

Anonymous Hyperphrenius May 07, 2013 8:25 AM  

@ VryeDenker

I'm sure Tolkien had a good idea about where the Ring was supposed to go before Bilbo's birthday party was even put to paper.

In writing LotR, Tolkien set out to write a sequel to the Hobbit, but ended up changing the story to fit more in with his preexisting legendarium that he was already working on in the Silmarillion. This was not his original plan. But as he himself said, "the tale grew in the telling", as recorded in The History of the Lord of the Rings, published in four volumes by Christopher Tolkien after his father's death. A litany of some of the various differences between the older drafts and final product can be found here: http://fin.yserve.net/tables/html/historylotr.htm

Of course as Tolkien changed the story he had to go back and revise to make everything more coherent, purposeful.

In the end it took him over a decade of rewrites to produce The Lord of the Rings as we know it today.

While starting with an outline is best from an organizational perspective, some writers find that their creative thoughts only flow if they write, and rewrite. But if you do it this way you end up having to go back and do multiple rewrites. So it's probably more work, but great things can still come of it.

Anonymous es1966 May 07, 2013 8:52 AM  

This just posses me off. I also quit half way through Feast, I read the Arianne chapter of winter and although I liked it, it wasn't' enough to make me pick up the series again. I won't even watch the show even though I really liked it. Why bother they'll never finish that either. At this point all Martin is interested in is making $, and with all the media tie ins it's never ending at this point. Have you seen his page? There is swords, mugs and.all sorts of shit. On a different note Vox I loved Qalabi Dawn, and the first few pages of the Witch King already has me excited. I may not agree with your politics (well not all of them, some of them I'm starting to rethink!) But I do have to say I think your coming into your own as a author. I hope you write some more about the cat races of Selenoth.

Anonymous . May 07, 2013 9:54 AM  

"At this point all Martin is interested in is making $"

I dunno, if he was in it for the money he'd be cranking out the crap a lot faster. We'd be seeing a lot of "George RR Martin" books written "with" (meaning "by") another minor author, like the last four or five Tom Clancy's. In GRRM's case, this would hardly cause a decline in quality...

Blogger stareatgoatsies May 07, 2013 10:39 AM  

If I'm stupid, tell me, but wouldn't one write a better, more coherent trilogy/quadrilogy/septilogy/whatever if one starts out thinking about the grand conclusion and then work backwards from there, before picking up the metaphorical pen and writing the first chapter?

Stephen King has an interesting, contrary, perspective:

"I won't try to convince you that I've never plotted any more than I'd try to convince you that I've never told a lie, but I do both as infrequently as possible. I distrust plot for two reasons: first, because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precautions and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren't compatible.

A strong enough situation renders the whole question of plot moot. The most interesting situations can usually be expressed as a What-if question:

What if vampires invaded a small New England village? (Salem's Lot).

What if a young mother and her son became trapped in their stalled car by a rabid dog? (Cujo).

These were situations which occurred to me - while showering, while driving, while taking my daily walk - and which I eventually turned into books. In no case were they plotted, not even to the extent of a single note jotted on a single piece of scrap paper."


Some authors have the plot almost entirely written out in advance, Brandon Sanderson and Jim Butcher, IIRC, go about it this way.

Vox mentioned he'd put up a post on the mechanics of his approach recently.

Blogger stareatgoatsies May 07, 2013 10:46 AM  

Which is actually noticeable if you read their (Sanderson & Butcher) works. I think it's a bit of a balancing act - can you trust yourself to write yourself out of whatever situation you put your characters in and satisfactorily flesh out the various "mysteries" you've hooked the reader in with.

In some cases, I get the impression half way through that the end will be a let down and I don't even mind when that turns out to be the case because the journey there was so enthralling. Recent case in point, Book 3 of IQ84, I'm slogging through to the end with no expectation that the resolution will ring through - but book 1 & 2 entertained me enough to forgive him in advance.

Anonymous VD May 07, 2013 12:15 PM  

Vox mentioned he'd put up a post on the mechanics of his approach recently.

I will do so soon. But let's just say I am of the Stephen King school.

Blogger Ronald McFondle May 09, 2013 8:45 PM  

I've only watched the tv series (which I love), but I've read summaries of the books on wikis, and one of the biggest problems I have is with Targaryen. She spends all of her time playing Kwisatz Haderach in the desert and NEVER ONCE being relevant to anything in Westoros. At this point I feel like she is a complete waste of space. She has an army and dragons, but still keeps delaying her invasion to the point that she's a non-threat and can only enter the war in a very rushed way.

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