Tag: George R.R. Martin

On deadlines, GRRM and consequences

Posted January 4, 2016 by Nicky in General / 8 Comments

This weekend, I saw George R.R. Martin’s post about the next book in his series, The Winds of Winter, apologising for further delays to the deadlines and explaining what’s going on. You can find that here. Not shockingly, I have opinions on this.

I’m a freelance writer. I have deadlines and they’re pretty set in stone. I have to get up and go to the computer no matter how I feel when there’s a deadline coming up, or there’ll be a penaCover of The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin, to illustrate my post about missed deadlineslty: bad feedback, no re-employment, cuts in pay. If I have copy to write, I don’t get to run out of ideas. If I say I’ll deliver an article on a topic, I can’t change my mind (at least not without consulting my client, and being prepared to deliver the article I originally pitched anyway). When I’m ghostwriting, I don’t get the luxury of saying that the inspiration isn’t there. It’s as stark as that: I don’t deliver, I don’t get paid.

So I totally feel the argument that if you commit to deadlines, you should deliver by the deadlines or face the consequences.

Thing is, for me, the consequences aren’t a horde of angry fans with whom I have no contract, no agreement, no protection. The consequences are between me and my employer, and possibly potential future employers. There are rules which govern the way I interact with my clients, and if they break those rules, I have recourse.

Not so much for Martin. He’s got this big amorphous group of fans who he is palpably worried about upsetting, in addition to his publishers. And it’s fandom, which has proved itself fully capable of all kinds of insanity in revenge for slights real or imagined. I wouldn’t want to be the person sorting through his email inbox: I’m willing to bet there’s abuse, threats, all sorts, because this has just got that big.

But look. He owes his readers nothing.

There’s no contract binding him to entertain them at their command. He no doubt has a contract to deliver the work to his publisher, who will have given him an advance, and they’re the only ones who have any right to hold him to a deadline. The deadline argument is a fair enough one to make… if you’re his publisher.

If you’re not, then please consider this: you’re adding additional pressure. As well as having to negotiate with his publisher, with HBO, with anyone else who has a financial stake in the books, now Martin has to be his own public relations department. And speaking from experience, having even one person chasing you up for work sucks your energy, your motivation, your time. Nobody is actually sanguine about missing deadlines. We know there are consequences.

I would be willing to lay money that the additional fan pressure, the constant speculation that he’ll die before finishing the books, the rumours that he hasn’t written anything… that all of that is contributing to making it more difficult for Martin to write, not less. That all this pushing and shoving is hindering progress.

This isn’t about financial consequences, it’s a sense of entitlement. False entitlement. Authors don’t owe us new books on a regular basis. Leave the consequences to the publishers — as fans, we should surely support the authors instead of adding more resistance.

Obviously, supporting the authors can include wanting to read their next book, being excited about it, being disappointed when it’s not going to come out on time. But authors are people and have lives, and we’re not their employers. Personally, I would rather my favourite authors be okay, be satisfied, and write good books, than deliver to a deadline.

Tags: , ,


Review – The Iron King

Posted February 19, 2015 by in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of The Iron King by Maurice DruonThe Iron King, Maurice Druon

G.R.R. Martin refers to this as the original Game of Thrones, and you can see why. The same types of characters populate it, to a large degree — except I’m not sure I found any of Druon’s portrayals to have many redeeming features, whereas I’ve liked a couple of characters in what I’ve read so far of Martin’s epic. This is, of course, not a work of fantasy, but based on real history; how closely, I’m not sure, as my knowledge of the period is mostly based on British politics, and this largely takes place in France. It offers a convincing world, anyway: just the way you would want the period to be, with torture and curses, weak princes and calculating counsellors.

I have seen quite a few fairly negative reviews of this, which I think might come from people expecting something more fantastical based on Martin’s comment, and possibly also from people who can’t stand the translation (it’s very workmanlike and functional, I think). But I quite enjoyed it: I don’t know if I’ll pick up the rest of the series, simply because there are so many books and so little time, but I enjoy reading it. If there’s anything lacking, for me it’s more sympathetic characters, or at least more of an inner life beyond who they want to sleep with.

Rating: 3/5

Tags: , ,


Stacking the Shelves

Posted October 25, 2014 by in General / 42 Comments

Hi everyone! It’s time for Stacking the Shelves again. I thought I wouldn’t have a big haul this week, but I did spend my Kobo voucher in the end, and picked up some books at the convention I went to. Oops!

Dead tree books

Cover of Six Against the Yard by The Detective Club Cover of The Sorceress and the Cygnet by Patricia McKillip Cover of The Cygnet and the Firebird by Patricia McKillip

Cover of Mistress of Mistresses by E.R. Edison Cover of A Fish Dinner in Memison  by E.R. Edison Cover of The Mezentian Gate by E.R. Edison

Cover of Moon-flash by Patricia McKillip Cover of Nova by Samuel R Delany

Patricia McKillip! No one is surprised! Got a compliment at FACTs about my taste in books, hee. Been meaning to read more Eddison for a while, I think I’ve mentioned, and Nova is one that Jo Walton’s spoken highly of. I’ve already read Six Against the Yard, and the review should be up tomorrow.


 Cover of Dreamsongs by G.R.R. Martin Cover of Dreamsongs by G.R.R. Martin Cover of Wild Cards ed. G.R.R. Martin

Cover of Infinity Blade: Awakening by Brandon Sanderson

Wild Cards sounds fun, and I’ve been meaning to read more G.R.R. Martin, so, voila. Infinity Blade: Awakening is based on a game, apparently, but reviews say you don’t need to know the game. And maybe I’ll decide I want to play the game, too!

Aaaand my one review copy, which I think I requested because someone I know gave it a good review:

Cover of The Hawley Book of the Dead

So what’s everyone else been getting? Comment, link, etc — I always visit your blog in return if you visit me!

Tags: , , ,


What are you reading Wednesday

Posted September 17, 2014 by in General / 2 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
Georgette Heyer’s Beauvallet, which I still need to review. Fun, but definitely not my favourite of Heyer’s so far, and I don’t like Beauvallet and his grabby hands half as much as I think I’m meant to. Different times, different sensibilities, I know, but still. Before that, Peas & Queues by Sandi Toksvig, review upcoming — generally pretty fun.

What are you currently reading?
As usual, too much. There’s A Game of Thrones, of course, and various other things I’ve mentioned in previous weeks, plus Wherever You Go, There You Are, by Jon Kabat-Zinn, which is about mindfulness meditation and is helpful so far, though I don’t know if I’d give it to a beginner, and I obviously don’t agree with everything/find everything useful.

What are you going to read next?
Nary the faintest idea, really. I’m actually feeling tempted to read the Harry Potter books and actually finish the series — I only ever got up to The Goblet of Fire — but I’m not sure if it’s been long enough since a) everyone wanted to force it on me and b) I studied it at college and university several years in a row. I’m pretty sure I’m never going to see the pure genius that other people see, but it would be good if I could just enjoy the books for what they are.

I’m also contemplating closing my eyes and pointing, and reading whatever book is in line with my pointy finger. Just for the sheer unpredictability of it.

Tags: , , ,