We just have to be patient, I guess. According to this recent interview on NPR with author Martin, the sixth installment in the hugely popular fantasy series A Song of Fire and Ice (aka Game of Thrones), “Winds of Winter,” is getting written albeit slowly. Part of the reason is Martin’s involvement in many other projects dear to his heart, especially the restoration of the Jean Cocteau, an old movie house in Santa Fe, NM. He’s also reviewing the latest episodes of Breaking Bad, editing a sci-fi series and writing a novella. With fans and HBO network execs grumbling about the long wait for book six, Martin admits to feeling the pressure, “Laying railroad track with the locomotive coming up behind you … you better lay it faster,” Martin says. “And that is the feeling I have right now. The locomotive in this case, of course, is not just the books but the TV show, which is moving along much faster than I’m laying the tracks.” The word is that the book is due out next year with one more book to follow.
Joe Abercrombie (author of The First Law series, which starts with The Blade Itself) writes books for the George R. R. Martin fan who is ready to see what happens when someone looks at Game of Thrones and says, “It’s good, but it could stand to be way darker and more violent. Also, it would be great if the characters could be achingly wonderful and human, and if really horrible things could happen to them.” If you are not a fan of the grimmer side of fantasy, then this book will not be your cup of tea. Unless you like your cup of tea to try to destroy you and everything you love on a regular basis. (And, if so, you have a really weird relationship with your tea.)
These are not books of redemption or the inevitable triumph of good over evil. And yet, they are wonderfully worthwhile. There is exhilaration in watching the characters face down their demons, both internal and external, without the usual fantasy comfort that they will find a way to win somehow. These characters often lose their battles. Or worse, win them, and find that their heart’s desire is the worst fate of all. Did I mention that they are also laugh out loud funny, when they are not ripping your guts out (and sometimes when they are)?