George R R Martin finds a new reason to not work on ASOIAF

posted in: Books, Media, Uncategorized, Zombies | 0

Here’s the link.

Z Nation is a pretty campy show, one with a budget that’s so low it’s almost shot using tablets and smartphones.  I won’t say I didn’t watch the first season (I did), and I won’t say it doesn’t have the occasional moment (it does), but the word of the day here is camp.  Lots and lots of camp.

A Song of Ice and Fire (ASOIAF), commonly known as Game of Thrones, has hooked millions; tenfold more since HBO began airing the television series.  I read the first book in 1996, and it was amazing.  One of, possibly the, best fantasy stories I’ve ever read.  The second hit two years later, in 1998.  The third two years after that, in 2000.  Then fans were left drifting until 2005, when a very confusing book 4 finally hit.  Six more years, and book 5 comes out in 2011.  And here we are, moving up on four full years later and counting, and still no book 6.

Opinions are sharply divided on this, which is fine.  That’s the nature of opinions.  But I’m a ASOIAF fan.  Since 1996.  I’m still waiting.  I gave up on Wheel of Time precisely because it wasn’t going anywhere.  The books got longer and longer, and spent less and less time focusing on the story that I’d wanted to hear told, the story that was in that first installment; that of Rand and Mat and Perrin.  Then, sadly, Jordan died, and it became a mad scramble by his heir (wife) to find someone to brief in and hand notes to so the story could be finished and fans could have a closure.  I credit her for having the presence of mind, amid what had to be an immense amount of grief, to remember fans count too.  She got the story finished for the fans.

Martin isn’t our bitch.  I get that.  HOWEVER, he started this.  He’s made a lot of money from ASOIAF.  More importantly, he’s grabbed a lot of fans’ hearts and minds with it.  I really, really, really don’t think it’s unreasonable, unfair, or anything along the lines of being an asshole to politely expect the story be, you know, finished.  2015 is nineteen years after the first book.  I haven’t picked up a pitchfork or torch yet, nor am I stalking Martin or throwing things at him, so polite patience isn’t exactly an unfair phrase to use as a description for what I’ve been doing.  When the books have come out, I’ve done my part.  Mine, all fans’, depends on his though.

I mean, seriously; finish the story.  Don’t leave people hanging like this.  TV has been especially bad about it over the years.  I can’t stand season cliffhangers, and a big reason is executives don’t care that the show left itself hanging when they decide whether or not to renew it.  Something a lot of Trekkies probably aren’t aware of is The Next Generation did not have a season 4 contract, so we very well could have been left with Picard as a Borg and Riker firing on the cube, and that would be that.  Jerico left fans hanging and only some benevolence by the network, and a massive fan campaign the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the 60s with Star Trek, got any sort of closure for the show.

Books don’t have the costs that tv or movies or even audio productions do.  A writer writes, and these days it’s really not that complicated to put a written story into fans’ hands.  If Martin, or any author, somehow managed to get everyone in sight giving him the finger simultaneously; he could still publish through any number of avenues that require no one except himself to approve of the decision.  And none of those are costly options, especially for someone who’s been making HBO bucks for five years now.

Don’t put a multi-part story out and not finish it.  That’s my base position, my core ask.  If you start a story and draw people into your world, finish it.  I really don’t think it’s that much to ask.  One of the worst parts of being a fan is that you care.  If you don’t, you’re not really a fan; and only that investment can make you hurt when the wound is left open.  I’ve been waiting for David Gerrold’s fantastic War against the Chtorr to be finished for . . . twenty plus years now.  At this point I’ve kind of just decided it’s not going to ever finish, which sucks; because it’d be nice to see some sort of something happen with the biological invasion of Earth that Gerrold created.  Even if the ending is “and then all humans die”, at least that would be an ending.  Not a happy one, but I’m not demanding happily ever after; I’m just asking for ‘the end’.

So now, in addition to the convention circuit, and the occasional short story, and TV consulting, and writing and/or directing on the HBO series, Martin’s now doing TV appearances on shows that aren’t even his.  I love zombies, but . . . this would be news I could be much happier about if the books were coming.  And we keep getting lied to, saying they are, and the years keep ticking by without the next part of the story.  And lied to is a fair thing to say, I feel; because book three ended with an afterword where Martin said he’d split what he’d written because it was too long, and the majority of what was now going to be book four was already written.  Okay, fine.  Then five years goes by before that ‘already written’ book comes out. Was it written, really?  If so, why the half-decade delay?

I hate to admit it, but at this point, I’m just glad HBO insisted Martin had to reveal his end game for the story to Benioff and Weiss.  This past season we finally started getting new stuff, things I hadn’t already read in the books.  It was great, I won’t lie.  Just fantastic to see this story I’ve been living with for so long finally advancing.  The scenes with Tyrion and Daenerys were amazing.  The next season should be entirely, or at least mostly, new as well.  I can’t wait.  All of us literary fans have finally caught up to the tv-only fans, and we can all be in the same boat together.  Readers knew Ned was going to take it in the back of the neck, knew about the Red Wedding, and knew Joffrey was going to get what he so richly deserved.  But in the new season, we’re left guessing just as much as the non-readers.

I’d rather read the books first.  I love movies, but given the choice I nearly always prefer the book first.  But I’m not being given the chance.  So my options are to occasionally try to maybe nudge a little more groundswell in Martin’s direction, in the hopes he’ll unstick himself from whatever’s got him stumped and free his fingers to finish the tale . . . or give up and invest in HBO.  Since I’m a big fan of Wargames, and that means I don’t like strange games without win solutions, I’m left with the only truly viable option being to root for the show.  At least I can count on it finishing out in the next couple of years.

It’s a real shame, because I had such fun reading the books.

But I’m sure George had fun being made up as a zombie for a campy low-budget B-grade apocalypse show too.  As win-wins go . . . it’s something.