...and this is the picture I saw:
And then, underneath, I read this:
DANCING IN THE DARK
I finally finished A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, but my dog ate the manuscript and there was no copy, so I'm starting over.
What, you don't believe me?
Okay, okay. We don't have a dog at present, and A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is not done.
I'm still writing. Certain storylines are going well. Others, not so much, but that's what rewriting is for, yes?
I have to admit, these updates aren't working the way I hoped they would. I started them in the hopes that they would help stem the flood of emails asking about the next book. They haven't. I get just as many emails, only now they're asking about the next update. Yes, I know I said I'd have an update in "early January," and January came and went and there was no update. I can read a calendar too. The reason there was no update...
Well, the book's not done. And we've had home renovations. And the book's not done. And there's been work on other projects, on comics and The World of Ice & Fire and the games and the new Wild Cards book, Inside Straight. And there was football, and cons to attend, and a signing tour, and the holidays, and did I mention those home renovations?
The truth is, these updates do make me feel like a twelve-year old trying to explain to teacher why he isn't turning in his essay, and knowing she isn't going to buy the "dog ate my homework" ruse any more than you guys do.
The only update that I want to write is the one that says, "A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is done." That's the one you want, and that's the one that I want to write... but when the book isn't done, having to come online and say so every few months becomes a stressful and unpleasant task. I really do appreciate the fact that so many people are so eager to read the next installment in A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE and I wish I could get it to you right now, but you guys read a lot faster than I can write.
When A DANCE WITH DRAGONS is finished, I will post that news here. The moment I finish the book, I will log on and make the announcement. If this message is still here, that means the book is not done yet. Until such time as I can trumpet that news, however, this page will remain the same.
The next update will be the one that announces that the DANCE is done.
—George R.R. Martin, February 15, 2007
Thus, so. An Open Letter to George R.R. Martin, the "American Tolkien":
Dear Mr. Martin,
Before I get to how appalled, infuriated, and, frankly, nauseated, I am by this, your most recent public wallowing in unmerited, unbridled, unbecoming, unappetizing, and utterly absurd self pity, let me say this:
When you're writing an update as regards your progress towards completion of a book to several hundred thousand fans who have been eagerly, avidly waiting for that book for a period of years even longer than the period of years that has elapsed since you earnestly and solemnly promised them the book would be done by, and you open that near desperately anticipated update with the phrase "I finally finished A DANCE WITH DRAGONS", and then you go on to admit that you're actually lying, that makes you... hmmmm... what's the phrase?
Oh yeah. A fucking ASSHOLE.
It ain't funny. It ain't cool. It is, in fact, complete shitbag behavior. For doing this, let me say now -- you SUCK. If Roger Zelazney had ever been that big a fucking douchebag over one of his AMBER novels, well, then he would have proved himself a meritricious punk by doing so, and Mr. Martin, while you are a fine, fine writer, you are no Roger Zelazney, and, frankly, I cannot at this point think very highly of you as a human being, either.
That was some rank shit. Said once, and with utmost sincerity -- You finally finished A DANCE WITH DRAGONS, but then the dog ate the manuscript?
Kiss my ass, bitch.
Now, moving on the to bulk of your latest widdle foot stomping:
I am so, so sorry, Mr. Martin, that these updates haven't been working out the way you wanted them to. And I am deeply, deeply regretful that it is so cumbersome to you, so tedious, such a fucking chore, to have to deal with the expectations of hundreds of thousands of people who have provided you with so much of their money in the past and who eagerly, avidly look forward to the opportunity to do so in the future. And most of all, I am enormously apologetic and positively goddam fucking RUEful that you are such a lazyass undisciplined inept whineyboy needledicked nutless fucktard that you not only can't manage to complete a single goddam book within several years of your original deadline for said volume, but, you can't even manage to do a christly 438 word update on your progress towards the completion of said volume within the same 31 day period you had originally scheduled it for.
Honestly, Mr. Martin, I weep real tears for you when I read of your torment. There's home renovations, which we paid for with the money that we spent on your books, on the million dollar home that we bought for you with the money that we paid for your books. And there's football, that you watch on the big screen high density televisions that we bought for you with the money that we paid for your books. And there are comics, and roleplaying games, and a signing tour, and cons to attend, all of which you get to enjoy because of... wait... what was that thing again? Oh yes... the money that we paid for your books.
And the book isn't done. And the book isn't done. And the book isn't done. And we keep sending you emails about the book not being done. And it's horrible. Horrible. Horrible. Because these updates make you feel like a 12 year old trying to explain to teacher why he isn't turning in his essay, and that really IS horrible... a horribly false and self indulgent metaphor for the actual situation, which is, you have an audience of hundreds of thousands of avid readers, who support your extremely comfortable and luxurious lifestyle with their very hard earned money, and you have created something fabulous and wonderful and larger than life, and YOU ARE FUCKING IT UP. Because you're too goddam undisciplined and lazy and nutless to realize that, hey, when you're writing an epic fantasy series that threatens to grow large enough to jostle the very planet we all inhabit out of its orbit and send it careening into the photosphere of the sun, maybe you shouldn't fucking add another dozen new characters every time you manage to kick a new installment out, dumbass.
But, you know, I still had hope, Mr. Martin. Prior to reading your latest snivel-fest, I continued to cling to a tiny glimmer, the merest shimmering spark, of faith that you might be able to pull it off. That somehow, great fat Sam and his weird ancient cracked horn and that poor kid with the birthmarked face and the Woman In Red and Jon Snow and Danaerys Stormborn and Tyrion and Jamie and Lancel and Patchface and Nymeria and the stolen child of the King Beyond The Wall and all that other amazing incredible brilliant stuff you've woven into this immense enormous astounding tapestry of sheer raw unrelenting story might actually be going somewhere and might actually have had a chance of coming together into some conclusion that would be utterly satisfying and coherent and sensible and wonderful.
But now, having seen that you're a sniveling whiney pissy little bitch who honestly doesn't know just how absurd it is that you can actually have the life you have and still feel sorry for yourself... well... I've given up on you, sir.
That you can actually post to a website where you know your fans will read it the words "I finally finished A DANCE WITH DRAGONS" -- as a joke -- and then go on to jump up and down and shake your tiny fists and stomp your widdle feet and hold your breath 'til you turn blue because, you know, it's just so terrible that people actually expect you to keep the assurances you've made, over and over again...
Frankly, sir, you can take every published page of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, fold them until they are all sharp corners, and then vigorously ram them up your ass using the original cover art and any Valerian Steel prototypes as may be within arms reach as a tamping rod.
I know my feelings mean absolutely nothing to you, and you'll get along fine without the thirty or sixty or ninety bucks I would otherwise have spent on any books you managed to complete before you finally expired of sulkiness. Nonetheless, your addlepated, near-obscene public display of pique and petulance has so utterly alienated me that I will never spend a cent on anything you ever write again.
Should you manage to complete any further installments of A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE before you collapse beneath the weight of your own grotesquely over-swollen ego, I will take the fucker out of the library. And when it starts to suck, and its suckiness begins to accelerate at a rate and a velocity unprecedented even by the geometrically progressive suckiness of the DUNE series, as it inevitably will because you simply don't have it in you to do anything except make this series suck and suck and suck and suck until it becomes universally known not as A Song Of Ice And Fire but rather as The Ballad of Stink And Suck, well, then I will log back onto the internet and sign on to this blog and laugh and laugh and laugh while pointing at you and your lame ass book and chortling "I told you so, I knew it would happen, I absolutely understood years and years ago that anybody who was that big a fucking suckass crybaby pussybitch could never under any circumstances make something with this grand and this brilliant and with this much potential work".
And you can't, and you won't, and I know this because if you could and you would, you would have done it already, and you certainly would never ever have written anything like what you wrote and posted on February 15, 2007, to the people whose money you have happily taken for the last several decades, yet to whom you seem to feel nothing whatsoever besides infantile resentment.
A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE is a huge, HUGE project, and you are a tiny, tiny human being.
That's it. I'm done with you. Go watch some fucking football, or sign another contract, or do one of the many, many other things that are more important than working on the book you promised us many, many years ago.
Update: I originally wrote this thing when I was pretty angry, and as I long ago learned that anger rarely works when you're trying to communicate with someone, I came back in today to reread it to see if maybe I'd gone a little bit overboard and perhaps I should rewrite it from a calmer, more taciturn, more restrained perspective.
But I also reread the original 'update' from George R.R. Martin that had so infuriated me in the first place, and having done so, and then re-read what I wrote above, well, no. There is nothing I want to rewrite, nothing I want to retract, nothing I want to smooth or polish or replace with something perhaps more diplomatic and less confrontational. George R.R. Martin is an accomplished and wildly successful author, he has won awards, he can walk into any bookstore anywhere in America and, probably, Europe, and, perhaps, much of Asia, as well, and get his ass kissed by dozens if not hundreds of random strangers. He has lived a life and enjoyed a career and been gifted with a talent that millions could and doubtless do envy. And, leaving aside the profoundly disturbing cruelty of his opening sentence, still... I have never in my life seen a putative adult make such a public spectacle of himself throwing such a monumental, Brobdignagian fit of self pity.
Thus, so... my words stand unaltered.