Author George R.R. Martin just seemingly did something he has said he doesn't like to do: He teased a possible publication date for The Winds of Winter, the long-awaited sixth volume of his epic fantasy A Song of Ice and Fire.
It's been eight years since Martin published A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book of a projected seven in the massive series, and in that eight years, the TV series based on the saga, Game of Thrones, has come and now gone, with the show's creators devising their own controversial ending in lieu of one from the author himself (although he did apparently advise them on it).
Martin has said over the years -- and repeated it just the other day, in fact -- that he doesn't want to nail down a specific release date for The Winds of Winter, since he's missed deadlines before and he firmly believes that novels are finished when they're finished. But in his most recent post at his personal blog, Martin seemed to inch a little closer to an actual arrival date for the book.
Noting that a New Zealand airline offered him a free trip to that country so he could get down to work and complete the book, Martin revealed that he'll be heading to New Zealand in July 2020 for the World Science Fiction Convention, aka Worldcon, and dropped this bit of info as well: "I tell you this -- if I don’t have The Winds of Winter in hand when I arrive in New Zealand for Worldcon, you have here my formal written permission to imprison me in a small cabin on White Island, overlooking that lake of sulfuric acid, until I’m done. Just so long as the acrid fumes do not screw up my old DOS word processor, I’ll be fine."
Obviously Martin is joking about that last part ... but did he really just commit himself to finishing The Winds of Winter in time for Worldcon next summer? Perhaps the end of the TV show or just the pressure of time -- or both -- has led Martin to give himself a deadline after years of avoiding such things.
There's no doubt that interest will be higher than ever in seeing how Martin concludes his tale (with the yet-to-be-written A Dream of Spring set to be the concluding novel), in light of the divisive response to the finale of Game of Thrones. And now we might -- just maybe -- have a glimmer of when winter will finally be coming.
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