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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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Song of Ice and Fire

Well, George R. R. Martin has finally managed to finish the fourth book in The Song of Ice and Fire.

This series is the only doorstop fantasy I read, as Martin is a terrific storyteller who keeps the plot moving at all times and isn't afraid to kill off important, sympathetic characters and have quite horrible things happen to others.

The third book, Storm of Swords, came out in 2000. I heard him read excerpts from the fourth in 2001 at the Philly Worldcon, where he explained that while the plan was for about five years to pass between books three and four (so the kids could grow up) he found that it just wasn't working so he was going to have to go back and re-write quite a lot. He he did.

His website for a good two years now has had a big "No, it's not finished yet and I'll tell you when it is" message on the front page, which has finally been replaced. Unfortunately, book four was weighing in so huge that Martin had decided it split it in two by character storyline. That is, this book and the next will run parallel to each other, following different characters in different parts of his world (with a little overlap). Which mean on the downside that some of my favourites likely won't even appear in book four, but on the upside book five is more than half-written already so we should have to wait as long to see it.

When Martin was at the Toronto Worldcon in 2003, he was asked it he had some sort of master outline of the entire story, so if anything happened to him we, the fans, could still find out how it was all supposed to turn out. His reply was that it anything happens to him we all "S.O.L. So if I ever need a kidney..."