Lately I’ve been hearing a lot about A Game of Thrones… good stuff too. I don’t know what kept me away until now, maybe it was the number of books out there, maybe it was their daunting size… or maaaybe it’s the fact that the last two books in the series will be published in 2015 and 2020 respectively.
Yes, I’m not deceiving you. Feel free to check the books up on Goodreads for their expected publication dates. I was actually planning to venture – albeit timidly – into the world of George Martin, then I stumbled across the publication dates and backtracked. For curiosity’s sake, I checked Mr. Martin’s profile and was dismayed to learn that he’s 64 years of age. Let’s do a little math here, shall we? Martin will be 66 years old in 2015, and 71 in 2020. The average male life expectancy in the States is 75 years old. Do you see where I’m going with this?
He might die before completing the series.
Not meaning to be a cynic, and I do want the man to live well into his 90s or even 100s, but really how do we know that he’ll still be alive by 2020? Personally I’m not willing to tackle this massive series when I know there’s a possibility that I might not get to learn how the series ends. Can you imagine how horrifying that would be? To me it’s almost as horrified as I would’ve been had J.K.Rowling died before publishing the final Harry Potter book.
A fan might try to say, “Nah, that won’t happen to my author.” Well, I bet that’s what the fans of Douglas Adams told themselves before the author died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 49 without finishing his Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. Don’t forget J.R.R. Tolkien, whose son ended up having to complete his unfinished works. Apparently even Stephen King had a near encounter with death when he had published only four of the seven books planned for the Dark Tower series, to which an anonymous Michigander said:
“I was with this good friend of mine when we heard (Stephen King) got popped. Man, we just started shaking our heads and saying, ‘There goes the Tower, it’s tilting, it’s falling — aw, s***, he’ll never finish it now.’”
Sometimes the authors have the sense to plan their novels ahead of time and outline everything to the last detail should unforeseeable death occur, at which point the notes are either handed to another author or else unveiled to the masses, but then the new author might have a completely different style and the notes won’t have any flesh on them.
I think, if I ever became famous and suddenly kick the bucket while writing a highly anticipated novel, my readers’ curses would follow me to the grave, because I do lack the sense to outline and plan ahead. I guess that’s probably why I’m currently stuck quarter-way (or half-way?) through my WIP.
Maybe I’ll consider reading the series when all seven books are released, but until then I’d rather cling to my sanity. What about you? If you’re a fan of George Martin, how do you feel about this? Panicked? If you haven’t read the books yet, does this deter you from grabbing the nearest copy? Do you plan in advance with the idea of death in mind?
On a more cheerful note, I came across this related video while researching this post. It’s pretty funny.