Since publishing A Storm of Swords, which stayed in hardcover an extraordinarily long time before going to paperback, fans have waited six long years with no further word on the ongoing war in the Westernos, until Monday.
On Sunday Martin announced on his website he finally released A Feast for Crows to his publishers. It’s not the book he intended to publish; rather it was the book he was forced into publishing because the weight of his own word had overgrown the ability of book binders.
Martin wrote more then 1,500 pages of story for Feast and had another hundred to go. His publishers wanted to break the story up into two volumes and publish it that way, but Martin didn’t go for it.
In his previous books Martin has told a massive war epic from many various perspectives; his solution is to publish Feast with only half the number of perspectives and move the rest into the fourth book.
The end result is that there will be two books detailing events that are happening simultaneously. I’m not a big fan of this idea. It’s like getting one person’s perspective and then (knowing Martin) waiting three to five years to hear the other side of the story.
To put it in broader fantasy terms it’s like J.K. Rowling writing a Harry Potter novel that doesn’t involve Hermione or Ron.
I realize writing is a hard thing. I know I’ve been working on my own book for the better part of three years now. But at a certain point I think you have to sacrifice part of the story in order to tell a better one.
Clearly in 1,500 pages there are parts of the story one can cut, it’s just that Martin has reached star proportions in the fantasy world and no one is willing to force him to do that.
It’s also increased the length of the series from originally three books, to four, then to five, six and now probably seven, if not more. I’m betting number four, even though it is “finished,” won’t make it to bookshelves until 2006.
The first book was published in 1996. If Martin can keep up this pace, which is hard for him, the last book in the series should be published sometime in 2014.
I don’t buy many hardbacks, but this is one I had planned to run out and buy when it hit bookshelves. Now I’ll probably just pick up a copy from the library; it’s free, and after taking six years to not complete a book, I really don’t feel like supporting Martin by buying a $30 hardback.