Thursday, November 29, 2012

[Rant] The Best & Worst of Not A Blog 2012 Awards

This post is a rant about Not A Blog. I do these for therapeutic reasons. If you are offended by me being offended by George RR Martin, please skip. New re-read post coming very soon.

It's the 29th day of the 11th month of the year 2012. It has been more than five hundred days since we saw the release of A Dance with Dragons. If I had read only one page a day, I could still be exploring new words from George RR Martin, but alas! even as tedious as I found the fifth novel of the series, I wouldn't be  able to slow the read down to those levels. The fact remains that a reader devours a story so much faster than an author can write it down. Obviously. It couldn't be any other way. 
One way to alleviate this is, in my opinion, for the author to give small insights, tidbits or news about the creation process. This gives anxious readers a sense of feeling that work is progressing, and that they, by having bought into the series in the first place, are privy to it. No, Mr. Martin doesn't have to tell us a thing. I know this. But he could, if he had something to tell us. There was a long silence following A Feast for Crows as well. Then suddenly, as if Martin had delayed working on Ice & Fire-material for years, updates began to crop up on his Not-a-Blog. My suspicion then is that Mr. Martin hasn't written much or anything at all on The Winds of Winter. This could be due to many other obligations, that he has lost the passion for his story (not unlikely considering how many years they have already consumed), and / or that life is meaningless and full of pain. Maybe I'm wrong and he's writing feverishly. The blog certainly does not indicate this; well, he's writing sidebars for world books and editing short stories, but there's not much to be found about The Winds of Winter
But I have digressed; I wasn't intending on making a point out of my suspicion that nothing has been done these last five hundred days; I wanted to point out that with a little updating on the Not-A-Blog the author may avoid some of the ongoing damage he does to his reputation. The more people that get hooked by the TV series and then the books, the more people will, proportionally, discover that the man isn't exactly a genius when it comes to public relations. 

Cute is not enough, George. Want Winds. Of Winter.
Let's have a look at the blog so far in 2012. The year's almost come to an end, so this is as good a time as any to check it out and see what the best and worst of Not a Blog 2012 has been. For these Awards I'll give a blog post a score between 1 and 5, where 5 means 'really interesting for a fan of A Song and Ice and Fire' and a 1 means 'completely uninteresting garbage'. All tongue in cheek, of course. I do not really mind Martin blogging about whatever he feels like. Just bugs me that we can't get something - anything - useful from the man, even a "I haven't really written a single word" would be nice because you know it would be honest. And honesty rules.

The most recent post (only two days old) is all about George wanting to sell you stuff. Fortunately it is Ice and Fire - related stuff. Calendars. And, unlike a memorable event on his blog some years ago where he offered you outdated calendars, you can now buy one you can actually use. Score: 3

According to this post, life is magical and full of joy. Yes, it's another American football post. Zero interest from me, but I am sure there are readers out there who appreciate this irrelevant post for some reason. Score: 1.

I already went over this one a few days ago. As a show of gratitude, Martin offers us yet more stuff in exchange for our money. This time it isn't related to Ice & Fire, unfortunately. Exorbitant prices aside for books no one wants, I'd like to mention that selling stuff isn't really showing gratitude. Giving us a sample chapter from The Winds of Winter, or an update, would be. If you disagree, I cannot fathom your soul. Score: 1.

At first I thought the old man was celebrating Turkey's national day, but that's in October, so I realized it had to be a Thanksgiving post. He admits he has a lot to thank for (said his wallet overflowing with millions), and here he promises that "he'll keep writing", but he deftly avoids mentioning what he's writing... curious? 
Score: 2 (bonus point for writing anything).

This isn't Martin's post but in fact Ty's, and it is really not interesting. I'm not sending him anything and why would I? You'd think that getting him to sign a book in person is cool, but sending stuff so he can sign it? Not so much. That's like cheating. And yes, I have had Martin sign something for me. Little did he know... 
Score: 1.

Prepare for season three. What, five months in advance? How am I supposed to prepare? It's related to Ice and Fire, though. And I like the TV series well enough. So it's not all bad. 
Score: 2.

Another Ty-post. Martin must have been busy writing. It is another post demanding you to relieve yourself of money for an Ice & Fire-related product.
Score: 2.

Score: 1.

While I'm interested in politics (to a certain degree - mostly fantasy politics ^^) I'm not very interested in Martin's opinions on politics. However, the post ends with a promising "Tomorrow, back to work..." which could be read as Martin preparing for another long day of writing good words for his sixth novel, but he does explicitly not mention what that work entails, and knowing how much stuff he's got on his plate (such a nice figure of speech when talking about the Gurm), it's another dodge from the man. Boo and hiss.
Score: 1.

Oooh, Martin uses the angry-face. It is forever connected to his 'To my Detractors'-post in my mind. Oh, it's just about politics (again). 
Score: 1.

More politics. So many words that could have been spent expanding The Winds of Winter by a page. Sigh.
Score: 1.

...and full of pain. We get it, George. You like that expression. Considering your income and status I feel it's a bit unfair to the starving children in Africa, but oh well. To each his own. Three long paragraphs about that crap sport he enjoys and an added fourth paragraph about the hurricane Sandy (which would elicit a fair 'life is meaningless..' outburst, but it seems football is more important after all).
Score: 1.

I know who'd win a 'Most Self-Indulgent Grumpy Fantasy Author' award.
Score: 1.

Woot, an Ice & Fire-related post. A beautiful (I suppose) new edition of A Dance with Dragons, the least interesting novel in the saga. Also, a cleverly disguised sales post (again). Buy buy buy! I wouldn't mind buying your merch, George, if only you gave me a reason to. Also, Dying of the Light is a dud. Also I am impressed he makes a sales post for a book that is essentially sold out (no, not Dying).
Score: 1+

Another Ice & Fire post. About the book of maps. Maps that you can view, for free, in all manner of variants, on the Internet, including maps that are far better in all aspects. But of course you have to buy this one, it's officially licensed. I'd buy it in an instant if it were published in, say, 2002. 
Score: 2.

A piece of art depicting Cersei Lannister, to be published in some calendar with fantasy ladies. It's a bit sad, really. The art is relatively nice, but naked ladies are but a few clicks and a google away, so it's a little pointless.
Score: 1.

Oh noes, it's the sad box robot. That means a football post. It's as long as a short Ice and Fire chapter. I want to smack that droid in its square face. 
Score: 1.

Another sales post. Buy another book where the same story I wrote years ago is printed! He also somehow believes you're a loser if you didn't acquire a copy of Warriors, where "The Mystery Knight" was first included. I guess you are - Warriors is readily available wherever.
Score: 1.

And here we have a sales post. My eyebrows shoot through the roof in surprise. Buy buy buy! Only, this is actually a useful purchase for me as I do play roleplaying games, and have recently started a campaign in Westeros (centered around a peddler traveling the King's Road selling water-damaged goods). 
Score: 3.

October 22nd - .......

...Okay, I give up. I had not realized just how many posts George actually produces in the course of a mon. . I guess my point is clear - the Not A Blog isn't a very exciting place. I will trawl through the rest of the year and pick out only the posts hinting at The Winds of Winter:

I am sure there will be a great abundance of them; an affluence of hints for us to speculate about, a great plethora of prosperous postings, plenitudes and ample bounty. Oh yes.

Ooooh! Spotted a post about writing. Oh, wait. That's about sidebars.
Oh and another! mmrrpfh - another post about sidebars. And there's one about an introduction to an anthology. A promise of "the best is yet to come" in a post about ADWD. Again not mentioning The Winds of Winter specifically but this one does sound like the real deal. 

And here we have an actual update. Dated June 23rd, Martin writes "THE WINDS OF WINTER. Also known as Son of Kong. Working on it. Lots to do."

And that's it. A Dance with Dragons was an epic struggle, hence he named it Kong; and here he indicates that things won't get easier with Winds. That's just great. It's a useless post. Lots to do? Oh really? How about some actual factual information? Why is this too much to ask for? The update, by the way, is buried in a swamp of other projects he presents as "working on". Great.

"Yes, I'm working on that [The Winds of Winter] too. At the moment I'm writing about the Dothraki. More than that, I sayeth not, you know I don't like to talk about this stuff."

And there it is - the only worthwhile update in 2012 from the master. He's writing about Dothraki. It's not much, but it is something. He also admits not liking to talk about this stuff and I can only assume, once again, that is because there's not much to talk about. But we'll have Dothraki in Winds

In conclusion then, we have one and a half post about The Winds of Winter for the entirety of 2012 (unless something magical and full of joy happens come December), with the basic info being there will be Dothraki in Winds

Is it really too much to ask for a little more? I ask because I see many people claiming that you can't ask him anything because we're not entitled to anything. Yet most other authors I am aware of or follow on the Internet seem to realize that talking, once in a while, about an upcoming book does wonders. I can't imagine George has this amazing story he desperately needs to hide for fear of people becoming spoiled; he could have said so many things about  A Dance with Dragons without ruining the experience for us. It all comes down to his statement that he doesn't like talking about it. Except when he's doing interviews of course. But to his fans? Nothing much, no. 

It's a sad, sad situation.
So, without further ado, The Best Post of 2012 goes to May the 12th for telling us the Dothraki will be in The Winds of Winter. The Worst Post I guess goes to... I don't know which of the three archetypical posts annoy me the most: the football posts, the sales posts, or the political posts. I think I'm going with the sales posts as they add an extra layer of obnoxiousness to the blog that is not a blog yet is a blog for all purposes. And of those, I think the way he tries to sell me trash like Wild Cards are the worst, or what about those severely limited books that somehow pop up from year to year despite their scarcity. 

1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to point out: October 30th & 29th point to the same post.