CDAN reports that George RR Martin is not going to finish A SONG OF FIRE AND ICE.
This permanent A list author has told a few close friends that he never intends on finishing a long awaited book series.
It’s no surprise at this point. All authors, sooner or later, lose their literary fastball, usually around the age of 70 or so. Martin is 75, he is in poor health, he has more money than he can reasonably spend in his lifetime, and he has no children, so he has literally nothing to gain from finishing a story that has already been concluded, however unsatisfactorily, in the television format.
He knows that the fans don’t like his intended end to the saga, so what’s the purpose of devoting several of his last remaining years to torturing himself in order to finish a story that he knows the fans will not find satisfying?
As a reader, I completely sympathize with the firestorm of fury that will likely greet the realization that the saga has already been effectively concluded. But as an author, I can’t honestly say that Martin’s rumored decision is not the right one. Martin knows that his latter books in the series don’t live up to the first two, and I have no doubt he’s well aware that what he’s written since will be widely criticized as sub-par. Better not to publish than publish that which can only detract from his respectable literary legacy.
However, fans of the series need not worry overmuch. There is no way his publisher is walking away from a gold mine that is so easily mined, so I expect that after his death, the publisher will convince whoever ends up with the rights to permit the hiring of a writer to finish the series ala Brandon Sanderson and The Wheel of Time. Ironically, as a proven epic fantasy author, I would probably be one of the top three candidates to do it except for a) my persona non grata status in the SF/F publishing world and b) I have my own epic fantasy saga to bring to a close.