The readers remember!


When I do reader surveys one refrain is fewer posts on science fiction and fantasy. I’ve honored this request insofar as I post very little on such topics now (in the early years of this weblog there was even a “fork” weblog devoted to this).

But indulge me for a moment. Many of us believe that the last season of the television show, Game of Thrones, went off the rails. There were some good moments. The episodes leading up to the Battle of Winterfell and that particular episode itself were good, I thought. It was just the rest of the season that left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

George R. R. Martin’s series has two more projected books. It has now been nine years since the last book. Martin is 71. It is certainly plausible that the next two books will be published, but I sometimes wonder, does anyone care? They’ll sell well, and be massive successes, but the tardiness and the fact that the television show ran ahead of Martin means they won’t have the impact of the first books.

It’s really strange thinking back to the reality of the fact that I began reading the series in January of 1999, which was now a generation ago. As it happened, I read Game of Thrones and Clash of Kings within a week. I waited a bit over a year for Storm of Swords, and ordered it early from England. In 1990 and into the early 2000s I evangelized for A Song of Ice and Fire. But the next two books took a decade. The whole of the teens somehow passed without another book. It will be an interesting cultural exercise to compare those of us who read the books over time, to those teens and young adults who are going to read all eight books of A Song of Ice and Fire in 2035 in a month-long binge.

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8 thoughts on “The readers remember!

  1. I’d be in favour of more SF/Fantasy commentary from you Razib.

    I can also relate a little of my own experience with Lord of the Rings. Read The Hobbit in my childhood and LoTR as an adolescent in the 70s. Enjoyed it greatly at the time but then wrote it off in early adulthood as just for adolescents. Thought the reverence for it in nerd culture was just a symptom of the general emotional immaturity of that culture.

    Watched the Peter Jackson film trilogy, found them ok but wasn’t hugely impressed (except Andy Serkis’ performance obviously).

    But then came back to the actual books forty years on when my just-entering-adolescence son and I were embarking on a big journey by car and needed a really long audiobook. And over the space of a couple of days driving realised wait a minute! The people who have been saying this is one of the great classics of twentieth century English literature were right all along and I was wrong.

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  2. Post more on sff wth, didn’t even know you we’re censoring that. Praise the genius of Bakker how many times you want

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  3. I’d be in favour of more SF/Fantasy commentary from you Razib.

    This. Nerd on confidently!

    Regarding Podrick (I think that’s the GoT character’s name), I see that, as in the real world, the gods of that fictional world also favor the plucky.

    Also, I was okay with the last season in retrospect, except for pacing. There were some drawn out seasons and then the last season just went on warp-speed. Also the actors seemed like they were just phoning in for the last season.

    And, sure, some of the plot and battle sequences were nonsensical, but I never took this pulp fiction very seriously.

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  4. I suspect this is a silent majority issue — 99% enjoy fantasy and sci/fi posts and absently wish there were more, while the remaining killjoys object loudly.

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  5. I started reading ASOIAF in 2009 so I have not been waiting as much time as others and will buy Winds of Winter if it is ever published but I doubt it will ever happen or that GRRM has been working on this book for years.
    By the way I loved the ending of GoT> The weak season is season 7. The worst episode in season 8 is #4 and the Battle of Winterfell was also very disappointing but the rest was excellent if too fast.

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  6. Really? People don’t like these posts? Put me in the minority of folks that would enjoy more literature based content, for the completely self-interested reason that it’s my wheelhouse. I couldn’t make a worthwhile comment on the genetics posts any more than Kim Kardashian could comment on Kierkegaard…

    Razib, have you read the more recent Neal Stephenson novels?

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  7. Martin ran into trouble when he finished rewriting the war of the roses. Without any more historical material to draw on I don’t see how the conclusion (if it comes) will be able to live up to what came before.

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