I feel lost. There’s a great big hole in my life and I have no idea how to fill it. I’ve spent just about every spare minute of the past three months with George RR Martin. And now it’s over, indefinitely.
Finishing a really good book is a bit like being ditched by a long-term partner, isn’t it?
I’ve never met Mr Martin, but his Game of Thrones fantasy series took over my life at times this past winter. On more than one occasion I read until 2am. Other times, when I had managed to put whichever instalment I was up to down at a reasonable hour, I’d wake up at 4am, bleary-eyed, and fire up the iPad for another session.
It all started when my other half decided we should watch the HBO blockbuster adaptation during the last week of June. We watched an episode or two a night via the Apple TV initially, resorting to shared iPad viewing during our winter holiday. The first two seasons (the only ones available so far) were over in days.
I tried to keep up with the action on screen by reading a few chapters of the series each day, initially fell behind, but caught up and raced on to finish the fifth book, A Dance with Dragons, this week.
I find myself thinking about the characters as I park the car, walk to class, during work meetings and at parties. I got it bad, but if you’ve read even the first of the books, you’ll have a bit of an idea why. Characters like Tyrion and Cersei Lannister (pictured above with fellow stars of the HBO series), Brienne of Tarth, Littlefinger, Varys and Daenerys Targaryan don’t just fade from memory the moment you turn the page.
The point of all this ranting is this. George RR Martin could and should release the remaining two books in serial form. A chunk here, a chunk there, with new chapters out every couple of months.
He’d make more money that way, readers would be happier because the wait between fixes would be shorter, and they’d even be able to have a say in the direction of the book via discussion boards.
He’d want to charge more than Amazon, though.
The US giant has just announced that it is pushing serialization of novels for the Kindle platform. To mark the occasion, it is publishing the original, serialized instalments of Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers for Kindle for free. It has also launched eight new Kindle serials, mainly thrillers, at $1.99 each (this cost covers all future instalments, which is unsustainable, like so much of Amazon’s pricing).
UPDATE: I was infuriated to discover late last night that Kindle Serials, including the Oliver Twist and Pickwick Papers serialisations, are only available in the US. Come on, Amazon. If it’s a rights issue with the new titles, fair enough, but Dickens is well and truly out of copyright. Please share the love with the rest of us, preferably this week so we can join the Dickensfest at the start rather than part-way through.
Meanwhile The Guardian reports that short non-fiction specialist Byliner has announced its own new imprint, Byliner Serials. The first work, Positron by Margaret Atwood, was a short story that grew. The second will be Joe McGinniss’s 15 Gothic Street.
It’s a brilliant idea. Please can someone tell George RR Martin about it? Otherwise I might be lost for another year or more.