Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Book updates: Brandon Sanderson & George R.R. Martin

On his blog, Brandon Sanderson has posted a detailed update of his future writing plans. He confirms his main priority will be the final Wheel of Time novel, A Memory of Light, which he plans to begin writing in January. The currently-planned publication date for that book is now March 2012.

Following that, Sanderson will write the second and third Stormlight Archive books, followed by the long-planned sequel to Elantris, which has now been prioritised over Nightblood, the planned sequel to Warbreaker.

So Sanderson's current hoped-for release schedule looks like this:

  • Towers of Midnight: the penultimate Wheel of Time novel, due on 2 November 2010.
  • Alcatraz vs the Shattered Lens: the fourth Alcatraz book, due in December 2010.
  • Scribbler: a short, stand-alone steampunk novel, due in early 2012.
  • A Memory of Light: the final Wheel of Time novel, due in March 2012.
  • Stormlight Archive Book 2: due in late 2012 or early 2013.
Interestingly, this makes 2011 the first Sanderson book-free year since Elantris was published in 2005, although Sanderson has not completely ruled getting A Memory of Light out in late 2011, but based the information in the post this seems unlikely.

Elsewhere, representatives of Bantam Books have commented on their plans for A Dance with Dragons, the fifth Song of Ice and Fire novel, at the New York Comic-Con, with George R.R. Martin's American editor Anne Groell revealing that only five chapters remained to be handed in for the book and these chapters already exist in draft form. Probably highly unwisely, Team Bantam suggested that the final manuscript could be handed in before Christmas, which would make a Spring or early Summer 2011 publication possible. Notably, GRRM has not commented on this directly (probably for reasons of raising expectations which might not be met, yet again).

Further information reveals that A Dance with Dragons is currently just short of 1,500 manuscript pages in length, not far off A Storm of Swords's 1,530. The five remaining chapters will likely carry the book past that page-count, which could lead to issues over length and the possibility of the book being split or more chapters being cut off into The Winds of Winter. However, with the HBO series around the corner and sales of A Game of Thrones in paperback in the USA alone passing 1 million (backing up recent guesstimates of worldwide series sales somewhere in the region of 7-8 million), it is probable that Bantam USA will publish the book in one volume even if it is slightly longer than Swords. The fate of the novel in the UK, where Voyager split Swords in paperback into two volumes and have since grown very split-happy on long books, is less certain if it gets to that length. As always in this ongoing saga, believe nothing until GRRM himself announces the book has finally been handed in, and possibly not until it's in your hands. But to summarise the status of the book based on this information:

  • A Dance with Dragons is currently just short of 1,500 manuscript pages in length (almost half again the length of A Feast for Crows) and is five chapters away from completion.
  • Those five chapters exist in partials, roughs and drafts and need to be finalised, not written from scratch.
  • Martin's publishers have said, but the author himself has not confirmed, that they believe that the book could be completed before Christmas so they can announce a release date in January.
  • Martin himself is in Ireland, the UK and Malta during October to attend meetings with his British publishers and watch some filming of the TV series (which is now halfway complete). He will return to Santa Fe in early November, giving him about six to seven weeks to round off the book to meet Bantam's suggested dates. Whether this is doable remains to be seen.
  • Because of Martins exacting editing and rewriting process, the novel will not require months or years of rewriting and editing after submission (of the sort Patrick Rothfuss has been undertaking, for example). In fact, well over 90% of the book has been handed in, 'locked', copy-edited, typeset and is now ready to go. Both the new maps (ADWD will have the first canon map of the Free Cities) and the appendices are also reported to be complete and ready to go.
  • As a result of the above, it has been suggested that ADWD could be on shelves three months after submission, an acceleration of the five-six months of their previous turn-around times. However, Voyager in the UK is still expected to get the book out a few weeks earlier due to the smaller print-runs they need.
Yes, we've been 'close' before and been proven wrong. Let's hope, given signs that a number of other major 2011 releases look like they might be slipping back until later in the year, this isn't the case this time around.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately I can now say with reasonable conviction that ASOIAF cannot realistically be completed in GRRM's life time, as unhappy as I am in saying this, I do see this series meeting a Jordanian death. We can only hope someone as talented as Sanderson will take up the mission of completing the poor series.
What a waste!

Adam Whitehead said...

Interesting. Even if we took a nightmare scenario and assumed 7 years for TWoW and 8 for ADoS (on the basis of 5 years for AFFC and the better part of 6 for ADWD), that would put the end of the series (assuming no further expansion) in 15 years, when GRRM would be 76-77, the same age as Gene Wolfe is presently or ten years younger than say Brian Aldiss, both of whom are still writing relatively prolifically.

I have a strong suspicion it won't come to this. But we will see.

Peter Ahlstrom said...

SCRIBBLER is planned as the first book of a trilogy.

jamie said...

Let's hope that GRRM doesn't discover Minecraft, that would really bugger up his writing schedule.

Unknown said...

"...Signs that a number of other major 2011 releases look like they might be slipping back until later in the year."

Wait, what have I missed?

Adam Whitehead said...

There were signs that Patrick Rothfuss had missed his deadline, but apparently he's still on track. However, Bantam US have pushed back THE REPUBLIC OF THIEVES to late summer and Gollancz have not replied to my enquiries about the book, indicating that it won't be hitting the early spring date. The listings for THE COLD COMMANDS also indicate it is dropping back until later in the year.

THE HEROES has also been delayed (by a week) and so has THE CRIPPLED GOD (by a month), but those delays are far more minor.

David H. said...

Adam Whitehead, I don't know about Gene Wolfe or Brian Aldiss's health, but George R.R. Martin didn't seem *that* healthy...

Adam Whitehead said...

Ah, that. If you check out io9's recent podcast GRRM talks about being on a great health plan, whilst I know people far unhealthier than GRRM who have survived to much greater ages. I personally put the chances of him being hit by a bus as a far greater worry.

Certainly the chances of him contracting the same problem as Robert Jordan (an ultra-rare blood disease that affects only 1 in 1.2 million people) are negligible.

Greg said...

I really have suspicions that GRRM has painted himself into a corner and with all his other projects, hobbies, and travels, he doesn't have the focus he needs to get ASoIaF back under control.
And I find it, frustrating that he has time, for editing big anthologies, like Warriors but can't finish a book.
I know it sounds mean, but I'm starting to think it won't get finished in his lifetime, just because it will take him dying to get it finished. As long as GRRM is alive, its up to him, but when he dies the publisher will demand that before another author steps in, that they are committed to completing the series in an acceptable schedule.

Adam Whitehead said...

The publisher doesn't have that power, though. The copyright on the series remains with the author and passes to their literary heirs and estate when they pass away. The publisher cannot do anything unless the estate agrees, and in this case Martin has been pretty adamant that no-one will finish the series if he croaks, based on the appalling new books put out in the AMBER series (by GRRM's good friend Roger Zelazny) despite the author's wishes that no-one else touch them.

Of course, he might change his mind, as Robert Jordan did when actually faced with the decision after years of saying that he wouldn't let anyone else finish the series.

Anonymous said...

It's pretty simple for me- If ADWD is a return to the form of the the first three books, I'll continue the series- no matterhow long that wait may be. If, however, it continues down the lackluster path of AFFC...I'm done waiting; I'm moving on.

Alex said...

Last formal update on George RR Martins website Jan 2008, referencing the Feb 2007 update.

Personally I don't think he has the tunnel vision or focus to finish this series. He's popping out other projects all the time, wildcards, editing short story compendiums etc. I don't think he's got it in him to do the series justice, he's just not organised enough. The last volume was a let down and I don't expect this to be any better, however many years late it is.

Adam Whitehead said...

The update situation is a bit odd. Since the 2008 one there have been several dozen substantive updates on the status of the book, but put on GRRM's blog. The February update explaining the structural changes to the book, or one of the later ones making clear the gargantuan size of the novel, would work quite well as a newer update on that page, or he could just have them mirrored. That would help the situation a fair bit as well.

daranthered said...

I personally won't believe the book is close to done until GRRM announces it on his website. It's really suspicious that he hasn't commented on it at all.

While in general good health, he always seem to be sick after traveling to one convention or another. Nothing serious, just colds from various parts of the world.

I decided not to read the series until it was done. When I picked up Crows I couldn't remember alot of the supporting characters, and had to reread the whole series. So, when the last book comes out, I'll read the whole thing over again.