Wednesday, April 6, 2011

George Martin's Shadow Fandom

In the current New Yorker is an article by Laura Miller titled "Just Write It!" about George R. R. Martin and his fans.  It begins by establishing what a talented and engaging writer George is -- and no argument there.  Then it gets to the meat of the matter:

An entire community of apostates -- a shadow fandom -- is now devoted to taunting Martin, his associates, and readers who insist that he has been hard at work on the series and has the right to take as much time as he needs.
Following which, Ms Miller analyzes:

. . . the online attacks on Martin suggest that some readers have a new idea about what an author owes them.  They see themselves as customers, not devotees, and they expect prompt, consistent service.
There's a great deal that could be said about this.  But I shall restrict myself to throwing out a single word which does not appear in the article:  Artist.

George Martin is an artist.  That's why so many people like his Ice and Fire books so much.  It's also why it took him over five years to write the forthcoming volume of his series.  Because to be an artist is to work right at the edge of what it's possible for you to do.  And sometimes it's so difficult as to be almost impossible.

The imagination is a horse, and it can carry you far and fast.  An artist is somebody who can ride that horse.  But just because you can ride it doesn't mean you can tell it where to go.

Nobody wants his series to be finished as much as George does.  He's been working very hard to complete it.  But sometimes the horse refuses to run as fast as you'd like it to.

Um ... and that's all, really.



David Stone said...

I guess Neil Gaiman said it best: "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch."

JJM said...

An artist owes his/her public only two things: one is the best art (s)he is capable of producing; and the other is the same degree of civility the public shows him/her. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Well, perhaps just a tad more civility; taking the high road is generally the wiser course, and most people find it very hard to deal with relentless and unwavering civility.

BTW, talking of the best art -- or the best writing: Jeff VanderMeer over on Omnivoracious just called Dancing with Bears a "... flat-out brilliant, edgy, kick-ass work, featuring two of the narstiest most entertaining rogues in recent memory." Yep, that's about what you owe us, Michael. [wicked grin]

Great interview. Your fans can read it here:

--Mario Rups, counting the days until Amazon sends me my copy :)

HANNAH'S DAD said...

If you think the books are entertaining
It's best you stop complaining
Writers just aren't machines

George Martin never signed a contract
To just work on that project
So find something else to read

Have you tried Fevre Dream?

George RR Martin is not your bitch
No matter how much you gripe
George RR Martin is not your bitch
So you might as well go get a life


The .mp3 of the song linked to isn't working for me at the moment, but perhaps that's just a momentary network hassle.