Welcome to another round of Martinology, where we pour over quotations from author George R.R. Martin and try to extract information about the status of his Song of Ice and Fire series. Martin has written a fair amount on his Not a Blog over the past week, most of it about the 2017 Hugo Awards, which will be presented on August 11. The Hugos honor the best in science fiction and fantasy fiction, and Martin has a long, interesting history with them. In a post today about the nominees for Best Series, a new category, he ruminated on the nature of A Song of Ice and Fire:
I don’t consider A SONG OF ICE & FIRE to be a series, not as I define the word…I consider A SONG OF ICE & FIRE to be one single gigantic story published in multiple volumes. (Seven, I hope).
To Martin, series consist of more discreet volumes — he mentions his Wild Cards series, which is a collection of separate, interconnected stories set in the same world, as an example.
But the most interesting quote comes at the end. How many books will be in the finished A Song of Ice and Fire saga? “Seven, I hope.” Martin is working on the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, right now. For some fans, the prospect of waiting for a seventh and final book must seem daunting. But might he push it to eight or more?
Seven books has been the official word from Martin’s camp for a while, but this isn’t the first time he’s called that number into question. Here’s what he told Entertainment Weekly back in 2014:
My plan is to finish in seven. But my original plan was to finish in three. I write the stories and they grow. I deal with certain things and sometimes I find myself not at the end of a story. My plan right now is still seven. But first I have to finish Book Six. Get back to me when I’m half-way through Book Seven and then maybe I’ll tell you something more meaningful.
We note that Game of Thrones was originally going to be seven seasons, but that eventually ballooned to eight. Will A Song of Ice and Fire follow suit?
— Winter is Coming (@WiCnet) October 24, 2016
Moving away from A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin also reflected on the changing landspace of the science fiction business:
Being an old guy, I can remember a time when most science fiction novels were stand-alones. If they were popular enough, they might spawn sequels, but the series novel was the exception rather than the rule. Today the reverse is true. It has become increasingly hard to find a science fiction or fantasy novel that is NOT part of some series.
A Song of Ice and Fire included.