Much of the world is currently under lockdown at the moment, keeping ourselves safe as the Coronavirus sweeps over the planet Earth. What to do while we wait out the virus? Well, if you’re A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin, it’s a great time to get to writing.
Of course, that’s what Martin has been doing since A Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in his series, was published way back in 2011. But in light of recent events, he gave fans an update as to his condition, and to how his work was progressing, on his Not a Blog:
For those of you who may be concerned for me personally… yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition. But I feel fine at the moment, and we are taking all sensible precautions. I am off by myself in a remote isolated location, attended by one of my staff, and I’m not going in to town or seeing anyone. Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day. Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here.
Martin doesn’t specify, but when he says he’s writing every day and spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, I take it to mean he’s working hard on The Winds of Winter, the long-awaited sixth book in his series. At this point, trying to divine when he might be finished feels like a fool’s errand, but last year he did say — in a joking tone, admittedly — that he would have Winds “in hand” when he arrived at worldcon in New Zealand this August. With events being cancelled left and right during this pandemic, who knows if worldcon will happen, but we can still look to the August 2020 “deadline.”
Meanwhile, Martin is closing down many of the Santa Fe-area businesses he’s involved with as the virus continues to spread. This includes the Meow Wolf art installation, the nonprofit Stagecoach Foundation, and his theater, the Jean Cocteau Cinema. Beastly Books, which is attached to the Jean Cocteau, will remain open (sans author events) for the time being, although that could change as events progress. Martin also stressed that the store’s mail order business is still running, saying that in these times of needed isolation, “reading is the best way to pass the empty hours.”
We wish Martin the best. Stay safe.