Wednesday, 16 March 2011

MUSINGS: When do Fan's say enough's enough?

Fans of fantasy have long since gotten use to delays in favourite series, but with the recent announcement by George RR Martin that his new title will be out in July 2011, alongside the new release of the second title by Patrick Rothfuss, I thought that now would be an interesting time to explore how fans feel about this.

After all, we’re all familiar with finding out a publication date and then waiting almost feverishly counting down the days, hunting behind the sofa praying that lost bank notes or coins can be located only to suddenly discover if you’re lucky a statement that says “Oops, sorry, my bad, it’s not done.” Which is pretty much when you then crash and burn with that creeping feeling of disappointment alongside the empty lowness that you’ve been let down by your favourite author leaving you with the question of why something was promised by a certain date and then failed to materialise.

Why does it hit us so badly? Well, I can’t answer for everyone but for me, it’s the fact that it was to be a highlight of my year, that wonderful feeling of exploring the world, of catching up with old friends as I curled up beneath the sheets, living the dangers that they face as well as breathing out sighs of relief at their survival whilst mourning the loss of “friends.”

Writers, at this point, can be split into one of two camps, there are who claim that it’s an art form, who agonise over every word as if it were a brush stroke or a note in their opus and then theres the others who state that it’s a business and as such they have to deliver. Many of us recall some authors such as David Gemmell who were proud of the fact that they’ve never missed a deadline, yet other authors led the reader a merry dance to await the next offering.

One example of the later from my own long distant past were the adventures of Sparhawk, which whilst originally should have been waiting months for the second part and a journey that should have taken a short period took a great many years to obtain the full story.

Now personally, I’m not raising the flag of revolution or raising the first flaming torch of the mob but I did wonder where others stood on this issue. For me, I suspect that it is another reason why I liked David’s writing as they soothed away the hurt with regular doses and sometimes if you got lucky you managed to get two titles in a singular year. Yet other authors like Martin, Rothfuss and also now Lynch take their time almost as if the fan is an afterthought and that the overall project is the key.

Don’t get me wrong here, I know that these tales of woe are not considered unusual amongst readers but when do you feel that the author is letting you down? Who will you wait for no matter what and perhaps more importantly what do you do to fill in your time whilst waiting for your favourite author’s next book?

As a reader have you swapped authors, going for one who produces more often? Or do you hang around and pray to the gods of the written words that they send the muse? Has the modern age made it easier to keep up with what’s coming out and when and has it made it easier for fans to have a voice? And finally who do you trust to help you find another great read in the meantime? I look forward to seeing what you have to say.

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