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maryann johanson, ruining movies since 1997

‘Game of Thrones’’ George R.R. Martin’s fans have turned on him…

I knew the Internet could turn some people vicious — it’s oh-so easy for some people to lob vitriol from behind a computer screen and forget that there’s a real person at the other end of it — but this is insane. The series of novels that provides the basis for the upcoming HBO series Game of Thrones isn’t finished yet… and some reader are angry at author George R.R. Martin (via The New Yorker):

The same blogging culture that allows a fantasy writer like Neil Gaiman to foster a sense of intimacy with his readers can also expose an author to relentless scrutiny when they become discontented. Fans desperate to find out what happened to Martin characters like Tyrion Lannister—a smart, cynical dwarf born into one of the most powerful families in the Seven Kingdoms—found it irksome to check Martin’s Web site for updates about the series’ fifth book, “A Dance with Dragons,” and find instead postings about sports or politics. They began to complain in the comments section of Martin’s blog and on Westeros.org.

[T]he discontent soon spilled over into other platforms—from science-fiction and fantasy forums to discussion boards on Amazon.com. One poster wrote, “George R. R. Martin, you suck. . . . Pull your fucking typewriter out of your ass and start fucking typing.” Another joked that Martin had written a book called “How to Cash in Big Time After You Write Half a Series.” Such invective has flourished even after Martin, in early March, announced that “A Dance with Dragons” will finally be published on July 12th. One skeptic, posting on Amazon.com, said of the release date, “Don’t hold your breath on this one unless you like passing out.”

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. Even Gaiman got dragged into the feud when he responded, on his own blog, to an inquiry about Martin’s tardiness by issuing this reproof: “George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.”

Wow. I can understand being anxious for more of what you love, but what a lot of time and energy to pour into such negativity!

I worry about this sort of thing myself, as a writer with an audience. Not that I’m in anywhere near Martin’s league, but when I know that readers are waiting for stuff — reviews of a certain film, more classic Doctor Who blogging, etc — it does weigh on my mind. Though it might look like I’m slacking off sometimes, I promise I’m not. I also try not to feel guilty if I try to have a little bit of a life… but I usually do end up castigating myself for taking an evening off, even though I also know that putting in too many straight hours and straight days — and straight weeks — becomes counterproductive. One must recharge once in a while, and it does end up being worth it in the long run. But still I worry.

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