Will George RR Martin’s The Winds of Winter be published this year?

It happens every time. Whenever we cross paths with HarperCollins, George R.R. Martin’s Australian publisher, the conversation invariably leans towards A Song of Ice and Fire.

532357935209ba3172b1158a_george-rr-martinWhen will the next book be coming?

Is it this year?

It’s this year isn’t it?

Blink once if it’s this year.

Was that a blink?

But it appears it wasn’t a blink after all, as Martin’s UK publisher Jane Johnson from HarperCollins gave fans the big news overnight.

“I have no information on likely delivery,” she said. “These are increasingly complex books and require immense amounts of concentration to write. Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers.”

Martin too is feeling the strain of impatient fans.

“I know how many people are waiting, how long they have been waiting, how anxious they are. I am still working on Winds. When it’s done, I will announce it here,” the bestselling author said recently. “There won’t be any clues to decipher, any codes or hidden meanings, the announcement will be straightforward and to the point. I won’t time it to coincide with Xmas or Valentine’s Day or Lincoln’s Birthday, the book will not rise from the dead with Jesus on Easter Sunday.”

But while we wait for another book, the show goes on.

The TV show that is, with the release of season 4 of Games of Thrones nearly upon us, and season 5 set to air in April this year.

game-of-thronesGame of Thrones

The Complete Fourth Season

Based on George R.R. Martin’s best selling book series A Song of Ice and Fire, the fourth season of Game of Thrones features returning cast members, plus some exciting additions.

While the Lannisters hold on the Iron Throne remains intact, new and ongoing threats from the south, north and east threaten to tip the scales. As Stannis Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen continue to grow their respective armies, the arrival of the Lannister-loathing Red Viper of Dorne poses a more immediate danger. In the north, the depleted Night’s Watch seems over matched against the advances of Mance Rayders army of wildlings, which in turn is being trailed by an even more formidable foe: the undead White Walkers.

Complete Fourth Season is packed with exclusive new bonus content including roundtable discussions, on-set interviews, audio commentaries, and brand new animated histories giving fans hours of extensive, never-before-seen material.

Order your copy of Game of Thrones: Season 4 here

What happens when Game of Thrones catches up with A Song of Ice and Fire?

Ever wondered what happens when Game of Thrones, the TV Show, catches up with A Song of Ice and Fire, the books?

It’s cool. George R.R. has it covered. He tells us it’s all going to be okay in this Variety magazine interview.

The season that’s about to debut covers the second half of the third book. The third book [A Storm of Swords] was so long that it had to be split into two. But there are two more books beyond that, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons.

A Dance with Dragons is itself a book that’s as big as A Storm of Swords. So there’s potentially three more seasons there, between Feast and Dance, if they split into two the way they did [with Storms]. Now, Feast and Dance take place simultaneously. So you can’t do Feast and then Dance the way I did. You can combine them and do it chronologically. And it’s my hope that they’ll do it that way and then, long before they catch up with me, I’ll have published The Winds of Winter, which’ll give me another couple years.

It might be tight on the last book, A Dream of Spring, as they juggernaut forward.

He’s a smart cookie, Georgie. Clever boy.

Now listen, gather round.

The show is good. Very good. But the books are extraordinary.

I turned my nose up at them for years thinking, because I wasn’t a fantasy reader, that they weren’t for me. But I was wrong. They’re brilliant. Hard to believe, but better than the show, much better.

So don’t wait for 5 years to see what happens next. Get reading, you’ve still got time, and take pleasure in spilling spoilers to all your friends!

Do we really need to tell you how good the Song of Ice and Fire books are?
Grab one today!


A Game of Memes: The Best Game of Thrones Memes of All Time

In honour of tonight’s final episode of Game of Thrones Season 4, we’ve plucked some of our favourite memes from Westeros and beyond.

Want to know the spoilers and plot twists for the next season? Creator George R.R. Martin has written a series of extensively detailed manifestos containing details on what will happen next season. Click here to find out.


Pie Chart Fun



We’ve got a soft spot for a witty Venn Diagram


And another onetumblr_n2lf73oCvv1qz581wo7_400



We also love Hodortumblr_n2lf73oCvv1qz581wo1_400


Sage advice for anyone travelling to Kings Landing this Wintertumblr_n2lf73oCvv1qz581wo5_400


At the end of the day, we can all just blame Robert Baratheonrobert-meme


Game of Thrones > Harry Potter? game-thrones-memes-4


Seriously, did we mention how much we love Hodor?378d99de8e195661bfa0c76dd62ceca35c7441951dda790a03ce981fafd296c8


If only this name wasn’t already taken…


Game of Thrones: Season 3 – Order Your Copy Today

Season 3 of Game of Thrones is out on DVD next week. Never before has a television show received as much attention as the extraordinary adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s acclaimed novels.

In the third season of the hit HBO drama, the Lannisters barely hold onto power after a savage naval onslaught from Stannis Baratheon, while stirrings in the North threaten to alter the overall balance of power.

Robb Stark, King in the North, faces major calamity in his efforts to build on his victories over the Lannisters while beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder and his huge army of wildlings continue their inexorable march south.

Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen – reunited with her three fast-maturing dragons – attempts to raise an army to sail with her from Essos, in hopes of eventually claiming the Iron Throne.

In one of the most celebrated series in television history, the battling families of Westeros continue to fight for power as bonds are strained, loyalties are tested, and cruel fates are met.

Beat the rush, pre-order your copy of Game of Thrones: Season 3 today

Game of Thrones

Seasons 1 – 2

Based on the bestselling fantasy book series by George R.R. Martin, Seasons One and Two of the epic HBO original series Game of Thrones are set in a world where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime.

From the scheming south and the savage eastern lands, to the frozen north and ancient Wall that protects the realm from the mysterious darkness beyond, the powerful families of the Seven Kingdoms are locked in a battle for the Iron Throne.

With tensions and treaties, animosity and alliances, it’s a thrilling journey through a riveting and unforgettable landscape.

Check out Seasons 1 and 2 of Game of Thrones here

The Night I Met George R.R. Martin

It’s strange to meet a man who is a God to some, an unknown mortal to others. News that I was meeting George R.R. Martin was met by friends and family with two reactions. One was ‘wow, you’re so lucky’, the other was ‘who is George R.R. Martin?’.

And that is the world of genre fiction. Authors are deified by some, unknown to others. If you’re a fan, you’re more than just a fan. If you aren’t, you nearly go out of your way to proclaim ignorance.

As I write this I realise I’ve put all people into two categories, neither of which I actually fall into. Of course I have heard of George R.R. Martin and I was incredibly excited to meet such a huge cultural figure, a wonderful writer, a magnificent storyteller. At least that’s what I’ve been told. You see…

…I haven’t read any books by George R.R. Martin. I am an observer. I love the TV show. Admire him, absolutely. But read him? No, not for me.

So it was with equal parts excitement and trepidation I made my way, along with John Purcell, Christopher Cahill and our Sci-Fi & Fantasy specialist Mark Timmony, to the offices of George’s Australian publishers, HarperCollins. Our game plan was simple. Meet George.

Typically at these events the talent makes a late appearance to a soundtrack of whispers, but George R.R. Martin isn’t your typical talent. Our wine barely had a chance to breathe before a bearded man in suspenders began to work the room.

George had entered stage left, and even the ushers didn’t notice him.

It’s easy to miss him in a crowd. He’s a little guy, not prone to loud sweeping conversation. He mingled for a while, pretending not to notice the room who in turn pretended not to stare at him. He sipped his drink and nodded humbly as people told him how much they loved his books. He slowly made his way down the far side of the room before finding refuge in a set of chairs and sat down. It was then we were told our time had come.

‘There he is.’

‘He’s sitting down, this is your chance.’

image(5)And so we made our move. We dashed across the floor towards George who had now found himself in conversation with a woman talking so fast with excitement I couldn’t understand what she was saying. I doubt George could either, but he smiled and nodded, raising a glass with her as we stood awkwardly nearby.

Eventually his conversation stopped and he turned to us and put out his hand.

‘Hi, I’m George.’

The conversation was a blur of fantasy references, questions about Booktopia, and Australia’s weather. Christopher and George bonded over their love of J.R.R. Tolkien as John and I took photos of them chatting. It was surreal, being in the company of such an idolised, influential figure. And as quickly as it started, it was over. George still had to press the palms of many more people that night, and we disappeared into the crowd.

So what did we learn from our night with George?

Christopher Cahill meets George

- He has been to Australia quite a few times, both for business and pleasure.

- He has signed 10,000 books since landing here 5 days ago.

- He loves a good champagne.

- His favourite book is Lord of the Rings.

- His biggest influence writing The Song of Ice and Fire Series was the War of the Roses.

- The next book currently has a working title (which has not been finalised) and is close to being finished.

And that was that. After signing a few books and posing for some photos, George left, and soon after so did we.

So what becomes of a casual observer after a chance meeting? It just so happens this morning I put in an order for The Game of Thrones Boxset.

I mean, now that George is a close personal friend, I owe it to him to at least read his stuff, right?

Does Robb Stark Take Up Too Much Space On Trains?

Does Robb Stark take up too much space on trains?

That’s the question being asked around the world today, as Game of Thrones star Richard Madden is outed as a chronic space-taker-upperer on the popular tumblr site Men Taking Up Too Much Space On The Train.

Men Taking Up Too Much Space On The Train exposes a world of sexual politics that will strike a chord with anyone who has suffered at the hands of bad etiquette on public transport.

If there is one aspect of the modern age that matches the scheming, combative nature of Westeros and beyond, it is surely the public transport system. Continue reading

5 Fantasy Titles To Read To Make The Olympics Go Away by Mark Timmony

Tired of the Olympics already? Me too. So while my colleagues offer you some… normal… titles by which you might find a reprieve, I am going to offer you some more fantastical ones. Here are 5 worlds of wonder you can jump into  to escape this one – if only for a couple of days (or hours depending on how fast you read).

Please note I am not including ‘Lord of the Rings‘. I understand that the books I am talking about owe their existence on many levels to J.R.R. Tolkien but – meh.

I’ll stick to the movies thanks (give me modern fantasy masters any day).

But first let me offer a caveat. While below I mention one title by each other, I am also referring the series that they are the beginning of. Very few books in fantasy are stand-alones, and quite frankly I rarely bother with those that are because I want to get engrossed in a series that will take some time to get through – and I don’t care if the author hasn’t finished the series when I start it. Hells! this is fantasy we’re talking about. There is always another story to read while you wait to for the next!

So – in no particular order:

Eye of the World

Wheel of Time #1

By Robert Jordan

The first book in the mega-series the Wheel of Time. Jordan purposefully wrote this story introducing Rand al’Thor and his cohorts in such a way that it is very reminiscent of Lord of the Rings – legend has it he wanted readers to have a familiar starting point before he immersed them in his world of Trollocs, Myrddraal and the Dragon Reborn. Of course that went completely over my head but I am told that is in fact true – he leans a lot on LotR. Well I don’t hold it against him. This series is one of my all time favourites.

I remember looking at this title in 1991 and being hesitant to spend my pocket money on a such an expensive book (trade paperback rather than my paperback norm). So I borrowed it from the library. All it took was the prologue and I was hooked. Rich in history, drama, forgotten magics, political machinations (mortal and immortal alike) and vibrant characters – I have never looked back.

Next year sees the end of this series as Brandon Sanderson completes the late Mr Jordan’s epic, and I am already dreading trying to fill the hole it will leave in my forthcoming-books-to-read list.



Riftwar #1

By Raymond E Feist

Feist’s first, and to my mind best book (the Empire trilogy he wrote with Janny Wurts not withstanding) burst onto the scene in 1982 and is widely considered to be responsible for the resurgence in popularity of genre fiction since LotR.

A classic coming of age story, Magician focus’s predominately on two tales – that of Pug, the ‘Magician’ and his childhood friend Tomas, a warrior. It chronicles their divergent paths in a time of war, and explores slavery and freedom and the corruption of the power, along side men and women who hold personal honour and right action as as dearly as they hold their own lives

This was the first big book I ever read and it was/is an awesome place to be introduced to scope of epic fantasy. Feist holds to tradition that many newer authors disdain and peppers his world with Dwarves and Elves, Goblins and Trolls. But he also broke genre moulds by introducing what amounts to an alien invasion into a fantasy story. Like all my favourites Magician is steeped in history, because if you’re going to do epic fantasy you have an epic world that holds up to scrutiny.

Magician has as much for the ladies as it does for the guys, and even if you don’t read any of his other books you should read this one.


Hunter’s Oath

Hunter’s Oath #1 (but most importantly the precursor to the epic Sun Sword and House War series)

by Michelle West

West is one of those writers who creeps up on you. You pick up one of her books to read and all of a sudden you are late for work, or the sun is rising and you haven’t been to bed.

Like most of the genre novel’s I rave about, her work is big. 200,000 + plus words is the norm for a West book. And while she fills her stories with the traditional explorations of good versus evil, those events are the back drop. Her stories are about characters where some fantasy authors can get carried away with the tropes of the genre and the characters become the back drop to how clever they are. West’s novels are about human sacrifice in the face of overwhelming (and inhuman) odds; they are about family – the families we make when the ones we are born to disappear or abandon us – they are about destiny and fate and the human compulsion to stand before them and say ‘No!’.

Her books are epic in scope and deep in the telling. She pulls you in and I am usually so drunk on her writing by the time I am finished nothing else will do for days but more.


The Name of the Wind

Kingkiller Chronicle #1

Patrick Rothfuss

You know why you should read this one? because it’s good. And I said so.

But truly, it is really good. I wasn’t going to read it myself. I had one of those ‘judge a book by it’s cover moments – actually it was the blurb – and yes I have those moments a lot. I thought the blurb was appalling and that the main character (and narrator) Kvothe sounded like a tosser. Well he is arrogant, to an extent, but his arrogance is well deserved and his charm overrides. Rothfuss weaves magic between the pages, in language and in story. His characters are vibrant and he hooks you as you follow Kvothe on his journey from cherished child of a loving family, to orphan, to protege. Rothfuss conducts in words his very own version of the dance of the seven veils, delighting in what he reveals as much as he does in what is promised.

This is the start of what I believe will be a very promising and influential writers career.


Game of Thrones

Song of Ice and Fire #1

By George R.R. Martin

Okay, so this one is a bit of a cheat, but I’ll have you know that I was reading this years before it became ‘popular’ – and unfortunately given that each book has taken GRRM longer and longer to write I do literally mean years.

I’m pretty sure I don’t need to say much about this one, even people who don’t usually read genre novels have heard of The Game of Thrones or seen the HBO series.

GRRM is a really good place to start reading fantasy for those who are hesitant; mostly because his work can read more like historical fiction rather than actual fantasy – that, and the fact that GRRM’s plotting just blows you away. Full of love, hope and honour; betrayal, passion and greed (not to mention dragons and brutal politics) this series is a benchmark in genre fiction and the author’s magnum opus.

He’s written a lot of fine novels but these will be the books he’s remembered for.


Guest Blogger Booktopia’s  Mark Timmony


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