Scott Lynch update


Scott Lynch posted something on his LiveJournal a few days back. And since detractors and whiners always seem to be bitching about how late authors like George R. R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Scott Lynch are in delivering the eagerly anticipated next installment in their respective series, I thought it would be good to remind those people that SFF writers are normal human beings and sometimes they have to deal with a crisis, just like you and me. Hard to believe, I know. . .

Read this and you'll get a better understanding as to why The Republic of Thieves (Canada, USA, Europe) is late. . .

From Lynch's LJ:

Your Mood And How to Swing It

So, it should really come as no surprise to anyone that I'm a moody ol' son of a bitch, and that I have long preferred to work in the severest sort of isolation. My geographic position in rural Wisconsin makes it much too easy to maintain this posture, even when I'm feeling sociable. It also makes it particularly easy to dismiss steadily-worsening emotional problems as nothing more than further harmless sideshows at the Carnival of Quirks.

It's supposed to come with the territory... writers are supposed to be eccentric. We have cultural dispensation to be fruit loops. It makes for good back-cover blurbs, and it spices up our Wikipedia entries after we're dead and can no longer object to the edits.

But what's been happening to me for the past half year and more (and had precursor episodes over the past several years that are now looking more and more obvious in hindsight) can't be passed off as eccentricity or a quirk of mood.

I have occasionally taken deliberate breaks from the internet-at-large, but my silence of the past few months has not been by choice.

I have been dealing for some time with bouts of depression, which have been bad, and ongoing panic attacks, which have been orders of magnitude worse-- positively crippling.

These attacks worsened sharply during the Season of the Long Flu last fall and reached the point where they interfered with nearly everything I tried to do, making it impossible to write, communicate, and sometimes even think straight. It has been a long, sore trial for everyone around me and it ain't over yet. I do not have a firm grip on precisely what causes the damn things, though they are related to my work, my reading, my writing, and my intellectual life. They are very much an ongoing problem.

So, for the first time in my life, I am in therapy.

We really have yet to make any progress but it has been some use and comfort, at least, merely to get the process started.

I am not terribly eager to talk about all the details of this just yet. You'll have to settle for the basic admission. Even that isn't easy, believe me.

A couple notes:

I suppose it's only natural coincidence, but it really is incredible how, when you finally grit your teeth and force yourself to admit that you have a genuine problem, you suddenly begin to see echoes and references to that problem in everything you watch, read, or listen to. Time and time again I find myself fighting down a cold, hollow sensation when encountering fictional portrayals of anxiety and depression that I previously found deeply amusing. I'd really like to fast-forward to a time in my life when I can find it all funny again.

Queen of the Iron Sands will continue, and shortly. One of the main reasons for the serial project was to try and combat my growing sense of unease and anxiety over showing anyone my work (this is an aspect of the panic attacks). Unfortunately, my scheme didn't quite work and the panic attacks beat the hell out of me for several months. I'm hopeful that I'm nearly ready to start trying again, but I won't make any firm promises until the files are uploaded.

So please show some respect and stop bitching. . . My thoughts are with Scott Lynch and his family.

74 commentaires:

Roland said...

As much as I feel for the guy, I'm not really ok with the term "bitching" and the bashing of people who are complaining. I think that if you're not a fast writer, your nerves (and those of your fans) would be in a considerably better state if you did stand-alone work. I guess that makes me a "bitch" or something...

Anonymous said...

No, Roland, it makes you an asshole.

isis said...

The thing is, Pat, that people should show this respect anyway WITHOUT being told the full gory details of an author's personal problems. It should be ASSUMED that an author is a real person who may have all kinds of issues to deal with, which are simply NOT ANYBODY ELSE'S BUSINESS. There are all kinds of reasons for people to be unable to do their job and they do not automatically become everyone else's business just because that person is a published author. All those assumptions that were made about SL when his online presence was diminished were revolting and completely unnecessary.

The immature, ill-mannered idiots who think that an author owes them a personal explanation for the delayed publication of a sequel need to grow the fuck up and get a life. Seriously.

Wow. I cannot believe that even after being explicitly told the very personal reason that an author has not been able to complete their next book someone will still appear to give them 'advice' about how they should conduct their life. You're a fucking moron, Roland.

Anonymous said...

Although i understand the points brought up by Roland and Isis, i wouldn't sign them straight away.

I honor SL's outing as a move of courage and will not further comment on this, but i wish him all the best.

MY point of view is a VERY different one:
Since SEVERAL years the buyers are
trained by the publishers to expect one volume each year, and if this doesn't happen, they go up in flames (and flame.....)

..and before this turns into a huge
rant, i cut it off.....

P.K., Berlin

Anonymous said...

I second Roland´s opinion.

And something else to add

"It should be ASSUMED that an author is a real person who may have all kinds of issues to deal with"

Oh how wonderful! I guess I will tell this sentence to my boss, the next time I am facing a problem in real life and it´s affecting the overall quality of my work. I guess he will be so understanding and not kick my ass...

Stop living in a dream world. Authors are not beyond other people.

Anonymous said...

"Oh how wonderful! I guess I will tell this sentence to my boss, the next time I am facing a problem in real life and it´s affecting the overall quality of my work. I guess he will be so understanding and not kick my ass..."

You idiot, you're not Scott Lynch's boss. He owes nothing to you.

Anonymous said...

The whole argument "an author owes nothing to the ones who buy his or her work" is just flawed and stupid.

Does the school teacher owe nothing to his or her students? Does the doctor owe nothing to his or her patients? Does the manager owe nothing to his or her employees? Does the priest owe nothing to his or her followers? Does the social worker owe nothing to his or her clients on the street?

Authors and artists in general are no exception.

Craterus said...

The thing is, Authors, like every other professional who relies on a consumer to purchase their wares, should, before anything else be HONEST with those consumers. Scott has done this and I respect him for it.

Thats not to say he has to tell me the in's and out of this life, but if you are going to have an online presence and use that clever marketing tool to interract with your fans, you should stick to it and be honest whilst using it. Lynch, Martin, Rothfuss, and a whole host of authors have used their blogs to interact and solidify their fanbase. It should be a two way street or they shouldnt use it at all.

A good example is someone like Abercrombie, he uses his blog perfectly and respects his fans. On the other side you have Hoffman (left hand of god), who to my knowledges doesnt even have a web page. Both are fine, but using the web to your advantage and then not understanding why people have grown used to getting updates is unprofessional and egotistical.

Yes Authors are human, but as anonymouse just said, they have to live in the real world like the rest of us.

I think Scott has done the right thing, I now will not expect to see his series finished and if it is it will be a nice surprise. I wish him nowt but the best. At least he is not going to drag it out for 5 years and keep pretending to be nearly finished so we all keep him our attention on him..

chris said...

And it just carries on. How depressing.
Seriously there's more important things in life than the publication date of a sodding book. Way more important stuff!
If an author is a few years late then go for a walk,get married, have a wank! Anything but the constant whingeing.

Allan said...

I cant believe people hold tot he opinion that authors owe us the readers anything.

Oh how wonderful! I guess I will tell this sentence to my boss, the next time I am facing a problem in real life and it´s affecting the overall quality of my work. I guess he will be so understanding and not kick my ass..."

Is this for real or are you really mentally retarded.

Anonymous said...

The issue of whether an author owes his fans is totally separate from this issue. Scott Lynch is suffering from a mental illness. Whether or not he owes his fans a book, he's unable to provide it right now. Period. He needs to take the time he needs to get healthy, and consider himself fortunate that he works in a profession where he is allowed the kind of leeway he will need to get healthy.

Trust me, there are plenty of jobs where a boss would be more than happy to tell someone to shape up or get another job. We wouldn't want to be treated that way, and we shouldn't treat Mr. Lynch that way either.

We can save the argument over who owes who something for when the delay isn't caused by an illness.

chris said...

Sorry Allan, are you saying that authors are in some way our 'employees'or am I totally getting the wrong idea here?

Craterus said...

the anonymous poster of 8.59 us spot on, this issue with Scott's illness is different to the issue of what a author does or doesn't owe readers.

Scott, having been honest about his situation now deserves our respect.

Dungeonmum said...

Sorry to hear this. I've never suffered with depression (and hope I never do), so can't imagine what he and his family are experiencing at the moment. Hope Scott finds a way out of this dark time soon.

Scho said...

I hope you are alright. Inspiration is important to writing a book. Try to relax and the ideas can come easier.

Adam Whitehead said...

"The whole argument "an author owes nothing to the ones who buy his or her work" is just flawed and stupid.

Does the school teacher owe nothing to his or her students? Does the doctor owe nothing to his or her patients? Does the manager owe nothing to his or her employees? Does the priest owe nothing to his or her followers? Does the social worker owe nothing to his or her clients on the street?

Authors and artists in general are no exception."

Yes, I've seen people make this type of comparison before. It remains completely irrelevant to the point where someone raising it does so only to be argumentative, not to make any kind of serious point.

An author is a freelancer producing a unique product that only they can produce. They only get paid after the product is on the shelves. They are not working on the clock for anyone.

If an author was working in a publisher-provided office on his novel 9-5, five days a week, and was being paid by the hour, then the publisher can complain about the author's lack of progress and 'fire' them if they deem it necessary. Since they don't, the comparison is non-existent.

Anonymous said...

I agree that an author does not owe anyone a book at yearly intervals. Fans though should not be told that a book is done and will be out on a given date until it really is done. Whether this is a mistake done by the publishers or the author it does not matter. Authors keep blogging that they will or have the book done so we are expecting it. I'll wait until it's done but please don't tell me it's done when it's not. Publishers and Amazon should show the same respect. They also put unjust pressure on a author when they do this.

Roland said...

As much as I appreciate anonymous randomers telling me I'm an "asshole" and "fucking moron" (btw I appreciate the moderation Pat!), I can't help but wonder did anyone actually bothered to read my comment.

Like I said, I feel for the guy. It's terrible having to fight a mental illness. I've seen it before and I know how tough it is. And I completely agree with this comment:

"I think Scott has done the right thing, I now will not expect to see his series finished and if it is it will be a nice surprise. I wish him nowt but the best. At least he is not going to drag it out for 5 years and keep pretending to be nearly finished so we all keep him our attention on him.."

Because, let's face it, whoever's fault it is (publishers, greedy authors, I don't care), readers are now used to a reasonably short periods of waiting until the next book of a series comes out. And I don't think this is entirely wrong, considering the fact that lasting interest is what keeps multi-volume sagas alive after all. And isn't it then more logical to have them come out as quickly as reasonably possible, so that I don't get married and have two kids in the interval between book 2 and book 3?

So if an author KNOWS he couldn't follow a tighter schedule (I appreciate the fact that some can and some can't, that's perfectly normal), isn't it better for everyone if they just try and publish stand-alone work?

I cannot agree that authors don't owe us anything. True, they don't have an OBLIGATION to us. But when you go out hunting, you should expect there is a risk to be mauled by a bear, right? Authors wouldn't exist without readers. It's a symbiotic existence and even if I don't pay the guy directly, his stature as a writer depends solely on my interest in his work as well as the interest of every one of his readers. And so yes, in a certain sense they don't owe us anything. In another sense though they owe us EVERYTHING. I'm looking at you George Martin!

Chris said...

Whether this is a mistake done by the publishers or the author it does not matter. Authors keep blogging that they will or have the book done so we are expecting it.

Sometimes, though, that mistaken expectation isn't the fault of the publishers or the writers; it's the fault of the fans.

Some people see those "Manuscript done! Off to the publisher! Look at this ridiculous stack of paper!" posts as meaning that they can expect the book to be for sale next week.

Some of them don't realize that there are still a lot of steps, and therefore time, between that "Done!" post and the release.

Roland said...

That is true, but I don't think anyone is bitching about it. I mean, when the manuscript is done, the author has done his job. As a general rule, publishers want to publish as quickly as possible. How about waiting 10 years for the middle part in a series though? Is that the fans' fault?

Anonymous said...

Adam Whitehead commenting on something remotely GRRM related? Shocking. Hey Adam, SHUT THE F**K UP. NOBODY LIKES YOU.

If GRRM had gone to any trouble to communicate to his fans, there would be no argument. End of story.

Get well Scott, we're pulling for you.

isis said...

1. Hey, anonymous person that has an issue with Werthead - tell people who you are, or STFU. Pretty simple, really...

Other anonymous persons - grow up. Please! Is it asking so fucking much? I feel sorry for people around you that you are SO pathetic... is it really worth me typing this...

isis said...

2. Hey, Roland: I read your posts... and I stand by my post. You ARE a cock.

Keep it up, loser...

Anonymous said...

Wow. You tell someone to grow up with one side of your mouth, then call someone a cock with the other side...........

Allan said...

Sorry Allan, are you saying that authors are in some way our 'employees'or am I totally getting the wrong idea here?

Yes you have it wrong , most my post was quoting what someone else had said earlier in the comments, I was saying I whole-heartedly disagree with the notion that authors owe us readers anything.

That even after Lynch comes out and tells us something deeply personal, we still have people calling him out for not delivering a novel in whatever personal time frame they think it should have been written in.

Chris said...

Roland:

I was only addressing Anonymous' point about writers' "Done!" posts causing people to expect the book and/or that writers should lay off of those posts until the book is 'really' done. Not so much the larger complaining-about-'late'-books stuff.

Roland said...

Hmm, where exactly in this post has anyone "called" Lynch "out for not delivering a novel in whatever personal time frame they think it should have been written in"? I reread the whole thing, and still couldn't find it. Must be because I'm a cock and an asshole.

Anonymous said...

@ isis

I am anon because I don't want to make an account, I have too many floating around the interwebs already. BTW, what is the difference? Is Isis your real name? Regardless, I stand by my desire to see Adam Werhead STFU about GRRM. Are they dating or something? Why the epic hard-on to defend a him? Jeez.

And how is GRRM's total disregard for non-GRRiMlin fans and utter lack of professionalism even remotely related to Scott Lynch's personal problems? These are two different issues here and Patrick is trying to use Mr. Lynch's post as a reason why GRRM detractors should "leave Brittany alone."

Our detractor community is amused at the predictable dearth of Dance updates now that HBO has given the greenlight to the series. Of course no one "owes" us anything, but if someone acts like an ass for five years, we have the right to call him out on it. So let me express myself: The man is an ass.

Hope he finishes Dance before con season, or we'll be waiting another year.

"Take as long as you want George."
"Don't worry, I will."

-scorpiknox

Anonymous said...

People have again brought up the authors owing us something line, which seeing this is a post about Lynch and his illness , would certainly point to people being pissed that Lynch hasn't got RoT out yet :

"It should be ASSUMED that an author is a real person who may have all kinds of issues to deal with"

Oh how wonderful! I guess I will tell this sentence to my boss, the next time I am facing a problem in real life and it´s affecting the overall quality of my work. I guess he will be so understanding and not kick my ass...

Stop living in a dream world. Authors are not beyond other people.


Does the school teacher owe nothing to his or her students? Does the doctor owe nothing to his or her patients? Does the manager owe nothing to his or her employees? Does the priest owe nothing to his or her followers? Does the social worker owe nothing to his or her clients on the street?

Authors and artists in general are no exception.


And for the record , you are indeed a cock

Anonymous said...

^^^ That was a great counter argument. Really great. Well thought out and just, well, great.

I like how you summarized what you were about to quote, and then quoted, and then you called him a cock. How do find room for all your debate team trophies?

Allan said...

It's amazing how quickly this descended into name calling and general assholery :p

Dream Girlzzz said...

Well, people kept saying that Rothfuss was spending all of his time wanking instead of writing The Wise Man's Fear, and then the author announced that his mom has cancer (or another grave illness)and this was affecting him quite profoundly.

SFF fans are very quick to judge and point fingers, and they don't look good when the truth comes out.

Roland said...

Well, it actually STARTED that way...

Kudos to scorpiknox btw, for saying what I was trying to express.

Roland said...

Rothfuss is a different case altogether. I think the fault there lies with the publisher for promoting the series as a "finished product" when it very obviously wasn't.

Myshkin said...

I'm sure that when Lynch made this very personal admission he was just hoping that someone like Pat would use it to berate people with. Arguments about who owes who aside, it took a lot of courage for Lynch to so publicly announce his condition, and it disturbs me that the first thing some people think to do is use it to prove some kind of point.

Jebus said...

Fuck I love you guys. So much diatribe and ridiculousness, I knew when I saw this post it'd head down this way.

Keep it up fuzz balls, it's all quite entertaining.

Larry said...

With all the fuck, cock and asshole comments flying about here, I'm disappointed no one's put up a link to hardcore porn...

Or is that the next step? :P

As for what's transpired, I had wondered why Lynch had become so quiet in recent years after being so visible before he became a published author. Guess this makes perfect sense. Very tough stuff here, full sympathies.

Anonymous said...

Reading these comments, I was totally going to post one about how I was waiting with baited breath for Werthead to show up at Lynch's defense, and then ... low and behold... he'd already beaten me to the punch.

But seriously, the amount of time this guy spends defending slovenly authors is akin to a full-time job. I don't know why you guys continue to debate him, he's a professional.

/Sarcasm.

In related news, it's a bit disturbing to see such a knee-jerk reaction here to the fact that Mr. Lynch says he's depressed. Sorry folks. Depression is not a mental illness. That's a classification pharmaceutical companies use to sell pills. A 2000 study showed that exercise is just as powerful in curing the symptoms of depression as Zoloft. Not knocking Scott Lynch. I have not read his work so I am indifferent about his books and not on the offense here. But, lately many of you keyboard warriors (no need to mention names) find it prudent to make special pleading your go-to argument when it comes to criticism of authors and their work ethics. As in, they are artists, we should not held them to the same standard as other working people. Or equally, they provide a product we, the consumer pays for, but are immune to our feedback concerning our pleasure and displeasure by some magical, internet-born skyhook excuse. My own plea to you would be to take a logic class, at least show up for the first day, and figure out for yourself why this is a no-no and not a valid rule of argument.

This rant has been less directed at Scott Lynch than it has been at internet culture. Cheers to you, Scott Lynch. May you continue to please your fans and make a living by the pen. I will continue, at present, sipping my afternoon drink and laughing at people who take themselves, and the media they like, far too seriously.

- Adam

Anonymous said...

First let me say I am very sorry to hear about Mr Lynch's condition. I am currently reading "Red Seas Under Red Skies" and it is a terrific read so far. I hope he copes and continues to write such good books.

However I completely disagree with treating Geroge Martin the same way. While there is no doubt, that he would have numorous problems, engagements etc. he had 10 YEARS to complete a book. Or 5 years to complete half a book, depending on how you look at it. To put things in perspective, since "A Feast for Crows" came out, Scott Bakker completed a TRILOGY and is already working on a second one. All damn good books too. Also to put things in perspective, for 9 years Steven Erikson has published nine books, of similar length to "A Song of Ice and Fire". And the "bitching", comes from the fact that the fans still care and would like to see the series published. Which doesn't seem at all likely at this point.

Patrick said...

You know, it would be easier to take proponents from both sides of this argument seriously if there were less obscenities flying around.

Larry is right...

brainshades said...

'ya know, if Scott is having issues with people viewing his work, then he's not very likely to do a better job of delivering a finished product if he has to deal with being called out in public forums in the way that Martin has been...

You could put the blame where it really belongs and rant at the publishers for Jebus-sake. Those rat bastards shouldn't put out a pre-release notice on anything that isn't turned in.

If the whole pre-release marketing concept was available to writers and artists in the historical past... say for instance to Leonardo Da Vinci... would his fans have been bitching that he hasn't done anything since the "Mona Lisa" six years ago?

I met Scott at a reading last year (he was GoH at ArmadilloCon), and before he started reading a piece of "Republic of Thieves" he mentioned the delay with the book. I took the chance to comment to him and the room that he didn't have to worry about pleasing any of us and that his deadline was when he was finished with the book. He seemed to appreciate that and the whole room clapped for him in support of that concept.

He's a super nice dude and he's just trying to make a living. It just so happens that his chosen trade includes providing me with the occasional kick-ass Fantasy novel when he's finished one. Well, I'm pretty happy with that. It sucks that the some people view it otherwise.

Roland said...

I'm gonna sound even more of an ass/cock/whatever now, and say that in my view a BIG part of the fault for today's perspective on delays is due to Martin. I mean, I could be wrong, but I don't recall that much discussion about authors being late before he began pulling that "writing a middle book in a series for 10 years" stuff...

Larry said...

Pat, that had to pain you to admit that I was right (for once), no? :P

Roland,

People are still waiting for Harlan Ellison to release his Final Dangerous Visions anthology. It was promised over 30 years ago. No novelist alive today has had their audience waiting as long as Harlan has for his anthology and he's only the editor!

Kyle said...

What's especially sad is that some posters are just using any mention of any sort of delay to bash George R.R. Martin. Or worse.

Roland, you ARE accusing Scott Lynch of something. You are accusing him of making a series instead of one book because he can't 'keep up' fast enough for a series.

Maybe you wanted to use that as a springboard to attack Martin. I don't know; that seems to be the case. You told us that 'it's sad that any mention of delays brings us back to George R.R. Martin.'

How short our memories have become! You were the first to mention him. You were the first to bring it up. Opinions on ASOIAF's release date nonwithstanding, what's truly sad about all this is that people are willing to take advantage of another author's update, a very emotional update, just to make a point. In some ways, the fact that it's not even related to him makes it worse.

I wish Mr. Lynch a fast recovery, and a wonderful book at the end of it.

Chris said...

Sorry folks. Depression is not a mental illness. That's a classification pharmaceutical companies use to sell pills.

Wow. I didn't realize that Pat's blog was read by such luminous minds as Tom Cruise.

Roland said...

I actually DO think that it would've been better for Lynch if he was writing stand-alones. Then again he explains his reasoning behind deciding to make it a series, and I can understand it. It doesn't make me happy, but I'd be the last to attack someone with mental problems.

As for Martin - I didn't say every conversation like this leads to him. I said he is one of the main REASONS this kind of discussion is so common these days. True, other authors have had bigger delays. But he is the only one who always makes sure people will not forget about him. He is in the spotlight. Drinking beer at cons and promoting the next ASoIF board game expansion...

Anonymous said...

@Kyle

Sorry but Patrick mentioned GRRM in the first paragraph of his original post. The reason why we are a bit annoyed is because Scott Lynch's honesty and personal problems are being used to hammer home the "they don't owe you anything" argument that we've heard over and over and over and over and over again.

GRRM doesn't suffer from depression, he suffers from being an ass. He suffers from taking what amounts to 5 or 6 vacations a year by traveling to cons. He's not doing a book tour here people, he's just Guest of Honoring his way across the country, one Marriott Ballroom at a time.

He doesn't respect his fans. If he did he would have a sense of urgency with regards to finishing ADwD and eventually the series. Instead, he gives sporadic updates when it suits him and sells stuff to those who will buy, all the while surrounding himself with GRRiMlins primed to tell him how awesome he is at the drop of a hat.

I have heard more than one interview with GRRM and they've all been conducted by star-struck nerds who pitch soft-ball questions to a man who is singlehandedly souring a huge portion of epic fantasy fans on the entire genre.

How can a man who at one point was the heir apparent to the throne of fantasy not see what a huge responsibility he has to finish what he started?

With Robert Jordan dying after years of prolonging his series past the point of credibility, famous writers of epic fantasy should realize that they already have a poor reputation. Whether or not it is a misconception, GRRM comes off as nonchalant about completing his crowning achievement. What makes this so infuriating to many of us is the real possibility that (arguably) the greatest piece of epic fantasy ever written will remain unfinished because the author was too busy soaking in the adulation of a pathetic sect of hangers-on to realize that he was pissing away his legacy.

The Scott Lynch situation DOES NOT EQUAL the GRRM situation. If GRRM had been honest from the start about all the trouble he was going through with Dance, there would be a fraction of the vehemence thrown his way.

-scorpiknox

dEEmOn said...

@anon: Although I dont agree with you, you argue convincingly, scorp... And your bitterness seems heartfelt. As opposed to the mindless bashers'...

Anonymous said...

Personally I'm just glad to hear Scott Lynch is still alive and kicking. I hope he can finish the GB series as I really like the characters but if he can't then it won't ruin my life, which is the appearance some people around here are giving. They're fictional books! hardly the stuff of life and death!

Anonymous said...

'My own plea to you would be to take a logic class, at least show up for the first day, and figure out for yourself why this is a no-no and not a valid rule of argument.'

Ok Adam, as someone who has taken a logic class, I'll bite.

No one's saying authors are an exception. Like the rest of us, authors DO have profesional obligations to people they have professional relationships with: their publishers.

And, again just like us, they DON'T have any professional obligations to the general public.

Look at it this way: we only buy the books that are already on the shelves. So the only money of yours that has made its way to the author's pocket is for books they've already written. You got exactly what you paid for, so all professional obligations are met.

It would only be possible for authors to owe their readers the next book in a series if it was true that purchasing some particular book entitles readers not only to that book itself, but also to the rest of the series as well. Which is a pretty strange idea.

Professional obligations, remember, go both ways. You accrue them by agreeing to perform some service for some price: if you're getting the price you asked for, then you owe the people paying you the service you agreed to provide. And, if you perform that service, then your employers owe you the agreed-upon price.

But, plainly, readers AREN'T obligated to buy an author's next book just because they read the last one. It would be absolutely crazy to suggest otherwise.

But if we're under no obligation to buy the next book, it follows that the authors have no professional obligation TO US to provide it.

So authors aren't obligated to produce another book for us SIMPLY BECAUSE we paid for one they already wrote. Just as we don't owe it to them to buy the next book, they don't owe it to us to produce it. There's no set agreement between the public and the author, so there's no professional obligation binding them to the us.

Maybe slow authors are failing to deliver something they owe to their publishers. But (1) that doesn't make them bad people, just bad at some parts of their job; (2) that's none of your business in exactly the same way that you screwing up in your job would be none of mine, and (3) this is a highly speculative hypothesis to begin with, and depends on the actual agreement between publisher and author, which I for one have no concrete information about at all.

Anonymous said...

@ anon:

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. <----me snoring

Authors don't owe their fans anything! Never heard that line before. Is that you A.W.? Sure sounds like that broken record of talking points about obligations and entitlement that we have all come to know and love. We are the Borg, yo.

Look, it all boils down to simple
manners and professionalism: Finish what you start. Don't be a lazy bastard. And if you are going to take a ridiculously long time do what you said you were going to do, warn people.

When someone has no manners and zero professionalism, we get to talk shit. It is as simple as that. 10 years man. 10 looooong years.

To leave us dangling in the wind is not only inconsiderate, it is downright mean.

-scorpiknox

craterus said...

@anon of 8.12.

You completely miss the point. If the book you are buying is one whole story then sure, you the author has no moral obligation to write another story.

So far Martin has provided us with 3.5/7ths of his story. None of his books are complete story arc's in their own right (which Scott Lynch's were by the way, despite the cliff hanger both of his GB books were still full story arc's).

The only reason each ASOIAF book is divided up is length, not by story arc. So when you use your logic Martin has professional and moral duty to provide the rest of the story. If you went to the movies and were only shown half you'd want your money back.

The other point you miss is that Authors like Martin get paid advances, I can assure you he will have been paid very well 10 years ago for ADWD and got another advance for ADWD mark 2 after Feast came out. Where does that advance money come from? The consumer... so when I've paid for Book 1, 2, 3, 3.5, I have invested money in something that if for no other reason than he has some sense of Honour, the author should try and finish.

Slynt said...

As someone who knows what Scott Lynch is experiencing, I feel for him. It fucks up your life, your every thought. It is more than a good enough reason to not be able to deliver a novel, that's for sure.
That being said, waiting for his novels means nothing to me, as I put the first book "The Lies of Locke Lamora" back on the shelf before I was halfway through it.
If other authors could be a little more forthcoming, all would be well.

Anonymous said...

scorpiknox, so we're talking spcifically about Martin now? Ok.

I know the point isn't a new one, but if you think he owes us something, tell me where you think that obligation comes from. What have you done for him that makes him owe you another book? You haven't paid him anything for it.

'Look, it all boils down to simple
manners and professionalism: Finish what you start. Don't be a lazy bastard. And if you are going to take a ridiculously long time do what you said you were going to do, warn people.'

1) But he does intend to finish what he starts

2) Why should we automatically assume its laziness, not something else? Writing something that long can't be easy. Why does writer's block have to be laziness?

3) He has warned people that its going to take a long time. Its right there in his updates section.

'When someone has no manners and zero professionalism, we get to talk shit.'

Really? So if you're rude to a someone, or you're lazy, or you screw up in your job, its fine for the whole world to talk shit about you? For years?

I've got plenty of character flaws and I screw up sometimes, but I'd feel pretty hard done by if people kept talking shit about it. As far as I'm concerned, its none of their business.

Craterus:

But it isn'tlike a movie cutting out half way through at all. The difference is that you knew when you bought the book that you were only buying an installment of the story. It says so plainly on the cover. So why does he owe you the rest of it? What have you given him in return for that? I just can't see why story tellers are obligated to finish the stories they start. People in other jobs are allowed to quit before they finish the stuff they are working on.

And sure, Martin probably has advances. But those come from his publisher, not from you. So he owes his publishers a book. All I'm saying is that he doesn't owe us anything.

Yes, it's annoying that its taken this long. But, just like everyone else, he is allowed to do things people find annoying.

-RF

Adam Whitehead said...

As it happens, I do agree that the Lynch, Rothfuss and GRRM situations are all different to one another. Of the three, it is interesting to note that Lynch is both the only one whose books - so far - work as stand-alones and made no claims about a release schedule ahead of time. That said, he's also the lowest-selling of the three and the one under the least pressure from fans to deliver the next book.

Rothfuss and GRRM's situations would have been indeed different if neither had suggested a timeframe for release when the last books in their series came out, and Rothfuss making the claim all three books were done before Book 1 came out was extremely unwise, given the situation that has developed since. I also agree that Pat drew a false comparison here. Lynch is ill, Rothfuss had a ton of RL issues drop on his lap one after the other and GRRM decided to rewrite his book in mid-stride after seemingly promising everyone it would be out in twelve months (in print, no less) and his communication skills over these issues went a AWOL for a while.

I don't really see a valid comparison between the three situations beyond the superficial fact that these are the three eagerly-awaited next books in their respective series.

Anonymous said...

@ RF

I hate to break it to you, but this conversation was always about GRRM, whether people realized it or not. He is the gold standard of series negligence.

Um, wow, where to begin. I guess you and I are just two different personality types. See, in the real world, where I live, if you are doing a shitty job, or no job at all, you get called on it. I would hope that if you continue to publicly act like an ass for a prolonged period of time, you we be treated accordingly and for an equally long period of time. Artists aren't except from this, just ask Roman Polanski.

If you'd botherd to read the previous posts I've made here, you would have realized that I don't think authors owe anybody anything.

However, I do think that GRRM has been acting poorly for the last 5 years. I think he has soured a lot of new fantasy fans on the genre. I think he should have been more forthcoming regarding the roots of the delay, or at least let us know that was taking a step back from it for a while. Instead he left us twisting inn the wind, all the while posting regularly on his blog about everything but dance. This wouldn't be so bad in itself if he hadn't been such a whining baby about his "detractors." What he gets to whine, but we don't?
Let's be fair here, we've only been rude for the last 2.5 years, he's been at it much longer.

And how do I know that it is laziness contributing to the delay? Um, look at him. Look at his schedule. Does that physique and those 6 vacations a year set of any alarms? Be realistic, not idealistic, and you'll get a lot farther in life.

Finally, my favorite bit:
"He has warned people that its going to take a long time. Its right there in his updates section."

This is funny/sad/confusing all at the same time. What the hell are you talking about? Dude, he said Dance would be out in a year in 2005. Then he was running really late and overreacted and did the exact OPPOSITE thing that anyone wanted and cut off all updates of progress on the book.

You, my good man, have failed GRRM 101. Lesson One: Never read update page.

-scorpiknox

Craterus said...

@Adam

Totally agree, none of the 3 situations should be compared. I also think that Pat Rothfuss has handled his delays and communication with his fans with far more aplomb... Pat is also a brand new Author who had no experience in the publishing world so can be forgiven for thinking his books were done when they weren't.

@RF

I don't know about yours but my copy of A Game of thrones says Book 1 of The Song of Ice and Fire. I bought it thinking I would get the rest of the story at some stage. The movie is only half way through so to speak... If the books worked as stand alone stories linked together as a series then fair enough, but thats not the case.

With regards to advances, it seems quite obvious to me, but obviously not to you, so let me ask you. Where does the publisher get the money to give the author the advance? I've seen statistics somewhere for how your 20 bucks for a book is divided up.. x for marketing, x for printing cost, x for author etc etc.. can you guess what one of the other x's is? advances for authors.

Having said all that, I, like most sensible "detractors" don't feel he is obliged to finish the series... but he should be man enough to accept the consequences of his arse-holery if he doesnt.

Adam Whitehead said...

"With regards to advances, it seems quite obvious to me, but obviously not to you, so let me ask you. Where does the publisher get the money to give the author the advance? I've seen statistics somewhere for how your 20 bucks for a book is divided up.. x for marketing, x for printing cost, x for author etc etc.. can you guess what one of the other x's is? advances for authors."

That's not quite how advances work. How they work is that the publisher gives money from a central fund to the author, say $10,000 as a ballpark figure. A chunk of the book's price, around 15% of the hardcover and less than 10% of the paperback, goes to the author in terms of royalties, but royalties are not paid until the author has 'earned out' the advance. So the author receives nothing until the publisher has made its $10K out of the author royalties, and then the remaining royalties go directly to the author.

So whilst the author does receive some money upfront, that amount is linked to how well the book does when it is actually on sale.

In the case of series, the author might receive an advance upfront for the whole series (or at least chunks of it), not individual volumes. For GRRM we simply do not know what the situation is, as ASoIaF was originally sold as three books. I assume there was a contract renegotiation after ASoS, but the details of that and any advances involved are confidential. My guess would be that it was for another three books (GRRM then envisaging the series then as six books) and the sales of AFFC by itself (half a million in hardcover) probably paid back the advance for Books 4, 5 and 6.

Craterus said...

My Apologies, perhaps I wasn't clear, I do understand how the advance system works. The money for the central fund, (at least in general unless its a start up publishing house with VC money involvd) comes from the sales and profits of other books. The price of any book has a certain amount ear-marked for the central fund, just like in, for example, the world of drug research, products that hit the market and make a profit, fund research of other products that may or may not be successful. The price of the drugs includes recouping all R&D (or paying back the advance) but also includes that R&D element for other products (advances for authors).

I'm afraif, I've been a bit long winded to explain a rather simple and obvious point, the fact is that consumer purchases fund the entire book industry...including advances.

Really that's my biggest beef with this Martin debacle, he is polarising a whole generation of readers. Potential Sci-fi/Fantasy readers, burnt by Martin's unprofessionalism could turn to vampire lit porn or something else and the central fund for our genre decreases, as does our shelf space at Borders. I know if the first series of fantasy I ever loved was ASOIAF, i'd be hesitant about any emotional investment in any other new/unfinished series.

Anonymous said...

You know I don't buy the whole Martin being to blame for turning off a new breed of fantasy readers.

If anything we are seeing the same reactionary fanboy faggotory we see in the gaming industry, with a small buy vocal bunch of cunts telling us all how fucking evil and bad martin is for not getting his novels out in a time frame acceptable to them.

Martin haters are , for the most part, buthurt trolls who need to get the fuck out of their parents basements

Anonymous said...

^^^^Spoken like a guy who still lives in his parent's basement. Isn't it ironic that the most troll-like post on this thread is written by an anonymous person calling others trolls. Way to go, Alanis.

Even his staunchest defenders are coming around to the fact that Martin has seriously mishandled his relationship with the vast majority of his fans (i.e. who don't attend fantasy cons.) The little spike in dance updates has come and gone, conveniently coinciding with the green-lighting of the HBO series. I have serious doubts as to whether or not he will finish before the year is over.

Regardless, even when he does finish Dance, he has at least two more books to write. Does anyone here really think that there is a good chance they'll actually get done? I sure don't. I really hope I am wrong.

Since 2004 I have not started a single fantasy series that wasn't already completed. This is thanks to GRRM: I really don't want to get burned again. And if even 25% of GRRMs readers feel the same way, that is a huge slice out of the fantasy market-share, mostly affecting new authors.

Sorry, but if you think GRRM doesn't have responsibilities outside of himself, you should never have children, because you'll raise them to be selfish assholes.

-scorpiknox

Adam Whitehead said...

"Really that's my biggest beef with this Martin debacle, he is polarising a whole generation of readers. Potential Sci-fi/Fantasy readers, burnt by Martin's unprofessionalism could turn to vampire lit porn or something else and the central fund for our genre decreases, as does our shelf space at Borders."

I'm not sure about this. ASoIaF's sales have been strong but not as huge as many other series (Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth, Discworld, Inheritance etc). It is heavily discussed online, but I don't really think the series has the profile (especially offline) to have that kind of impact, especially compared to the jaded attitude many fantasy readers developed over the (somewhat different) situation with the Wheel of Time series long before ASoIaF's troubles began.

In addition, completely disregarding the arguments over this situation, book fans have proven to be very patient overall with authors who take far longer than Martin getting their latest works snapped up on release date in their millions, like the latest Dan Brown.

That said, the argument in favour of not reading series until they are complete is pretty strong, and there are a number of series I'm currently holding out on being completed before I start them.

Craterus said...

* ignoring such illuminating comments from anonymous of 1:18, though he/she does prove once again that no side of this debate has the exclusivity on stupidity.

@ Scorpinox

I agree, who knows what the exact figure is but even if we're wrong and its not turning off existing fantasy fans from reading series till they are, that will only cause sales drops and harm to new authors

@Adam

Point taken about book readers being a forgiving bunch, Dan Brown is a good example, and if Dance is a number 1 best seller the point will be proven again. I am not sure this should be an excuse for Martin's behaviour, but its a valid point none-the-less

Like i said above though, if you are waiting to read new series untill they are finished, so is Scorp.. then its likely you arent alone and thats nothing but bad for new Authors who are writing epics, that Martin's fault almost entirely.

Who know's, maybe it will drive newAuthors to write more stand-alone volumes. That may not be a bad thing, Abercrombies last and next novel's are stand alones, Lynch's work as independant stories... perhaps, the Wheel of time and ASOIAF situations will see more of that kind of thing.

Neth said...

gee Pat, your fame had grown to the point where it seems every post gets a number of trollish anon commenters. Welcome to the internet.

It may be time for you to consider a heavier hand with moderating these things since any useful discussion is really made impossible by such immaturity.

Adam, your patience with jumping into these debates amazes me. I couldn't do it.

Larry, I thought it was clearly clear case where Nazi porn should enter the debate.

Larry said...

You mean like this, Ken? :P

Perhaps one of the more novel ways of invoking Godwin's Law, no? ;)

nycfan said...

I don't think there's anything wrong about bitching about waiting for a sequel, but this and other such threads in SFF forums are ridiculous. The author is not your employee. A closer but still excessive analogy would be a freelancer you once hired to do a job; a job that was done very well (you loved the book) and which you happily handed over money for (you bought the book). After the job you informally agreed s/he'd work for you again in a year or two and know s/he's saying that they're not available for now. So you grouch a bit and hire someone else (read other books). You may also choose not to hire the freelancer again once s/he is available (sequel is out) because you want more reliability. Then again you might do the reverse because his/her work was so good before. If you find out that s/he wasn't available for what in your view was no good reason, you might reasonably be annoyed. If in your mind serious illness is not a damn good excuse, others might reasonably conclude you're not a good person.

Myshkin said...

Neth,

Why would Pat use a heavier hand in moderating when this is exactly the reaction he wanted when he posted this entry? The trolling started before anyone left a comment.

Anonymous said...

^ very good point. If you really want to "show some respect and stop bitchin" the first thing NOT TO DO is to write a blog post of it. Especially not with open comments.

playonskydog said...

I'm curious...Does every thread on every internet fantasy book forum eventually descend into a maelstrom of madness with GRRM at it's center?

It could be a new field of science...

Anonymous said...

@nycfan

You must be a newb GRRiMlin. Next time, before you repeat (poorly) what no less than 7 people have already said on this thread, perhaps you should peruse the comments and form some semblance of an original thought.

-scorpiknox

Bryce said...

I feel like you all owe me something for slogging through all these comments. :P

Anonymous said...

The date is June 1st, 2011. I have spent the last seven minutes scouring the interwebs searching for any sign of the man known only as... Scott Lynch.

Lynch disappeared a few months back. Just short of a year, really. His last posts were half a chapter of a serial internet novel, and a snippet of his upcoming book. The book was supposed to come out in February. Now its supposed to come in October. And I guess my ex-wife was supposed to love me and not sleep with my partner, but you know how things go...

A few weeks back I thought I would check in on old Scotty, see if he had rejoined the living and updated with the second half of that internet chapter. When I saw his website hadn't changed, I new something was wrong. Lynch had confessed his psychological issues in 2010, and it had seemed he had gone loco once more. I checked his Twitter account, something I had never resorted to before. It contained several posts from last July, most of them sounding quite positive. Then nothing. Not a single post in over ten months.

I subscribed to his account so I would be informed if he posted. A simple "Dog just bit old lady haha" would let me know he was alive, but word of his writing ventures would be more useful for my... associates. Still, I did not get my hopes up.

I then waited a few weeks, trying not to think about the man, sitting in his house in a rank bathrobe, staring at children cross the street envying the joy he could not obtain, wallowing in self pity and confusion like better men before him, surrounded by empty Lean Cuisine boxes and monster manuals. Soon the depressing images of a man lost in his own world seemed too unbearable. I began wondering if he had dies in a car crash, or perhaps committed the final act of self-rejection, punching his own ticket to the cloud city where no black man awaits Han Solo...

(I refer of course to Darth Vader.)

So it was that I began scouring the webs for a sign. A news clipping on Huffington; A blog reporting a sighting in a Wisconsin grocery store; a sight where fans theorized about his fate.

More worrisome than anything I could have predicted, it seemed the internet had absolutely nothing to report of Scott Lynch. No news, no sightings. Not even a recent theory offered by fans on blogs. It seemed that the internet had forgotten wee Scotty, had moved on and buried him in their minds. No wonder the man was unheard from, no one was even mentioning his name anymore. The only site with a full discussion about his fate was this site, and it hadn't recieved a post in months.

Unsatisfied, but with nowhere left to turn, I moved my curser to the little red X on the top right of my screen, resigning myself to also forget the man I once followed like a God. If everyone else had forgotten him, why should I keep holding on?

But I hesitated. Surely, I was not truly alone. Somewhere, out there in the night, was someone else; another fan, a relative of Scott's... perhaps the man himself. Somebody who would go searching for a sign, if not of news then of at least some concern for the greatest SFF writer of the last ten years, and I thought, "Will they be left with the same things I have seen? The same disparaging apathy that the web has born for Lynch?" No. I would post the account of my journey on the very blog I had just read. Not because I thought the previous posters would appreciate it, but because maybe, just MAYBE... somebody else out there was searching, had not given up on Scott, and they would know. They would KNOW.

They are not alone.

You are Not alone.

And we will continue to wait, for Scott, and for his Books, and for his loving fans, who will return right after he does, to read his words and support the man as they once did.

This is Neal Werle, high school Senior and Scott Lynch enthusiast, signing off.

Anonymous said...

Give them hell Scott!
Send them all another book worthy of Modor.
Even if they don't deserve it.

Dave said...

Having not read every comment, but having read enough to make me feel a bit sad as to the absolute lack of understanding exhibited in many of the posts... Having a mental illness is much the same as having any other disease.

If Mr. Lynch had arthritis that interfered with his typing, for example, I doubt that there would be so much rubbish being written about him. Speaking from experience, metal illness can be a killer. You either survive it and get stronger, or you don't.
Therefore, as collective fans of his books, which are wonderful, I personally feel that the moaning about how long its taken for Republic to be written should be secondary to Mr. Lynch's health.

Wish him all the best myself and if it does get written, you'll see me at the front of the queue down the bookshop.