Thursday, July 14, 2011

Kobayashi Mauru

It's a Koboyashi Maru situation only in the sense that there is no good answer.

Amazon delivered A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five yesterday and I can't decide which of these 3 options I should take (four if you include giving up on George R. R. Martin altogether):

So, should I:

  1. Read it immediately, and to hell with any worries about being confused?
  2. Spend the next 3-6 weeks re-reading books 1-16, er, I mean 1-4 before tackling book 5?
  3. Belatedly try to enforce the Robert Jordan rule?

Option 1 means I'll probably be lost in a sea of names and plot details I have forgotten since I last read A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 4) about 4 years ago.

Option 2 is something I would enjoy doing, but still seems like a waste of time since I've read them before and will probably need to re-read them again in 16 years when the next book gets published.

Option 3 means I put the book on a shelf and wait 22 years for the final book to make an appearance. (Yes, I know book 6 is supposed to be the final book, but I have my doubts1.) Option 3 seems drastic, but really has a certain appeal; I've always felt stupid for letting my buddy Ryan talk me into breaking this rule for this series. C'mon, does this man look healthy enough to live another 25 years?

As I said, there is no good answer. All these choices suck, and so I may just flip a coin.

In reality, my dearth of good reading material will probably decide the matter for me.

In other words, screw the redshirts - they've always been cannon fodder anyhow.

1. In all the hoopla with the release of this latest volume, I have now learned that I was prescient in my prediction that this saga would not conclude in book six. In fact, Martin stated back in 2005 (so much for my mystical powers) that the series would require 7 volumes. My money is that he won't be able to finish it in 8, so it will go to 10 (on the basis that 9 is too weird a number for a series). I'd say this is a safe bet; tellingly Martin made this 2005 announcement when revealing that A Feast for Crows would need to be split into two volumes.

This is what angered so many people. The second volume of A Feast for Crows was almost done, Martin said, and would be released in maybe 6 months or a year. The name of that second volume? A Dance with Dragons. Yes, that A Dance with Dragons — the book fans have been waiting 6 years for was overdue 4 years ago.