George R R Martin has revealed he is “months away” from finishing the next Game of Thrones novel but said it could be published next year alongside another series.
The author poured scorn on “truly weird” reports which have either suggested the book is finished or that he has been “sitting on it for some nefarious reason” or that the book has not been started.
In his most expansive blog post for months, published on Saturday (22nd July) the author also revealed his story, "Sons of the Dragon", set in the Westeros universe, would feature in the new fantasy anthology, The Book of Swords, by his friend Gardner Dozois. It was originally announced in February and will be published in the UK by Penguin Random House imprint Bantom in October.
Martin also said that he was planning two volumes of his “fake histories” of the Targaryen kings, from the Game of Thrones universe, in a series called Fire and Blood. The first volume is scheduled for publication late next year or early 2019 with the second “a few more years coming”.
Martin said he was "still working" on The Winds of Winter and was "still months away" adding "how many? good question". He said: "Whether Winds or the first volume of Fire and Blood will be the first to hit the bookstores is hard to say at this juncture, but I do think you will have a Westeros book from me in 2018... and who knows, maybe two.”
The book was originally slated for publication in March 2016 to coincide with the sixth series of the TV show but it was not completed in time. The seventh series of the TV show began to air earlier this month, and like the sixth, is is based on Martin's outline of The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.
Martin also blasted incorrect internet articles about his progress on long-awaited sixth book in the Game of Thrones series. “And, yes, I know you all want to know about The Winds of Winter (WOW) too," he wrote. "I've seen some truly weird reports about WOW on the internet of late, by 'journalists' who make their stories up out of whole cloth. I don't know which story is more absurd, the one that says the book is finished and I've been sitting on it for some nefarious reason, or the one that says I have no pages. Both 'reports' are equally false and equally moronic.”
Martin said there was so much material in the accompanying Fire and Blood series there will need to be two volumes. He said: “The first of those will cover the history of Westeros from Aegon's Conquest up to and through the regency of the boy king Aegon III (the Dragonbane). That one is largely written, and will include (for the first time) a complete detailed history of the Targaryen civil war, the Dance of the Dragons. My stories in Dangerous Women ("The Princess and the Queen") and Rogues ("The Rogue Prince") were abridged versions of the same histories.”
The author continued to be cagey about publication dates but said: “No publication date has been set yet, but it's likely that we will get the first volume of Fire and Blood out in late 2018 or early 2019. The second volume, which will carry the history from Aegon III up to Robert's Rebellion, is largely unwritten, so that one will be a few more years in coming.”
In May, Martin confirmed he was working on four Game of Thrones prequel scripts with HBO, which will be new stories set in a "secondary universe".
A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition was published by HarperCollins in the UK last October. The books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series are published in the UK by HarperVoyager.