Back in 1996, when I was doing book reviews for the local paper, I had occasion to interview George R.R. Martin, who was on a tour to promote his new fantasy novel series, "A Song of Fire and Ice." The first novel, A Game of Thrones, was just out, and at almost 700 pp, a thick and juicy read. Really convoluted -- you needed a family history to keep up with the characters, and he thoughtfully provided one.
Martin told me at the time he had intended to write a trilogy, that's what he pitched to Bantam, but realized that he would need four books instead of three. If I write more than four, he said, you have my permission to shoot me.
I supposed that would be doable -- there are already four books published in the series, with three more on the drawing board.
I don't want to shoot him; indeed, I want him to live long enough to finish the series, just as I did Roger Zelazny when he was plugging along on the Amber novels. Roger had the grace to finish those before he passed away -- too young -- but at least he wrapped them up.
George is looking a little long in the tooth, and it's been what? five years since the most recent novel?
Stay alive, George, stay alive.