The coronavirus has disrupted nearly every aspect of our daily lives over the past couple of weeks, so it’s almost comforting whenever we learn that something remains the same. And in the case of George R.R. Martin, that means that he’s still writing.
For those hoping for some kind of miraculous announcement that The Winds of Winter is ready to be published, you’ll have to wait for that; as Martin revealed in a new blog post, he’s still working on it. But in the wake of COVID-19’s spread around the world, Martin did provide an update for fans who might’ve worried about his well-being. (Concern over Martin’s health has been ongoing for years, although it’s usually in the context of whether he’ll finish A Song of Ice and Fire—a sentiment Martin has long pushed back against.)
Martin says that he feels fine, although he does acknowledge that he is “very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition.” But he’s essentially isolated himself to write and has been spending lots of time in his own fictional world.
“I feel fine at the moment, and we are taking all sensible precautions,” he wrote. “I am off by myself in a remote isolated location, attended by one of my staff, and I’m not going in to town or seeing anyone. Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day. Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here.”
He also revealed that, for the time being, he’s shut down his nonprofit and movie theater, both of which will pay employees while they’re closed (although the bookstore remains open for now).
In A Song of Ice and Fire alone, Martin has included threats of potential pandemics to overtake Meereen (the bloody flux) and Westeros (greyscale, courtesy of Jon Connington) by the end of A Dance With Dragons. But as he notes, this is new territory for him just like it is for many of us.
“Some days, watching the news, I cannot help feeling as if we are all now living in a science fiction novel,” he wrote. “But not, alas, the sort of science fiction novel that I dreamed of living in when I was a kid, the one with the cities on the Moon, colonies on Mars, household robots programmed with the Three Laws, and flying cars. I never liked the pandemic stories half so well… Let us hope we all come through this safe and sound. Stay well, my friends. Better to be safe than sorry.”