The Phenomonon Of The Filler Book

We’ve lately had a couple ‘filler’ releases by authors of great big series where the fans are eagerly biting their fingernails and waiting for the next instalment. Patrick Rothfuss’s The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a spoiler-free story about Auri – the slightly otherworldly and rootless waif of the university. George R.R. Martin’s The World of Ice and Fire is a massive and detailed world-book actually cut down from 300,000 words of ‘sidebars’ he wrote on the history of his world for the project. It is apparently full of weird and wonderful bits of information and a lot of tributes to a look of people. The Muppets are hidden in the book, as is Mervyn Peake if you look hard enough. Also, you won’t find out anything about what happened at Summerhall… the conceit of The World of Ice and Fire is that the book has been written by a historian from fragmentary notes of an earlier historian and a conveniently careless ink spill has blotted out the particular piece of history relating to those events.

We’ll have to wait for Martin to give us the story in actual story form, which is all for the best I think.

In both cases, the ‘filler’ book no doubt got a little in the way of producing the next book in the series, but, as Patrick has pointed out online, sometimes having something a little different to work on may speed up the process of work on a huge, lumbering tome because it allows the writers mind some playfulness and creative relaxation.

Linked here is a video with George R.R. Martin discussing The World of Ice and Fire. Be warned that it will chew up an hour or so of your time. And embedded below is a shorter video of Patrick Rothfuss discussing The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

About Christopher Johnstone

Christopher Johnstone lives in Melbourne
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