"Roman Candle" turns 20: Secrets of Elliott Smith's accidental masterpiece (slideshow)
Elliott and the friends with whom he recorded in middle school in Texas (photo courtesy of Dan Pickering)
George R.R. Martin sure is taking his time to wrap up “A Song of Ice and Fire,” his sprawling fantasy epic that will span seven novels — well, it might take even longer. According to his longtime editor, Anne Groell from Penguin Random House, the saga that inspired HBO’s hit “Game of Thrones” might span eight books:
I begin to wonder—though 7 is what we currently have under contract. I remember when he called me, years and years back, to confess that his little trilogy was…well…no longer a trilogy. He predicted four books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he said five books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he went to six. I said… Well, you get it. Finally, we were on the same page. Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Good. Only, as I recently learned while editing THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE (another awesome thing you must buy when it comes out!), there are really technically eight kingdoms, all having to do with who has annexed what when Aegon the Conqueror landed in Westeros. So, maybe eight books for Seven Kingdoms would be okay. Also, he has promised me that, when he finally wraps this great beast us, I can publish the five page letter outlining the bare bones of the “trilogy.”
Groell expects the series’s sixth installment, “The Winds of Winter,” to be out “reasonably soon.” “I currently have 168 pages that he submitted back in Feb 2013 in order to receive a contracted payment, but I know more exists, because he keeps talking about chapter he hasn’t yet sent me,” she wrote.
Lest fans get impatient, Groell reminds us that she’s raised entire children waiting for Martin to deliver these babies of his own — and it’s been entirely worth it:
I first fell for the book in summer 1994—twenty years ago, when only 100 pages and that five page outline I mentioned earlier existed. Books one and two came out in fairly short order. And book 3 was not too bad. Then I met and married my husband in the gap while book 4 was late. (I kept worrying that George would deliver and scuttle: 1) Our first Christmas together. 2) Our first summer vacation together. 3) Our wedding and honeymoon. I should not have worried.) In the time George was late with book five, I had a kid. …However, as I do get a certain perverse pleasure in telling George, I beat him by a two and a half year old walking, talking human being. But I do remain optimistic! I want to take this one from start to finish, whatever it takes.
Meanwhile, fans looking for instant consumption still have two “Game of Thrones” episodes to look forward to — but after June, fantasy nerd will have to look for a fix elsewhere.
Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at email@example.com.More Prachi Gupta.
Heatmiser publicity shot (L-R: Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson, Neil Gust, Elliott Smith) (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott and JJ Gonson (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
"Stray" 7-inch, Cavity Search Records (photo courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott's Hampshire College ID photo, 1987
Elliott with "Le Domino," the guitar he used on "Roman Candle" (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Full "Roman Candle" record cover (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Elliott goofing off in Portland (courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
Heatmiser (L-R: Elliott Smith, Neil Gust, Tony Lash, Brandt Peterson)(courtesy of JJ Gonson photography)
The Greenhouse Sleeve -- Cassette sleeve from Murder of Crows release, 1988, with first appearance of Condor Avenue (photo courtesy of Glynnis Fawkes)