Locus Online
Tuesday 1 April 2008

Final Martin Manuscript Triggers Mass Suicides at Bantam

by Narceen Plowers

Panic, hysteria, depression, and mass suicide struck the offices of Bantam Books today when New York Times bestselling author George R. R. Martin turned in a manuscript for the final book of his A Song of Fire and Ice series that came in at a concise 87 pages.

"As I sat down to write the book, I suddenly realized that I could tie everything up in a satisfying climax at novella length," said Martin in a prepared statement. "Brevity being the soul of wit, I decided to do just that. I think all the fans of he series will be very pleased with the way it turned out."

"The world is a black, hellish nightmare of unceasing despair and endless sorrow!" cried Martin's editor Anne Groell, rending her garments as her editorial assistants stood wailing around her. "A stygian darkness descends, blotting out all life and hope! O Tempora! O Mores! My life work reduced to ashes before my eyes, leaving not but a voice and bitter weeping! Oh cruel fate! I die!" she declared, just before committing seppuku with a letter opener.

"That bastard! That sick, heartless bastard!" declared a Bantam marketing director as he loaded bullets into a Lugar. "After all we've done for him, this is how he repays us? Do you know how much money we had to pay Time to call him 'the American Tolkien?'"

"The thing you've got to understand is that fantasy readers buy books based on their thickness," said a Bantam sales rep who asked not to be named "for insurance purposes." "We actually have these people on video taking out a measuring tape when deciding on which fantasy books to buy. The new Martin will be dead on arrival, Bantam will go under, and none of us will be able to feed our families. Now you have to excuse me, a spot's opened up on the ledge."

Martin's own fans seemed to take the news in stride. When reached for comment, David "Lodengarl" McCaman, Baron in the A Song of Fire and Ice fan club Brotherhood Without Banners, said: "The Lord Martin giveth, and the Lord Martin taketh away. Ours is not to question His will, for we are but lowly supplicants before his Divine Majesty from whom all fiction flows. Verily, we have stood by our Lord for the Stealing of the Hugos, and the Knighting of the Brothers, and the Dispensing of the Hot Dogs, where dogs with relish and without were dispensed, each unto their order, at the hand of the Lord himself, and we shall stand with him unto the end of the world, nah, unto the very Gates of Hell!"

When reached for additional comment, Martin's companion Parris said he was unable to come to the phone. "Sorry, he's busy rolling around in his $20 bill room, shouting something about 'Free at last, free at last, Lord, Lord, I'm free at last!' and 'Howard's $100 is mine!' Can I have him call you back?"

Until the final death toll is known, it is unclear whether it will top the previous record of 129 Martin-related suicides on January 8, 1990, following CBS' cancellation of Beauty and the Beast.

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