Fans of George R. R. R. R. R. R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire novels finally have answer to the question of why it takes Martin a decade to put out a new book in the series. According to an interview on the Conan O'Brien show last night, Martin writes all his books in the WordStar 4.0 word processing program on a computer running MS DOS, the command line operating system that preceded Windows. What?! cd C:whatthefuckits2014?! Amirite?!
Martin says that WordStar does everything he wants a word processor to do, and nothing else. He goes on to bash autocorrect and spellcheck, which... okay, he has a point there. For more on this story, we visited Martin at his home. Rather than his trademark steampunk dwarf outfit, Martin greeted us dressed in a colorful pair of zubaz pants and a jean jacket as he ushered us into his office.
"Here it is," Martin boasted, showing off the Tandy 1000 computer he purchased from Radio Shack in 1984. "This is where the magic happens."
Martin then proceeded to type out a single paragraph of the upcoming Winds of Winter novel right in front of us, using just a single finger on each hand and taking 45 minutes. "The hunt and peck method was good enough for the keyboard player in Flock of Seagulls, and it's good enough for me, goddamn it," Martin explained. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to turn this in to my editor."
Martin saved his work on a 5.25" floppy disk and offered us some Jello Pudding Pops while we waited. "Ah, here he is," chirped Martin as he shoved some batteries into a Teddy Ruxpin doll. "Ted, I've got some new work for you."
"That's great, George!" said the unnaturally happy bear. "Would you like me to tell you a story!"
"Yes! Please do!" Martin clapped his hands excitedly.
Ruxpin read back Martin's paragraph, the first of 47 more describing the food at a feast attended by several characters from the book. We can't reveal any more because of spoilers, even though anyone who reads this will be dead of old age by the time the next book comes out. He didn't cut anything from the text, possibly explaining why Martin's books are so long.
"See?" Martin asked when the bear was finished. "You don't need modern technology to write novels. Why, I..."
Martin was interrupted by a loud buzzing. "Sorry, that's my pager," he told us. "I've got to take this."
"07734... what the heck does that... Oh! Ha ha ha! Isn't that neat?!" the elated Martin laughed, turning the pager upside down to show us that the numbers spelled out the word "hello."
We decided to leave him to his work. For every minute we spent wasting his time, it would be another six years before Winds of Winter was finished.