George R. R. Martin's editor, Anne Groell, answered some questions for a site called Suvudu Universe the other day, and we read about it on The AV Club. During the Q&A, Groell reported receiving 168 pages of the upcoming WInds of Winter, the sixth book in the series, citing this as some kind of proof that the book will come out sometime "reasonably soon" even though 168 pages for Martin could consist solely of vivid descriptions of the food at a single breakfast one of the characters is eating. She also hinted that Martin might end up adding an eighth book to the series, which, at his current pace, means he'll need to live to the age of 163 to finish writing them.
Here's a quote from AV Club, because we're far too lazy to click through to the original source article:
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.”
In other Song of Ice and Fire news, Martin is running a crowdfunding campaign on Prizeo to raise money for a wolf sanctuary. The top reward (only one available) is the chance to appear in one of the novels, though donating anything at all will get you entered into a contest to fly to Santa Fe and meet up with Martin for a helicopter ride and tour of the sanctuary. The campaign is more than halfway to its $200,000 goal with 58 days to go. Here's Martin's description of the cause:
I've always been fond of wolves... direwolves in Westeros, and real wolves in the real world. US wolf populations hit critical lows during the twentieth century, and finding a way for humans to co-exist with this majestic creatures is an important part of the conservation movement. The Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that houses over 60 wolves and wolf-dogs. Most of these animals are rescued, but don't have the skills to survive in the wild because they were raised in captive situations.
I'm also supporting The Food Depot, an amazing local charity that helps the tens of thousands of people in North New Mexico. As the food bank for nine counties, The Food Depot provides food to 135 not-for-profit agencies including food pantries, meal programs, homeless shelters, youth programs, senior centers, homes for the mentally disabled and shelters for battered persons. The food bank distributes an average of 400,000 pounds of food each month, providing more than 500,000 meals to people in need - the most vulnerable of our community - children, seniors, working families and those in ill health.
I can't thank you enough for helping these two organizations that are so close to my heart.
So he may add another book to the series, and he spends his free time flying in helicopters and hanging around dangerous wild animals. When he's done, does he challenge the Grim Reaper to a scythe-fight? The chances of him actually finishing these novels are looking worse every day.