It's been a hard day for fandom as everyone struggles to come to terms with the passing of actress Carrie Fisher as well as author Richard Adams earlier today. The outpouring of sentiments on social media included both eulogies specific to those who passed away today, as well as a general feeling that 2016 has been a singularly terrible year when it comes to untimely celebrity deaths.
On the side everyone being ready to say goodbye to 2016, one that was really too ironically perfect: George R. R. Martin, author of the Game of Thrones series, threw in his own feelings on the year on his Livejournal account:
Death, death, and more death… this year just keeps getting worse and worse.
That's right, uncle George thinks that the year's storyline has gotten too grim:
Please, let this wretched year come to an end.
On the one hand, it's nice to see he's finally getting a vibe for how it feels when fans first read his books, but on the other it's sadly tragic that this year the real world has wound up being on par with GoT's 3rd book, A Storm of Swords (that's the one with The Red Wedding). Perhaps he'll keep the experience in mind when he finally finishes book 6, The Winds Of Winter. Given his track record, it'll both be another few years before he finishes the book, and he may well take it as a challenge to try to outdo real life with even more tragic endings for main characters.
Beyond his observations on the harshness of the year, he did also have heartfelt words on the loss of both Fisher and Adams:
There is not much I can say about the death of Carrie Fisher that a thousand other people have not said already. She was way too young. A bright, beautiful, talented actress, and a strong, witty, outspoken woman. Princess Leia will live as long as STAR WARS does… probably forever…
And the world lost one of its great fantasists today as well: Richard Adams, the author of WATERSHIP DOWN. Gardner Dozois ranks WATERSHIP DOWN as one of the three great fantasy novels of the twentienth century, right up there with LORD OF THE RINGS and THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING, and I agree. A truly amazing book… and one that somehow always seems to get forgotten when fans discuss the great fantasies. Maybe because of the talking rabbits? No idea…
Adams was a wonderful writer. Yes, WATERSHIP DOWN was his masterpiece, but it was by no means his only great book. He wrote two terrific epic fantasies with human characters, SHARDIK and MAIA, both of which I think are criminally underrated, as well as an erotic ghost story, THE GIRL ON A SWING. His other "animal book," THE PLAGUE DOGS, also has some wonderful sections… though it is such a dark, depressing, angry, gut-punch of a novel that I can't say I 'enjoyed' it.
Adams was not 'one of us,' in the sense that he was never a convention-goer or part of our genre fantasy community, which may be why he was never honored with a life achievement award by the World Fantasy Convention. Nonetheless, he deserved one. I've been suggesting him for that honor for at least twenty years… in part because I wanted to meet him. Now I never will. That's sad (though not as sad as PLAGUE DOGS).
A wonderful actress, a great writer. The world is poorer tonight.
We've only got a few more days before we can finally see 2016 pass into the history books. Hopefully we're already in the thick of George's Winter, rather than the worst of it being yet to come.