i keep returning to the comment thread on Scalzi's post about "pissy fans"
(short form: author writes giant multivolume novel, does not meet deadlines for next volume. he does, however, talk about all of his other projects and traveling. author gets upset about cranky fans who want him to stop doing other stuff and finish the book. other author/blogger defends first author.)
i'd say the comments are about 50/50 right now on whether or not fans have the "right" to be upset.
as others have said, George RR Martin has a serious PR problem. i have this hardcover book
on my shelf that includes a bit from the author explaining that the book contains a polished half of a completed manuscript
. so everyone who has read that book is thinking that GRRM has been editing part two of a completed manuscript since before 2005. if he hadn't set expectations, people would still be hopeful/frustrated rather than frustrated/angry. take a lesson from smarter software purveyors: make your new releases a happy surprise.
yes, people yelling at GRRM for watching football and going on vacation and saying "don't pull a Robert Jordan" are terribly rude and foolish. (i think the ones on about why he's spending time on other projects are still rude, but perhaps not so foolish.)
i'm the first to lament crap product that gets pumped out in a rush to satisfy a clamoring public. a late product is late once (or over and over again as poor GRRM kept tossing new dates out there), a crap product is crap forever.
i think the core of the debate is who is doing who a favor here, and is a story a product? Scalzi and the names i recognize as authors in the comment thread seem to think they are doing a favor to readers by writing books. many of the readers seem to think that their book purchase is a favor to the author. is the author an artist, or a producer of a product? the reader is always a consumer. does the consumer have rights in regard to art? does the consumer have rights in regard to product?
the relationship between the reader and the author is certainly symbiotic; but is it mutualistic? still thinking.
and i want to know what happens next, GRRM.
ETA: Charlie Stross on same
...comment thread developing.