George R.R. Martin isn't thrilled that some people are concerned he'll die before completing work on his A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novel series. "I find that question pretty offensive, people speculating about my death and my health," said Martin, 65, in an interview with Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger. "So fuck you to those people." Merely saying it apparently wasn't enough; Martin also flipped the bird to make his feelings resoundingly clear. Martin has been slaving away on The Winds of Winter, the sixth novel, for some time now, but has refrained from offering fans a firm release date — or even a general window as to when they can expect it. He plans to wrap the series with a seventh novel, A Dream of Spring.

There's a lot more riding on Martin's pace than book sales; A Song of Ice and Fire is the inspiration behind HBO's smash hit series Game of Thrones. The series is now HBO's most-watched of all time.

"I need to write faster," Martin recently admitted to Mashable. But he was also quick to note that nothing's guaranteed. "I make no promises. I found out long ago that when you look at the overall task, the cathedral you have to build, it looks so daunting that you just give up and sit down and play a video game." And Martin seems to be comfortable with Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss taking artistic liberties where they deem it necessary. "I’m very pleased with how faithful the show is to the books, but it’s never gonna be exactly the same," he told Vanity Fair in March.

It's been reported that Martin has provided Benioff and Weiss with at least a partial overview of where A Song of Ice and Fire is ultimately headed, and he's also said there's plenty to work with before the show risks moving ahead of the books. But none of that is any consolation for fans that want to read the tale in Martin's own words. For them, the agonizing wait continues.