Like the sleeping hare, with the tortoise fast approaching, George R R Martin seriously needs to wake up if he's going to win his race against time.
The phenomenally successful Game of Thrones is headed into unknown territory, with HBO's fifth season using up all the material from Martin's five published Song of Ice and Fire books. With filming for series six due to begin in late July in Spain and Belfast, there's a strong chance that it will air before the new novel has chance to be released, entirely ruining the age-old process of "book first, adaptation second".
However, Martin has promised that he is doing all he can to finish up The Winds of Winter, which fans have been waiting for since 2011, before series six airs next year on HBO.
"Maybe I'm being overly optimistic about how quickly I can finish, but I cancelled two convention appearances (San Diego Comic Con and World Convention), I'm turning down a lot more interviews - anything I can do to clear my decks and get this done" he told Entertainment Weekly.
He has also turned down the chance to write an episode for season six of the TV series,for which he has written in previous seasons (though he also passed on the opportunity to write for season five), and unconfirmed reports (by us) suggest that he is using the written kitten app to force himself to work faster. Well, it works for us anyway.
Nonetheless, the official release date is still unknown - Martin himself will reveal it on his blog whenever it is ready: hopefully before we've given up caring.