Hold me. I feel a little faint.
This is like the Duke Nukem Forever of fantasy novels and much like playing that game at PAX last year, some part of me will not believe this news until I have the novel in my hands. It is true, however, that George R. R. Martin has announced that there is a real, really, real live publication date for A Dance With Dragons.
For those of you who are unaware of the saga involved in this, A Dance With Dragons is the fifth book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The first book was released in 1996. This book was going to originally be the fourth novel but it turned out to be too long to be one novel, so it was split into to pieces. Book four (A Feast for Crows) came out in 2005. There have been several release dates set and missed for this book. In fact, the fan reaction to this whole situation was so intense, that is caused Neil Gaiman to make a post about fan entitlement and the general sense that when these things take more time than ‘expected’ fans have a ‘right’ to be angry. Give it a read. (You have to scroll down to the e-mail from a fan to see where it begins.)
Still. There is a date. This one is from the author himself, even though he says the book ‘isn’t finished yet’. Here’s hoping this one sticks.