'Winds of Winter' author George R. R. Martin shows off his award in the press room at the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on September 20, 2015.

‘Winds Of Winter’: Aliens, ‘Game Of Thrones’ Spinoffs Keeping George R.R. Martin From Completing Novel

The Winds of Winter release could be delayed even further, and it sounds like extraterrestrials and TV ratings are to blame.

Almost six years have passed since A Dance with Dragons, the fifth novel in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, was released. Still, fans continue to wait for The Winds of Winter, the highly anticipated next installment, the deadline for which has already been pushed back twice.

Fans have been very vocal about their impatience and have frequently goaded Martin into committing to a definite release date for The Winds of Winter. In a comment on his Not A Blog in January, he said that he thinks Winds of Winter will be out this year but admitted that that’s also what he thought in 2016.

With the recent announcement about HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones spinoffs, A Song of Ice and Fire fans have become concerned that the Winds of Winter release will be pushed back some more.

In a comment on a recent Not A Blog post, Martin clarified that what’s delaying his progress on The Winds of Winter isn’t writer’s block, as many have suggested, but a case of “[having] too much to do.”

“I don’t need rest. I just need more hours in the day.”

Incredibly, another major project is using up even more of George R.R. Martin’s time, taking him away from his work on The Winds of Winter. On Thursday, SyFy announced that the Game of Thrones author has begun work on Nightflyers, a new series for the network.

Nightflyers is also the title of a 1980 novella and of a 1985 short story collection (both by Martin), as well as a 1987 sci-fi horror flick based on the novella. SyFy’s Nightflyers will be produced by Doug Liman, the producer/director behind Edge of Tomorrow and the Bourne films.

SyFy has yet to announce a cast or a release date for its new series but has shared a description for the series.

“Set in the future on the eve of Earth’s destruction, a crew of explorers journey on the most advanced ship in the galaxy, The Nightflyer, to intercept a mysterious alien spacecraft that might hold the key to their survival. As the crew nears their destination, they discover that the ship’s artificial intelligence and never-seen captain may be steering them into deadly and unspeakable horrors deep in the dark reaches of space.”

As though working on a new series isn’t enough work, Martin will also soon be busy developing some of the Game of Thrones spinoffs HBO has lined up. According to Entertainment Weekly, there will be four spinoffs that will “explore different time periods of George R.R. Martin’s vast and rich universe.”

The Game of Thrones spinoffs are being developed by screenwriters Brian Helgeland (Mystic River), Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island), Jane Goldman (Kingsman: The Secret Service), and Carly Wray (Mad Men). Martin will be working on Wray and Goldman’s spinoffs. Not much is known about these upcoming projects, but reports indicate that one of them could be an adaptation of Martin’s stories about the characters Dunk and Egg, who lived before the events in HBO’s Game of Thrones.

On top of his work on SyFy’s Nightflyers and on the Game of Thrones spinoffs, the Winds of Winter author is also working on digests of A Song of Ice and Fire stories, doing promotional work for his books and Game of Thrones, writing and publishing other projects, blogging, and various other tasks.

In January 2016, after blowing a second deadline for The Winds of Winter, Martin wrote a Not A Blog post informing his fans that he’s done setting deadlines for himself.

“The deadlines just stress me out.”

“I am going back to my stance from last March, before all this,” he said.

“It will be done when it’s done. And it will be as good as I can possibly make it.”

Whether or not George R.R. Martin will manage to release The Winds of Winter this year is debatable, but fans will nonetheless continue to hold out hope. In the meantime, Game of Thrones Season 7 debuts July 16 on HBO.

[Featured Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]