George R.R. Martin Tells Conan His Secret Weapon: a DOS Computer - Rolling Stone
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George R.R. Martin Tells Conan His Secret Weapon: a DOS Computer

‘Game of Thrones’ author admits he writes on an outdated machine without Internet

When most Game of Thrones fans imagine George R.R. Martin writing his epic fantasy novels, they probably picture the author working on a futuristic desktop (or possibly carving his words onto massive stones like the Ten Commandments). But the truth is far more hilarious: Martin works on an outdated DOS machine using Eighties word processor WordStar 4.0, as he revealed during an interview Tuesday night on Conan.

George R.R. Martin: Outtakes From the Rolling Stone Interview

“These novels that you write can be over 1,000 pages long,” notes host Conan O’Brien during his chat with the acclaimed writer. “They’re massive tomes, and apparently you write them all on a computer, but unlike most authors, you’re not worried about a computer virus.” That’s because Martin’s ancient, “secret weapon” DOS isn’t connected to the Internet – he uses another machine for e-mail, taxes and browsing the web. 

“Did you make this computer out of wood?” Conan jokes about the technological museum piece. “Did you carve it?” But Martin insists there’s a method to his madness: “I actually like it,” he says. “It does everything I want a word processing program to do, and it doesn’t do anything else. I don’t want any help. I hate some of these modern systems where you type a lower case letter and it becomes a capital letter. I don’t want a capital. If I wanted a capital, I would have typed a capital. I know how to work the shift key.”

And don’t get the author started on spell check –this is a man who constantly types names like Stannis Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen (the latter of which, O’Brien notes, shouldn’t be auto-corrected as “Tire Center”).

But Martin’s guest spot wasn’t all about technological hatred. The author also teased a goofy idea for a Thrones spinoff starring Tommen’s fan-favorite feline, Ser Pounce the cat.


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