Obsessive fans of the Game of Thrones books are worried about their author. To them, George R.R. Martin doesn't look so great. He's overweight. He's 65. They want to know whether he will still be around to finish the series, and when the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, is going to appear.
Martin had an answer for them. And a finger.
The question of whether he will live long enough to finish the A Song Of Ice and Fire series - which has become the television phenomenon Game of Thrones - was bravely put, on behalf of his readers everywhere, by an interviewer for the Swiss daily Tages-Anzeiger.
"I find that question pretty offensive, frankly, when people start speculating about my death and my health, so f*** you to those people," Martin said. In case the message wasn't entirely clear, he then gave those people the finger.
The author has already taken a robust line with his fans back in the days before the books became the television series, bringing him millions more readers.
Even in 2009, the fans were demanding to know why he wasn't leg-shackled to his computer, and so hadn't finished A Dance with Dragons.
He wrote: "Some of you are angry that I watch football ... some of you hate my other projects ... some of you don't want me attending conventions, teaching workshops, touring and doing promo, or visiting places like Spain and Portugal or Finland. More wasting time, when I should be home working on A Dance with Dragons."
In the latest interview he snapped: "I can't write more than one word at a time ... I know my working methods, I don't work when I travel, I don't work in hotels ... airplanes, trains. I work at home."
There is still no set release date for The Winds of Winter.