In your daily reminder to not believe everything you read on the Internet, no Neil Gaiman is not helping George R. R. Martin finish Winds of Winter . In a story that sounds like behind-the-scenes fantasy writer fanfiction, The Santa Fe New Mexican published a funny, jokey blog post, to speculate that Gaiman was spending time in Santa Fe, where GRRM lives (and is a pretty spectacular inspiration for youth in culture in the city), so he could help his friend write the long-awaited and insanely anticipated A Song of Ice and Fire installment Winds of Winter. The blog post was picked up as straight news by several media outlets, including Christian Today. And that, readers, is how rumors get started.
The original blog post used language to make it clear the story was intended as a joke, such as:
...Gaiman had joined her from Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Here! That's here!
Moving rapidly to the next supposition in this paragon of Internet logic, we can observe that another person who is very much here is George R.R. Martin.
They both regularly update their respective blogs and steadfastly refuse to call them blogs. There are other examples, but we're moving rapidly, remember? Easier to bypass things like reasonable doubt and common sense that way.
And, finally, the proverbial nail in the "this is a joke" coffin:
The silver bullet to this hypothesis? It would be awesome. Any reader, or fan of fantasy, science fiction, fiction in general, loves this possibility: George emailing his penpal Neil to come for a visit and take a look at what he’s got; the two go for a few long walks in the brisk February air; they discuss the next steps for Sam Tarly at the Citadel; the book comes out next Thursday. Come on. You want this. Just don’t think about it too hard.
"Just don't think about it too hard." Whoops. After the blog post was used as a source in "real news," Gaiman quickly refuted the story on Twitter.
So, no, Neil Gaiman is not helping GRRM finish Winds of Winter (GRRM is on his own with that), but did this just fuel your this-collaboration-absolutely-must-happen-in-the-future feelings? Because nothing less than a game-changing epic fantasy story would come from these two powerhouses.