This post is definitely a departure from my usual style, but since many of us software geeks also happen to be fantasy geeks I thought I would share the recent news that Tor books has announced a new author for the Wheel of Time series of fantasy books.
Ever since Robert Jordan’s passing last September, the fantasy world has been mourning the loss of one of its greatest authors. I myself felt the loss pretty hard since I have been reading RJ’s books for over 10 years and it was the first major fantasy series that I started reading. I’ve always been an avid reader of fiction but WoT really introduced me to a different type of genre. I even converted two college roommates into RJ fans back in my third year of college. These were guys who had never read a book over 300 pages unless they were required to. To see them voluntarily put down multiple 1,000 page fantasy books definitely speaks volumes of Jordan’s amazing storytelling ability.
The greatest tragedy for Robert Jordan was never completing his epic series. While working on his 10th and final book, he passed away due to complications with amyloidosis.
The new author, Brandon Sanderson, is a younger author and longtime fan of Robert Jordan. He’s also an avid blogger and he posted a great personal eulogy to Robert Jordan recently. Sanderson also recently gave an interview to the DragonMount fan website upon receiving the news that he was chosen to be the successor to Robert Jordan. Here are a couple of my favorite parts of this interview.
In what ways do you think you’ll have to shift your writing style to match Robert Jordan’s? Will you be trying to write in his "voice", or will you approach the novel with your own?
To attempt an exact copy of his style would, I think, be the wrong move. If I did it poorly, it would feel like an awkward parody. Yet, at the same time, there are some very important reasons people love these books. Depth of setting, detailed descriptions, and complex and lengthy characterizations are all hallmarks of Mr. Jordan’s style.
So, I think it will need to be a balance. I intend to be more detailed in my descriptions and linger a little bit longer on side characters than I do in my own work. However, I am not Robert Jordan, and the fans know that. Every author is different, and I think that my style will indeed influence how the text and ideas are presented.
Are there any particular aspects of the book that you think will be especially challenging for you?
The first is the depth of the setting. Though I’ve read these books several times, there is just SO MUCH to wrap your head around…I’m certainly glad for the Internet and the resources fans have created. I suspect you’ll find me on Dragonmount occasionally asking for someone to look up an obscure fact or name for me!
The other item of particular challenge is the worry that I’ll disappoint the fans. I am confident in my writing, but. . .wow. This is like being the final man at bat in the last inning of the World Series–I’m the guy who has to step up and either strike out get a hit to win. All of my training, practice, and studies are coming to a head.
I don’t want to be the guy who ruined The Wheel of Time. I’ll work very hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Read the rest of the interview here.
I’m very excited at this news and I’m eagerly awaiting the final book, entitled A Memory of Light, which will be hitting store shelves in Fall 2009.