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Fantasy Author Robert Jordan Passes Away 571

Posted by Zonk
from the doff-our-helms dept.
willith writes "James Oliver Rigney Jr, author of the long-running fantasy series The Wheel of Time and better known to millions of fans by the pen name Robert Jordan, died on 16 Sept 2007 from cardiac amyloidosis. Jordan announced he had been diagnosed with the disease in March 2006 and vowed to beat the odds, but determination and gumption sometimes just aren't enough in the face of a disease with a median survival time of just over two years. Jordan was in the process of writing the twelfth and final book in the Wheel of Time series, A Memory of Light, but the book was not slated for release until 2009 and is still incomplete. While there is hope that the book will still be finished from Jordan's notes, this is devastating news to all of us who have been reading the series since 1990."
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Fantasy Author Robert Jordan Passes Away

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    While I don't like to be the one to "flog a dead horse". The Wheel of time Series has been in a downward spiral since about book 5. Disjointed, dragging out endless plot lines in a poor attempt to make it to book 12. Personally I hope they don't bother to put book 12 together, I stopped at 9.
    • by tuxlove (316502) on Monday September 17, 2007 @01:51AM (#20632679)
      Personally I hope they don't bother to put book 12 together, I stopped at 9.

      There are thousands of people who have hung on for 17 years to reach the end of the tale, regardless of how much it had deteriorated in the later books. I have been unhappy with the most recent books myself, but I still wanted to find out what happens nonetheless. I probably speak for the majority of his readers in this. I'm saddened by his passing, and it would be even sadder if the story were never finished. It's almost certainly what he would have wanted.

      I hope his notes at least reveal the outcome to whomever picks up the story. (Orson Scott Card, are you available?)
      • Card? It must really have gotten pretty bad.
        • by Drawkcab (550036) on Monday September 17, 2007 @02:36AM (#20632887)
          If Card took the helm, 60% of the final book would involve Olver as the protagonist, and Rand would become a thinly veiled allegory of Joseph Smith.
          • by Xiaran (836924) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:11AM (#20633375)
            I agree with you. I just cant decide if that would be better or worse :)
          • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Monday September 17, 2007 @05:54AM (#20633851) Homepage

            Card is an author that started out great and somewhere decided to market to the lowest-common denominator and churn out endless sequels. It was certainly that way with the Alvin Maker series. Red Prophet [amazon.com] is one of the finest fantasy books I've ever read, but all home that the Alvin Maker series would continue at such a high level were dashed when Alvin Journeyman came out, and it only got worse from there. Perhaps Card's turn for the worst happened around 1994-1995 when he was at work on both Alvin Journeyman, the last Homecoming book, and the fourth Ender novel, all of which were very disappointing. Now, this author who started out making real contributions to science fiction as legitimate literature is just an airport paperback writer.

            Similarly, Jordan started out very fine, but around the fourth book of The Wheel of Time, when the series really took off and every high-schooler was reading it, he started to meander and stretch things out. One does wonder if Tor, the publisher of both Card and Jordan, put any pressure on them to produce unnecessarily long material.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              I think your perception on where the WoT series moved during the fourth book is a little misinformed. The pacing of the series was based on the premise that it might only make it for three volumes, but if it remained popular it would be expanded to twelve. If the last nine were never made, the first three would need to stand on their own somewhat. In other words, what you're interpreting as a breakdown was really part of the plan from the beginning. I suppose that probably did have a lot to do with pres
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Dan Hayes (212400)
                Nice to see someone else who agrees with my thoughts on it. What I love about Jordan is the sheer scope and intricacy of the story, how there are so many disparate plot threads that weave in, out and around each other. I can't think of another series which has so many different characters as part of the story.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by NerveGas (168686)
            And there's be naked boys wrestling in a steamy shower.
        • by arth1 (260657)
          That would be a clash of styles, indeed. Plus, these days, Orson Scott Card can't help but proselytising -- he's become as bad as Stephen R. Lawhead, although better researched and written.

          For a ghost writer, why not use one of the prolific writers who don't have a style of their own, but churn out book after book with sometimes better quality than the books they copy the plots and character types from? Someone like Barbara Hambly or Simon R. Green?
      • by olman (127310)
        There are thousands of people who have hung on for 17 years to reach the end of the tale, regardless of how much it had deteriorated in the later books.

        Wow.

        That must have been some deteriorating. Having personally given up on part 4 or thereabouts.

        AFAIK the series was really supposed to be trilogy, but as soon as the sales figures came in, the man just went on churning. In fact I think he said pretty much the same in early (90s) interview.
        • by ushering05401 (1086795) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:38AM (#20633189) Journal
          IIRC you are correct about the WOT being a trilogy.

          Jordan's passing is all the more disheartening for this. He could have been an epic figure in fantasy lit, but he gave in to the marketing drones.

          I absolutely loved the series until the last chapters of book three. His legacy is fucked now. The later books in the WOT series are as unreadable as his work on the Conan series.

          Anyhow... RIP Jordan. You wrote more good lit than I ever did, even if the good material was the vast minority of your output.
        • by jinxidoru (743428) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:12AM (#20633383) Homepage
          It's so true. He should have done what R.A. Salvatore has done. Rather than taking his trilogy and making it 12 books long, he just wrote another trilogy using the same characters and then another. Then he wrote a prequel trilogy and so on ad infinitum. The end result is a story-line that is nearly as long as WoT, but is manageable because you take it in chunks. Each series of books is fairly self-contained, and tells a story in itself while still leaving enough loose ends on which to base another series of books.

          Actually, now, as I am writing, I am reminded of the best at this, Terry Pratchett. You don't even have to read the books in order. He really is a genius at making every book completely self-contained, yet having them still sit in a larger story line. In many of his trilogies I have actually read the second or third before the first, and it made complete sense.
          • by kabocox (199019) on Monday September 17, 2007 @09:57AM (#20635633)
            Actually, now, as I am writing, I am reminded of the best at this, Terry Pratchett. You don't even have to read the books in order. He really is a genius at making every book completely self-contained, yet having them still sit in a larger story line. In many of his trilogies I have actually read the second or third before the first, and it made complete sense.

            There are two author's that I have almost all their books: Terry Pratchett and Lois McMaster Bujold. Lois McMaster Bujold's Miles books (http://www.baen.com/author_catalog.asp?author=lmbujold) aren't usually as funny as Terry Pratchett, but if you are into space opera scifi at all you can easily pick up any of the Miles books and be enjoyed without having to worry about entire back stories of characters. Oh, the books are much better if you have read them all and do know all the ins and outs of the backstories, but you can lend any book of the series to a friend and usually get them hooked.
      • by zoney_ie (740061)
        I've avoided starting the series, based on the frustration of people I know who've read the books faithfully and have been hanging on for so long.

        I think I'll still wait till some semblence of a final book is pulled together and published.
      • by davester666 (731373) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:47AM (#20633241) Journal

        There are thousands of people who have hung on for 17 years to reach the end of the tale

        The curse of buying from a supplier with a single-source. If you're smart enough to buy a plain beige box made of parts from 30 low-bidders, that can run a variety of operating systems, you should be smart enough to buy novels written the same way. That way, if once of the writers dies, any number of other low-bidders can just pick up where he/she left off

        Honestly, buying a novel from a series written by a single writer is like buying a Mac. Sure, the writing might be a little better than if it were written as a collaboration, but it's TOTAL VENDOR LOCK-IN!

        Never buy a book from a series unless it has at least 3 authors!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Jesterboy (106813)
        I would much prefer George R. R. Martin [wikipedia.org], although he's still busy with A Dance with Dragons. He seems ideally capable; he also manages a large, sprawling fantasy series with many characters, and actually manages to have them do something. He does have some experience with "dragons", after all.

        Plus, he's not afraid to kill or maim any of the main characters, which would probably lead to a very happy end for some of Wheel of Time's more disenchanted readers such as myself. ^_^

        Although, to truly end the book
    • by Rei (128717) on Monday September 17, 2007 @01:59AM (#20632709) Homepage
      "In the spirit of the man, friends and family of the deceased have requested that his eulogy be tedious and poorly written."
      • by shaitand (626655)
        That's a pretty rough criticism of a man who wrote a story that would humble Tolkien himself. While it may be difficult to follow the individual plots of dozens of major and semi-major characters, that is a shortcoming of the readers mind and not the author.
        • by vux984 (928602) on Monday September 17, 2007 @05:40AM (#20633775)
          That's a pretty rough criticism of a man who wrote a story that would humble Tolkien himself.

          I doubt it. Tolkien knew how to tell a story. In particular he knew that not everything that he ever envisioned happening on the face on the face of middle earth should be puked out into the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

          Tolkien could let characters like Gandalf go off on side quests without covering every detail. We only knew Gandalf was rescued by the eagles - that's about all that's in the book. Jordon would have taken us on that flight. We know he found his way back to Rivendell; Jordon would have taken us on that walk. At one point Sam is cooking some rabbits he caught - Jordon would have made damned sure we knew exactly how and where they were caught. And gollum? Jordon would have been sure to cover everything he did too... from leaving the mountains, to being captured and tortured, to his release, and tracked him all the way back to Moria. When the sword that was broken was remade, we didn't have half a book dedicated to the tale, nor the tale of its delivery.

          Tolkien's world is famous because of its immense depth and detail. Lord of the Rings is good writing because while you get a sense of all the depth and detail, its history, and its complexity. Very little of it is actually in the book; you know its there because you can see its 'edges'; but Tolkien didn't try to tell EVERYBODY'S story. He knew better.

          Consider that Tolkien had the fellowship break up. He elected to chase essentially 3 paths, not ALL of them. We could have had books dedicated to what Gandalf was doing, we could have followed Boromir's boat over the falls and into the hand's Faramir, and followed Faramir from there. We could have followed Wormtongue after he was cast out of Theoden's throne room back to Isendgard, or followed the Ents after they were roused... but we didn't.

          And had we done so, it would not have improved the book.

          At the other end of good 'epic' writing is the Foundation Trilogy by Asimov. Its the complete opposite of Tolkien - Asimov tells the story of the galactic empire seen through shifting perspectives at critical turning points. The effect works. You see Seldon's vision unfold, and though the vignettes are character driven and you connect with the characters, at the end of each vignette you see the big picture take another step forward.

          While it may be difficult to follow the individual plots of dozens of major and semi-major characters, that is a shortcoming of the readers mind and not the author.

          What is the Wheel of Time about exactly? Its not really about anything because its about everything. And its not about everything because its spends to much time focused on the minutia of individuals. It tries to paint a forest by telling you the story of every tree. And in the end you have neither a good sense of the forest, nor any decent connection to any particular trees.

          That's not the failure of the reader, that's a failure of the author. Because its a poor way to tell a story.
        • by Bob Uhl (30977) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (24dnumdae)> on Monday September 17, 2007 @11:14AM (#20636749) Homepage

          That's a pretty rough criticism of a man who wrote a story that would humble Tolkien himself.

          Tolkien would be humbled by the Wheel of Time? Tolkien would be humbled by the Wheel of Time?!? Tolkien would be humbled by the Wheel of Time!?!?!?

          You have got to be kidding (or on some extremely high-quality intoxicants). If Tolkien had the patience to finish TWoT, humility wouldn't be the emotion he'd feel. Annoyance, probably. Disgust, possibly. Pity, very likely. Here's a comparison of the two writers:

          Tolkien
          • invented roughly two dozen different languages, with free borrowings from one another and a historical development of language and dialects over time
          • invented the history of a world on a grand scale from its very beginning
          • wrote some detailed stories covering very small periods within the above
          • finished each individual story
          • could write
          Jordan
          • wrote three or four good books
          • kept on putting huge amounts of words on paper ('writing' is hardly the term) long after his fans had decided he was insane and would never finish
          • never finished

          I too enjoyed the first several Jordan books. I was in grade school when they came out. I'm nearly thirty now.

          I will grant that Tolkien was actually humble despite his great talents and that Jordan was proud despite rather limited ones.

    • by speaker of the truth (1112181) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:41AM (#20633205)
      Did you just say that the writer dying is a blessing? How fucking offensive, especially to those of us who were as close to him in the end [dragonmount.com] as we possibly could be as fans. I hope the death of no-one you care about is called a fucking blessing.
    • by vondo (303621) on Monday September 17, 2007 @08:55AM (#20634935)
      These books were kind of like the literary version of Zeno's Paradox. In every book, less happened than in the previous book. And extra plot lines were introduced all the time. At that rate it would have never finished. Things started to pick up a bit later, but I too stopped reading. And when I heard he was sick I vowed I wouldn't read anything else until he was done with it.
  • Damn (Score:2, Interesting)

    by blackpaw (240313)
    Good journey Robert
  • by JeanPaulBob (585149) on Monday September 17, 2007 @01:26AM (#20632523)
    And I'm pretty sure it wasn't Moridin.
    • Hmm... wonder if it's time to retire this name? I based it off RJ's character.

      I've been reading RJ's books since I was in the 6th grade. At times they almost feel like they were a "real" part of my teenage development. Many of my friends were into RJ's books as well and they were a group experience in some ways. We talked about what would happen (heh, what still hasn't happened!), sometimes we roleplayed in Randland, and we quizzed each other on RJ trivia.

      I had the honor of meeting RJ at a book signing once
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 17, 2007 @01:27AM (#20632527)
    God finally finished Book 11, said "Are you fucking kidding me?", and whipped out the Smite Stick.
  • heh (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stoolpigeon (454276)
    I remember reading a Stephen King interview just after I had read The Gunslinger and he said that he didn't know if he would ever finish the Dark Tower series. I didn't touch any of them until after the last was published. I have avoided Jordan's series for the same reason - and it seems appropriate that I find out at slashdot that while King lived to finish his, Jordan didn't make it.
    • I admit, I stopped reading Jordan's series myself until I had some indication that he was going to actually finish it. When he chose the title "Wheel of Time," I was really hoping that he would do something along the lines of Ursula K. le Guin's trilogy of trilogies.

      Speaking of finishing things. I am really happy that JL Rowlings finished her series. She was making so much cash, that there must have been pressure to push the book beyond the originally planned 7 volumes.

      Sad,but commercial success can ru
    • No ending, or a bad ending?

      I've read through both series (the trick to finishing the last 3 books in the WoT-series is to skip ahead when there is a chapter with just a subplot, 99% of the story-line with the Aesedai, then it becomes a riveting read). But I must say that it was obvious that Stephen King too got tired of the series and just hobbled together the ending. The Dark Tower climax is a gigantamondic inti-climax of ginormous proportions. I won't spoil what the ending is. Only that it suuuuux.

      I had

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TheRaven64 (641858)
      To be fair, Slashdot has reported Stephen King's death almost as often as it's reported BSD's death.
  • A real pity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gweihir (88907) on Monday September 17, 2007 @01:31AM (#20632553)
    Not that it is a big surprise. Personally I expected this message for about a year now.

    It would have been nice for him to be able to finish the series. True, a certain amount of foot-dragging in the middle of the series got him into this fix, but still I think somebody undertaking such a large venture, and mostly sucessfully, should have the satisfaction of seeing it finished.

    It will be interesting to see how this is going to be finished. The material should be there, but writning style is a major part of these books and not too easily emulated. There are layers within layers.
    • Re:A real pity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bm_luethke (253362) <luethkeb@comc[ ].net ['ast' in gap]> on Monday September 17, 2007 @02:51AM (#20632947)
      Agreed, however I would at least like to see the answer to a few questions that were supposed to be resolved. Closure (and not closure someone else made up - what he actually intended from notes) is better than no closure even if it is obvious where the new author picks up. If he was on schedule then he I would think that he should have had a good deal of it done (a 2009 release date is fairly soon, it's not like one typically writes a 1000+ page book and go through editing/printing in a year), though I have no idea if he was anywhere close to on schedule.

      If it is just another author filling in the gaps and answering - me I'll read it at least for the parts that he wrote. However the other stuff I'll just pick my own conclusion and assume it is as much cannon as what is in the book. This is why I tend to not read large multi-volume stories until they are done, I have read some where they just end right in the middle.

      It feels kinda crass to feel that sorta thing about some guys death, but if he is like any other artist I would bet he is happy that many people are disappointed that they didn't get to see the end of his works. Especially given the scope and amount of time he put into the series.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheMCP (121589)
      And he would have finished it, if each of his books wasn't 150 pages or so of plot and 450 pages or so of whining about how come she has prettier embroidery on her dress than I have on mine and I'm jealous that she has better furiniture than I do and unending angst over whether or not I should use my powers and whine whine whine complain complain moan whine whine. If all his characters weren't such whiny bastards, the series could have been done several books ago.
  • age (Score:3, Informative)

    by uigrad_2000 (398500) on Monday September 17, 2007 @01:34AM (#20632567) Homepage Journal
    The article appears to be slashdotted. According to wikipedia, he would have turned 59 next month.
    • Heh, actually, the link was slow as molasses long before this article went up, I suspect slashdot only gave it a last little push. Never underestimate the power of legions of readers.
  • First, let my condolences go out to his family.

    The books started with such promise, action and just the right hint of risque possibilities. But by the 6th book it had taken on this horrific endless Days of Our Lives persona that you just knew would not end well. By the 9th book I was so sick of waiting for something, anything to happen that I was just about unplugged. My wife bought me the 10th book, and I did something I almost never do...I flipped to the end to see if he finally wrapped it up.

    I put the
    • by fractoid (1076465)

      My wife bought me the 10th book [...] I put the book on a shelf and never read it.
      I bought it as reading material for a 5 hour plane flight. I got through about 20 pages. Shoulda taken the hint from that... :P
  • by Telephone Sanitizer (989116) on Monday September 17, 2007 @01:35AM (#20632577)
    His site, dragonmount.com is already slow to load...

    The Google cache is old.

    Rather than overwhelm the dragonmount.com servers with slashdotters (let other fans have a chance to see it), here's the full text from the blog post. I hope that I'm not overstepping by reprinting it here.

    Sometimes even when you've fought your best....
    Sunday, September 16th, 2007

    It is with great sadness that I tell you that the Dragon is gone. RJ left us today at 2:45 PM. He fought a valiant fight against this most horrid disease. In the end, he left peacefully and in no pain. In the years he had fought this, he taught me much about living and about facing death. He never waivered in his faith, nor questioned our God's timing. I could not possibly be more proud of anyone. I am eternally grateful for the time that I had with him on this earth and look forward to our reunion, though as I told him this afternoon, not yet. I love you bubba.

    Our beloved Harriet was at his side through the entire fight and to the end. The last words from his mouth were to tell her that he loved her.

    Thank each and everyone of you for your prayers and support through this ordeal. He knew you were there. Harriet reminded him today that she was very proud of the many lives he had touched through his work. We've all felt the love that you've been sending my brother/cousin. Please keep it coming as our Harriet could use the support.

    Jason will be posting funeral arrangements.

    My sincerest thanks.

    Peace and Light be with each of you,

    Wilson
    Brother/Cousin
    4th of 3

    To Catalyst: Never, never loose faith. RJ did not. Harriet hasn't. I haven't. Going through what we have, our faith is only strengthened. Besides, if God didn't exist, we would have never had Jim. We did. God does. Remember my Brother/Cousin, my friend, think of him fondly and glorify God's name.

    Editor's Note:
    The entire staff of Dragonmount.com would like to extend its most deepest sympathies to Robert Jordan's family. He touched all of our lives in some way and we wish him the rest and peace he deserves. We will be posting information in the near future about where you can send condolences. Please check the News Section for these updates.
  • The WOT was one of the best series ever, for most of its run. Though I have to admit, I did give up on it a few books back, when I realized it took nearly the whole next book for me to get back up to speed on the myriad subplots, and that the series was progressing more and more slowly each book.

    Calls of WOT being "milked" have been rampant. Many of the same criticisms have been leveled at the Sword of Truth series, which also seems to be slowing infinitely, in a sci-fi version of the paradox of Achilles an
    • by bar-agent (698856)
      Many of the same criticisms have been leveled at the Sword of Truth series, which also seems to be slowing infinitely, in a sci-fi version of the paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise

      Yeah, the middle books of the Sword of Truth series dragged on a bit, but the pace has picked up since then. The editing got tighter. You can tell that the plot is coming to an end.
  • Too Bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ucaledek (887701)
    I got into Wheel of Time fairly young--maybe just after the third book came out--and kept with it despite the punishing slowness of the books after, say, Lord of Chaos. But it really was something different, I think. It was epic, not a standard journey to slay the bad guy after this first couple of books, like so much of fantasy after Tolkien it seems. And though slow and a little tedious at times, it never pissed me off like the last couple of books of Dark Tower, which it seems is the standard metric f
  • Well, hope they bring out Book 12 quickly in some form, finished by someone with talent used to working other peoples universes (Michael A Stackpole?)

    I say quickly, because the longer it is left the greater the expectation on the 'finishing' author, and the greater the perceived quality of Jordan's original proposals.

    I do wonder if once he found out about the illness it caused him to change some of his attitudes regarding what he would do to his characters in Book 12.

    Honestly I would be amazed if he could h
  • by noah.richards (1157783) on Monday September 17, 2007 @02:22AM (#20632817) Homepage

    It seems like yesterday that David Gemmell passed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Gemmell [wikipedia.org]), although it has been a year at this point.

    And now Robert Jordan passes. Say what you will about the quality of the later installments of the Wheel of Time, but the first five or six books (at least) are some of the most enjoyable and well-written fantasy I've read. Growing up, he was one of the authors who introduced me to fantasy, along with David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, Anne McCaffrey, and Tad Williams. I'm grateful to them all.

    (Perhaps) an appropriate Gemmell quote:

    "Not one of the creatures of blood can escape death. We all face it, and succumb to it. It follows us like a dark shadow. Yet, if we live in terror of it, then we do not live at all. Yes we are born alone, and yes we will die alone. But in between, we live. We know joy." --David Gemmell, Sword in the Storm
    • You need to take the words "five or" out of that post. Book 6 was without a doubt one of the best fantasy books ever written, even if you say only because of Dumai's Wells. The end--"Kneel, or you will be knelt."--still gives me goosebumps just remembering it.

  • Not that James Rigney died, I'm sure his family will miss him, but that someone else will finish the last book. Ohh and you **can't** doubt that it will be released, it's worth too much money to the publisher.

    I mean I too have the feeling that somehow it doesn't 'count' if you hear someone else's end to the story but why? Sure you might say they didn't have the original vision but why should it matter? Maybe their vision of the ending is better. It's not like there aren't plenty of authors who give an u
    • It won't be better. It will be like a concert I saw a month ago. Alice in Chains without Layne Staley, even though Cantrell managed to find somebody who can sound almost exactly the same, just isn't. He really sounded almost perfect too, until you realized that all the "arharharh" type things Staley used to do were half of what made it great. And even though you could never put your finger on it, the emotion just wasn't there and thank God they didn't try singing Junkhead or Real Thing or something else lik

  • by YutakaFrog (1074731) on Monday September 17, 2007 @03:27AM (#20633127)
    Here's what Wilson (Jordan's brother/cousin, whatever that means...) posted in the blog on September 9th.

    Epilog: Yes he is continuing to work through all of this medical calamity. MOL is going into the word processor and onto audio tapes almost daily. Not every day mind you, because the medical fight takes first priority. But, he told you he'd finish and he will. Fact is that it has been finished in his head for years. During a recent family sit around, he became the Gleeman and told the bones of it ALL to Harriet and me. You read that right, I did say ALL. Don't ask, ain't telling. Two and a half hours of story telling by the Creator himself went by in the twinkling of an eye. Truly magical. All I can say is WOW! Best stuff he's ever done. MOL is going to knock your socks off! That's a promise.
    I'm saddened to hear of Jordan's death. Yes, there were parts (took me about 8 months to get through them this last time...) that were a little slow, but it was fantasy on a scale of epic proportions, and I thought he did a masterful job of it. Better than I could have done, at least.

    As for the story, the author may change, but book twelve will come out, and have exactly the content that he originally intended. If the storytelling style changes a little bit, it may be a refreshing end to a fantastic saga.
  • Once again (Score:2, Funny)

    by goldcd (587052)
    we see the inherent disadvantage of 'close-sourced' authorship.
    People relying on Robert's output have now been left high and dry, without any guaranteed access to the source-notes.
    If only people had followed the clearly superior 'open-authorship' model - i.e. a few thousand people simultaneously planning, writing, editing model - then this could all have been avoided.
    When will we learn not to rely on this out-dated system of 'author' and 'reader'??
    • I can't tell if that was a lame attempt at humor or just a really bad job trolling. Grow a soul and show some respect for the dead.
  • A Great Series (Score:5, Insightful)

    by speaker of the truth (1112181) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:08AM (#20633359)
    People keep going on about how slow and long this series was, however it has been an inspiration to me and reminds me very much of the great George R. R. Martin series, A Song of Ice and Fire, which I've only just started reading. The only book I was dissapointed in was Crossroads of Twilight. In serial work not every issue can be a home run. Sometimes you need to make one be a sacrifice to set up the next issues which makes them even better. As a good storyteller, Robert Jordan realized this. Those that want EVERY thing to be issue, episode, whatever to be the BEST one there is, will of course not like this but I have a hard time thinking of any long pieces of serial work that they'll enjoy.
  • I'd always seen this series in the book store but didn't start reading it until late last year. I was reading Goodkind at the time, but his character development was making me ill so I decided to switch. So far I've been quite happy with the series, with only a few characters being subject to speed reading.

    When I heard the news RJ was sick, I was really hoping the series would be concluded. He sounded quite hopeful, as people usually do, but in the end succumbed. I hope someone picks up where he left
  • by edderly (549951) on Monday September 17, 2007 @04:45AM (#20633549)
    Although some of the comments here have been fairly tasteless (what do you expect on the Internet) I think it is fair time to reflect on an author's works.

    Obviously and unsurprisingly the Wheel of Time series dominates our impression of Mr Jordan. I'll start with saying that stand alone the first book is one of the best fantasy fiction books out there as far as I am concerned. I found the style and story imaginative and compelling, which is difficult to do in a heavily cliched genre.

    However, like many others I went along for the ride with the rest of the series up until a point where I became frustrated with the author and I personally gave up at about book 9 though I had effectively given up on the series a couple of books before that.

    I don't really know what Jordan's rationale for the length of this series was, I'm not a fanboy and don't follow any of the WoT forums for any insight into this, maybe I will do one day. I generally assume that he felt he had a story to tell and as far as he was concerned if it took many books to tell it - he would do so.

    The lessons of the 'Wheel of time' series are that you need to bring all your readers with you, and that the value of literature isn't in the weight of paper. Readers are frankly puzzled that after 4 to 5 thousand pages why Jordan left his main characters in stasis whilst opening up new plots and new characters in the later books. The publisher and editors have a responsibility to help authors in this regard even if it causes tension. I'm left wondering if Jordan had a more focussed approach he would have been the top fantasy writer of his generation, but now I suspect he will be remembered as a curiousity.

    RIP Robert Jordan
    • Agreed (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sheldon (2322)
      I bought The Eye of the World in hard cover when it was first released. I'd read some of his prior works, Conan stories and so on and liked his writing. Each year, I'd wait for that next book and buy it hard cover the first week it appeared on the shelves.

      The first three books were incredible. Then I read four and five, and grew disenchanted. Waiting for the books, then finding out he wasn't wrapping up threads but rather further expanding.

      Finally I bought book six, got about half way through and then j
  • by the grace of R'hllor (530051) on Monday September 17, 2007 @06:52AM (#20634103)
    Ten years ago, I said that if he were to die before he finishes the series, I'd kill him. Suddenly, I am seeing logistical difficulties.

    My thoughts go out to those who have lost more than a good author.
  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Monday September 17, 2007 @08:44AM (#20634803) Homepage Journal
    I've only "known" Robert Jordan since January, when I started reading The Eye of the World, the first book in the Wheel of Time series. I started reading knowing full well that the series begins to go downhill, as my cube neighbor was a huge fan and has read the series through twice and began reading it again when I did (and even though he was a huge fan, he could admit pretty much exactly where the series falls off).

    I have recently finished the sixth book, and I can begin to see a downward trend. But I so thoroughly enjoyed the first few books, I have to go on. Honestly, the first three books are amazing in my opinion, and you can always count on Robert Jordan to deliver a fantastic final 100 pages, even if the 600 before that were worth speed reading.

    Even though I've only been in Robert Jordan's universe for a few months, I still feel his loss. It saddens me to know the series may never be complete, and if it is, it won't be completely his vision. Whether this is for better or worse, it still bothers me. I will continue to go on with the series, maybe at a slower pace so I can time the final release better if we ever hear a date.

    Here's to you Robert Jordan, thank you for the little time we had together, I still look forward to the future.

    Death is lighter than a feather, duty heavier than a mountain.

I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve immortality through not dying. -- Woody Allen

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