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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Robert Jordan, 1948-2007

Like, as of Sunday. Am I the only one who hadn't heard about this?

I've been reading this man's Wheel of Time series for sixteen years. And rereading it. The prose was... well, it was a bit much. And later books in the series advanced the plot almost not at all. Nonetheless, the world he'd created in the series was engaging and complex, and there were enough questions raised that we as readers were sure there would be answers to; in fact, we were sure that the answers were already there if only we managed to puzzle them out.

He was working on the book that he had been promising for some time would be the last of the series. I'm sure that his publisher has enough of an eye to the revenue side of the ledger that something will come out with Jordan's name on it, something called A Memory of Light, that will wrap up the series. I'm also certain that given the lengthy illness that led to his death, he's made sure that there are notes, that there have been conversations with family and friends and editors about how he'd like to see the series concluded, so what is eventually published may actually be very much what Jordan himself would have written. It won't be quite what we all wanted: there will be puzzles that seem minor to those left behind, that Jordan himself may have forgotten he'd planted, that will now never be solved, and the text won't have the same feel - whatever else you might say about the man's writing, it was distinct - but it will give us some closure on this world we've been so invested in for so long.

For those of us who have lived in Jordan's world these many years, I know some of you probably shared my initial reaction: disappointment that he wouldn't finish the series. Selfish and callous, sure, but I know I wasn't the only reader upon hearing about his illness to think "that bastard's had me on the hook for way more books than he's deserved; he better survive this long enough to get to the end." What I'm suggesting above is that he probably did - close enough, at any rate. So take a moment to reflect on what he's actually given to us, the world that he shared with us, and give him his peace.

Thank you, Robert. May the last embrace of the Mother welcome you home.

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