Bad news for Robert Jordan fans

Special thanks to Adam for the "heads up."

According to this report from the American Book Center, A Memory of Light will be split into two, perhaps three, volumes. The first installment, The Gathering Storm (Canada), will be published this fall, while future volumes would likely be released in 2010 and 2011.

If true, this shatters what little hope I had that they wouldn't try to milk this last WoT volume for all it's worth. Shades of the Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert Dune books are already haunting me. And forcing fans to wait till possibly 2011 to reach the conclusion of this epic fantasy saga is unacceptable.

Moreover, if The Gathering Storm is published as trade paperback instead of a hardcover, it would be inexcusable. My entire WoT collection is in hardcover format, and it wouldn't make sense to change that. The book will debut at number 1 on the NYT list whether or not they release it in hardback. But Amazon shows a hardcover version, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

And how they managed to top The Shadow Rising and Lord of Chaos in terms of crappy cover art, I'll never know. . .

Any way you look at it, it smells like dog poop in the sun. Bad, bad, bad. . .

Call me naïve, but I thought they would try to honor Jordan's wish to see A Memory of Light be published as a single novel, or one split into two volumes that would be released back to back. Anything else is taking advantage of fans and screwing them where the sun don't shine.

Extremely disappointing. . .

45 commentaires:

Todd said...

This is suck news. I have faith Sanderson will come through with a great novel. But whoever's decision it was to milk the series, ditch the hardback, and use that cover art needs a thump on the head.

It's sad that in the end all it comes down to is money. It would have made money regardless. Slapping loyal fans in the face is uncalled for.

Adam Whitehead said...

As I said on the blog, you can read that release to mean they ARE releasing the hardcover, but they are also releasing the tradeback at the same time. This is still notable, as the series has not seen a tradeback since the very first or second book in the series. Tor not releasing the book in hardcover would be completely insane.

Splitting into three books is way, way out of line though. The sole circumstance under which this would be acceptable is if Sanderson thinks he needs 900,000 words to finish the whole thing, and so far he's only said he needs 750,000 (and has completed 450,000 so far).

Anonymous said...

Isn't this first part like 700 pages already?

Anonymous said...

Serves y'all right for not abandoning this series 5+ books ago! It's a shame, because I still remember how excited and enthralled I was to read "The Eye of the World" when it came out. If only Jordan could have kept tighter control over the narrative, he could have finished the series before being taken off into eternity.

The Monk said...

This is ridiculous on three levels. First, the split of the books into multiple volumes; second, the decision to string out publication over two years -- pop out the books six months apart, tops.

And third, and most important, The Gathering Storm is the name of one book only -- the historical memoir of Winston Churchill of the 1930s.

The Addled said...

I meet the news with equanimity. When at first I read the title I thought the book was going to be redone by someone else entirely, giving us a wait of two more years. I think I'd just be happy to get my hands on the book. If you're a true fan, you wouldn't really care, and I think Sanderson's writing'll more than make up for whatever pitfalls have been associated with the project so far.

Josh said...

800,000 words can't be published in one volume, especially these days. War & Peace has 560,000 or so in English translation.

Adam Whitehead said...

Brandon Sanderson has commented, saying the cover is probably a very rough mock-up. He indicated it's not a fake but some things are getting garbled in translation and the retelling. Official word will follow shortly, tomorrow or Friday hopefully.

Via DarthAndrea, one of the mods on Dragonmount:

"I wish I could say something official, but it's just not my place. Harriet rightly gets to release information like that. I did just fire off an email to Harriet and Tor, suggesting that they respond to this and speed up their timetable for a press release.

As for that cover, that strikes me as a rough mock-up rather than the
final version. For instance, I'm surprised it mentions this as a sequel to Crossroads of Twilight, rather than Knife of Dreams. (At least, I think that's what the image says. The text is kind of hard to read.) That's just one of the things that strikes me as odd about the cover. I can't say more yet, I'm afraid.

The short of it is I doubt this is a hoax, but I also doubt that
everything you see here is official. Some things are getting garbled as they get passed from ear to ear. Keep an eye out for more news, hopefully Thursday or Friday. Feel free to pass this along."

Dream Girlzzz said...

@The Addled: If you're a true fan, you wouldn't really care... What the fuck??? I've been reading WoT since 1994. As a true fan, I want the ending we all have been waiting for.

As for Sanderson, after reading the last two Mistborn books I'm scared shitless that he'll botch up the job thoroughly. Don't know what people see in these books, but it's obvious the guy is not the "right" fit for AMoL.

I don't just want to see this series done. I want it done right.

Adam Whitehead said...

Sanderson also has a blog entry expanding on the news:

http://mistborn.livejournal.com/119229.html

Amit said...

I heard Brandon Sandersons interview with the 4th age podcast. It seems pretty much a foregone conclusion that this is going to be split into 2 books at least, he said he legnth is going to be somewhere around 750,000 words, that has to be 2 books. I dont find that hard to believe based on where everyone is at the end of Knife of Dreams and all the stuff that still needs to happen in the story to get to the Last Battle.

Also based on where he has said he is in the process, it seems unlikely to me that the whole thing would be finished for release this year. Id rather get vol. 1 this year and vol.2 ASAP after that. I hope we dont see a vol. 3

William Lexner said...

Why would ANYONE have faith in Brandon Sanderson? His fiction is garbage.

Or Tor for that matter? As if they would let their star moneymaker go so easily. They will find a way to string this out for decades. There will be prequels and sequels and any umber of nonsensical related books.

And Harriet seems ready to let them do it. Beats having to work, I suppose.

Robert Jordan said time and time again that there would be one more book. He promised room after room full of people.

And they shit upon his wishes for his opus.

Disgusting, really.

Richard said...

From wha little I have understood. Sanderson have written (is writting) a single novel. It was Tor desition to splited. Release dates are not confirmed yet. So I see nothing wrong there, as long as Tor releases the books one after the other.

As for Sandersons work. His last two mistborn books were awful, I agree. But Give Elantris a go, or the first mistborn, or his very latest Warbreaker (available online for free, although not the final version, that's hardcover later this year). Much better works, more character driven, if a little repetitive characterization.

Becky said...

I'll reserve judgement until I get my grubby paws on the books - I don't care how many volumes it takes, as long as the story is paced / delivered as RJ intended it.

I don't want a rushed job or a stretched out one just for the sake of keeping the number of books to a set figure. I want this series to get the ending it, RJ and the fans deserve.

Gabriele C. said...

Of course, publishers want to make money just like the car industry, the food chains and whoever. And if TOR can get more money by splitting the book into three you can't blame them for going that way, not from an economic point of view. Publishing is NOT about art and culture, it's about trying to have a nice sum on the plus side of the acount at the end of a year.

It will anger fans, I can see that, but as long as not every single one will boycott buying the books - which is NOT going to happen - why should a publisher care?

(For the reconrd, I don't work for a publisher, I'm an aspiring writer myself. But I have just finished a degree in business studies.)

The short version: Business is like swimming a shark bassin. ;)

Anonymous said...

Isn't April's Fools Day around the corner? ;-)

Cecrow said...

I read 'Eye of the World' and stopped there, umpteen years ago, telling myself maybe I'd come back to it when the series is done. Guess I'm waiting two more years to resolve that. And now I'll have to see not just one but three glowingly reviewed books in a row before deciding I'm jumping into this pool. Ocean, more like ...

Josh said...

What I'm confused by is why people think that just because Robert Jordan promised there'd be one more book, that he'd have been able to keep that promise. As we have seen time and time again, authors are often wrong concerning their own writing and series.

Morrigan said...

It was complete wishful thinking from Jordan's part that his last volume would be a single one. There are way too many loose ends to tie up. The man was full of silly, fanciful wishful thinking anyway. Remember how he said he'd live another 30 years, write another brand new series with samurai-like culture, and so on? The man lived outside of reality. His wife, and Tor, have to deal with reality, so they have to break one of his foolish promises. Too bad, but since Wheel of Time has sucked for a long time and Sanderson's writing is mediocre at best, I can't be bothered to care much... I'll still buy the damn thing (paperback only, no doubt - hardcovers are way too expensive, unless I get it as a gift) just to see how it ends, but I am definitely unsurprised it won't be a single volume.

I don't understand, though, how "ditching the hardback" equals to "milking the series". Hardcovers are far more expensive, and publishers tend to delay the release of cheaper paperbacks (though I admit in this case, mass market paperbacks are FAR cheaper than larger "trade" paperbacks) to capitalize on that, so wouldn't it be the other way around?


I do agree, though, that three volumes is out of line and disrespectful, not to the original author so much as to the fans. And that cover art is indeed feces, though they all mostly suck anyway. Let's hope this is just a rough draft and the three volumes rumour is false.

NightBaron said...

I'm not gonna get up in arms until an official announcement by TOR or Harriet is made. I don't believe everything I read on the internet.

Texas Reaver said...

There is simply no pleasing some people....

Sean T. M. Stiennon said...

So, um, Pat. . .don't you think this post smacks of hypocrisy after your defense of GRRM? Recall that AFFC and ADWD are two parts of what is really the same book, and which it has now taken Martin over eight years to complete. Nor are they the concluding books in his sprawling series.

Waiting until 2011 is "unacceptable"? Maybe, but it's going to be years after that before you read the final chapters of ASOIF. And you certainly can't fault Sanderson's writing speed. The man has buzzed through 450,000 words--in someone else's world, while working closely with Harriet Jordan--after doing a complete, detailed re-read of the entire saga in a little more than a year. He blogs about putting in eight hour writing days and taking a laptop on the road to write during his signing tours. Sanderson knows the meaning of the word "professional" better than pretty much anyone working in fantasy right now.

C'mon. If Tor and Harriet are "milking the fans", what exactly is GRRM doing with his increasingly bloated opus? All this miniatures and other assorted merchandise he keeps hawking on his blog? Isn't it even worse in his case, given the pace of his writing?

In the interests of full disclosure, though, I'm a big Sanderson fan. One of the ones who thought the _entire_ Mistborn trilogy was gold.

I've never read any WoT, though, and I won't be reading this conclusion, despite Sanderson's name on the cover ;)

Sean T. M. Stiennon said...

Erk. . .Robert Jordan is a pen-name, and thus his wife's name would not be "Harriet Jordan". Mea culpa.

William Lexner said...

Sean, George decided to split his books. That is entirely within his rights.

Tom Doherty decided to split the last Jordan novel so as to make more money.

This is not the same thing, nor comparable.

The Addled said...

@ Dream Girlzzz:

What I meant to say was, I consider myself a true fan, and I don't really feel enraged or cheated by the news. We're going to get the ending people, sooner or later. It is futile and downright foolish to expect the ending the series deserves, because Jordan is no more, and some would argue even he wouldn't have been capable of delivering a just ending. So trust Sanderson to give us what we want. I'm a big fan of Sanderson's, so that trust comes a little easier for me. I've said it before, I'll say it again. Harriet thought Sanderson could do it and she's obviously the best opinion on the matter right now, and thankfully hers is also the one that counts the most. Also, I loved The Shadow Rising cover art, sorry Pat. Lord of Chaos I'll give you, that was just downright horrible.

Texas Reaver said...

So there will be 3 WoT books for us to read over the next couple of years while we wait for future volumes of material from GRRM, Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, and Richard Morgan.

Why is that such a bad thing? With those authors, people complain because nothing is being released. With Jordan, they complain because they are. Makes no sense....

What really makes no sense is taking below the belt shots at Brandon Sanderson, Harriet, and Jordan himself because of Tor Books' business decision. They want to make money? Of course they do - that's why they're in the book production business. It isn't to give fair weather fans a stack of free downloads. If Tor is doing this simply to screw the fans and take advantage of them, then I don't like it. But if we can give Sanderson and Harriet the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are PROPERLY finishing the WoT story in the spirit that Jordan wished will take more pages than a single volume binding can hold, then we should leave it be. Let's be happy that there might be three books for us to look forward to and enjoy...if they're done right, they'll be worth it.

And as far as release time. If they were being cranked out any faster than projected, everyone would be crying because it will cost too much money in a short period of time. Now they're just going to do the bash-GRRM method of attacking Tor for making them wait too long. The man died. Be glad he left enough notes and material to go on so that his fans could see the ending he envisioned. He could have simply selfishly taken it to his grave and let the spoiled ones go without.....

Oh, one last note, since I'm on a roll. This to Morrigan: Blasting Jordan for having some vision and a plan for his writing future that didn't come to pass? What, would you prefer that he gave up and rolled over to die? His vision was unrealistic only because he died. Well, he didn't want to do that. I am happy that he had a plan, that he had goals and desires to share his creativity with the world, instead of just plodding along without a purpose like so many do these days.......

'Nuff.......

Arthur said...

Well, RJ obviously didn't put it in his will. So I guess even he had doubts about being able to finish in one book. But having given his word, if he had been alive, he would've tried his best to keep that promise.

Its more depressing how out of the loop Sanderson sounded in the dragonmount article. One would think the coauthor of the book would have a little more say in the matter. But it seems like between Harriet and TOR they worked it out themselves, without his full knowledge.

Roland said...

Actually, I think Sanderson will write a thousand times better final WoT novel than Jordan ever could. Not because I'm a fan of his, but because I'm fairly certain that ANYONE could write a better WoT book than what Jordan was producing in the final, uh, six novels. The talk about a vision, a dream and all that are very fine, but the sharply painful truth is that since almost the middle of the series, the Wheel of Time has been total crap. And from what I've read of Sanderson's (that would be the first Mistborn), I reckon he'll do just about fine for WoT.

As for what Tor are supposedly doing, I too prefer to wait for official announcement before bashing anyone, but I find it strange that people complain about the possible splitting. Sanderson has already finished half or more than half the book. Isn't it BETTER for us to read that half while he's working on the finale?

And I have to say I completely agree on the double standards issue concerning "Memories of Light" and GRRM. Even the worst case scenario in this situation is about ten times better than what Martin has already pulled, and I'm not hoping to read the end of ASoIF before 2020 if AT ALL. Martin's not exactly getting younger either...

Roland said...

Yup, Sanderson is obviously just barely above a ghost-writer in Hariet's eyes. Sorry, never liked her, never will, and I think not a small part of what WoT degraded into is her fault.

As for Jordan's promises - does anyone remember the time when the entire series would be comprised of only six books?

Tony said...

Fanboys, get a grip. Do you have any concept of how long 750,000 words is? You'd rather wait until, what, spring 2011 to get a 2000 page hardcover then have Harriet/Sanderson put out a first volume this fall? live in reality. And as for Tor's "business decision" RJ signed over rights to Harriet. You have to be a pretty cynical bastard to accuse a widow of milking her husband's legacy. Jesus.

Tony said...

GRRM originally announced ASOIAF as a trilogy. Then a six book series. Now it's seven. Is anyone going to be seriously disappointed if it becomes 8, or 9? Not as long as quality's good. Same thing here. If they need 2 or 3 books to do justice to RJ's notes (not to mention the many loose ends in KoD...)

Anonymous said...

April fools people, April fools. And an excellent one at that, playing on just about EVERY fear fans have :)

Josh said...

It's odd to see so many Martin fans talking crap about dividing volumes, having cleverly "forgotten" the debacle that is/was AFfC & ADwD. Ignore the first week sales and you have a large portion of his readership who were bored or annoyed with his method of dividing the books.

Or, maybe this is why these fans fear to see the same thing happening in WoT. Give Sanderson (and Tor) a chance. RJ's vision of fans carrying AMoL out to their cars using handcarts was humorous and brave, but it was very likely unrealistic.

Adam Whitehead said...

The differences between the GRRM and RJ situations are pretty substantial (although there are few superficial similarities) but getting into them again would be time-consuming, tiresome and the 'bashers' would simply ignore the facts, as they pretty much have done to date. Thousands of words have been spent patiently explaining the situation and they still talk utter crap and make up lies about the situation, so what is the point? June is the next date when GRRM has said he may be able to report progress, so we'll see what happens then.

Simultaneously, I have to say that the situation with AMoL is also being unfairly ripped on. The book is 750,000 words. That is too big for one book. William, you know about publishing. Have you ever encountered a book of 750,000 words published in one volume that wasn't an A3-sized encyclopedia or a Bible printed on rice paper? Neither of which is remotely marketable in the current market. When Jordan's per-book sales match Tolkien, it might be possible to afford to do this, but until then it simply wasn't economical.

It was clear from day one this wasn't going to be one book. Take whatever estimate Robert Jordan gave for the series and double it, as that was the batting average for his accuracy (like when he told Tom Doherty in 1984 this was a six-book series). At 750,000 words rathern than 1 million you get from this approach, Brandon is actually doing far better at keeping the book under control.

As for comparisons to the DUNE situation, I'll wait until it turns out the book is 1) unreadably bad and 2) the 'notes' used to base it on were written on the back of a pub coaster which didn't even mention the bad guys, before condeming Tor and Brandon in the same manner.

Texas Reaver said...

Sanderson posted an update today to his blog:

http://www.brandonsanderson.com/blog/771/More-news-on-AMoL

TeufelHund said...

I'm no fan of Jordan (I decided it wasn't for me after reading Eye of the World) and while I feel a little sympathy for readers who are going to be stuck with a series finale not written by Jordan, I don't think there can be any doubt that the series went on far too long and was basically being milked in later volumes.

With hindsight, I'm pretty sure both the author and readers would also admit this situation was an inevitable risk of taking on a 12 book epics.

D said...

That cover art is a disgrace to professional illustration. It does not look appealing at all.

On the other hand, I'm satisfied with the 3 books decision and I like the idea of having more to read in the WoT universe. They will publish the last book when they publish it, no need to rush really.

Jebus said...

Fuck me but some of you turd faces are such arrogant fucking wankers. You don't wanna buy 2 or 3 books? You don't wanna wait 2 years? Then fucking DON'T! Whatever happens, happens. Who gives a fuck if it's 'cause of Tor, Harriet, Sanderson or Jordan's maniacal blue-balled ghost? Get over your piss-weak fanboy self importance and go and live your fucking lives. Complaining about when and how a book is published is like arguing which kind of shark is chomping on your leg during the act of said chomping - who gives a fuck? Just deal with it.


You prissy little fucks make me so pissed off that you think you have ANY kind of fucking say in matters like this. Let the authors, business people and fucking people-who-know-what-they're-doing do their fucking jobs and leave them be. You may be a consumer but you have absolutely NO right on this Earth to be such nitpicking faeces-faced fuck-tards to such an extreme level. Get over yourselves and enjoy the books you have. Toss burgers.


For the record I have all the WoT books in hardcover, I have not read the last 3 or 4 as I am waiting until the series is done to do a full re-read. I think it is an OK series that certainly helped a lot of others to be published and I plan on finishing it because I didn't hate it, but I don't love it. I also have the vocabulary discipline of a legless mental patient with tourettes who barely survived 'Nam. So go fuck yourselves you ladyboy arse rapists.

Arcane said...

Completely randomly stumbled across this post, but felt the need to give props to the rant by Jebus.

Nice man, nice.

William Lexner said...

Who let Jebus out of his hole?

Ignorant much?

Roland said...

@ Adam:

I am quite certain there are numerous differences between the WoT and ASoIF situations. I don't think they are in favor of GRRM though... Still, I'm neither a 'basher', nor a particular fan of any of those two, so I'm open to arguments, if you feel like it. If not, that's also fine.

I fear that with both authors I've suffered from severe evolving of my tastes. I'm not saying this to sound snobish, but simply because the person that started reading both series about ten years ago, is distinctly different than the person I am now. He hadn't read Gene Wolfe or John Crowley, hadn't read a ton of SF authors etc. I don't mean I don't feel curiosity as to how WoT and ASoIF will end, but I'm not feeling particularly curious... Hell, I'm even rapidly losing interest with the Malazan!

ConUladh said...

I don't think this is any real surprise, it was always hard to see how they could finish it off in one book.

I'd rather they split it out than edit it until it fit.

Ryan said...

I'm not all that broken up over this - 3 seems like a long time, but I guess that means there's a better chance most of it gets cleared up and finished in a way I actually like. This series has kind of drifted off the map of things I care about - maybe a gigantic 3000 pages final volume will cement it as something that matters instead of an afterthough.

Anonymous said...

Clarissa by Samuel Richardson is 1.1 million words and published in one volume. Tor could do the same for the hardcover, then divided the mass market into two.

I'm nervous about Sanderson, too. I haven't read his work, but no one living could have matched his first eight volumes and I doubt very few could with Harriet's supervision, either.

Jordan issue for not dividing it was that there was no more places for closure until the end.

And it seems like an insult to release the hardcover and trade on the same day. They don't do this with Sanderson. They do it with Erickson, only to increase overall sales. Such a move would not be as productive with an author who already has a couple million US fans.

Anonymous said...

I lost interest in this series a LONG time ago.