9.22.2007

Sadness

I know I promised a movie-related post today but I just received some news that supersedes it.

One of my favorite authors -- if not THE favorite -- of my formative years has a huge following for his monumental and incredibly rich fantasy series that he began writing almost twenty years ago. This series, known as the Wheel of Time, is already eleven books long with a twelfth and final installment as yet unfinished. Now it will never be completed because its creator, James Oliver Rigney Jr., though better known as his pen name Robert Jordan, died this past week at the age of 58.

The artwork: crappy. The story: not so much

I remember picking up the first of Mr. Jordan's WoT (nerdspeak for Wheel of Time) books in an airport many years ago. I was about twelve and the prospect of a long, boring flight listening to my brother snore spurred me to look beyond the hokey cover art and buy The Eye of the World. Ever since that day I continue to judge books by their covers but now I try to give them the benefit of the doubt because within the EoTW's crappy cover art lay the beginning of the most intricate, expansive, and complete fantasy series I have ever read.

In my opinion, neither Herbert nor Tolkein can inspire the same pure, unadulterated enjoyment found in the WoT series and lesser authors like Terry Goodkind can only dream of having a quarter of Jordan's talent. Only George R. R. Martin approaches Jordan's ability to mix history, drama, adventure and prophecy into a transcendent whole. Robert Jordan's stories have shaped the way I read and enjoy books today and I'll never forget him.

I'll miss you Mr. Jordan.

6 comments:

~*SilverNeurotic*~ said...

That's sad, despite the fact that I've never heard of him. Perhaps I will give his books a shot.

Sarah said...

Very sad. Thanks for sharing his work...perhaps his books will find some new readers thanks to your post!

april said...

Yeah, your post makes me want to break the 3 year dry spell, of not fully reading a book of fiction, and check out the WoT series (even with its crappy cover art).

Matt said...

silver - Yeah, I'm a little bummed but if you like the sprawling fantasy epic then the Wheel of Time is my number one recommendation.

sarah - I hope so!

april - If you're breaking a three year dry spell I'd probably recommend starting out with something lighter. Depending on what you're interests are, I might recommend Chuck Palahniuk for some visceral fiction, or maybe some Jeff Lindsay (Darkly Dreaming Dexter) for a fun, dark mystery.

April said...

Ok I'm writing that down, for when I get the chance to head down to Barns & Nobles.

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