> Is is just me or are these series just taking a wee-bit too much time
> these days to wrap up? Whatever happened to the good ol' days when
> could pick up a series secure in the knowledge it would only take 3-5
> years before you reached some meaningful conclusion?
At the risk of being flamed as a newbie who's only haunted the
newsgroup for a few months, I finally decided to speak up once more. I
agree that it takes what seems a tremendous amount of time for authors
to produce a series in entirety. But to expect anything faster isn't
necessarily reasonable. We aren't working with Westerns produced at a
rate of 4 a year and cost a dime to purchase.
I think some commentary in Edding's Rivan Codex might help with
figuring out what's going on with the industry anymore. Back when
Edding's was first making his pitch to Del Rey, he wanted to write 3
volumes for the Belgariad, but Del Rey wanted to market the story as 5
(paperback) volumes that could be produced and sold at a very low
price. And look at the size of the books--they are tiny compared to
many of the works that abound today (not just in fantasy). And look at
the transition into the Mallorean. The five books there were released
in hardback first, and were by far more expansive than the original
series. As to the reason for this, I'll let you draw your own
conclusions. I'm hardly an expert on the subject, but I'd be willing
to bet this is because the market wants more in the fantasy novels it
I also think that demanding authors produce volumes like a factory at a
rate of one a year is demanding a lot. It takes a long time to
formulate a world, a long time to create a story worth telling, and a
long time telling it without people rolling their eyes in disgust at
the cliches that mar every other page. It is inevitable that material,
themes, character traits, etc get reused, and that places a greater
burden on someone who is attempting to create a work that stands out.
Perhaps it isn't good to be too lenient, but I'm glad G.R.R. Martin is
taking his time with A Feast For Crows, making it work just right and
not sweating the deadlines. I don't want Feast For Crows to be like
Path of Daggers--a half book. And in terms of Donaldson taking another
eight years to produce the rest of the Last Chronicles, consider that
it has taken him over twenty years to produce Runes, if you mark from
when Lord Foul's Bane was first published.
I do think it is too much to ask for an author to wrap up a series in
3-5 years, if that author has a tale he wants to tell that, in order to
tell it, requires him to take longer. Is a little wait such a bad
thing? For those who are terminally ill (Stephen King's anecdote about
that still gives me chills), I can understand why they'd wish the
series finished. They don't necessarily have the time remaining to
witness the end. But for many of us, a wait of a few years isn't going
to end the world, or hurt us, or even leave a lasting impression.
Still waiting on Rawn's Captal's Tower, and as far as I can tell, I'm
still plugging along just fine. By the Rawn message boards, a fair
number of her fans are, too.
Now to beg for flaming: I DO wish Jordan had taken longer in producing
the last 4 books. Discussion has long since placed Path of Daggers
together with Winter's Heart as the full scope of that little story
arch, and I'm worried that Knife of Dreams will be the quote-on-quote
second half of Crossroads. So, and anyone can back me up or cast me
down for saying so, I think Jordan would have been better off if he had
written the last few books like so:
1) Place the using of the Bowl of Winds at the end of A Crown of
Swords, wrapping up that story line in the same volume where the Bowl
was found, providing a much more conclusive feelings to ACOS than just
Rand jumping out of bed and racing off to kill Sammael.
2) Merge Path of Daggers and Winter's Heart, and place all the wonder
of what is going on around Rand's cleansing of the taint in the fashion
used in Shadow Rising, when Rand thrusts Callendor into the Stone.
3) Using Crossroads as the first of half (fifth?) of building up to
Rand's inevitable disaster with the Seanchan, i.e. merge Crossroads and
Knife of Dreams.
Doing these would undoubtedly have taken Jordan at the very least
another full year apiece, maybe more, but I think it would have been
worth it. At least, it seems to me that most of the disappointment
around Jordan's recent novels has been lack of content. After all, his
writing style really hasn't changed since The Dragon Reborn--just the
amount of story he places in each book.
Now...to flee to the shadows where skulk the timid newbies...
And for those of you who despise screen names over real, Ryan Harkins.