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To quote my other favorite author, George R.R. Martin:

The world of high fantasy is poorer today.
James Rigney, better known to fantasy readers as Robert Jordan, has passed away. Although he had been fighting amyloidosis for several years, the news of his death still came as a shock to many, including me. He was so optimistic and determined that you had to think that if anyone could beat the disease, it would be him.

Martin’s blog was the first place I heard about the passing of Robert Jordan.

I have a lot of things running through my mind at this time. First off is surprisingly I’m more sad than I thought I would be. Up until now I was hoping he got better but my overriding thought was “I really hope he finishes the book before he dies”. Now its more sadness that he has passed away (and yes – that he has not finished the final book before he did).

I had something of a love/hate relationship with Jordan. The first six books of his Wheel of Time series are STILL my favorite books. Even with books seven through ten (which should have been consolidated into one or two books) I still eagerly awaited the conclusion more so than any other series (FAR FAR more than Harry Potter, or many of the other movie or book series that I’ve read/seen).

The first six books were a gift for my birthday from my mother in 1994, the year that she passed away. I probably would have glossed over them at the time but my mom was casually looking through the Science Fiction Book Club catalog that we received and pointed them out to me – thinking correctly that I would like them.

Though throughout his illness – even as sick as he was (as described by his cousin over at the blog at dragonmount.com) he persevered and did what he could to ‘set his affairs in order’ in regards to the final book. According to Mike Mackert, admin of at wotmania.com:

Jordan has been dictating outlines and plot lines and everything else related to the final book. He used the phrase “army of writers” to talk about the people that were converting those tapes into written form.

I cannot lie and say I’m disappointed to hear about this. Even though a great man has passed away and I and many of his fans mourn, I have been reading these books for almost fourteen years now and have long awaited a conclusion. I am though impressed (though that is not a strong enough word) that even through his illness, he did what he could to make sure the final book was finished – and finished how he wanted it to be. I still look forward to it but now it will be bittersweet.

P.S. I don’t want to be callous, but I really hope it is not his wife who finishes the book. Please have an established author do so. I do not feel that being someone’s spouse makes you automatically qualified to do their job. Lord knows I would not be able to teach and inspire children as my wife can. I’m sure Jordan had many fellow authors who were also his friends who would do it justice.

Edit: didn’t think to update this post when I heard, but the excellent author, Brandon Sanderson, was chosen to complete “A Memory of Light”.  Its expected to be released in late 2009.

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