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Lord of Chaos signing tour, Atlanta (Science Fiction & Mystery bookstore) 17 October 1994 - report by Daniel Rouk
I just got back from the 1st Jordan signing, held at the Mystery and Science Fiction Bookstore in Atlanta. It was lots of fun! I arrived about 10 after 6 and was given a post card showing the cover scene from Fires of Heaven, with a handwriten number on it. (46)
Those earlier than I were awarded with poster sized versions of the Randland map (new color one). I'll get one tommorrow or die trying!
The only net personality I knew was Erica. She took notes so will have much more info when she posts tonight. The bookstore was packed with probably about 100 people. I left just after my book was signed. This took about 2 hours to get to my number as many people had several copies of each of the series to sign. Nobody seemed to mind. There are LOTS of internet lurkers out there in the world though. Too bad more of them don't post, but the ones I talked too mentioned the volume as too heavy.
Jordan looks pretty much like the sketch, except add glasses. He was sitting in a nice comfortable chair calmly answering everyone's questions. Erica did rile him a little with one though. :-) He had a large ring on his right hand with some sort of reddish stone. Is this his Citadel ring? I don't know what one looks like, and didn't think to look when he actually signed my book.
Now to the questions people asked and the answers. I hovered pretty close to the signing table to get as much in as I could...
No Jordan quotes are exact... I didn't write anything down or have a tape of it. (sorry)
Robert Jordan began writing after a pretty severe (The description grossed Erica out) knee injury kept him idle. He was in the government service at the time, and after using the time to write his first book, his boss thought he was faking the injury simply to write. Jordan was upset because his bosses boss believed that, and put in a resignation with 2 weeks notice. Upset that he was leaving, his boss asked him to stay, mentioning that he was needed on current projects. Jordan had cleaned up his desk and finished those however. The boss mentioned that he was needed on future projects. Jordan mentioned that he had submitted his resignation. The boss mentioned that if he quit Jordan would never be able to work in the government again. Jordan asked if he could have that in writing.
He says his wife disbelieves this ever happened, but Jordan swears its true!
Jordan answered any spoilers about the story pretty much as follows. First question where this occured is below:
Q. What about Jain Farstrider? Will we see him again?
J. If, by the end of the last page of the last book you haven't read any more about him, then I guess there was nothing more to say.
He mentioned that he isn't going to offer any windows into the story other than the text. If its not readily apparent, then he isn't going to illuminate it further. Thus no mind shattering revelations about the plot here!
A few statements by Jordan:
He mentioned height of all the characters. Erica wrote those down. Basically repeated PNH's account of why colors of cover are always different.
The Old Tongue is a mix of Gaelic, Russian, Spanish, Japaneese. A lot of different sources that are not traditionally used to make up fake languages. He has only a few phrases and a few small guides on usage written down.
All the female characters are based on his wife. I asked if she pulls her hair, and Jordan responded: "She pulls mine"
Erica asked the title of the next book. Jordan doesn't know yet. He is still writing it. I asked how far along he is. Jordan said he didn't really know, as he is constantly writing and cutting parts. He writes from the beginning of the story to the end, and then cuts and edits large chunks, pulling together threads. He doesn't even think about a working title, but lets the story determine it.
He says there will be at least 3 more books, maybe 4.
Jordan knows the very last part of the final book, but doesn't know how long it will be till he'll put it in.
One humorous story mentions the quote saying he will continue writing until the day the nails are put into his coffin. One elderly lady apparently told him that she was a lot closer to that than he was so he had better hurry up.
Jordan knows about the internet groups, and even mentioned the recent split of the rawsfr-j from its parent group and said that is happening on a lot of other computer boards.
Jordan quoted the FAQ! Erica said the relevant part was from Novak, about Bela being a darkfriend and attending the social. "The cloakedfigure of indeterminate sex."
Erica asked Jordan about Shannon Faulkner (sp?), the female attempting to get into the Citadel. Jordan immediately said "She's a liar" and explained how she misrepresented herself on her application. The Citadel has an honor code that views lying as a very serious offense. He thinks the military is one role where men are physically more able to do the job, and if one can't meet the same requirements then they shouldn't be accepted. He frowned on the practice of West Point no longer having women march in combat boots. He mentioned that in Vietnam he had to run for 20 some miles, and if he hadn't been able to make it he wouldn't be here today. He says some fields though women would naturally replace men if tradition didn't keep men involved, such as law.
On why the combat scenes are not more involved: Because in combat things never really are clear. Also they are not really important.
Well, thats all I can really think of at the moment... I'm sure Erica will have some to say too, or more details on the above. I'll add more after tommorrow's signing at Oxford Books!
May the wheel keep turning!
Second post on the Atlanta (Science Fiction and Mystery bookstore) signing, 17 October 1994:
After a day to think about the signing again, and think about things to ask today, I realized I forgot a few things...
- Jordan confirmed that this book is really much as people have said, the first part of a two part story. (So what is a two book series in a nine book series called? Of course since he also said he hasn't finished the next book, or even really knows how far along he is, this may or may not be true.)
- Jordan detailed Tam's history... but basically said the same things that were said about him to Rand.
- Jordan was a nuclear engineer for the Army, doing work on submarines. (Army working on Naval craft?) From there he entered government service of some sort, and when he hurt his knee started writting. (See previous post on details)
- There were some really interesting collectors items to be signed. One ex-Tor representative (Who says he remembers you Patrick) had Advanced Reading Copies from the Eye of the World. tEotW and tGH's advance copies were both nicely bound with cover art on them. From the Dragon Reborn on they are bound in yellow or red construction paper. The first 3 advance copies seem to be single spaced single volumes. I don't know about the others, but Lord of Chaos' advance bound copy was double spaced and in two volumes. Another fellow had a large fold out map that was included in one of the Advance Copies. It was black and white, and Jordan said it is an early copy from which the modern maps were made. I noticed attractive drawings of several places along the border. One I think was Tar Valon.
- The recent freebie first half of The Eye of the World was the impetus that got his elder brother to read the books. Apparently his older brother doesn't read much fantasy, and hadn't read any of Jordans books until he saw the freebie in the store and picked it up.
- Jordan reads voraciously, a book a night. He says if he sat down for an evenings reading he could probably put away 2 books the size of LoC easily. When tested in grade school he was sent to the principle because the teachers were sure he had cheated. No one could read as fast as he did with as much comprehension as he had at that age. Jordan recalls that being called to the principle didn't upset him as much as not being apologized to afterward. Apparently the library where he grew up restricted children under 12 to the kids department. This rankled the young Jordan, who read all he wanted to from that department in two days. He thus swiped books from tables and sat in a corner to read them. His main supply of literature as a kid was through his older brother. (10 years older)
- Jordan uses a 486 running at 66 MHz with lots of bells and whistles to write.
- Jordan doesn't like his first book, but is scared to throw it away because he thinks his luck might be tied to it. He detailed how he sent it to a publisher and it was accepted. When he asked for a few minor changes be made to his contract, they sent a letter dropping him. Since he now knew he could right, he set about doing so...
- There was one ominous hint that Robert Jordan is going to pull a Tom Sawyer and watch his own funeral. Since we know that Jordan is only a pen name, this is entirely possible.
- Robert Jordan won't ever write about these characters again once the series is complete. He may write a series based on the NEXT age though.
Well, thats all I can remember for now... Maybe this will get my name in the FAQ. :-)
Daniel L. Rouk
Third post on the Atlanta (Science Fiction and Mystery bookstore) signing, 17 October 1994:
When at the first signing in Atlanta (The first of the tour) I said to Jordan when he had finished signing my books "Don't kill yourself on this tour, it looks like a pretty hectic schedule." He responded that he would be working just as hard doing something else if the tour hadn't happened. Now that the signings have been proceeding for a couple of weeks, can someone ask if he still feels as if they are as easy as his normal workday? Also, has anyone had anything really nifty signed in their books? I asked to have "Peace favor your sword" signed, so he did. Erica had a "Tai'shar Georgia Tech" signed. Anybody else have any memorable comments, phrases? Daniel L. Rouk
Fourth post on the Atlanta (Science Fiction and Mystery bookstore) signing, 17 October 1994:
>Excerpts from netnews.rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan: 30-Oct-94 The >Red Ajah (Minor LoC Spo.. by Jared S. Sa...@minerva.c >> Is RJ trying to insinuate that the Red Ajah is made up of lesbians? Someone (Erica?) asked this question at the first Atlanta Signing. Jordan said that he doesn't know how this idea caught on. The Red Ajah does have women who hate men, but not all do. He went on to say that its a bad logical jump to say that just because a woman hates men means that she is a lesbian. He then went on to say that he had a lesbian friend and they went out together looking for women and made a good team that way. (Erica, do you remember when this was? I have an idea that he ment over in Vietnam) My impression is that RJ is not in the slightest bigotted about lesbians. He does have theories about female vs male roles in the army though, but that is a different topic. Daniel L. Rouk