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Lord of Chaos signing tour, New York CIty 20 October 1994 - report by Delemin (TISB)
My dear fellow rasfwrjians, as (to the best of my knowledge) the only one of us to attend the signing at Science Fiction, Mysteries, and More on Thursday, I feel obliged to report what Jordan said there, and my impressions.
Robert Jordan was stockier, shorter, and better cushioned than I expected. He wore a wide brimmed hat and walked with a cane with a rams horn like handle. Generally he was open and friendly. When he came in late he explained that it was because Princess Di was in New York to meet Bill Clinton to discuss Vince Foster's suicide.
However he made repeated references to being worn out and overworked by LoC. "If I work that hard on this one I'll die." he commented several times. Apparently he worked 12-14 hours a day, 7 days a week. In August (he usually finishes in May) the folks at Tor sequestered him in a hotel in New York City, where he finished the books in two weeks. He said he would try to get the book out on time but he figured we would rather have him finish a book late than finish his life early.
When a latecomer asked when he intended to "pop out next one", Jordan responded by telling him that he once sat at a table with G. Gordon Liddy, who explained how to kill someone with chopsticks. Having found this fascinating dinner conversation, Jordan was willing to bet he could reproduce the effect with a pen.
Not only did he decline to set the number of future WoT books, but he denied ever setting a number and says he never planned it to be only a
trilogy. But he seemed to indicate he was planning 9-10 Books total. When faced with the prospect of about 12 books, his wife threatened to divorce him and his editor began to make jokes about the Irish Mafia. (Apparently they don't break your kneecaps, they take out your anklebones, "It must be a cultural thing" said Jordan.)
He kept open the possibility of doing a book set in the Fourth Age after the events of WoT had become myth, but refused to do a prequel or sequel. When asked about doing a series on the AoL, he said that before the bore the AoL was too dull, and by the end of WoT we will know enough about the AoL after the bore that a book about it would have nothing new.
After WoT, Jordan will work on a book tentatively called "Shipwreck". As mentioned by previous posters, it is about people from a mix of Elizabethan England and Renaissance Italy, coming to a "Seanchanlike" land. At the signing he expanding on this, saying the homeland had no countries larger than England, but a unified Church with a Father, a Mother, and a Daughter and intercessor for humanity. Heretics from the South, who claim the Daughter had a human parent, are tolerated. In "Pseudo-Seanchan" there are several large empires but the religion is fragmented. (This sounds like a scene from David Eddings' Tamuli" series, where one character notes that the West has one Church and many countries, but the east has one country and many churches. That plus "Heretics from the South". Hmm.)
Jordan discussed several spin-offs from the books. He mentioned an "Illustrated Guide the Wheel of Time" (like the one they did for Pern). When asked about Role Playing Games he said he was in contact with Wizards of the Coast (makers of the popular Magic card game. Are we in for Daes Dae'mar : the Deckmaster Game of Games), and he was approached with an offer for an AD&D module (this raises interesting questions. The term "module" has been replaced by "adventure" and "supplement". Did Jordan dabble in RPGs ten years ago and preserve obsolete terms, or was he approached by an old time TSR rep who lapsed into the "old tongue". Also, was the word used to mean an adventure (the most common use of module) or a full world like Darksun or Forgotten Realms.
Jordan said he didn't give Randland a name because he always found it unrealistic for a fantasy world to have a name. After all, we don't have a real name for our world. He also said he always left something unresolved at the end of each book. he says we never have everything wrapped up in our lives, so why should his characters? He considered leaving a hook at the end of the last book and never resolving it. : - < > (screaming in anguish)
He Expressed several views about various translations of WoT. He heard the Swedish translation was very good, and the Dutch translators had an extensive correspondence with him. He said the only translation he read was the beginning of the German translation, but he hated the covers, he mentioned one as featuring a rear view woman, wearing only a strand of pearls, raising her hand to stop a band of armored horsemen. His favorite covers were on the Spanish editions.
Jordan also mentioned a few things about himself. He planned to go to West Point and have a military career, but his eyesight wasn't good enough, so he went to the Citadel and served a single term in the military. When he started writing he imagined living on the French River, working 2-3 hours in the morning, and spending the day on the beach with _a blond, a brunette, and a redhead. _ Sound familiar?
He sees some correlation between Randland's "magic" (a term he frowns on) and quantum physics, but he says it is not deliberate. He disbelieves 95-99 % of modern physics but says it will be 50 years before it is put in the same file as phlogiston.
He writes on a PC but has some files on an Apple III.
He writes Elizabethan sonnets to his wife but will not publish them.
Someone in the audience supported him in this quoting Heinlan that "a poet who reads his work in public may have other nasty habits." Jordan said he never reads any of his work.
He encouraged young writers to write and send out things continuously not to be discouraged by rejections, and to change something only when three editors suggest it.
All this is from memory, I can make no guaranties of the accuracy of this stuff.