Scifi.com Chat - November 1, 1998Edit
'Moderator:' Robert! Can you type???? Hmmmmm...Lemme try that again.
RobertJordan: Hi there!
Moderator: Okay! Showtime! Hi everyone and welcome to SCIFI.CON 3.0, the Sci-Fi Channel's third annual online science fiction convention, where we're bringing you our third consecutive day of chats, panels, games, streaming media, charity auctions, exhibits and a whole lot more.
Our guest this hour is ROBERT JORDAN whose recently released THE PATH OF DAGGERS is Book Eight of his epic cycle, "The Wheel of Time." Robert Jordan may well be the most popular author on the Internet with dozens of fan-run web sites and his own offical Usenet newsgroup - rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan.
Welcome, Robert! We're thrilled to have you with us here. Why do you think "The Wheel of Time" series has struck such a chord with fantasy readers? Do you have any speculations about its amazing popularity?
RobertJordan: No, I don't really. I write stories...I try to write stories about real people. I'm really glad the books are popular.
Moderator: Lemme know when you're ready for the next by typing "next" or "ga" Robt!
Erica: Is Tai'Daishar the foal of Daishar? Could someone bond Bela?...pause....Why? Any chance that Bela will foal during the series? Exactly how old is Bela supposed to be?
RobertJordan: But, I don't really have any clue why they're so popular, except possibly the fantasy element. I think that we have a real need for fantasy as human beings. Actually Terry Pratchett says it quite clearly. He says that by believing in things that don't exist, we set ourselves up to believe in other things that don't exist such as justice and mercy.
RobertJordan: (RobertJordan laughs) No...nobody could bond Bela. And for the rest of it, read and find out.
Kayleigh: Who is your greatest inspiration?? your greatest influence?
RobertJordan: I really hav to list five authors I believe are the greatest influence on me. Louis L'Amour...Jane Austen...John D. MacDonald...Charles Dickens...and Mark Twain.
Ranny: I don't think this'll come up at all in the series, so hopefully it won't be a RAFO. ;) Just how 'organized' is the institution of blademastery, if we can call it that? I believe you hinted before that there's more to blademastery than beating a blademaster and taking his sword. And, how many blademasters do you imagine exist in Randland at the time of the books? Just how rare is it?
RobertJordan: First off...raaity. Fewer than 100 men in the nations that are spoken of in the book. It is a semi-formal thing that is normally one is chosen to become a blademaster by other blademasters. There's no real organization. IF you want to become a blademaster, you have to find other blademasters who are willing to acknowledge you as an equal.
Gangorn: Why have you changed your writing style for the past two books?
RobertJordan: I haven't. The last two books are more concentrated in time than the previous books, but since the first book, there has been a narrowing of the time frame. So that by A Crown Of Swords, the book covered only about eleven days and we're now beginning to widen out again.
DrewOfWotism: don't I am curious to find out why there are no male Dreamwalkers mentioned sinse acording to the Wise ones it is not conected to the OP
RobertJordan: Simply because it's a talent that appears very rarely among men. The wise ones are doubtful that there actually can be a male dreamwalker.
Linda: We see a lot of characters making estimates about how strong such and such a channeler is or will be, but when we're talking about so far unfullfilled potentiel, how accurately can it be judged? Especially if the channeler making the judgement doesn't know how much training the channeler being judged previously has had?
RobertJordan: (continuing) One of the themes of the book is that no one knows everything there is to know. Another is that just because you believe something to be true, doesn't mean that it is true.
Someone can judge a current strength. This differs between men and women. A woman that can channel can very accurate judgement of another woman's strength whether she is channeling or not if she is standing close enough.
Moderator: Ready for the next question?
RobertJordan: Among Aes Sedai at least, knowledge of potential strength, especially if it is thought to be a great strength, becomes very wide spread. Among men the circumstances are different. A man who can channel cannot judge the strength of another unless the other is channeling the One Power of holding the One Power, and even then all he can judge is how much of the One Power the other man is holding. He can't say how much he can hold. There are great differences between men and women in the One Power.
Nick: How long does it take you to write a full-length novel?
RobertJordan: The Eye of The World took four years. The next five took fourteen or fifteen months each. A Crown of Swords took 22 months. The Path of Daggers took a little less than that, but during that book I wrote "New Spring" for the Legends anthology. And I also did a lot of work on a title coming up: The Illustrated Guide.
steves55: Mr. Jordan, do you outline your books before you begin writing them?
RobertJordan: Yes, and no. At the beginning of a book, I make a list of the major events that that book will cover. I've known from the beginning all the events I wanted to cover and the last scene of the last book in detail. I could have written that one fifteen years ago. I know exactly where I'm going, you see./ The list that I make always has to be pared down though, because I always believe i can fit more into a novel than I can find room to fit.
Moderator: I'm curious about yr writing methods - do you write for a set number of hours every day? Morning or night? Do you prefer a computer or do you write long-hand on yellow legal pads? Enquiring minds want to know!
RobertJordan: I most definitely write on a cmputer. I upgrade it about every 18 months. At the moment I'm using a Pentium 266 MMX with 32 MB ram and a 10G hard drive. I'll upgrade that in another six months. My writing day goes as follows: After breakfast I answer the phone calls and letters that I have to answer from yesterday. Then I start writing. I seldom stop for lunch and I stop about six or seven at night. That's seven days a week. Occasionally I take a day off to go fishing.
Nick: What were some of the jobs that you did before you were a writer
RobertJordan: Not really a lot... I was a nuclear engineer and I was in the US Army before that. Then I became a writer.
tMfG: You once said that all the info needed for solving Asmo was there by the end of tFoH. Does this eliminate a Gholam from being a suspect? It's generally believed that a gholam was responsible for the murder of Lord Barthanes in TGH and the two black sisters in TSR, but I don't think it mentions a name.
RobertJordan: Read and find out. Read And Find Out.
Drollick: I liked the Conan book you did. On your listed mention of authors who most influenced you, you did not list Robert E. Howard. Is there a reason?
RobertJordan: He didn't influence me, that's why. I enjoyed reading the stories when I was a boy and I enjoyed writing the Conan novels, but Howard was never an influence on my style.
Rothaar: The general consensus seems to be that the Bowl of Winds caused the weirdness in the power around Ebou Dar. Do we know enough at this time to determine the true cause or do we have to RAFO more info?
RobertJordan: I think you know enough by this point. It is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer. I always hated it when my math professors said that.
Moderator <Call>: what's his fav sci-fi movie?
RobertJordan: Actually...I think I have to go all the way back to Forbidden Planet. My favorite fantasy movie would have to be Excalibur. There are a lot of good science fiction movies out there, from Bladerunner to The Day The Earth Stood Still to The Terminator, but nothing can touch Excalibur.
ilrudy: do you see a movie coming in the future? From your books, I bet ilrudy means.
RobertJordan: Not unless someone wants to make an 18 hour film. That's how long any one of these books would take, I believe.
Moderator: A miniseries?
RobertJordan: and no one is doing miniseries any more. Of course, "New Spring" has just been released but no one has come sniffing around yet. Boorman would be the guy...
Strider71: What do you think of the parallels drawn between you and Tolkien?
RobertJordan: I assume the questioner means the parallels drawn by David Rothstein of the NYT. I find them interesting...I was not aware there were quite so many.
Neptune: Has anyone asked how many books he expects the series to go to? If not, how many?
RobertJordan: I am only asked that question by about 300 people a day. The answer is that there will be at least 3 more books. At least. As I said earlier, I know everything that I want to happen and I have known the last scene of the last book for fifteen years. I also know that I cannot get everything that I want to happen into less than three more books. So that's where we stand at the moment.
Moderator: For late comers, our guest is ROBERT JORDAN and you can ask him a question if you like! Just send it to me, Moderator, as a private message! I'm curious, Robert... I know you're on tour and deluged with fans asking LOTS of questions. What's a question you'd really like to answer that no one's asked?
RobertJordan: I don't think there is a question that no one's asked. Including the most personal and intimate that you can imagine. Somebody will always ask anything.
Moderator: That's a CHALLENGE to us at SCIFI.CON! As k Robert something utterly challenging and unique, 'kay?
Rothaar: When Rand takes Verin and the others through a portal stone in <The Great Hunt>, at the end of each life he heres "I have won again Lews Therin". I thought that if the DO won even once the wheel would be broken and therfore the Dragon would not be reborn again. How could the DO have won before to be able to say "again"?
RobertJordan: There are degrees of victory. The Dark One can acheive victory by breaking free, but can also acheive lesser victories. Such as by stopping the Dragon Reborn from doing other things he was born to do. It isn't as simple as him being born to fight The Dark One. It's never simple.
TGofWotism: Will there be a Wheel of Time Role Playing Game?
RobertJordan: There is a computer game coming from Legend Entertainment to be released next spring. I am told it was the absolute hit of the #e show this past summer. (E3)
Moderator: Ready for the next question?
RobertJordan: And if I can believe the things that various computer gaming magazines said, it will be one of the best or perhaps even the best game to be released in years.
Joni: You mention different accents, like the Taraboner and Murandian, as well as the slurred speech of the Seanchan. Are any of these accents and dialects at all comparable to those in this world, and if so, which ones sound like which?
RobertJordan: To some degree, some of them are like accents from this world. It would be a bit much to go into here to discuss which ones are like which. Let your mind go free.
dancer: I'm impressed by the scene details, especially the towns, what were your best research resources
RobertJordan: Too many to go into...forty odd years of reading and studying and traveling... really, too many to go into.
Joni: Mr. Jordan, what advice would you give to a young and aspiring writer? And are these just rumors I hear that you might come to Portland, Oregon soon for a signing?
RobertJordan: I was in Portland Oregon several days ago for a signing. My advice to a writer is to write; write and send it to paying markets.
Psilink: is it possible to pass a warder or any bond to a non channeler. Or even a latent channeler?
RobertJordan: Read And Find Out. I have grown so used to that answer, that when my wife asks me if I want to go out for dinner this evening, I sometimes say "Read and find out." That's usually when she hits me.
Moderator: Here's a longish question from Linda that somehow fell in between the cracks... Part One from Linda: Since the ability to channel seems to be primarily linked to the soul, if a Channeler is gentled/stilled, will this affect his/hers soul in a follow life as well, as in, will the ability to Channel still be lost? Did THAT come through??
Moderator: Hmmmmm.. Linda, I TRIED
tag: Aside from pictures, what will be the differences between the Illustrated Guide and "The World of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time?"
RobertJordan: (that was the answer...the answer is no)
Moderator: Oh!! Duh!
RobertJordan: That is the same thing. The Illustrated Guide to the World of Robert Jordan's Wheel Of Time is the full title.
Neptune: I think Linda is asking if the soul is immortal in Jordan's world.
Moderator: So...is it??
RobertJordan: Yes, the sould is immortal.
Drollick: Is there anyway we can contact you Mr. Jordan? Do you have an email address or website we can go to? Can we contact you through your publishing house?
RobertJordan: Write to me or email me at my publishing house. I don't reply by email though, so you'll have to give me a snail mail address and wait.
Moderator: That's TOR Books 175 Fifth Ave NYC 10010
Silent: Do you tend to edit your writing often or is your preference to not even look at it again once it is written?
RobertJordan: I rewrite constantly while I am writing the book. For example, the prologue of The Path of Daggers had fifteen to eighteen rewrites...I don't remember, because i constantly change things as I go along. But towards the end there are fewer rewrites, so the last chapters may have only three or four or five each. When I have finished the book, I go through it one last time and then I cut off, because I realize that I could constantly improve each book.
Moderator: Robert - I want to thank you SO MUCH for joining nus here today. And to everyone in the audience - great questions! if your question was not answered while you were HERE, it may be because Robert answered it before you got here. So check out that transcript! And all of you with Robert Jordan sites - : you WILL want to link to it!!
RobertJordan: So long guys...
Moderator: Thanks Robert!
RobertJordan: Thanks for coming. It's been great talking to you.
Moderator: The transcript WILL be posted shortly! Great talking to YOU. Thanks so much for joining us. And thanks to our great audience too! Wonderful questions!