Sunday, August 30, 2009

the first step is admitting you have a problem.


Hi, my name is Moonrat, and I am addicted to The Wheel of Time.

I had racked up a good 12 years of Wheel of Time sobriety--minus a mini-relapse in 2003, when I confess I reread books 1 and 2 but stopped myself there. But I'm afraid I've fallen off the bandwagon, good and hard this time.

Furthermore, my home environment is not conducive to recovery from this dreadful disease. My entire nuclear family, minus Momrat (who sniffs contemptuously at all things epic fantasy), is reading or rereading it with me. Right now, it's a competition of who gets to Book 4 (The Shadow Rising, obvi) first. And I am sorely behind, as I am the only one who doesn't own book 2! No more waiting for my brother or sister to finish--I must get my own copy and plow ahead!!

Now here's the thing about reading, in general. I read a lot (maybe you guessed?). And I've always felt I derived great cerebral pleasure from reading high-minded books I could brag about later, hoity-toity inaccessible classics and literary masterpieces that the New Yorker writes about. Or whatever.

But. BUT. The Wheel of Time is not like that (and this is something I'd forgotten in the last 12 years). The Wheel of Time is something I'm literally dying to read, desperate to read, sitting all day at my desk editing furiously so the time between now and 6:30 pm might come sooner! So that I can scurry home and flop on my bed and read until midnight, then wake up at 6:30 the next morning and squeeze in another two hours of reading before I have to leave for work! (Bathing be damned!)

Oh, the tragedy, the passion, the human drama! With the magic and the wars and yeah, some occasional crappy writing, but for the most part nothing so bad I can't turn off the inner editor saying, "Eek, maybe you should strike this para?" I am SUBMERGED. Nothing else matters anymore; nothing!

I know I'm not alone. This is a friendly forum here--you can trust and come forward. (Haters of WoT will be lovingly mocked, as you have lovingly mocked us in the past!)

72 comments:

Stuart Neville said...

Fantasy isn't my mug of Tetley's, so I haven't read any of the WofT books. I believe Brandon Sanderson, the writer who's completing the last book for the late Mr. Jordan, is going to be at Mile Hi Con in Denver in October, which I'll be attending. On the occasions I've met my excellent agent Nat, I've discussed those clients of his that I admire, such as Ellroy and the late FX Toole, but we've never chatted about Robert Jordan. I must ask about him next time I see Nat.

Did you know there's a movie in the works?

David said...

I'm not a mocker, but I did try to get into the series and failed.

It's not the subject matter. I love that type of fiction, and I've made stabs at writing it myself. Jordan's writing style just wasn't for me.

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

My brother has tried for years to get me to read this series. I just never had the interest. Maybe I should be rethinking that...except I did just give away my copy of book 1. Hmmm...

iasa said...

I have the first three books in the series, but have yet to read them because they're heavy. Maybe I would be motivated if i had paperback copies.

dark_opus said...

Count me in... for the long haul. I've given up calling this an addiction. It's an investment, with an incredibly long time to realize ROI. When the bad news came about James Rigney (a.k.a. RJ), my wife, who's been waiting forever for Jean Auel's payoff on the Earth's Children series, gloated triumphantly. I remain humbled with my fingers crossed that Mr. Sanderson is going to pull an Amyrlin rabbit out of his borrowed gleeman's cloak.

writtenwyrdd said...

I know what you mean. when I enjoy a series, though, I have to reread EVERY book preceding the new one before I can go on. That way I get to savor the delicious goodness that is whatever the series is I'm all in love with and rereading.

For Wheel of Time, though, I managed to do this up through the eighth book and my enthusiasm petered out. I beleive there are eleven and I have yet to read the last three. I got partway through the 9th, though, several years back.

Moira Rogers - Bree said...

My addiction started at fourteen. Our high school library had just one copy of each book, and my parents were never very keen on my addiction to fantasy novels--I was supposed to be reading hoity toity literary stuff. Or studying for math.

It was a race, you see. Me, my friend, and our history teacher all started at the same time. We'd fight over the books so eventually we started buying copies when we were all on the same book and rushing to get ahead so we could snatch up the next one. I remember my friend bought me the fifth one for Christmas one year as a gesture of goodwill.

(Then he told me Lan died at the end just to break my heart. Liar.)

I went on hiatus somewhere around book 10 or 11...so many plotlines, and man, all I wanted to know was if Egwene was going to make it to the White Tower! I told myself I'd start my epic reread when the books were done. I've been considering doing it sooner, though, because it really is like the best fantasy drug ever.

Lindsey Carmichael said...

I work at a bookstore and we frequently get questions about when the last book is coming out. There's going to be a fair amount of rage when customers discover Memory of Light is being split into three volumes that will not be published simultaneously. Personally, I stopped around book 8 and decided to wait for the end of the series to read the whole thing in one go. 2011 is a long ways away, but there's no shortage of things to read 'til then.

SM Schmidt said...

It it okay and does not say anything about a fellow devourer of all things fantasy and thick...if I've never heard about this author nor this series before?

Charles Gramlich said...

My wife was hooked on the series although I think she finally broke away. I had pretty much ignored them, but now you, wicked that you are, hold out the tempting fruit! Your addiction is duly noted.

Lydia Sharp said...

I'm not a hater because I haven't read any of it yet. I'd only recently just heard of it from a co-worker who highly recommended the series as a whole. (I'm really not a hermit, honest. stop laughing.)

Bathing be damned! lol. A friend of mine had a similar sentiment while reading the Twilight series (which, ironically, I also have yet to read). She said someone needed to come up with a way to read a book while showering without ruining the publication.

I thought she was crazy at first, but now I'm thinking that's not a bad idea. Who's going to invent the first bath-reader?

Janet Reid said...

What the heck is Wheel of Time? Is it like matchbox cars crossed with Timex?

Feel free to throw sushi at me in reprisal.

Daniel said...

Oh WoT... how do I love/hate thee?

Seriously, I think I have been ingesting those books for about 15 years now. I have read the entire series 3 times, and I have read the first book many more times than that (I think it's the most well-written).

Now I am no longer antsy for the last...THREE?!... to come out, but I will read them when they do. Do you hear me Martin? Rothfuss? There is a time when I may lose my dogmatic adoration!! Be warned...

Sarah Laurenson said...

Have not tried this one - yet. No time to get started on it either. Maybe after I'm published and raking in the millions, or I get laid off, whichever comes first.

arbyn said...

Just this week I admitted my WoT addiction to my new man. It was a risky move but turns out he holds an appreciation for the series as well--a lucky stroke.

I'm afraid to read WoT again because I'm nervous there will never be a final book and I'll starve to death hungering for a finish.

But now I see (@ Lindsay Carmichael--thanks for sharing!) there is a plan so I feel justified re-reading the series so I can remember all the fantastical details before new books arrive.

jjdebenedictis said...

I've never read it.

This is because I get very tetchy about reading series that haven't finished yet, and everyone always made jokes about the WoT never being finished.

Now it will be; perhaps I can finally allow myself to become addicted.

Rachel said...

@Janet Reid

I know I sound like a big jerk in saying this, but how can you not know the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan? They are door stop best sellers since the early 1990s.

I've literally been reading the series when it first came out in 1990. Why yes, I have been waiting on this series for almost two decades. I've gone from being a 7th grader to 32 year old. ;-)

I remember as a teenager reading/lurking on Usenet group rec.arts.sf.written and seeing the various flame wars because RASFW didn't like all the threads about RJ. I remember the big bruhaha over the RJ fans splitting off into Usenet group rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan. I read the updated FAQ religiously each time the books came out. The "latest" one is at:

http://www.steelypips.org/wotfaq/0_admin/0.01_intro.html

I was so excited when I got to see RJ at a book signing over a decade ago. I even got to ask him a non-FAQ question about Suian Sanche (my favorite character in the series) where he did his usual Read And Find Out response.

While I haven't been wild about the last 3 or 4 books, I will continue to be a lemming and read the series until the very end.

Kim Kasch said...

Maybe I've been living in a cave - but I've never heard of WOT - now - WOW, yeah, shore thang but WOT . . .

World of Warcraft I know all about. So, where have I been . . . encased in all that is vampiric or zombified-I guess. 'Cuz for this one soccer Mom who's kids are nearly all college graduated I love all that is POE/King/and even Meyer-nothing wrong with a little romance along with your horror, right?

rosepddle said...

Should I hang my head in shame because I've never heard of these books? Well, I'll do it anyway, but I'm going to my library and see if they have it or can order it...or I'll check out book one one Amazon so thanks for another read to be excited about.

Pamala Knight said...

Whee!! I love it when I find fellow addicts!!!

Does the RM swing by and give you the fish eye when you're ignoring the laundry, cooking, children, housewifery, etc. by reading WoT?? I was so psyched when I read that Brandon Sanderson was going to finish the series. In the meantime and in an effort to stem the tears while waiting on the last of WoT (and The Wise Man's Fear), I've re-read Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy and fallen in love with FitzChivalry all over again.

Robert W. Leonard said...

I saw the map and knew what was coming! I love the Wheel of Time more than any series out there. It's the characters that are so addicting. Did you get a chance to read Jason's (owner of dragonmount.com) review? http://www.dragonmount.com/News/?p=585

Ah I can't wait. I have it pre-ordered from Amazon. My wife and I are still arguing over first-dibs. Maybe I should have bought two. :)

I've read all of Sanderson's work, except for his newest, and absolutely think he will do a great job.

Marie Lu said...

I fizzled at Book 6, but seriously Books 1-5 will always have a dear, dear place in my heart. Book 4 = epic SUCCESS. My favorite. I heart it greatly. <3

Colleen said...

I started reading in grade school, and made it through to #8 and then had to give it up. I just felt like the darn thing would never end and so I gave away my copies and put it firmly out of my mind...

onefinemess said...

Guilty. So close to AMoL...

Steena Holmes said...

Boy this is a hard thing to do ;) Ok ... here goes ... hello, my name is Steena and I'm addicted to the Wheel of Time series. I do confess to having read ALL the book and I actually do have ALL the books. When I read, I completely become engulfed, forgetting dinner, my family and even losing track of time (and paying for it the next day at work).

It's an addiction I refuse to give up however :)

terri said...

I filled my lifetime series quota with The Dark Tower saga. However, as that took 20+ years to see through to fruition, I fully understand your obsession. In fact, I applaud it!

Terri

Briony said...

I had never heard of these books before about six months ago - someone I used to work with raved about them.

Perhaps I should investigate?

The Rejectionist said...

Godd*mmit! Just when we were about to commence our Fall of Intellectual-Only For Reals NO FANTASY NOVELS Reading you have to go and remind us we haven't reread the entire series in at least two years! Augh!

Jade said...

Guilty! I love TWOT! It consumed most of 2006 and some of 2007 and I think may be the reason I thought I'd have a stab at epic fantasy, which was an epic fail. I don't have the patience to recreate generations of history, geography etc.

My favourite character is Mat. Rand and Perrin really started to shit me. I know Rand is the dragon reborn but does he need such an ego?

Also, I found that I needed a some sort of TWOT companion because a charater would disappear for a book and a half and then reappear and I would be like "who is this again?"

JM Diaz said...

It seems painfully obvious to me, that after all this time, I need to pick up an addiction. Now, now, I know that perhaps I should get a hobby or something, but what good is a hobby if its not going to pull at that obsessive nature built into most of us. It seems as though wheel of time may be it after all, I'll try it... perhaps I won't inhale.. not at first.

moonrat said...

dark opus--heehee, amyrlin's rabbit, gleeman's cloak

moonrat said...

writtenwyrdd--that's exactly how far i've gotten in the past (petered out at 8). i have a feeling, though, that now that the others are coming out i'll be able to power through. i heard a rumor that it really picks up toward the end... although (alas) i've also heard a lot of "hints" about things i wish i didn't know were going to happen!!

moonrat said...

Charles--my main purpose in life is, actually, to drive you crazy. You, personally. Hadn't I mentioned that? ;) I wonder how far Lana made it?

moonrat said...

Steena--you're among friends here. Thank you for trusting us with your qualification ;)

Now, which character do you most identify with?

moonrat said...

Jade, Rejectionist--what about you guys? which characters?

moonrat said...

Oh, also, Jade--have you checked out tarvalon.net? I've been going there since, well, before there was much of an internet. hahaha. fantasy geeks revolutionized social networking, you know :)

moonrat said...

Pamala--actually, since you mention it, the RM feels VERY neglected lately and is making mutinous noises about the whole series (which obviously he hasn't read, or he'd just shut up already). It didn't help that this weekend my entire family took a fieldtrip to Borders together (with him) and bought a whole load of more copies because ours were falling apart. At dinner last night, we did a "how many books are on your person?" tally, and the answer was 11 total (that's for, erm, 7 people, three of whom had no books...).

moonrat said...

Stuart--obviously, I'm rereading in hopes of being really fresh when I go in for an audition for said movie.

Kidding.

Well... No, let's just leave it there.

But, should you meet Brandon Sanderson, tell him he is welcome to do an interview on my blog ANY TIME. And that I'm SO excited that he's writing the ending!! And generally other effusive things of that nature!!!!!!!!

moonrat said...

so Moira--who do YOU most identify with?

moonrat said...

Daniel--there does seem to be a lot of "can't get that last book out-ism" going on these days. My dad, who is not as loyal to this one series as I, is being simultaneously frustrated by SEVERAL dangling series! Why, authors, why do you do this to us?! (Although sometimes I think the anticipation is as much fun as the reading. My life has really amounted to nothing, for example, since I haven't had a new Harry Potter to wait for.)

moonrat said...

Arbyn--once sustained a relationship with a boy for 11 months on little more than a common appreciation of Robert Jordan. Turned out he was a bit of a bandicoot otherwise. But 11 months!!! Not bad, all things considered.

moonrat said...

Rachel--Suian!! she's awesome! I love the scene where she dances in the tavern!!

moonrat said...

Marie Lu--book 4 is my favorite, too. I LOVE Rhuidian--I think the whole sequence is just so amazing. Gah. Chills. I have two more books to re-read before I get there again!

moonrat said...

Listen, all those of you who "haven't heard of it" but are "thinking of checking it out"--

I could never knowingly drag you into something like this.

But listen, if for some reason BESIDES me you HAPPEN to fall head first down this particular rabbit hole, just remember you always have somewhere friendly to come for solace...

Daniel said...

I agree... the carrot is fun, even if it hurts a little at the same time. The other side of this is: As an aspiring author and an already-professional illustrator, I know what it means to be a perfectionist. I would rather said authors' next books be just as good as their previous ones, even if it means waiting a long time. Because, seriously, there are plenty of other books to read in the mean time.

David said...

Wow! This is like stepping into some strange, alien world!

Or at least into a group at a party who are discussing people one doesn't know. "I loved her dress! Especially when she was dancing on the table at the tavern! But she should ditch that bandicoot."

Mim said...

I too have a problem. I read in junior high and high school, but made myself put the whole series on hold until it was finished. (I have to reread every book in the series before starting a new one)

Unfortunately my husband had heard me talk about the wonderful series and got me the first two books for my birthday two years ago. He has regretted that greatly.

Now I'm just waiting for the end, and then I will disappear for a month or two so I can read the entire thing. I may wait until my kids are all in school though. That way I won't feel as guilty for reading!

Snarky Writer said...

My husband is a WoT-oholic. I've read the first one and about half of the second one, but got so annoyed with Rand that I quit reading. I plan to try again when ALL of the books are out so there won't be agonizingly long waits in between them during which I completely forget what happened in the last book.

arbyn said...

Eleven months huh? Impressive! We'll see how I do ;)

Di Francis said...

I was never able to get into it before. But you certainly make me want to try again.

moonrat said...

David--you're totally welcome to JOIN the party, you know ;)

Mim--a "month or two"--lucky you. I read every minute of every day (we're talkin', realistically, like 3-4 hours a day at least) for 10 days to finish book 1! for the, erm, maybe 7th time. but hey! i guess being a slow reader means it's proportionately MORE entertainment for me than for you ;)

Kirsten said...

Oh Moonrat, add me to the list! I go through years of clean living, and then get sucked back into the Pit. I also freely admit to having a WofT guidebook. Ahem.

I did start to get frustrated at one point that NOTHING EVER GOT RESOLVED. I liked the earlier books better for this. Things seemed to get more complicated and there were no clear endings after book four or five. But still. How can anyone not love this series?

Matilda McCloud said...

I've never heard of these books, but I'm looking for a way to deal with my own addiction (spending too much time on the computer)! So maybe I'll read the first one and see if I get hooked.

pacatrue said...

I too have a love/hate relationship with these books. I'm into it enough that I've made it to book 11 or 12 or wherever we are and I have an account on DrangonMount.com in order to debate various points. At the same time, I complain through almost every book since about 5 or so. So many unfulfilled characters, as in characters who were so cool just falling through the cracks. Seriously, Min, who was awesome, somehow seems to just hang around Rand being supportive nowadays. Sigh.

Straightens my skirt, tugs on my braid, and calls upon the source.... poof.

Gary Corby said...

Prepare your mockery launchers, because IMHO, reading Robert Jordan is like swimming through glue.

I'm willing to admit the defect may be in me, because I felt the same about the Thomas Covenant stories, which were also vastly successful.

Tara said...

Love that series and planning to introduce my hubby to it as soon as we finish the Sword of Truth series.

Miriam S.Forster said...

I loved the series for a long time, and probably would love it again if I let myself. But I'm waiting for the other books to come out first. :)

Funny tidbit: My dad and I got into WofT because someone at the bookstore handed us a promotional copy. They took the first book, cut it in half and gave out a small paperback version for free. I still think that was the best marketing idea ever.

Ebony McKenna. said...

My education has some holes in places.

I haven't been introduced to WoT but I feel I might have to have a little taste . . .

moonrat said...

Miriam--MY DAD AND I GOT STARTED OFF THE SAME PROMOTIONAL HALF BOOK!!!!

We did the math this weekend--say Tor shelled out about a buck a pop on those free copies. All right. Well, one promotional dollar they spent on my family brought in... umm... I forget, but more than $1000 in product sales (11 hardcovers, about 25 or so paperbacks, but maybe more, considering my dad alone owns 2 or 3 copies of several books (FIRES OF HEAVEN keeps falling apart, since it's too fat), three or four audio books, New Spring...).

So anyway, a dollar well spent.

moonrat said...

paca--heehee, braid tugging ahoy.

V K said...

Honestly what frustrated me about this post was your implication that reading fantasy is somehow less mentally stimulating than reading more literary books.

I love you Moonie, truly, I do, but this post made me want to tear my hair out. Nothing against WoT (though it isn't my favourite fantasy series) but don't you think that some of today's fantasy is amongst the best writing in the world today? (Robin Hobb, Juliet Marillier, Patrick Rothfuss, Robin McKinley... just to name a very few.)

I realise there's a matching amount of crap published for every brilliant work out there... which possibly contributes to the general opinion.

But that said, if editors, critics and many writers could lose a little of their genre tunnel vision, this strange snobbery might disappear onc and for all... and wouldn't that be a happy day for all fantasy readers?

There... can of worms, consider yourselves released!

Pamela Turner said...

I hate the WofT books. Only because I loved the first four or five, and then began to get the distinct impression that Robert Jordan had a very large mortgage to attend to, and so he decided to move his plot sideways rather than forward. I am a bitter, jilted lover.

Emily Cross said...

Ok i'm taking this a sign, yesterday my brother handed me the wheel of time because he couldn't find George Martin's first book to give me and Now you post about the wheel of time.

I'm in synch with the universe me thinks! and she's telling me something quite clearly lol.

Scott said...

I too am a 'Wheel of Time' Addict! Well, I was up until Book 7 and then I stopped reading. Why? I'm protesting the trilogy turned into a never-ending story! I buy the hardbacks off the bargain shelf, add them to my collection, but haven't read nary a word in the series since I finished Book 7.

Oh, and I'm sure there's irony somewhere in the situation that Robert Jordan died . . . without completing the series. I hear tell his estate has hired another writer to complete Book 12. Hopefully, Mr. Jordan (fabulous writer, btw, and I met him once at a book signing)left enough notes so that ghost writer can finish the series for him. : )

S

moonrat said...

VK--egads! I did not mean to sound like I was coming down on "genre." There's some incredibly cerebral fantasy out there. (I don't think Robert Jordan is it, however--RJ is, for me at least, pure escapism.)

writtenwyrdd said...

If you want a long comment thread, just mention Robert Jordon. :)

I have up through volume 10. Maybe when I get through the 200+ tbr pile I can reread the series and get the 9th and 10th volumes read, too! Then I won't have to reread when the next ones come out.

Chris Scena said...

For those worried about the slowness/lack of resolution in the last books of WoT, book 11 (Knife of Dreams) resolves A LOT of plot threads.

As to all those people complaining about the quality of literature, what's wrong with wanting to be entertained? I would rather read an author like James Patterson, who is formualic and simple but entertaining than Gilead (which didn't have any plot to speak of until 200 pages in of a 250 page book). And if you do not understand that concept, you are probably never going to write something that is going to sell to more than a few literary elite.

sylvia said...

Uh oh. I'm starting on this series as my next free reading but I don't have time to get obsessed! Maybe I'll put it off... enjoy having a bit of a life before diving in. Pah, who am I kidding.

Brandon Sanderson is writing the sequel and posted this about the decision to split it into three books:

Brandon Sanderson: Splitting AMOL

It was a strong justification but beyond that, I found it very intriguing to read about his process.

Starbuck O'Shea said...

Tor.com has been doing a WOT Re-Read series forever.

At least, I expect it to last forever. :> So you are not alone. I think Brandon blogs there sometimes also.

*---

carolinestarr said...

Never heard of it. I'll look it up at the library soon!

Rachel said...

@Moonrat

Rachel--Suian!! she's awesome! I love the scene where she dances in the tavern!!

You were asking who people identified with. My favorite character was Nynaeve until she got married - then she just got insipidly stupid.

Thus, Suian Sanche is my favorite character. I hope and pray if/when she gets it on with Gareth Bryne she doesn't pull a Nynaeve.

@Gary Corby

IMHO, reading Robert Jordan is like swimming through glue.

That I can understand. But...

I'm willing to admit the defect may be in me, because I felt the same about the Thomas Covenant stories, which were also vastly successful.

Ugh! I hated that series! :-( Oh well, YMMV.

Jane Steen said...

Not personally a WheelofTimerina, but I just began rereading Elizabeth Peters' Amelia Peabody series as a sort of cushioning measure against the gravitas that will be Gravity's Rainbow. For every "serious" book I read there generally has to be some counteracting fluff, my poor brain can't cope with too much serious literature.

Although, in defense of Ms Peters, the preposterous characters and even more preposterous plots of the Peabody series are admirably balanced by her crisp, fluent prose, the obvious spoofing of Victorian genres and the sense of a writer having FUN.

My next venture into the less-than-heavy may be a binge on Georgette Heyer books. A friend who is no slouch when it comes to bookreading recommended this course of reading, and loaned me a good example. Stap me vitals, I'm hooked.