Robert Jordan died.

The author. The guy who was writing the WHEEL OF TIME series. Yeah, I’m showing my geek side here, but I’m already blogging about interactive communications, so ‘geek’ as a tag to describe me is sort of implied in the cosmic XML anyway.

Why is this important to know? 

The Wheel of Time is a series which is currently 11 or 12 volumes long, all books weighing in at the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire size or larger, all chronicalling the epic fantasy adventures of a gritty anti-hero fighting a reluctant and complicated battle against the forces of evil. Yeah. Huge monstrosities of fantasy adventure and action.

 Huge -unfinished- monstrosities, that is. I have to devote some serious time to finding out just what the heck is going to happen with the Wheel of Time series. Did Jordan write a farewell plan, letting us all in on his vision? Did he assign another writer to carry on the canon?

 This is important shit, man. I’ve been following this story for over a decade now. It’s not just entertainment anymore, it’s personal!

Condolences to the family 

 Of course the decent, human side of this geek does indeed grieve for the loss of such a brilliant author, and wishes to extend to the family of James Oliver Rigney, Jr. (Robert Jordan is a pen name) deep condolences in their time of loss. I’m sure they find it particularly ungratifying that their relative has died at the tender young age of 58 and all that folks like me can do is gripe about him finishing the series of books. However, it is precisely because of that series of books that I even know about Mr. Rigney in the first place, so please don’t think too unkindly of this humble net geek.

Time for me to see what information I can scare up from my contacts (nebulous to be certain) within the world of 6th Avenue’s publishers.

Why does this affect me? 

 Why do I care? Because back a few years when the text-based MUSHes (Multi-User Shared Hallucinations) ruled the ‘net, I was privileged to belong to a crew of online volunteer administrators who put together and ran the Tales of Ta’Veren MUSH. My ‘wizard handle’ was Balefire, for those who might remember the good old days of yore. And no, being a ‘wizard’ had nothing to do with the game, it was what the admin accounts were called, similar to the way that the administrators for World of Warcraft are called ‘GMs’ or ‘Gamemasters’. I would have preferred to be called a GM, but it wasn’t up to me.

We were responsible for coding and building the game’s infrastructure, and players would come and roll up characters and play out consensual Roleplay scenes as though they were characters in the thematic world of the Wheel of Time. Jordan wrote with such incredible details, the chief wizard, Saidar/Rhonda Peters actually created a Wheel of Time Concordance, to help fans keep facts and details straight. At the time, Book 4 had just come out and she could no longer update the Concordance. By the time of his death, Jordan had cranked out the 11th volume, and he got no less detailed or involved as time went on. Jordan is Tolkien-esque, but modern, gritty, and a hundred times as long.

Yeah, I’m a geek. But I sure hope that he passed the torch to someone. Either that, or we’ve got this generation’s version of Dickens’ THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD… unfinished upon his death, and everyone wanting to know the damned ending.


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