Books: October 2005 Archives
October 24, 2005
So other fantasy geeks will doubtless already know this, but Robert Jordan's latest book--the 11th in his Wheel of Time series--came out earlier this month. Like any good little fantasy geek, I promptly bought it and read it (an action helped immensely by my lovely wife's patience and generosity). :) It was good (better than the last two, certainly), but this isn't so much a book review.
I'm too lazy to type it into Amazon.com and check, but IIRC the first book in the series came out when I was a wee lad in high school; probably around 1993 or so, as I recall seeing the hardcover version of the second book in the school library and passing it over as probably bad (so much fantasy is...). It wasn't until a few years later, just before I went off to college, that I got into the series; I don't recall exactly how it happened, but I do recall that I was a member of the Science Fiction Book Club for a while, and I have the first 5 hardcovers in the series from the club. (I know that, because they're the size of all my other SFBC purchases.) It might have been a case where I included the first book on a whim as part of my first 6 books for 1¢ or something, and liked them enough to buy the rest; I can't recall. What I do recall is that the books make up a formative part of my college experience. I had a Wheel of Time book with me when I arrived at college a weekend early to take part in the advance Campus Culture class, where I met several people who would be some of my closest friends for the next two years. I was reading a different Wheel of Time book in the university cafeteria when I met another close-friend-to-be. I remember long and involved conversations regarding exactly how Jordan's system of magic worked--the kind of long, involved conversations you pretty much only have when you're an undergraduate just discovering really intellectual discourse, in between the 4 a.m. discussions of morality and religion. ;) The Wheel of Time was part of another formative experience as well; one of my first inroductions to the conglomeration of people and software that would become the Internet (including my own waxing and waning addiction to a series of online communities) was the net newsgroup rec.arts.sf.written.robert-jordan--which I still occasionally post to, whenever a new book comes out and there are new things to discuss. I'm even quoted, briefly, in the official group FAQ. ;)
It's kind of funny to me that this series of 11 books (so far) has stretched back over the last 10 years of my life; I'm not at all the same person I was when I started reading it, and yet it's a thread of constancy, something otherwise largely lacking in my life. I don't have the same friends, or live in the same place, or think many of the same things--but I still love the world Jordan has created, and reading the books through again takes me back a little bit, to a time when my biggest worry was getting my physics homework done after the weekly card game.
Or maybe I just have too much time to think these days. ;)