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Computers Made It Easier

January 7, 2013 17 comments

Written by Harriet McDougal

Computers made it easier. Actually, first an electric typewriter made it easier. Robert Jordan was an engineer by training, and he really liked a clean typescript. He had begun by writing by hand on yellow legal pads, and when he switched to a typewriter he called his work “typing” rather than “writing.” This lasted for a while. He said, at one point, “The only difference between my work and that of a typist is that I have to make up what I type.” But of course he loved it.

And then computers entered our lives. I worked on a TRS-80, eventually adding an external drive; he cleverly bought an Apple III – a dog of a machine, which still contains some files we have never been able to access. Now that his papers and that machine are in the Addlestone Library of the College of Charleston, the archivists may be able to pry the information out.

Then there came the days of compatible laptops, so that he could finish a chapter in his machine and give me the disk to read in my machine. I recall one book we finished this way in the Murray Hill Hotel, an easy jump from Tor’s offices in the Flatiron building. When the chapter was ready I would jump in a taxi with my laptop to turn it in to Tor – then gallop back to the hotel for more editing.

We were doing that because the book was late. Weren’t they all? Tom Doherty performed miracles in getting the books produced in no time at all. But what Robert Jordan did under the pressure of deadlines – even if he missed them, the pressure was THERE – seems, as I look back, to be little short of miraculous, too.

He began all his books with the wind blowing. Breath, to instill life into his characters. In the Bible, Job 33:4 says, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” When other writers would talk of their characters taking on life of their own, and controlling the story, he said, “I am an Old Testament creator: My fist is in the middle of my characters’ lives.”

Oh, dear, dear man. And what a creator he was! And, as Scott Card said of The Eye of the World, what a powerful vision of good and evil.

On January 8 you will see the final turning of his powerful vision. It comes to you with his love. And mine.

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From the Tor/Forge January Wheel of Time newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

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More from the January Wheel of Time Tor/Forge newsletter:

Reading the Final Scene of the Wheel of Time

January 7, 2013 51 comments

Written by Brandon Sanderson

At signings, I’ve often told the story of reading the last scene of The Wheel of Time. This might not be news to some of you. However, it’s one of the questions I get the most. What did it feel like, some five years ago now, to read that last scene of the book as Robert Jordan wrote it?

Soon after I was tapped to help complete the series, I asked Harriet about the last scene of the book. (The one that Robert Jordan had, over the years working on the series, promised fans he knew in detail.) She told me that he had indeed written that scene—and though there were large swaths of unfinished portions of the ending that he hadn’t had time to work on, he’d been determined to get that last scene on the page.

You can imagine my excitement. I flew out to Charleston for the first time in late 2007—before this, I hadn’t read any of the materials, as Harriet preferred that I come get them in person. After a long flight from Salt Lake City to Charleston, Harriet picked me up at the airport and drove me to her house in the city. We got in at nine or ten, I recall, and she had soup warming on the stove. She asked if I’d like some. My reply was, “If it isn’t too much trouble, I’d like to read the ending please…” Holding my enthusiasm was somewhat difficult.

So, I spent the next hours late into the night sitting in a chair beside Robert Jordan’s computer (it had been moved, by coincidence, out of his office and into the sitting room) reading his ending to The Wheel of Time, then poring over the rest of the notes. I remember Harriet passing by once and asking—with a satisfied smile—“It’s good, isn’t it?”

And it is. As a Wheel of Time fan for nearly 20 years at that point, I found myself supremely satisfied. The ending is the right one. Somewhat unexpected, somewhat daring, but also very well done. I knew that whatever else happened—whatever mistakes I made—at least this ending would be there, as Robert Jordan intended. We’ve put it in almost untouched, with just a few edits here and there at Harriet’s direction.

You’re going to love it.

Brandon

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From the Tor/Forge January Wheel of Time newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

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More from the January Wheel of Time Tor/Forge newsletter:

Memory of Light Backpack Sweepstakes

December 10, 2012 661 comments

We are offering the chance to win one of five Memory of Light backpacks! Each backpack will include a copy of Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson, The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, Lamentation by Ken Scholes, Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter, Spellwright by Blake Charlton, and The Legions of Fire by David Drake. Comment below to enter for a chance to win.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins December 10, 2012 at 10 a.m. ET. and ends December 14, 2012, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

The Week in Review

December 7, 2012 Leave a comment

Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web.
 

 

  • Want to know more about Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time? Tor and Rock Soup Productions have put together a series of videos with Brandon Sanderson, Harriet McDougal, Tom Doherty, Jason Denzel, and more. You can see the first two on Tor.com now!.)
  • John Scalzi returns to the Old Man’s War universe on January 15th, with the debut of The Human Division!
  • This week was Hobbit Week on The Colbert Report. Did you watch?
  • Tor.com is collecting some of their favorite stories from the year, and the ebook is now available for pre-order.

Towers of Midnight Audiobook Sweepstakes

December 3, 2012 73 comments

We have one copy of the audiobook of Towers of Midnight to give away to one lucky winner. Comment below to enter for a chance to win.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins December 3, 2012 at 10 a.m. ET. and ends December 7, 2012, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other sweepstakes!

Goodreads Giveaway: The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

November 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Every month leading up to the January 8, 2013 release of A Memory of Light, we will be offering the chance to win a copy of The Eye of the World on Goodreads. So if you’ve been waiting for the last book to come out to get started on the series, or if you just need to replace that well worn copy, here’s another chance to do just that.

Enter for a chance to win here!

(Ends December 14)

Also, don’t forget to check out our other sweepstakes!

The Gathering Storm Audiobook Sweepstakes

November 26, 2012 175 comments

We have one copy of the audiobook of The Gathering Storm to give away to one lucky winner. Comment below to enter for a chance to win.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins November 26, 2012 at 10 a.m. ET. and ends November 30, 2012, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

Also, don’t forget to check out our other sweepstakes!