Thus Spake The Creator

Miscellany

Q: Robert, in just about every story that I have read, good reigns supreme. Yet, woudln't it be interesting if evil made just a little more headway than usual? 
A: I think that's usually what happens in what we call a "story." 

Q: Are we going to see Moiraine again?? Lanfear?? My wife would like to know why none of the main characters have any children. Are there any in their future?? 
A: Read and find out. Most of the main characters are both very young and unmarried. Even some of the older ones are unmarried--so they have no kids but read and find out. We'll see what happens.

Q: From the Message to the Reader at the beginning of "Snow", you seemed to have mixed feelings about the e-book format. Being from a rural area, with few bookstores, I love it. How do you feel about this new format as an author and part of the publishing industry?
A: I feel that it's a very new format, and that we have at present no idea whatsoever in what direction it is going to develop, or how widely it will be accepted. At the moment, relatively few people buy ebooks, unless they are by Stephen King, say, or if they are self-help or business. Even then, the numbers are not very big as compared to actual books on paper.

Q: I understand there would be a person in The Eye of the World, but that he was cut out or something. Who was he?
A: One of the characters who I have brought in later was a fellow named Daniell in TEOTW, and I brought him out because I realized he didn't have anything to do there. I reintroduced hiim later. At that point, he was simply taking up space.

Q: Man, Im so lucky I couldnt sleep! (Its 1 am here)RJ, I loved Winter's Heart and the especially the last chapter! Could you please put some more of the Forsaken POV's in the next book, most of all Cyndane and Graendal? I love those two!
A: Well, it's possible -- but how have you read Winter's Heart already? It doesn't go on sale until tomorrow! If it's been sold anywhere, it's a shock to me!

Q19: [Publishing questions. Why the differing and funky choices in margin size and type size?]
A19: Margin and type size are up to the publisher. They have to do what they do to make his books a reasonable size. When Lord of Chaos was printed, they had to push their technology just to squeeze it into what you have in your hands.

Q: You're a scientist, you have a degree in physics I saw
A: Eh, yes. I'm not sure I'd call myself a scientist, but, my degree is in physics, yes.
Q: It'd be logical for a physics to write science fiction, and not fantasy. How did you came to fantasy and not science fiction?
A: Because I write what I want to write, really, but I'm not certain I'd say that it would be logical for a physicist to write science fiction. Are you aware of the paradigm called Schrödinger's Cat?
Q: no
A: It's a mind test in a way, really. If you can wrap your mind around it in the right way, believe it, then you are ready for higher physics. Imagine a cat, sealed in a lead box, and there's no way to look into the box. Inside the box there is a flask of cyanide gas. Attached to the flask of cyanide gas is a geiger-counter. The geiger counter is pointed at an atom. The atom has a 50-50 chance, in any given second, of decay. Now tell me, is the cat alive, or is the cat dead?
Q: He's fifty-fifty.
A: No, no, no, is the cat alive, or is the cat dead? I'm not asking you to give me odds. Is the cat alive, or is the cat dead?
Q: Ah, he's alive."
A: No.
Q: "why not?"
A: If you're an engineer... If you have an engineering mindset, you'll say that the only way to do it is to open the box and check. If you have the mindset that could take you into higher physics, you're willing to accept that the cat is alive and dead, both, and will be fixed in one state or the other when the box is opened. But until the box is opened, the cat is alive, and it is dead, simultaniously.
Q: "yeah, that's fifty-fifty."
A: No, it's not a fifty-fifty chance. A fifty-fifty chance says that it's fifty percent chance that the cat is one way, and fifty percent that it's the other way.
Q: "so it's either way."
No, the cat is not either way, it is both. It is a 100% alive, and a 100% that the cat is dead, and both things are true. And must be acceptable as true. If you can not accept this as true, then you are not ready for quantum..., for the most basic quantum physics, must less getting into anything beyond.
But the thing is that if you can wrap your mind around Schrödinger's cat, you can also wrap your mind around fantasy. As a matter of fact, the thing that I find very interesting is that... I don't really follow theoretical physics to any degree now, and haven't for more than twenty years. But when I find myself talking to a theoretical physicist, I sometimes get stuck on panels with theoretical physicists. I'm always afaid that I'm going to be left way behind because I haven't kept up in the area, but I find that I can keep up quite nicely. As long as... while they're discussing theoretical physics, I discuss theology. And ah, I find myself able to keep up quite nicely, talking about the same thing.

Q: This will probably be a RAFO, but I hope you can at least say something, or did you just forget about him? What happened to Sheriam's Warder?
A: Uhm... No, you'll read and find out.

The next series, the one he's been working on in his head for a few years now, will have one culture that is
"much more readily apparent as being 17th, early 18th century at technological level, cultural levels. I dislike the view of the world of the Wheel of Time as medieval. I think of this as the 17th century, as it would have developed without gun powder. Look at the things, I mean, moveable type and printing presses and books are not uncommon and mechanical clocks and a lot of other things. If you look at what's going on you'd realize that we're not looking at a medieval world. We're looking at the 17th century, minus gun powder. "

Q: R-JORDAN....since I have not read any of your books, what book would you recommend me reading first and why?
A: you must start with the eye of the world. MUST. Start anywhere else and you will only get confused and discouraged. I never did. - Raina

Reports from signings

I asked him exactly why the pool of untainted saidin was needed at the Eye of the World. He kindof gave me a RAFO. RJ said that he has an idea of what he wants that to have been for, but he's not sure he's going to use it, so he didn't want to give me infomation and then change his mind later.

The interview then continued with the communication between the various characters, and RJ stated clearly that every person keeping a secret, or withholding information, has a good reason for it, even if it in many cases are very personal. He exemplified this with the relation between Birgitte, Elayne and Egwene, where everyone _knew_ that all knew Birgitte's secret (or at least a large part of it), but due to Elayne giving her word, the situation could not be resolved. RJ also took this as an example of the very great significance on a person's word and on oaths that the people in TWoT places. A word given is something to be kept, at all costs, however the circumstances changes.

Next time through I asked about the chronology of Eharon and Shiota, since Bashere describes statues from Eharon as being much older than the Shiotan statue DKS put on the cover.  We know Deane was born in the village of Salidar in Eharon (Glossary from LoC, IIRC), yet part of Bashere's lecture mentioned that Shiota also was pre-Hawkwing.  It turns out there is a textual inconsistency here.  RJ couldn't remember which comes first (apparently historical details aren't as engrossing for him as for me), but one was part of the Ten Nations, and the other covered the same area (Illian + Altara) between the Trolloc Wars and Hawkwing.  He said the Guide has the correct order, though since I don't have the Guide I don't know what that order is.  A minor error, really; either that statue was from Eharon and Bashere mentioned much older Shiotan statues, or Deane was Shiotan and the statues were as written.

At a later time, he said that he heard recently from a used fantasy dealer that an _unsigned_ first printing tEotW was sold from his store for $700 dollars.  RJ said he had heard of prices around $300, but not that high.  He also said he heard of first printing LoC's going at $55, which he seemed to think was absurd, since well over 200,000 had been printed.  They also commented that at times, the hardcovers have been hard to find, but _not_ because they had been out of print, but because "sensible" people _assumed_ they would be out of print.  He said that his books "break the rules", in that hardcovers aren't supposed to stay in print for 8-9 years.  He also said that at one point, a computer "glitch" resulted in stores remaindering tSR while there was still a high demand for it at the normal price (10,000 sales annually without any advertising).  Someone else mentioned that they had been to a bookstore recently which had the hardcover aCoS both for sale at the regular price _and_ on the remaindering table.  Jordan expressed significant disgust with screw-ups of this sort.

There were some jokes about the sheer mass of the books -- "There will be a boxed set when the sseries is complete... on wheels."

Someone asked about multiple books. Jordan said that the rule was that you had to go through the line for every two books, and that he would "enforce the rules with my bullwhip if necessary"; a bookstore employee(?) commented that it was more of a guideline really. General laughter and bullwhip comments ensued, culminating with "Just so no one asks, 'Can I fondle your bullwhip?'" from Jordan. (I didn't catch all of this. I regretted it. Oh well.)

On Pronunciation:
o Aes Sedai: "I said eye."
o Nynaeve: "Nine eve"
o Faile: "FAI-eel"
o Tear: not "tire".

He also said the that the idea for the chapter icons was his wife's.  They sat down and decided (roughly) what they ought to look like, and hired an artist to do them.

I was at the signing at King of Prussia last night, and asked a question about Randland life that has been bugging me for a while - do Aes Sedai ever have children, and why/why not?  I was impressed with Jordan's casual reply, as if this were common knowledge - that all Aes Sedai, and for that matter, most women have knowledge of a special herb that serves as an incredibly efficient contraceptive.  This herb is just general women's lore, passed to women by Wisdoms and such.  He followed up with two other points : 1)Aes Sedai are personally discouraged from having children because they know they will outlive them and 2)its clearly not a popular idea because the White Ajah had suggested having children with men who can channel in order to undo "culling", but this suggestion was not particularly well received.

Some pronounciations. Nine-eve. Schwan Sanche. [That surprised me.] Avi-endha.

Ah yes, somebody asked about him comparing Randland with 17th century earth as it would have been without gunpowder, but said that there was gunpowder in Randland.
Jordan explained that the development of something like gunpowder is not as natural as it might seem to us. They had fireworks for a thousand year in China before thinking of using it as a weapon (and then they only threw fireworks over the walls because they'd run out of rocks). Steel was invented time and again with never becoming widely known. Things like that. There's no reason for Randlanders to connect 'wanting to do things Aes Sedai do, but without using the Power' with fireworks. There are currently only a handful of people thinking about possible uses of fireworks as a weapon, and that only because they were around to learn about the damage of a chapterhouse blowing up or something similar.
Besides this, Randladers aren't thinking about making weapons when dealing with fireworks, they're thinking about making money with it, because it's a luxury good. It's just as if caviar could be used as a weapon...

Raina's Hold / Thus Spake The Creator - Index
 


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