A Memory of Light: a mountain of bullshit

I knew I was right when I said that bad rumors were true rumors, and to expect pointless justifications.

Here’s the press release:

Harriet McDougal said on the process behind A Memory of Light: “The scope and size of the novel was such that it could not be contained in a single volume.


President and Publisher of Tor Books, Tom Doherty, also expressed his happiness with A Memory of Light, saying: “It is a magnificent closure to a great American epic fantasy whose journey began almost twenty years ago. There is no way Robert Jordan would have squeezed it to a single volume, and somehow it seems fitting that what began as a trilogy will also end as one.”

Unrespectful bullshit.

Followed by Brandon Sanderson own long apology list:

By this point, I’d already warned Tom and Harriet that I saw the length being very large, but I hadn’t told Tom the 700-800k number. When I’d mentioned 400k to him once, he’d been wary. He explained to me that he felt 400k was unprintably large in today’s publishing market.

Bullshit. Their catalog is filled with similar unprintable books, even bigger.

Tom and I were on a panel together, talking about AMoL. I noted that (by that point) I had around 250k written. He said something like “Ah, so you’re almost done!” I looked chagrined and said “Actually, I feel that I’m only about 1/3 of the way there, Tom.” He blinked, shocked, and then laughed a full bellied laugh. “It’s happening again!” he exclaimed. “Jim sold me one book that somehow became three, and now it’s happening again!”

Said while his eyes were turning into dollar symbols. What an awesome way to milk all those stupid fans out there!

I started to lobby Harriet subtly, pointing out that previous Wheel of Time books had been 380k, and perhaps that would be a good length for each Volume of AMOL, if it was cut.

It is quite obvious that a book exceeding 500k is getting unhandy. I have Atlas Shrugged that is 600k crammed in 1000 pages. The book actually still sells a lot (for all the idiot claims about too long books), but it’s unhandy. You could add more pages and adjust the typeset for a better result, but I’d put a limit at 500k or so.

What ISN’T obvious at all is that A Memory of Light needed 800k. This is bullshit. This is about a writer and a publisher capering in the air to find the fanciest justification for just one thing: greed.

Greed to put the hands on someone else’s work and make it one’s own. Greed for money. Greed for publicity and attention. It’s taking advantage of someone else’s work.

One thing is to take up the job, read carefully all that is written, and try to complete the book the best way as possible. Another is to start enjoying being part of the process and decide to go all over the place. Because you feel that what you are writing is now entirely yours. And so start to see all the possibilities and enjoy adding whatever you want. The bigger the book, the more “Brandon Sanderson”‘s property grows, owning more and more of the series. He isn’t anymore a guest. He wants to be co-owner. Every month he takes another chunks and justifies another growth. Every month he asks more and rises the stakes.

800k taken out the 50k or so Jordan left isn’t anymore completing a book. It’s writing a new tangent that goes in a totally different direction.

800k doesn’t mean “cool, that gets us three books”. 800k screams for something gone wrong.

800k doesn’t mean “write more, we have three volumes to fill now”. It means, okay let’s make two. Whatever goes beyond, needs to be cut.

Boycott A Memory of Light. Do not buy it.

Confidence in Brandon Sanderson doing a good job: -100%

Saying that this is the book Jordan wanted to write is the same as saying that Kevin J. Anderson’s Dune books are the books Frank Herbert would have written.

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