Written August 28th, 2013
Warning: Some rambling but I assure you it all serves a purpose
I don’t typically read Epic Fantasy* novels. At least not in the past. Occasionally one would appeal to me but usually I would get bored quickly-despite being interested in the plot-by the detail of every single inch of ground in the entire world. I’m better at imagining it if you leave something for me to imagine. If you describe it all I lose interest. I don’t know why. That’s just how I am.
Then my brother died.
Aaron loooooved epic fantasy novels. He was reading the Wheel of Time series from the beginning. I have five of the first nine I believe(not in sequential order unfortunately) because I found them along with a bunch of other fantasy books in a white car we had in our backyard for years that eventually just piled with books.
I wish I knew where all the books I had salvaged from the car have gone. There was a series that used to be published(maybe it still is) by multiple different authors that, I think, were all writing in the same or similiar realms called the Dragon something or other. Every single book said Dragon-blah blah #___(tomorrow I will remember it but since I’m trying to write about it…) but the authors were different. He had a bunch of those.
Since Aaron died I have struggled to find ways to keep him. It probably sounds silly but it’s how I am. I bought an N64 and Ocarina of Time because I used to watch him play it and sometimes he would let me and my sister play too. I remember hating the horse challenge cause I could never do it.
Which brings us to today.
When my birthday came around I was craving the kind of Fantasy books I associate with him. I have never craved Fantasy books in my life but I really wanted an Epic Series to read. I got a bunch of money for Amazon for my birthday and proceeded to spend it all on a ridiculous amount of books. 20+ books came to my house, much to Sam’s chagrin.
I started one of the books I have been putting off tonight. It’s called The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I love Brandon Sanderson. I read his Mistborn trilogy(and Alloy of Law is on my Kindle ready to be picked up) I read The Emperor’s Soul in a night and I love the idea behind Elantrils though I am struggling to get through it.
Way of Kings is number one of ten. It is the only one published so far. Number two is scheduled for March of next year. Which leads me to my headlining post:
Epic Fantasy novelists have the best fans.
I don’t know how you guys do it. Though I guess I’ll learn.
There has been a four year gap between Book One and Book Two in the Stormlight Archive. Brandon Sanderson has seven more books planned for the Mistborn series, he is working on another series of books whose name I cannot currently recall right now…so there will be quite the gap between different books in the series.
Which is standard protocol for a Fantasy series.
When fans start a new Fantasy series, if they decide they love it, they are committing to reading the series for at least a decade if they’re lucky. Longer if they’re not. And they get to wait years between books.
I’ve been waiting a year for the third KingKiller Chronicles book by Patrick Rothfuss to come out and there is no release date in sight. There are people already who have been waiting YEARS and who waited years between Book One and Book Two.
I did the math on the Stormlight Archives. Even if a book in the series came out every year, I would be in my mid-thirties by the time it was finished. If they next eight follow the pattern of the first two I will be in my fifties when this series is finished.
That’s mind blowing to me.
But it’s normal for people who routinely read Epic Fantasy.
I’m sorry for you guys who have been reading Game of Thrones from the very beginning. Those are some long wait times between books. AND if he dies before he finishes the series you don’t get to know how it ends because he doesn’t want anyone picking up after him.
So not only are you committing to decades of reading a series, you are committing to possibly never knowing the ending.
Which is why I have been hesitant to continue in the Song of Ice and Fire series. I read book one and I loved it…but knowing that I can get invested and never know the ending is irksome to me.
Though since I’ve commited to possibly two and a half decades(depending on how the rest of this 1300 page book goes) I guess I might as well.
But my hat goes off to you readers who read mostly or exclusively Epic Fantasy fiction. You are the most loyal people in the world. If you weren’t, authors like George R.R. Martin and Robert Jordan wouldn’t continue to make money every five years or so when a new book is released because the rest of us would just give up.
Which brings me to my next point along the Epic Fantasy genre thought line:
I was laying on my bed, staring out at the haze in the darkness as I was reading Way of Kings and I had an interesting thought.
I wonder where I will be when I finish the series.
Even if it only took another ten years for the next nine books(counting the one that’s coming out next year) to be published how different will my life be?
I think it’s too easy to get caught up in where we are now and how our lives are that we don’t stop to think about where we are going.
While I do believe Sam will be there, that is the only thing I know. I don’t know what I’ll be doing. Hopefully I’ll be writing. Hopefully we live in a house and are successful in the things that make us happy. Hopefully we still have our kitties and are surrounded by good friends.
Or maybe something terrible will happen and Sam won’t be there. I’ll still be in retail and barely able to pay my bills.
It’s terrifying to think about but it gives you perspective, I think.
I feel like a failure almost all the time. I don’t consider retail a grown up job. I consider a job you should have out of high school and maybe while you are in college. Technically I am still kind of college age but I’m not in school. I feel like I should have a 9-5, Mon-Fri holidays off kind of job to support myself until I can write professionally.
It’s kind of an unfair burden to put on myself. I don’t look down on other people I know who are my age or older and work where I do. But I look down on myself for not being better.
The problem is that I don’t know what better is. I have an idea of what it might look like but I don’t know how to get there.
I am working on it. I have an internship starting with a newspaper next week and another one I am looking into courtesy of my brother. I am hoping that leads to something but I’m afraid of what I will do in the meantime.
I am quitting my job at Gamestop in three weeks which is terrifying to me. I hate it where I am. It’s dangerous, the clientele are the scum of the Earth (most of them, obviously not all…I have some really amazing regulars) and there is no chance of a raise or moving up positions.
But I am not going ot have an income for a while.
More than not having an income I’m scared of getting desperate to take anything like I have in the past and getting back into retail which would be the same old same old. But I don’t have qualifications to do anything else.
I just have to trust that things will be okay.
Which is not my forte, by the way, for those who have never met me. I trust about four people in the entire world and I am not on the list of the four.
So I don’t know where I will be in ten years. I want to know. I’m curious just to see if it all works out. But we don’t get to know our ending.
*I specify Epic Fantasy because there is Fantasy and then there is Epic Fantasy. Brent Weeks writes Fantasy. Terry Goodkind writes Epic Fantasy. Both are fantastic but they are very different genres. Just for those who were curious.