Can you hear the outrage spreading across the internet(s)?
Boy, I can.
This morning Tor-Forge announced that A Memory of Light, the conclusion volume of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, will begin publishing in November 2009. That’s the good news!
The bad news? A Memory of Light is going to be broken into three separate books released one year apart each, the first of which is titled The Gathering Storm.
Can you hear that? It’s the sound of angry, money-strapped fans.
As the news spreads across the internet(s), the blogs are unanimously saying the same thing. Why three volumes?? Tor and the Estate of Robert Jordan support the decision for three volumes, stating a 750,000 word book cannot possibly be published in a single volume. And their summation I completely agree with. A book that is 750,000 words cannot possibly be held physically in a single binding. But as with most things there is more beneath the surface of their summation.
I say it can be published in two volumes. Easily.
And here are some numbers to prove it.
For A Memory of Light to be published in two volumes, Tor would have to split the 750,000 word book into two 375,000 word books.
As evidence, here are some word counts I found online of additionally large volumes:
- The Shadow Rising: 393,000 words
- The Fires of Heaven: 354,000 words
- Lord of Chaos: 389,000 words
As you can see, there are two books there in the Wheel of Time series that were released as single volumes and had word counts higher than 375,000 words. Right there is proof that Tor is able to publish A Memory of Light in two volumes rather than the three they see they need.
Here are some other notable large books published in single volumes:
- A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin: 402,000 words
- Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson: 382,000 words
- Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson: 383,000
- To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams: 520,000 words
- Night’s Dawn Trilogy by Peter Hamilton, each volume: ~420,000 words
- Baroque Cycle by Neal Stephenson, each volume: ~380,000 words
The only book out of those listed that I feel should have been split was To Green Angel Tower by Tad Williams. 500,000 words was just too much for a physical binding and after a while my copy’s binding has slowly deformed as the weight of the book bends the spine awry. But the others I’ve listed are perfectly fine at that size.
Meaning A Memory of Light could easily be published as two volumes instead of three.
Now, to be honest, it is entirely up to Tor-Forge and how they decide to publish the final book. It is your choice to either buy it or not buy. If you are angry or outraged, don’t buy the books and read them at your local library. And although I think it is great that Tor and the Estate of Robert Jordan want to make the release of this final book a memorable time for them as well as all Wheel of Time fans, I can’t help but agree with the fans on this one.
To read today’s press release, click HERE. To read an interview with Harriet Rigney, Robert Jordan’s widow, click HERE. And as always, one of the best websites devoted to Wheel of Time is Dragonmount. Visit it!
The Gathering Storm, Book One in The Memory of Light, will be published in November 2009!
Now, let’s just hope the final cover art is better than the artwork we’ve seen!
At least they have time to fix it!