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R.I.P. Robert Jordan

The world of high fantasy is poorer today.

James Rigney, better known to fantasy readers as Robert Jordan, has passed away. Although he had been fighting amyloidosis for several years, the news of his death still came as a shock to many, including me. He was so optimistic and determined that you had to think that if anyone could beat the disease, it would be him.

Jim was a good and gracious man, a pleasure to share a platform or a pint with, and his contributions to modern fantasy were many. His huge, ambitious WHEEL OF TIME series helped to redefine the genre, and opened many doors for the writers who followed.

He was also unfailingly generous towards other fantasists, always ready to offer them support and encouragement. My own ICE & FIRE series might never have found its audience without the cover quote that Jim was so kind as to provide, back when A GAME OF THRONES was first published. I will always be grateful to him for that.

The last time I saw Jim was at an Archon in Collinsville, Illinois. It was before his final illness. He was the convention Guest of Honor and I was the Toastmaster, and I introduced him by telling the audience that actually we were the same person. It was a gag that Jim himself had suggested in the Green Room beforehand. While I was doing the intro, and claiming credit for all his books, he slowly entered, walked up silently behind me, and stood looming over me, glowering like Zeus. We got a great laugh.

I had some great dinners with Jim and his wife Harriet there in Collinsville as well. We talked about other writers, editors, publishers, all the stuff that writers always talk about... oh, and a little about our own series as well... and Jim and Harriet invited me to visit them if I ever made it down to Charleston. Sad to say, I never did.

RIP, Jim. You will be much missed.


Oct. 13th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
So Sad
Though I was ruined on epic fantasy by the brilliance of your novels, I was a fan of Jordan's Conan novels. I was always a huge Howard fan and I felt that only Jordan came close to matching the ferocity of those tales with his Conan books. I may have to concede that since I loved the Conan novels, perhaps I will enjoy other works he has penned. Maybe it is time to try another fantasy epic, especially now that I have finished the Farseer/Liveship series while I am waiting for Dance. You gave Hobb a well deserved endorsement and as you were right in doing so, perhaps your advice should be heeded and I will tackle the Wheel of Time series as well. But, I ramble. Back to the point of this comment: I am saddened to hear of his passing and wish to extend my condolences to his friends and family, he was obviously well loved.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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