27 March, 2011
Unfinished Epic Fantasy Series

So, this is from that short list of things that have been hanging out in the back of my mind and I thought might make for a good journal entry someday if I could ever muster enough time and interest to actually try writing it down.

I don't know how I hear about these things. Like noise just buzzing around. Somehow, you hear about things without really thinking about how you know. Heard somewhere. Read somewhere. Never paid that much attention until suddenly it is there. Spontaneous cognition, so to speak.

Apparently, there are these great epic fantasy book series. Loved by a great many people. New York Times bestsellers and all of that. But, don't get me started on the bestseller lists. I can't remember if it was a This American Life story or something similar that took the shine off those lists.

Drifting off point, already.

Great epic fantasies. Loved by many. Bestsellers. And, oh yes, not finished.

That's the part that finally made these series break through the wall of extraordinary ignorance and savagely establish a foothold in my consciousness. Rapid fan-base really getting all worked up over the fact that neither one of these two great epic fantasy series were done or even remotely close to being done.

I'm going to focus more on the one in which the author isn't dead, but I don't think I'm really going to focus on the works themselves so much. So, it is kind of a moot point. In fact, the only name I'm going to drop, I think, is Neil Gaiman because it was his own little musing on the subject that got my poor little brain thinking about things it really has no business getting mixed up in.

I don't follow the man on Twitter or anywhere else online so I'm really not all that certain how I came to read his thoughts on the subject of great unfinished epic fantasy book series. Hint: it was the A.V. Club. So, never-you-mind all that nonsense about how I can't be bothered to follow this or that.

Anyway, the question under intense observation was if it was really rather okay to be fucking pissed-off that the next book in a great epic fantasy series was going on being really rather late in the delivery department. The basic answer was really rather crass, which is a good trick when you want to get people's attention and quite possibly make them think about it.

The slightly more long-winded answer was along the lines of people needing to have a little more patience because sometimes shit just happens that can get in the way of an author being able to finish a work in a really timely fashion. Don't I know it, brother. You want something to go fast. You're convinced it can go fast. Next thing you know, it is three years later, and you are finally staring at the finished work wondering how the fucking hell did that little piece of shit of a book take so goddamn long to finish.

So, really. Shit happens. Writing takes longer to write than it is possible to believe. Don't get so fucking pissed-off. Take a Valium or Ecstasy. Drink herbal tea or whatever else just might help calm you the fuck down. Preferably something legal but let's not drift too far off topic again.

So, anyway, the answer is good. Chill out. Good words. Remember them. However, it was really only half the argument. To my way of thinking, anyway. It was the half of the argument to make the arrogantly ticked-off and selfishly entitled to instant gratification reader feel like a total dick.

It ignores the fact that the author did kind-of sort-of break his promise to the reader that the next book in the series was going to arrive in a timely fashion. This is a problem with all creative endeavors. Thinking it will go fast. Wanting it to go fast. Believing it will go fast. You tell people it will go fast. Thus, creating the expectation among the rapid and wholly irrational fan-base that the next book will, in fact, show-up really rather fucking fast.

I blame the publisher, of course. For helping stoke the fires. For wanting to maintain hype. For feeling a great need to keep that rapid fan-base in such a lather that it will pre-order that motherfucking book the nanosecond it becomes available in any form that allows bookshops to start requesting copies of distributors and publishers and various other sundry people who might be interested in knowing that there is something resembling great interest in the work.

So, yeah, there is something of a promise involved.

The reader doesn't need to feel like a total dick for wanting something now. For desiring it. For wishing it was fucking here already.

There are two sides.

The author: Oh, fuck, I really need to get on this. I promised them it would be ready a week from Tuesday and that was two years ago. Oh, fuck, now I'm all upset that I'm so fucking far behind. Fuck, being so fucking worked up is not good for the writing process. Fuck, I need to calm the fuck down. Apologize. Fuck, did I remember to apologize? I really need to fucking remember to apologize for the goddamn motherfucking delay.

And, the reader: Shit, I wish that fucking book would come out already. It was supposed to be done a week from Tuesday and that was two years ago. Fuck, I need to calm down. Chill out. Writing takes time. The author did apologize for the delay.

So, yes, it's perfectly acceptable to feel hurt, upset and even betrayed that the next book in that epic fantasy series hasn't seen the light of day yet. What is not quite so acceptable is to slag the author because of it. Threats, name-calling and other personal attacks, especially in public forums, are not cool.

Perspective, people. Perspective.

copyright © 2011 by keith d. jones – all rights reserved
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