Robert Jordan in 2005
|Born||James Oliver Rigney, Jr.
October 17, 1948
Charleston, South Carolina
|Died||September 16, 2007
Charleston, South Carolina
|Notable work(s)||The Wheel of Time|
James Oliver Rigney, Jr, (October 17, 1948 – September 16, 2007) better known under the pen name Robert Jordan, was an American author of epic fantasy. He is best known for The Wheel of Time, which consists of 14 books and a prequel novel. Rigney also wrote historical fiction under his pseudonym Reagen O'Neal, a western as Jackson O'Reilly and dance criticism as Chang Lung. He also ghostwrote an "international thriller" that is still believed to have been written by someone else.
Jordan was born in Charleston, South Carolina. He served two tours in Vietnam (from 1968 to 1970) with the United States Army as a helicopter gunner. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, the Bronze Star with "V" and oak leaf cluster, and two Vietnamese Gallantry Crosses with palm. After returning from Vietnam he attended The Citadel where he received an undergraduate degree in physics. After graduating he was employed by the United States Navy as a nuclear engineer. He began writing in 1977. He was a history buff and enjoyed hunting, fishing, sailing, poker, chess, pool, and pipe collecting. He described himself as a "High Church" Episcopalian and received communion more than once a week. He lived with his wife Harriet McDougal, who works as a book editor (currently with Tor Books; she was also Jordan's editor) in a house built in 1797. Responding to queries on the similarity of some of the concepts in his Wheel of Time books with Freemasonry concepts, Jordan admitted that he was a Freemason. However, "like his father and grandfather," he preferred not to advertise, possibly because of the negative propaganda against Freemasonry. In his own words, "no man in this country should feel in danger because of his beliefs."
On March 23, 2006, Jordan disclosed in a statement that he had been diagnosed with cardiac amyloidosis, and that with treatment, his median life expectancy was four years, though he said he intended to beat the statistics. He later posted on his Dragonmount blog to encourage his fans not to worry about him and that he intended to have a long and fully creative life.
He began chemotherapy treatment at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, in early April 2006. Jordan was enrolled in a study using the drug Revlimid just approved for multiple myeloma but not yet tested on primary amyloidosis.
Jordan died at approximately 2:45 p.m. EDT on September 16, 2007, and a funeral service was held for him on Wednesday, September 19, 2007. Jordan was cremated and his ashes buried in the churchyard of St. James Church in Goose Creek, outside Charleston. His life was the subject of the feature length documentary The Wit of the Staircase: The Life and Works of Robert Jordan, scheduled for release in late 2012.
The Wheel of Time
Jordan published 11 books of a total 14 in the main sequence of the Wheel of Time series. Reviewers and fans of the earlier books noted a slowing of the pace of events in the last few installments owing to the expansion of scale of the series as a whole.
Because of his health problems, Jordan did not work at full force on the final installment A Memory of Light (later split into three volumes beginning with The Gathering Storm), but blog entries confirmed that he continued work on it until his death, and he shared all of the significant plot details with his family not long before he died. He maintained that in doing so the book will get published even if "the worst actually happens." On December 7, 2007, Tor Books announced that Brandon Sanderson had been chosen to finish the Wheel of Time series. Harriet McDougal, Jordan's widow, chose him after reading Mistborn: The Final Empire.
The Wheel of Time series consists of:
|1.||The Eye of the World||(January 15, 1990)|
|2.||The Great Hunt||(November 15, 1990)|
|3.||The Dragon Reborn||(October 15, 1991)|
|4.||The Shadow Rising||(September 15, 1992)|
|5.||The Fires of Heaven||(October 15, 1993)|
|6.||Lord of Chaos||(October 15, 1994)||Locus Award nominee, 1995|
|7.||A Crown of Swords||(May 15, 1996)|
|8.||The Path of Daggers||(October 20, 1998)|
|9.||Winter's Heart||(November 9, 2000)|
|10.||Crossroads of Twilight||(January 7, 2003)|
|11.||Knife of Dreams||(October 11, 2005)|
|12.||The Gathering Storm||(October 27, 2009)||coauthored by Sanderson|
|13.||Towers of Midnight||(November 2, 2010)||coauthored by Sanderson|
|14.||A Memory of Light||(January 8, 2013)||coauthored by Sanderson|
In addition to the main sequence, Robert Jordan also wrote some accessory works:
- The World of Robert Jordan's the Wheel of Time (November 6, 1997, reference book, written in collaboration with Teresa Patterson)
- This reference book includes "The Strike at Shayol Ghul", a short story published online in 1996 which was republished in print as part of this reference book
- New Spring (October 1998, novella, published in Tor's Legends anthology, edited by Robert Silverberg; the story is located in the third volume of the paperback edition; the hardcover is one volume)
- New Spring (January 2004, novel, an expanded work superseding the earlier novella)
- From the Two Rivers, a repackaging of the first half of The Eye of the World for a younger market, includes an additional prologue titled Ravens.
- To the Blight, a repackaging of the second half of The Eye of the World for a younger market.
- The Hunt Begins, a repackaging of the first half of The Great Hunt for a younger market.
- New Threads in the Pattern, a repackaging of the second half of The Great Hunt for a younger market.
Other published works
The Fallon Saga
The Fallon Blood (1980), published under the pen name Reagan O'Neal, was Jordan's second novel and first published novel. It was edited and published by Jordan's future wife, Harriet McDougal, for her personal imprint, Popham Press. After they finished promoting the book on tour, they began dating, and when Jordan asked McDougal to marry him, he began selling his books directly to Tom Doherty at Tor Books. The following two books, The Fallon Pride (1981) and The Fallon Legacy (1982) were published under Tor's Forge imprint. Jordan originally planned to take the series much further:
I had intended to do a Southern arc of history. The general arc of history that is studied in the United States and recognized is the move out of New England—Pennsylvania and New York—into the Ohio valley, and from there west to California, but there was a southern arc, which was the move out of Virginia and the Carolinas into Louisiana and Mississippi, and from there into Texas, and from there through New Mexico and Arizona into California. And I wanted to follow that in a series of novels that I originally intended to go from the American Revolution through the Vietnam War, but I'll tell you the truth...I got tired of them. They were doing nicely, but I just got tired of them and said, "I want to do something else."
Conan the Barbarian
Jordan was one of several writers who have written new Conan the Barbarian stories. When Tom Doherty obtained the rights, he needed a novel very quickly, so Jordan's wife Harriet McDougal recommended him because she knew he had written his first novel, Warriors of the Altaii, in thirteen days.
|“||So he thought I could write something fast, and he was right, and I liked it. It was fun writing something completely over the top, full of purple prose, and in a weak moment I agreed to do five more and the novelization of the second Conan movie.
I've decided that those things were very good discipline for me. I had to work with a character and a world that had already been created and yet find a way to say something new about the character and the world. That was a very good exercise.
Jordan wrote seven novels in the series:
- Conan the Invincible (1982)
- Conan the Defender (1982)
- Conan the Unconquered (1983)
- Conan the Triumphant (1983)
- Conan the Magnificent (1984)
- Conan the Destroyer (1984)
- Conan the Victorious (1984)
Some bibliographies also include Conan: King of Thieves; this was actually the working title of the second Conan movie, and hence also the title of Jordan's novelization. Jordan had already been hired to do the novelization and Tor had already applied for an ISBN when the title was changed to Conan the Destroyer.
They were packed into two separate volumes:
- The Conan Chronicles
- The Further Chronicles of Conan (The Conan Chronicles II in the UK, different contents)
Jordan also compiled a well-known Conan Chronology.
Warriors of the Altaii
Warriors of the Altaii is Jordan's first novel, which remains unpublished; it is 98,000 words in length, and he finished it in thirteen days. Donald A. Wolheim at DAW Books made an offer for it, but revoked the offer when Jordan requested a small change in his contract. When Harriet McDougal was Editorial Director for Ace Books, Tom Doherty hired Jim Baen to work under her, and when Doherty left Ace to start Tor Books in 1980, Baen followed, working at Tor for a few years before starting his own imprint, Baen Books. Baen did not have a very high opinion of fantasy, and so he bought Warriors for Ace Books as a science fiction novel. When he left Ace for Tor, Susan Allison took his place and reverted the rights for the novel to Jordan. When McDougal returned to Charleston to start her own imprint, Popham Press, she met Jordan and published his first novel, The Fallon Blood.
Infinity of Heaven
Jordan mentioned several times that he planned another fantasy series set in a different kind of world. He said that it would be a Shōgun-esque series about a man in his 30s who is shipwrecked in an unknown culture which would be similar to Seanchan culture in his Wheel of Time series and world. The books would detail his adventures there and would have been titled Infinity of Heaven.
He said that he would have begun writing these after finishing his work on the 12th and final main sequence book of The Wheel of Time. Jordan said, "Infinity of Heaven almost certainly will be written before the prequels, though I might do them between the Infinity books." Also according to Dragonmount.com, Jordan planned to write some side-story novels, before completely abandoning his decades-long work. Jordan had particularly stressed that this series would be significantly shorter than The Wheel of Time saga (about 6 books long and essentially two trilogies).
- Ross (September 2005). "Radio Dead Air Interview with Robert Jordan". Radio Dead Air. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
- "Science Fiction Book Club Interview with Robert Jordan". SFBC. January 2001. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
- Aan'allein (2001-04-04). "Leiden Signing Report". Emma de Laat. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
- "Barnes & Noble Chat with Robert Jordan". Seven Spokes. 1997-11-11. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
- Tahir Velimeev (September 2000). "Wanderer Fantasy Convention - Interview with Robert Jordan". Theoryland. Retrieved 2012-04-16.
- Dragonmount, the Robert Jordan blog (June 1, 2007),
- Dragonmount, the Robert Jordan blog (September 27, 2007).
- "Robert Jordan and the Wheel of Time". Archived from the original on October 12, 2007. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
- "Freemasonry and the Wheel of Time".
- "Statement from Robert Jordan about his health in Locus Magazine".
- Important note from Robert Jordan at Tor Books website – March 25, 2006[dead link]
- "Jordan's death.". Dragonmount. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- "The Post and Courier". Charleston.net. 2007-09-20. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- "Robert Jordan (1948 - 2007) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- ""The Stone" - Entry in Robert Jordan's Blog at Dragonmount, dated October 6, 2008". Dragonmount.com. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- The Wit of the Staircase
- Cannon, Peter. CROSSROADS OF TWILIGHT (Book). Publishers Weekly; December 23, 2002, Vol. 249 Issue 51, p.50
- "Robert Jordan's Official Blog". Dragonmount.com. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- "Forbes article on Jordan's illness". Forbes.com. 2006-11-30. Retrieved 2011-11-28.
- TOR Press Release[dead link]
- "1995 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved October 7, 2009.
- "Brandon Sanderson's blog".
- "Tor Fall 2010 Hardcovers and Trade Paperbacks.".
- "The Release Date for A Memory of Light Has Been Set". Tor.com. 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2012-05-02.
- Robert Jordan (1999-08-30). "Sydney Independent Theatre Q&A". Theoryland. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
- Ernest Lilley (2003-01-21). "SFRevu Interview with Robert Jordan". SFRevu. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
- WOT Encyclopaedia
- Peter Ahlstrom (2008-08-31). "Rolling up the Wheel of Time Panel (WorldCon 2008, Denver)". 仮. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
- David Drake (2006-11-22). "Jim Baen (obituary)". david-drake.com. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
- Rick Kleffel (2003-01-20). "Fine Print Interview with Robert Jordan". Fine Print Audio. Retrieved 2012-04-13.
- Tarvalon.net News[dead link]
- "Robert Jordan". The Times. September 19, 2007. Retrieved September 22, 2007.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Robert Jordan|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: The Wheel of Time|
- Robert Jordan's Official Blog (hosted by dragonmount.com)
- Robert Jordan at Tor Books
- Robert Jordan at the Internet Book List
- Reviews at FantasyLiterature.net
- Robert Jordan at Worlds Without End
- Robert Jordan at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database