The sword and sorcery of pulp writer Robert E Howard was another rediscovery during the original Lord of the Rings boom, and the Arnold Schwarzenegger movies turned Howard's Conan the Barbarian into a franchise. Jakes had produced an early Conan pastiche, called Brak, and a number of successful fantasy writers had tried their hands at continuing the Conan saga in new novels. Rigney joined them with Conan The Invincible (1982) and produced six more novels in three years, including Conan the Destroyer, the novelisation of the film. He also produced a Conan chronology. He wrote them as Robert Jordan, taking the name not from the character in Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, but, like all his pseudonyms, from names that matched various combinations of his own initials.
The Eye of the World bore many comparisons with the Lord of the Rings. The latter's Hobbits, children in size if not fact, are chosen to defend Middle Earth. Jordan's Rand al'Thor is still a boy when he and his friends are tasked to save the Third Age from the Dark One, imprisoned at the moment of creation, but starting to stir. Most fantasy writers draw on the stock elements of both myth and previous fantasy. But as his series progressed, Jordan took it into new territory, challenging his heroes with adult kinds of chaos, endlessly inventive within his fantasy world. He said he enjoyed fantasy because it was the one genre where "you could talk about right and wrong, good and evil, with a straight face".
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Robert Jordan Obituary
Guardian Unlimited Books has already posted Robert Jordan's obituary: