Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wheel of Time - Never to Be Finished

I was very disappointed earlier this week when Brenden forwarded me a link to Robert Jordan's recent letter to Locus magazine. Apparently he has amyloidosis, and possibly not very long to live:

Now in my case, what I have is primary amyloidosis with cardiomyapathy. That means that some (only about 5% at present) of my bone marrow is producing amyloids which are depositing in the wall of my heart, causing it to thicken and stiffen. Untreated, it would eventually make my heart unable to function any longer and I would have a median life expectancy of one year from diagnosis. Fortunately, I am set up for treatment, which expands my median life expectancy to four years.

Now, I certainly hope that Robert Jordan makes a full and complete recovery and lives for years and years to come.

But at the same time doctors are usually pretty good at predicting life expectancies for terminal diseases. And the treatment really only has about a 50-50 chance of working, and involves pretty drastic things like extracting some of his bone marrow, using chemo to kill off all the remaining bone marrow, and then putting the saved marrow back in. That sounds risky, to me at least.

I've been reading Jordan's books for more then 10 years. After 11 books, he's finally within one book of completing the Wheel of Time series. Supposedly the next book is going to be a 2,000 page monster, but will conclude the series.

Now, Jordan is not the fastest writer on the planet. It takes him somewhere between 2 and 3 years per book, and that is for the middle books in the second half of the series. I assume the extra-long masterpiece conclusion will take at least 2.5-3 years.

Given that, it doesn't look good for him finishing the series. Even if he is extra resilient to super-intense chemo and bone marrow transplants, and manages to live for 3 more years, is he really only going to lose 6 months to the treatment, recovery, and the inevitable declining health towards the end of his life? My gut says no.

I just hope that I am proven wrong.

And if I'm not, I hope that he fills someone else in on what is supposed to happen in the last book so they can finish the series. Long ago I think he said that he would not do anything of the sort; If he died, the series died with him. I imagine at the time, the threat of death wasn't quite as imminent.


McBrideFarm said...

That's really sad! It sounds like a horrible disease.

You never know, perhaps this news will inspire him to stay up all night for a few days and make great headway on the book. Maybe he's one of those people who only takes 2 years to write because he revises like 800 times. And now he'll get down to business.

Steve Eck said...

Well, I certainly hope that is the case.