It is a sad, sad day. James Rigney, aka Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time fantasy series passed away on September 16, 2007. He had been battling with amyloidosis for a while now and the publisher announced he died of “complications from primary amyloidosis with cardiomyopathy.” He was working on the final book in the Wheel of Time series.
Robert Jordan was the first fantasy author I read and really enjoyed. He is the reason I started reading fantasy at all. He influenced the entire genre over the past couple decades, helping authors like George R. R. Martin get a start by providing a cover quote for his first Song of Ice and Fire book, A Game of Thrones. He also provided many of the ideas for Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, though Goodkind denies it vehemently. All you have to do is read the books (that’s not a suggestion, by the way, Goodkind is a talentless hack) to see the similarities and ideas that were pulled right out of Jordan’s pages.
The last news I had heard from Jordan was a while back since I don’t check the Dragonmount website frequently. At the time, it seemed he was beating the disease with promising news from the Mayo clinic where he was getting treatment. When I read about this today on George R. R. Martin’s Not a blog, I was blown out of the water. We should all go light a pipe for this once physics major turn fantasy writer who survived hurricanes and Vietnam, but was no match for the ravages of time.