The Wheel of Slime

The Original Cyberpunk makes the mistake of rolling with “The Wheel of Time”:

Seven pages of Prologue. Three pages of maps that by all rights should have the Tolkien estate consulting their lawyers. Then the story finally gets started — except no, wait, that was just the author tuning up; here, this is the real sta — no, wait, he fooled me again, now is the point where the story finally starts to get under weigh, with a determined, dreary, and ponderous plod.

There are two reasons why I remain serenely untroubled by my books selling in the tens of thousands rather than hundreds of thousands. The first is named “Dan Brown” and the second is named “Robert Jordan”. Of the two, Jordan is by far the more execrable, as he manages to combine annoying characters with an absence of a plot that is only topped by his general lack of originality.

If you want to sell the maximum number of books, you must appeal to the lowest common denominator. Jordan is as low as it gets. I actively loathe his protagonist, Rand al’Thor, and slogged through a few of the middle books in the series inspired solely by the hope that he would die a lingering and painful death, preferably involving something that would somehow manage to silence his whining during the process.

For years, I thought that “The Wheel of Time” was the worst best-selling fantasy-related series ever written. However, I think the woman who writes the Anita Blake novels recently managed to top Jordan with her increasingly absurdist vampire porn.

If you want modern epic fantasy, stick with Martin, Feist and the older Eddings stuff. Or even Dragonlance. Shannara is another mediocre Tolkein ripoff, in my opinion, but it’s head and shoulders above the interminable “Wheel of Slime”.