On January 8th, 2013, the 14th and final book in the Wheel of Time series, A Memory of Light, was released and concluded the the adventure that began nearly 23 years ago (for readers) of Rand, Egwene, Perrin, Nynaeve and Mat. [more inside]
There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.
"It all started with wondering what it was really like to be tapped on the shoulder and told that you are the savior of mankind. Ten years of thinking about that, and I began writing." He was James Oliver Rigney, Jr., a Vietnam vet who went on to get a degree in physics from The Citadel, and was then a nuclear engineer for the US Navy. He put all that behind him and started writing a variety of fantasy novels under various aliases. As Reagan O'Neal, he wrote the Fallon trilogy of historical fantasy in the early 1980s, which he followed up with a quick series of Conan novels as Robert Jordan. Under this pen name, he spent a decade planning and four years writing The Eye of the World, the first book in The Wheel of Time, an epic storyline in a fantasy world. Jordan had planned out the broad story arc from the beginning to the "final scene in the final book," but he died before his epic tale could be completed. A young author, Brandon Sanderson, was chosen by Rigney's wife and editor, Harriet McDougal, to complete the portions of the tale left as a loose collection of notes. One last book became three, and just last month, the release date of the final book was set: January 8, 2013, in the final month of the Year of the Dragon. Now that the end is in sight, you might feel the pull of nostalgia to finish the series, or maybe you're interested to see what all this fuss is about. With around 11,000 pages, 635 chapters, and more than four million words, it's a complex, daunting world to (re)enter. Fear not, the internet is here to help. [more inside]
Brandon Sanderson has been selected to write the twelfth volume in the Wheel of Time, having been chosen on account of his previous books Elantris and Mistborn
Robert Jordan has amyloidosis, a rare blood disorder that is remarkably fatal. The link has all the info you need, including: "[amyloidosis is] a rare blood disease which affects only 8 people out of a million each year, and those 8 per million are divided among 22 distinct forms of amyloidosis" and "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."