Hellfire and Damnation!
May 29, 2011 2:27 PM   Subscribe

After over seven years, Stephen R. Donaldson, has stopped taking questions for his monumental and amazing Gradual Interview.
"After May 21, 2011, the Gradual Interview will no longer accept new questions or messages. I will continue to work my way through the questions which have already been accepted, but I can't do more. I'm too far behind on too many things, and the strain is affecting my concentration. Discontinuing the Gradual Interview is one of several things that I'm doing to simplify my life."
The Gradual Interview is a fully-searchable question and answer session with his readers that currently contains over 2600 exchanges on topics including minutiae about his novels, his writing process, and many other interesting subjects.

Donaldson is best known for The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, for which he is currently writing the tenth and final novel (expected in 2013). He is also the author of Mordant's Need, SF series The Gap Cycle, and the "The Man Who..." novels featuring detectives Axbrewder and Fistoulari.
posted by hippybear (12 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Ah, Thomas Covenant. I loved those books. Still do. However, in the SF/F community, liking those books is tantamount to saying that you liked _Ishtar_. Which I did. Still do.
posted by thanotopsis at 2:37 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

However you feel about SRD as a writer (and I know a lot of people are not fond of him,) the Gradual Interview was a truly impressive work of community engagement. It remains impressive even now that authors are expected to do much, much more of this direct social media "marketing." Kudos, Mr. Donaldson, and enjoy the extra sleep.
posted by restless_nomad at 2:38 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

Fantasy Bedtime Hour: Two girls in bed ill equipped to handle fantasy novel concepts... discuss Lord Foul's Bane.

Synopsis: "Join us for this very special FINAL episode of The Fantasy Bedtime Hour as we recap the book and discuss especially perplexing questions with the Creator himself, Stephen R. Donaldson!!!" (SFW)
posted by artof.mulata at 3:18 PM on May 29, 2011

I thought the chronicles were ok. Kind of simplistic and jejeune if that's the word like a lot of fantasy seems to be, but they had some good weird ideas and conveyed an odd sort of landscape.
posted by Not Supplied at 3:44 PM on May 29, 2011

Huh, I had no idea that there were more than six Thomas Covenant books. Read those six years ago, probably in the early nineties. I was sort of sick of them by the end of the third book but some literary form of the sunk cost fallacy convinced me to trudge through the next three. No way that I'll read four more.
posted by octothorpe at 6:52 PM on May 29, 2011

I loved them as well...and have been chastised for doing so. When I got married, I chose white gold rings, laughing that I was now a White Gold Wielder.
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 7:06 PM on May 29, 2011

Fantasy Bedtime Hour: Two girls in bed ill equipped .... with the Creator himself, Stephen R. Donaldson!!!" (SFW)

Er, um, excuse me, totally NSFW. If I was caught watching that at work, or well by anyone I know, I would be teased mercilessly for longer than the ladies have been in bed producing this epic of fandom.
posted by sammyo at 8:12 PM on May 29, 2011

It's not okay to be teased at work? Dammit, I'm going to HR.
posted by artof.mulata at 8:17 PM on May 29, 2011

You know, I've been a Donaldson fan since I first encountered his work over 30 years ago. Something about the themes he writes about really clicks with me. However I've never met the man or seen him in action before until I watched those two Fantasy Bedtime Hour episodes with him.

Holy shit, his manner of speaking and his voice and his facial expressions are NOTHING like what I ever have imagined him being like.

This puts a whole different twist on all the answers in the GI. I may have to go back and read the entire thing out loud in the new SRD voice I have in my brain now!
posted by hippybear at 9:55 PM on May 29, 2011

I've plowed through the first two trilogies a few times since they were first released -- pretty entertaining, but damn...the level of detail too often detracts from moving the story forward.

And ultimately, Covenant is a jackass.

But damn, I wish the Haruchai really existed. Movie treatment, anyone.

And that Fantasy Bedtime Hour - ha! Cool of SRD to show up.

Also: previously.
posted by davidmsc at 9:30 AM on May 30, 2011

davidmsc: Yeah, there's a segment in the new series, I think it's the end of the second book and beginning of the third book, which encompass some ridiculous number of pages (I think well over a hundred, maybe more) and then later I figured out it was basically a 24-hour period.

Still, his writing has grown so much in the intervening years since the end of White Gold Wielder, this final story is really being told at level which is head-and-shoulders above the early series. I highly recommend these new books to old Covenant fans. Although the 3 year wait between volumes being published is a bit of a drag...
posted by hippybear at 10:35 AM on May 30, 2011

I read the first six books when I was about 13, and I was deeply impressed by the idea of a non-heroic protagonist. There were a lot of great elements and ideas in the books, but the flawed man -- and the negative capability required to get through the stories -- stuck with me for years but not enough to, you know, read any more of his books.
posted by wenestvedt at 7:30 AM on May 31, 2011

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