Ahh, the power of twitter. Tim Pratt spilled some pretty interesting beans today:

Wow. Greg Bear is going to write a trilogy of Halo novels. That’s pretty crazy. Though he has often written about giant alien artifacts…

Which was then more or less confirmed by Tobias Buckell, who made waves when he penned Halo: The Cole Protocol:

@timpratt ah, the news is out! :-)

It’s interesting to see another prominent author putting out a tie-in novel. A prominent name in the Science Fiction field, Greg Bear certainly doesn’t need any more exposure (and I’m sure his bank account is doing just fine), so I’m curious what Microsoft/Bungie is putting on the table to get authors like Bear and Buckell to agree.

An official press release should be coming in the next few days.

Rumours spread a few days ago that A Memory of Light, the final volume in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, would be split into three volumes, the first of which being released this fall.

Speculation ensued, people were upset (especially about the atrocious cover art), and Tor has sent out a press release to straighten things out. The Short answer, it’s all true.

Tor Books is proud to announce the November 3rd, 2009 on-sale date for The Gathering Storm, Book Twelve of The Wheel of Time and the first of three volumes that will make up A Memory of Light, the stunning conclusion to Robert Jordan’s beloved and bestselling fantasy series. A Memory of Light, partially written by Jordan and completed by Brandon Sanderson, will be released over a two-year period.

Robert Jordan, one of the greatest storytellers of the 20th and early 21st centuries, passed away in 2007 after a courageous battle with the rare blood disease amyloidosis. Brandon Sanderson, the New York Times bestselling author of the Mistborn books, was chosen by Jordan’s editor—his wife, Harriet McDougal—to complete the final book.

The Wheel of Time series has sold over 14 million copies in North America and over 30 million copies worldwide with translations into 28 languages. The last four books in the series were all #1 New York Times bestsellers, and for over a decade readers have been eagerly awaiting the conclusion to the epic story.

Harriet McDougal said on the process behind A Memory of Light: “The scope and size of the novel was such that it could not be contained in a single volume. It was a piece of marvellous good fortune that Brandon Sanderson undertook the work. He is a great pleasure to work with, as well as a wonderful writer.”

President and Publisher of Tor Books, Tom Doherty, also expressed his happiness with A Memory of Light, saying: “It is a magnificent closure to a great American epic fantasy whose journey began almost twenty years ago. There is no way Robert Jordan would have squeezed it to a single volume, and somehow it seems fitting that what began as a trilogy will also end as one.”

The first ever JordanCon will take place this April 17th – 19th, 2009 in Alpharetta, GA. Harriet McDougal, Tom Doherty, Brandon Sanderson, and other members of “Team Jordan” will attend as featured guests and speak personally on The Wheel of Time and The Gathering Storm and the stories behind the rich literary legacy of Robert Jordan. JordanCon will also include a special preview of The Gathering Storm.

This year will also see major publications of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time comic books and graphic novels with the launch of The Eye of the World comics in May and the New Spring graphic novel with bonus material in November. The Dabel Brothers will be releasing the comic book series, which will then be collected and published as graphic novels by Tor Books.

Universal Pictures acquired the movie rights to The Wheel of Time in August 2008, and currently plan to adapt The Eye of the World as the first movie.

Two volumes I could understand (the novel is a behemoth, in word count) but three volumes? I believe the proper term for this is BOHICA. Dragonmount has an interview with Harriet Rigney (Jordan’s widow) which contains some further news about why the novel was split into three volumes (hint, it’s actually about money):

How did the decision to divide this final book into three parts come about? Was it a publishing necessity, a story necessity, or something else?

The material that Jim left was very capacious, and Brandon saw after working with it for a while that he could not complete it in less than a total of 750,000 words. This is probably an impossible thing to bind – unless we sold it with a magnifying glass. 250,000 words is in fact a fat, or Rubensesque, novel. You will notice that 3 x 250,000 equals 750,000. So… part of the decision was based on making a book within the scope of binding technology. The major part of the decision was to get ALL the story that Jim left out there for us all.

Fine, 250k is a hell of a long novel, but is it really so unreasonable for fans of the series (who have thus far read 11 doorstoppers) to expect two 375k novels, rather than dipping into their (strained) pockets for three smaller novels?

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Most curious, there was no mention of the eye-gougingly bad cover art that also surfaced with those rumours. Considering the cover art has the correct name for the first-volume-of-the-twelfth-volume, one has to consider that it originates from Tor somewhere. I can only imagine the scrambling going on over at Tor after they saw the leaked cover. I mean, how better can you portray impending armageddon than with a muddy image of a one-handed Rand, dancing a little jig?

Saw this on the Westeros Forums and thought it was worth a laugh. The UK cover art for Scott Lynch’s upcoming The Republic of Thieves:
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch

Hmm… looks familiar, eh?

The Bastards and the Knives by Scott Lynch

Wait? Is that the previously released cover for his supposed set of novellas, The Bastards and the Knives? Why, yes, yes it is! That certainly can’t bode well for it being released any time soon.

The US Cover was released a few months ago and can be found HERE.

Hal Duncan is known for being exceptionally verbose. Thus, the irony that ensued when he recently joined Twitter, which limits posts to 140 characters.

Paul Abbamondi has a funny comic, detailing Duncan’s arrival on Twitter and our impending doom:

Comic by Paul Abbamondi

And it seems Duncan’s aware of the irony:

RT @Hal_Duncan: I remain convinced that with sufficient time and practice I will master the art of communicating with both brevity & …damn

Should be good fun, if anything!

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon SandersonAdam, at the Wertzone, shares some news about the final volume in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, including the cover art:

The final Wheel of Time novel, A Memory of Light, has been split into at least two but possibly three volumes (i.e. if the recession gets worse it’ll be three). The first sub-volume, given the hilarious generic title The Gathering Storm, will be released in November 2009. But sub-volumes II and III (if it goes that far) will only follow at 12-month intervals. According to the website to break the news, Tor will be releasing the book in tradeback rather than hardcover, which sounds insane to me.

Hopefully expect an official announcement in the next day or two, although it is possible that furious fans will have burned down the entire Internet by then.

Interesting. Though I don’t think anyone’s surprised that it’ll end up being two volumes, three seems a bit of a stretch. I’d be curious to find out the justification behind releasing each volume in Trade Paperback instead of Hardcover.

The original news broke at The American Book Center Blog.

UPDATE – Adam posted some further clarification below in the comments:

According to Sanderson it’s not a hoax, but it’s not the full story either. Some things have been garbled in communication but he can’t say what until Tor issue the official press release.
I’m going to hazard it’s 2 books, hardcover as it should be, but maybe still separated by a year. The cover is also apparently a rough mock-up.

From Sanderson’s blog:

A few hours back, people started sharing links regarding a few places outside the US who have begun posting news related to A Memory of Light. I’m getting some emails about this, so I thought I’d go ahead and post something. Likely, this will all get overwritten soon, as soon as Tor and the Jordan estate release official reactions and/or announcements.

I can’t say much. Why? Well, it’s not my right. I’m loving being part of the Wheel of Time, but it is Harriet’s world, not mine. And so I feel it right to let her make any announcements at her pace. I don’t even feel right linking some of the websites making news about this, though you can find a thread about it on Dragonmount if you look.

A very small cover image has been floating around, and people want me to say if it’s a hoax or not. Well, to be honest, I haven’t yet seen the cover art for the book. Things have been so busy for me these last few months editing that I’ve let Harriet handle all of that. So I don’t know if the cover is the real one or not. It certainly looks like Mr. Sweet’s work, and it could be a scene from the book. But it looks rough, perhaps not the finished art. It’s too small to tell. And the lettering on it is suspect to me–it mentions this book being the sequel to Crossroads of Twilight, for instance, which is a flat-out error. I certainly didn’t approve that on cover copy, and I doubt Harriet did either. Most likely, this is a mock-up done internally that is being used as a placeholder. That’s just one of the several things that bothers me about this cover image.

A lot of people are wondering on the number of volumes this book will be. I’ll be honest, this is a big, big project. I stand by one promise to you, no matter what else happens. I will NOT artificially inflate the size of this book. It doesn’t matter to me how many volumes Tor decides to make it; the story is the same to me. One volume, as Robert Jordan planned it. Enormous.

If it is split into chunks, I will push Tor to release them as soon as is reasonably possible and I will push hard for an omnibus edition at the end.

More soon

Conclusion? Take everything with a grain of salt.