While fans wait patiently for The Doors of Stone, the third volume in Patrick Rothfuss’ massively popular Kingkiller Chronicles, the author has been busy on several projects, including work on the final volume, The Doors of Stone. The most imminent of these, due for release in November, is The Slow Regard of Silent Things, a novella announced by Rothfuss in April, 2014.
If there’s anything that Rothfuss wants to make clear about The Slow Regard of Silent Things, however, it’s that the novella is not the third volume in the Kingkiller Chronicles. “It’s not a mammoth tome that you can use to threaten people and hold open doors,” Rothfuss explained in his announcement post. “It’s a short, sweet story about one of my favorite characters. It’s a book about Auri.”
In the announcement post, Rothfuss revealed an early synopsis for the novella:
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is set at The University where the brightest minds work to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences, such as artificing and alchemy. Auri, a former student (and a secondary but influential character from Rothfuss’s earlier novels) now lives alone beneath the sprawling campus in a maze of ancient and abandoned passageways. There in The Underthing, she feels her powers and learns to see the truths that science—and her former classmates—have overlooked.
“I didn’t set out to write a book about Auri. I really didn’t,” admitted the author, alluding to the length of the novella, which originally began life as a short story for inclusion in Rogues, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. “I’d had a story idea about Auri tickling around my head for a while,” he explained. “What’s more, I thought she would make a nice counterpoint to some of the other classic rogue-type characters in the anthology. Sort of a trickster rogue, as opposed to a thief, swashbuckler, or a con man.
“‘Besides,’ I thought to myself. ‘It’s just a short story. Three or four thousand words. Maybe 6 or 7 thousand if I run long. That’s about two week’s writing, tops.'”
But, as these things like to do, the story grew beyond Rothfuss’ early imaginings. “Eventually I hit about 15,000 words and forced myself to stop,” Rothfuss said, reflecting back on the time when he was writing the story before eventually realizing that the growing short story wouldn’t work for the anthology.
“It wasn’t going to work for the anthology, it was too long, and it wasn’t a trickster tale of the sort I initially expected it to be. Honestly didn’t know what the hell kind of story it was, but it wasn’t going to work for [Rogues]. […] I realized who *really* belonged in an anthology about rogues: Bast. Once I figured that out, I wrote “The Lightning Tree” for the anthology, and it worked out really well.”
Rothfuss’ full account of The Slow Regard of Silent Things‘s origins is well worth reading. The novella will be available from DAW Books in November, 2014.
The Slow Regard of Silent Things is the second of three novellas announced by Rothfuss in a January 2014 AMA on Reddit. The first, The Lightning Tree, is available in Rogues, and the third, Rothfuss explained on Reddit, “tells the origin stories of one of the other legendary figures in my world: Laniel young-again.” Rothfuss guesses that the third story, which he describes as a “short novel,” will be 100-120k words, making it as long or longer than most novels. Tor.com speculates that this novel will be released in 2015.
The Doors of Stones has no released date, but there is still much for fans to look forward to in the coming months.