Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Replacement Author

I wasn't sure which blog to post this on, since it is neither funny nor does it have anything to do with my family.  I ultimately decided to post it here because hyperblogianism is more of an exercise in characterization, creative writing, and humor than it is a journal.

I have been an avid reader since I was 15 years old.  It started in 1993 at the end of the ninth grade when I discovered the novel Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon.  I loved that book, and after I was finished, I raided my mother's collection of novels (she's a more avid reader than I am) for more books written for an adult audience.  I was never really on board with novels targeted at children and teenagers.  It was that summer that I read my first books written by Orson Scott Card and Stephen King, the two authors who I, as an amateur writer, get most of my inspiration from.  Since the mid '90s until the present, my three favourite authors have been Stephen King, Orson Scott Card, and Dean Koontz.  I have read and enjoyed novels by other authors, but these three have always been my go-to guys.

One problem, though.  They're getting old.  King has even threatened retirement at time, and he actually almost died in 1999 before completing The Dark Tower series.  And, I hate to say it, but as they're marching into senior citizenship, they're starting to lose their edge.  Koontz is insanely prolific, almost to the point of being formulaic and predictable.  One could argue that King is, stylistically, at his best right now, but he's also 63 years old, and his age shows in his writing.  I have two complaints with Card.  For one thing, he can't leave Ender Wiggin alone.  And for another thing, he seems to be getting more right-wing while I find myself drifting further to the left.

In past years, I've wondered whose books I'm going to read when the time comes that my three favourite authors, who are old enough to be my parents, either retire or die.  Oddly enough, I discovered a new favourite author because another author I like (Robert Jordan) died.  Avril has been reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time fantasy series since she was a teenager, and I picked it up myself in 2006.  It's the first classic sword-and-sorcery type fantasy that I've read, and I found myself loving it.  Unfortunately, Jordan died in 2007 after the eleventh novel in the series was published.  He knew he was dying, and he made extensive notes and shared all of the major details of the remainder of the series with his family.  His wife, who is an editor for Tor publishing read a story called Mistborn, and decided that the author of it, Brandon Sanderson, would be perfect for finishing The Wheel of Time.  I read about this, and decided to check out Sanderson's first book, Elantris.  Reading the blurbs and the about-the-author, I deduced (correctly) that he's LDS (he lives in Utah, teaches at BYU, and there was an Orson Scott Card quote on the front cover).  I loved the book. So did Avril.  We have read everything else he had published (which isn't much, yet) prior to taking over The Wheel of Time except for his series of books aimed at young teenagers.  Currently, I'm reading The Way of Kings, which is the first book in what will be his own massive multi-volume series called The Stormlight Archive, and Avril is reading book 12 of The Wheel of Time.  The best thing about him?  He's only three years old than I am, so if I outlive him, it probably won't be by long.

So, in short, Brandon Sanderson is the latest addition to my list of favourite authors, and I highly recommend that you read his books.