On Comparisons

I've been reading the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (and is being completed by Brandon Sanderson) since the late 1990's, and have recently started re-reading the series now that it is almost completed so that I have entire story in recent memory. I have started the series multiple times, but had run out of published books. By the time the next book would come out, I'd have forgotten many of the plot points. Truth be told, I'm starting to wear on many of the points of the series; there seems to be a lot of time re-establishing characters from book-to-book. This is there for good reason, but when you read the series from start-to-finish, it's just repetitive.

But something else has bothered me for some time, and that's one of the review quotes on most (if not all) of the novels. In a New York Times review, it was said "Robert Jordan has come to dominiate the world Tolkien began to reveal."

Were I Jordan, I would find this absolutely insulting.

If they were to replace the word "world" with "genre", that would be acceptable. But they don't. They imply that it's the same setting. Sure it's possible that it's one huge planet with massive continents, and the Tolkien stories (of which there are many, and they are expansive!), and it's possible that Rand and Frodo could meet up at some point! (Mind, I haven't yet finished the story.)

While we're at it, why not include the Earthsea stories, the Forgotten Realms, and for good measure include the varied lands of at least one of Moorcock's Eternal Champion incarnations in for good measure?!

I can only assume that Jordan didn't have any say into the cover design. I'd be flattered to have my works compared to Tolkien's in terms of richness or quality! But to imply that it's a continuation of the same world, when he's obviously taken such pains to build a rich and unique history and culture just strikes me as insulting.

But as I said, I haven't yet completed the series, but if at the end, Rand meets up with Frodo and Galadriel, I'm going to burn my copies of the series. And probably Tor's Headquarters as well...


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