Jim Filler:  I just read the latest replies in the GI and one interested me particularly. You talk about the importance of style for communicating story. And I agree with you. But I also wonder if and to what extent you think presentation plays a role in communicating the story. By “presentation” I mean paper quality, font, font size, spacing, etc. As I read AATE, I alternated between reading it on the Kindle and reading the hard back (yes, I bought both), and when I initially started reading on the Kindle, I switched to the hard back, because I liked the font and the spacing in the hard copy. It looked more elegant. But I was having trouble with my eyes (I’ve started to notice difficulty reading things close up-getting old) and switched to the Kindle because I found it easier to read. I’m still not sure how the different formats affected my reading experience, and if it did.

So I was curious about your thoughts, if you give this much thought, etc.

Thanks. As always, a HUGE fan and can’t wait for the next book.
Speaking only on the basis of my personal experience, and of the experiences of the few people I've talked to about this....

It seems to clear to me that things like font size and style have an objective effect on readers. Simple practicality: when a font is large and distinct and spacious enough to be read with ease, readers are able to move both more quickly and more comfortably (which naturally increases the pleasure); and since the majority of readers are becoming old enough to experience declining eyesight, the issue is serious. I've heard several people say they no longer read because fonts have become too small and effortful. (So why do publishers keep shrinking their fonts? Short-term thinking--which usually produces self-defeating results. Smaller fonts use less paper, which cuts costs. So fewer people buy the book, so costs need to be cut further, so fonts become even smaller.)

As you've observed, perhaps the biggest advantage of devices like the Kindle (apart from the question of bulk) is the ability to choose a font size that works for the individual reader.

But other issues of presentation seem pretty idiosyncratic to me. For some people, a book is only "real" if it's a hardback. Paperbacks are too disposable (and sometimes harder to hold). (Plus they typically have larger fonts.) But for me, a book is only "real" when it's a mass market paperback. I grew up poor: paperbacks are my *definition* of real books. I wouldn't voluntarily read a hardback, or a trade paperback, if I could get my hands on a mass market paperback. And these days even my own books don't seem "real" to me because they aren't published in mass market. Go figure.

As for paper quality, I only notice it when I'm signing books. The character of the paper affects how smoothly my pen moves.


Jeremy:  My question is why do the ur-viles and the waynhim owe Linden service, or why do they want or need to help her? I'm sure you explained it but I must have missed it when you make me stay up reading till dawn as I am wont to do with your entrancing prose!

If I could sneak in another question it would be: do you believe in God and if not what are your opinions on the nature of our existence? I hope that's not too personal or abstract or irrelevant. Thank you for your time sir and even if you don't give me an answer I will wish you both peace and love. Yours thankfully Jeremy.
I don't think you've missed anything. NONE of my characters (except the ur-viles and Waynhim themselves) know why those creatures serve Linden--or even oppose Esmer. If I succeed at my intentions, their reinterpretation of their Wierd will eventually be clarified. But that reinterpretation hasn't been defined for the reader yet. (Hinted at, yes: defined, no.)

I don't use the Gradual Interview to discuss my personal views on the subjects you raise. It's not just that I don't consider them relevant. I'm afraid that my personal views will be used to (mis)interpret the story. But it can't be insignificant that *religions* appear in my stories so rarely. (Unless you consider the Council of Lords' service to the Land a religion.)


Solar:  You have said many times that you are not comfortable with the idea of working with characters and worlds that you did not invent yourself; that in order to write stories, you need to feel that they are your own creations.

However, you have also said that when you were much younger, you wrote two fan-fiction novellas, one based on Marvel's 'Thor' and the other based on Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'.

Do you have any thoughts on this apparent contradiction? It seems almost as if your imagination changed in some way as you grew older, and that you have lost the will (or the ability?) to work with the ideas of others. Going from a writer who produces fan-fiction for his own satisfaction to one who would not write about other people's characters even if you held a gun to his head seems like a remarkable transformation. To what do you attribute this change in attitude?
There *is* no contradiction. You said it yourself: I was "much younger" back then. I was still discovering myself as a writer. In that process, I tried my hand at all kinds of things which turned out to be Not What I'm Good At. For example, the experience having one of my plays performed at Kent State convinced me (in no uncertain terms) that I am *not* cut out to be a playwright. But the fact that I made the experiment *then* doesn't affect the integrity of what I'm doing *now*. Those earlier experiments enriched what I've become.


Anonymous:  In his 'On Writing', Stephen King advises against the use of adverbs. Vehemently so (heh). I'm curious what your stance is; I can accept the culling of extraneous adverbs but are they always an indicator of clumsy prose?
Every writer has his/her own way of writing--and of thinking about writing. King isn't the only writer who eschews adverbs (however vehemently): Elmore Leonard and Kurt Vonnegut leap to mind. And he isn't the only writer who preaches against adverbs. All I can offer is my own opinions (and my own writing). But here's how I look at it. Adverbs are words, and words are the tools of the writer's craft. If any particular tool produces clumsy (or apparently clumsy) results, that isn't the tool's fault. But nor is it (I hasten to add) necessarily the tool-wielder's fault. We all have limitations. No tool-wielder is equally adept--or equally comfortable--with every tool. That isn't a "fault": it's just a fact of life.

As it happens, I can't say what I mean without adverbs. Perhaps King can't say what he means *with* adverbs. So what? I'm not trying to write his prose, and he isn't trying to write mine. We're both just using the tools that suit us.


Michael Carolan:  Hello Stehen,
Firstly it's a long time since i have asked any question here and I am very grateful for the effort you put in to satisfy us fans and for the answer I recieved before.

my question..

When you sit at your computer to write.. Do you have rules for yourself? For example.. I'm not getting up until I have put down 1000 words.. or I'm not going to surf the net when this gets hard.. I suppose its a tricky topic to tie down in one question.. and one that you might answer.. ;-P Really its ..

What rules do you set yourself when you sit down to work?

Keep up the wonderful imagining.... but ease off on the words i dont understand.. lol.. I shouldnt need a dictionary every time I sit down to read..


I don't think in terms of "rules" when I'm at work. But I certainly have "goals." The first and foremost of which is, Write SOMEthing. (I can't very well call myself a writer if I don't actually string words together in some sort of--hopefully--useful sequence.) And toward that end, my daily guideline (I'm sure I've said this before) is: It's OK to write badly. I can always rewrite later; something good will come of it eventually; and in the meantime virtually any writing is better than not writing.

My secondary goal is to write enough to invoke the sensation that I'm making real progress; that what I'm writing is "alive" in some sense. That's important to me (although the amount of writing necessary to reach that point varies wildly from one session to the next). But it only comes into play when I have well and truly met my first goal.

(Do I have to mention that I also resist distractions--phone calls, surfing the net, paying bills, whatever--as much as my circumstances allow? Isn't that axiomatic?)

But seriously: what's wrong with encouraging you to expand your vocabulary? Words are the tools of thought. The more words you know, the more things you can think about.


Simon Stopher:  Hi Stephen.

I have purchased a signed copy of AATE, from my local Waterstone's bookshop. It appears to be sheet pasted into the book.

The signature bears more than a passing resemblance to others you signed for me in Manchester, UK back in 2007.

My question is given that you are not doing any book tours for AATE, how do I know if its a genuine signature, because otherwise I cannot see you signing hundreds if not thousands of these templates?

Thanks for your time.
Actually, I *do* sign thousands of what are called "tip-in sheets." (Counting both the US and the UK, I signed nearly 10,000 for "Runes.") My publishers require it: they think it increases sales. These sheets of paper are then bound into the published books and sold (or even given away). So I think you can be confident that the signature "pasted into" your book is authentic. (If it isn't, the person faking it is wasting his/her time.)


Jeffrey Goode:  Covenant: "Soon would be good. Now would be better." Whoa, did the Timewarden just channel a paraphrased Nick Succorso? :)
Who knows? Covenant *was* part of the Arch of Time, after all. Maybe that gave him access to different realities as well as different times.


Adam bajkowski:  Hi Stephen, as I absorb myself not only in the depths of your stories but also in the many philosophical arguments you cause your reader to ponder on and the multitude of unusual and uncommon (though often repeated) words in your story telling, I can't help but wonder if you actually set out to 'educate' your reader in as many ways as you can imagine. Is this true?

By the way, as a doctor, can I just say that your description and elucidation of why people cut themselves is better than anything I've ever read in a medical textbook. Also, in the hallowed walls that are Cambridge University, one of my son's 1st year history colleagues was asked in an exam to write about events which conspired to ensure the apotheosis of Edward III as a medieval monarch . Much as he knew about Edward III, he didn't know the meaning of one of your favourite words!
Do I "set out to 'educate' [my] reader"? Not at all. That would stray (never mind seduce me) into the realm of polemics, which I avoid as stringently as I can. I do what I do in the service of the story. What the reader gets out of the story (if anything) is up to him/her.


Dave P.:  You're scaring us. When you recently said in the GI that "Time presses cruelly upon me, and my need for short-cuts has become imperative.", you were late getting to the airport, right? Or you had to take the turkey out of the oven. I hope it's nothing more than that.
"Nothing more than that"? Dream on. At my age, *everything* is more than that. <grin>


Tim B.:  I was just wondering, how many people other than yourself, know the end of the story? In light of things such as Wikileaks and so many news outlets, internet chats/blogs, etc. existing today, do you ever fear that someone who knows may "leak" the ending prior to the final book being published? Possibly an advance reader, someone in the publisher's office, or even a family member or friend who you have let read early drafts that you may have a falling out with?
Unless someone is channeling my subconscious, nobody else living or dead knows the end of the story. I've given out plenty of hints, of course (my whole life's work is a hint of one kind or another), but most of them (the concrete ones, anyway) obfuscate as much as they clarify.


Bill Ridgway:  Dear Steve,

I searched the GI and cannot find this question asked anywhere. Do you practice your karate EVERY day, and, when you are writing, do you find it easier to concentrate on your writing (gain focus)?
Going to the dojo three times a week is about my maximum. At other times, I practice various little things in various little ways, but I don’t follow a consistent training schedule.

Focus is strange. I think it’s like training sparring: sure, my skills (gradually) improve--but whenever I make progress, my teachers simply shift into a higher gear. The result is that the discrepancy between where I am and what I’m trying to learn never gets any smaller (a frustration which is by no means unique to me). Therefore I can’t measure my own progress. I have to rely on other people to give me a realistic picture of where I am. Well, focus is like that--or so it seems to me. The “stronger” my focus becomes, the greater the obstacles to focusing become. (Obstacles in my life; in my story; in my emotions; whatever.) So I *believe* that studying karate helps me focus, but I have no objective yardstick for the change (if any).


Ossie:  Your TCOTC work has always avoided any direct "crossover" with Covenant's "real" world, apart from the specific characters the story is about: the creatures within it are unique to the Land (apart from general concepts such as giants and humans), and the history is unique to the Land (apart from general concepts such as having a Creator and an Ancient Evil Enemy). In short, regardless of the question of whether the Land is *real*, there is no question that it is a *different* place to Covenant's "real" world.

So I have always been interested by the names "Satansfist" and "Satansheart". In every other case, names in the Land are unique to the Land, and not "borrowed" from Covenant's "real" world (apart from general concepts common to the language of both worlds, made into names: Corruption, Fangthane, Kinslaughterer). But "Satan" *is* purely a name, with no other, more general meaning (or rather, if you want to argue in the case of words like "satanic", the name came first and created the concept, rather than the other way around). So the specific use of "Satan" in relation to the Land's Ancient Evil Enemy seems to imply that it came from a common source as the one in Covenant's "real" world, and hence an explicit link between the two worlds independent of Covenant himself.

Unless this is a massive spoiler for TLD, I think we can assume by now that this is not the case, and that there is no such link. So I'm not really sure what I'm trying to ask here, apart from: "Satansxxxx" seems somewhat incongruous with the naming conventions you use in the rest of Covenant?

Thank you - Covenant is my favourite story, ever.
“Incongruity” I’ll concede. I suppose every story contains miscalculations. Mine certainly do. My justification for names like “Satansfist” (and “Kevin”) is that they arise from Covenant’s mind. But being able to justify those names doesn’t make them *good*--i.e. effective, apt, evocative, or simply not jarring. If I were writing my older books today, I might make some different decisions.


Danny:  Hey and happy writing!

I'd had a question about the Covenant movie that had been in the works at one time. Filmmakers tend to make changes in source material when dealing with a movie based from a book, to keep things moving, emphasise characters, that type of thing. Just out of curiosity, do you know of any changes that had been planned for the movie?

You keep writing and I'll keep buying.
It was a long time ago now. But the men who hoped back then to make one or more “Covenant” movies were True Fans, and they wanted to make no substantive changes. In practice, that meant making as few changes as they could get away with. However, they never discussed with me what those changes might be. The whole project never got that far.


A stonedownor:  Hi Mr. Donaldson, keep up the good work! *sigh* another three-years lapse... If the world ends in 2012, I will kill you personally for not having started one year before <grin>

My question is about the publication of LFB.
You said previously in the GI that the manuscript was rejected by 47 publishers until it was accepted by Lester del Rey.
This seems to hint that you submitted *only* LFB; did you submit also a synopsis of TIW and TPTP (since we know you had the plot already in mind) or was your hope to raise the publishers' interest only with the first book since the three volumes of the first cycle are somewhat "stand-alone" (on the contrary of TSC and TLC)?
(Silly wabbit. I’ll already be dead.)

I submitted *only* LFB. I didn’t want to horrify an editor with three long manuscripts from an unknown author. But of course it would have been foolish to pretend that LFB could truly “stand alone,” so in general I acknowledged that I did have two more books. As I recall, I did not include plot synopses (which I hated writing even in those days), but I did offer to submit more text if the editor wanted to see it.


J.R. Gibson:  Stephen,

I just finished AATE, and went back to the GI to get caught up (didn't want to see any spoilers while I read). Book 3 is indeed the best of this series: I say that thinking nothing could have topped the Viles.

Previously here you have written, "To this day, however, I hate teaching writing. . . . But both experiences were extremely beneficial to my own writing," and, "I'm always amazed that people hate my books enough to read (and re-read) them all. I have no good explanation."

Maybe there's a kinship here: isn't conducting the GI a (sometimes painful) way of you teaching an English class? And yet you keep coming back. I love your writing, and I love another writer you've referred to here, Patricia McKillip. But whomever I read, I think I often find "camp" where the author's intent was depth, yet I still am deeply moved at points where clearly that was intended. Yet as you said, if the readers keep coming back, "hate" probably isn't the right word. Perhaps "love/hate" is just too convenient a cliché.

My questions to you: You keep coming back to the GI, so what do you get out of it? Of course, on one level it's clearly a way to reach your fan base -- but do you get anything out of it personally or professionally? (akin to writing class) Of course much has transpired in the time between the first "Covenant" and now, but do you think the GI had anything to do with how you have progressed as a writer?
First I have to say that “hate”--like “love”--means different things in different contexts. Personally I don’t see the connection between the exhaustion and despair that I feel when I try to teach writing and the virulent rage that readers feel when they tell me they hate my books. Although I make plenty of mistakes, I have never tried to destroy a student. Quite a number of readers have tried hard to destroy me. (You may think I’m exaggerating, but you should perhaps consider trusting me on this point. You really don’t want to read some of the messages I delete from the Gradual Interview--or the letters that arrive with no return address, or the diatribes handed to me anonymously when I’m “in public.”)

So what do I get out of my (variable) dedication to the Gradual Interview? Quite a few things--although none of them have anything to do “with how [I] have progressed as a writer” (why not? because the GI is inherently retrospective: it involves looking at what I have already done rather than at what I am doing; therefore its capacity to educate me is oblique at best). Honesty requires me to mention that “good PR” is one benefit. (Well, I *hope* it’s good PR.) Another is validation: writing is a lonely business, and the stories I choose to tell are often draining; the GI reminds me that I’m not as alone as I feel. Another is, well, let’s call it “cross-training”: exercising different intellectual muscles. (Which, of course, does contribute to my progress as a writer, despite my protestations to the contrary.) Yet another might be called a reality-check: it helps me determine the relationship (if any) between what I tried to communicate and what I actually communicated. (Which certainly--I’m being polite here--*encourages* progress as a writer. <sigh>)

However, none of this feels like “teaching” to me.


Lachlan Hibbert-Wells:  Dear Stephen,

[message pruned to save space]

Rambling aside, my love of the Covenant series (and to be honest, all your books, which I also own) has not been easy on the books - I'm pretty respectful but a friend who stayed in my room recently started reading them by bending the spine, forces pages to come unstuck. It's currently being repaired but I'm thinking of buying a second set to carry with me, lend etc. To this end my question is whether there is any chance we'll ever see a collectors set of all 10 books once the Final Chronicles are done? I know you've spoken of your issues with the original publishers before but I still hold out hope that this would be possible. A consistent style, possibly even like the pyramid editions where you can see the next books cover in the distance of each book, and design would be a wonderful thing to own and pass on (although feel free to state if you hated the 'pyramid' covers!)
As matters stand, there is *no* chance of a uniform “Covenant” edition (even an ugly one). Different publishers are involved, and they simply don’t cooperate--never mind coordinate--with each other. But “as matters stand” is not mere rhetorical noise. In the UK, for example, my current publisher (Orion/Gollancz) is making a concerted (and possibly even strenuous) effort to buy the rights to Covenant 1-6 from my former publisher (once Fontana, later HarperCollins). Success is conceivable, if only because Orion/Gollancz has something HarperCollins wants (or so I’m told). That would make possible a uniform edition--in the UK. In the US, alas, something similar seems far less likely. Why? Because Ballantine owns all the rights (including foreign rights). Publication in places like the UK gives Ballantine a stream of revenue which requires zero effort or investment. Why would Ballantine surrender that merely to let Putnams/Ace make more money?

I wish things were different.


James Dashner:  You can only imagine my excitement when you decided to write the Last Chronicles. Thank you for that.

My question: What's your opinion of the sudden boom in ereader purchases and its portent for the future? Just generally speaking, I guess, from an author's perspective. I'd be fascinated to hear it.
Recent events have taught me a new appreciation for the sheer *convenience* of ereaders. Perhaps that’s crucial? Perhaps the impracticality of physical books has played a larger role in the general deline of reading than I ever suspected? I don’t know. But I do know that ereaders appear to be booming--and not just among younger, tech-savvy readers. Maybe that means something.


Nick:  You have said in this interview that you see the Gap Series as being the supreme achievement of your writing life.

I'd agree with that.

Why do you think that the vast majority of posts and questions here are about TCOTC? What chord does it strike that it seems to resonate so much more with people than TGS?

I suspect it is because TGS is complete in itself, like Wagner's Ring: I've read them more than once, but have no question to ask, either factual or related to character.
I'm only speculating here. But off the top of my head, I can think of three possible explanations. 1) The "reality" of the Land--at least as it's presented in the first Covenant trilogy--is more attractive than the GAP "reality." At least initially, the Land is a place where people might want to spend time--perhaps because the Land feels magical. 2) The characters surrounding the protagonists in TCOTC are (a lot) more likable (also simpler) than virtually everyone in the GAP books. 3) It's conceivable that readers respond more easily to the more "archetypal" nature of the story in Covenant than they do to the more, well, human-scaled issues in the GAP books.

But really your guess is as good as mine.


Ethan:  Do you foresee a time when you might give up writing or is this something which you plan on doing until the day you ... well, you know.
God willing, I won't have to give up writing. I certainly intend to keep it up as long as I can.


Chen:  Hi Steve,
thank you for the wonderful tales!
Reading the 1st chronichles for the umpteenth time (hey, I have to fill the next three years with something, after all) a couple of questions came to me.

1) Why did you name one of your characters "sor-anal"? ....oh, whoops, you already answered this elsewhere! :) so:

1) Why Covenant's bargain with the Ranyhyn prevented them from flying to the South during the Despiser's Winter in TPTP? If they could foresee the time of their calling, they should be able to start their journey from wherever they are in the due time. Or does not this apply to TC calls?

2) In the GI, you justified Linden's ability to speak with the Old Lords with the fact that the ancient language used in Kevin's Wards (which had to be translated my the New Lords) was not the one they used as "common-speech". Maybe I'm wrong, but it seems that the little mud creatures dwelling under the Spoiled Plans in TPTP (you know? I'd love to see those little fellas again) named themselves with that same (rarely spoken) ancient language: how could they know it?

Thank you also for the GI!
1) Mainly I think of this as a question of practicality. How far would horses get through the Southron Range--in winter--before they had to turn back? Assuming that they love the Plains of Ra and don't want to leave? And considering that the Lords or the Bloodguard might summon them (and probably did during the years between TIW and TPTP)?

(Of course, it's also possible that the misuse of the Staff of Law affects the abilities of the Ranyhyn. Or perhaps they're just that loyal.)

2) Maybe the jheherrin picked up quite a bit from their proximity to Lord Foul and power? Maybe their lineage is really ancient, and they learned "common-speech" more recently?

This is all speculation, since we're outside the text.


Anonymous:  Do you have any updated information on when Scott Brick will publish the audio versions of the Second Chronicles?
As far as I know, Scott Brick has no plans to tackle the Second Chronicles. I have the impression that he can't afford to. He has to spend his own money, and the sales of the first trilogy don't justify the expense.


Anonymous:  Fifteen years ago, I was fortunate enough to wander in to a used book store in Baltimore and find hard cover copies of LFB, TIW, & TPTP published by Holt, Rinehart, and Winston (the Wyeth covers really were quite beautiful). Of course, I purchased them. TPTP is a few inches taller than the other two, a bit wider, and the page font is also a bit larger and looks to be of a slightly different script. That has always struck me as odd and I was wondering if you have any insight regarding the difference in the size of the books? Did Holt make a couple of different print runs of this book?
In this case, books which appear to be from the same edition are actually from separate publishers. The larger ones are from Holt. The smaller ones were published by the US Science Fiction Book Club using a reduced size of the Holt package and text. (Naturally the SFBC purchased the right to do this from Holt.) That's standard practice for the SFBC.



This question has been hidden since it is listed in the following categories:

Spoilers - Against All Things Ending

To view this post, click here.

You can choose to bypass this warning in the future, and always have spoilers visible, by changing your preferences in the Options screen.


This question has been hidden since it is listed in the following categories:

Spoilers - Against All Things Ending

To view this post, click here.

You can choose to bypass this warning in the future, and always have spoilers visible, by changing your preferences in the Options screen.


This question has been hidden since it is listed in the following categories:

Spoilers - Against All Things Ending

To view this post, click here.

You can choose to bypass this warning in the future, and always have spoilers visible, by changing your preferences in the Options screen.

Robert Shore:  I noticed that some time ago you said that you've tired of competitive bridge (though not the bridge). Do you still play any ACBL games? I'm also curious to know what rank you've reached in the ACBL.
I didn't really get tired of competitive bridge. I got tired of competitive bridge players. That obsession with winning brings out the worst in a lot of people. I still love the game, but I no longer play in the ACBL. I was a Life Master (which doesn't mean much) on the border of the next level; but I've forgotten what the next level is called.


Paul Thomas:  First a grand thank you: you write for yourself but the gift we receive is immeasurable. You've taught me many things, the paradox of life, the necessity for understanding human boundaries, and that there is beauty and love to be found anywhere. Gracias!

Someone earlier asked about the repetition of certain phrases and you spoke of leitmotifs and of looking for a mindset. I tend to think of it as a flavor, like a scent; every home has one and you tie the people to that. Many times I've had repetitious thoughts that were at first vacuous but later made sense; when scared by something "Looking down the barrel of a gun" would come to mind. I've absorbed a few from you: "Joy is in the ears that hear" , "hellfire and damnation', 'we cannot be blamed for the end result, only that we did our best to do what was right' (heavily paraphrased :) .)

To the question (at last!) Do you know of anyone that plays an online game, especially 'World of Warcraft'? I play it on and off and found myself perceiving the 'digital world' to be like the Land in certain ways: The things you do there don't really mean anything to the physical world, but they mean something to the reader/player.

There are virtual animals who don't defend themselves and there is no reason to do anything to them, yet every so often I will be in an area and it seems some player has decided to kill them all. No returns, no resources .. just a few pixels on the screen that were moving and no longer move. I feel hurt for them, like some light has left the world. They don't really matter but it's the the senseless apparent barbarity and inhumanity that bothers me.

Is this part of what you are talking about when you had Covenant fighting in his mind over the reality of the land? That sometimes it matters not the end result but the things we do, or choose to do, that make us who we are wherever we go? Trell's abomination/desecration in the close: the act of a torn man destroying what he loves. That the stone was abused means nothing in the end, but the violence he enacted on his own soul, that is the important thing? Another way of saying integrity? I could steal and no one would actually be hurt, but the act of it belittles me?

Thanks again, and I wish you a grand Christmas and wonderful New Year.
I know a few online game players--including "World of Warcraft"--but that isn't something we talk about. I have no real interest in playing such games myself: for me, they're too much like work.

But I think it's obvious that there are plenty of people in the world who Just Like Killing Things. Makes them feel "powerful" in one way or another, I suppose. (I'm just guessing, of course.) And I have no doubt that those people would defend their actions, strenuously if necessary (of perhaps even when it isn't necessary). Which fits your point rather neatly, I think. If reality is what we make it (which is what the argument comes down to in the end), then the conclusion is inescapable: what we make of reality makes *us*. ("It's OK to kill these virtual animals--or these real animals--or these real people--because I want to do it and I choose to believe it's OK." Clearly that reasoning says more about the reasoner than it does about, well, whatever.) Indeed, I suspect that we don't make anything *except* ourselves--since (as far as I can tell) reality doesn't care what we do.

Just my opinion.


bob:  I have been reading your books since the first paperback edition of LFB and I was a kid. I almost flunked a class when "The One Tree" was published because I wanted to read it before someone at college spoiled it.

What I want to say is certainly not a demand, or even a request, it is a hope, maybe even a prayer. It is presumtuous in the extreme even to hint at telling an author what to write, but here goes anyway:

Where is the love for the land? Where is the joy for the ears that hear? The land in these books is a joyless, cold place and it is difficult believing that someone would even care enough to want to save it.

I guess I miss that feeling of love you obviously had for the land and the inhabitants. I am hoping to get a glimmer of that again in the last book.

I enjoy your books, I enjoyed AATE, I have always enjoyed the idea of a deeply flawed hero. The Superman/John Wayne figure never did anything for me. It didn't ever seem as real as a leper/rapist who stood up and saved the world.

I guess I'll dig out my old copy of Lord Foul's Bane, it's been a good 10 years, maybe by the time I get back to AATE it will seem different to me.

Hmm. I hardly know what to say. Your reaction is so far removed from mine, I can hardly believe we're talking about the same book. My knee-jerk response is, If joy is in the ears that hear, where's *your* joy? *I* haven't lost any of my love for the Land and its inhabitants.

But there's a valid point here, although I think about it differently than you do. One of the over-all themes of "Covenant" is: evil does real damage. Sounds simplistic when I say it that way, I know; but it can't be said too often (certainly not in *our* reality <sigh>). "Sic transit gloria munde." (I hope I spelled that right.) "Thus passes the glory of the world." Things become less. Entropy is one reason, of course. But a more immediate reason, I think, is: evil. (Well, evil, and the things evil feeds on: ignorance, greed, fanaticism, etc..) Certainly the world of the Land is breaking down because Lord Foul wishes it so.

In any case, no one needs love more than a person--or a world--that's dying.