About a week ago in a crazy random happenstance I walked out the door of my office building and standing there chatting with someone was one of the most recognizable authors I can think of: Patrick Rothfuss.

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I stopped dead in my tracks as my mind processed that it was actually him, which of course he noticed, and I started this brilliant exchange:

Me: You’re Patrick Rothfuss!

Patrick Rothfuss: I am.

Me: I love your books man!

Patrick Rothfuss: Well thank you very much! *fist bump*

Since I had clearly interrupted an ongoing conversation I elected not to be a douche and try to get a picture with him.  I instead contented myself with a Facebook post where I commented that I would just have to wait to get that picture until the (still far off) day when I can meet him again at a signing for Book 3 of the Kingkiller Chronicle.

I also started thinking about how I’ve grown more patient since my days of griping about Robert Jordan failing to deliver new Wheel of Time novels in a timely manner.  Five years ago I might have asked Patrick Rothfuss to his face when his next novel would be coming out.  Even not writing in this blog for a month has given me a new appreciation for how hard it is to get in the rhythm of writing again once you’ve stopped for a while, and how life can sneak in and get in the way.  But I still want to write about three fantasy series where I just can’t wait to get my eyes on the next novel, no matter how long it takes.  Here they are in order of most recent publication to longest wait:

stormlight archive

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson (Book #3 of the Stormlight Archive) – 3 years since last series novel

It feels a little unfair to put Brandon Sanderson on this list because he’s such a prolific author.  Hell, he even finished The Way of Kings (book 1 of The Stormlight Archive) at the same time as he was concluding the gargantuan Wheel of Time series from Robert Jordan’s notes after Robert Jordan passed away.  Unlike the other books in this list, Oathbringer even has a tentative release date.  But Sanderson’s proclivity for working on multiple projects at once means that his opus (10 planned books in the series) is going to take decades to finish.  It’s already been almost seven years since The Way of Kings and I feel like a reread of that and Words of Radiance will be absolutely necessary to remember everything that’s going on.

the winds of winter

The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin (Book #6 of a Song of Ice and Fire) – 5+ years since last novel

This one is pretty obvious due to the unprecedented popularity of Game of Thrones.  Loyal readers have been waiting for the Winds of Winter since just after the TV series premiered, and now, six seasons later, the show has outpaced the novels.  Surely a major part of the delay has been his work on the TV show, but another part is his apparent talent for being sidetracked by other projects.  Perhaps more than any other author George R.R. Martin has been the subject of fan irritation over his tendency to write about subjects like his favorite NFL teams on his blog instead of working on the series.  I just realized that one of my favorite creative outpourings of this frustration was uploaded all the way back in 2012.  Write like the wind George!

doors of stone

The Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss (Book #3 of The Kingkiller Chronicle) – 6 years since last novel

Clearly Patrick Rothfuss had to be included in my list!  In my publication calculation I’m not counting The Slow Regard of Silent Things (book 2.5, published in 2014), which while very good, is only novella length and features a different main character and a completely different tone from the other books.  It’s been almost ten years since I read The Name of the Wind, and Patrick Rothfuss has half-joked that a tenth anniversary edition of that book is likely to be published before he finishes the Doors of Stone.  And now that The Kingkiller Chronicle has been optioned for film and TV adaptations (produced by Lin Manuel Miranda!) I’m worried that Rothfuss will fall into the same trap as George R.R. Martin.

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What books are you waiting for with bated breath?  Let me know!

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