Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Author Event: Patrick Rothfuss

Yesterday, the book every fantasy fan has been waiting for finally came out.  No, not that one, I'm talking about Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss.  Even though I only had to wait like, four days, most everyone else has waited about four years.  Even sweeter than not having to wait ages, my city, Seattle, got first crack at Pat as the very first leg of his book tour.

The event was scheduled to take place at 7 pm, but when I showed up at the bookstore around 4:30 to purchase Wise Man's Fear there were already a few superfans milling about.  Their extreme earliness gave me a bit of a chuckle and I probably called them "nerds" or something under my breath.  Knowing there was still tons of time before the event, but not enough time to bus home and do something useful, I instead sipped some tea and did some reading in the store's cafe.  Around 5:15 I poked my head into the author event area and saw that 50 or 60 folks were already staking out seats for the event!  Bear in mind that 50-60 souls is about average for most of the fantasy author events I've been to at this store, however it was still a solid two hours before the event!  At this point I decided that all Pat Rothfuss fans were much more hardcore than I'd anticipated, and also that this Rothfuss guy might actually be a big deal or something. 

However, I am a stubborn bastard at the best of times, and I refused to claim a seat and just sit there for two hours.  Plus, I was hungry.  So I went and ate pizza.  When I came back around 6pm, any hope of getting a seat had long since disappeared, and I was relegated to standing room only.  By 7pm when the event began, my guess is that anywhere between 500-750 people were in attendance.  Easily the most people I've ever seen at an event there and even more than when GRRM was there touring A Feast for Crows.  As surprised as I was by the numbers, when Pat came out his jaw nearly dropped to the floor, and a huge smile made its way to his face.  It's gotta be an awesome feeling to go to a book signing the day your new book comes out and be greeted by hundreds of cheering fans. 

The event itself was also pretty great.  Pat cracked a lot of jokes, and of all the authors I've met, he wins the award for funniest...though I will say the fantasy book reading crowd is a pretty easy audience to get a chuckle out of.  Guess we're just a carefree bunch.  Pat fielded a lot of questions, and the event definitely had a "hangin' out with Pat" feel to it despite the massive amounts of people.  He also read the prologue, from Wise Man's Fear, took some more questions, read us some of his poetry, told stories, took more questions, and signed books. 

He mentioned that he anticipates the third book will be out in 100 years, and added that it could come out sooner than that, but probably not for a couple years.  Some other subjects his discussion touched on are buying the rights to Firefly, his extreme hatred of spoilers, (he once spit on a friend for spoiling part of season five of Angel), child rearing, and the world of The Four Corners of Civilization, which may or may not be flat. 

He also discussed how the Kingkiller Chronicles went from having all three books finished, to needing years of rewrites.  Rothfuss said that when he wrote the books ten years ago, he thought they were totally awesome.  However, back than he referred to himself as a "feral writer";  not part of a writing group and had little formal training.  Now, with improved skills, and hindsight, he said that some parts are still awesome, and other parts need rewriting, in some cases lot of it.  What impressed me was his dedication to writing the best possible book, no matter how long it took him.

Sacrilegious as this may sound, I did not stick around to get my books signed.  I know, what an idiot I am right?  Well, truth be told, I did stick around for about an hour of the signing session, but I was wedged pretty good into a corner and even after an hour of signing, the crowd hadn't thinned out that much.  Faced with pending school work, an ever increasingly less frequent bus schedule that was my only way home, and a line that seemed endless, I decided to call it a night.  So, slight disappointment there at the end, but that's just the way it is.  Still, it was cool to hear Rothfuss speak, and it's nice to know that he's a pretty cool guy, and definitely deserving of his hordes of fans.


Seak (Bryce L.) said...

So very jealous. That sounds like so much fun. Sadly, Pat won't be making his way anywhere near me, but that's why my new plans are to move back home to California no matter what. :)

Ryan said...

Yeah, I love going to author events. One to just see what the author is like in person, and hear them read a passage or two from their work, but it is pretty fun to be around dedicated fans too.