Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rhapsodizing on Pat Rothfuss

Looking back through the Pat Rothfuss tags on my blog one could probably piece together a picture of my allegiance to Pat Rothfuss.  It wouldn't be hard to see that I'm a fan and that I've been one for four years now.  His name pops up often when thinking about great writing or blogging about good fantasy novels.  Still, through all these past posts I haven't really told The Story.  Pieces of it, yes, but not the whole thing.  Now, on the eve of my second trip to visit Pat at a signing, I feel the time is at hand.


I got married on May 5, 2007.  The Name of the Wind was released on March 27, 2007.  I bought the book on my honeymoon on a whim (the naked man chest cover was... odd).  The book happened to be a first edition, first printing, though at the time I didn't particularly care.  So first and foremost, I've been a fan from the get-go, practically.  I knew there was something special about the story I was reading.  I had been a reader of fantasy for so long that I'd grown calloused and bored of the repetitive, cliched yarns that authors told and re-told.  The wool was thick over my eyes, and Pat's Name of the Wind was the catalyst that pulled the wool away and set it aflame, never to return again.

I was so blown away by the book that I sent Pat an email, timestamped in June of 2007.
Hey Patrick,

I just finished reading the Name of the Wind and was sitting here absorbing the story.  I usually don't read a book with the jacket on and so when I put it back on I noticed the web address.  I just wanted to let you know that the book was absolutely amazing.  I've been reading fantasy and sci-fi books since I was young, but this book was different.  It really felt, well, real.  I look forward to the next book and more from your creation.  Take care & God bless.
Heh.  It felt good to read something fresh and original.  I was so thankful for the story and for its ability to pull me from the clutches of boring fiction that I just had to let the author know.  I wasn't expecting a response or anything, not really, but not even a week later I received this.
Logan (?) [I'm assuming you're a logan, due to your e-mail address.]

Thanks much for your message. Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. It's been pretty busy around here.

I'm glad you liked the book. I love it when long time fantasy readers enjoy it. It lets me know that I've done something right. I was shooting for that "real" feeling.

I should go now. Got to get back to book two so I don't keep you waiting too long.


Perhaps had he not responded I wouldn't have the feelings for him that I do today.  The feeling that even though Pat's a worldwide literary superstar, he still is a real, down-to-earth guy that enjoys people, not to mention nerdy things (e.g. Joss Whedon).

So I started following his blog, counting myself as one of his fanatical minions and basking in his general awesomeness.  (I mean, did you see that beard?)  And what does one do when one loves something?  They talk about it.  So I talked and talked about his book, but I didn't know anyone personally that had read it.  So I bought some copies to give away or loaned mine out to friends and family, practically begging them to read TNOTW.  Then I found other bloggers with similar interest, and my passion for blogging was rekindled toward the end of 2008.

In the Fall of 07 Pat blogged about getting your book signed if you mailed it to him.  To make a long story short (you should go read that post, it's hilarious), Pat said he would sign your book if you mailed it to him and included "something cool."  I knew exactly what to send.  I packaged up my book and trinkets and sent them away, and sometime later received my book back, personalized and signed.  "Cool," I thought.  But even cooler, and another reason why Pat moved even higher up on the pedestal I had him, he mentioned the "something cool" that I mailed him on his blog.
Since then, hundreds of people have send in books for me to sign. And the cool things they’ve sent have been… well… really cool.
Someone send in a quarter with a bullet hole in it. A handmade Kvothe doll. Old coins. Keys. Jewelry. Magical charms. Grue protective gear. Brass gears, foreign delicacies, and strange gods…. [Source here.]
You see that?  I sent in that quarter, along with a few other odds & ends that I don't remember.  The quarter, in particular, was one from target practice with my uncle and brother.  If I remember correctly, the shot wasn't perfectly centered, but kind of off, hitting most of the coin but also clipping off part of the side.  I was proud of the shot, and I thought this memento would make a great offering.  Pat's mentioning it put a smile on my face for a while after that.

Considering all of this, there really was no hope for me.  I fell into the role of devotee, recommending TNOTW to everyone and their brother.  I read and re-read the book, once aloud to my wife even.  His follow-up book, a not-for-children children's picture book, The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle, came out last Fall, and I loved it.  It was funny, clever, witty, dark, and overall just another reason to like Pat.

Now that I am about 40% through The Wise Man's Fear, the sequel to The Name of the Wind, my faith in Pat has only grown stronger.  The story is even more beautiful than the first, more refined and more entertaining.  Last time I met Pat, I blanked out and got, uhm, star struck?  Tongue-tied?  Nervous?  I mean, I was meeting an idol.  Tomorrow I hope to act differently, but I make no promises.  For even though Pat is a down-to-earth fellow nerd, he's still a famous author who will be, undoubtedly, exhausted from the tour and tired from the late night.  I feel bad knowing that I'm taking up his time, but then again, I am driving three hours to see the guy.

Expect a write-up of the event next week.  Who knows, I may finish WMF and have that reviewed, too.  Also, you should check out Deanna's review of The Name of the Wind here.  She met Pat last night at a signing and will have a post up next week, too.


Bill said...

Kind of a side comment but shooting a quarter is a lot tougher than it looks! I remember one of the requirements for my Rifle Shooting merit badge in Boy Scouts was to place three holes within the size of a quarter with a .22 rifle at a distance I can't remember. I had to practice for hours before I got that precise!

David Wagner said...

The Name of the Wind is a terrific book, for sure. I'm not even sure I recall how I heard of it in the first place... maybe I mentioned it in my blog, I better go check...

I've been very hesitant to begin A Wise Man's Fear. I know it will be great, but I also know it will be years before I can get my grubbies on the final book of the trilogy... so I'm dragging my feet a bit...

Have fun at the signing. Pat = the man, and so do you.

Paula Titus said...

Great story! I haven't read any of his books, I suppose I should give one a try :)

ibeeeg said...

I am going to admit to you, when you posted about your Wise Man's Fear book being back ordered, and then worried about not obtaining the first edition, first printing...I really did not fully understand, had a clue though. Now, tonight, I am pysched that my Wise Man's Fear is first edition, first printing. Something about that fact has given me a thrill. Also, it is one of the editions with the misprint...printing numbers do not appear. I think this thrill is here now because of my meeting of Pat last night. Something about meeting him has made the books more personal. Besides that, now when I read his blog, I can actually here him what I mean? I think that is very sweet.

I sure do hope you are not tongue-tied when you meet Pat. Those who spoke with him received genuine attention from Pat. Down to earth Pat is, you say, and I so agree. By the way, remember, I did mention your name to him last night. I seriously wonder if that made a tiny imprint into his mind. :)

Have fun. I look forward to hearing how your night turned

Kristopher A. Denby said...

I will not look at reviews. I will not look at reviews. I will not look at reviews. I will not look at reviews. I will not look at reviews. I will not look at reviews. I will not look at reviews. I will not look at reviews.


Oh, this isn't a review.

Like you, Logan, I am a Rothfuss fan through and through. The man walks on water as far as I'm concerned. I had the opportunity to buy a signed copy of TWMF yesterday, but passed on it. I'm debating whether I want to pay that much )local bookstore), and whether I want to lug that heavy brick of a book with me to NYC next week.

Anyway, long live Pat Rothfuss, and long live Firefly and Joss Whedon!

Great post!

Shellie - Layers of Thought said...

You know Logan - I could kick myself for not entering that contest for the signed copy you were giving away a few months back. I just figured I had enough to read. Oh well - live and learn.

logankstewart said...

@Bill: I can't remember what we were shooting. It might've been .22s, but it could've been ARs, as well, though I imagine the whole would be a lot bigger.

@Dave: Here here! TNOTW is indeed a terrific book.

@Paula: Oh, yes, do so. You won't regret it.

@ibeeeg: Aye, my copy is one of the misprinted ones, too. Pretty cool if you ask me. Don't worry. I wasn't tongue-tied this time.

@Kris: Yes, I've only read one or two WMF reviews for the same reasons as you, likely. Three cheers for Rothfuss, Firefly, and Whedon!

@Shellie: Indeed, friend. Live and learn... ;)