Not content with milking A Memory of Light for all it's worth, there are now mutterings that Tor are considering expanding the WoT series with some further novels that are separate from the main sequence.
Robert Jordan allegedly signed a contract for three prequels, of which only the first - New Spring - has been written and published. He also started discussing the possibility of a sequence called The Outriggers which would continue some major developments after the main WoT sequence had ended. So, we're looking at potentially two further prequels and any number of sequels to the original series.
I'm no fan of WoT, but this doesn't sit well with me. Getting Brandon Sanderson to write A Memory of Light based on Jordan's detailed notes is one thing, but writing a whole slew of new novels - presumably without such detailed notes - is completely different. To be blunt, it has the unmistakable whiff of dead horse about it and gives the impression that Tor are prepared to squeeze every last drop out of their star franchise, even if it means tarnishing the series' reputation even further.
Yes, publishing is a business - I get it. We hear this time and time again. I accept it. But it's a shame to see such a popular series be so exploited. No doubt there'll be a load of 'we're doing this for the fans' malarkey, but I wonder how much weight such statements will carry with a fanbase that has already voiced protest at the splitting of A Memory of Light into three volumes.
Perhaps a more pertinent question - how many of the fans actually want these novels? Correct me if I'm wrong, but New Dawn - the one prequel that Jordan did write - received a very lukewarm response and sold poorly compared to the main books. Will the new novels - if they are commissioned - go down any better? The decision to get Sanderson to finish WoT was not met with universal approval, so how will objecting fans feel if he writes more novels in the same universe? For the record Sanderson has already stated that he will write the two other prequels and the Outriggers novels, if asked.
No blame for this possible expansion beyond the original series can be laid at Sanderson's door - he's made his feelings clear: "I don't want to see the Wheel of Time turn into an eternal franchise. I said this last weekend at my signing in Montreal. Part of the value of a great work of art is, in my opinion, the ending. An ending loses power if it isn’t allowed to be…well, the END." He qualifies this by adding, "I have told Harriet, and I have repeated it on blogs, that I would say no (though it would hurt to do so) if a decision were made to go beyond the Outriggers and the prequels." Top bloke, Brandon Sanderson.
The fear remains though that - if these new novels are written and published, and if they sell well enough - future volumes could be commissioned with a different author if Sanderson sticks to his guns. The question then would be - what will happen to the integrity of one of fantasy's best-loved series? Well, it would probably suffer a similar fate to Dune, which has become a total and utter joke.
The real cynics out there might argue that WoT already has become a bit of a joke, and that would be partly true. But I can't help feeling that these further novels would just cheapen the series a whole lot more.
Thoughts? Any WoT fans out there who have strong feelings on this (either in support or against these potential new novels?). Interested to hear your thoughts...