On Sunday, Jim Rigney aka Robert Jordan passed away. He’d been ill for some time so it is not unexpected but it is nonetheless sad news. I’m not a reader of his, but I did meet him and find him a very pleasant and kind man.
I interviewed him for Reality Break back in 1994. At the time, the fifth Wheel of Time book was out. I read the first several hundred pages of it and still had no idea what was going on. I found a grad student at Georgia Tech who was a big fan and gave me a summary of the series (this was in the days before there were web pages with all that information.) The interview got off to a rocky start when I couldn’t find his hotel room and I knew he thought I was an idiot (because I heard him say it through the door as I walked up.) Nonetheless, when we got it rolling it all worked out, my general ignorance of his work did not show through and he gave me some very interesting insights into his work. When it was done we said goodbye, a week or two later I aired the interview and that was that.
About a month after that, I got a very nice handwritten note from him, thanking me for my time and the very interesting interview. I did hundreds of these interviews, he was arguably the most famous person I ever talked to, and yet he was the only person that every wrote me a thank you note for interviewing him. He was a true southern gentleman all the way through, tough when he needed to be but kind when he thought he should be. He was an asset to coastal South Carolina and the sf/fantasy community, and he will be missed greatly.