Cover to Cover #292A: Terry Goodkind

Terry GoodkindMike, Summer and Michael segue from drooling over Stackpole's iPod Touch to using such a device as an ebook reader. The technology is here now, why not start using it to enhance your ability to read your books in a wider variety of ways and places?

The ebooks won't completely replace the books, but it'd be nice to not have to pack 2 or 3 books in your suitcase, wouldn't it?

Interview: Michael, Summer, Michael and Brian talk with Terry Goodkind about Confessor, the third book in the Chainfire trilogy which also concludes the 11-volume epic Sword of Truth series.

Terry shares his thoughts on crafting a story that's taken 11 years to finish, and how the overarching story is concluded with all of the pieces from the previous books coming together finally.

We talk about working out crafting such a large story taking place over a larger number of books, what to leave in and what has to be left out, planning out how characters move in and out of the overall story, and how close an author gets to the characters they've lived with for so long.

Terry also gives us a little info on Sam Raimi's plans to create either a miniseries or a weekly TV series based on Wizard's First Rule, and hopefully a continuing series based on the entire series may be coming to our preferred video delivery system before long.

Submitting Listener comments: If you have any suggestions or comments, please let us know!

Promo: Tesseracts Eleven


  1. Cell phones can also be great eReaders, I don't understand why they are not more commercially used. you can check out to see what it's like. They have some good titles that you can download free, you can install direct to the phone from their mobile site or via a PC.

  2. Mr. Goodkind has a long history of espousing unsavory philosophies in his novels and in interviews. In Confessor his hero creates independent cell groups to terrorize civilians as a method of overcoming the enemy's numeric and military superiority. He justifies killing innocents by the logic that they aren't really innocent because they didn't rise up and fight their powerful dictator, so they are complicit. Sounds frighteningly like al-Qaida to me. This is just one of many such scenes. Then there's his famous "Date rape is really democracy in action" quote. I'm disappointed you fawned all over him and didn't ask him one remotely challenging question.

  3. Ok, so I listened to the interview (having never read a Terry Goodkind novel-though i've heard of him and seen his books on the shelves) and was interested. I clicked the link to the amazon site and read the reader eviews of his books. And they were sccaaathhinng! Will someone tell me if i can rely on these reviews or if its just the voice of a few disgruntled readers (often those w/ someting to bitch about are the loudest voices and that the happy people generally stay quiet when it comes to product reviews).

  4. Asgard: Holy crap! Date rape is democracy in action? When the hell did he say that? Geez I'm glad that the one of his I read (Wizard's First Rule) was a loaner from a co-worker.

    Maria: I liked Wizard's First Rule, but not enough to get the other books in the series (though i did enter the contest to win Confessor, but what I'll probably do with that if I win is get it autographed then donate it to a charity auction).

  5. To be honest, I don't recall that there was a huge backlash of vocal readers at the start of his series. Not until after he had done a couple of interviews and responded to posts on Amazon, going deeper into his philosophical views, and thus drawing out the combative types. You can do plenty of searches to find that info, some of it is on his website, I believe.

    As for the people who vilify some authors for reprehensible character behavior, and not others (I don't recall seeing an uproar over Donaldson's Covenant), I don't understand the selective author or character persecution.

    For the record, I read Wizard's First Rule, and found it entertaining. I read it pretty quickly, back in the days when I had more time to read 🙂 I wasn't compelled to keep going (I was still slogging through Jordan back then), so I never did get to the rest of the series, but I believe Brian did.

  6. One of the easiest things to do is to stop reading. There was a lot I lot I liked and didn't like in his books. It took an actual effort of will for me to finish Temple of Winds, so I didn't go back.

  7. It was "Gang" rape is democracy in action, not Date rape. It was an illustration that points out that just because a majority votes to take a certain action it doesn't mean the action is right or good.

  8. That is a very big difference in statements... and sounds like it was a snarky comment made to illustrate a point during an argument, then perhaps later taken either out of context or misquoted because of the pathological habit of reducing more complex arguments down to "hot" soundbites.

  9. Yes, I meant to write "Gang rape." My bad- careless typing. I don't think he should be "vilified" but I see no harm in asking at least one or two challenging questions since he fills his books with his political philosophies and claims his books are "not fantasy books" but books about human themes.

  10. Sounds about right. I'm just glad that most of my opinions are in print. Makes it easy to pimp slap people who try to take me out of context. >:-)

  11. I had heard that argument before, and I opened the door by calling the books epic fantasy, but he didn't correct me so, it turned out not to be an avenue that the conversation went down.

    And we do like to think of this as more of a conversation rather than a disjointed bunch of questions and answers. I think it sounds more natural, and makes more sense to follow along and most of the time more engaging to listen to than someone rattling off a list of canned questions.

    But that might just be me 🙂

  12. also with asgard, i am fairly disgusted with goodkind's political hamhock tactics and arrogance about his 'non-fantasy epic' books. i had to stop reading after religion and central government became cackling vilians with a texas drawl attached. ridiculous and pathetic.

  13. Ok, so this is where i feel kind of torn (remember, i haven't read the books yet so dont flame me). And i may be taking this discussion somewhere else. I really appreciate it when fantasy and sci-fi authors cover 'human themes' in their novels. SF/F is great because it enables us to discuss deep themes-religious, political, social/cultural- in an interesting setting. It lets us pose 'what if' questions or enable us to examine an issue at its basic concept without letting us get tied in with specific controversial people, parties, religious figures, etc. However i completely understand when a poorly written work attempt to do this by talking down to the reader, preaching to the reader, or letting the message get in the way of the story rather than weaving itself into the story. Im getting the impression that Goodkind either fails by letting his work preach or overpower the story with lectures or he covers issues that others are threatened by.

  14. Raul: So the whole art imitating life thing doesn't appeal to you?

  15. Have to agree with Summer that the conversational tone is much better than flat canned questions or one of a more agressive nature.

  16. Roddy Reta says

    My advice is to give Goodkind WIZARD'S FIRST RULE a try. Some people hate him with a passion, but he's the bestselling non-YA fantasy author after Jordan, so he must be doing something right. I enjoyed the novel, it actually has very little political content, unlike the later entries.

    The whole "gang rape" quote has been thrown around out-of-context for a long time, it's a grossly unfair attack on Goodkind and his philosophy, which I find unfortunate.

  17. This comment doesn't apply to the post above, but I just had to let you guys know that I, being a winner of one of the signed copies of David Anthony Durham's Acacia from you guys some months back, posted a mini-review of the book on my site here. to which David Anthony Durham commented briefly! Fun for me!

    Thanks again for the book -- it was great.

  18. EssBee,

    feel free to add your review, or a link to it, to the Library entry for Acacia:

    Glad you liked it! And I know I'm not alone when I say that I can't wait for his next book.

  19. I have someone whose dying to see a transcript for this particular episode--just the interview part. They are deaf, so they can't listen to the podcast... is that possible?

  20. Rebecca from Australia says

    Maria: I can only suggest you give the books a try for yourself if you're curious. I know a lot of people don't like them but, as has been pointed out, they always seem to be on the bestsellers lists (if that counts for anything). So I don't think you can judge based on others' opinions for this one.

    Personally, I only made it half-way through book three and then I stopped reading. I just couldn't get into the series. I remember enjoying Wizard's First Rule well enough but struggled through the others. Although I have to say that this was at a time when I was just losing interest in reading Big Fat Fantasy, and especially stories that arc over many books.

    I also wanted to say that I prefer the conversational style of interviews on the Dragonpage. I always enjoy them 🙂

  21. I do understand the point about the interview being more a conversation. Makes sense to me.

  22. Rachel,

    we used to have a couple of fans who were transcribing episodes, but I don't know if they are still doing that or not... I haven't heard anything about it in over a year.

  23. So I guess the comment I posted about Goodkind plagiarising Jordan was deleted.

  24. Or not. Where did I post it?..... thinking.... Oh. Not here. HA! I get so confused about where I post comments.

    I went and read all the plot summaries on Wikipedia. It's a good resource if you don't want to take the time to read the books. I had been disgusted with book 2 because of the whole sisters of the light (Jordan) sisters of the dark (Jordan) Stone of Tears (Jordan's Stone of Tear), oh, and a character named Six that just so happened to be created after Battlestar Galactica returned. It's one of the most convoluted plots to a series I have ever seen.

    There is no cohesion to the plot, just more bad guys who do bad things, except when certain bad guys come back from the dead. His characters vascillate between good and evil, smart and stupid, and not in a way that is convincing like George Martin. Jordan's Wheel of Time, at least, is going somewhere. It is coming to an inevitable conclusion. You might not like how long it's taking to get there, but it will get there.

    After all is said and done in the series, nothing has really changed, after all. Just some stuff happened that ultimately meant nothing, because the philosophy is "Just live for yourself." And that makes all sacrifices, suffering, and cost for naught. It's why I like Martin, because there is so much finality to it, and that is the ultimate realism.

    Terry Goodkind is a plagiarist of Robert Jordan, and has only been so widely published and given a huge marketing budget because of an objectivist agenda. Goodkind sold the series on spec because it began as a compelling idea, but in the end he had nothing but a rambling, meandering, purposeless plot that he made up as he went along. Emotionally and morally, his characters are either empty or vacillitory because his philosophy is so gray and devoid of purpose.

    Some people genuinely love the books, and he's sold a lot of them. But people are attracted to thick fantasy novels with compelling covers. Don't get me started, though... Left Behind only came about because of the Evangelistic Christian agenda. Though I consider myself one, I believe all Agenda fiction is a crime against literature. Publish non fiction all you want.

    Needless to say I will probably never be on a panel with Terry Goodkind. Heh. 🙂

  25. @indiana jim.

    dont be silly, terry goodkind allowing mere mortal men to share a panel with him? his ego takes the entire stage alone...after all, he doesn't WRITE FANTASY by his own words...he writes 'human stories' which he means everything else done by people who actually like and admit to writing fantasy is complete crap.
    Which is why its great when people in the fantasy and scifi world fall all over themselves for him, because its like he(terry) knows that they know he(terry) doesn't respect them anyway.

  26. I loved the Sword of Truth series when I was younger. I never purchased the later books(still read them all), because reading them made me feel like I was being belittled and beraided by a Priest who didn't believe in what he was preaching, just the power it gave him.
    I have since reread the books i do have and found that as an adult I dislike them as well.
    On a side note, what is so shameful about writing fantasy, or any genre for that matter. Any pretense of superiority because you do not write "fantasy novels" is beyond self indulgent BS.

    POI - Debt of Bones is too short for an injection of self important political poison and so is actually quiet good.

    "Even if you don't like it - read it, finish it. If for nothing else, you'll be better equipped to tear it apart later."