Alan Moore's New Novel Might Be Too Massive To Lift

| 15 Sep 2014 15:30
Alan Moore - LA Times

Moore: "'I have doubted that people will even be able to pick it up"

Known as the co-creator of V For Vendetta and Watchmen, as well as being an honest-to-god wizard, Alan Moore tends to attract controversy. We've known that he's been writing a novel (his second, actually) since 2008. Now, his daughter has announced that he's finished his initial draft, but at 1 million words, reading it might be the least of your concerns.

"'I have doubted that people will even be able to pick it up," Moore said in an interview in 2011. Entitled Jerusalem, it explores the history of the half-a-square-mile area where he grew up. It jumps between local history, to myth and fantasy, and back again. The chapters reportedly swing wildly in style, with one staged as a play, and another written in the pseudo-English language used by James Joyce in Finnegan's Wake. "Any editor worth their salt would tell me to cut two-thirds of this book but that's not going to happen," Moore said. We likely won't get any more comments from Moore himself, as he swore off interviews earlier this year.

To put Jerusalem's 1 million words in perspective, the Bible racks up 780,000, while War and Peace only manages 560,000. While it has yet to be edited, I can't see Moore allowing too much to be trimmed, if any. Sure, you can wimp out and get the e-book version, but a novel seething with this kind of madness demands to be leather-bound and chained to a desk, like some grimore. Frankly, I'd expect nothing less from Moore.

Source: The Guardian

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Based on what is written in the article, Moore should consult with an editor and take their suggestions seriously. An editor's role is to make sure the story is coherent enough for the reader to understand or begin to understand the story's themes. Changing writing styles sporadically from one chapter to the next runs the risk of confusing the reader which is a large No No. The long word count also begs the question on whether each word is necessary to get the story's themes across to the reader. Unless there is are specific reasons why the chapters contain different writing forms and whether or not each of the 1 million words have to be in the piece, I don't see how this book would function. However, Moore does have experience in writing and his works are well received both commercially and critically, so it may be too early to pass judgement. I guess we'll see once the book becomes accessible to us.

Moore: "I have doubted that people will even be able to pick it up"

Maybe he just means no one is going to stock it.

so, its about a good lenght for having a single audiobook through whole civilization 5 game. though the book may still fall short.

Alan Moore once again manages to be an impressive writer whilst simultaneously being frustrating and annoying.

Mykal Stype:
I don't want anyone editing this. In fact, I want more words. I just want to go into a library, open my bag, and then with a very exaggerated motion lift the book out of the bag and slam it on the table. Then I will just sit there for a second breathing heavily from my fake exhaustion of lifting the book. Then just look smugly around the room while I read it. Of course I'll just hollow it out and put a different book in to read instead. This book sounds awful.

I literally laughed out loud after reading, I haven't done that in quite some time, thank you for making my day.

To quote Uncle Owen "That wizard is just a crazy old man".

No editor...idiot.

I don't want anyone editing this. In fact, I want more words. I just want to go into a library, open my bag, and then with a very exaggerated motion lift the book out of the bag and slam it on the table. Then I will just sit there for a second breathing heavily from my fake exhaustion of lifting the book. Then just look smugly around the room while I read it. Of course I'll just hollow it out and put a different book in to read instead. This book sounds awful.

Fappy:
Hopefully SOMEONE edits this. Any professional writer worth their salt understands the value in having editorial review. He may not agree with every bit of advice they give him (especially in regards to marketing), but hopefully he gets it and takes some of it to heart.

pretty much this. A huge word count is typically the sign of a poor writer, or at least a writer who doesn't know how to keep his work focused. This is a bit surprising, coming from the author of the tightly scripted and well paced Watchmen. I thought he'd know better. It sound pretty experimental, I'm curious how he intends to get this published. Local history treatises usually have a hard time getting published, even when they're not changing entire literary styles and genres between chapters.

Chapter 1: A third person perspective on the history of Malcolm street, complete with charts, graphs, journals, and primary source documents.

Chapter 2: How Melchior slew the dragon with the power of metatron, written in Greek stream of consciousness.

JamesBr:

OP: Atlas Shrugged is like 650,000 words and is quite portable, 1,000,000 won't be much larger. A decently large print hard cover would be a weapon however.

Well if you don't like reading it atleast the book can double as a club :-P
Or a doorstop.
Yeah your comment had me laughing.

Why would you ignore the editor? One million words and none of it can go? I seriously doubt any story worth telling needs to be one million words long. And judging by some comments people tend to forget that works of genius rarely come from said "genius" having total control. Some of the best works are a result of collaboration between people, as soon as one gets their own project that they have total control over it's usually a disaster like with the Star Wars prequels, Daikatana, Rebuild of Eva, Valve ( all the money and power in the world and we get nothing from them because they literally don't have any obligation or deadline for anything-do they still care about Half-Life even?).

Look, I love me some Watchmen and V for Vendetta, but...Man, that sounds really pretentious. That thing about blatantly ignoring editors raises a pretty hefty red flag. Even people who make really good stuff go crazy when they get total creative freedom. Peter Jackson, Stephen King, Steven Moffat, that guy that wrote the ending of Mass Effect 3...This sort of thing rarely ends well.

For various reasons the regular release should be split into three books, all released at the same time. Otherwise it's going to be a massive problem just doing the binding for something that large. Premium edition can be a single lattice bound with chupacabra leather volume.

Or maybe he doesn't think there's enough audience for the non-premium release.

faefrost:
It's kind of sad that such a skill with language and prose has become so deeply seated on the crazy train. Isn't one of the first rules of being a good and succesful writer to have faith and trust in your editor. To listen to that little voice telling you "no". It's what separates a good skilled writer from a narcissistic windbag scribbling out their deranged fever dreams. Find an editor you can trust, then do in fact trust your editor. Or did I take the weong lesson from writing classes years ago?

Allan Moore is already such a successful writer that he can pretty much dictate his own terms, if he was an unknown I'd agree with you, but it's not like he has anything to prove at this point. If he wants to release a million word doorstop that he created as a labour of love and "art project" (which is the vibe I get off this), then I can't wait to read it. It'll sell based on his name and prodigious size alone.

OP: Atlas Shrugged is like 650,000 words and is quite portable, 1,000,000 won't be much larger. A decently large print hard cover would be a weapon however.

"War and Peace only manages 560,000."
War and Peace weighs 1.5-2 pounds. So... 4 pounds for Jerusalem?

HOLY Jillickers, Batman! How will ANYONE ever lift that much weight, even you?!!

It's kind of sad that such a skill with language and prose has become so deeply seated on the crazy train. Isn't one of the first rules of being a good and succesful writer to have faith and trust in your editor. To listen to that little voice telling you "no". It's what separates a good skilled writer from a narcissistic windbag scribbling out their deranged fever dreams. Find an editor you can trust, then do in fact trust your editor. Or did I take the weong lesson from writing classes years ago?

Longer than the bible and it sounds about as much as fun to read ... I'll pass.

So, will it have actual plot and characters, like Moore's best works, or just be full of gratuitous sex that passes shock value into just being boring like his more recent stuff (looking at you, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Century)?

IanDavis:

And Man:

IanDavis:
the Bible only racks up 200,000

The Guardian article stated that Clarissa, by Samuel Richardson, which is 970,000 words, has 200,000 more words than the Bible.

Whoops! Reading comprehension fail. Sorry about that.

SonOfVoorhees:
Sounds great. Wonder if their will be a film version?

I imagine it would be something like the 10-hour stage performance of the Illuminatus! trilogy.

Get Peter Jackson, could be a new trilogy. :-)

And Man:

IanDavis:
the Bible only racks up 200,000

The Guardian article stated that Clarissa, by Samuel Richardson, which is 970,000 words, has 200,000 more words than the Bible.

Whoops! Reading comprehension fail. Sorry about that.

SonOfVoorhees:
Sounds great. Wonder if their will be a film version?

I imagine it would be something like the 10-hour stage performance of the Illuminatus! trilogy.

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