This is topic Lamentation in forum Open Discussions About Writing at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Elan (Member # 2442) on :
I'm so upset. I just got home from work at the local newspaper. One of the articles in tomorrow's paper is a book review on the sci-fi novel "Lamentation" by first-time novelist Ken Scholes.

Scholes lives in Portland, Oregon, and our reporter Rodger (a big fan of the sci-fi/fantasy genre) drove the 82 miles to Portland to interview him in person.

Rodger told me today that Lamentation is equal to Dune in writing skill, world building, and character development. Scholes website ( has a quote from Orson Scott Card that reads: ""This is the golden age of fantasy, with a dozen masters doing their best work. Then along comes Ken Scholes, with his amazing clarity, power, and invention, and shows us all how it's done."

Apparently Scholes, a WotF winner, broke into the publishing industry and upset all the norms... he wrote the manuscript on a dare in a mere 6 and a half weeks. He found an agent, who approached Tor. Tor bought it, and when they found out he planned five books, they told him they wanted all five, with an option for a sixth. That sort of deal is unprecedented for a first time novelist.

The second book, Canticle, is in final editing, due out in October.

I'll be ordering my copy right away, and lamenting the fact that none of the other books are out yet. I hate it when I find a good author who hasn't finished the series yet. It's agonizing to wait.

[This message has been edited by Elan (edited June 27, 2009).]

Posted by Kathleen Dalton Woodbury (Member # 59) on :
Huh. I thought he had more books out than that.

Thanks for the heads-up, Elan.

Posted by Elan (Member # 2442) on :
The article says Scholes was first published in small regional magazines until he won the Writers of the Future contest. He sold a short story, "Of Metal Men and Scarlet Thread and Dancing With the Sunrise," to Realms of Fantasy (which evolved into Lamentation). Rodger told me he had done a lot of travel writing, and I believe said he has published one book of short stories. But Lamentation is his first novel. It's no slouch, weighing in at 368 pages. I'll be curious to hear if anyone else here has read it yet? I see on Amazon that the paperback version of Lamentation is due out Sept. 1.
Posted by Natej11 (Member # 8547) on :
Thanks for the heads up on a great read. I hope he finishes the series in a timely manner, although if he's plugging out books every month and a half there's not too much worry :/.

What makes me sad is some of the other giants in Fantasy who get deep into a series and then let it fizzle, focusing on other projects or whatnot. I've been waiting on Dance of the Dragons for something like five years now .

Hopefully Lamentation's series gets the attention it deserves, although to be safe I may wait a few years until he's got more of them out before getting into them.

Posted by JenniferHicks (Member # 8201) on :
I became aware of Ken Scholes when I saw him on a couple of panels at last summer's WorldCon. He said he has been writing short stories for about 10 years. Tor bought the Psalms of Isaac series based on a read of the first five chapters of Lamentation. Must be nice.

I've read Lamentation, and it is an impressive debut. What I like best is the novel's fast pacing. I have trouble getting through novels in which the pacing is so slow I can sum up 200 pages of plot in 25 words or less (*cough, cough* Robert Jordan *cough, cough*). Scholes keeps the story moving along at a good clip. He has strong characters (only one or two women, though), and switches POV several times per chapter. It's an interesting way structure a novel.

Posted by ChrisOwens (Member # 1955) on :
I read Lamentation, and while it was okay and hope the author continues to do well, I really don't understand the massive amount of hype it's getting. Of course, I am open to enlightenment on this subject.
Posted by KayTi (Member # 5137) on :
Let me add my personal lamentation over the fact that I can't seem to find any STAND ALONE novels by sci-fi or fantasy writers these days. Everything on the "new" shelf at the library in the genre is book 3, book 6, book a bajillion, who cares. I'd like to read some simple novels here, folks, not make a commitment to read your work for the coming centuries!

I should put in a caveat - I'm somewhat driven when it comes to reading. When I start a series, I generally read it straight through. I've been known to intentionally delay starting a series until the last book is out so I don't have to wait. I have made countless runs to the bookstore/library across town/etc. to pick up another book in a series, even when it's a series I'm not particularly enjoying. So for me, reading book 3 of 5 is a commitment that includes 2 more books. It's painful, this reading curse, I tell ya.


Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
I've come to disdain extended-volume novel series over the years. Usually it's impossible to understand what's going on in Volume Eight without having bought and read Volumes One through Seven. Really, as a reader, I want one volume that satisfies me---or, failing that, a series of which I can get my hands on the whole thing, rather than have to wait years for some kind of conclusion.

As a writer, of course I'd like to be able to get a multi-volume series published...but I'd also like to see that each and every volume is complete in itself, and not some smaller fragment of a greater whole.

Posted by Heresy (Member # 1629) on :
Ohhh, thanks Robert! You just gave me a bit of inspiration. It's going to take a while before I can do much more than notes with it, but still.... Thanks!

I love the unexpected times and places inspiration comes from.


Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
We've sung the multi-volume blues before, here and there on the boards...of course, it's all off-topic from a discussion of Lamentations, of which I freely admit I know nothing of. (Didn't even think to look for it, so I could look at it, when I was in Barnes & Noble this morning.)
Posted by micmcd (Member # 7977) on :
he wrote the manuscript on a dare in a mere 6 and a half weeks. He found an agent, who approached Tor. Tor bought it, and when they found out he planned five books, they told him they wanted all five, with an option for a sixth.

Wow, and congratulations to him. Although... as I've been trying to finish a single manuscript for over a year and a half now and have abandoned a good half-dozen over the years that never looked like they were going to pan out, is it wrong that I now kind of hate him?

Thanks for the heads up about a new spec-fi writer though. I'll check it out, probably buy it, probably read it, and maybe even love it. Naturally, this will cause me to hate him even more. And pick up all of the rest of the series.

Sigh... one day. One day it'll be finished. Well, one of them will be finished. I just need to repeat that to myself five hundred times every morning.

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