The Patrick Rothfuss case: angry fans, mental illness and an unfinished trilogy

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It happened at the beginning of this summer and it had been a long time since the announcement of a book raised such a storm. Penguin Random House reported that one of its major publishing launches for fall 2023 would be The Narrow Road Between Desiresthe new American fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss. And the networks exploded. The problem is that neither the book was new – it was an expansion of a previous story of his – nor was it the one that his millions of readers expected: the end of the trilogy. Kingslayer Chronicle started in 2007 with the name of the windfollowed in 2011 with The fear of a wise man and that today, 12 years later, is still awaiting its conclusion, which should be called The stone doors.

Try taking a look at the angry reviews on Goodreads of a book that hasn’t actually been published yet: “Where are they? The stone doors? I can understand an author getting stuck or life happening, but 12 years?” “The guy used to be a writer, now he’s a influencerand we all know that los influencers they can’t write“. “This man let loyal fans down and continues to find cheap means to take even more money from them. I was once a big fan, but now I’m disappointed and bitter.” “He’s a scammer.” “The author is a thief and a liar. He stole about $300,000 from his fans and still hasn’t kept his promises.”

Wait a moment. What does the last comment refer to? In December 2021, Rothfuss announced on Twitter that, if he got $333,333 in an auction for his own charitable foundation, he would make public a chapter of that third and highly anticipated part on which he had supposedly been working for years. He got even more money, but he never delivered the chapter. Shortly before, her editor Betsy Wolleheim confessed that she had not seen “a single word of the third book” and she doubted that the writer had written anything since at least 2014.

Since the Internet and social networks drastically altered the writer’s relationship with his readers, the fandom It was never the same again. The untouchable “Author” of yesteryear, who was only available episodically at signings and trade fairs, is now subjected to the scrutiny and tireless questioning of his followers. And they, aware of his new powers, do not give up. The case of sagas, so common in the science fiction and fantasy genres, which also suffer the shocks of their television versions, is paradigmatic. Known is the case of George RR Martin, accused to the point of vituperation for his staunch to forget about the two books that are missing to complete his Song of ice and fire once the HBO adaptation is finished. But in the Rothfuss case, a disruptive element comes into play that changes everything, an open secret: mental health.

We spoke with a source from his publishing group in Spain who knows Rothfuss well and prefers not to give his name: “Patrick suffers from cyclothymic disorder. The fact is that he is not in good health at all, he spends long periods fatal. And that’s not possible. finish the huge amount of work he has planned. He gets blocked, depressed, spends months without being able to write… It’s no secret, it’s just that people don’t connect the dots. They don’t understand that The guy is not in good health enough to ditch the garden he has gotten into. And he doesn’t say anything. “Someone should lie to the bug and tell the crowd to leave him alone.”

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