Being a TV boxed-set glutton is so over. Waiting for a series to finish and then stuffing episode after episode into your brain in a disgusting Caligulan orgy of consumption until there is nothing left? Please. Keep your West Wires, your Breaking Mad, your Boardwalking Dead – I’m going elsewhere for my fiction binges.
Want to come with? I’ve got TWO (yes, two) delicious alternative tried-and-tested-in-2012 fiction feasts to recommend.
1) ‘The Wheel of Time’ books
Sitting on a narrative spectrum somewhere between A Song of Ice and Fire and Lord of the Rings, Robert Jordan(/Brandon Sanderson)’s The Wheel of Time series has been going since 1990. It’s 14 novels (plus a prequel) and runs at over 4 million words total. Which, it turns out, is a lot. I made a chartwizard.
*Silmarillion not included because ew
I started reading Wheel of Time in September 2012, and only realised part-way through the series that the final volume was due to be published in early January 2013. This led to a pathetic 48 hour sprint to reach the end of the penultimate book between receiving “Your Amazon.co.uk order of “A Memory Of Light: Wheel…” has been dispatched” and taking this picture.
Not pictured: my neglect of almost every personal relationship over the last four months
Anyway, I’ve now finished Book 14 and found it a fitting end to an epic (in the most honest sense of the word) story. I didn’t expect it, but the sheer quantity of prose has definitely had a qualitative impact on my enjoyment of the series. I feel like I know these characters to a degree that I only previously felt about massive phenomena like Star Wars, with the advantage that I’ve never seen a visual representation of the characters or their world to spoil the pictures in my head.
Get it down ya.
2) ‘We’re Alive: A Story of Survival’ audiodrama
Speaking of the pictures being better in your head, let me recommend We’re Alive, my favourite audio drama podcast thing ever. The premise is basically:
1) Our world as we know it (well, America).
2) Suddenly, zombies.
3) ArrrrrrrggghhhhbangbangbangPROTECTTHEGENERATORbangbangDIDYOUGETBITTEN? ………….heavy breathing………. YESarghhhhhhbangbangbang.
If you like that sort of thing (which I do) you’ll like this. If you don’t, you won’t. Now is a great time to get into it as it’s on haitus following the series 3 finale so you can binge AND get a satisfying-ish conclusion before the fourth (and final) season starts. I haven’t done a chart for this one, but there are currently 107 installments on iTunes running at about 36 hours of drama total. That’s not far off the total running time of the first four series of Mad Men (c. 40 hours) with the added bonus that you can listen while you’re doing housework. Yep. Zombies and hoovering.
For the hardcore fan, there’s an official wiki (spoilers!) and accompanying fan podcast featuring cast, crew, speculation, gossip etc, so you could always listen to that alongside the corresponding episodes.
And it’s free. FREE!
Anyway, all this talk of tasty media is making me feel peckish. Apparently there’s a light snack called Perry Rhodan, but I might have to learn German first…