After eight years, Alan Moore has completed the epic first draft of his long-discussed novel Jerusalem, which clocks in at more than 1 million words.
"Has finished the first draft of his second novel, Jerusalem," the writer's daughter Leah Moore announced Tuesday on Facebook. "Now there's just the small matter of copy editing a more-than-a-million word document, and its all done."
The Verge offers a bit of context for that staggering figure, noting that it's the equivalent of more than two Lord of the Rings novels, or the first three installments of the Song of Ice and Fire series. The Guardian adds that it's 200,000 words more than the Bible.
In the works since at least 2006, Jerusalem explores the history of Moore's hometown, Northampton, England, using stories from his family's past, with his own interpretations of events, and fantasy elements that detour into other dimensions, and into other genres.
When he spoke with the New Statesman in 2011, the writer envisioned a 750,000-word novel. "Any editor worth their salt would tell me to cut two-thirds of this book, but that's not going to happen," Moore said. "I doubt that Herman Melville had an editor -- if he had, that editor would have told him to get rid of all that boring stuff about whaling: 'Cut to the chase, Herman.'"
Moore, who made his prose debut in 1996 with Voice of the Fire, has said he never imagined Jersualem as anything other than a novel -- a very big novel.
"In fact the decision to write Jerusalem came as a very, very strong reaction against comic books," he told The Believer last year. "When I started Jerusalem — this would have been back in 2006 — I had just had a very violent parting of the ways with DC Comics, stuff to do with the V for Vendetta film, which I think was then current. It felt really good to finally tell the people, 'I’m not going to be working for you anymore. I’m not going to have any more to do with the comics industry than I can help in the future.' The decision to take on Jerusalem was very much a movement away from comics, to explore the possibilities of what the novel could do."