Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, happy birthday dear me-eeeee.
Yes, indeed, the candle has almost burned right down on another year, and I’m thirty six today. When the hell did that happen? It’s been a busy couple of years, what with one thing and another. Five months looking for a house, finding a house, and buying a house. Eleven months living in it, largely untouched for forty years and the wiring and plumbing for a lot longer, without such niceties as showers, decent windows, or working drains, while we planned what we were going to do with it. Then eight months living in a rented place while the builders stripped the house back to the bare bones and beyond, extended, renovated and otherwise created the house of our dreams … or occasionally nightmares. Hard work, this stuff, even if I didn’t do any of the actual work myself. You watch Grand Designs, and they say things like, “wow, this is really hard work,” and you think, “yeah, whatever.” But man, this is really hard work. Most stressful thing I’ve ever done, I would say. Anyway, yesterday, we moved back in. Wa-hey! Crack the champagne! Or maybe, you know, just a can of coke or something, ’cause I’m really knackered, and there’s still a lot to do.
A lot for the builders to do, both inside and outside, and a lot for us to do shifting furniture around, discovering those things that have exceeded expectations and those things that have fallen short (malfunctioning central heating, I’m looking at you) and otherwise getting things the way we want them, but we’re in the house. We’re in. Now, I hope, I will have more time to do things like, I don’t know, write stuff. And maybe blog, and reply to email, and sit staring out the window with an enigmatic smile upon my face like what writers are supposed to ain’t they? But probably some other piffling destraction, like book tours or children or whatever will get in the way. Still, we can hope. We can dream.
An odd year, this one, 2010, in the sense that, for the first time in four years, the first time since 2006, I didn’t have a new book out. At least in the UK or US. So no doubt I shall be cruelly excluded from consideration in the various year’s best lists, not to mention next year’s glittering prizes. So no Pulitzer, Booker or Nobel next year. Well, the Nobel is given for a body of work rather than an individual book, so I suppose that’s still very much on the cards, in fact. I shall wait by the phone for the committee’s call. But while I wait, I could always tell you of some things that I’ve enjoyed this year:
FILM: You know, nowt really stands out for me. Not that I’ve seen much at the cinema, since parenthood tends to keep me away. I was enjoying Toy Story 3 until my elder daughter insisted on leaving because it was “too boyish”. As for the rest, Star Trek – Kack. Inglorious Basterds – Pretty Kack. Hurt Locker – Bit Meh. Inception – Very Meh. Do you know what, I think the most interesting thing I saw was a very old black and white film about the aftermath of the second world war from the point of view of various veteran inhabitants of a small town, called “The Best Years of Our Lives.” Predates the hollywood decency rubbish, and is surprisingly vibrant and modern in its characterisation.
TV: Again, can’t think of much that has truly electrified me. The Wire, The Shield, Battlestar Galactica, Deadwood have all gone. Pacific seems like real crud compared to Band of Brothers. House is always good. Breaking Bad is good. Damages is good. But nothing’s really knocking the socks off lately. Roll on Game of Thrones…
GAMES: Now this is more like it. A truly vintage year, with the latest generation of consoles seeming to have finally come of age. Red Dead Redemption was my number one game of this year, with Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood and Fallout: New Vegas coming in two and three among a lot of stiff competition.
BOOKS: That there The Heroes was pretty damn awesome, wasn’t it? Oh no, wait, you lot haven’t read that yet. A ha ha. As per usual, it’s mostly been non-fiction for me this year, and mostly on the subject of WAR by way of research and preparation for the aforementioned The Heroes, and the book that really stood out for me was David Finkel’s The Good Soldiers, a non-fictional account of one unit’s involvement in Iraq, but with a fictional eye for theme and character. Top stuff. Sebastian Junger’s War wasn’t bad either…
Let pop the corks. Or at least the ringpulls. See you in 2011, suckers…
It’s been a busy year, and I haven’t always got round to discussing the video games I’ve played. But it’s also been an excellent year for games, so a few that certainly deserve a mention along with some brief thoughts: Mass Effect 2: Played round a friends house, which means time was a little limited […]
Yet another excellent video game in what has proved to be a vintage year, in fact this latest Assassin’s Creed has probably slipped through the crowd unnoticed into place behind the magnificent Red Dead Redemption and knifed Fallout New Vegas in the back to claim second position in my favouritest games of the year. The […]
There is now one of those new-fangled book trailers out and about for The Heroes. You can see it here using You Tubular technology. Or why not watch it on amazon.co.uk where, I can’t help noticing, you can pre-order the book while the video is buffering… I’ve always found the whole book trailer concept a […]
That esteemed organ of the American book trade, Publishers Weekly, have spoken out on the subject of The Heroes, with a starred review, no less: “This blood-drenched, thought-provoking dissection of a three-day battle is set in the same world as Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy (The Blade Itself, etc.), but stands very well alone. Union commander […]
Come the end of January 2011, I (and my trusty publicist, Jon), will be hitting the road for an olde time booke toure of the UK, coming (more than likely) to a town (relatively) near YOU. Yes indeed, experience the thrills of books, signing, me in person, signatures, books, did I mention me? In person? And […]
Editor Jonathan Strahan has just put out the table of contents for his forthcoming anthology The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy of the Year: vol. 5, a collection of, well, ahem, some of the best sci-fi and fantasy stories of the past year, I imagine, and look what’s there, sandwiched between “Alone” and “Under the Moons […]
In much the same way as the first few touches of brightness mark the sable heavens well in advance of a glorious dawn, a couple more early reviews of The Heroes have lately brought nourishing light to the inky void that is the internet. The first from Simon Appleby at Bookgeeks: “Abercrombie’s take on fantasy has […]