An Action Tour-de-Force

January 27th, 2012

Time was I used to post every whiff of opinion about my books that google could sniff out.  Scrag end mention on an inactive LiveJournal account?  You’re in!  These days, I have to say, I’m a little more circumspect.  The quantity of opinion out there, it weighs heavy, and outside of the scramble of promotion surrounding a new release, it takes something particularly insightful, inflammatory, noteworthy or (of course) grovellingly complimentary to arouse my interest.

But fitting firmly into the insightful category is a balanced and (unsurprisingly) finely written assessment of The Heroes from writer Elizabeth Bear, who I met last weekend in Detroit.  She calls me vivid and muscular.  Well, alright, my writing style…

Also fitting into the satisfying arena of respect of ones peers (alright, great superiors) is a mention from the doyen of gritty fantasists, GRRM, in his Hugo Recommendations (I know, I’m not holding my breath), where he calls The Heroes, “an action tour de force”.  OK, I admit, he preferred Patrick Rothfuss.  But those big-beards always stick together.  Maybe I need to get some small-beard fantasy author buddies to take ’em down, like my old mates Peter Brett and Brent Weeks:

Mind you, they’re both looking a bit on the bushy side.  And why does my head seem so small in that photograph?

Posted in reviews by Joe Abercrombie on January 27th, 2012.

17 comments so far

  • James says:

    An interesting review. I agreed with a lot of it, but not necessarily all.

    Calder, in particular, got some very solid characterisation from my point of view. His journey from basically, a complete tit, to someone I genuinely cared what happened to, worked very well for me.

    I need someone to knock the smugness out of Bayaz sometime relatively soon though.

  • Iangr says:

    Haha great photo with “the beards” and “the beard to be”!
    In your defense you do look younger than them!

    I’d say that one of the biggest praises you can get, is that your writing can be attractive to even international readers (either in their native language or in english)

    no small accomplishment that

  • JimC says:

    Joe, have you ever thought of going into selling merch? T-shirts, posters and the like. I realise there’s probably a world of legal issues behind such a thing but I’d totally rock some Joe Abercrombie swag if it was available.

  • Thaddeus says:

    I’m quite concerned now. I’m an aspiring fantasy author, but I don’t have a beard.

    Well, I’m not meant to. It grows at a freakish rate, but I both loathe shaving and don’t want a beard, so I end up having a short one for a few days then shaving it off.

    Do I need more substantial facial hair? Is slaying the furry chin dragon detrimental to a fellow’s writing prospects?

  • Benny says:

    You need a fat face to carry a beard. Without a fat face you come across as a sexual preditor. If that’s the look you want then go for it!

    Do you have any plan’s to expand on the Bloody Nines ending from Last Argument of Kings? I wondered if you have anything in mind for the whole saga or are you just winging it as you go?

    Feel free to be as cagey and mysterious as you like.

    Looking forward to your next book as always!

  • Jacob says:

    Circumspect. Had to look that one up, sadly.

  • mike says:

    I wish i could grow a fully fledged beard :'(

  • Jacob says:

    Yeah, but Pat’s writing has that “safe, neutral feeling” to it. Then again I only made it to page fifteen in the Kingkiller Chronicles, but still…

    Your writing puts heavy emphasis on the subjectively and opinionated circumstances between opposing forces, that sociological component of how being are raised, regret, pain, suffering, mortally wounding decisions, blemishes of character, horrible decisions, things I/he/she should have done, contemplations of both wrongdoing and revenge, etc.

    All in all, your words pack the more entertaining punch for me. Reality is laid bare. There is no bullshit in your pages Joe. A lack of bullshit is good these days.

  • Mo says:

    Seen the comments on that Bear review? When is Joe going to write a novel about a housewife then?

  • Dav says:

    She makes some interesting points; I did get the feeling from The Heroes that noone had either the time or the intellect to drift on about how horrible and wasteful war was – they were all a little busy trying not to die. It’s an ENORMOUSLY manly book, put simply, and very much one where weeping about the tragedy of war would get someone labelled a right old pussy.

    It’s grim up north, after all.

    JA’s writing has always had a feeling of doing it for himself rather than catering to fans (though if Ninefingers is dead, I SWEAR TO GOD!…) and therefore his incredibly potent, gritty and sometimes downright depressing writing has a love-it or hate-it quality.

    For my part, you’ve raised my standards to an utterly cruel level. If a protagonist does the right thing in a book, I can’t stand them, now. Thanks for that!…

  • Sirkay says:


    I was just reading old Martins webpage when i say his review and as hot as he is right now it has to be a good thing for you to just be on his list of reads. Grats and I hope you do at least get on the list of Hugo finalists. And I’m with the guy above I would totally rock a Joe T-shirt… And a bloody nine shirt would rock, just a hand on the back with the missing finger and blood flowing out of it oh yea!!!
    You could turn it into a fan contest we all design the best Joe A. symbol and you pick the winner.

    Mine design would be a stick figure guy chasing kids down the street with nothing but a banister.

  • Graham says:

    I really hope you get a bucket load of awards Joe but…..

    You have to be realistic about these things.

  • Hawkeye says:

    I agree with Jimc. Time for Circle of the World swag. Give me a black dow or bloody nine shirt. Or maybe Whirrun’s sword names on the back of a shirt. Or bumper stickers with some Glokta sayings. Awesome.

  • Adam says:

    You know… if you lean forward while someone’s leaning back or standing straight in a photo, the other person’s head will look small. Fun little game to play.

  • Gary says:

    Long beards are just fanny ticklers (That’s the British meaning of the word ‘fanny’)

    Unless someone is Father Christmas or Ghandalf the Grey/White, they should keep their face bushes short.

    Real men don’t need to hide behind animal arse faces 😉

  • Phil Norris says:

    They may have the beards but you’re the one with STAR on your t-shirt.

  • Virginia says:

    your further away from the camara, lol

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