Ask me Anything

January 6th, 2012

Ever dreamed of asking me a question but couldn’t be arsed to post on this blog?  Then all your dreams they come true, for between the hours of 11pm-1am GMT (That’s 5-7PM Central) on Tuesday Jan 10th I will be responding in real time to  questions posed by the generally public over at Reddit’s fantasy forum, where other writerly persons such as Brandon Sanderson, Robin Hobb, and Patrick of Rothfuss have appeared before me, further details to be found here.  The basic idea is, you pose a totally fair and reasonable question, I either totally refuse to respond, or reply in a totally snarky and dismissive way.  Apart from the typing, it’s just like meeting me in real life!

Posted in interviews by Joe Abercrombie on January 6th, 2012.

84 comments so far

  • Dan says:

    I can summarize most of the questions. “when will see Logen again?”. Feel free to just answer here and now:).

  • Geoffrey says:

    What about odd questions such as the one I heard at one of your signings in Forbidden Planet, Bristol:

    ‘Would you ever consider writing a book with Logen detailing a quest to search for his missing tenth finger’.

    What would be the likely response to that sort of questioning? 😉

  • ColinJ says:

    @Dan, that’s funny, and very true. It belongs in the FAQ on this site – ‘Fucking Annoying Questions’.

  • Michael says:

    An important issue then, as someone who subscribes to the Frank Skinner rule of supporting a football team – take out the A-Z and draw a line to the one closest to your birthplace – then presumably this makes you a Morecambe fan, yes?

    And if I was allowed a follow up, a while ago there subsisted a rumour that the last words in the HP series would be ‘scar’. In a similar vein, am I allowed to start a rumour that the first words of any book that you might write about our favourite character with an uneven amount of digits will be ‘still alive’?

  • Michael says:

    ….and I nearly forgot, when you walk into your local hostelry what would be your favourite tipple of choice? Would it be a) a pint of Butcombe Bitter, b) a pint of Butcombe Gold or c) a pot of tea ‘cos its a bit early followed by some fried goodness and then a pint of Butcombe?

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Soon. Or possibly never.

    Not a football fan.

    And, “Gold.”

    I’m a single malt man. In fact I’m having one right now. Cheers.

  • Tim H says:

    If you had a convertible and week on your own to explore America, where would you go?

    Also, have you ever tried a good Rye whiskey?

  • Two related questions:

    1) Of your published work, what scene or scenelet are you most proud of? You know, you reread it, then start to wonder when those bitches at the Nobel Factory are going to wake up and smell the coffee. You’re not a hard man to find — what’s with the delay?

    2) AND, of course, what scene or scenelet (or just paragraph or sentence) of your published work makes you want to smash your head into a wall when you reread it? I know there’s gotta be at least one — either in an interview or in a blog, you mentioned something about cringing at parts of The First Law when you look at them now.

    (I’m not expecting to get much out of you re question #2, given, of course, upon even further review, everything you’ve written is brilliant, and pretty much falls under #1. But I’m *hoping* you may be willing to pontificate about how it’s possible that some parallel-universe-Joe Abercrombie could have done something a little bit different somewhere …)

    (I’m very interested in Lessons Learned as one progresses, especially above and beyind the basics, so hence the second question!)

  • Dan says:


    Lol. You dog Joe, you love to torture us! But your so funny doing it that we don’t mind. Hehe.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Polite silence.

    Tim H,
    Jeez, don’t know about touring America, I guess I’d want someone to show me around. Tried a few Ryes, but I’m no expert.

    Grumpy B,
    Got to say I love a lot of it, but I’m particularly pleased with the Heroes, the way the different character’s stories mesh and intersect to tell the overall story of the battle.

    What do I not like? Well, on a macro level I think there are a lot of things I could have done better with in the First Law, particularly when it comes to the female characters. On the micro level I’m sure there’d be large sections these days that I’d think could be a lot better written, not to mention cut.

  • TimH says:

    When you write intense fight scenes do you take visual cues from watching fights in movies or games? Or do you just think it up from scratch?

  • Chris says:

    Sorry Joe, but it’s Jan 10th, not 12th. Hate for someone to show up Thursday and then be tempted to kick you in the fruits.

    BTW, I am also one who needs more BloodyNine. Thought about naming my first kid Logen, and maybe letting him play with my cigar cutter? Possibly give him a nickname after that. Is that morbid or true fandom?

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Visual cues from movies and games, little bit, maybe. Not necessarily the detail of the action but sometimes the look, the features emphasised. So Saving Private Ryan, and Band of Brothers, in a similar style, had an impact on me – the fast shutter speed freezing the flying dirt, the wobbling camera, the noise and the breathing, the sense of being there, being immersed, the imminent danger. But mostly I think it up from scratch, I guess.

    Don’t know what you mean, it definitely says 10th. Ahem. It’s true fandom if you actually used the cigar cutter, not if you just thought about it.

  • Scooby says:

    I’ll join the chorus of “more Ninefingers please.”

    Unless he’s really dead. *rolls eyes*

    Since you’re ignoring the question or when we will see Logen again, how about this question, is that a decision that is entirely up to you? I imagine it is, but does you publisher have any say or do they exert any pressure about what you write?

    I also thought that the Heroes was particularly good. I’m really looking forward to the western version. I’m picturing if Clint Eastwood took life in your world.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    It’s up to me. I write what I like. Or at least it’s never yet happened that anyone’s tried to force me to do something. But then if they do well with the books, which they have so far, why would they? I mean I work quite closely with my editor, and we discuss both what I have written and what I’m planning to write, and she’ll make suggestions which if I’ve got any sense I’ll listen to very carefully, but they don’t tend to be things like – write something with vampires, that’ll sell, or, bring back Glokta, people want Glokta. More along the lines of – this sequence might work better if this happened, or have you thought about cutting this character, or making this the motivation. I’m then free to use and interpret and modify those ideas to make the book better as I see it. I always get the final say, but weighing up advice and ideas can only be a good thing.

  • TimH says:

    Joe, I recently picked up the anthology Swords and Dark Magic primarily because I saw you had a story in it.

    I was wondering if you have any plans to write more short fiction? Might I suggest a story that takes place in Glokta’s past or Logen’s? :p

  • Coyle says:

    I’ll join the “more Logen” crowd, but i would also love the irony if he actually did drown from falling in a river with all his knives like Ferro said he could.

  • Liam says:

    Canada >> America. Come here first!

  • Joe — thanks for the answers.

    Just to be contrary, I will put my vote into the “Screw Logen, I want more Shivers!” box. (Is there a box? There’s probably not a box. Dammit.)

    Not that Logen isn’t fun, but but Shivers’ character arc is pretty damned awesome compared to Logen’s — and I refuse to believe that it stops with his being the sociopathic (and a bit touchy) son-of-a-bitch that we see in Heroes.

    Second vote would be for Jezal, for similar reasons. He’s got a spine in there somewhere, we’ve seen it … he just needs someone to help him find it!

  • BTW, I have probably mentioned this before, but one of the things I love about Joe’s work is that, across *all* of his books, there is the common theme of characters wrestling with personal change in a self-aware way.

    Whether it’s Logen and Shivers trying to be better men, Cosca changing … then changing back, Glokta constantly telling himself that it’s impossible for him to be anything but what he is (which indicates to me that there’s a small part of him that’s not entirely convinced), Jezal trying to change and then getting slapped down by Bayaz, Craw trying to move on to a new life (and then reconsidering) … just f’ing fantastic.

    I haven’t read a ton of epic fantasy, but I believe Joe’s work may be unique in that regard.

  • Jacob says:


    Many authors such as yourself, George R.R. Martin, Steve Erikson, etc…have taken fantasy down a much more realistic, darker road as of the past decade or so. How far do you think it’s possible to continue down the “brutally realistic” path before it works against the genre in some form? AKA: Where do you imagine the genre will go next, and could it be hindered by becoming “too dark” on some level?

    Bit of a broad question with no definable answers, but I’d love to see what your say is on the matter.



  • Mat says:

    Hey Joe,

    Just a quick little bit of props to you here from New Zealand where you have a LOT of fans.

    Received The Blade Itself for Valentines day a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back since. At least one of your books is always absent from my bookshelf due to cheeky and selfish friends borrowing them without asking.

    Keep them coming.


  • Tenesmus says:

    You have done a revenge story, a war story and are now working on a western-ish story. What say you to a good old fashioned Cold War Era type spy story after the Western??

  • Ranma says:

    there will be a film based on one of your books? I’d love to see “best served cold” at cinema!

  • Drag says:

    Hopefully you’ll be a whole lot nicer and more respectful than Rothfuss when he did a question and answer session over at The guy got pissy when people were asking him his thoughts on Martins work. He’s never even read any of Martins books which absolutely blows my mind. Very snooty guy that Patrick Rothfuss, but he does put out some amazing books.

  • mummifiedstalin says:

    Why do people love Logan so much when Glokta was obviously the more interesting character? heh heh…

    Do you find any connections between Martin/Erikison/your style of “gritty” fantasy and anything in SF? “Gritty” new space opera, perhaps?

    Do you hate soup?

  • Andrew says:


    I found The First Law series to be captivating, inspiring and memorable. I really loved it.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Yes, there will be more short fiction. I’ve a story in an anthology later this year, I believe…

    I guess a lot of these gritty authors are reacting against what they (alright, I) perceived to be an overwhelming tendency in the fantasy we read as kids towards the clean, predictable, morally straightforward, and felt the need to write something that might sit on the other side of the scales. I guess if that side gets too weighed down, it starts to lose its appeal at least a little…

    Props for the props.

    Funny you should say that, I have considered the possibility. Bayaz v Kahlul is kind of a cold war, after all…

    Any day now. All I need is $300 million.

    Woah there, can’t say I know anything about the episode you’re referring to. I’ve corresponded a bit with Rothfuss and he seemed a plenty nice guy to me, but in any case, no offence, but this isn’t really the forum to be slagging off other authors. Let’s stick to slagging me off round here, if you please, it’s not like there’s any shortage of material.

    Mummified Satin,
    Logen gets the most requests, I’d say Glokta next. I’d say the closest thing in SF is gritty dystopian cyberpunk, a la Richard Morgan.

    You’re absolutely correct, 10/10.

  • Ian says:

    Morveer isn’t really dead. And he got a new assistant. Pleeeeeaaaaaaase?

  • Hawkeye says:

    Since everyone is asking questions here, I will too. Logan’s ability to become the Bloody Nine. Is this purely a survival mechanism or something else. Some people have argued it’s tied to his ability to talk to spirits and that he is possessed by some kind of demon that comes out as the Bloody Nine. Not sure you will answer this as I know you like to keep some things a mystery.

    I think this is part of why so many people love Logan. On one hand he is an everyman, just trying to stay alive and like Shivers, trying to be a better man. But on the other he becomes this unstoppable killing machine when needed. He is also a mystery. There is so much about him we still don’t know. And he is a hero that we root for. We all know he isn’t dead, so we can’t wait to read about him again! My dream book would center around him, Shivers, Dogman and Ferro, teamed up in some adventure. Thanks for everything you have given us Joe.

  • nekro-kun says:

    1. if one you put ‘first law map’ in google, the main result is a very unnutural map with very-very small Midderland and huge other continents. is it really so?

    2. after compare stand-alone novels with First law trilogy have you ever regret, that you havn’t write not trilogy but pentalogy, sevenlogy, or series of ten huge books?

  • […] author Joe Abecrombie anything: Ask me Anything. […]

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Morveer is alive. And his new assistant is Kanedias, the Master Maker.

    I prefer not to elaborate on stuff like that outside of the text. There is always the danger you will go from interesting mystery to unconvincing explanation. I try to stick to the point of view of the characters, so things that are unexplained to them are often best left unexplained…

    1. The only maps out there are guesswork on the part of fans, so totally inaccurate. It is true to say that Midderland is a relatively small landmass with a sea around it and larger landmasses around that. That’s in the text. This is the Circle of the World, after all.

    2. I haven’t personally regretted it at all, as I really like the standalone novels, they’ve allowed me to try out some different ideas and improve as a writer, and I think the trilogy works as a trilogy and would not have benefitted from being stretched out. Would it have been a better idea commercially to continue a series? Maybe so, but I think ultimately you’re better off in the long run trying something at least a little new than beating the same old tired horse until everyone’s bored of it. You’ve got to try and balance a degree of experimentation with a degree of giving readers what they’ve come to want and expect from you. It may well be there are some readers who’d rather I’d carried on with those central characters, but there are quite a lot who think Best Served Cold or the Heroes are my best books as well, and to my mind it’s a lot better to leave readers thinking, ‘man, I wish I had some more of that,’ than ‘man, I really got bored of that in the end,’ and often there’s quite a fine line between the two. Certainly, I think once you, as a writer, are done with something, you need to move on, at least for the time being. You’ve got to be excited by and involved in what you’re doing.

  • Chris Upton says:

    Have you ever met KJ Parker? If so who is s/he?

  • Steve Drew says:

    I’m on my 3rd cup of coffee this morning. Picked up your books ahead of the Reddit AMA and I’m losing sleep by finding them tough to put down. Thanks for the damn good writing – see you (virtually) on the 10th.

  • Hawkeye says:

    Thanks for the answer Joe. And I agree. Better to have a little mystery and something for us fans to debate about.

  • David says:

    What are the chances of buying you a drink next time I’m in Bath? Salamander? Ring O Bells?

  • ColinJ says:

    Is Kanedias, the Master Maker any relation to Mentos, the Fresh Maker?

  • Yax says:

    My question would be, when are you coming to Australia, and what drink can I buy you?

    Other than that it would be some boring question about where the business of writing books is going. Are e-books good or bad for authors?

  • Gary says:

    Hi Joe,

    Happy New Year. If you were the only person that liked what you wrote, would you still continue to write for your own amusement? Obviously this is not the case as you are an amazing writer and lots of people, myself included, love to read your books. But just out of interest, what would you do?

    By the way, I am going against the masses and saying I don’t want you to bring Logen back. He is an excellent character, but I prefer quality over quantity and would hate to see him brought back just for the sake of bringing him back. Fair enough if there is a good reason and the story warrants it. I’m just weary of characters in film, tv and books that were really cool to start with but have just been spread out and overexposed so lose the gloss that made them so exciting and well liked in the first place. I’m sure you’ll do the right thing as you clearly know what you are doing. I look forward to your next book with baited breath! 🙂

  • Graham says:

    Although your books are not a series in the Wheel of Time/Song of ice and fire sense they are still very much linked together in the background – do you have plan sketched out/nailed down for a multi book background plot arch resolving the Bayaz v Kahlul tiff or are you winging it?

  • Vex says:

    Hi Joe,

    Do you have a timeframe when your next book will be out? Any chance of this happening in 2012 before the supposed end of the world? (Which would be nice.)

    I certainly hope to see more of Monza.

    Huge fan from Germany,
    – Vex

  • Graham says:

    With plenty of people bigging up their favourite characters for comebacks here I must say it feels appropriately lonely here in the Gorst camp….

  • Phil Norris says:

    Although I’d love to see a return of Logen – I do worry about his age though, especially if all books are writing in a linear progression – I’d like to see Glokta again.

    Will you be returning to Adua after (A) Red Country – I’m assuming said country is not where Adua is.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Chris U,
    How would I know whether I had met her/im or not?

    I rarely leave the house.

    They are sisters.

    Possibly at the end of this year. And E-books probably are good for authors already, but they must be made better by proper and coherent pricing, delivery and availability.

    I think if no one else at all was reading I would have given up writing a long time ago.

    I would never nail down a plan. It might tear when I was trying to read it.

    End of 2012 or very start of 2013. Although not if the world has ended by then, presumably.

    Phil Norris,
    Yes, probably back to the Union next.

  • Chris Upton says:

    Oi take it thats a no loike.

  • JDA says:

    When’s the movie deal?

  • Kate says:

    1. Bayaz, Khalul, Cawneil, Yulwei, Zacharus, Leru, Karnault, Anselmi, and Brokentooth. Can you give us the names of the three missing ones?

  • Kate says:

    2. When Bayaz does not bother to interfere, there are twelve seats in the Closed Council. Those are occupied by the Lord Chancellor (Halleck), the High Justice (Marovia), the Arch Lector (Sult), the Lord Marshal (Varuz), another Lord Marshal(*) (Burr), a Lord Admiral (Reutzer), a Lord Chamberlain (Fortis dan Hoff), a High Counsul (Torlichorm), and the Commander of the Knights Herald (Valdis).

    Can you give us the three missing posts that have a seat on the Council? Also, would you care to explain why are there two Marshals? Does this only happen at the time of the First Law, or it’s the usual situation?

  • TheLastOptimist says:

    Hi Joe,
    You’re a pretty lucky man what with the ultra successful writing career, loving family and that handsome face of yours, so I was wondering: if there was one thing you could have that you don’t own already, what would it be?

    Also, what level are you at on Skyrim now and what is your character’s name?

  • Kate says:

    3. This is a tricky one: In the Heroes, both Jalenhorm and Mitterick are said to command seven regiments (two horsed and five afoot each). Later Jalenhorm’s division is reinforced with two regiments from Mitterick. So Jalenhorm gets to command up to nine regiments.

    During the battle, we see Jalenhorm commanding: the 1st Regiment (Vallimir’s, where Tunny serves), the 6th Regiment (Wetterland’s, annihilated on the first day), the 8th, the 12th, the 13th, the 14th, the Rostod Regiment, the Stariksa Regiment and the Aduan Volunteers. (This totals 9)

    And we see Mitterick commanding: The 2nd Regiment, the 3rd, the 5th, the 7th, the 10th, and the Keln Regiment (totalling 6)

    So my question is: between Jalnhorm and Mitterick there should be no more than 14 regiments. However, they command 15.

    What happened here?

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    What magnificent questions. This is proper specialist subject on Mastermind type stuff. You have exerted the proper level of attention to detail and deserve proper responses, to whit:

    1. Ah, well, I’d rather not exhaustively catalogue outside of the text. I might need those three later, after all…

    2. I don’t have the notes on this in front of me, but as I recall they split into four groups of three: Law Lords, War Lords, Money Men, the King’s Household. Law – High Justice, High Consul (foreign policy), Keeper of the Rolls (responsible for records, inheritances, land and title), War – 2 Lord Marshals, one senior who remains at home, one junior who goes on campaign, plus a Lord Admiral, Money – Lord Chancellor, a minister for taxation, a minister for expenditure, Household – Chamberlain (responsible for the king’s household and person), Commander of Knights Herald (responsible for information and carriage of orders), Arch Lector of the Inquisition. So the Keeper of the Rolls and the ministers for taxation and expenditure don’t (I think) appear explicitly in the text. I’d have to check it out in some detail to be exhaustively sure, though.

    3. I actually have an order of battle right in front of me now, which certainly should correspond to the text. Whether it does is a different matter. Certainly there are probably details which never appear in the text. According to my notes Jalenhorm’s and Mitterick’s divisions both start with seven regiments, two king’s own cavalry, three king’s own foot, and two levy regiments. Meed’s division has six, one king’s own cavalry (4th), one foot (15th), one levy (the Holsthorm Regiment, as it happens) and 3 Angland divisions, with the Dogman’s Loyalists attached. So there are a total of 12 King’s Own Regiments, 5 cavalry and 7 foot, plus 5 levy regiments and 3 Angland Regiments, 20 in all (though varying considerably in size, the cavalry regiments are much smaller in terms of manpower) plus the Dogman’s loyalists. During the battle there’s some shuffling around, though – the 6th gets badly mauled, most of the cavalry is concentrated with Mitterick on the left, and some of his foot moves to Jalenhorm for the big assault on the Heroes. The 5th is one of Meed’s Cavalry divisions, so I suspect that’s your extra one. Make sense?

  • Robin Hobb says:

    Looking forward to meeting you in person at ConFusion toward the end of this month.

    So I’ll pester you with a favorite question I ask other writers: What was the book, story, or movie that made you know you were going to write in this genre? Or was it something else? What brought you over to the dark side?

  • ColinJ says:

    Joe, I admit I sometimes have a little trouble with the phonetic pronunciation of some of your characters’ names. For example, is Bayaz pronounced or ‘Bay-az’ or ‘By-az’?

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Hey Robin,
    Thanks for stopping by. And yeah, looking forward to it greatly.

    I read a lot of fantasy as a kid and played a whole lot of roleplaying games so I had a lot of ideas for an epic fantasy (alright, stolen from others) but never really thought seriously about writing until my mid-twenties. When I did it wasn’t really a case of deciding to write something and casting about for the subject, it was that I’d always had this story, these characters, these ideas in mind and decided to give writing them down a try…

    How about you?

    As it reads, Bay as in bay of biscay, az as in jazz.

  • Robin Hobb says:

    Old fairy tale books that belonged to my Dad set me off. And a tale called The Joyous Story of Astrid. So I was corrupted at an early age, and when The Lord of the Rings hit me as a teenager, I was done for.

    Thanks for the insight.


  • Conor Stewart says:

    The Prophet Khalul’s order of Eaters are known as the Hundred Words. I’m curious as to where that one came from. I mean, yeah, there’s a hundred of them, but ‘Words’? It sounds ruddy cool, but in what respect are they sequences of letters? Is there some in-universe etymology behind it? Danke!

  • Kate says:

    Thanks for the answers Joe! Needless to say I love your worldbuilding and I’m eager for any new expansion of the setting.

    Your data on Meed’s army is really useful! We couldn’t see much of his side during the battle. You are right the Meed’s cavalry was the source of all my trouble, but I’m confused with the number of regiment: I guess you meant that he has the 5th cavalry regiment, not the fourth, isn’t it? Summarizing/Conjencturing:

    Jalenhorm: 1*, 6, 8, 13, 14, Rostod, Stariksa
    Mitterick: 2*, 3*, 7, 10, 12, Keln, Adua?
    Meed: 5*, 15, Holsthorm, Angland 1, Angland 2, Angland 3.

    With the 4th, the 9th and the 11th not existing for some obscure reason. Joe, you’ve made my day!! (and put an end to nearly a year of fruitless speculation).

    Btw, I’d suggest that for the next deluxe edition of the Heroes, it’s be great to include the names of each division on the drawings at the begining of each day.

  • Iangr says:

    What a great opportunity!To ask Joe whatever we want!1000 questions spring to mind but I tried to select the most interesting.
    So here goes…

    In your future stories do you plan (or even aspire) to focus mainly on characters and how these are interwoven or focus towards events that will shape up their lives?

    To put it in a nutshell epic battles,cataclysmic events or Curden Crow to be revealed as Logen’s long lost uncle?

    I am asking this,because I noticed a specific “turn” in Martin’s tales,whereas in the first books you had big and bloody battles/duels,the later books seem to focus more on politics..

  • Brad says:

    Hi Joe,

    Since you’ve been researching various Western books and movies for your next book, have you sampled any Spaghetti Westerns?

    If so, what are your favorites?


  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Undoubtedly there is a deep meaning to it. But sounds ruddy cool is the primary objective.

    Well I guess a good epic fantasy should combine elements of both, really. Some small scale events, and some huge ones that we see the intimate effects of on some individuals…

    I have long been familiar with spaghetti westerns. Once upon a time in the west would be my favourite. Can’t knock Henry Fonda as the villain. But The Good The Bad and The Ugly ain’t bad or ugly either…

    Your numbers are exactly right (well done) apart from Meed’s division which consists of Kings Own 4th and 15th, Angland 5th (light cavalry), 6th, and 7th, and Holsthorm Regiment. Some numbers are missing because the Kings Own 11th, 5th and 16th are on assignment elsewhere (not in the North). There is no 9th because the Colonel of the 9th and many of his men once betrayed the Union and the number was expunged from the rolls and never used thereafter. Numbering is further confused because the Angland regiments are the 5th, 6th and 7th Angland (Meed refuses to use the first four numbers in memory of the regiments destroyed by the Northmen at Black Well). Would you believe I toyed with making the numbering system much more complex but decided to keep it simple…

  • Murray says:

    As you’re clearly a fan of video games what are the chances of a game set in your universe? Have you had any discussions with potential developers? and thanks for taking the time to answer peoples questions.

  • Fantasist says:

    Did I read it wrong? I thought the questions were meant for the reddit forum, not that I mind you answering questions.
    Here’s my bit:
    1. Why is Black Dow the Protector of the North and not it’s next King after he’s done with Logen?
    2. Do impersonate someone,take their appearance and all, is it necessary to be an Eater? Or is the High Art sufficient?
    3. How large is the ‘North’?

    And can I expect your typical wit if the questions are spoilerfic?

  • ColinJ says:

    Joe, any chance of getting the day-by-day maps for THE HEROES posted on your site?

    I bought the book on the Kindle and while that screen is great for text, detailed drawings such as the strategic maps in the book look bloody awful. So I had a very hard time following the progression of the battle.

  • Storm in the High Places says:

    I have a question Joe. Why did Bethod imprison Logan and crew before Bayaz asked him to let them go. And where did Logan come from when he came over with Dogman.

  • Storm in the High Places says:

    And will we here more about Shenkt and the fued between him and Bayaz. Hoping so. Can’t wait for A RED COUNTRY. keep it going and thanks for this blog.

  • Graham says:

    That Reddit site looks like tough work Joe, I might spare you my million questions – they all start with “Who would win in a fight….”

    Ok, just give me one – Friendly or Black Dow in his pomp?

  • Graham says:

    And the first POV character from (A) Red Country vs a soberish Cosca?

  • Lenny says:

    OOOOh, i just became aware that you could ask questions and i’m two hours late! Goin’ Mental! Hope you still answer this one:

    How about the Missing Magi from the line up? ANYTHING you care to share? Named or Unnamed ones… Just a little fluff is all we ask… 🙂

  • Lenny says:

    OOOOps, made an ass of myself, you already answered that question. Haha; however just wanted to say something you probably don’t hear often:


    I loved the Ending! It was great. I truly believe Ninefinger is dead, nobody’s that lucky…two times.
    It’s a nice gift from you to us i think to not give his death explicitly so theer is still hope. A good hero never dies anyway. Had a real Soprano’s Ending to it. (People went berserk over Tony Blacking Out at the ending too)
    I think you did the perfect thing. Unlike others i put the books away and it felt complete; i wanted more but other stuff.

    However, i am very PRO to the idea about shortstories about the younger Logen. Enough about Ninefingers, now about Abercrombie; which is much shorter :

    You rock for answering questions 🙂

  • Dan says:

    Great job on the reddit ama Joe! I also see that “A Red Country” is number 1 on the top 10 most anticipated 2012 releases list at Fantasy Faction. You seem to be on quite a roll and I fear you may quickly become too big and important for us mopes hanging around your blog…lol!

    I’m very happy for you and your much deserved success!

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Chances limited, I would have thought, though my ears are always open.

    1. Because Dow isn’t big on kings.

    2. Taking forms is usually the preserve of some eaters.

    3. Bigger then Preston. Smaller than Asia.

    Copyright might be tricky. I shall see…

    They became a problem.

    Tough question. I’d call that a close match.

    None of the POVs in Red Country are particularly spectacular fighters.

    Yes. No. Maybe.


  • Whiskeyjack says:

    Do you like Red Dwarf? The End.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Occasionally patchy, but had some brilliant moments.

    “This man is guilty of nothing more than being Arnold J. Rimmer. That is his crime, it is also his punishment.”

  • ColinJ says:

    Joe, are you a fan of Stephen King’s DARK TOWER series? Debate still rages whether the series jumped the shark in the final three books but overall I think the series has some of his best stuff.

    In fact, I think the second book, THE DRAWING OF THE THREE, is one of the very best books King has ever written.

  • Graham says:

    Thanks for being so patient with all the questions Joe, I have never felt compelled to enter a dialogue with an author before but your books reignited by love of fantasy after 10 years of the authors I loved in my teens stagnating or dying – the bastards.

    Halfway through the Last Argument of Kings I read the back cover of the Heroes and found out who ended up as being in charge of the North – I was mightily annoyed as it gave away a major twist in the story.

    And yet I still really want to know as much as possible about (A) Red Country!!

    So far you have revealled

    It is set six years after the Heroes, 13 years after Last Argument of Kings
    It takes place in an area of wilderness north of the Old Empire, so a rough analog of the old west, with colonists expanding into lawless territory and encountering unfriendly locals.
    Zacharus is in it
    The major POV characters are new
    None of the major POV characters are great fighters

    Could some of the unfriendly locals be Shanka? Are they totally evil or merely misunderstood?
    Have you decided on the (A) yet?

    And totally unrelated did you do any research into OCD/Post traumatic stress/Institutionalisation before writing Friendly or is his batshit Craziness purely based on entertainment value?

  • Sketch says:

    “None of the major POV characters are great fighters.”
    Probably no Sulfur then. I’d love to see him get some POV attention but I suppose the far north of the Old Empire is a bit out of the way for him to really be engaged fully in it. He’d probably be better suited to the Cold War espionage book idea that was talked about. No chance of a fourth stand-alone before the trilogy…? 😉

    Also, greatly enjoyed the Reddit thread. Tied up a lot of curiosities I had. Nice work!

  • Johan R says:

    Good day. Listening to The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged felt like receiving a surprise punch in my guts – but in a good way. Mr. Abercrombie, have you read ficition of any kind, not only Fantasy, that you suspect may have the same effect on me? What would that book or those books be? I would be most gratefull for some ideas of such possibly worthwile venues.

  • Ginger says:

    Hello Joe,

    I just wanted to let you know that your books are just terrific. I loved the series so much I could not stop talking about them. You have managed to reach such a wide range of people in my little community from me a 47 year old to my son 16 and my other sons friends who are 14. We all loved talking about the characters. I like Logen, Alex like Ferro and Tyler love Glokta. We hope to hear from them again.

  • ynnarin says:

    Hi Joe,

    one hour ago i finished “The First Law – series” and the only problem is, that it doesn´t have more sites. I loved the ending, abselutly perfect, the books were so cool – in all ways.
    It would be so great, if you write a 4th par some day.

    big big thx,

    best greetings from Berlin (germany)

    and sry for my bad english.

  • Robert says:

    Joe ,

    Would you consider HBO for making a “Game of Thrones”- like First Law series ?
    I think if will be a great succes.(both for you and HBO)
    What actors would you see playng your characters?

    Played Skyrim ?

  • Clark says:

    Hello, Mr. Abercrombie. I’m the aspiring author of a high epic fantasy series. I’m a big fan of fantasy, and the notches in my belt include Lord of The Rings, The Hobbit, The Chronicles of Narnia, three out of four of the Inheritance Cycle (currently on the last one I need to read), and I have the first installment of the Wheel of Time and ASOIAF on my shelf.

    I was wondering if you could help me out with something. I have some curiosities about name making. In this world I have, I don’t use a lot of ‘fictional’ names, save for if I’m naming a dragon, a fairy like creature, or a talking bird. In fact, the main character’s name is Nolan Larkham, and I’m about to name a member of an Arab like kingdom with an actual name.

    Is this method bad? I spend a lot of time on the internet looking into Welsh, English, Scottish, Irish, Scandinavian and other ethnical names and usually use actual names. Should I make up names or is this method alright?

  • Jago says:

    Mr. Abercrombie,
    Does becoming an eater require intent? That is to say, could, say, a shipwrecked sailor forced into cannibalism to survive or far northern savage tribesman ritually consuming his kin become an eater by accident? If so, why are there not more cases of this?

    Thank you – it’s great to see an author willing to answer fan questions like this.

  • Ragnar says:

    Mr. Joe,

    The mostly lighthearted narrative throughout the first law trilogy, vs the bleak and dour resolution has me all jacked up. While reading the first book, I very nearly wanted to either drink bleach, keep reading to punish myself, or forget I ever touched the libram. As it happens, I chose to continue, and am glad I did. The character development and foundation you laboriously established complimented the trilogy perfectly, and was masterfully executed. After the second and final installment, my appreciation for the premier grew immeasurably, and I feel, that had it been done any other way, it would have not nearly approached the level of immersion and sheer wtf factor upon resolution. I’m well into your second trilogy now, and am not remotely dissatisfied, despite my love of the characters, particularly Logan and Farro, the new(ish) focal creatures remain just as engrossing and relatable, a few of which, owe some in part to the first law trilogy. My question is. What inspired your writing style, and why? The only thing I can compare it to, is a song of fire and ice, but there is not nearly as much useless fluff in your work. You master crafted an arc that was so optimistic, yet desolate, and so unique. What was your inspiration for this elegant cluster fuck of a plot? It’s just brilliant. It’s the only time I’ve ever felt like I was kicked in the nuts, yet enjoyed every second of it.


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