Assorted Stuff

May 12th, 2008

The guys at have done a little survey to establish the top ten favourite sf&f; authors for their readership, and guess who came in 9th place?

That’s right, new kid on the block, Joe Abercrombie.

Oh, yes indeed. Finally OBJECTIVE AND INCONTROVERTIBLE PROOF of what I have long suspected, that I am a writer situated WITHOUT FEAR OF CONTRADICTION at the DIZZY SUMMIT OF MY FIELD.

In order to reach the exalted heights of ninth place it was necessary, of course, to clamber up a mountain of the skulls of lesser authors. I opened a can of whoop-ass on such talentless hacks as Jack Vance, Arthur C. Clarke, and Edgar Allen Poe. I spanked Haruki Murakami, pwned Umberto Eco, and made Franz Kafka where his ASS for a HAT. I know what you’re thinking. Those last three aren’t really sf&f; authors by any meaningful definition are they? Well, no, I suppose they’re not, but they’re all united in GETTING LESS VOTES THAN ME.

Of course, this is a site dedicated to GRRM, so it’s understandable that epic fantasy, and epic fantasy of the grittier persuasion for that matter, should do well with the membership there. Plus there’s always a huge effect of recency in such votes and I have had three books out pretty close together, one of them just a couple of months ago, so the god of release dates (or is he a devil?) has been kind to me on this occasion. Still very gratifying, of course. My thanks to everyone who voted.

For me.

What’s that you say, you’ve read the entire First Law Trilogy and want more Joe Abercrombie? Well how about going to JW Builders, where they have not one, but two Joe Abercrombies for hire at once! Father and son, no less. Admittedly, Joe Sr. and Joe Jr. don’t write gritty yet hilarious fantasy, but rather are experts in steel construction within the Cedaredge Colorado region.

File this one under surreal. Natalie Hatch has listed me in her post on “more foxy male authors”. There, I am, all dark and dangerous, just under that picture of Chris Ryan looking all buff and oiled up. I must just correct the small error there however – I am an editor, not a producer. As far as foxiness goes, though, GUILTY … AS … CHARGED. Dear, dear, the things one can achieve with good lighting. And the things one finds using google blog search…

Back to safer and more familiar ground! A review of Last Argument of Kings from Robert at Sci-Fi London:

“all of the characters, even the bit players, are beautifully realised, being recognisable without resorting to cliche, the world they live in is nicely presented but without overpowering the story like so many fantasy worlds do and the writing is straightforward and direct giving the action scenes an immediacy that moves things along at a decent clip but at the same time it doesn’t flinch from giving us the grim details where necessary … The conclusion to this gripping trilogy, like it’s forerunners, is worth every second of your rapt attention. If you haven’t had the pleasure of diving into Joe Abercrombie’s world then I urge you to do so now, you’ll be glad you did.”

I likes it. A more mixed review from Larry Nolen over at Strange Horizons, where they like a bit of, in the timeless words of Samuel L. Jackson, that serious gourmet sh*t:

“My reaction to this novel could be summarized as “what could have been.” If the characters had been developed just a bit more, if Abercrombie had “shown” their conflicts rather than just “telling” us about them, if there had been a better balance between the external conflict and the characters’ internal clashes … if all of that had happened, then Last Argument of Kings could have been a work that transcended its setting. Instead, The First Law series as a whole will appeal mostly to epic fantasy junkies, with little to recommend it to those who believe that epic fantasies as a whole are little more than tired repetitions of the same worn-out schema.”

Limited appeal? I beg to differ! Am I not ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY OBJECTIVELY one of the ten best f&sf; authors on the planet ever? I think I am! Larry has invited me to call him a poopyhead in response. Naturally, I am entirely above such things, and will merely note instead that he’s used the phrase, “as a whole” twice in one sentence. Ah, what could have been – if it weren’t for such tired repetitions of worn out schema this could have been a review that transcended its setting…

Still, there’s nothing to stop you lot, the voice of the unwashed masses, calling Larry a poopyhead in the comments section below. I’m sure he’ll also thoroughly enjoy any use of the terms “pretentious” and “elitist”, along with, perhaps, some numerical evaluations of his reviewing skills, with as many decimal places as you should desire…

Posted in reviews by Joe Abercrombie on May 12th, 2008. Tags: ,

18 comments so far

  • Still, good to see you being magnaminous in victory, eh? Scott Lynch had you on the ropes there for a while but you executed a stunning last-minute comeback in the last round of voting.

  • Elena says:

    I rate Larry’s review at pi out of 5. How’s that as a pretentious eye for a pretentious eye? With the added benefit of as many decimals as anyone can want. EVER.

  • Suzann says:

    Sorry, I still haven’t gotten past the Foxy Authors bit. I am so easily distracted.
    It is hard to think poopyhead while looking at the buffed up authors.
    Larry is just jealous cause no one has used the term “foxy” in connection with him or any other reviewer.
    Say one thing about Joe, say he is foxy

  • Larry says:

    So says the author who writes in his post above: “I spanked Haruki Murakami, pwned Umberto Eco, and made Franz Kafka where his ASS for a HAT.

    QED 😉

    And suzann, you’d be wrong. I most certainly am a “foxling” in the eyes of a very lovely lady – it is one of her nicks for me *ahem* but moving on…

    Joe, what we need to do here is have a big argument. This has gone WAY beyond mere “poopyheadedness.” I’m afraid I’m going to have to point out that you and your fans have cooties.

    Yes, I threw down the gauntlet. In a Shatneresque voice: You…have…cooties.

    You may weep at my own convenience and pleasure.

  • Alright Joe, he’s saying we’ve got cooties. I say you use your ungodly amount of riches that you’ve procured in your recent climb to fame (and your government’s continued ass pounding of the American dollar) to fly a certain rabid fan of yours to where ever Mr. Nolin happens to be currently residing so said rabid fan could show him the meaning of cooties…

    …You know on second thought (and with my wife having a sudden coughing fit that sure sounded like a Gregorian monk high-chanting the word gay) I think my use of ass pounding in conjuncture with the whole reference to “showing him the meaning of cooties” may have been slightly mis-leading. So yeah… Larry sucks…

    On a side note Joe, if I ask you nicely enough will you the next time you’re at your local bookstore take a snapshot of the newsstand there? We’ve got some photos coming out in a magazine that’s only released in the UK and we’re experiencing sadness at missing out on the whole “Look there it is!” Feel free to tell me to sod off at this point…

  • Cutsnake says:

    What sort of a knobend uses the phrase “My reaction to this novel could be summarised as…”

    No wonder Larry is a reviewer.

    Although, I did enjoy his ‘damning with faint praise’ section where he says “Despite these serious flaws, there is much to praise in LAOK” and then states that it was short and didn’t have too many characters.

    Ah Joe, that must make you feel all warm and gooey inside.

  • Bob Lock says:

    This probably encapsulates what I think about most critics:

    One mustn’t criticize other people on grounds where he can’t stand perpendicular himself – MARK TWAIN

  • Adam,
    I am the definition of magnanimity. I think it says a lot for Scott’s popularity that he’s only just behind when he’s only put out two books and the last of those a year ago now. If his next book hits the mark I’m sure he’ll spring back up.

    Evidently my embedded reference to the famous typographical error in Wilkins and Kaiser’s 1954 translation of The Trial went WAY over your head. Ahem.

    Ass pounding may be an unfortunate choice of words. Don’t know when I’ll next be at the bookstore, unfortunately, but what’s the publication? Nothing homoerotic, I trust…

    Knobend is an inch too far, man. A ha ha. But seriously. Let’s keep this respectful, please. Larry has a perfect right to his own opinion, regardless of how obviously and objectively misguided it may be. Poopyhead is more than cutting enough.

    Well, on those grounds I guess no-one could criticise writers but other writers, and I actually think they often make the least objective critics. That’s why, on the whole, I try and steer away from criticism myself…

  • Joe:

    We’ve got a photo spread coming out in The Official Xbox Magazine for the UK. I don’t really think there’s anything Homoerotic about that, well I’m sure some right wing Christian group might say something about video game violence leads to homo-sexuality, they seem to jump to conclusions like that.

    DISCLAIMER: If you are, or ever have been part of a right wing Christian group my deepest apologies…

  • Larry says:

    J.M., if you’re going to use my august surname (which traces its origins back beyond Strongbow and to the mists of Irish legend), at least spell it correctly 😉 E, not I. Sheesh.

    And cutsnake, I used it as a replacement for “Well, ya know, although it kinda hit me like an old lady’s fart…”, so yeah.

    And Mark Twain has nothing on me, yo.

    *ponders if he should continue this, or if someone would take the namecalling seriously*

    *wonders if Joe is secretly a Smeghead*

  • jason says:

    As commanded my my dark master, obligatory “Larry is a poophead” comment

  • JM,
    Don’t get me started on the whole video game violence issue. If I’m somewhere with a newsstand I will see what I can do. What is the nature of the spread?

    And no, you will be shocked to learn that I’ve never been a member of any hard right Christian groups. It all sounds too much like hard work.

    *We’re not taking the name calling seriously? But I’ve used all my best lines…*

    *It’s no secret*


  • Joe:
    I’ll let you know when it’s out. 🙂 As far as the nature goes, we were doing portraits of iconic video game characters in ‘every day’ situations. Though I believe the article is mostly about crazy people that dress up as video game characters. Either way, we’re happy with how they turned out, and your money stretches so much further on this side of the pond.

    Unintended pun, my deepest apologies. 😉

  • Jason says:

    Apologies Joe, for I only have a debit card, as you know had one of the credit variety its secrets would be yours

  • Larry says:

    Joe, you disappoint me. No “turdsniffer”? No “I fart in your general direction”? No “your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries”?



    There, now use your worst lines, now that your best material has been exhausted 😉

  • Joe, my sincerest apologies that I didn’t get your occupation right. I had asked several of my writer girlfriends to list the male authors that they thought were hunks. Many blogs we see have sexy men of the week, so we thought we’d put intelligent, attractive men up there among the rest of them. Your name you might like to know was very highly mentioned. Perhaps it was that special lighting you do.
    I hadn’t even thought of Larry by the way, I should have, having read so much of his works. But you pipped him at the post most likely.
    Your Author of the week is scheduled for the second week of June, please send any photos you would like us to use. Many of the Romance Writers of Australia regularly pop in to get inspiration for new Alpha Heroes, perhaps you’ll be the next one?
    Kindest regards
    Natalie Hatch
    P.S. I must admit I hadn’t read any of your work, but now I will.

  • jason,

    I know I disappoint you. I read the review.

    Ha ha. Cheers for stopping by. Attractive, intelligent men, you say? I very much doubt I can stretch to more than one of those adjectives…

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