Back from Scandinavia

June 29th, 2009

I have returned from my trip to Scandinavia, and it went most well. It was a flying visit – a day in Stockholm, a day in Gothenberg, and a day in Oslo, with four hours in airports, five hours on planes, and ten or eleven on trains in between – and hence slightly knackering. I spent the whole time in a slightly disoriented state of mild bafflement. Even more so than usual. But I got to meet my Swedish publisher, who are releasing The Blade Itself in Swedish in August (split in two books, but released together). They are actually keeping something close to the original title as well, unusually. Their translation comes close to ‘the tempting steel’ apparently. Ooooh. Tempting.

I also got to do some events at some great specialist bookstores, and meet a lot of very keen Swedish and Norwegian readers. Particular respect has to go to the guy who turned up at Oslo having only just been discharged from hospital with tongue cancer, had half his tongue removed and was sporting scars that would’ve made Black Dow proud to know him. Now that’s dedication.

Some things that I learned about Sweden and Norway from my brief encounter:

Scandinavia is very clean compared to London.

Scandinavians speak ludicrously good English.

And hence read a lot of books in English.

Scandinavians like fantasy and sci-fi a lot.

And hence have excellent, very well stocked and informed specialist fantasy and sci-fi bookshops with real senses of community and involvement about them.

This is a good thing.

Scandinavian trains are great.

Scandinavia is not necessarily cold. In fact it was boiling hot, brilliant sunshine pretty much the whole time I was there. I really needn’t have packed my ice-pick.

So thanks again to all the publishers and booksellers that put me up, fed me and looked after me, and also to all the good folks who came out to get books signed or listen to me talk rubbish. Maybe I’ll see you again some time…

Posted in appearances, news by Joe Abercrombie on June 29th, 2009. Tags: ,

16 comments so far

  • Deliana says:

    And thank you for coming to visit us. Hope to see you again in Stockholm. Maybe when the swedish translation is released?

    /Regards, Sanna.

  • Longasc says:

    Scandinavians also make great music, Metal in particular. No wonder that they also have a special love for fantasy literature and gaming.

    Um… your next novels… will they play in a southern desert or in the not so cold north? šŸ™‚

  • My stupid job prevented me from seeing you in Stockholm. šŸ™

  • Jostein says:

    Sorry about the lack of icy weather. Next time you should make your visit during winter, like August or September.

  • Magister says:

    The pleasure was all ours. I look forward to seeing you at Eastercon next year.

    Martin, Gothenburg

  • James says:

    Come to Canada!

  • Tobi A says:

    Yes come to Canada..

    In other news, I walked into my local bookstore yesterday out of boredom and while walking round, what do I see staring me dead in the eye?
    The last copy of "Best Served Cold", damn stupid store said they weren't getting it till fucking August and when they got it, they couldn't put it on their site that the book was in.
    Needless to say I was pretty mad and pretty damn happy at the same time. So I bought the book and I am currently a hundred pages in mostly cause I'm taking it slow and enjoying it..

    All I can say so far is,


    I admit it goes way too fast for my liking and some things don't march up but seeing as it's a stand alone and all other aspects of the book make of for it's slight defects, I shall hold my peace.

    Congratulations on such a job well done, if I die tomorrow I can die in peace knowing I've read such a great book.
    Now back to reading, this is distracting me. No sleep for me tonight.

  • Nikola says:

    It was awesome seeing you in Stockholm! Hope you can come back and visit us again. And Iā€™m really interested in seeing where your plans/ideas/dreams for a zombie-ish book take you =)

    Best wishes


  • enjai says:

    I already get "the blade itself" and Morgan's "The steel remains" mixed up frequently – thank god I'm not swedish.

    Loving BSC so far – never thought I'd think "The rainman of assassins" but now i do a lot and laugh to myself while reading.

  • AlephZ says:

    And we're all so glad you came. It was great fun at Stockholm.

    Be well!

  • marky says:

    Mmmmmmm, Scandinavian's. Is there a better looking nation? And it would appear that they are intelligent and have taste!

    I say we invade, and quickly before they take over the world!

  • Joakim says:

    Sadly I missed your visit to Oslo. But to my astonishment when I picked up a hardcover there today it was signed! A distinct "J" followed by something resembling two heartbeats from a cardiograph. Did you sign a bunch of them there?

    I won't miss the next time you come to Oslo though šŸ™‚

  • Gabriele C. says:

    Oh yes, Scandinavia is clean, the trains are great, the bookstores well assorted, and summers can be pretty warm. I liked living there – two years in Stockholm (which also gave me a taste cold Swedish winters) and three months in Oslo.

  • You should try Finland someday. All of the above applies, apart from the 'Scandinavia' label.

    In fact, every autumn in Helsinki there is 'Kirjamessu' – book fair. There was also a sci-fi and fantasy convention early this July. The Finns also celebrate 'book and rose day' every spring (May).

  • Morten Daae says:

    I am flabbergasted. I visited Outland in Oslo and they pummeled your books onto me – the whole trilogy in paperback, as well as Best Served Cold – signed!!! I went on vacation to the south of France, bringing this treasure trove with me – only to discover that I had brought book 1, 3 and 3 with me! The disappointment!
    So I had no choice but to read BSC after book one, in trepidation that it would reveal spoilers from the series. It didn't much. So now I'm in the middle of Before They Are Hanged, and in awe.
    Is it possible to write fantasy without heroes, only villains? Yes it is. I am in the space where only Stephen King could bring me to when I was 14, and Terry Pratchett whenever. I have never been able to finish a fantasy novel since LOTR and the Thomas the Covenant series – but your mix of harsh politic decicions, cynicism and comic relief rings true, especially today. May you stay poor enough to write a lot before you retire.
    Morten Daae
    Producer and editor of the doc "My daughter the terrorist"

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