Ho ho ho, merry christmas, and God bless us, every one. OK, so it’s the day after boxing day, but there’s no internet at my Mother-in-Law’s so we’ll have to make do. After a brief sojourn into the world of the silver screen, it’s high time that we returned to what this blog is really all about. ME. It’s been a while since we swept the very corners of the internet for opinions about my writings, and with 2007 drawing to a close, let us examine some summations of the year…
Firstly, in a mammoth review of reviews, SFFWorld’s Best Reads of 2007 is a compilation of the opinions of several of my favourite sf&f bloggers (or if they weren’t before they certainly are now) – Werthead of the Wertzone, Aidan of Dribble of Ink, Robert of Fantasy Book Critic, and Rob Bedford and Mark Yon from SFFWorld. It featured such comments as:
“Abercrombie’s debut rocked my world.”
“The Blade Itself was loads of fun and even more impressive because it DID live up to the hype I heard.”
“Joe Abercrombie’s Before They are Hanged was also top notch.”
In the ensuing discussion there was some upset expressed by the denizens of SFFWorld that there was so little variety among the choices of the five participants, an accusation which I couldn’t understand, since BOTH The Blade Itself AND Before They are Hanged were mentioned frequently. I mean, how much variety do you want?
There was one author, in fact, that appeared somewhere in the top five of every single one of these leading fantasy opinion makers. I really must read something by this JOE ABERCROMBIE guy. There was also some passing mention of some characters called Rothfuss and Lynch, but I wasn’t really paying attention by that point, and I’ve never heard of ’em myself. Flashes in the pan, probably…
Meanwhile the redoubtable Pat of Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist has posted his End of Year Awards, and I note with even more than my usual level of insufferable smugness that I’ve been selected as the Most Improved Author of 2007. I was also runner up for the second year running in the Most Accessible Author category. Mother! At last! I’ve come good! You can once again admit to everyone that you have two sons!
Though Before They are Hanged only reached no. 16 on his top 20 of the year (Boo! Hiss!) it was apparently a huge improvement over The Blade Itself. Pat’s score for The Blade Itself? An above average but unspectacular 7.5. His score for Before They are Hanged? A hugely improved and much more heartening … 7.5. And my award for The Internet Fantasy Numerical Assesment Scale Most in Need of Revision goes to…
Ken at Neth Space did his Year in Review, in which The Blade Itself was one of eleven picks for 2007:
“I simply love this first book of The First Law trilogy. It is epic fantasy that does very little that is new or original – but, it’s all about the execution. Abercrombie laughs at maps and detailed world building while putting all his emphasis on the characters – and they are great characters. It’s written with more wit than most writers use in their entire career.”
Judging by how my latest book is going, The Blade Itself was written with all the wit that I’ll use in my entire career (ah ha, ha, hah. Of course I’m joking. My next book will be hilarious. I’ve been keeping back all my best material. Honest.) John, of Grasping for the Wind, likewise posted his favourite books of 2007, and The Blade Itself came in sixthishly:
“It is just a great novel that needs to be read by everyone. A funny and pithy novel, you won’t regret reading it.”
True, all so very true. Some way into the writing of my fourth book, I feel like a weathered old hag of an author, completely divested of all excitement, innovataion or enthusiasm, so it’s surprising to remember that for most of the world’s fantasy readers I am still an exciting new voice, fresh-faced and bushy-tailed. Only witness SF Signal’s Christmas Gift of First Time Authors:
“Abercrombie has written a story that is long on character and plot, and short on epic-ness. Which is a good thing, given the abundance of door stopper fantasy out right now. Funny, smart and violent, The Blade Itself is a great read.”
Ah, the happy memories. Remember when you were still funny, smart and violent?