Best of 2007?

December 27th, 2007

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?

Posted in reviews by Joe Abercrombie on December 27th, 2007.

8 comments so far

  • The Wedge says:

    I finally got a copy of The Blade Itself from jolly old St. Nick. After all the hype from the Westeros board and elsewhere, it better not disappoint me!

    I’ll poison the wells of Abercrombie Land if this novel fails to satisfy.

    Oh yeah, your blogs are always funny and enlightening. Keep up the accessibility….. or else…. well, you get the picture….

  • Neth says:

    Nobody told you about the conspiracy to jack your ego up to unprecendented levels just to see what happens?

    Actually, there is a plan beyond that (and a betting pool)….but that would be telling 😀

  • Bob Lock says:

    I was also runner up for the second year running in the Most Accessible Author category.

    See? I bet you’re sorry now you didn’t invite me for Christmas dinner, could have got you the first place…

    What are the odds etc? I just might invest a tenner 🙂

  • Wedge,
    Oh no, my friend, you have it all wrong. You’d better not be disappointed, or YOU may come home one day to find Wedge Land a blasted ruin. Mwa ha ha ha haaah!

    Any attempt to further inflate my already vastly distended ego is extremely irresponsible. If it gets much bigger the space-time continuum may collapse.

    Yes … there may be an accesibility limit beyond which most authors would not wish to venture…

    Always glad to see our overseas companions on the blog. You can depend on my taking a look at the Dutch covers as and when they appear – been talking to the translator and it looks like publication late next year in Holland.

  • isis says:

    Blimey, it’s rather scary how popular you are right now, isn’t it? Is it all you expected it to be?

    And oh noes, you didn’t have to spend Christmas in Billericay, did you? I can tell you from many years of experience that the best solution to this one is to remain safely indoors for the duration.

  • Annie from Fremantle says:

    Congrats on the accolades for your books.

    I’ve lost the patience to sit and read books but your friend Joe Mallozzi is such an inspiration he can convert non readers back into readers and he absolutely loves your books… so I’ll give them a go at his recommendation. Get my teeth back into books (not literally as I don’t want to ruin the beautiful covers).

    Let’s see if I can do it. Any pointers for an ex reader who’s lost the motivation to stick with a book? (non violent of course).

  • Isis,
    Is it all I expected. No it is not. I won’t be satisfied until I’m better known than OJ and more popular than Sauron.

    And my wife’s mother lives in Winchester now, so Essex and me are safe from each other, much to both our relief, I’m sure.

    Hmmmm. Recommendations. I must admit (and this may sound pretty silly) that I’m not much of a reader these days. Too much else on my plate. I’d aim you towards Scott Lynch, whose Lies of Locke Lamora seems to hit the right notes with a wide range of readers (including Joe M.) but violence free might be kinda tricky…

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