Good news, good news. Those lucky, lucky people at Fantasy Faction (who organised a fantastic event up in London last Friday with me, Peter Brett and Myke Cole, incidentally) have had the opportunity to read a proof of Red Country, and have posted the first review of the book. If you’re really sensitive to spoilers you might want to avoid it since there’s a bit of laying out of the plot, but nothing too serious. Their bottom line?
“This is Abercrombie’s best book to date. His writing is sharper than the swords his characters wield and the new setting allows Gritty Fantasy’s father to ramp up the pace!”
I wonder if GRRM, not to mention Michael Moorcock or Fritz Leiber or maybe even Robert E. Howard might raise a brow at the notion of me being the father of Gritty Fantasy. The second cousin of Gritty Fantasy, maybe? But, hey, I’ll accept the compliment. I’m big that way. They’ve also got their sticky paws on the only-just-now-released book trailer for Red Country too. You can see that on YouTube over here, should you so desire…
53 comments so far
The bastard son of gritty fantasy? Too much?
I have to resist some more months….damn…
The Second Pet Cat of Gritty Fantasy at least.
GRRM mentions you in several interviews, as works he enjoy reading (gritty fantasy)
You release it on my birthday!? thanks Joe that means so much 🙂
With respect to First Law, what I found most impressive about the trilogy (and what I tend to look for in the books that I read) was the consistency with which you used your POV characters. You chose six protagonists through the eyes of whom we could watch the action and you sticked to the number. Bravo!!! It seems that way too many authors today are in the habit of inserting a new POV every couple of pages, whenever they find themselves unable to deal with a certain tangle in their plots, ending up with hordes of them (which is something I really detest). It makes the narrative structure of a novel all shaky and poorly balanced. There are really few writers who know how to actually improve their works by making use of “switching POV-s”, and… you ARE one of them, of which The Heroes is a proof. If the structure of Red Country, as far as the so-called “perspective” is concerned, is similiar to that of The Heroes then I can safely assume that October 2012 will be one of the best months of my life, for I’ve yet to read a book better than The Heroes 🙂
An acquaintance of Gritty Fantasy? Nah, too little. The weird yet sort of accepted distant relative of Gritty Fantasy who tends to drink just a tad too much at family gatherings and almost makes a fool of himself? (Almost, I said) Great guy nonetheless, though…
AHHH! Somebody, hit the fast forward button!
It sill boggles my mind how quickly you are able to churn out quality material.
They are Grandfather’s to Gritty Fantasy, certainly. But, I don’t think they were achieving the same kind of effect you achieve in their writings. I also don’t think they were trying to do what you are trying to do (I could be wrong).
They were writing dark fantasy, Elric for example was one of the best examples of an anti-hero and paved the way for people to explore those kinds of dark stories. The reason his fantasy isn’t gritty (in the way I use the term) is because his stories were so fantastical and whimsical. In Martin’s case, he writes Dark Epic Fantasy that has gritty parts: the chapters following Davos, for example, are gritty in my eyes. What ‘epic’ fantasy does, though, is take a reader and place them in a story that is so big that it is incomparable to their real life.
The way I see Gritty Fantasy, as a genre, is a writer writing about things that resemble real life ‘as they are’ or at least ‘as they were’ and getting ‘down in the trenches’ with them. The writer gets behind the eyes of a not overly special character and allows a reader to become them, experience what they experience and truly share what this person goes through. In addition to your own books, Scott Lynch did this very well in Lies of Locke Lamora.
One author told me on Saturday (Myke or Peter – you guess :P), that your writing achieves this so well that your books take forever to read. Not because they aren’t page turners, but because they need a break between chapters to ‘un-become a character’. This is because they get so into the head of the character focused on during that chapter that their voice takes over and it becomes hard to transition out of of it and into the next. I don’t have that problem, but that’s a pretty scary ability to have 😉
Damned it – now I see why writers don’t respond to reviews of their own work… they end up blabbering ;P
Can’t wait. It’s funny, since I’ve read BSC, I think of Joe as Quentin Tarantino of fantasy. Nice to see the attraction to western setting coincides in both of them, what with Red Country and Django Unchained coming out this year 🙂
Oh, and I bloody love Tarantino, in case that part wasn’t clear.
I can honestly not recall the last time I was this excited for a book release.
Perhaps the drunken uncle of gritty fantasy? What with the whiskey showdown, might fit a bit better.
Red headed step child of gritty fantasy. But seriously, in my mind you are the reigning heavy weight champion and king of all fantasy! Can’t wait!!
I point you to an article I wrote on this very subject on Marc’s own website:
in the video preview..after Lamb..it show two hands and only nine fingers…say on thing for Logen Ninefingers..say..hes back!
Ha! Good to see you over here, man. Hard not to make a fool of yourself when the gin and tonics have so much gin and so little tonic…
No, I get what you mean, and you’re right. I am ace.
The basic approach is pretty similar to The Heroes, but most of Red Country is told from only two PoVs, with an occasional third, and then with five sequences of PoV shifting between more minor characters, as there were in the Heroes. So maybe you could say it’s both more focused and more diffuse…
Whatever they call you, it makes little difference to me. My position will always be “you write it, I’ll read it.” And re-read it, of course. Although, I have to admit I’m partial to Bastard Son of Gritty Fantasy so far…
Nice Trailer! especially like 0:28 😉
really wanna read this even more now iv read the review
so whens the next one comin’ Joe? hopefully before 2015
Is it only me or did I detect a Tarantinesque feel emanating from the trailer?
Joe,you have to make a promise to yourself that when the movies come out,the big Q himself should direct them!
I miss the old Michael Moorcock. The pre oh-god-no-please-no-more-further-adventures-of-Elric stuff. That stuff definitely had some grit to it.
I would choose realism over grit to describe GRRM and Joe’s work. You just have to comb through history books to see that the attitudes of the characters are not so out of step with… well, us! Maybe not now… humans are far kinder than, say, even 100 years ago! The real fantasy is the notion that people in the same conditions WOULDN’T be treacherous, bloodthirsty and just desensitized to such conditions.
Let’s not forget, watching people get butchered was a popular pastime for us! “Gritty” fantasy just seems like a label pub people want to use in place of an “NC17” rating.
Joe, that sounds awesome! A most interesting pattern!
WHY CAN T I GET YOUR BOOKS ON KOBO?
BECAUSE YOU’RE A NAUGHTY MAN AND THIS IS YOUR PUNISHMENT.
Can’t wait for this to come out. Will there be a limited edition release from subterranean press?
A new Abercrombie book, a day off tomorrow and a new Cat Power Album means all is right with the world.
Just watched the trailer……frickin cool. Got a bit of a Red Dead feel to it with a pinch of Desperado to it methinks.
Hopefully, but no deal as yet. They’re due to do the Heroes next, though, so we’ll see.
As if the guys from FF were not biased.
Lamb is such a brilliant name.
However, Tarantino is an overrated scrub. Please do not stain the pages of this forum with quirky nerd movies that are stale after one viewing.
I’ve gotten at least, to my current count, four to five people, to check out your novels.
I always use the following saying (trust me, it’s selling point): “Imagine Song of Ice and Fire. Now imagine if Ramsay Bolton, Gregor Clegane, and all the other undesirables are the main characters…and they aren’t that evil at all”.
Gets ’em every time…
By the way, have you read The Dark Tower series by King? It’s a prime example of Western fantasy (some more themes thrown in, but fittingly enough). Guess it depends on if you’re a King fan. He’s hit or miss with some people.
The hedgehog of Gritty Fantasy. Not to be forgot if you step on him with bare feet on a dark night.
Man oh man, that linked to review is really really spoilery, not just a little. I stopped reading when it told about getting back to the farm.
Why this book not in my hand?. Bad Universe, bad.
Interesting trailer. However, the characters were all wearing Wild West style clothes, rather than the more typical gritty fantasy style. And the Wanted style posters were definitely wild west.
Was that a deliberate attempt to blur the lines, or attract your non-typical fantasy or even western fan? Do you think it might backfire, if they were expecting a straight up western, and instead got the afore mentioned GF? I mean, Im sure they would probably enjoy it, but, “Hey, this wasn’t what I ordered!”
How about the “Drunken Uncle” of gritty fantasy? You know, takes a character ya like and disposes of him in certain violent yet unwitnessed fashion only to bring him back as a happy “surprise”, someone who relishes his avid readers pain with a certain addict-like abandon, yet always delivers the goods like a BOSS!!!
Finds a comfy chair under a good light with a bottle of his favorite rum and begins to patiently reread The Heroes as he waits.
Care to elaborate? I think people are often excited to get an early look at a keenly anticipated book, especially if they’re fans and enthusiasts for the genre. Usually you’ve got to wait until a book’s been out a little while and the dust has settled to get a more level-headed idea of how a book’s gone down. But I’m not sure how you avoid that style of ‘bias’. Pretty much all SF&F commentators are fans and enthusiasts. Who’s unbiased, by your estimation?
Yeah, much though I love and admire Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction I’ve not been much enamoured of anything he’s done since.
Well if someone who wouldn’t normally consider it buys it and doesn’t like it, I’d call that a marketing success in many ways. At least they bought it. And I’d like to believe that most readers have much wider tastes than we (or perhaps they) assume. Once they’ve bought it, it’s up to the book or, one might, say, me, to win them over. Maybe they’ll love it, and buy all my other stuff? After all I imagine that most really committed UK fantasy readers (the small hardcore who are actively looking for new fantasy authors) will already be buying my stuff, or at least will have tried one book or another and decided it’s not for them.
That trailer is bloody awesome!
Can’t wait to read Red Country!
Oh Joe, how I have missed your blog this past week or so.
Really happy that you’ve got positive reviews straight away, you do after all, deserve the praise of every man and woman ever to have passed through this world…
Might I add, I was sent a delicious looking email from Amazon today, containing this beautiful thing…
Must I advertise for you? Or was this to be another subject of your blog for another day? If so, sorry for ruining the surprise.
Good for you, Joe! Grats and stuff. 🙂
Oh I’m so excited. So. Excited. If All The Things come to pass, I will be reading a new Abercrombie, a new Lynch (omgomgomgpleeeeeease) and a new Redick in October. What a month! The only way this shopping list could get any better is if GRRM published the next two SoIaF books AT THE SAME TIME.
So if Logen is now Lamb…. will the Bloody Nine be Lambo?
I’m just thinking, with HBO aware they have perhaps only another 3 seasons of Game of thrones left. I’m wondering if the ‘gritty fantasy’ audience will be provided with another high quality series. You are just about to provide a possible fourth season…
As I understand it HBO/GRRM have always planned on splitting some of the books up into more than one season a piece, so I think Game of Thrones may have a fair old while to run…
Of course if anyone else should fancy filmic some gritty fantasy in the meantime my ears are open…
Great trailer. Lays on the wild west a bit too much though. All it needed was some ricochet noises and a harmonica.
That said ill buy it thrice. A signed (hopefully), a reader and a kindle
I’ve never heard of Fritz Leiber before and have just discovered his staggeringly long bibliography. Where do you suggest I start?
Leiber wrote all kinds of stuff, and was also an actor, fencer, and chessmaster, as it goes. He’s best known for Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, which to me are the definitive sword and sorcery stories, even more so than Conan, written over the course of 40 years or more. Great sense of humour. Hugely influential on D&D and roleplaying. In the UK Gollancz publish the first batch as ‘The First Book of Lankhmar’ in the Fantasy Masterworks Series.
I am in the minority but of all the books my favorite is “Best Served Cold”. I still can not fathom why that is not the highest rated book on amazon. Much like the review for “Red Country”, I loved the growth, or degredation, of the characters in BSC.
Gotta tell you Joe, you have really changed the landscape for a lot of us readers. I also have recommended you to some of my friends, and I typically say, “Abercrombie writes as well as GRRM but he actually gets to a destination.” I don’t mean that as a diss to GRRM because his books are fantastic, but you have simply changed the playing field. Think Fosbury Flop.
So there you have it….you are the Fosbury Flop of the genre (bastard step child sounds better though). Can’t wait for Red Country.
I’ll try not to spoiler this too much.
We’re all assuming and the hints are there to back up that one of the characters is someone we’ve seen before.
Although the eagle eyed and pedantic (like me) will have spotted something wrong with the most blatant visual clue in both trailers.
It could be production error or it could be a clue
Misti, oh you so lucky!.
You really should start with the collection Joe mentions.
The stories in that collection are in “Internal Chronological Order” which is pretty much the best way to come to them.
You so lucky ! 🙂
Congrats on the positive review! I have to agree with James on the trailer though. Plus, having trailers for books has always struck me as kind of weird. I know it’s for promotion, but I tend to get the “wrong” image in my head prior to reading the book. Much like watching a movie based on a book before reading it.
Joe, is there any chance you’re pormotional tour (I’m assuming there will be one) will take you to the northern part of Germany?
Thanks Joe! Will bug my local fantasy bookshop for a copy 🙂
The reviewer elaborated on his opinion of why he believes Joe if the Father of Gritty Fantasy, and I have to say he made some very strong points.
His main point was the realism of the characters and the scenarios they are thrust in/participate. That’s incredibly uncommon in Epic fantasy, even the grittier veins. There’s usually some force of evil that even the worst bastards can get behind, or conversely join.
I don’t think there’s a single POV characters he’s written thus far that has a clean split from reality — the exceptions being of course the certified lunatics (Ferro, Friendly) and even then, what they do makes sense, given the context.
Take his modern counterpart that he’s most compared to — GRRM. Even though GRRM’s series is full of cynical, selfish, murderous characters, it also has its fair share of unlikely do-gooders to balance them out.
Joe’s books don’t have that counter balance. He writes his characters with no flaw left behind, and that’s part of why we love them.
Ugh, Joe, seriously. You could teach Glokta a thing or 2. I nearly fried my brain trying to decide whether or not I should read it.
I’ll say this for the reviewer, he really did hit the nail on the head with regard to Joe’s strengths. For me it’s all about the honesty, the multi faceted characterisation and the bucketfuls of near the knuckle humour.
Thorne, y’all forgot the Tumbleweed.