Conventional Wisdom

March 24th, 2008

Ha ha. See what I did there?

Just spent the Easter weekend at Eastercon, the sci-fi and fantasy convention, which this year was within relatively easy reach of me at a hotel near Heathrow. It’s the second time I’ve been to a convention, but the first time was two years ago in Glasgow which, if one can believe it, was just before The Blade Itself was published. So this was my first attendance as an actual, proper, fully-paid-up, honest-to-goodness author.

Spent most of my time hanging around one bar or another (doesn’t everyone at these things), with my editor Gillian and publicist Jon, with Sara and Mark from Orion (thanks for the support), with Stephane and Alain from French publisher Bragelonne (lovely guys even if they are from across the channel), Darren Nash and Bella Pagan from Orbit, Marcus Gipps from Blackwells, John Berlyne of SFRevu (always a pleasure), Paul Cornell, writer for Dr. Who (Hugo nominated this year, no less). Apologies to anyone I’ve left out. I’d been drinking, you see…

Went out for dinner on the Saturday night with a cornucopia of Gollancz persons, including the aforementioned Gillian, Jon, Sara and Mark plus editorial director Jo Fletcher, plus sundry authors – Adam Roberts (Robertsy), Chris Wooding (Woody), Tom Lloyd (Lloydy), John Meaney (no chance, the man’s a master of multiple forms of unarmed combat), David Devereux (the name is impossible to create a nick-name out of simply by adding a ‘y’ or ‘s’), and Ian McDonald (whose victory at the SFWAs and nominations for pretty much every other major award this year make him simply ‘Mr. McDonald’). Apologies again to anyone I’ve left out. I’d been drinking, had got up at 5.00 in the morning, which seems to be the time my baby wakes up now, and had come down with a cold. I was in bed by 10.30. Rock and roll, man, rock and roll.

I signed some books for some dealers, and some books for some readers, who all seemed like very nice folks, I must say. What they’re doing reading my books, I’ve no idea. I spoke to some readers, some at some length and some at less length. Apologies to anyone I spoke rubbish at. I’d been drinking, you see…

What else? I visited some panels, sat in darkened rooms while wisdom was diseminated in my direction. I saw Charles Stross talk about technology. I saw China Mieville talk about Lovecraft. I saw Jo Fletcher and Darren Nash talk about ‘what an editor does’ and I’m still not sure. I missed Neil Gaiman because I was in the pub having an elaborate desert. I sat in on a panel about on-line criticism. When several of the bloggers there started talking about how it was unwise for authors to respond to their critics, for some reason I can’t explain, Niall Harrison, who runs the reviews at Strange Horizons, looked right at me and grinned. Or perhaps he wasn’t looking at me at all. I had been drinking, as it happens.

I also sat on a couple of panels. I must admit I was slightly nervous about this before hand, but they both turned out to be good fun, in fact, for me if not for the audience. ‘Adapting Tolkien from Book to Film’ probably had about thirty people in it, which wasn’t bad considering China Mieville was on at the same time. Atmosphere was greatly enhanced by the winds of Mordor rattling the windows. ‘Roughening up fantasyland’ was probably more up my street, so I was able to talk, if not more sense, then just more stuff on that one. Pretty full, maybe eighty people or so? My thanks to anyone and everyone who turned out, came up, or contributed, and I’ll hope to see you all again, out there…

Posted in news by Joe Abercrombie on March 24th, 2008.

20 comments so far

  • Jared says:

    How was Mieville on Lovecraft?

    His ‘keynote’ speech was fantastic – I’m sorry I didn’t make it back to hear him talk about the tentacled uglies from the Outer Time.

    (Spent the weekend doing a high-speed re-read of your first two books, I am now fully prepared for Last Argument of Kings! Huzzah!)

  • Mister Roy says:

    It was great to meet you and thanks for the sigs. Glad you managed to get some drinking fitted in to a hectic schedule…

  • isis says:

    Got a bit drunk and signed some books

    Is that your idea of a con report, young man? You should hire someone (like Wert) to trail around after you, taking notes and scribbling down your every utterance.

    Actually cons tend become one long blur for me as soon as they’re over. Must have a serious talk with myself about not being a total lush in Denver.

  • “You should hire someone (like Wert) to trail around after you, taking notes and scribbling down your every utterance.”

    There is barely enough Guinness in the world to make this job seem attractive 😛

  • Leiali says:

    Hey Joe

    Ta for signing my copy of Last Argument of Kings. I didn’t mention at the time as I found the whole thing embarrassing enough as it was, but I had already approached a random tall person who I thought looked like you (it was the nose) to see if it was and it wasn’t. I was mortified. Needless to say I hadn’t been drinking which made it worse. I’m very pleased I got it right the second time!

  • parametric says:

    I have Last Argument of Kings on my shelf RIGHT NOW! 😀

  • Chris Allen says:

    Hi Joe,

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading Last Argument of Kings over the Easter weekend. An excellent finish to a fantastic trilogy. Was quite amused by Ardee’s comments regarding ‘The Fall of the Master Maker’, a subtle echo of your own sentiments of about the use maps in epic fantasy.

    Keep up the good work, I’m eagerly awaiting ‘Best Served Cold’.

  • Bob Lock says:

    Just finished John Meaney’s Bone Song and if you haven’t read it Joe it is certainly worth picking up and yes I know he is a master of unarmed combat and no he hasn’t threatened me with violence if I don’t pimp his book! I just think you’d enjoy it 🙂
    Anyway, that now clears the way for LAOKs which is nestling quietly on my desk as I write this, however, I think I hear the whispers of ‘read me! read me! wafting out from within its pages and I might take the afternoon off from scribbling and get stuck in. The only thing is I know it is the last in the trilogy and although I want to know what happens I also don’t want it to end…

  • Theology Jen says:

    Enjoyed your turn on the ‘Roughing Up Fantasy’ panel – you looked pretty sober to me (but “looks is deceiving, man”).

  • Moyz says:

    Hi Joe, I just dropped by via the notorious Joe Mallozzi who is shamelessly plugging your books and having read 110 pages of “The Blade Itself” I am fully on board myself. Incidentally TBI is one of the BOTM on Joe’s blog for May. Its my eldest son’s birthday on Saturday and as we read the same stuff and he has dibs on my collection when(if) I snuff it I’m giving him his own copy!
    Anyways, I digress, I just wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying it and how little housework I’m getting done as a result – hey its the best excuse I’ve managed to date.
    Keep ’em coming!

  • hnu says:

    it was great meeting you, even briefly, in heathrow. by the way, i’ve just put a pic of us (you remember your brief meeting with your potential romanian editors?) on my blog. more to come 🙂

  • Jared,
    Interesting, he speaks extremely well.

    Mister Roy,
    Likewise, glad I managed to fit some schedule into my hectic drinking…

    Well at least that report covers pretty much any convention.

    You should be honoured to be asked.

    There is nothing whatsoever exceptional about my nose.

    You lucky, lucky thing.

    A subtle echo? Pretty unsubtle, I’d say.

    I really should read some books at some point.

    Why thank you, nice to be able to talk about a subject I know something about…

    Glad you’re enjoying the book(s). Ii’m honoured and delighted to have been asked to guest on Joe’s blog in May to discuss them (desperately defend myself).

    I didn’t realise my conversation was THAT tedious. Great to meet you, though, and I look forward to seeing a Romanian edition…

  • hnu says:

    @joe: loool! don’t worry, it wasn’t THAT tedious, on the contrary 🙂 i feel really bad we were on the rush (we had an interview scheduled with neil), i would have loved to talk more, over a beer or three.

  • Theology Jen says:

    Actually, now I come to survey the evidence –;=1289f&id;=650294687) – maybe you were a bit drunk. You certainly look wobbly round the edges.

  • Theology Jen says:

    and if that link doesn’t work (what a silly old Hector I am!), try this

  • irkstyle says:

    just been over at Josephmallozzi’s Weblog. V. excited to hear you will be visiting to answer our questions. i read the blade itself last year and loved it. then I read it again just to be sure. still loved it.

    see you in may!

  • Moyz says:

    Damn your eyes Abercrombie, I’ve had to reorder time itself to complete all my tasks and read your books.
    Its been many a long year since I felt so energised about a novel. With such a twisted protagonist as Glokta I feel I’m indeed in good company and I’m REALLY looking forward to your participation in Mallozzi’s BOTM discussion.

  • hnu,
    Ha ha. I will reluctantly accept second place to Neil. Next time we’ll get a beer.

    theology jen,
    Oh yeah, that photo makes me look drunk, and not at all the person who took it.

    Glad it held up to a second look. See you in may.

    Don’t suppose you could reorder time so that my next book’s already finished to my complete satisfaction, could you?

  • Theology Jen says:

    It’s a fair cop, guv’nor.

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