June 19th, 2008

British SF&F; Magazine SFX have run a poll of their readers of their 100 favourite SF&F; authors. Can’t be bothered to post the whole thing, so I’ll link to a posting and discussion here on Westeros, where I am occasionally to be found shrilly singing my own praises. As such lists go, and barring a few eyebrow-raisers of the type you always get with public votes, it seems a really good one to my eye. It’s certainly tilted towards the commercial end of the spectrum, as you’d expect from a magazine with a broad base of readers, but there are a few more literary/experimental writers in there. There’s a pretty good mix of fantasy and sci-fi (I was expecting fantasy to be much less represented, on the whole). There’s also a surprisingly strong showing for what you might call classic writers as opposed to recent ones.

But the thing I really wanted to discuss is …


Very pleased to make it on there at all, in fact, as a pretty new author, especially since it’s an honest-to-goodness broad based, relatively commercial sample. Even if that no-talent-hack George Orwell made it on a whole three places higher than me. I mean what the hell’s he contributed to literature? 1984? However you cut it that’s at least 25 years out of date.

It is a very Brit-o-centric list, as is only proper. I doubt some of the much-loved British writers like Pratchett, Gemmel or Rankin would score so high in a US version, and in terms of newer writers I doubt I’d appear, since I’m still pretty new across the pond, whereas someone like Pat Rothfuss I’m sure would do, since his success there with his first book has been most impressive. It’s surprising, in a sense, that there isn’t an equivalent publication in the states. The closest they’ve got, as far as I can tell is … SFX.

Talking of Brit-o-Centric, you don’t get more honest-to-bloody-goodness British than The Bridlington Free Press, news organ of the Yorkshire sea-side since 1859. How it came about, I couldn’t say, but they have reviewed The First Law trilogy:

“TWISTED, gripping, inventive, gritty and utterly compelling – think of a positive adjective and Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law series deserves it.
It is a feast of brilliantly-developed characters who, despite being a bunch of the most unlikeable creations you could (or rather couldn’t) imagine, the reader can almost grow to like as their personas are peeled away through the three books.”

You guys do know I’m from Lancashire, right? The strange thing is that I was in Bridlington last summer for the wedding of one of my wife’s friends. I actually wrote some of Last Argument of Kings in the loo of the hotel there. Strange coincidences…

Posted in news, reviews by Joe Abercrombie on June 19th, 2008. Tags: ,

14 comments so far

  • Jason says:

    May I be teh first to offer my congradulations and all that, *insert nice ass kissing comment etc here* (your welcome)

  • Susanne says:

    *looks at you*

    *looks at list*


    It must give you NO END of pleasure to look down your nose at No. 88, from you high spot up there. 🙂

    Well done, Joe! As far as I’m concerned, you belong on that list much more than a lot of the others. But then, it’s not a list of “Susanne’s Top 100” so I’m not going to dissect and complain. Just wanted to say congrats!

  • Elena says:

    Obviously you dour Brits don’t consider things like “heartwarming” and “uplifting” to be positive adjectives. 🙂

  • Swainson says:

    81, you look good for your age!

    Well done, it’s nice to see people magnanimous in victory!! (Post #19 the sfx board you linked.)

    Brit-o-centric to have Rowling on the list??

    More like Labotomy-o-centric.

  • Anonymous says:

    Priest, Grimwood, Stapledon, Aldiss, Stross, Herbert, all that far down the list? I don’t think so, not in terms of merit. Bloody odd when writers on the short list for a Hugo end up that far down. And Neal Asher and Elizabeth Moon don’t make the list at all! And I mistrust any list that doesn’t include Eric Frank Russell, but that’s probably an individual perversion.

    Yeah, OK, most of the readers under say, 40 won’t have read much Aldiss and maybe Priest, and Stapledon’s books aren’t easy to find, so we’ve got a bias built in – as usual with these list thingies.

    Not that I begrudge you your 81st ranking, in fact looking at some of the names above you…. correction – looking at a *lot* of the names above you, you could consider yourself under-rated. (Oh dear, wish I hadn’t said that, he’ll be off on an ego-rant again.)

  • You were waiting for gravity to kick in so brought your laptop along? Or did you do the time honoured tradition and use the scratchy loo paper to pen your prose? hope it was double ply

  • Jason,
    Thank you.

    I’m just not that way. Anyway, it’s all about timing, I’m sure when his next book comes out he will sweep ahead again…

    I believe those adjectives apply. At times.

    I am ever magnanimous, ever gracious, ever humble. You know this.

    I will consider myself criminally underrated until the ‘8’ is removed from my current ranking.

    My baby, some seven months old at the time, had just started to crawl, and was thrashing around all night in the room like the devil’s own offspring. The loo was the only place to sit…

  • Gabriele C. says:

    I will consider myself criminally underrated until the ‘8’ is removed from my current ranking.

    It could have been worse. You could have crawled onto the list at place 100, barely hanging on with one hand. 🙂

    Congrats. And here’s to a higher rank next time.

  • daft sod says:

    Tolkien on No. 2? Totally overrated. I mean he sort of “invented” the genre but he is mediocre at best. Black and white story and way too many words wasted on the setting.

    Pratchett on No. 1 is a good pick, though. He really is ball-bouncingly funny.

    Joe Abercrombie on No. 81? We all know that he belongs in the top 10, don’t we?

  • Elena says:

    Not sure it counts if that’s not the feeling you have after the whole thing’s said and done…but perhaps that was sarcasm?


  • Anonymous says:

    Hey man, just read the link you posted, and I must say I thought ’twas pretty funny. I like the way you make like two funny comments, the other posters acknowledge, then go back to discussing hardcore fantasy/sci-fi, a genre you admit to knowing little about, to resounding silence from you. Kinda like, “There’s a funny Joe!!*pat on the head* Now, shoo, go back and play in your corner!”

  • Geordie Steve says:

    Gemmell at Number 12? Bah. The man is a legend and should be in the top ten! 81, ehhh, well, at least you’re on the list. That’s something I guess. At least they were nice enough to mention you.

  • Elena,
    Sarcasm? HERE?

    How dare you, sir? Pat on the head? I am treated with hushed awe and respect wherever I go on her Majesty’s interweb. And my knowledge of the fantasy genre is encyclopaedic. I have read both Tolkien AND Eddings.

    Geordie Steve,
    Gotta say I’m pleased to be mentioned at all, three books in…

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