Good News, Bad News

September 30th, 2010

Ah, the lord he giveth and the lord he taketh away. 

Some bad news first, I always like to start with the bad news, don’t you?  I am abject to report that UK publication of the Heroes has been delayed.  The good news?  It’s only by a week.  Yes, indeed, due to a scheduling issue on the part of my dark masters at Orion, and totally not my fault at all honest, The Heroes will now descend screaming, heavily-armed and frothing at the mouth upon your local bookstore on January 27th, and not a day before.  US publication date of February 7th is, to the best of my knowledge, unaffected.  I apologise.  All I can do is mercilessly blame others and hope to duck all responsibility.  It’s the approach that’s got me where I am today…

Moving swiftly to more good news! The first review of the Heroes has surfaced over at the Wertzone, and it’s a goodun!

“The Heroes is the first major fantasy release of 2011, and it looks like the new year is already off to a cracking start … Joe Abercrombie doing what he does best but better than ever before: gritty, violent, morally ambiguous and darkly funny fantasy with a streak of intelligent cynicism.”

The bad news?  I’m not China Mieville.

“Criticisms? Well, Abercrombie is evolving as a writer, developing a more varied prose style with some nice descriptive touches (even if they are being applied to a soldier’s first encounter with the horror of field latrines), but he isn’t exactly turning into China Mieville here.”

Why the hell did no one tell me I’m supposed to be turning into China Mieville!  I mean he’s a darned fine writer, and from my brief encounters with him a very nice fella, and a dashedly handsome man to boot, as all kinds of women and Mark Charan Newton are forever telling me.  But the world already has a Mieville, must I truly be another?  Who would write Joe Abercrombie books then?  Mieville?  Aaargh!  It boggles my mind so much I cannot even summon up a nice descriptive touch to describe it.  But the good news?  It’s a five star review!  For those kind of marks I’ll be whoever you want me to be…

Posted in announcements, news, reviews by Joe Abercrombie on September 30th, 2010.

41 comments so far

  • Chris Upton says:

    Don’t worry me old china! I’m sure you’d do a very good squid/kraken/city on top of another city/socialist propaganda masqerading as a slightly strange episode of Angel.

  • Don’t let the Description Nazis get you down. The line about field latrines is enough to make me want to waylay one of the lucky schlubs who got an early copy . . . I have to wait until fuckin’ FEBRUARY? And I’m in the states — will the wait be longer, unless I get something imported from the UK?


  • I was overwhelmed by the field latrines, missed this:

    The Heroes will now descend screaming, heavily-armed and frothing at the mouth upon your local bookstore on January 27th, and not a day before. US publication date of February 7th is, to the best of my knowledge, unaffected.

    — sorry for my silly question re the US release date.

  • Juhan says:

    I think he (the Werthead) meant it in the sense that Miéville tends to change his style with every single book to the degree that you feel like they are all written by absolutely different people (which is not always a good thing). Maybe the man is still searching for his voice?

    You write stuff in your own one (really cool, cynical and gritty) style and that’s that.

  • Sedulo says:

    Hmmmmm….The review said you are “not exactly” turning into China Mieville (ahem-sorry) Dr. Mieville. Does this mean you are inexactly or slightly turning into Mieville?
    Creepy! Don’t do it. Don’t become Aberville!

    Are you also going into politics?! Shocking.
    A metaphysical stunner.

  • Dave Wagner says:

    Jonah Aberville? Sounds like a good pen name to me…

    Can’t wait for Heroes… may have to re-read First Law again, to get me through the long holiday season ahead…

  • Doug says:

    That’s okay Joe. I don’t actually care for China’s work too much. Not terrible by any means, but also not inspired. Besides, you guys aren’t actually writing to the same ends based on what I can tell from respective works.

  • Anna Wildheit says:

    Dashedly handsome? Perhaps it’s time you meet other kinds of women then…

  • Jared says:

    I’m very happy that I get to read both your work and China Mieville’s. If you fused into a single Abervillian entity, I’d feel strangely cheated.

  • Harvey Quinn says:

    Personally I think you’re miles ahead of China. I tend to find his writing pretentious and boring, not to mention the annoyance I have of his inability to finish a story properly. The deus ex machina ending of Perdido St Station was poor in my opinion.

    But then again, those bright sparkling eyes, that sculpted jaw, that beautiful chin…

  • Phil N says:

    From The Wertzone review
    Fans of the earlier books keen for more information about certain characters from earlier volumes may also be disappointed by the lack of overt information given here on their fates (although there is a whisper of an interesting clue of a possibility that is tantalising)

    A whisper of an interesting clue of a possibility that is tantalising…….Now there’s only one character I can think of that most people want to know about’s fate!

  • Vadim Zeitlin says:

    I usually read Werthead’s reviews with a lot of interest but this one has totally let me down by including such horrible spoiler in it. I don’t even know how will I force myself to keep turning the pages knowing that there is no “Abercrombie trademark sex scenes” in this book. Joe, maybe you could still write one in, profiting from the extra week afforded to you?

  • […] Good News, Bad News – The Good News is that Joe is reviewing reviews again. The bad news is his new novel is delayed, but not if you live in the US. John Scalzi – Five Years That Changed Science Fiction Forever- Big surprise with 1977 and the release of Star Wars heads his list. […]

  • Davieboy says:

    “Oh, and disappointingly/thankfully (delete as appropriate) Abercrombie has failed to include one of his trademark terrible sex scenes”.


    I for one enjoyed the sex scene in BSC, the one I won’t spoil, you’ll know which one, you wrote it.

  • Øystein says:

    Oh, Joe?

    You’re supposed to turn into China Mieville.

    ..sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • Dan says:

    Glad to see the five star review. Angry about the China comment. I can’t stand that guy, his work, or his politics. Please stay just how you are Joe.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Much thanks for the support, all, but this is not the time or place to be unpleasant about China Mieville or his writing. Not that I’m saying there is such a time or place. I’m sure he’s even less keen on the idea of me turning into him than I am. Keep it comradely, please.

  • Chris Upton says:

    I rather liked UnLunDun. And he has a very nice shiny head!
    Can we be nasty about Terry Goodkind?

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    I am sure the internet does not lack for places where one can be nasty about Terry Goodkind, or, indeed, anyone else. Let us keep as an oasis of positivity where we can freely and openly discuss how great I am without fear, while all other avenues of conversation are ruthlessly crushed under my armoured heel.

  • Mark C says:

    Whats a week amongst friends? Friends who are looking forward to the release of The Heroes so much that life itself seems a pointless past-time without its parchmenty gloriousness in their hands…

    Perdido St., St. is a FINE example of a book. A fine example of a book that its possible to invest 3 millenia of your life getting 6.2 tera-million pages into before you realise you are only half way and too bored to continue…

    Can anyone recommend another of CM’s books? I keep meaning to give him another go. Please assume I am not just into Joe’s stuff. Sorry, Joe! Please assume Joe’s stuff is exactly all I’m into!

    Mark C

  • Juhan says:

    The City and the City is also a great book. But very different from his New Crobuzon books. Like I said, he changes gears constantly.

  • Ha. Knew that one would come up 🙂

    To be honest that was more of a devil’s advocate comment. Just about the only criticism of the book I could really muster (and it was a major stretch, I admit that) was that those people who have complained that the books aren’t more ‘literary’ aren’t going to be satisfied by this book either. But I’m not one of those people, most of the people here aren’t either and in the end it didn’t effect the score. I don’t like not mentioning possible weaknesses in reviews at all, partially because no book is perfect but mainly because Joe’s head swells up too much if there isn’t at least one criticism. But this one was a bit of a stretch, I admit.

    That said, THE HEROES does have some things to say about warfare and heroism which I do think are somewhat more developed as themes than the earlier books, along with Joe’s writing which is getting better with every book (no Joe, I’m not angling for a drink), and these things help make the book so great.

  • Jim Bob says:

    Admittedly not appropriate, but Chris Upton’s made me laugh.

  • IAN says:

    Total Film recently said Carey Mulligan was the new Kate Winslet. What happened to the old Kate W? Has she retired? Lazy writers make silly comparisons like this all the time and do everyone a disservice. That said, there is a struggling writer out there we know nothing about who is the new Joe Abercrombie. Keep looking over your shoulder Joe.

  • Matt says:

    Sooo, the reviewer says it’s your best so far. Exciting!

    I wonder, Joe, do you agree this is your best work to date?

    Also, the review seems to rule out my hope for a Bloody Nine smackdown at the end. Oh wells…

  • Rosemary Punter says:

    Any idea of publication date for Australia, Joe?

    It’s usually about a year later before we seem to get the first TPB’s and in the meantime, one cannot join in the thread at OUR internet site in-case of spoilers.

    Looks as if I shall be re-reading your first books until then.

    The Wicked Sword Maiden!

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Of course you should point out the tiny failings. I am merely funning.

    It’s hard to have an opinion about your own book until the dust has settled, it’s been out a while and you’ve got some distance from it and heard what other people have to say. Certainly I’d say I’m very pleased with it, and feel certain things within it work better than similar things I’ve tried before. But then it lacks other things, since no book can be about everything. So no doubt opinions will vary, as ever. Probably my own opinion will change with the passing years. Will I ever think of it as better than others? Dunno. It’s a bit like asking which of your children you think is the best.

    Australia gets the UK edition, I believe, via Hachette Australia. Don’t see any particular reason why it wouldn’t appear on, or at least not long after, it’s UK pub date, but the workings of the industry can be a little Byzantine.

  • Eddwigg says:

    Damn… just as I was about to air my witty CM putdown you ask us not to. I suppose thats fair seeing as I have only read half of one of his books. Anyhow, just wanted to say I have just finished The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson and I can recommend it to fill in that long gap until Heroes is published.
    p.s. It`s still a bit girly compared to Joes stuff.

  • Ferro's Big Toe says:

    So I guess this means your book will have to wait on my shelf whilst I read the Crippled God which is arriving first

  • Ferro's Big Toe says:

    Spoke to soon. Just checked my delivery estimates and Crippled God has been pushed even further back than the Heroes.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Ferro’s Big Toe,
    Hah! That’ll learn ya.

  • Björn says:

    Luckily you’re changing. I like the way you are. I mean write! 😉 I like the in your face style and gritty tone and humor.

    Only women change, when about 60 😉

  • Jebus says:

    I wouldn’t want to put down Mieville anyway, I was at Worldcon last month and the dude is one big, fit unit. ‘Course Joe could easily thrash him in a cage match, but that’s ’cause Joe fights dirty using her feminine wiles.

    I’ve already pre-ordered The Heroes from BookDep.

    Hey Joe – I live in Australia where a hardcover book retails for between $35 and $50 and with our dollar currently only just under the USD this is absolutely criminal. On BookDep your book in HC is under $20, now I’m pretty sure this is because of the draconian Australian publishing tax laws, but is your commission affected by that at all? Would you even know? I’ve not physically entered a book shop for almost 3 years now, ever since I discovered the heavenly and, but I have always been curious if your commission is a flat fee or percentage based on final sale price?

    Oh and if anyone doesn’t believe me on price, check out and compare prices on any book you can think of. The major Aussie retailers are Borders, Dymocks, Collins and Angus & Robertson.

  • DRFP says:

    Eh, Mieville is flavour of the month. Can’t say I thought much of his New Crobuzon stuff whenever I attempted to read it.

    TC&TC looks better but I haven’t gotten around to reading that nice proof I got so long ago from the lovely people at Macmillan. Yup, still, haven’t yet caught the China bug.

    Ah! But, Zoran Zivkovic! Now there’s a curious talent I’ve only just discovered who writes some excellent genre bending stuff.

  • Matthias says:

    Honestly? I couldn’t finish Perdido Street Station. It weirded me out too much. Which is really saying something coming from me.

  • Susanne says:

    I can live with a week, I reckon. JUST.

    @Ferro’s Big Toe: Damnation. Crippled God was my first thought. Oh well. Best pile more stuff on to the Christmas wishlist to see me through.

  • Jurble says:

    whoa Jan 27 is my birthday, ’tis an omen, I shall be a hero!

  • Simon C-G says:

    Personally think that Joe and China are completely different types of author writing in very different sub-genres. I don’t see CM being offered a David Gemmell award any time soon!!

    Anyway my birthday’s on 25th Jan so will know what to ask for – Amazon vouchers!! I only recently found The First Law trilogy and Best Served Cold and it was a blast to be able to read all four without a break. I have gotten so used to reading big long sagas with months/years between installments that it’s refreshing to have some good old-fashioned quick reads. Meaty enough to get your teeth into and yet not so long you have to have a Sheldon-esque (Big Bang Theory anyone?) memory to keep it all in line. Wheel of Time and the Malazan books are fab but it took me 300 pages of Dust of Dreams to get the cast and their histories re-set in my mind!!

    So, Joe, message is…keep doing what your doing. I’m loving it and can’t wait for more. It’s really cool to have semi-linked books like Best Served Cold and The Heroes which stand alone but enhance what we already know and love about the world you have created.

  • The Picaroony says:

    For every Abercrombie that isn’t a Mieville there must be dozens of poor unfortunates who are themselves but not an Abercrombie…….

  • Lars says:

    Haha! I like the Mark Charan Newton comment, I know that guy is a big fan of Mieville and all but sometimes he is a bit too much.
    I am an actual Mieville fan myself though, and I think it would be a complete disaster if you turned into him. One socialist genre bender is enough and of course the loss of a dark semi-satirical fantasy-type author would be terrible.

  • James Morton says:

    Let Abercrombie be Abercrombie!

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