I deserve a proof because…

December 31st, 2007

You didn’t think I’d let 2007 slip away without declaring the last winner of my Win a Proof of Last Argument of Kings competition did you? The time is now upon us. But this will not be a LUCKY winner, oh no, because this winner will be chosen not by THE DICE, but by ME, and will have EARNED their proof with the work from their brain, which, as everyone knows, is FAR HARDER work than mere back-breaking physical labour. They will have won by providing the conclusion I like best to the sentence “I deserve a proof of Last Argument of Kings because…”

It’s been four months or so since I started this competition, and during that time there have been an astonishing 164 entries, inluding one late last night. There were long answers and short, there were funny answers and tragic, there were answers that people had poured their heart and soul into, and there were others frankly lazy and slapdash. But hey, ever author gets the readers they deserve, right? Let’s take a closer look at some of my favourites:

There were attempts to delight me with humour:

“I deserve a proof of Last Argument of Kings because I wish to blatantly plagiarize it for my forthcoming novel Final Discussion of Regents.”

“…because simply put I’m dying. I’ve contracted a little understood disease known as Ineverwinthesefuckingcontestsitis.”

“…because these books can be as disappointing as a tampon on a wedding night and gratifying as a good jerk after being in a cast for three months.”

There were attempts to softly play upon my heartstrings:

“…I’m 6 weeks pregnant and cannot seem to stop vomiting at the most embarrassing places you should just give it to me out of sheer sympathy!”

“…because I was born on April Fools Day, and winning this book would be the one shining moment in a life otherwise filled with cruel mocking and pain.”

“…because I have worse teeth than Glokta, and I need some hook to meet hot chicks.”

“…because I AM FREEKIN’ OLD! and I want to live long enough to read the entire series!”

There were attempts to scare, threaten and intimidate:

“…because if you don’t send it to me, I will take the eurostar, hunt you down and threaten you with a soldering iron.”

There were many appeals to my vanity (well, aim for a big target, right?), some of which I expect may have been deliberate exaggerations:

“Oh great and magnificent Mr. Abercrombie…”

“I deserve a proof of Last Argument of Kings because I think Joe is as talented as Shakespeare, and as well endowed as Big Dave Bignob.”

“…because I solemnly swear to be suitably sycophantic on sffworld, showering you with a deluge of great praise at every opportunity and offering limitless gratitude for the marvellous and, quite frankly, astoundingly well crafted series.”

“Oh Great and Mighty Author, Your Faithful Disciple here, and I am ashamed I didn’t reply sooner! I deserve a proof of Last Argument of Kings because I have devoted the last 3 months of my life, dauntless in my efforts, to the first two testaments of The First Law and spreading the good word of the ALMIGHTY Joe Abercrombie to the peoples of the Americas…”

Some of these went perhaps a shade too far:

“…because Joe is my solemn God and I worship him daily before eating my morning serials, before taking a dump, and before every sexual intercourse (even if self-serviced)!”

There was shameless pleading:

“…because I am saying please. Pretty please, if that gets me anywhere. Better yet, pretty please oh great-wondrous-author-whose-book-I-most-emphatically-want-to-
get-my-paws-on. I am willing to throw metaphorical cake into the bargain.”

“…PLEASE, PLEASE, do not let me go crazzzy: send me the book, pretty PLEASE.”

There was painful honesty:

“…because the proceeds from ebay will be used to buy beer.”

There were frequent promises to gloat:

“…I will revel with a disgusting lack of shame in the fleeting sense of superiority over my similarly-addicted friends.”

“…because I want to read it before my mate who raves about the series and got me onto it and rub it in his face like the prick I am.”

There were attempts to show off:

“…because I’m probably the greatest person ever.”

“…because I too have a pentagonal trapezohedra and have just generated a saving-throw thereby negating any thou-shalt-not-win spell from even being thought of, let alone being cast…”

There were several out-and-out bribes, though, in general, disappointingly unspectacular ones:

“…because I will bake Joe a chocolate cake if he lets me read it before March”

And some pretty spectacular ones:

“…because I love your books and I must find out what happens! Can I bribe you with my firstborn?”

There were even some of a sexual nature that were somewhat worrying:

“…because I am wearing black frilly knickers.”

“…because I just orgasmed (a literal one) thinking about it…while at work.”

Yes, it’s been quite a few months. I wish that I could give a proof to everyone who entered. Well, not everyone, since then there’d be significantly less people to sell books to, but certainly more than one of them. But, my friends, I am sorry to say that there can only be one winner. Yes, the entry that delighted me the most was THIS one from Dean Wightman, partly because the tragicomic events of his life mirror my own so closely:

“I deserve a proof of Last Argument of Kings because of my tragic childhood. Surviving a plane crash over Micronesia as a baby that killed my adoptive parents, I was initially raised by a whoop of wild Gorillas, then later by savage pygmies who idolised me as someone with special powers and christened me “Mighty White Man”, shortened recently to Dean Wightman.

My search for my real bloodline took me to the 4 corners of the world, where a random conversation at the Basilica brought me under the tutelage of Pope Gregory the Ninth. I found myself “Blackballed” during the “Pulpit poofta scandal of 1986”, and then found casual work as head mechanic of the all conquering Ferrari Formula 3000 race team. Latching on to the shirt tails of race God Henrik Fastbender, I enjoyed the Billionaire lifestyle jetsetting around the world, basing myself in Monte Carlo buying up super yachts and dating supermodels.

An allergic reaction to some dodgy Cocaine resulted in a multiple leg amputation and I now get by on remote control legs powered by solar batteries located in my forehead, with reading Joe Abercrombie novels being my only remaining pleasure in life.”

Dean Wightman, YOU are the final winner of a proof of … but wait. What am I hearing? Can it be a message from my Dark Masters at Gollancz? A message that there is room in this wonderful contest for TWO MORE runners-up to also win a signed proof of Last Argument of Kings? Is this generosity or insanity? Or is it something more sinister?

Either way, there is a proof available for the very first submission that I received, this brief yet chilling submission from Ady Hall:

“… because I’ve watched you write it, from my camper van across the street. And when the court order finally lapses, we’ll be able to be the bestest of buddies like I know we should be.”

If only to ensure that never has to happen, a proof for you, my friend. And another? Why not, Christmas comes (slightly) late this year. JG Thomas, whose submission had a little b
it of everything, including this gem:

“…because winning one of these proofs of Last Argument of Kings would be the most exciting thing that happened to me since I left a teaspoon in my Muller Rice desert and blew the microwave up. The top shelf of my bookcase is special: only my favourite books/authors get to squeeze in there. The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged are both on it. And there is just enough room to fit in what would be the crown jewel – the proof of Last Argument of Kings. Such a sight would make me weak at the knees. I might even piss my pants a little.”

Here’s to your crown jewels, JG. Our three winners should be in receipt of e-mails from me shortly. To everyone else who entered, both mentioned or not, my grovelling thanks for your (hopefully ongoing) support and, again, I’m (slightly) sorry I couldn’t give you ALL a proof. I can offer you one consolation – you only have to wait until March, and the book is REALLY good. Ha ha.

A happy new year to one and all. See you in 2008, maybe.

Posted in Uncategorized by Joe Abercrombie on December 31st, 2007.

18 comments so far

  • Emily says:

    I will first confess that I rarely read fantasy novels. I happened this way from the blog of Mr. Mallozzi.

    But I did want to say that I think the cover art for your books is AMAZING. I do tend to judge a book by its cover (if you can’t find the time to make the outside presentable, did you do the same for the inside??). What with Mallozzi’s raving rec and the splendid cover art of the series, I just MAY be tempted to give them a try.

    How much control/input do you have with the cover art for your books?

  • emily,
    Cheers for stopping by. Short answer on the covers is – some input. Though I certainly couldn’t claim any of the credit for the concept. I posted about the development of the latest cover some time back here:


    that might be of interest.

  • moonwitch says:

    Awwwwww Joe!!!!

    You have broken my heart. I cried myself to sleep last night.

    Well done though, to the three lucky buggers who won.

  • Juan Ruiz says:

    Okey, congratulations to the three winners!!!
    … and finally, it seems that I will have to buy the book.

  • disrepdog says:

    Damn! No I mean congrats to you very luck three people.

    And belated Happy Birthday Joe, ok so I should add this to the other blog but what the heck, I’m such a rebel. 🙂

  • Bob Lock says:

    You didn’t invite me for Christmas dinner and I didn’t win a proof either… right, that’s it!
    I know when I’m not wanted, I’m going to start stalking Scott Lynch instead now. Ok, I know he hasn’t got a twelve o’clock shadow and lives in America but sacrifices must be made… (on that point, can you please return all those dead cats I sent you?)

    Happy New Year 🙂


  • percy says:

    only just came across this site when i was thinking to myself “oo i cant wait til the next book comes out, let me see if there is any info on the net”. thoroughly enjoyed the first two books, even more so than some by more established authors and now cant wait til the final chapter.

    keep up the good work.

  • Moonwitch, Juan, Disrepdog
    Sorry guys – I wish I had one for everyone, but especially you three.

    Hope you’ll keep reading even so.

    I SO did invite you for Christmas dinner! Damn Christmas post must have lost the letter or something…

    Thanks for stopping by. Glad you’re enjoying the books.

  • moonwitch says:

    Of course I will keep reading. Ya sausage!

    I still think your a fantastic fantasy writer,( though you obviously thought my paltry attempt was crap). It would take more than a failed comp entry to keep me from Glokta and Co.

    That reminds me, I always meant to ask, how DID you come up with the character names?

    Anyway March is just around the corner, and I am rather enjoying Scott Lynch at the moment.

  • Ady Hall says:

    Yeah – I’m with Moonwitch on this – can you give us some insight on the names of characters and other juicy morsels from the First Law tril?

  • Bob Lock says:

    Of course I will keep reading. Ya sausage!
    So… this ‘sausage’ imprint, is it a limited edition run or something ‘special’ for moonwitch only?

    PS Bloody postman still hasn’t delivered your dinner invite, bet he’s the same guy who has your birthday card from me with the blank cheque… 😛

  • Leiali says:

    I’m gutted but unsurprised that I wasn’t funny enough to win a copy :(. Still, March isn’t too far away..

  • Moonwitch and Ady,
    Maybe I’ll do something on names at some point…

    It’s special.

    Well, only 3 out of 160, it’s a big ask. But as you say, only a couple of months to wait, now…

  • disrepdog says:

    Yep, I’m with the ‘course I’ll keep reading gang. In fairness the winners were significantly funnier than mine but maybe if we massage your ego some more, oh witty, clever, turning tropes on their head, fresh (youthful) face of fantasy author chap, you might run another comp at some point ;-).

    In the meantime I’m reading of Tom Lloyd, mixed up with a dose of Mark Chadbourn and James Barclay to keep the winter blues away 🙂

  • Disrepdog,
    Ah, a fine trio of fellow Gollancz authors. All three of them talented writers and wonderful human beings. Honest.

  • thrin says:

    ahhh…I didn’t get the book, but at least I got a category of my own, ah well…[strikethrough]Judi…[/strikethrough]Joeism would have been such a nice religion; “You should keep realistic about these things” would be our founding creed. a shame…a shame :D.

    nevermind. congratz to all the winners!!!

  • Leiali says:

    Are you planning to do a book signing fot the last book Joe? If I recall correctly, which I usually don’t, you did one at Forbidden Planet in London last year? I couldn’t make it but might try and see if I can come down this year if you do one. It seems like good closure to meet the author in order to say goodbye to the series.
    Do you give or get much notice with these sort of things?

  • Thrin,
    I still have hopes that Joeism will thrive.

    Yeah, I think there probably will be a signing at Forbidden Planet, and hopefully I’ll know about it a month or two in advance. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear.

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