Imagine if Tarantino wrote a Sword & Sorcery Novel…

January 29th, 2008

The guys at Unshelved have done a webcomic review of The Blade Itself, which is a wonderful thing (though due to the limitations of blogger you might have to click on it to enlarge so you can actually read it). I particularly like the line: “imagine if Quentin Tarantino wrote a Sword & Sorcery novel.” I’m a bit of a fan of Tarantino (alright, of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction a hell of a lot, True Romance and Jackie Brown a bit, and the rest, not so much, but hey, two brilliant films is two more than most of us make, right?) so I take a comparison to him, however tongue-in-cheekly made, as a great compliment. But it did get me thinking about some similarities of approach…

Lurid, over-the-top violence? Check.

Conflicted, treacherous, shades-o-grey characters, haunted by their pasts? Check.

Black humour in the midst of the most awful situations? Check.

A focus on the crazy randomness of every day life? Check.

Fast cut, parallel plotlines that interweave in shocking and unexpected ways? Check.

Realistic dialogue that finds pearls of humour amongst the hum-drum of normality? Check-ish.

An un-ignorable legacy that has forever changed the way people work within a chosen genre? Erm … alright, alright, I’m working on it.

Lots of cool 70s hippety-hoppety music and the involvement of Harvey Keitel? Well … not so much. But what happened to Harvey Keitel anyway? At one point congress passed a law that you COULD NOT RELEASE a film without at least a Keitel cameo. Can’t remember the last time I saw him.

But I digress. You know what? On the whole, it is as if Tarantino wrote a Sword & Sorcery novel.

Kind of.

There have been a lot of Blade Itself style posts around the place lately, so apologies if I never got to yours. It doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what you have to say. I definitely appreciate what they had to say at The Horror Review:

“Up and coming Brit author Joe Abercrombie has presented the rapidly tiring fantasy genre with the most refreshing, original, and entertaining tome it has seen in years … I cannot recommend The Blade Itself enough. In fact, this was my favorite book of the year with ease, and I am not sure I can wait until March for the U.S. release of book two of the trilogy, Before They Are Hanged.”

And lastly, but by no means leastly, JG Thomas, who was able to secure a proof in the competition recently, has reviewed Last Argument of Kings on his new blog Speculative Horizons:

“Last Argument of Kings has everything you could ask for: huge battles, political intrigue, masterly characterisation and surprises by the bucket-load. This book will by turns shock you, excite you, make you laugh, and above all entertain you.”

What do you know, another reviewer with a deadly allergy to top marks. He gives it 9.75/10 as well, though I prefer to think of it as 39/40, or maybe 98%. SIGH. I suppose I’ll have to be satisfied with that.

I wonder if – some day – I should present some more content on here that isn’t just self-aggrandising excerpts from other people’s reviews of my books. Maybe soon. Maybe soon, I will…

Posted in news, reviews by Joe Abercrombie on January 29th, 2008.

17 comments so far

  • Clambeard says:

    Hey Joe,

    Where are you going with that sword in your hand?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

    Here’s a tip for American fans: you can get book 2 now and book 3 in March from the UK at They offer free shipping to the US! Plus, you get free “U”‘s with every “colour” and “favour”!

  • Aaargh! My American editor will have a prolapse if he sees that. It is true, I must confess, but the other option would be to wait for the American edition of book 2 in March, then book 3 a mere six months later in September. The spellings are all the same because Pyr insist on the author’s preferred text in any case. You’ll get them a lot cheaper from because of your fragile dollar, and you’ll be supporting the very wonderful Pyr books, and helping to ensure that they continue to bring excellent British fantasy to the American public.

  • Anonymous says:

    So would you prefer your American fans buy the US edition? Does it affect your bottom line any?

    I don’t want to upset your fine US publishers. I wouldn’t have found out about your books if you didn’t have a US publisher, of course. My deal is that I couldn’t wait for book 2, so I bit the bullet and ordered it. My total was about $16, including shipping, which is about how much I paid for book 1 in a bookstore stateside. I thought I was just helping out the fanatics, and sending money your way. I forgot about the needs of your US publisher. No good deed goes unpunished, after all.

  • Clambeard says:

    Oops. That previous comment was me again. Damn these fat fingers!

  • I probably would prefer US fans to support the US publisher, though actually my bottom line is a fair bit better on the UK imports.

    It’s a thorny issue. I certainly understand people wanting to get the next installment. It’s one thing to wait for a book, it’s quite another when you know you can easily get it. At the same time, the US publisher have shown faith in the series, done their very best by it, and should reap the ongoing benefits.

    I guess in the end there’s absolutely no way of stopping people from importing it if they want to, though, and if they did want to then the book depository does indeed seem to be the cheapest option. My guess is the majority will wait for it to appear on US shelves, so there’s no need to let your conscience burn at you too much. Not over this, anyway.

  • James says:

    How dare you make light of my top-marks allergy, Mr Abercrombie. It is no laughing matter. Especially when I uncontrollably belch my porridge down my shirt.

    Harvey Keitel’s most recent roles seem to be as an uber-nerd in the National Treasure series. You know, the film that the critics derided as a rip-off of the then up-coming Da Vinci Code movie, which turned out to be a huge turd and caused them all to say “Well, actually, National Treasure was not that bad…”

    Bloody critics and their elitist refusal to give anything top marks…

  • Elena says:

    How bout we compromise on the issue? I’ll import 3 for myself and wait to buy it for my brother when it comes out here? 🙂 He’s on a damn submarine anyway, he won’t know the difference.

    I hope you enjoyed my style comments, if mine were some of the many. If not, go enjoy them now, Rumplecrombie. Sorry you didn’t win that category. Don’t splice so many damn commas and you might. 🙂

  • Susanne says:

    Yeah…about the Last Argument? Says here on Amazon that it comes out on March 20th? That’s, like, a day before EasterCon, which is Not. Fair. cos now I can’t read it and impress you with my indepth knowledge and assessment of said tome, should I bump into your good self.

    Speaking of EasterCon, I was wondering whether you’ll be inclined to sign anything while you’re there? Should I bring Blade, just in case? Or will the amount of no doubt available booze prevent such undertakings? 😉

  • JG,
    I’m guessing that shirt wasn’t one of your best anyway.

    Four copies has to be a good thing, wherever they come from. And I saw your awards. Semicolons are the pawns of the literary elite. By eschewing them I am striking a blow for the common man. But I’m quite delighted with best female character, actually, as I occasionally get some shit about my women. Only the other day I was reading a review that said Ardee was a “rubbish, boring character” so it’s pleasing that you disagree.

    You never know, you might find it in Waterstones a few days before that – they tend to appear early there. But if not, I suppose you’ll just have to stay up for three days straight reading and then re-reading it, and you can tell me how brilliant it was on the Sunday. I’ll be perfectly happy to sign anything you bring with you. Even one of my books

  • Is the bottom line, who would you Americans rather cheese off? Mr. Spanton or Mr. Anders? Mr. Spanton’s rage is a terrible thing to behold (just mention the word ‘map’ and retire) but at the same time Mr. Anders is actually on the same continental landmass as yourselves, which may be far too near if you incur his wrath…

    Or just buy one copy of each to placate both. Let’s face it, it’s safer for all of us.

  • Lou Anders says:

    Just saying… sales lost to do have a demonstrable effect on my ability to bring in other deserving UK writers in need of US publishers.

  • Lou Anders says:

    Let me clarify further… I don’t want anybody in the UK importing a US edition of one of our books if there’s a UK edition available either. What was it Jesus said? “Render unto Spanton the things that are Spanton’s…”

  • Isis says:

    But, but, but, how can you not enjoy Brad Pitt in True Romance? Don’t condescend me, man…

    Also, fancy some post-signing beer with the BwB on 20th March? Some of us might even buy a book. Possibly even one you’ve written.

  • Adam,
    Two copies of each, please. It’s practically an investment.

    So which of you is Caesar and which is God in this metaphor?

    True Romance I listed as being OK. Mostly because of Cristopher Walken’s turn. Haven’t seen that film in a while though, and I bet it hasn’t weathered too well.

    And it doesn’t usually take much to persuade me to go for a beer. Don’t know how late the signing will go on, but I’m sure I can catch you up if you want to find a pub nearby.

  • Isis says:

    Nice one, geezer. Will be definitely be nearby. Let you know where on the day.

  • There’s that O’Neills which is more or less opposite Forbidden Planet. Me, Jazz, Prod, Sean & Barry went there for the post-Xmas mini-meet last year. Could be worth taking a look.

  • isis says:

    Well, I wasn’t inviting the entire internet actually, Ad, which was why I didn’t mention any location. 😉

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