The clue is in the title, really.
There’s an interview with me up at Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, touching on subjects such as the line between fascination and disgust, brick and mortar versus online success, grit and subversion, and your money. You’ll love it.
19 comments so far
For what it’s worth I’m a huge fan, loved “The Heroes”, but still preferred “Best Served Cold” which I thought was deeply satisfying on all levels. But then again it’s like choosing between, say, “Revolver” and “Abbey Road”…. and I reckon “The Heroes” will be even better on a re-read.
Bring on the Western!
what’s funniest to me about the section where you address people’s reactions to characters, is that i found myself much more emotionally invested in at least a couple characters in BSC than in any of the other books and strikingly so with the heroes. my sense of that was that it was related to the character motivations, and if nothing else i can relate to the desire to go frak a motherfraker up.
basically what i’m saying is, i’m with davieboy on which remains my personal favorite…
I like Tolkien and Jordan style ‘classic’ epic fantasy.
I’m also one of those people who think Best Served Cold is your best. I really enjoyed the characters and the atmosphere of the book. Strange, huh?
Can’t wait for your new stuff! Short stories and novels alike!
I reckon you nailed why I didn’t like BSC but since The Heroes was so good I’m willing to continue sharing my money with you
Interesting interview Joe. Thought they may have asked you about the Game of Thrones HBO series. As slightly off topic, have you noticed a general change in people’s attitude to fantasy fiction,films etc, at a recent party my love of fantasy was brought up, rather than some blank looks and mention of elves etc, quite a few people admitted reading/ watching it. Astonishingly no snide remarks about them not being for adults and being childrens books. Not really sure when this change happened, but welcomed.
Great interview Joe, but where’s your interview of George R.R. Martin? Two masters of gritty fantasy come together, and not one person in the world uploads it? Not even a transcript? Surely, this is a simple oversight. It would be a travesty if such an event were lost to history. Don’t you think?
I don’t really agree with this:
“… no doubt some readers found it hard to relate to the characters. Hard to find anyone to root for. And that’s not a good thing in a character-centered book, really, is it?”
I’m STILL rooting for Shivers, just as to a (smaller) degree I can’t help rooting for Glokta, given what he’s suffered. It’s something you’ve got in common with Elmore Leonard, Joe — the characters are so well-drawn, so human, even the shits are easy to feel sympathetic towards.
Well I’d hope that to be true, that even the most repugnant characters can be sympathetic. That’s certainly the intention. But in this, as in all other aspects of writing, your mileage may (and certainly does) vary. One man’s meat is another’s poison, you know.
On that point: I found Glokta very sympathetic, possibly because he reminded me a bit of Francis Urquhart. I found Shivers (in Best Served Cold) less so.
Nice interview, Mr. Abercrombie. Are you going to write more stand-alone novels next, or a trilogy/series?
Nice interview, the money comment made me laugh. There’s a few more questions I would have liked to have seen. For example do you look back at your books critically after they’ve been available a while, maybe taking into account reader comments, and after you’ve written something new?
When I got physically nauseous reading BSC early on, I knew it was for me. One of the best standalone books I’ve ever read, and still my favorite of your works, Joe. I’ll always root for Shivers.
I like that people in your world kiss with bad breath, that they realize that they stink, that ultimately the only person that will look out for you is… you. There’s a truth about today’s world that fantasy seems to be bringing to the fore, and you’re right there at the head of it.
Hmmm, any plans of leaving the world of first law?
No need I, like the whole world but would be happy with anything different too. Just asking myself how Joe Abercrombie could write a SciFi-story or a real life story…
For me the “unsympathic” characters are one main reason I like the novels.
Most fantasy comes up with figures like in Star Trek alwas coming around with the correct decision, licked an without any flaws.
In GRRM and JA for example you need to read along and will find parts of them which are nice or sensible over the time. I could have said this to the last topic as this makes a novel special for me. A good book is like a piece of gristle. You must chew on it for a while until you can swallow it down. (hope some of you get my point *g*)
Read a lot of gangsters, pimps, tricksters. Spend a while with books on hooligan/Skinhead subculture all completly out of my life an far from a livestyle I would prefer but you need to think about what you just read and when I came back to fantasy the most storys felt flat and unconvincing.
Both of the one-off books, BSC and The Heroes, are my favorites so far. I liked The Heroes most because even though it had the “gritty” bits, that final scene with Beck had me wiping my eyes and blowing my nose. The hard-boiled stuff is entertaining, but a character I shed a tear over won’t be forgotten. That small, simple moment was so much better than the saving-the-world-against-ultimate-evil crap.
“But in this, as in all other aspects of writing, your mileage may (and certainly does) vary. One man’s meat is another’s poison, you know.”
I’m just saying that a reader finds he can’t identify with Shivers, Glokta, Monza, or any of the rest, he’s probably a soulless halfwit that should go back to reading children’s books.
I fail to see why this claim should seem so controversial 😉
I have a question.
What was your favorite fantasy book as a kid?
The book that got me into reading was The Sword of Shannara. It’s not the style of book I like anymore but I loved it as a teenager.
Firstly, I don’t frequent online sites much. Best Served Cold is my favorite of your books and until this interview I had no idea some folks didn’t like it. Seems strange to me, the book was awesome.
I know this is off topic but I just found the best review of Game Of Thrones on Metacritic and I would like to share it with you.
I love fantasy. I play dungeons and dragons with my friends and sometimes when no one is around by myself. My parents at first didn’t want to let me stay up to watch Game of Thrones but I downloaded it so they have no idea I got to see it, but we have HBO so it’s okay. I was surprised by all the nakedness. Boobies everywhere. I have a girlfriend, and she said she was offended by it. I wasn’t offended though. But since the internet is full of awesome porn, this was nothing. It’s like for people who never watch porn? It was really boring. The dwarf sex gave me shivers because of the slurping sounds. I think it scarred me. The doggy-style incest looked like they were bored and just going through the motions. Wow, everyone is doing it doggy style. And then nothing else happened? Sex and someone gets thrown out the windows? Where are the goblins and orcs?…
Surprisingly he only gave it 3 out of 10… Bless
Eddwigg, I think that may have been a joke at the expense of fans of fantasy, playing on the old geek stereotype. Surprised he didn’t mention completing Dragon Age. Both of them.
Nice iview Joe, was surprised reading about the reaction to Best Served Cold, which, despite being pretty unrelenting, contains some of what I thought was your funniest stuff, particuarly Cosca. Besides, it had a happy ending, didn’t it? 😉
Getting very bored of the classical fantasy vs new wave/gritty/subversive/blah fantasy debate. The genre was stale and if anything, the current market will eventually spark a classical fantasy renaissance in response to the vast majority of future fantasy writing being influenced by Abercrombie/Martin/Erikson/Morgan.
Japp think its just a new spark for further development.