Joe Mallozzi’s Book Club

May 20th, 2008

No, not an offbeat episode of the Sopranos, but an exciting initiative from writer, critic, bon vivant, and Stargate Atlantis joint-supremo Joe Mallozzi. We go back a long way me and Joe. We first met at one of Baron Destructo’s interminable drinks events, it’s a long story, and since then we’ve never looked back. You’d be amazed the conversational mileage that can be derived from simply having the same first name as someone else – already I have more in common with him than almost anyone else I know.

Anyway, as well as a writer, exec. producer, blogger and prolific eater, the other Joe is also a keen reader of sci-fi and, more recently, fantasy, and has decided to present some of this high-class genre material to his many readers. He examines, discusses, and invites comments on a sci-fi book, horror book, and fantasy book each month. This week’s choice? Why, only the first part of Joe Abercrombie’s seminal modern fantasy trilogy The First Law, no book other than The Blade Itself!

But dial down your pacemakers, because to make matters more exciting still, Joe has managed to prevail upon many of the authors of his featured works (some of whom aren’t even called Joe) to join in the discussions. He’s already had my US editor, the wonderful Lou Anders on to discuss his anthology Fast Forward, and he’s got folks such as John Scalzi, John Shirley, Kage Baker, and KJ Bishop upcoming. And yes, indeed, you guessed it, I’ll be hijacking Joe’s blog later in the week to answer questions/dodge sh*t flung at me by his readers in relation to the Blade Itself. There are already a few gems showing up in the comments section, including such stuff as:

“I can’t really review ‘The Blade Itself’ because I only made it to page 100 before I gave up and turned to ‘The Android’s Dream’. I guess the book was just not for me.”

A ha ha ha. But seriously, I think this is a great thing Joe’s doing, and I’m delighted to be involved. By all means drop by yourselves, and join in the fun…

Posted in news, reviews by Joe Abercrombie on May 20th, 2008. Tags: ,

15 comments so far

  • Elena says:

    Well, here’s your answer to the attention/sycophancy concern, then…

    That’s great that you’re getting a featured spot!

  • monoman says:

    Joe, this is all very well but what you need IMHO is an FAQ on your own site. So to kick things off:

    I thought The First Law trilogy was ‘da bomb’, but it bugged me that I couldn’t picture the Union ‘look’ in my head. Seems to be a mix of English Civil War / Napoleonic era aesthetics, but with low-tech warfare capabilities. What’s the official line?

    Who would play the following in the film of the books:

    And which artists would contribute to the soundtrack?

    If you had to write a novel set in any existing fictional universe, which would you select and why?

    What’s your favourite colour?

    God luck and good speed,


  • That’s really great news (also your previous post about similar release dates in the states for best served cold.)

    I agree with monoman, I’d love a faq, and the idea of a movie/t.v. version would be great.

    I’m curious about the lack of a really prevalent religion in the Union. It doesn’t seem as if there’s a strong church working behind the scenes as there are in most medieval settings. Comments?

    Also, some casting ideas:

    Glotka – Christian Bale with heavy prosthetics…

    Ardee – Penelope Cruz (maybe? I’m not sure if I’m remembering her correctly)

    West – Josh Brolin (I think he’d be great personally)

    Jezal – Josh Hartnett (relatively obvious I think)

    Logan – Mickey Rourke (eh?… eh?)

    Bayaz – John Rhys-Davies (I think he’d do alright bald. Maybe not?)

    Ferro – Antonio Banderas? (I don’t know I’m out of ideas)

    Dogman – Tom Berenger? (Once again, out of ideas)

    What do you think Joe, close?

  • m.q.zed says:

    I’m not Joe obviously but in my eyes The union (or any other fantasy novel city) doesn’t need to be exactly like our medieval societies since it is a different world with a different history than ours and therefore it has evolved differently sociologically than ours.

    The lack of religion seems to be a result of the “civilized” way of life in the Union. The southerners like Ferro are very religious but they are seen as uncivilized by the Union. There is probably an evolution process within the society, as they investigate nature (through the scholars of the university) and magic starts leaking away from their every day life the belief of gods and demons is seen with disbelief. In other stories the prevalence of religion in non magical societies tend to be because someone exploits religious belief to control the masses. But I reckon that Bayaz wouldn’t let that happen, unless it was himself doing the controlling.

    Ardee is meant to not be a stick, and I’m sorry to say that Penelope is extremely thin. I’d say Salma Hayek for Ardee.

    And Ferro’s a girl and although Antonio has been in Almodovar’s movies, I don’t think He’ll look all that nice in drag anymore. Plus I reckon Ferro would be darker than a Spaniard, probably Indian dark.

  • Blah, I knew that, lack of coffee, I for some reason always get her mixed up with the Navigator when I’m not thinking of it….

    Mea Culpa

    and I was thinking of Salma, but thought she might be a bit too young…

  • Susanne says:

    Oooh a casting game! Can I play?

    Logan – Ron Perlman. No? Yes? YES!

  • monoman says:

    For some reason I kept picturing Ferro as Grace Jones from Conan the Destroyer…

    What does Julian Sands look like these days? He might make a decent Glokta (with heavy prosthetics, natch JM.) Or Gary Oldman. Guy Pearce would be pretty good – he’s certainly got the acting range.

    Dogman – Ray Winstone?

    Logan – a substantially bulked-up Clive Owen? Or Ray Stevenson – the guy who plays Titus Pullo in Rome.

    Bayaz – I imagine he looks somewhat like Bruce Willis…

    Right, I’ll go now.

    As far as soundtracks go, I’d get Keep of Kalessin to do the whole thing:

  • maddog1995 says:


    I just thought I’d let you know know that it is because of Mr. Mallozzi that I am now hooked on your book. Unfortunatley, I will not finish the book in time to join in the discussion, but I still wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying “The Blade Itself”. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book with such a variety of interesting characters and a story that, so far, does not necessarily follow the standard “fantasy” mold. Thanks for writing such great books.

    p.s. is it wrong that I find Glotka such a great character? I suppose my recent back problems have me a bit sympathetic :o)

  • Little McKay says:

    Thanks for answering my question on Mallozzi’s blog. So it WAS a combination of insight and spot on writing. I guess I should have taken the spot on writing as a given, eh? 😉

    I’ll admit that I’m a little behind. I only read the first book 3 weeks ago and finished the 2nd a week ago. The 3rd has been ordered and I will finally finish the series soon.

    I’d have finished them sooner but it’s exam time at university!! lol

    If this triology was made as a tv series/movie how do you see it playing? Who would be the main star? Through whose perspective would we be watching?

    I’ve said it many times but I still can’t imagine Glotka being such a great character without hearing his thoughts. I think that alone would prove a great loss.

    This is going to sound odd but if this was a movie/tv show I could never imagine it doing the book justice and that furthers my appreciation for the series. You’ve created a world with such powerful characters, complete with raw emotions and insight. A lot of what you get in the book I could not see surviving the transition to visual media, even with the finest actors available.

    I’ve subscribed to the RSS feed so I’ll try to keep up with what’s happening.

    Keep on rocking!

  • I just wanted to say…thank you for answering my questions from Joe’s blog today (I know I asked a lot)…I really enjoyed your book and can’t wait to read the next two. When I asked about seeing the BLOODY NINE again I was asking about that worldwind that hit me smack in the face when Logan was kneeling before the fireplace. It was more than “whoa I did not see that coming” but more of a WTF! I saw that you like the Shield…isn’t Vic the bomb? The last season starts soon here…I just hope Vic gets out alive and free. Thanks again.


  • Elena,
    It is great, but totally deserved.

    I tend to think Napoleonic era Prussia meets Holy Roman Empire with a touch of the Hanseatic League, some Low Countries mercantilism, Venetian republic politics and pre-gunpowder weaponry. Of course.

    Invented universe? Definitely a computer game. Probably Thief. Very cool feel that game has. So sayeth the Master Builder.

    JM, MQ,
    On religion, my feeling was you get a bit too much cod-religion in fantasy and I wanted to concentrate on the more realistic elements of world like culture, economics, development, in so far as I was looking at world at all. But it didn’t seem unreasonable that the Union, so heavily influenced by Bayaz, should be a kind of rationalist, capitalist construct, where the worship was of power, status and money rather than anything spiritual. The inquisition, rather than a religious one, is focused on loyalty to the existing regime. Maybe a better metaphor for our own society in those ways…

    Maddog, Little M,
    Glad you’re liking the series.

    Ah, The Shield, it’s great stuff. Michael Chiklis does expoding with anger probably better than any other actor around, now that Russel Crowe is keen to display only his softer side. Probably I’ll talk about it a bit when the next series appears.

    On the subject of casting a notional TV show, oh, very difficult. I’ll have a stab at a couple:

    Glokta – Paul Bettany? A great actor, and he could definitely be menacing enough.

    Logen – I have to say Ray Stevenson is a good choice – the right mix of size and violence with grizzled good humour/slightly childlike quality.

    Ardee and Jezal – You’d probably have to cast some new folks for these, get people the right age. Cruz and Hayek? Bit too latin, no? And way too old. Hayek is in her 40s, believe it or not.

    Bayaz – Bruce Willis? For real? I might be tempted to go with Bob Hoskins for the look. With a beard. Or Patrick Stewart, bulked up? Though Jeff Bridges had a pretty good look for it in Iron Man…

    Ferro – Antonio Banderas? Hmmm. People say Grace Jones a bit, but she’s meant to be more Indian/Arabic than black.

    Arch Lector Sult – Charles Dance.

    Ron Perlman – too old for Logen, but he might make a pretty damn good Nicomo Cosca…

  • Anupam says:

    Beautiful Ed Hardy,ed hardy clothing ,ed hardy shirts,Adidas,NIKE Dunks,True Religion Jeans,Bapes hoodies,Timberland boots and much more are available here at discounted rates with FREE shipping

  • J Fleming says:

    Heh… Only just finished Before The Are Hanged, but really love the book…
    Glokta is wonderful, as is Cosca. Can’t wait until I can nab the conclusion to the trilogy.

    On the subject of castings for a TV series/Film…
    Sult: Christopher Lee. Always saw that in my head, what with the age but worrying command of every situation.

    Ferro: Anjali Jay (Not sure about her acting range, but to me she has the look for it. Played the Saracen girl in Robin Hood?)

    Glokta I’m not really sure about… He’s very unique. I suppose we’re used to seeing actors who should fulfill his roles busy being beefed up and made to look too attractive, which is all wrong…

    Anyways, many thanks for writing, and I’m certainly looking forward to Best Served Cold!

Add Your Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *