Coming down from the blaze of excitement that accompanied daily posting during Best Served Cold Artwork Week, it occurs to me that it’s been a very long time since I addressed any reviews of my work. I couldn’t allow a review of the First Law trilogy over at Tor.com by Jason Henninger to pass without comment, though. The article is probably best avoided by any unfortunate souls who haven’t read the books yet, riddled as it and its comments are with spoilers, but for the rest of you…
“In general, I loved the series. I found it perfectly paced, brutal, funny, shocking and lyrical.”
Well, that’s very nice. That’s lovely. No problems at all. This is the kind of review that more of you should be–
“I have one problem with it, though.”
“The third book, The Last Argument of Kings…”
Last Argument of Kings, Jason, there is no ‘the’, but pray continue.
“…seems like it should be a conclusion. The word last in the title implies that surely?”
Yes it does.
“The number of reviewers in the front matter gushing about how great the ending is would indicate, to my gullible mind anyway, that this is indeed the end of the story.”
Yes it is.
“Oh sure, most of the story ends. Not all. Certainly not all. There are chunks on unchewed plot-meat still sitting on the table, waiting for a carving. The final chapter is even called “The Beginning.” How the fuck is that a fucking ending, Joe?”
Well, Jason, the last chapter is called “The Beginning” in the same way that the first chapter is called “The End”, that’s fucking what! It’s a fucking ace fucking ending, actually, I’ll have you know! I get, like, loads of emails saying how ace it is! Maybe it’s just TOO ACE FOR YOU! All about the circularity of history, and how life, unlike fantasy, has no neat endings, and how the end of every conflict contains the seeds of the next, and, and, and, and LOADS of other clever, high-brow shit what I can’t be arsed to think up right now, that’s what! Yeah! What are you saying anyway? That not neatly closing off every loose thread of a story is some kind of uncommon and major offence–
“Not entirely ending a story despite all appearances to the contrary is, in the SF world, a pretty common and minor offence. So, no worries, Mr. Abercrombie. I don’t want to torture you over it very much. And on the glass-half-full side it means this incredibly talented writer has more to offer. I look forward to it.”
Oh. Well. Incredibly talented, you say? Well. That’s very nice, then. Hmm.
Forget I spoke.