Sunday, December 30, 2012

Joe Abercrombie writes about The Hobbit Movie

With his usual style and analysis Joe Abercrombie has written up his thoughts on The Hobbit, and, like many other reviewers I've seen, finds it wanting:
To be fair, for a three hour film it never really got boring, I wasn’t squirming in my seat or anything, but, man, it really did feel padded out beyond recognition, with barely a sequence or conversation left intact and offhand allusions in the book converted into weighty additions.  An interminable pre-title with the elder Bilbo, a ponderous exchange between Gandalf, Saruman and Galadriel, an utterly unnecessary aside with Radagast.  I felt like I must be watching the extended edition, where every scene goes on just that bit longer than it needs to.  Sometimes a lot longer.  Sometimes even longer than that.  I thought they cut and sculpted the Lord of the Rings books very well for the original films but, you know, it’s one thing – surely a tricky, skilled and difficult thing but one thing all the same – to cut down a wealth of source material and maintain the feel.  It’s entirely another to add great wodges of your own stuff to quite slight material.  The dialogue in those new sections clunked, the voice-over creaked, and for me it ended up just not feeling very much like the Hobbit at all.
Full Story: HERE

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Friday, December 28, 2012

N.K.Jemisin Picks Her Most Anticipated Games of 2013

Over at The Book Smugglers, N.K.Jemisin (author of the excellent Inheritance trilogy) has selected her most anticipated games of 2013:
Anyway, I’m still very much of a gamer, even though I have less free time now. I also have less patience for games’ failings, which is why I no longer play some of the franchises I once loved. Still, there’s enough good stuff out there that at least tries not to insult my existence as a human being, or my intelligence as a grownup and a writer, that I keep playing. So on the theory that you care what media us writer-folk are consuming in our spare time, here’s a short list of what I’m salivating for in 2013.
DmC is on my list as well :)

Full Story: HERE

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

Not Saving The World? How Does That Even Work?


Over at Tor.com, Jo Walton notices no one 'saves the world' in Scott Lynch's excellent Lies of Locke Lamora series:
Where saving the world came into fantasy was with The Lord of the Rings, and where Tolkien got it from was from Christianising Ragnarok. In Norse Mythology, the world is going to be destroyed and that’s all there is to it. It’s the inevitable end. There are versions where a couple of Thor’s sons will survive to see a new world, but in any case, this world that we love and care about will end in battle and destruction and dead heroes will rise again to fight at the side of the gods and be destroyed again and that’s the end. It’s inevitable. It’s always there. In writing LOTR Tolkien went with this kind of end of everything—if Sauron wins, there won’t even be anyone left to sing songs or tell stories. The ultimate victory of good, which happens through the operation of grace and not through the will (never mind power) of the heroes, is Tolkien’s Christianising of this deeply pagan myth. It was a very original thing to do, that eucatastrope.
Full Story: HERE

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Tor: Historically Authentic Sexism In Fantasy


Terrific article over at Tor.com about sexism in fantasy fiction:
Rome was a highly superstitious society which relied on all manner of rituals to feel safe and protected. Those rituals which were performed within the home were as important as those performed in public places—but they weren’t written about to the same extent because they were mostly done by women, often exclusively by women, and secrecy was a common element. There are many reasons why men didn’t write down the details (except when they interacted with court cases) and one of those reasons was, they didn’t know what those details were. Women’s history, sadly, was not much of a thing, and what words women did write down were not preserved over the next millennium.
Full Story: HERE

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Stephen King Re-read: The Shining


Over at Tor there's a terrific article about Stephen King's The Shining:
Few books cut as close to the bone as The Shining: an alcoholic schoolteacher with a family to support writes his way to financial security, then turns around and writes a book about an alcoholic schoolteacher with a family to support who fails to make good on his talent and tries to murder his family. “I was the guy who had written The Shining without even realizing that I was writing about myself,” he says in On Writing
Full Story: HERE

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Steven Erikson Answers 'Reaper's Gale' Questions

Now that Tor has finished their re-read of Reaper's Gale, Steven Erikson showed up to answer any questions folks have about the book:
His entire story is madness—the whole, pointless war, all ratcheting up to campaigns of genocide, where the victims end up acquiring the heartlessness of the oppressors. But the essential point is, it took a man like Redmask to drag the tribes into annihilation, and the crux to that is his hidden origins (from a system that knows no other language of living, no other way of viewing the world). Without Redmask, the Awl would have continued to retreat, continued to crumble on the edges when contacted by an overbearing, autocratic, self-obsessed society—one with the military might to impose its will, and the quasi-religious certainty that it has the right to do so.
Full Story: HERE

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Monday, December 3, 2012

Game of Thrones: Season 3 Tease


Winter is coming.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Iain M. Banks Interview: Culture 25th

Over at Orbit there's a lengthy and fascinating interview with Iain M. Banks on the 25th Anniversary of The Culture:
I don’t think I saw it as challenging genre conventions as such; I just did what any fan of a genre (who has ambitions to create within that genre) does:  look at what’s on offer, think “I can do that,” and then “But I want to do it differently, I want to do it this way.”  Especially in SF, it seems right to try to improve on what’s already been produced, to take matters forward, to climb onto the shoulders of the giants who have gone before.  What I wanted to read – and so to write – was SF with the energy, vitality and can-do attitude of so much great American SF, but which was as well written as so much of the usually more reflective, nuanced and less gung-ho British stuff.  What I wanted to avoid was what I saw as the economic – and to some degree political – naivety of the US writers and the sheer god-awful sub-Orwellian miserablism of the Brits.  Whether I’ve succeeded or not isn’t for me to say, but either way I’m sure I’ve managed to introduce my own intrinsic, embedded annoyances that other writers have been, are and will be reacting against for some time.  This is entirely right and proper, by the way, and just the way the whole system works.  So there.

Full Story: HERE

Iain M. Banks' latest Culture novel Hydrogen Sonata is out now.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Joe Abercrombie: Interview

To coincide with the release of the new Joe Abercrombie novel, Red Country, there's an interview up at  Fantasy Book Critic, and Joe talks about all manner of interesting things:
A Game of Thrones was a very important book for me – it came at a time when I’d largely stopped reading fantasy and felt that it tended to repeat the same patterns over and over, was hugely predictable. So it really made my jaw drop in all kinds of ways, and demonstrated that you could be dark, unpredictable, realistic, and adult in every sense of the word while still writing what was very recognizably commercial epic fantasy. It was a big inspiration in trying to write myself, so I think it was inevitable that later books   wouldn't   be able to sustain that impact, if only because the first had gone off like a flashbulb in the darkness for me. 
Full Story: HERE

Red Country is out now

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Red Country Facts & Figures

Joe Abercrombie's new novel Red Country is done and Joe has laid out some facts and figures about the process:
Hard to be absolutely definite about this, since the start of a project has always tended to bleed into the end of the previous one for me, but looking back at my blog posts I reckon Red Country took about 22 months to write, or at least I was in a similar position with The Heroes at the end of September 2010.  By the same assessment,The Heroes took about 19 months and Best Served Cold around 21.  The timings on the trilogy are lost in the mist of time but then things were different and more hobby-ish for much of that period, without a contract or even any serious intention of getting one while I was writing The Blade Itself, so it’s tough to compare.  I’ve a vague recollection that Last Argument of Kings took about 14 months – way my fastest book as well as my longest – but then I was bringing in characters and situations that were already well established, which is a lot easier than working out new ones.
Full Story: HERE

Red Country will be out on Kindle October 23 2012: Link

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cover: Red Country

Joe Abercrombie has posted the cover for his upcoming novel Red Country:


Blurb:

“They burned her home.
They stole her brother and sister.
But vengeance is following.
Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she’ll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she’s not a woman to flinch from what needs doing.  She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old stepfather Lamb for company.  But it turns out Lamb’s buried a bloody past of his own, and out in the lawless Far Country, the past never stays buried.
Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts.  Even worse, it will force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust…”

Red Country will be published in the U.K. on October 18, and in the U.S. on October 23.

Full Story: HERE 


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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

FBC: 'Sharps' review

Over at Fantasy Book Critic, there's an in-depth review of Sharps, the new K.J. Parker novel:
What is the right thing to do, can the honorable thing be wrong and the  dishonorable thing be right, the ambiguity of morality as dictated by circumstances etc etc - among the numerous superb touches of the book there is a game the heroes play when each names a thing they are sure they would not do under any circumstances and the cynical Suidas creates scenarios under which they agree they actually would do it - all the familiar themes of the author's work combined with great prose and world building.
Full Story: HERE

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

K.J. Parker interview


K.J. Parker's new novel Sharps is out this month and to celebrate there's a terrific interview with the reclusive novelist over at Pornokitsch:
In fiction, I believe that human nature is everything, and everything is human nature. Everything we do reveals something about us; the way we go about things, the techniques with which we impose ourselves on the world. In Chinese mythology they have those mirrors that reveal shape-changing demons and animal spirits in their true form; I think the work people do, the things they make, reveal what and who they are in the same way. It’s not really metaphor or allegory; it’s like a pantograph, or a machine tool, where you operate a lever or a turnwheel and the machine carries out a different but corresponding operation. Thus, the work people do shapes the sort of person they are (farmers, artisans, clerks, soldiers) – which is why, when Bardas Loredan took up making bows, he ended up making that bow; it was, so to speak, in his bones.
The full interview is HERE. Sharps is available on Kindle July 17.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tor: July Fantasy Releases


Tor has the July line-up for fantasy fiction, including the new K.J. Parker novel:
Sharps, by K.J. Parker (July 17, Orbit)
For the first time in nearly forty years, an uneasy truce has been called between two neighboring kingdoms. The war has been long and brutal, fought over the usual things: resources, land, money. Now, there is a chance for peace. Diplomatic talks have begun and with them, the games. Two teams of fencers represent their nations at this pivotal moment. When the future of the world lies balanced on the point of a rapier, one misstep could mean ruin for all.
Full Story: HERE

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Joe Abercrombie: Best Served Cold reread


Joe Abercrombie continues the prep for his new novel by rereading his old books.  Next up: Best Served Cold:
Some background may be helpful.  This was my fourth book, but in many ways my difficult second project, as Before They are Hanged and Last Argument of Kingsobviously continued with the same characters and plotlines as The Blade Itself.  Plus it was the first book I started work on with books out there in the marketplace and therefore with (at least a little bit) of expectation from readers and critics.  I’d writtenLast Argument of Kings in fourteen months, with relatively little blood, sweat and tears, and I expected this to be that little bit more straightforward again as I devoted more time to my writing, my craft improved and so forth.  How wrong I was.  Probably this was my most difficult book to write, I was crippled with doubts and worries about it pretty much from the start.  It’s hard to put myself in that mindset now, but I think I considered giving up on it a couple of times.  Certainly the challenge of coming up with new characters, new voices, new locations, a new style of storytelling approach, on a schedule and with people waiting, was vastly much more difficult and pressurised than I’d expected.  In the end it took about 20 months to write, I think, and for a great deal of that time I was deeply worried that it would turn out … let’s say a little bit shit, and indeed that I’d never write anything as good as The First Law again.  ’Well, not every book can be your best…’ said with a mournful shrug of the shoulders was a frequent refrain of that time, as I recall.

Best Served Cold is my favourite of Joe's novels: it's blackly funny, surprising, nasty, uncompromising and, most of all, it has Monza, a female lead whose drawing almost makes up for the paucity of interesting women in the First Law trilogy.

Full Story: HERE

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Joe Abercrombie: Last Argument of Kings reread



Joe wraps up his The Blade Itself reread with Last Argument of Kings and has lots of insightful and revealing thoughts about the end of the trilogy: 
The writing seemed a little less polished than it had in Before They are Hanged, not always, there were some really tight scenes, but often enough.  A little bit of slightly lazy repetitiveness creeping in, some loose lines here or there that really add nothing.  Bayaz is frosty, then he’s icy a few sentences later.  People nod and frown and use rather bland gestures rather than doing things that feel new and arresting and illustrative of their character.  I actually spotted a couple of real howlers, as well – “he closed his eyes and stared numbly down at the polished tabletop,” was one I particularly enjoyed.  Or rather didn’t.  It’s incredible, you go through this stuff over and over with a fine tooth comb and they still slip through.  Minor though these things are, I think their cumulative effect on the overall sense of immersion and trust, if you like, in the writing, can be quite damaging.  Jezal and Glokta’s chapters in the first part were generally the worst offenders – the more ‘cultured’ voices, if you will, while the stuff in the north generally felt tighter.
Fascinating stuff.  Muchly thanks to Joe for opening up this process.

Full Story: HERE

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Joe Abercrombie: Before They Are Hanged Reread

Continuing to reread his First Law trilogy, Joe Abercrombie has written up his thoughts on Before They Are Hanged:
Writing generally is much improved, I feel, the voices have become more distinctive and assured, the descriptive stuff is a lot more arresting – partly I think that’s a result of the travelogue nature of the plotlines which means characters are frequently running across new and exciting things in a way they weren’t so much in the first book.  If you’re writing in tight Point of View there’s simply no need to describe a character’s own familiar bedroom, or the street they walk down every day, and I think that gave some of the descriptive stuff in the first book a slightly unconvincing, info-dumpy quality.  ”Jezal ran past building X where important institution Y was based and frowned up at monuments A and B commemorating important event in history Z which may be important later and neatly illustrates point C about Union culture and Jezal’s own character…” is just not honestly the experience of having a run in your own backyard.  This works a lot better, and there’s more variety in the settings as well, sweaty Dagoska alternating with the frozen North and the desolate Old Empire.  Some interesting stuff in there, and reading some of this I slightly miss the fantastic in the lower magic direction I’ve taken in the standalones.
Full Story: HERE

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Joe Abercrombie: Blade Itself Re-Read

Joe Abercrombie has done a re-read of his first novel The Blade Itself, and his conclusions are both interesting and relevant to my interests:
The writing’s a little lumpy, sometimes trying a bit too hard – why use one adjective when five are available?  Then you can repeat a couple of them later in the paragraph!  Hmmm.  A tendency towards providing pairs of nouns or adjectives when one, or perhaps none, would do.  A bit of dead-horse beating, you could say.  Sometimes it’s a bit foursquare, dwelling on who did what when, some unnecessary repetition and too much focus on technical aspects of positioning in a scene that really don’t matter at all.  He turned, then he turned back, then he turned again.  He could probably have turned less.  Or indeed simply looked forwards and delivered his dialogue.  But actually the writing was generally less embarrassing than I’d feared it might be.  Some of the descriptive bits are a little, I don’t know, lacking in sparkle, prone to become a bit listy and unimaginative, and sometimes there’s a slightly trying, breathless, ‘Ooh, I can’t wait to tell you how ace this is,’ sense to things, but the dialogue is largely there, there are some really nice exchanges I’d forgotten about.  If there’s one relative strength that I’d identify it is the dialogue.  The different ‘voices’ for the different points of view generally work but haven’t totally settled down at this stage.  I actually found the prose-style with Ferro’s chapters worked really well although I was trying a bit hard for an emotional payoff there, and the Dogman just always worked right off, but Glokta’s internal voice I actually found rather surprisingly disappointing – works in some of the more reflective sequences where he’s just thinking, but comes across as trying too hard when it’s working as a commentary on action and conversation – sometimes a bit obvious and lacking in subtlety, I’d say.  It improved as things went on, though and undoubtedly had its moments.  Perhaps overused?
Full Story: HERE

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Abercrombie: Red Country

Joe Abercrombie writes here about progress he's been making on the first draft of his latest novel, Red Country:
At that point I’d normally turn my attention to more detailed character and setting type stuff but this time around the process is having to shift about due to the availability of the copy editor, who needs to start in early June, which means my editor is already  marking up the manuscript as it stands and I’m going to be responding to her input first.  Probably no bad thing as I’m getting a little jaded and could do with an outside kick in the pants.  I want to do a re-read of all my other books while it’s away with the copy editor, soak up anything necessary for returning characters, and then do a character pass trying to get all the secondary characters as differentiated and vibrant as possible – replacing bland dialogue with more personalised, bland description with more specific, and so on.  Then after the copy edit comes back and I respond, there’ll probably be a setting pass where I try and get a bit more pop into the descriptive sections, an eye on the weather and the feel of the surroundings.  Which means hopefully towards the end of July I’ll be doing my final run-through trying to get the detail of the language as good as wot I is able to do.  Then proof read.
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Joe Abercrombie on Readers

Over on his blog, Joe Abercrombie has written up some thoughts on the importance and value of early readers; what some authors call Beta Readers:
When I first started writing I did it in extreme secrecy, scared to lay bare my sensitive innermost ramblings to the world.  But after maybe six months working on the loose collection of drivel that would later become sharpened into the modern masterpiece that is The Blade Itself, I felt the need to consult some kind of outside authority, to get some guidance as to whether what I was doing was utterly worthless or not quiteutterly worthless.  My mother worked as an English teacher, an educational publisher, is widely read and possessed of razor-edged critical faculties, particularly where her own children are concerned.  My father was an academic and university administrator, also widely read though in somewhat different areas, perhaps.  My brother is like an older, less handsome version of me, also widely read and with a more than passing familiarity with genre.  I knew they’d tell it to me straight.  And they have, ever since.  I can’t articulate how vital discussing my writing with them has been, especially in those early days before landing a deal.  They helped me work out where I was going right and wrong, both at the micro and macro levels, and in giving me the confidence to continue, as well as just convincing me that there was actually something there worth working on.  Hey, even if I never got published, it was a fun point of conversation within the family.  Mum tended to look at the detail of the way I was writing, Dad tended to look more at the plotting and development, Brother gave a less detailed summing up.  Usually I’d write blocks of four or five chapters, revise them carefully to my own satisfaction, present, discuss, revise.
Full Story: HERE

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Friday, April 27, 2012

Foz Meadows: The Problem of R. Scott Bakker

People were on at me for years to read the R. Scott Bakker trilogy The Darkness That Comes Before, and it looked very interesting to me so I picked it up and gave it a try.  I found the books mostly to be dry and plodding, ponderous and pretentious and in their portrayal and treatment of women, to be vile.  And now author Foz Meadows, prompted by some comments Bakker made about his work, has crafted an article breaking down exactly where Mr. Bakker's analysis falls apart:
The level of doublethink here is staggering, and yet I can just about parse his (incredibly twisted) logic. Seemingly, Bakker thinks that male violence, and particularly sexual violence, is both innate and inevitable. His aim, at least in part, is to convince his male readers likewise, showing them their own dark side in order to make them uncomfortably aware of its dangers. As entities, women who triumph over, alter or otherwise subvert this reality are completely unrealistic, because no amount of hope or belief will ever change man’s bestial nature, and therefore women will always be oppressed. Any story or statement to the contrary is damaging to feminism, because it gives women an unrealistic view of their prospects in life. Instead, it’s better to focus on making men aware of their innate capacity for evil, so that they can try and rein it in.
The full article is HERE and Mr. Bakker has arrived to address the article, so the comments are blowing up a bit.

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May Releases In Urban Fantasy

There are 22 urban fantasy novels arriving in May and Tor has the full rundown:


Full Story: HERE

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10 Books Every Fantasy Author Should Read

Over at iO9.com, Charlie Jane Anders has compiled a list of 10 books every fantasy author should read and there are some surprising entries.
" I think Farah Mendlesohn's Rhetorics of Fantasy should be required reading for anybody in this genre. It might seem like dense academic language for some, but I actually found it clear and accessible as it broke down all fantasy into four broad taxonomic categories, then examined the commonalities — and exceptions — for each. For those writers who really want to understand the literary footsteps they're walking, and who find our current marketing-driven genre structure restrictive and confusing (e.g., is it URBAN fantasy or is it urban FANTASY?), this is helpful." — Jemisin, who also wrote the Inheritance Trilogy, beginning with The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.
Naturally, it's all totally subjective, but lists should provoke a conversation, not end one.

Full Article: HERE

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Author Post: What I've Learned

Over at the Orbit website, author Ian Irvine has written up some thoughts on the lessons he's learned about storytelling:
1. The driving force behind any story is conflict – two dogs, one bone, as James Scott Bell puts it. Every interaction, between every character (even friends and allies) should contain conflict. But not meaningless or random conflict, or bickering. The conflict needs to be related to the character’s goal – either furthering it or blocking it.
Interesting stuff.

Full Article: HERE

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Locke Lamora Read-Along Bonus #4

Scott Lynch continues the series of articles about his first novel The Lies of Locke Lamora.  In this piece he writes very frankly on the elements of the novel he thinks could be better than they are:
I think the most obvious structural incongruity in The Lies of Locke Lamora is that the interlude chapters, which start out as fully-developed narrative episodes, inelegantly transition to historical lectures and omniscient anecdotes. While I'd argue that most of them are still very relevant, and a couple are even essential, there's really no reason I couldn't (with a little more reflection) have made them in-universe infodumps rather than Voice of God. They could have easily been stories or lessons from Father Chains; a little diligent framing on my part and the incongruity would have been ironed smooth. Alas.
Very interesting stuff.

Full article: HERE

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Second Last Words - Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie provides more fascinating insight into the first draft process of his newest novel A Red Country:
Traditionally I’ve used six points of view in every book.  Just seemed a good number to get the right amount of variety and options for covering the action without the whole thing becoming too diffuse.  With The Heroes, as well as the six principals, I did some scenes that strung together quite a lot of additional points of view in one way or another – extras, you might say.  The idea was to spread out the scale, give a feel of the whole battle developing, take brief looks at people on both sides and at different levels of the chain of command and flesh out some characters seen at a distance.  On the whole they were pretty successful, I think.  With Red Country I wanted to try something slightly different, and work with two central points of view plus an occasional third.  By the time I’d written two parts that way, though, I was starting to think that was feeling a bit claustrophobic, and that even though I was aiming at a more stripped down, simple, focused style of story, I was missing a trick by not applying that extras approach to some sections of this book.  So in the third, fourth, and fifth parts I did some major scenes in that style of rapid movement between minor players.  Now I need to write a new sequence in that style to go in the second part, and rewrite a sequence that was previously from one point of view to be from many.

Full article: HERE

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Steven Erikson's 'The Forge of Darkness'

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist has the cover art and blurb for book one of Steven Erikson's new Malazan trilogy The Forge of Darkness:


Enter the New York Times bestselling Malazan universe... at a time that sets the stage for all the tales already told.

Steven Erikson entered the pantheon of great fantasy writers with his debut Gardens of the Moon. Now Erikson returns with a trilogy that takes place before the events of the Malazan Book of the Fallen. The Forge of Darkness takes readers to Kurald Galain, the warren of Darkness, and tells an epic tale of a realm whose fate plays a crucial role in the fall of the Malazan Empire.

It’s a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the warren of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power… and even death is not quite eternal. The commoners’ great hero, Vatha Urusander, longs for ascendency and Mother Dark’s hand in marriage, but she has taken another Consort, Lord Draconus, from the faraway Dracon Hold. The idea of this union sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Adarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold.

Steven Erikson brings to life this ancient and important tale set in the world he introduced in the Malazan Book of the Fallen in a way that should appeal to fans of George R. R. Martin.


 Source: PAT

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Even More Lynch on Lamora

Scott Lynch continues to provide insights into the building of his novel The Lies of Locke Lamora. Now he's posted his casting choices:

For the Gray King, I always had an eye on Michael Wincott. It's cliche to call an actor like this "underrated," since he's not underrated by anyone who actually looks for his work. He had a part in several major cult films including The Crow,the 2002 version of The Count of Monte Cristo, and Alien: Resurrection (in which he and his rag-tag band of extremely watchable rogues were the only bright spot). Come to think of it, he was Alan Rickman's straight man in Costner's crap Robin Hood flick, helping to anchor the only palatable bits of that movie, too. He was also superb in the otherwise bleh Along Came A Spider, one of those millennial "super serial killer" films that were stamped out by the half-dozen. Curriculum vitae aside, he's got wolfish looks, a gravelly voice, and a sinister presence he can turn on or off like a smile. 
Full article: HERE

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Joe Abercrombie: A Red Country

Joe Abercrombie reports he has finished the first draft of his new novel 'A Red Country':
Finished the first draft of A Red Country today.  Well, kind of finished.  Any of you who’ve been through this process with me before will remember that there is a lot of work to do between writing the final words and seeing the book on the shelves.  Some of the most important work.  But also some of the most satisfying.  This is the part I really enjoy, cutting, refining, seeing the poor parts chopped away and the good parts refined and the whole hopefully coming into shape.  This week I’ll look over and tidy up this last part before sending it off to my editor, and then it’s a quick read through to see what I’ve got, some additions and heavy rewriting of one of the two central characters.  But hey, it’s a step in the right direction.  I can remember finishing the first chapter and thinking, bloody hell, there’s a long way to go, and before you know it, here you are.  171,000 words at the moment.  I have a considerable chapter to add, but some heavy cutting to do in other areas, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it ends up somewhere in that region, which will make it my shortest book by some considerable margin.  The Blade Itself was somewhere around 190,000, as I recall.  Last Argument of Kings the longest at about 230,000, in case you were wondering.  Oh, US publication looks like November 20th this year, UK publication will be a little before that, precise date to be announced, but probably somewhere in September/October.

Source: Joe's Blog 

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kate Elliot: World-building

Kate Elliot has begun to map out her system for world-building in her fantasy novels:
But who are these people and where are they living? What does the full tapestry of life look like in this place? If I do not think about this, it is easy to fall back on choices that aren’t choices as much as unexamined assumptions about whose lives are interesting enough to read about and what people are “allowed” to tell their own stories. By not considering the totality of life in a culture (regardless of whether I write about it), I am already creating visibility and invisibility in my own head if nowhere else.
Full article: here

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Monday, March 12, 2012

More Lynch on Lamora

Scott Lynch continues to harvest his old files for notes and nuggets on the project that became The Lies of Locke Lamora:
From the same cast list, the first roster of the Gentlemen Bastards: Locke Lamora, age 28; "Gentle" Jean Tannen, age 31; "Long Tall" Galdo, age 26, and Venti Loose-Lips, age 22. Father Chains was originally going to be called, I shit you not, "Rude Trevor," age 40. This list also appears to have two younger apprentice characters, Petrava and Tomsa (ages 16 and 17) and a character named "Father Caladon." The words "Father Chains?" are written next to his name. This leads me to believe I had originally meant for a false priest to be some sort of adjunct member of the gang, and from him I grew the notion of chaining this priest to his temple, before finally deciding to roll this character in with that of the gang's mentor figure. 

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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Steven Erikson Answers Your Midnight Tides Questions

Tor.com has gathered and posted the Midnight Tides Q&A that Steven Erikson took part in last week, and there are lots of interesting nuggets for Malazan fans:
Believe it or not, friendships are difficult to write in fiction. They can easily come across as forced, particularly if they involve too much explication and too many overt gestures of affection. People are both complicated and subtle, and often that subtlety is expressed in subconscious ways: as an exercise, pick out groups of people at a table in a restaurant or café or pub (although in pubs, booze can confound things), and try to work out relationships, and then degrees of closeness and familiarity between people. When two people are paying close attention to each other, check out the others in the group and see who’s observing. Human dynamics are amazing, but so much that you might learn is subconscious interplay. In fiction, one needs to somehow convey all of that with only a few words, for it to work, and one quick way in, is establishing a private language between two characters. Do that and you convey long familiarity, privately shared experiences, and a whole host of other details.
The full list of questions and answers is here.

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ask Steve Erikson: Midnight Tides


Now that Amanda and Bill are wrapping up their re-read of Midnight Tides, Tor is running another feature where you get to ask Steven Erikson questions:
The procedure this time around is pretty direct. Steven will do his best to answer your questions in the below thread as soon as possible. Keep in mind that the timing of the answers is subject to Steven’s schedule, of course. 
There are no strict guidelines for questions, but concise and well-composed questions are always always always best! And once again, a big thank you goes to Steven for taking time out of his schedule to engage in depth with fans of the Malazan series!
Head over to Tor and post your questions in the comments.

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Scott Lynch on Locke Lamora

Over on his Livejournal, Scott lynch has been writing about the conception and early development of his novel The Lie of Locke Lamora:
The next year or so was spent churning out a lot of those worthless two-page novel fragments I mentioned; I knew at last where to set the story and what it should actually be about, but how the hell to get in past two pages was a tedious mystery. A couple of these fragments survive and they are among the most florid, deplorable, and over-wrought things I ever shat/typed (shyped?). You or your great-grandchildren can read them in my papers when I have kicked the oxygen habit. Eventually, however, I wrote one that was marginally less bullshit than its predecessors-- a languid, directionless opening in which Locke and Jean drift on a raft past the palace of a noblewoman they plan to rob. The description of this palace came straight out of a dream I had; I visualized a complex glass structure like an unfolding rose blossoming over the landscape. When I started trying to describe that place I realized that I couldn't stop. The mysterious glass was the key to Camorr. My exhortation to not create another stodgy medieval dirt town had at last come home to roost! All it took was a few years and dozens of false, unreadable starts for it to finally sink in. 
Fascinating stuff for fans of the series or for anyone interested in a writers process.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Terry Pratchett: A Reading Guide


Here's an admission: I've only read 1.5 Terry Pratchett novels  - The Thief of Time and Dark Omen's (which I only read because of Neil Gaiman's name on the cover) - I've always had a vague sense that Pratchett's books were twee and provincial, just a tiny bit precious, and marbled with a particular brand of English humour where one makes a joke but winks at the reader to let them in on it, making them feel all smart and pleased with themselves at the same time.

Then I learned that Karen Miller, an author whose work I like muchly, considers Mr. Pratchett a great author of female characters, so now I have to find an entry point into his huge body of work. Do I start with the Rincewind novels?  Or the Witches novels?

Well, the folks over at The Onion A.V. Club have got that sorted for me and produced a handy guide to reading Terry Pratchett.  Now I just need to find a place to refill my time tank so I can squeeze all these books into my reading schedule.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

March Releases in Fantasy


Tor has posted a preview of their Fantasy releases for March:
Fantasy fans can look forward to 13 new titles in March, including the start of a new series from Elizabeth Bear, and new entries in ongoing series by Anne Bishop, Naomi Novik, Raymond E. Feist, Hilari Bell, Galen Beckett, Helen Lowe, and Jon Sprunk. Fans of Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles will bliss out on the colorful Kane Chronicles Survival Guide…sure, you can pretend it’s your kids doing the activities. We’ll believe you.
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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Game of Thrones: Invitation to the Set



Can't wait :)

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Monday, February 20, 2012

2012 Nebula Awards

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America have announced the Nebula nominees, and there are some familiar names up for Best Novel:
  • Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
  • Embassytown, China Miéville (Macmillan (UK); Del Rey; Subterranean Press)
  • Firebird, Jack McDevitt (Ace Books)
  • God’s War, Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)
  • Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, Genevieve Valentine (Prime Books)
  • The Kingdom of Gods, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

The winner will be announced in May.  Sincere congrats to all the nominees.

The full list is here.

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Joe Abercrombie: Fantasy Western

I admit I was skeptical when Mr. Joe Abercrombie revealed he was writing a fantasy western (in the same manner that The Heroes is a fantasy war novel) but here he's posted a synopsis and the presence of one particular rogue gives me optimism:
“Shy South comes home to her farm to find a blackened shell, her brother and sister stolen, and knows she’ll have to go back to bad old ways if she’s ever to see them again.  She sets off in pursuit with only her cowardly old step-father Lamb for company.  But it turns out he’s hiding a bloody past of his own.  None bloodier.  Their journey will take them across the lawless plains, to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feuds, duels, and massacres, high into unmapped mountains to a reckoning with ancient enemies, and force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, a man no one should ever have to trust…”
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Monday, January 23, 2012

The Price of Time: N.K. Jemisin

N. K. Jemisin (author of The Inheritance Trilogy) writes here about managing her time and how having a dishwasher buys her the space to write:
I’ve mentioned this before, but I have two full-time jobs. This is partly by choice, because I actually enjoy my non-writing career, and partly out of necessity, since I don’t make quite enough money at either my non-writing career or via writing to let one or the other go. (It’s not just money. Being a full-time writer means paying $400/month for health insurance, versus $40/month via my day job. But you get the idea.) People ask me all the time how I do it, and I’m always a little perplexed by the question. I don’t have children, for one thing; any writer who does that and a day job deserves your awe, not me. I actually have a day job; I spent awhile without one a couple of years back, and that was no fun at all. Still, not gonna lie; it’s tough sometimes, juggling two demanding careers.
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Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scott Lynch on SOPA/PIPA

Mr Scott Lynch has written down some words regarding his thoughts on the SOPA/PIPA legislation:
These bills are an existential threat to what I'm doing at this very moment, writing this little piece and preparing to post it, along with some links, all the while NOT having to fear that my entire online presence will be blotted out in response, by someone acting on misinformation or in sheer bad faith, using extrajudicial powers that short-circuit all due process. 

These bills would strangle innovation, freeze free and open political communication, and destroy every common online space currently used to exchange communication ranging from casual chat to critical, life-saving information. They would crush the internet as we know it and savage the globally uplifting online economy. 

My books are published by a subsidiary of the forces currently pushing PIPA/SOPA. Any filmed adaptation of my books would be made by a subsidiary of these forces. They are my present and (hopefully) future employers, and they are cutting their own throats by supporting this nonsense. They are attacking me; they are attempting to curtail my freedom of expression, my ability to offer my work in a public medium, and your ability to get your hands on it. Hell, your ability to even discuss it. 
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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Scott Lynch Update


Over on the Gollancz blog there's an update on Scott Lynch's much-anticipated, much-delayed Republic of Thieves:
Well, the months have rolled around faster than anyone could quite credit and we find ourselves in 2012 and still without that final confirmed delivery of the completed draft of Scott Lynch’s The Republic of Thieves. Sadly those who expressed their doubts have been proved right and we’re now forced to move the likely date for Scott’s publication into the Autumn of this year. 
Scott is still facing up to his issues and we’re still having to face up to the wait for his book. I know which I’d rather be dealing with. 
So, we send our apologies to you and our very best wishes to Scott. Thank you, on his behalf, for bearing with us. And in the meantime, of course, (and to take some of the pressure of Scott) there are plenty of other wonderful books to be reading until The Republic of Thieves does make its appearance.
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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pat Rothfuss on Resolutions

Beardy Patrick Rothfuss has written down his thoughts on New Years Resolutions and a bunch of other stuff, then beamed the words into the world:
When I look at things with the clarity of hindsight, it’s blindingly obvious what the end result of all this is: I’m suffering from a rather specialized sort of social isolation. The sort of isolation where I can go online at any point and interact with 10,000 people.
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Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Winds of Winter - Sample Chapter

George Martin has posted a sample chapter from The Winds of Winter, Book 6 of A Song of Ice and Fire, which can be found here.  Normally, I'd post a chunk on this page but since the sample contains spoilers for Book 5 I don't want your eyes to get inadvertently infected.  Instead, here's a picture of Jon Snow.  Happy 2012!

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