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


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


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