Friday, 30 October 2009

US deal for Jasper Kent

Twelve by Jasper Kent remains one of my favourite reads of the year - a historical fantasy involving vampires that would eat their fluffy namesakes in Twilight for breakfast. The book has been a real success in the UK - according to agent John Jarrold it's the "second-highest-selling trade paperback debut novel right across UK publishing in 2009."

It's now been announced that Kent has signed a two-book deal with Pyr in the US, for the release of Twelve and its sequel Thirteen Years Later.

From John Jarrold's blog:

‘I'm thrilled to be welcoming Jasper Kent into the Pyr fold,’ says editorial director Lou Anders. ‘TWELVE is a magnificent blend of a historical novel and a dark fantasy novel, that could appeal equally to readers both in and out of genre. Jasper is a skilled storyteller, whose compelling prose had me hooked from his opening chapter. The book is "un-put-downable," and I love that he has brought back a real sense of threat and danger to the classic monsters, something that has been lacking with too many vampires lately. I cannot wait to spring this on US readers.’‘

Jasper and I are delighted with this deal, and looking forward to working with Lou and his colleagues,’ said John Jarrold. ‘Pyr is a terrific company, who publish many of my favourite authors, and Lou’s enthusiasm has to be seen to be believed!’

Congratulations to Jasper - I'll be interested to see if the success the book has enjoyed in the UK will be replicated across the Atlantic.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Enough with the hooded figures...

Another day, another 'hooded figure' fantasy book cover...

Is anyone else getting thoroughly sick of these sort of covers? I understand why they're used (for some reason, these covers sell books) but come on, if you have to put some sort of figure on the front of the book, then at least make the cover look decent.

The above cover represents everything that's wrong with this particular trend - it's unoriginal, bland, and poorly executed. It looks for all the world like someone pulled it out of their arse during lunchbreak. As I've said many times before, it's no wonder people think the genre is a load of crap when we have terrible covers like this on the covers of our books.

Thanks to Aidan for the heads-up on this one.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Book review: Triumff - Her Majesty's Hero

Triumff - Her Majesty's Hero

By Dan Abnett

(Angry Robot, 1 October 2009)

Dan Abnett is a name that is perhaps not familiar to many genre fans, so it may come as a surprise to hear that his Black Library novels set in Games Workshop's Warhmmer 40k universe have sold millions of copies. Media tie-in novels often receive a bad press, but this is often unjust - by all accounts, Abnett's 40k books are some of the best military SF out there. I've been meaning to check his work out for a while, and Triumff conveniently gave me the perfect opportunity - a brand new novel set in an original setting

"Sir Rupert Triumff. Adventurer. Fighter. Drinker. Saviour? Pratchett goes swashbuckling in the hotly anticipated original fiction debut of the multi-million selling Warhammer star. Triumff is a ribald historical fantasy set in a warped clockwork-powered version of our present day! A new Elizabethan age, not of Elizabeth II but in the style of the original Virgin Queen. Throughout its rollicking pages, Sir Rupert Triumff drinks, dines and duels his way into a new Brass Age of Exploration and Adventure."

It did occur to me that perhaps Triumff wouldn't be the best place to begin my Dan Abnett experience, since the book represents something of a stylistic and creative departure for the author. However my fears were swiftly dispelled - despite spending much of his time writing about a grim, war-torn future, Abnett makes an effortless and laudable transition to spinning a ripping yarn about a future England where the Elizabethan age never ended, and magic sits uncomfortably alongside technology. Abnett deserves credit for this; if I didn't know better, I would have thought he'd been writing this sort of material for his whole career - it's that convincing. 

The prose is arguably the novel's strongest point: fluid and atmospheric, and underpinned by a classic, dry British humour that really makes the novel. There are some truly excellent puns, which I won't repeat here. That said, I must admit I didn't find the novel as funny as I hoped - much of the humour brought a smile to my face, but mostly didn't make me laugh (the bath-house scene was a notable exception - if only there were more scenes that made use of that style of humour). At times it did feel like the humour was a little excessive - less is often more. 

I did particularly like the nods to contemporary Elizabethan formatting and styles, with the amusing footnotes and chapters with titles such as The Twenty-Fourth Chapter: Never mind the bal-rogs. The way that the story's narrator, one William Beaver Esquire, occasionally tries to ingratiate himself into the novel's important events also provides some entertaining moments. 

For a reasonably short novel (331 pages) Abnett manages to throw a surprising number of characters into the mix, the most prominent of course being the gentleman of the title - Sir Rupert Triumff, who comes across as something of a cross between Edmund Blackadder and Errol Flynn (although about 20% in favour of the former, and 80% of the latter). I did find myself wishing that Triumff possessed a sharper, wittier personality. This perceived deficiency unfortunately inflicted the supporting cast as well. Disappointingly, I didn't find any of the characters to be particularly memorable or entertaining, and I did struggle to really care about any of them. While Triumff is of course intended as a tongue-in-cheek humorous romp, this doesn't mean characterisation is any less important - and for me it wasn't quite there. One or two characters - Lord Salisbury, for example - came across as pale reflections of what they could have been. 

The plot is surprisingly expansive for a book of both this type and length, and for the most part is constructed well. However, Triumff now and again disappears into the background and becomes something of a spectator in his own story, which is a little odd. The pacing is generally good, although at times is hindered as Abnett goes off in search of another pun that takes too long to materialise. This is a minor complaint though, and it must be said the story builds to a satisfying climax, with a nice twist thrown in for good measure. 

Verdict: Something of a mixed bag, in truth - arguably the execution doesn't quite match the vision. The alternative England that Abnett has created is wonderfully drawn and the atmosphere created by the style of the prose is excellent, with some very amusing puns and scenes thrown into the mix. The characterisation though - while serviceable - didn't quite hit the spot for me, the plotting could be construed as a little uneven at times, and the humour (or the attempt at it) sometimes overpowered the narrative. Still, despite its flaws, Triumff is an entertaining read and a solid demonstration of Abnett's talent for diversification and style.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Blurb for Miéville's new novel 'Kraken'

Fans of China Miéville have been wondering for some time when the author would return to his fascinating world of Bas-Lag - the last novel set in that world was 2004's Iron Council (which seems to be generally regarded as something of a disappointment). Miéville then decided to move away from the setting, citing in an interview that he didn't want to become 'the guy that wrote Bas-Lag novels.'

Nothing wrong with wanting to try something a little different, but it was a rather curious move to risk potentially alienating some of the fans he'd gained through the Bas-Lag books. The move arguably caused a degree of pressure, since his two subsequent novels - Un Lun Dun and The City and the City - received mixed reviews.

However, it finally looks like us Miéville fan-boys are getting what we want - a return to the world of Bas-Lag with his new novel Kraken. While it's not yet definitely been confirmed as a Bas-Lag novel, the blurb - to me - seems reminiscent of Bas-Lag:

"The Natural History Museum's prize exhibit - a giant squid - suddenly disappears. This audacious theft leads Clem, the research scientist who has recently finished preserving the exhibit, into a dark urban underworld of warring cults and surreal magic. It seems that for some, the squid represents a god and should be worshiped as such. Clem gradually comes to realise that someone may be attempting to use the squid to trigger an apocalypse. And so it is now up to him and a renegade squid-worshiper named Dean to find a way of stopping the destruction of the world as they know it whilst themselves surviving the all out-gang warfare that they have unwittingly been drawn into..."

Three words - bring it on. This blurb has got me rather excited; it's vintage Miéville. No cover art yet, but no doubt it'll materialise soon. Release date has been slated as 7 May 2010. Can't wait for this one, The Scar is one of the best fantasy novels I've ever read, so my expectations are pretty high (especially since I was rather disappointed by The City and the City).

Must try and read Perdido Street Station and Iron Council before Kraken is released...

Edit: I've emailed Pan Mac for confirmation on whether Kraken is a Bas-Lag novel, will let you know if I find out anything...


Harry over at Temple Library Reviews runs an excellent feature called 'Reviewer Time' in which he aims to get to know the bloggers behind the various genre blogs a little better. I've been a regular reader of this series of interviews, except this time around I found myself on the receiving end of Harry's questions!

In the Q&A I talk about my blogging experiences and the genre scene in general. I also explain why I cannot touch spirits without dire consequences (I mean with regards to drinks, not actual spirits!).

Anyway, it was a lot of fun and I'd like to thank Harry for letting me be a part of his excellent feature! Do check out the earlier interviews with my fellow bloggers too, there's some really enjoyable material there!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Guy Gavriel Kay slaps down anti-SF Booker judge

Interesting article by Canadian fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay over at The Globe and Mail, in which he comments on some of the recent squabbles about genre books not been recognised for prestigious literary awards, and so forth.

Pleasingly, he picks up on Kim Stanley Robinson's rant about the Booker prize, ridiculing John Mullan in the process (remember -the clown that said SF was "bought by a special kind of person who has special weird things they go to and meet each other.")

Mullan's response to Robinson's criticisms is, according to Kay, "Hall of Fame-quality idiocy." He goes on to say, "I do admit to wondering what size shoe Professor Mullan wears, and how it fits between his teeth, and whether he teaches grammar."

Kay is surprisingly optimistic when it comes to contemplating the future of the genre with regards to prestigious literary awards:

"I'm optimistic. I've had, for some time, a sense that demographics will (as so often) have their way with us, this time leading in a good direction. Speculative fiction (SF and fantasy) is simply embedded in the culture and world view of too many younger writers (from Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon to Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz). I have an sense that this is already eroding many of the barriers thrown up by prejudice and assumptions in the literary world.

We'll find ourselves working away from category and genre debates and toward the question worth asking about any novel: Is it any good?

Here's a prediction: One day soon enough, someone may wear double-pleat pants and a bow tie to accept the Man Booker Prize for a science fiction or a fantasy novel. It will start an uproar – among the fashionistas."

I'll be among the first to raise a toast to such an uproar, if it ever happens. Interestingly, Kay remarks on the same point that Mark Charan Newton made a while back - that the genre really needs to move away from debates and bitchfights about categories and the attitude of the mainstream, and focus more on the important questions - like whether a book is actually any good or not.

Anyway, pat on the back for Kay as I think he's spot on. Must check out some of his books soon...

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Book review: The Island

The Island

By Tim Lebbon

(Allison and Busby, 2009)

"Kel Boon thinks he has managed to escape his past as an agent in the secret organization the Core, protecting the blissfully unaware Noreelans from the threat of the lizard-like Strangers - creatures from beyond the known world capable of untold destruction. In the sleepy fishing village of Pavmouth Breaks, Kel has become the woodcarver, leaving fighting behind and forming a tentative relationship with trainee witch Namior. But a storm is brewing and at its center the witches sense something dark, and deadly. What follows in the wake of the storm threatens the Noreelans' very way of life, forcing them to face the fact that life exists beyond the shores of Noreela, and not all of it is friendly. With the people and land he loves in terrible danger, Kel quickly realizes that he cannot escape his past, or his destiny."

With The Island, Tim Lebbon has established himself in my mind as a good writer that isn't afraid to try something a little different. His previous effort, Fallen, was an enjoyable adventure romp with some excellent characterisation and a healthy dose of mystery. More than that, it was a good example of how Lebbon approaches familiar storylines from different angles, and conjures up something a little bit different. Fortunately the same is true of The Island - a very different book to Fallen, yet imbued with the same solid characterisation, flowing prose and general freshness.

Kel Boon and Namior Feeron are well-developed protagonists; Lebbon flits with ease from one perspective to the other, building a believable relationship dynamic between the two. Kel's background is skilfully revealed through a series of flashbacks that never halt the momentum of the story, and his character arc peaks nicely as he struggles between his dual loyalties. Namior at first seems little more than an emotional foil for Kel, yet she turns out to have a few secrets of her own. Lebbon works these revelations into the story very well, without them seeming contrived or unrealistic.

Despite the limited geographic scope of the novel (90% of the story takes place in the fishing village of Pavmouth Breaks and its immediate environs) Lebbon manages to make the setting both intriguing and dynamic enough for the story's requirements. Noreela is proving to be an interesting place, and as in Fallen Lebbon reveals little touches here and there that make the world all the more detailed (my favourite was the fish that can be played like a pipe!).

The only real criticism I would level at The Island is that I feel - like Fallen - the ending is a little underwhelming; there's an aspect to the resolution of the plot that just felt a little cheap to me (not to mention rather unlikely). But this flaw aside, Lebbon deserves credit for constructing a well-constructed plot that unfolds at an even pace, with a really fresh feel to it (I personally can't recall reading anything particularly similar) that mixes suspense with emotional gravitas and some good old-fashioned brawling. It's always nice to read a novel where I don't have the faintest idea how it's all going to end.

Lebbon's prose is another strong point - perhaps not as lyrical here as it was at times in Fallen, but as always it's crisp and fluid, striking a perfect balance between exposition, description and action.

Verdict: An enjoyable addition to the 'Noreela' series, featuring a world that becomes more intriguing with each novel. The Island is a fast, entertaining read that makes a good argument for why you should be reading Tim Lebbon's work.

George R. R. Martin confirms London appearance

George R. R. Martin has confirmed that in addition to his Belfast book-signing dates, he will also be appearing at London's Forbidden Planet store on 11 November 2009, at 5.30 pm.

Meeting GRRM is a must for any fan of his work, but I definitely recommend any genre fan to go along regardless of whether they are familiar with his books, since it's not often you get to meet such a legend of the genre.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Cornwall photos

Nipped down to Boscastle in Cornwall for the weekend to attend a family gathering. Great to be back after 12 years, and it was good to see the town has recovered well from the horrendous flooding a few years back. Although it was sadly a very short visit, I managed to have a walk around the towering cliffs in the wonderful October sunshine. Figured I'd share some of the photos with you all.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Fantasy Top Trumps!

Back in my primary school days (long time ago now!) most of my male classmates spent lunchtime either chasing after girls, kicking a football, or seeing how high they could piss up the wall in the toilet (I seem to recall one young man managed to hit the ceiling on one occasion, but his triumph was ruled out on the basis that he had a 'stiffy' at the time). Ahem.

Anyway, I spent my lunchtimes with my geek friends, playing with our Fantasy Top Trumps. Ah, the fun we had. My interest in the cards bordered on obsession - I could recount the ability scores of every single card from memory. Naturally, as we got older the cards were ditched in favour of more mature pursuits, like playing 'spin the bottle.'

Twenty-odd years on, with my original set of Fantasy Top Trumps long scattered to the four winds, I resigned myself to paying through my nose for a pack on ebay. Expensive, but worth it to recapture a bit of my lost youth...and something else besides (more on that in a minute). Anyway, I thought I'd share my favourite cards with you all. So, without further preamble...

Bet you've never seen a green vampire, eh? You have now. Always loved the representation of the Vampire here, how they've made him humanoid but with distinct bat-like features. His scores are respectable, but he's let down by his rather average Magic Power.

Love this dude - he looks utterly badass. The eyes glowing from the recesses of his hood, the scythe...awesome. Very decent scores as well, though the Wraith's Skill is his weakest point.

Joe Abercrombie's blog is called 'Hangin' like a Wizard's Sleeve' - perhaps he had this card in mind. The Necromancer has the most awesome wizard sleeves around. His purple robe is the business, too. Although why he's holding a giant twiglet remains to be explained. Very decent scores for this chap, though his weaker Fear Factor lets him down.

Ah, the Necromancer's arch spell-casting rival, the Wizard. He's gone for the 'glowing-eyes-in-dark-cowl' look as well. Doesn't perhaps look as intimidating as the Necromancer, but at least he's got a proper wizard staff (even if it has a tangerine impaled on the end, no doubt in case he gets peckish mid-fight). Don't mess with this chap, otherwise he'll suffocate you with the Blue Mist of Doom emanating from his hand. Interestingly, the Wizard's Magic Power is less than the Necromancer's (99 to the latter's 100) but he makes up for this with a higher Skill score (97 to 95) and higher Fear Factor (77 to 70). The strength score for both (80) is a bit of a joke, since the Dwarf card only has 70 for this attribute. Don't know about you, but I doubt a wizard white-beard could win an arm-wrestle with a dwarf. Still, stranger things have happened...

Check out that ginger 'fro! No wonder the Zombie wields an impressive Fear Factor of 90. Just a shame that his other scores all suck. Where the 70 for Magic Power came from, I don't know - can't say I've ever seen a zombie display any magical ability before...

Not sure what happened to the Water Troll's lower body; looks like the artist got bored and just drew a squiggle instead. Still, he still looks pretty awesome - love the seaweed mohican he's got there. The Water Troll is a pretty average card in terms of scores, but he was always one of my favourites.

Ah, the King. Now, listen up because this is where it gets interesting (and geeky). In normal packs, the King was the daddy - he scored 100 in every category. Subsequently, he was the source of many smug looks after the cards had been dealt, along with many a sore loser complaining 'You only won because you had the King, I'm not inviting you to my party now", and so on. But in this pack, the king doesn't have 100 in every category. Why? Well...

...because this chap does. Behold, my friends, the Demon card. This fella is rare. He only appears in the odd pack as a bonus card, and I didn't even know about his existence until I ventured onto ebay to hunt down a pack of these cards. I must admit I gave a squeal that could have been mistaken for a pig in distress. This is why the pack I won on ebay was so friggin' expensive - this card quadruples the normal asking price. But it was worth the extra expense. Look at him - can you feel the power emanating from him? CAN YOU? 'Intimidating' doesn't begin to cover it.

Anyway, those are my favourite cards from the legendary Fantasy Top Trumps set (I tell you now, they don't make Top Trumps like these anymore - it's all sports cars and Harry Potter, and so on).

Anyone out there ever play this game, and if so what were your favourite cards? I've also picked up a pack of 'Goblins and Faeriefolk' Top Trumps, which I may feature here at some point...

Monday, 12 October 2009

Book review: The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind

By Patrick Rothfuss

(Gollancz, 27 September 2007)

There have been plenty of debut novel success stories in the fantasy genre in recent years. Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie and Peter Brett all made big impressions with their debut releases, yet Patrick Rothfuss blazed an even brighter trail with his first novel, The Name of the Wind. Accompanied by considerable online fanfare (perhaps even surpassing the buzz that surrounded Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora), it apparently shifted more than 40,000 copies in hardback alone - a staggering figure, made all the more incredible given Rothfuss's status as a debut author. In the space of two years, and with just one novel under his belt, Rothfuss has already firmly established himself as one of the stars of the genre.

A few years ago I would have probably approached The Name of the Wind with an anticipation bordering on rabid, but after nearly two years of blogging about books I've realised that such anticipation often proves problematic (in other words, the book rarely lives up to the hype and you end up not just feeling disappointed, but in effect reviewing the hype rather than the book). Furthermore, I've learned - from often painful experience - that the buzz generated by some books is often completely unrelated to the book's actual quality - marketing budgets, release dates, positioning in book stores and various other factors can seriously influence a book's sales. Rumours from the nether regions of the interwebs suggest that DAW pumped a lot of money into promoting The Name of the Wind, while Rothfuss's editor declared it was "the most brilliant first fantasy novel I have read in over 30 years as an editor". I therefore approached The Name of the Wind with caution, determined to review the book on its own terms, and to ignore the eye-wincingly loud fanfare that accompanied it.

Even so, I did find it difficult to keep my anticipation in check, and was not helped by one of the best blurbs I've ever seen on the back of a book:

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.

As far as I'm concerned, that is how to write a blurb.

It's somewhat frustrating then that none of the above-mentioned incidents actually occur in the The Name of the Wind. Instead, the novel begins the life story of Kvothe, focusing on his childhood amongst a wandering troupe of troubadours, followed by his tough existence as a street urchin on the streets of Tarbean, before finally moving on to his experiences at the University of the Commonwealth.

If that very brief overview makes the novel sound rather conservative, it's because it is. I have to take issue with the various reviewers who praised the novel for being original - it's not. The story - at this stage at least - appears to be a classic wish-fulfilment gig - young boy grows up to wield impressive powers, overcoming various obstacles on the way. The conservative nature of the novel is also reflected in Rothfuss's world - a disappointingly bland, medieval-esque creation.

For many readers, this isn't an issue (the majority of fantasy fans are conservative by nature, which is why so much awful cliched fantasy sells so well). Those of you who have followed this blog for a significant length of time will probably have realised by now that - while I prize strong characters and a good story over everything else - I do like to see authors being inventive and innovative where possible. The Name of the Wind, for me, suffers in this respect simply because it brings nothing new to the table; instead it recycles a load of ideas that have been used numerous times by other authors. As Scott Lynch once wrote, "The truth is that there are no bad clichés--only badly considered and badly applied ones." In other words, if you're going to use a cliché then at least do something a bit different with it. Rothfuss does this at times, but generally not enough to satisfy my personal taste.

I rather suspect that the blandness of the world is partly due to the severe lack of information we're given about it. The events of the novel take place in a single country - The Commonwealth - but few details are revealed. I managed to deduce that it had a feudal-style political system and an established monetary system, but beyond that it was a mystery. A bit more info to lend some depth would have been very welcome.

When an author is using such familiar tropes and settings, they really have to nail the characterisation (because otherwise you're writing about a Mary-Sue in a bland, cliched world - and who wants to read that?). Fortunately Rothfuss just about pulls this off. Kvothe is a strong protagonist - intriguing, likeable and pleasingly flawed. It will be interesting to see how his character changes over the course of the series, since this is clearly the focus of the books. The supporting cast are mostly well-rendered as well, such as the fleeting, mysterious Denna, the good-humoured Abenthy and the stern, placid Lorren. However, some characters could have done with a little more depth - Ambrose, for example, is a stereotypical boorish young noble, who is disappointingly one-dimensional.

Rothfuss's prose - though stylistically nothing special - is accomplished and flows well, with the odd lyrical flourish here and there, along with the odd well-judged moment of humour. I wasn't particularly enamoured with the rather large segments of exposition, masquerading as songs and stories being sung/told by other characters - they interrupted the flow of the story, and perhaps could have been handled with more subtlety. The book's plot is constructed well, and I liked the various interludes that allow a pause in the story, giving the reader the chance to compare the adult Kvothe to his younger self. That said, I found the first half of the book rather slow at times, while throughout the novel there are various scenes that could have perhaps been removed since they didn't seem to serve much purpose.

So far I guess I've painted a rather negative picture of The Name of the Wind, so it might come as a bit of a surprise to you that despite the flaws mentioned above, somehow the book managed to hook me. I think the real key is Kvothe himself; there's just something so earnest and likeable about him, and as I followed him through his various hardships, I found myself really rooting for him and interested to see how everything panned out. At times it does seem as though he has an answer for everything (perhaps too much for such a young man, even such a gifted one) but the problems he faces and consequences he suffers just about remedy this.

Verdict: The Name of the Wind is a solid debut, rather than a spectacular one (I can easily think of several debuts I enjoyed more). There are some flaws, namely the uneven pacing, the lack of depth to some characters and the disappointingly bland world. Yet the book is saved by its protagonist, for Kvothe is a very well-realised character with plenty of depth, who is endlessly intriguing. His lifestory is absorbing, and while The Name of the Wind doesn't totally do his story justice, there's enough here to suggest that Rothfuss can deliver something special in future.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Lazy Sunday linky links

Still not done with the Name of the Wind is still pretty hectic at the minute, loads of things demanding my attention, but hopefully be done soon. Not much left to write, it's almost there...

Still, there's plenty of stuff from around the blogosphere that you can check while you wait...

First though, a funny: 


Aidan's got the US covers for Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series. Not bad at all, but I prefer the UK covers (and don't understand why Pyr have bothered to slap new covers on them when surely the UK covers would have been suitable for the US market...).

Graeme's reviewed Fire by Kristin Cashore (a book I've got and am intending to read at some point) and also Triumff by Dan Abnett (another book I'm hoping to read - sounds like a hell of a lot of fun). He's also got a few giveaways on the go, so check 'em out, yo. 

Wert's also reviewed Triumff.

Gav's reviewed Iron Angel by Alan Campbell. 

The old argument about SF not being respected has come around again (that time of year already?) and Larry's got all the details. A rather tired old argument to be honest, but there's some interesting stuff there, especially over at Lou Ander's blog. 

Lastly, something not related to the genre. I love a bit of acoustic guitar music now and again, and this guy has some serious talent. Picked up his EP Rain Before the Storm on itunes and it's excellent. Acoustic guitar wizardry all round! :)

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Kvothe illustration stopgap!

Apologies, my The Name of the Wind review is still in the works - been hugely busy recently, so it's taking longer than expected to finish. Hope to get it up by the weekend...

In the meantime, for those of you who have read Rothfuss's debut novel - how about this illustration of Kvothe? I think it's pretty darned good, myself.

The artist, Kim Kincaid, has a blog that can be found here.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

GRRM isn't the only author with moronic fans...

...Pat Rothfuss certainly has a few of his own as well.

Check out these idiots who have posted 'reviews' of Rothfuss's upcoming book, The Wise Man's Fear, despite the book not even being released yet. Clearly impatient at the book's delay, they've taken to posting their childish rants on


"I read the first in this series not long after it came out, and it was my favourite book of the year, and certainly in my top 10 of all time. But... the publishers need to be sacked, as the changes in release date are stupid. Patrick Rothfuss is a great guy, friendly despite the huge influx of fans he had, and really, buy this book when it comes out so that he can afford to sack his publishers or whatever and get the third out on time and when they say they will! Peas out."

"I thoroughly enjoyed the first book if this series, and have been eagerly awaiting the next installment for far too long. I think the publishers are making a big mistake on holding back and stalling the release date of this book. I fear Patrick Rothfuss will become overlooked as a strong, accomplished fantasy writer due to the bad planning and marketing from his publishers. If any of them read this, please sort it out soon."

"Once again, Amazon appear to have got rather ahead of themselves with this book sohwing as "Usually ships in 6 to 11 days" even though it is not due for publication until April 2010 according to all other sources and Amazon's own information further down the page."

That last individual awarded the book one star, simply because she's pissed at having to wait for it to come out - honestly, it beggars belief how thick some people can be. The first person - actually, judging by the spelling in their post perhaps I should use the term neanderthal) - also gave the book one star on the basis that he's "been waiting so long" for it. What a total muppet.

My favourite though is the second post, which laughably calls for the publishers to be sacked because "changes in the release date are stupid." Right, so what are the publishers meant to do - publish an unfinished manuscript? Yet another example that some people just have no clue how publishing works...

Perhaps if these deluded individuals actually used what little intellect they have and bothered to read Rothfuss's blog, they'd find out exactly why the book has been delayed and could save us all their idiotic prattle in the first place. While admittedly most of them aren't directly attacking Rothfuss, giving his book a negative score before they've even read it is just sheer petulance.

Anyway, I've just finished reading The Name of the Wind, so expect the review to surface some time this week...