Tuesday 29 December 2020

Goodbye to all that.

Goodbye to All That - an excellent book and an apt sentiment for the year.

Even in its dying days the twists keep coming. Everything from the bizarre to the disastrous.

Let me regale you with the two latest examples - bizarre first.

I have been (at least according to a man I have no reason to doubt) nominated for a Nobel Prize. Which is - as I'm sure you've just thought to yourself - total madness. And it's neither of the first two flavours you might think of though I've never been within a million miles of qualifying in either Science or Literature.

I have been nominated for ... wait for it ... the Nobel Peace Prize 😆.

Apparently the policy document on police reform that I made a really really tiny contribution to has snowballed into something large and the whole enterprise (and thereby collectively all the contributors) has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by an individual qualified to make such nominations. It will be one of 100+ nominations and has zero chance of winning, but it's still a wholly bizarre thing to be told in a Facebook chat that you're a Nobel prize nominee!

[Update - the almost comedic bizarreness of the prize nomination continues. I'm told our nomination has made it from the longlist (329) to the shortlist (less than 20)]

The second, deeply unwelcome, example is happening right now. I'm in hospital with my youngest child and will be spending at least the next five days here while she's on IV antibiotics for sepsis. So we'll be seeing in 2021 from this room:

I hope you all have a better night of it and that 2021 treats us all more kindly.

(update) we were in for 9 days but the medicine did its thing and we're back home!

Friday 18 December 2020

A Year In Numbers ... Ten!

Each year for the last ten years I've said: "It has been a very good 20** all told!".

2020 ... hmmm ... yeah, I'm not going to say it this year. My books have done fine, but as you know, the rest of the year has been a shit show.

This post follows up from similar posts at the same time in 20192018201720162015201420132012 and 2011 I record a year of ups and less ups. I take a minute to do the sums and raid the scrapbook.

Since we've hit the decade marker on this I'll be doing a smidgen of looking in the rear view mirror.

The Girl And The Stars came out in 2020 and has been well received. It's heartening that - just like all my other books - more than one person has called it the best book I've written so far.

Folks seem to like it on Amazon.

And here are some Hungarian editions!

April 2021 sees the second instalment:

Pre-order for the win (US or UK)! 

Actually 2020 had two bits of non-covid book-related shitty. Firstly a famous film producer with $100 million films to his credit got really excited about making a Red Sister film and started to write a script for it. Sadly, he fell out with the folks who had purchased the option rights and the effort collapsed. And secondly a games company wanted to make a Broken Empire game/s and made a decent offer for the rights. That all progressed well and contract signing was in sight when internal company stuff led to a sudden change in plans. So film and game went to no film and no game ... yay 2020.

The signed & illustrated special edition omnibus for The Red Queen's War trilogy is now on sale and a significant majority of the 1000 copies are gone. Don't wait too long to get yours or like The Broken Empire omnibus before it it will be sold out.

There are still a few decks of my kickstarted card game at Gallant Knight Games (though the NSFW edition has sold out) and you can pick one up for a mere $4.99! Sadly the international shipping is currently insane so basically it's US only.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics to follow:

I'm very close to a million "books added" on Goodreads. Those are crazy numbers!

Prince of Thorns is very close to 100,000 ratings. It will happen in 2021 and I've said that to celebrate I'll be giving away a copy of the (sold out) Broken Empire omnibus. 

If you click on the 2011 entry you'll see that 5 months after release the book had 728 ratings and an average of 3.98. Additional disapproval or disinterest may have lowered that average to 3.85 but the book got nearly 13,000 extra ratings in 2020, so I'll take those swings with that roundabout. 

Also note that Red Sister now has more ratings than Emperor of Thorns 😮

Amazon have now decided that they're doing "global ratings" for Prince of Thorns ... but strangely the numbers are different on Amazon.co.uk than in Amazon.com

It's worth noting that in 2011 after 5 months on the shelves Prince of Thorns had 43 Amazon ratings in the UK and 53 in the US... I don't know how long the book's popularity will endure - most books are forgotten in a decade, fifty years will obliterate the memory of 99.9999% of them ... but it's been a hell of a run that has totally exceeded all my expectations.

Blogger have jazzed up their stats tool and we can see the sorry tale of decline more starkly. I didn't live up to my do better blogging resolution. I feel that maybe blogs are just less popular now we have so many platforms on social media.

I'm still on InstagramPintrest, and Tumblr

And finally, as ever, our favourite cesspit of witch hunts and fake news: Twitter, where I continue my crawl forward with an extra 2,200 followers this year.

Many thanks to all my readers for keeping me going! I hope you all have happy holidays and that 2021 is much much better for all of us!

Thursday 17 December 2020

On Grimdark

Grimdark is often called hopeless, but in doing so people miss that it isn't apathetic - it is (for me) characterised by defiance in the absence of hope.

Grimdark is often called nihilistic, but this misses the idea that you can accept a nihilistic truth and still choose to die for a principle you know is an emotional construct.

A grimdark "hero" has a tendency to go all in - to burn their bridges even when they don't need the warmth. They are, in their way, an allegory for hope, in so much as having been shown there's no meaning in the world, they still cling to some elements of it. And in those choices they are revealed.

The way it's painted by the disapproving you would think that grimdark fiction was the literature of surrender to the inevitable. When in truth it is the story of the battle against it - sharpened by the knowledge that there's no ultimate victory to be had. 

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Tuesday 8 December 2020

My Best Trilogy?

 Over two thousand readers responded to this poll I ran on Twitter!

Which means there were 76 people who thought that the Impossible Times trilogy was my best work! Hooray! I really like it too.

Obviously the results need to be taken with a large pinch of salt - they correlate strongly with the number of readers each trilogy has had to date - and with all three books of the Impossible Times trilogy released last year there's not been much time for it to acquire readers.

Each of these trilogies qualifies as my favourite under different but valid criteria. The Red Queen's War was, for example, by far the most fun to write, and I love hearing how people enjoyed Jalan's antics. The Broken Empire is the closest I got to LITERATURE. The Book of the Ancestor is the best at presenting an ensemble cast. And Impossible Times is my most real work, drawing most heavily on my own experiences. And these things qualify each of them as my favourite.

You should definitely read them all and make up your own mind. Then read The Book of the Ice trilogy and tell me it's my best yet 😀

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