Woohoo! Look at what arrived in the mail yesterday! Yes, it’s a super special advance copy of the third and final book in Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy. As regular readers of this blog know, I count the first two books in the series – The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged – among my Top Twenty-Five Books I Would Take With Me Were I To Be Exiled To An Otherwise Pleasantly Livable Planet By A Loathsome and Senselessly Vindictive Organization Like, Say, The Folks At Blogger. And just how did I get my hands on an advanced copy? Well, to make a long story unnecessarily longer –
I’m an acquaintance of Baron Destructo (who is acting president of L.A.M.E., the League of Aliens and Mutants for Evil, an organization hellbent on world conquest and the subjugation of the entire human race) from way back when we used to run in the same Dungeons and Dragons circles (Delfoss Draco, 14th level goblin thief, mediocre numbers across the board with the stand-out exception of a charisma of 18, pleased to meetcha). Anyhoo, several years ago, I ran into the Baron at a baby shower for a mutual friend and he invited me back to the moonbase where the league was planning to celebrate their recent invasion of Madagascar (You didn’t hear about it because it was never made public. I refer to both the invasion and the after-party). So I went to the party where I met the rest of the league and made the acquaintance of Sinderella Washington and her boyfriend at the time, the Tumbler. Her abilities were essentially hypnosis-based – powers of suggestion and the like – in addition to superhuman agility, a spectacular proficiency with blades, and a leather outfit guaranteed to stop casual bystanders in their tracks. He tumbled. Backwards, forwards, sideways – executing a roll or two before bounding back up onto his feet, none the worse for wear. Impressive at parties but as far as inspiring fear in potential victims or Captain Spectacular and his Confederacy of Justice – not so much. When Sinderella excused herself to go beat senseless the waiter who had served her a gin and tonic as opposed to the gin and 7 she’d ordered, the Tumbler confided that he wasn’t cut out for this whole supervillain thing and had only joined the League in a misguided attempt to save his eroding relationship. It seems they were growing apart – he, then a struggling film editor with aspirations to someday write one of the most enjoyably atypical fantasy trilogies of all time, she, a merciless villainess with a penchant for wholesale slaughter. They were destined to be two ships passing all-too-dangerously close in the night, but he sought to forestall the seemingly inevitable by transforming himself into one of the greatest villains in the history of villaindom (or at least for as long as they were keeping official records)! Instead, he settled for The Tumbler. Shockingly, his powers didn’t derive from any mutant gene or alien physiology or even a state-of-the-art wardrobe. He was just good at tumbling. In any case, we had a long heart to heart (it took Sinderella a while to track down the waiter who’d been hiding in the walk-in shoe closet), and it became clear to me that here was a man with courage and heart, a man who was willing to do anything for love. And I decided right there and then that I was going to help him.
We returned to Earth and immediately got to work, fashioning a whole new super villain persona for him – one that he could be proud of, one that would command the respect of not only the love of his life, but the entire League of Aliens and Mutants for Evils. We researched and worked, days turned into weeks, weeks into months, months into other months (I think we celebrated Valentine’s Day twice that year) but, eventually, our work was completed. He’d been thoroughly re-imagined, from the lowly Tumbler to the charismatically nefarious Matriculator (because he was eager to learn!) with his ultra-light, space age cyber-suit designed to give him the strength of a hundred men, the speed of a jet, and the ability to withstand molten heat, sub-zero cold, and sudden drafts.
To this day, I’ll always remember the look on his face when he clapped his hands down on my shoulder, smiled at me and said: “I’ll never be able to repay you. But some day. Some day…” And then he turned and bounded off to pursue his dream, and his one true love.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. I’d forgotten to recharge the batteries in his suit and he ended up getting pretty beat up at the hands of Captain Spectacular, then spent about a year and a half in traction before being transferred to a state penitentiary in Louisiana. A sad, sad tale.
I’m sorry. What was the point of the story? Oh, yeah. Joe Abercrombie. He was the waiter who mixed up that drink order.
Speaking of Joe, he’s got his own website (Ooooooh, aren’t we special?) and blog. You can check him out here –
Since my mother rolls into town tomorrow night, I figured I’d better get an early jump on January’s Book of the Month Club selections. To all those interested, even marginally so, start reading. You needn’t read all three to participate. Or two. Heck, just pick your favorite genre (Sci-Fi = The Time Traveler’s Wife, Fantasy = The Princess Bride, or Horror = Ghost Story) and read one. Discussion begins that first full week of January. Also, a reminder that in the second week, we’ll be discussing Sean Williams’ The Crooked Letter: Books of the Cataclysm One. Those taking part and weighing in with comments could win a copy of the second book in the series (Blood Debt: Books of the Cataclysm Two) compliments of Pyr.
So, what do y’all think of the new digs? For the most part, I like WordPress and suspect I’ll grow to like it even more as I grow more comfortable with the new location and better acquaint myself with all of the nifty doodads. One drawback I’ve found is the picture quality – specifically the clickable thumbnails. Compare these to the clickable pics I imported from blogger.
Also, re: comments. I had the option of automatically approving comments by previously-approved posters and elected not to exercise this option simply because I want to ensure I read each and every one. I also had the option to allow anonymous postings and, after some deliberation, have decided to only permit comments from individuals with working email addresses. This will hopefully weed out some of the curse-cut-and-run posters and will also allow me to amass a terrific potential customer base should I ever get my mail-order seed catalog business off the ground.
No mailbag today as I’m in the process of preparing the house for mom’s arrival. P.S. Thanks for all of the great suggestions on what I should do while she’s here. They are so great, in fact that I’m considering holding another contest: The Win A Day With Joe’s Mom Extravaganza. Details to follow.