Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Friends in Interesting Places

In the rush of crazy that was the build up to Crown Thief coming out, I managed to write an entire blog post and somehow forget to post it.  It went something like this:

It's always nice when one of your mates who also happens to be a famous and well-respected author happens to say something nice (or even just something interesting) about your book in public places.  And recently, to my slight astonishment, it's happened not once but twice.

First up was Adrian Tchaikovsky towards the back end of August, in his post Love the Bright Sword on the Tor blog. Adrian always has something good to say about the Fantasy genre, which, let's face it, he knows better than most of us, having added to it so dramatically with his Shadows of the Apt series.  But this is my favourite of his posts that I've read, and not just because it mentions Giant Thief (although, there's that!)  Adrian talks about one of the great elephants in the room of Fantasy fiction, our overwhelming reliance on violence as a plot device, and wonders if that's really the best we can do as a genre.

The mention of Giant Thief is in relation to the fact that Damasco would rather do just about anything than get his hands bloody, so it should be clear where I stand on this one.  I've a certain soft spot for heroes who solve their every problem with a sword, gun or whatever, probably because I read far too many G. I. Joe comics in my formative years.  More and more though, I'm drawn towards stories that manage to talk about something other than our inate need to beat the crap out of each other over every little thing. I mean, we've been around for a fair old while as a species.  We've walked on the moon.  We have jetpacks (even if we don't use them much) and phones that tell us where the nearest cash machine is.  So just maybe it's time our heroes stopped solving their every problem by headbutting someone?

Osama, of course, is now out.  Here's proof.
[Listening to the audio of Giant Thief, and having always been proud of the fact that Damasco never saw a fight he didn't try to run away from, I was actually a little shocked by how scrappy he is in the first chapter.  In fairness, he's just been hanged, he's half starved and has every reason to be in a lousy mood. Still, he's really agressive for a while there.  It's a good job he meets Saltlick when he does, or he might have done something we'd both have regretted.]

Anyway, barely had I gotten through thinking about that one when Lavie Tidhar - whose astonishing and many-award-nominated novel Osama comes out in paperback directly after Crown Thief - wrote an entire blog article on Giant Thief.  I won't spoil it by preempting it too much, because it's a fascinating piece in its own right, but the gist is that - based on the fact that Easie Damasco does very little to further his own story and in fact spends most of his own novel running away from it - I've inadvertently invented a new subgenre, which Lavie labels "slacker fantasy."

I am deeply in love with that term.  Expect it see it cropping up with preposterous regularity in future posts.


  1. Lavie is brilliant. Slacker fantasy! Who needs active protagonists -- faugh! That is awfully like effort. 8)

  2. Hmm, I think Damasco's pretty active ... just rarely in service of the plot. Offer him a drink or point him towards something shiny and he can be VERY active.