July 11

Next update on July 25

Late with my update again – shocker! But this is a good one – lots of Children of Fire news and a San Diego Comic Con update!

Let’s start with my schedule for Comic Con. Quick trip for me – I get in Thursday morning and I leave Sunday. But I’ll be doing several signings while I’m there. If anything changes with the schedule, I’ll post it on my Twitter feed:

Thursday, July 18
Random House Booth #1515

Friday, July 19
Star Wars Booth #2913D

Saturdy, July 20
Star Wars Booth #2913D

If you come to the signings, be aware that they sometimes end up capping the line and turning people away because we’re running out of time. I hate to see that happen and I usually try to stay a few extra minutes, but sometimes the schedule has someone else coming in for their signings and they have to cut the line off at a certain point, so you might want to get there a bit early. Based on my last few Cons, they will probably have a line for signings that will start filling up 30-60 minutes before the actual signing if you want to guarantee a spot.

I’ll gladly sign anything I’ve worked on – any book, any video game, posters, whatever. I’ll sign multiple items, but try to be reasonable and fair to everyone in the line – I’m not going to sign a dozen things so you can sell them on e-Bay! I’ll also pose for quick pictures during the signings if you want; don’t be afraid to ask.

If you see me wandering around the Con or nearby area during the weekend, please come by and say a quick hi. I’m still not famous enough to resent getting recognized in public. But if I’m with other folks we’ll have to keep it short and sweet – I don’t want to be rude to them. (Depending on what’s going on, I might even be able to sign something then, but I can’t promise that.)

There should be copies of all my Star Wars and Mass Effect books at the various signings or the Random House/Del Rey booth if you want to pick them up. And we might even have a few advance copies of Children of Fire kicking around. (These are the ones with no artwork on the cover.)

Speaking of Children of Fire, I’m happy to say that they’ve finally released the cover art for the UK version. It’s very different than the US version – I think it looks pretty cool. Check it out at the Ebury website.

We also have the first reviews coming in for Children of Fire. Publishers Weekly has picked CoF as one of their top Sci-Fi Fantasy books of the Fall. You need a subscription to see the full entry, and I don’t think they’ve actually posted their official review yet, but here’s a snippet:

This energetic Wagnerian epic revitalizes traditional epic fantasy quest elements with tragic heroes, evocative imagery, and sweeping conflict… (in) a fantasy epic that incorporates elements of horror and operatic drama.

They aren’t the only folks who like it. Tracy Hickman – legendary author and game designer and one of the two creators of the Dragonlance universe and novels – has given us a great blurb to use on the book jacket:

Drew Karpyshyn weaves a rich, contrasting tapestry of epic story and doom. Gripping and compelling from first page to last, ‘Children of Fire’ is a dark chocolate fantasy; delightfully biting and delectable at once. Four ill-fated children born under a sign of chaos and flame carried me into a journey into an intriguing world of shadowy wonder. It is a spell-binding epic told with masterful craft.

Well done, Drew! After thirty years of writing, you’ve brought me a fantasy I wanted to read!

It’s hard for me to describe how excited and thrilled I was to get this blurb. I’m a big fan of Mr. Hickman’s work: I read the Legends trilogy when I was a teenager and it blew me away. Raistlin Majere was a revelaton for me as a character: he wasn’t a goody-two shoes wizard like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings. This guy was ambitious, selfish, ruthless and dark! In fact, one of the central characters of Children of Fire – a Chaos mage named Rexol – is heavily influenced by those early impressions I had of Raistlin.

We also have several folks from the Amazon Vine program chiming in with early Children of Fire reviews, too. I’m not a big fan of the 1-5 star rating system. What’s the difference between a 3.8 and a 4.1, really? Or even a 4 and a 5? Seems arbitrary to me. I like to focus more on the big questions: “Is it worth reading?” “Did I like it?” “Will others like it?” Based on these reviews, I’d say the fans have answered a resounding “Yes!” to all those questions.

Looking at the reviews you’ll see some common thoughts that give you a good idea of what to expect from Children of Fire. This is classic quest fantasy told with a modern style and pacing. I’m not trying to reinvent the genre – I’m just putting my own spin on it. The plot moves briskly, there’s lots of action and the characters are complex and morally ambivalent. It can be dark and even grim at times – Chaos is dangerous and unpredictable – but it’s also exhilerating and exciting. But most of all, I want readers to have fun.

Incidentally, this was the approach we took to BioWare games as well. KOTOR and Mass Effect have many familiar genre elements and recognizable tropes that we spiced up with new twists. If you like it, you say we play on existing archetypes in interesting ways. If you don’t, you accuse us of being stereotypical and unoriginal. Guess it all depends on perspective.

But I don’t need to defend my work – the novel can stand on its own. And when you read Children of Fire, I know you’re going to love it! 

Okay, that’s it for this update. Hopefully I’ll see some of you in San Diego, and in a couple weeks I’ll be back to recap my trip to SDCC.