Monday, January 21, 2008

Reap the Boredom

Near complete boredom combined with an inability to become motivated to do the actual work I should be at the moment have lead me the writing of this post that does little on its own, instead pointing to interesting discussion elsewhere.

The discussion of interest is
this one over at Westeros where a question to simply rank 5 of the newer and more talked about (at least in certain circles) authors in epic fantasy. The authors under the gun are Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss, Daniel Abraham, and Brian Ruckley.

I find this fascinating both because I have read and enjoyed 4 of the 5 authors (and interviewed 3 of the 5) and by the omission of (insert the author you feel should have been included) along side the demographic similarity of the 5.

I’m usually pretty bad with ranking pretty much anything, but in this case, there is a natural rank as I’ve felt about the books I’ve read from these authors.

  1. Joe Abercrombie (my review)
  2. Patrick Rothfuss (my review)
  3. Scott Lynch (my review)
  4. Brian Ruckley (my review)

I haven’t read anything by Daniel Abraham yet, but I do have a book on The Stack that I hope to get to in the next couple of months.

In my boredom, I decided to graph the results of the discussion so far (yes, I’m that bored and that geeky). When an author got ranked #1, I gave him 5 pts, #2 got 4, #3 got 3, #4 got 2, and 5 got 1. If someone hadn’t read the author no points were awarded, but it is noted. There were roughly 43 votes as I’m writing this and curiously all had read Abercrombie and Lynch, about a quarter had not read Rothfuss or Ruckley, and about a third haven’t read Abraham. The graph is below.

To give some perspective, if all 16 people who haven’t yet read Abraham gave him a 5, his score would jump to 145 – which is still about 13 points less than Abercrombie (though there would be a corresponding drop of 1 point in Abercrombie’s score for this to be the case, so it would put Abraham on top by 3 points). I mention this to give a bit of an idea of just how far out front Abercrombie is in this little discussion.

Another interesting aspect is the count of #1 votes - Abercrombie received 29 votes for number 1, which blew away everyone else. Lynch received 10 and Abraham 5. Neither Rothfuss nor Ruckley had a single number 1 vote in this informal pole/discussion.

I can’t wait to see what this does to Joe’s ego :D.


Cheryl said...

Fascinating. I've read four of them, and I'm not in the least surprised that Abercrombie is doing well. He certainly seems the most commercial to me. Personally I think that Abraham is streets ahead of the others, but I don't expect a huge amount of agreement with that.

TK42ONE said...

Seeing as I've only read one, currently reading another, and gave up on a third, I'm not exactly qualified to vote or rank the authors. But it is curious how off center certain readers are (like myself). Do you think the location of the voting has slightly skewed the results?

Neth said...


Well, I'll consider that another push that I need to read Abraham soon.


I absolutely think that the location of that discussion influences things. The folks over at westeros are a fairly interesting bunch - they certainly have their favorites (which largely match my own which is one of the reasons I enjoy the discussion over there).

Ed S. said...

I am certainly glad to see Abercrombie on top and I think he deserves to be there. I am surprised though that so many people have actually read him (and most thought highly of his work) since his books have been slow to be released in the US. Rothfuss perhaps suffers a bit in this comparison because he only has one book out and being a first effort it was not surprising to see comments about flaws in it. A more polished second book out in the future might perhaps help him in this kind of comparison.

Anonymous said...

Neth, you bloody fool! Deliberately inflating Abercrombie's ego? Don't you know it could go off at any minute and take most of the home counties with it??? Gaaah!

Tia Nevitt said...

You are hilarious. And I thought I was geeky. Nice trend analysis, there! Do you work as a data analyst? If not, maybe you should consider the occupation.

Neth said...

I'm not really a data analyst - I'm a geologist. So, I do a lot of different kinds of data analysis.


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