Everyone’s got a secret (or not so secret) love of fantasy and science fiction. I mean, what’s not to love? There’s adventure, compelling characters, elves, magic, spaceships…sometimes elves on spaceships. It’s an exploration of a whole new set of rules for the world and the addition of things we think would be, well, fun.
Albuquerque-based author Daniel Abraham is a seasoned creator of worlds; he's authored two fantasy series, The Long Price Quartet and The Dagger and the Coin, urban fantasy series The Black Sun's Daughter (as MLN Hanover), and award-winning sci-fi series The Expanse, written in collaboration with Ty Franck. That's not even including his numerous works of short fiction that have been finalists for the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. So when you're looking for that fantastical fix, Abraham is an excellent name to remember. I'm going to let you know now, full disclosure, that in the process of researching this article, I grabbed the first book of The Long Price Quartet (A Shadow in Summer), and I'm already hooked. In fact, I'm in serious danger of becoming that person who only wants to talk about the novel she or he is reading. I can feel the change in my blood—the urge to read scenes out loud to my friends grows by the day.
And, because one can only assume there's a secret club called "Awesome Fantasy Novelists of New Mexico," Abraham is—wonder of wonders—friends with George RR Martin. So at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, our local GRRM hotspot, Abraham celebrates the release of two new books: The Widow's House, the fourth book in The Dagger and the Coin, and Cibola Burn, the fourth book in The Expanse.
The Dagger and the Coin set out to be the prototypical epic fantasy series: "I was trying to do the same expected fantasy story," Abraham tells SFR, but looking back now that he has written four-fifths of the series, he admits, "and it has gotten weird." But he's cheerful about not sticking to this particular mandate and chuckles a bit when he says, "It turns out I can't help it!"
The Widow's House is the fourth book in the five-book series. He's working on the finale, the end that's been "plotted out since before we sold the first book—it's something I've been aiming at for so long, it's like I'm about to graduate from a really long graduate program."
It seems Abraham has been double majoring. Under the shared pen name James SA Corey (Abraham is the "James half" and Ty Franck is the "Corey half"), he's been working on the open-ended space opera of "The Expanse" inspired by Franck's RPG (role-playing game) universe. Franck had "done an astounding amount of world-building" before the novels began, and what better project with a ready-made world than to use it as a setting and "make novels out of it"? And it seems to have taken off, if you'll excuse the aeronautically inclined phrase. Not only was its initial volume, Leviathan Wakes, nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2012, but the Syfy channel is airing a show based on it starting next year. With so much interest in the series, I had to ask about the collaboration behind it: Abraham says he and Franck "have very few disagreements," though Franck has "talked me into killing a few characters." They switch off on chapters and edit each other's work, so the voice is really a blend of the two. "It's not what it would be if it was just you by yourself…and that's exactly what I signed up for." When these series are complete ("I think the best stories end," Abraham adds), he says he'd like to try his hand at non-series novels. Considering my current state of enthusiasm, I'd certainly read them! Though I've got a lot of material to cover. Warfare, space and epic fantasy? Sold.
Daniel Abraham Q&A and Book Signing
7 pm Tuesday, August 5. $10
Jean Cocteau Cinema
418 Montezuma Ave.,