Who Fears Death?

Since I’ve become a published author, a lot has changed in my life.

Most of these changes have been good things. Money, for example. These days when I go to the grocery store, I don’t have to buy the 33 cent burritos. Now I can buy the 59 cent burritos, which contain, if not food, then at least a texture designed to emulate food.

When I buy ramen, I don’t have to buy the Chicken Maruchen ramen, which you can get for a dime a packet if you buy it in bulk. These days I can buy really fancy ramen. Ramen with three or four little packets of stuff you add to the noodles. These packets contain flecks of material that I suspect are not merely vegetable colored… they might actually *be* vegetables.

True, I usually buy the Chicken Maruchen ramen anyway. But it’s nice to know that if I wanted to, I could splurge a little.

People recognize me in public now. Not just here in Stevens Point (where I live) or in Madison (where I used to live.) Someone recognized me in a train station in Manchester England last year. It was a surreal experience back then, but it’s happened all over the US now, people come up to me on the street or in a coffee shop and say, “Are you…?”

And, usually, I am.

It’s amazing what you can get used to. I never thought I’d get used to seeing my book in bookstores, but I’ve grown accustomed to it. I’m used to fanmail. I’m used to sometimes getting a hundred comments when I post a blog.

But when I was at Wiscon a couple weeks ago, I got another surprise. My friend Nnedi Okorafor was GOH there and I picked up a copy of her newly published book: Who Fears Death.

Some of you might remember Nnedi’s name because of the fun little interview I did with her a couple months ago.

Anyway, when I was standing in line to buy her book, I flipped it over and was surprised at what I saw there.

(Click to Embiggen.)

It was a blurb extolling the virtues the book… from Patrick Rothfuss.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, of course. I had given her the blurb, after all. But still, it’s not something I’m used to yet.

Everything said, my blurb seems kinda weak compared to some of the others. I kinda suck at giving blurbs for a variety of reasons. But that’s a topic for a different post I suppose…

Despite my lack of blurb prowess, if you’re looking for something to read, you should check it out. This is doubly true if you happen to be tired of the same-old done-to-death fantasy crap. You know what I’m talking about: plucky orphans, schools of magic, faeries, dragons, vaguely medieval settings, stew…

Nnedi’s made a different type of world here, and she’s telling a different kind of story. I can honestly say there were scenes in this book that filled me with genuine horror and dread. I mean that as the highest sort of praise. It’s easy to make me laugh, and you don’t have to work too hard to make me cry. But to make me actually terrified on a character’s behalf? That’s rare stuff.

More news soon, stay tuned.


This entry was posted in recommendations, the art of blurbing, Things I didn't know about publishingBy Pat66 Responses


  1. ncanzoneri
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:19 AM | Permalink
    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted June 15, 2010 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

      Wow! The author’s notes on the bottom gave a whole lot of really interesting insight, thanks for the link!

  2. Chocolate Sushi
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Stunning cover for sure.

  3. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    Sounds like a good read, and it’s rare for me to question book suggestions from you.
    After finishing The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett which I won in the Worldbuilders raffle, I was addicted, and had to go out and buy the sequel (thank goodness I waited till summer to read it, because the sequel came out in April and I’d had the book for some time by then). There’s still another book coming, as well.
    If you get me addicted to one more unfinished series, I think my heart and brain will explode from anticipation.

    • Baldsilver
      Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

      yea it was good wasnt it! (warden man) I really liked it, the sequel too, even though it was a completely different book. Its kinda funny though how die hard ‘warrior peoples’ remain pretty much the same throughout these types of books. Still, he created his own spin on it and it worked.

    • Liam
      Posted June 16, 2010 at 2:11 AM | Permalink

      I feel the need to point out that there are THREE more warded man books coming out. He only signed an initial agreement with his publisher for 3, but the series he expects will stretch over 5.

      Sounds like he’s working hard though. In the mean time there’s a new Abercrombie (January) and rothfuss (yay!!) on the way. Not to mention a new Song of Ice and Fire (hahaha).

      Janny Wurts also comes recommended if you liked warded man. It’s high fantasy, but good. Just got into it after finishing the desert spear, and it’s good so far.

      • Widow Of Sirius
        Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

        Sounds awesome, but also… I think I may die.

  4. Shnargen
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:23 AM | Permalink

    It looks good. I’ll definitely read it (if I remember). I have so many books in line to read, I don’t know if I’ll ever get there. First up is House of Leaves…

    • aksuar
      Posted June 15, 2010 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

      Oh man, House of Leaves is really good. It totally gave me the creeps though, so watch out – if you’re easily freaked don’t read it before bedtime :)

      • Shnargen
        Posted June 16, 2010 at 2:35 AM | Permalink

        thanks! this is actually encouraging. I read the first couple of chapters in my school library one day after class, and i really didn’t want to put it down

    • Olympia
      Posted June 15, 2010 at 9:25 PM | Permalink

      house of leaves was crazy. good luck. its a little confusing. And if you like it try “only revolutions” that’ll really send you for a loop.

  5. GravyTrain
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:30 AM | Permalink

    Sounds fascinating. A quick search shows no hint of an audiobook version so that’s a bummer.

  6. The Little Lee
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    I agree the cover is awesome and i think I’ll pick it up. I need something new to read for a month or so. I got so excited when the Gathering Storm came out that i started to re read the entire Wheel of Time! Needless to say my head is now ready to explode and I just finished Winters Heart, so its time to take a break from the Jordans world and see what else is out there before I dive back in. By the way so excited for March 2011!

  7. JasonB
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    Man, why’s the Kindle edition gotta be $13? Growl.

  8. Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:48 AM | Permalink

    Probably because she needs to eat more than Ramen noodles and 33 cent burritos. : )

  9. darthmonkey
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:59 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat,
    I bought your book via Audible, and loved it from start to finish. Imagine my incredible surprise to find out you are from Wisconsin. I live in Madison, but had no clue you were local(ish). I just thought I drop you a line to impress upon you how small this world can seem, at least to me, at times. I look forward to book two with much excitement.

  10. chasingdragons
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    This gave me chills. I can imagine exactly how cool this would be. Congratulations, Pat!! You are meeting new levels of cool every day. :) Thanks for sharing,

    Jen Newcomb

  11. sking923
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    I’ll add it to my summer reading list based solely on your recommendation. Now the pressure is on you :)

  12. scottfehr
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    I’ve found a lot of excellent books as a result of reading Orson Scott Card’s blog over at hatrack.com. Pat, I can see you getting to “trusted writer” status where your recommendation becomes a default purchase for many.

    With great power comes…

  13. RegistrationIsStupid
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 12:47 PM | Permalink

    I want a DRM-free epub! Fuck DRM!

  14. redcrest
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 1:00 PM | Permalink

    Ooh, good timing, Pat–I just finished NK Jemisin’s AMAZING debut novel “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms” (READ IT, PAT! I really think you’ll like this one~~) and was writhing in agony, having just found out the sequel doesnt come out till November… ughhh…

    I’ve listened to a Podcast interview with Nnedi before (where I learned about “Nollywood”–that is, Nigerian Hollywood :D) and have been wanting to try out one of her books. Since you rec this one so highly, I’ll definitely go grab it.

    Also–I was gonna ask if you were going to Daisho Con, since it’s so conveniently in Stevens Point. But then I saw this blurb from Anime News Network citing you as a Guest of Honor. Awesomeness. Hope you have fun~~ ^^

  15. Rob
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    I would dispute your statement that you lack blurb prowess, Pat. But your friend would have been better served by giving her the last big paragraph of your blog entry here as a blurb than the more concise blurb that appears on her book.

  16. aries327
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

    Ramen will always be good. No matter how many people recognize you. No matter how many blurbs you write. No matter how many toppings you can afford (mandarin oranges, pineapple, cilantro, hard-boiled eggs, peas, soy sauce and that hot red sauce with the green top–I’m telling you, it’s awesome).

  17. jpohlmeier
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    So how will it feel when you turn over a new book and see:

    “[insert up and coming author’s name here] joins the ranks of the truly great fantasy authors. Soon you will see his name among the likes of Tolkien, Lewis, McCaffrey, and Rothfuss.”

  18. 1967mustangman
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    Another benefit you might not know about yet…………other people get asked if they are you. I was sitting a local watering hole enjoying a good beer and reading a book and a young man came up to me and asked me if I was you!

  19. Raven Darkmoon
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    This is why I enjoy reading Pats blog so much. Keep it real Pat :)

  20. skinner
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    There are few things that I like more than selfdepricating humor. Good job Pat. There are so many authors/books that you have turned me on to that I can’t keep up.

    Though you should keep in mind that I’m not exactly well read when it comes to fantasy… I shouldn’t be admitting this, bu I hadn’t even read a Neil Gaiman until you recomended him. Now I have a wish list a mile long of great things to read. I don’t know whether to thank you or curse you.

    • Posted June 16, 2010 at 1:09 AM | Permalink

      It’s so weird for me to hear that. I assume if people read my stuff, they read fantasy. And if they read fantasy, they read Neil Gaiman…

      • Widow Of Sirius
        Posted June 16, 2010 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

        I didn’t read any Gaiman (except for one short story) until just after I finished Name of the Wind actually. Although that was very shortly after it came out, so I’ve managed to cram quite a bit of Gaiman since then.

      • Zanza X
        Posted June 17, 2010 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

        Speaking of Neil Gaimen any one know where I can get a hold of some ishuess of Sandman?

      • Oohaha
        Posted June 22, 2010 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

        What i don’t understand is how no one ever talks about David Gemmel?? O.o’

  21. BrianJ
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    At least they got your name right.

    The one time I provided material for a back cover blurb (it was for a friend’s science textbook on nonequilibrium statistical physics), the publisher misspelled my first name. Very embarrassing.

  22. fallenowl
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve gone on the list for it at my public library. Your review has me wondering, though. You are always harping on fantasy cliches and this was a very good example: “done-to-death fantasy crap. You know what I’m talking about: plucky orphans, schools of magic, faeries, dragons, vaguely medieval settings, stew…”

    I’m curious how your readers would articulate what it is that makes Name of the Wind so fresh and delightful when it is still about an orphan who goes to Magic school. Any thoughts fellow readers?

    PS- put me down for a Kingkiller shirt for sure!

  23. shredalert
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 5:33 PM | Permalink


    You walk your talk and that is rare these days. Thanks for the inspiration.

    May you have continued success.


  24. Tyson
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 5:53 PM | Permalink

    But I like plucky orphans, schools of magic, faeries, dragons, vaguely medieval settings, and even stew. :-)

    Her book looks very interesting though. I’ll put it on my long “to read” list.

  25. Vtks
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    Isn’t this funny, I was eating maruchen, just when i started reading this entry.

    And, well, maybe I’ll read it, (if it reaches my country soon), i thought, It was going to be a pretentious one with that title, and never imagined a fantasy book out of that title, yes I’m gonna read It.

    • Posted June 27, 2010 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

      I usually assume anything coming recommended via WisCon is pretentious, so that’s two strikes against, and I also worry about Mr Rothfuss putting on airs. You just watch, next year he’ll be eating Stouffer’s Frozen Foods. ;)

  26. BillyEchapa
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    A snide knock on stew from a ramenivore?

    Nevertheless, will check this out, despite the apparent, unfortunate lack of stew. You know, because the cover is kinda cool…

  27. simpleranter
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 9:18 PM | Permalink

    Why the United States Society will bring about the World’s Demise

    Flipping through the channels today, I caught a program called “You’re Cut Off” on VHI or MTV, I don’t recall which. Since it was the first episode, I watched it with wincing interest. What the hell is wrong with people?!!! In particular, these ignorant rich bitches that literally can’t boil water or even walk down the street to get a cab? The house they are put in is actually decent and they claim its part of the ghetto. I can’t even begin to describe the disgust I feel for these pampered little girls.
    As disgusted as I am about these woman, especially the one with a baby but cares nothing for the little girl (SOME PEOPLE CAN’T HAVE KIDS YET HERE YOU ARE NOT CARING IN FRONT OF NATIONAL TV!!) I am more disgusted that people actually made a T.V. series about these women. The series will probably even get high ratings, mostly because of the absolute STUPIDITY of these women. I can’t even stress that enough. If they didn’t have their parents they would be white trash hookers looking for their next fix. Yet…we are intrigued. We want to see them fail. Fall flat on their asses, fake tits and nails and all. As much as we love uplifting stories, we love failures even more and this show has the potential to fulfill every American’s dream.
    America has become a society based on greed. I can’t speak for other countries because I don’t live there. I am tired of it. I want quality programming that doesn’t make the United States look like the idiots we appear to be. I want people to have intelligent conversations. I want everyone to have quality educations. I want everyone to have healthcare, a savings account, a place to live, and most importantly: FOOD!
    How is that so hard in this society? Why can’t our government actually do go without the F-ing Bickering? Why is it so hard? Seriously, people get your act together before we get taken over by some random country. Do good for your fellow man, woman, neighbor, co-worker, anything. Just be a Decent Human Being.

    And don’t get me started on the Economy or Global Warming…

    • Fattimus
      Posted June 16, 2010 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

      How on earth does this have anything to do with this blog? That said, I’ll bite.

      Idiots have enjoyed watching idiots for thousands of years. This is not new. Society is not declining rapidly because of the U.S. or MTV. Hell, I myself enjoyed watching Hell’s Kitchen because I thought it was hilarious how much Gordon Ramsey blew up at the littlest thing. That may mean little to you, but I think I can safely say without boasting that I am fairly intelligent and well-adjusted, as is just about everyone I know. In fact, in my time during college working retail in food service and then customer service, I would say that the polite, decent people (people that will say “excuse me”, hold doors open, apologize if they accidentally bump into someone, etc.) outweigh the assholes by 100 to 1. That’s probably even giving too much credit to the population of assholes. They stand out more, sure, but that’s absolutely no reason to decry the values of the vast majority of people that are good-natured.

      As far as “quality programming that doesn’t make people look like idiots”… there’s already a lot of that. What you actually want is for the dumb shit to stop getting the greenlight for TV. But you yourself choose to focus on the bad and ignore the good.

      Here’s a rather relevent XKCD for ya.

    • Posted June 16, 2010 at 4:24 AM | Permalink

      Blatantly argumentative off-topic post = probation.

      Probation = all your comments now require moderator approval before they appear on the blog.

  28. danreyno
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    Hmm simpleranter im not reading all of that…

    I’m adding Who Fears Death to my list of books to read. It almost landed on my kindle tonight. I’ve only read half the books I bought on it as it is…need to read them first. Not to mention I havent gotten around to reading The Desert Spear…that is sitting on my desk along with the dragonlace chronicles that I picked up to relive my childhood.


    • Liam
      Posted June 16, 2010 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

      The Desert Spear was harder to get into than the warded man. I think it’s that I had a fairly intense dislike of jardir after the warded man, and the krasian culture is a harsh, unfriendly place to begin a journey.

      That being said, I ended up liking TDS more than TWM. So do get in! Give it a solid hour to get settled in, and by the time you realize that hour is long since over it will be morning and you’ll be on the last chapter.

      (funny story, that’s actually what happened to me when I read tNotW. Almost had a heart attack when my gfs alarm went off haha)

      • Widow Of Sirius
        Posted June 16, 2010 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

        I agree with Liam. The Desert Spear was a little difficult for me to get into, especially because I kept expecting the next chapter to be about someone else, like The Warded Man would do.

        That being said, I read it at a rate of about 200 pages a day, while working and studying for a huge exam.

        You’ll love it by the end, I promise.

      • Baldsilver
        Posted June 16, 2010 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

        ditto man, very well said, i had to pick it up again to get into it

      • danreyno
        Posted June 16, 2010 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

        Thanks, I will remeber that.

        I did start reading it once and didn’t get that into it before other distractions pulled me off.

        It has been one of those things I will get to ‘eventually’. :)

  29. snuphbox
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, man. I always enjoy the books you recommend.

  30. Posted June 16, 2010 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

    Patrick Rothfuss and Neil Gaiman – Names synonymous with Fantasy. True like a horse.

    I will most certainly be adding this to my ever-burgeoning T’read Pile and thus I thank thee! I think this is one I’d’ve probably picked up for myself though – ’cause like Chocolate Sushi said first, mmmm, purdy cover.

  31. thecatwhisperer
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 6:27 AM | Permalink


    Any chance you can nag her to have her book released on the Canadian Kindle store? Its on the US one… Drives me nuts.. soo many books I want to read that I could get on the US Kindle Store but aren’t available on the Canadian one :P)

    I rarely by physical books anymore… yours was the last one I bought actually… I still bought it for Kindle as well (well the kindle app on iPhone.. same thing). Yours is available in Canada!

    • Posted June 16, 2010 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

      I’ll drop her a line about it…

  32. Daniel
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the recommendation, this is now officially the first book downloaded on my iPad. I’m at the airport now and I didn’t bring anything to read for a long day of flying, so I’d planned to download “the left hand of God” that I’ve heard is gonna be Awesome, but I think I’ll try this one out.

  33. Jhirrad
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

    I have to say that I really loved the comment you gave for Brandon Sanderson’s new book. He posted it on his Facebook and I really, REALLY hope it goes on the cover. That is one of the cooler endorsements I’ve seen.

  34. Sgt Markes
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 1:48 PM | Permalink

    Next book on my “to buy” list now.

  35. CupPie
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat, allow me to highly recommend Maruchan’s Yakisoba, chicken flavored especially. (looks like this http://maruchan.com/maruchan_yakisoba.html) I love it b/c it comes in its own bowl, and the extra freeze-dried veggie packet really does makes a difference. :) Yum.

  36. Selenio
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    Amazing, never heard of her or her books before.

    I love African or pseudo-African stories. I’ll buy the book as soon as it hits the shelves of Spanish bookstores. And I’ll try to find her previous books as well.

    Thanks for the recommendation Pat, and best regards from Spain.


  37. Annieknowsnothing
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 1:27 PM | Permalink

    You know how not long ago you talked about your embarrassing moments? Well, not long ago I was visiting a friend in Brooklyn and I saw a few people gathered around this guy that looked really familiar and he was signing autographs. And as I got closer it hit me. It’s Patrick Rothfuss!! So I go over there and he’s all friendly and I shake his hand and I say how much I love his book and how I think he is amazing ! And he says ‘You mean my dad?’ And I’m perplexed and say ‘Oh your dad writes too?’ At this point I’m thinking I’m being really cool at how I’m handling it! So he just smiles and walks away and the lady next to me says ‘I didn’t know PAUL GIAMANTTI was a writer. $#IT!!!!!!!!! Top that!

    • Liam
      Posted June 17, 2010 at 4:00 PM | Permalink
      • Posted June 17, 2010 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

        I couldn’t see it before. But looking at that picture, I can see a bit of a resemblance. Similar nose, I guess.

        I am much hairier though. I am a huge man-beast.

        • Annieknowsnothing
          Posted June 17, 2010 at 11:06 PM | Permalink

          Oh my God! I know. Of course you don’t look alike! As soon as I got home I did a search on Google and compared the pics! I’m so sorry. I’m an IDIOT! It’s just that you know how sometimes you don’t get enough sleep? (And I bet you do.) I was not thinking right. And I don’t know how I made that connection? I just saw a beard and people and he was signing autographs. And he was wearing a silly hat and…..OK I shouldn’t be allowed outside without supervision and I will not approach anybody that looks like a celebrity ever again! I’m so sorry. And we shall never speak of this again. Please!

  38. LaisLindsay
    Posted June 17, 2010 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the recommendation.. I’ll definitely pick it up. I would love to say I have a huge “T ‘read List”, but I soak up books like a sponge… there just never seem to be enough! Any suggestions (yes, even if they are of the magic wielding, stew slurping, dragon riding, token disgruntled dwarf variety) then fill me in!
    Had Chicken Ramen for lunch today : D

  39. ebetzhold
    Posted June 18, 2010 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    Just a question. She has very few reviews on Amazon, why not do what Robin Hobb did for you and throw up a review? Her review completely sold me on your book (though Penny Arcade had done most of the leg work). I’ll check out her book for sure.

  40. Ysabelknits
    Posted June 19, 2010 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Dude…if you actually get that second book published you just might be able to afford the 99 cent ramen….isn’t that motivation enough.

    I’ve only being waiting YEARS! :P

  41. lys
    Posted August 19, 2010 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    Pat, I read Nnedi’s book based on your glowing recommendation.
    I second the genuine horror and dread comment. Crapweasel but that book left me slackjawed. Um, thanks. I think.

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