With the blurb from Dan Abnett in hand — which Marc Gascoigne of Angry Robot had lined up for me — I set off to scare up some blurbs on my own. Asking someone for a blurb is the literary equivalent of asking them to help you move. You only ask it of people you know well enough to hope that they won’t fake an excuse to get out of it. I came up with a short list of the people I knew that were both well-known (famous, even) and influential within their circle. Then I sent off an e-mail to each of them and waited.
The first blurb that sailed back into my e-mail inbox came from Billy Campbell. He read the book fast and came back with not just one but two quotes for me to use:
“Matt Forbeck, you just made my week and ruined my life. I finished Amortals with what I might describe as great fervor, only to realize — rather anti-climactically — that I’d never write anything a fraction as original, or nearly as well. Write something else quick goddamn you, before I off myself. Bullets are cheap indeed!”
— Billy Campbell
“Amortals (to paraphrase another sci-fi writer who, in my opinion, has nothing on Matt Forbeck) blew down the walls of my imagination. It then stepped over the smoking rubble, seized me by the throat and kicked my ass. Was this your first novel, you bastard? Holy crap!”
— Billy Campbell
As you might imagine, I blushed.
If you think you don’t know Billy, you’re wrong. He’s been a top film and television actor for over 25 years, playing vital roles in everything from Crime Story to The 4400 to The O.C. Most of the geek tribe probably remembers his first big film role as the star of The Rocketeer, but the rest of the world likely knows him as the male lead opposite Sela Ward in the huge hit show Once and Again.
Besides acting, Billy has two other passions: sailing and games. In 2005–6, he joined the training crew of the barque Picton Castle to sail around the world as a working deckhand. That’s right. It wasn’t a pleasure cruise. He cooked, cleaned, painted, piloted, worked high in the riggings, and more, right alongside all the other trainees for over a year on a trip that took him to some of the most amazing places in the world. That’s living the dream.
I first talked with him right after he got back, when I interviewed him for the now-defunct Games Quarterly Magazine, as part of my “Celebrity Gamers” series. Billy grew up Charlottesville, Virginia, and he used to play Rolemaster and sometimes stopped by the Iron Crown Enterprises offices to visit. He’s kept up with gaming ever since, and some evenings he even breaks out game designs of his own to play with friends. Someday I hope to see some of them in print.
Honestly, I figured Billy would just be too busy to read my book — and that would have been fine. He stunned me by not only agreeing to give me a blurb but turning it around faster than anyone else and packing in more praise than I could have wished for. He truly is one of the greats.