Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

What other authors do Tolkien fans enjoy? Come on in and enter into a broadened conversation on the great literature of this and other times.

Postby ereine » Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:06 am

Like in that ancient Martin discussion, disagreeing with what most people seem to think, makes me feel stupid and that my opinion is worth nothing. Silly attitude but I can't really help it.
So after think about Jordan as "prominent worldbuilder" I decided to be brave and stand up for my opinion this time. I don't really agree with that at all. Jordan has some rather good ideas but his world seems to me to be very uninteresting, with no real sense of history and change (like I get from Tolkien and Erikson), even though he tells about ancient things. His world just doesn't feel real, it seems more like a stage and I don't like the shape of it, it just seems to be a rectangle with random kingdoms and towns scattered around. Erikson's world seems real, it has real history and it has known change and different civilisations, it's real and Jordan's world seems more like a stage or a movie prop. Of course I stopped reading Jordan some years ago and haven't read him in English so I don't know if it was the translator's fault. But in my eyes for example Robin Hobb is a lot better at building worlds.

I read mostly for pleasure, Martin gave me none so I stopped reading him, Erikson, on the other, hand gives me a lot of pleasure. I guess that's what makes a book good in my simple eyes. Of course, ASoIaF (I hope I got that right, I'm bad with acronyms) isn't really bad.


Edit/ Out of boredom I digged for the thread I mentioned earlier. I'm quite shocked that it all happened in 2002. Maybe it really is time for me to stop talking about Martin and start talking about Erikson.
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Postby BornofFantasy » Wed Oct 27, 2004 5:26 am

"So after think about Jordan as "prominent worldbuilder" I decided to be brave and stand up for my opinion this time. I don't really agree with that at all. "


Alas, I feel we can't really have a mutually beneficial debate then. We may have to again agree to disagree. I do not care for Jordan's recent novels, however, how much I "like" a series does not effect how I judge certain aspects of it. In my eyes, almost beyond argument, Jordan, Tolkien, Herbert, Greenwood, Gygrax, no matter what I feel about the qualities of thier storlyines, characters etc (in regards to Greenwood, Jordan, and Gygrax whose overall work I don't care for, but thier world-building is first class) are the preimminent worldbuidlers in fantasy.

"His world just doesn't feel real, it seems more like a stage and I don't like the shape of it, it just seems to be a rectangle with random kingdoms and towns scattered around. Erikson's world seems real, it has real history and it has known change and different civilisations, it's real and Jordan's world seems more like a stage or a movie prop."


In a prior post, you stated you thought Martin was more historically accurate, and you had a distaste for it in comparrison to Erikson's style. Although I would disagree with Martin being historically accurate, I took your statement to mean "more real", which it seems to imply. Yet now you say Erikson is "more real", and that's why you like it. which is it? Or perhaps I misinterpited, and you would be kind enough to elaborate:)

" But in my eyes for example Robin Hobb is a lot better at building worlds. "


I love Robin Hobb's Farseer and Live Ship series, infinitely more than work by Jordan, Greenwood, or Gygrax, and think the Farseer Trilogy in particular is one of the best series the genre has to offer, however in my opinion, on the basis of pure world-building she doesn't stack up to those I mentioned.
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Postby ereine » Wed Oct 27, 2004 6:27 am

By historically accurate I meant that people seem to think that his books are more historical novels than fantasy and I know at least one person who thinks that historical accuracy (historical accuracy with earth history) is a very good thing in fantasy. Martin's books are real, too real.
I haven't read those authors you mention, apart from Tolkien and Herbert so I can't really say anything about them.

I probably should stop the discussion here, I'm almost feverish and not really making any sense.
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Postby Denethor » Wed Oct 27, 2004 4:04 pm

(Warning: major ASOIAF spoilers)

BornofFantasy wrote:
"The first hundred pages of A Game of Thrones is, in my opinion, the weakest part of ASOIAF."

If I had to critique it, I would agree. This is the most common complaint regarding the series, getting into the begining of the first novel. However when regarding a very long novel, 100 pages in introducing a major family like House Stark is hardly inappropriate in my opinion. Lots of information in these pages.


I don't have any problem with some time being taken to introduce the Starks. My problem is more with the tone of that introduction, which tends to not only be very "child orientated", but which also clashes a bit with the darkness of the rest of the series (for the record, I happen to prefer The Silmarillion over LOTR). I remember thinking that the first few chapters of ASOIAF wouldn't be out of place in Harry Potter (not that I have anything against Harry Potter - it's just that it wasn't quite what I was expecting). Fortunately the Lannisters turned out to be a far more interesting bunch than the Starks.

" Martin's excessive use of fake deaths "

What is excessive? When comparing it to the number of real deaths, of actual real characters it more then equals out, in my opinion. People have to understand this series started out in a setting where magic was almost non-existant, with the coming of magic more "fantastic" aspects are going to occur...it is after all Fantasy. What death in aprticular bothers people or for that matter fake death? I would be most interested to know so we can debate a issue, and not an idea:)


Consider the POVs that Martin has used so far: Bran, Arya, Jon, Sansa, Dany, Ned, Catelyn, Tyrion, Theon, Sam, Davos, Jaime. Of those twelve only *two* have actually died (Ned and Catelyn), with one of those being brought back from the grave - so of the POV characters only one has actually died and stayed dead. By contrast, of those twelve we have had fake deaths of Tyrion, Bran, Theon, Davos, and Arya (the one where she is hit on the head with an axe at the end of the chapter was by far the worst, being entirely gratuitous). Add in such non-POV character fake deaths as Rickon and (probably) Sandor, and I think it is clear that Martin overplays his hand on this one.

"I tend to place a higher value on great worldbuilding than great characterisation."

So you like Jordan, in my opinion and often regarded as the preminent world builder in the genre (no matter how lousy his work has become), better than both aSoIaF and Erickson?? Or Ed Greenwood, the creator of The Forgotten Realms better then either? I hope not....:)


Tolkien happens to be my all-time favourite author. The guy created a secondary world (Middle-earth) whose sheer depth has remained unrivalled. In terms of characterisation, however, with a few exceptions such as Gollum, Tolkien's characterisation is pretty bland - for the simple reason that The Silmarillion, LOTR and The Hobbit are not driven by character, but rather by worldbuilding (I think the answer to the question of "who is the hero of LOTR" is actually Middle-earth itself). Erikson tends to be in something of the same boat - great worldbuilding, a few interesting characters, and plenty of characters who are pretty much interchangeable. H.P. Lovecraft created the most one dimensional characters in the history of English literature, yet I find his work highly enjoyable - his appeal comes not from characterisation but rather from his world/cosmos mythology building.

As for Jordan, when I said I prefer worldbuilding over characterisation, I was not saying that I am willing to forgive *annoying* characters (which I find worse than Tolkien-type bland characters). What I meant was that as the sort of person who prefers reading about "things" rather than about "people", I tend to prefer a fascinating world with background characters over fascinating characters with a background world. An annoying character is still, however, an annoying character, particularly if they become the focus of the story. Though for what it's worth, I don't think Jordan is in the same league as Tolkien and Erikson when it comes to worldbuilding. And as I've never read a word of Forgotten Realms, I can't really comment on that one.
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Postby BornofFantasy » Wed Oct 27, 2004 11:59 pm

"Consider the POVs that Martin has used so far: Bran, Arya, Jon, Sansa, Dany, Ned, Catelyn, Tyrion, Theon, Sam, Davos, Jaime. Of those twelve only *two* have actually died (Ned and Catelyn), with one of those being brought back from the grave - so of the POV characters only one has actually died and stayed dead."



SPOILERS

This is accurate however, I think we have to look at Martin's use of POV chapters, and his ability to flesh out the non-pov characters and actually give them meaning, if one count's these characters thier are many deaths in the series. Oberyn Martell, Jorah Mormont, Renly Barthenon, Robert Barthenon, Rob Stark, Rodick Cassel, Tywin Lannister, Maester Luwin, Qhorin Halfhand, Lisa Arynn, these are not insignificant characters, and have been well characterized throughout the series. Did you forget Robb Stark??????

"By contrast, of those twelve we have had fake deaths of Tyrion, Bran, Theon, Davos, and Arya (the one where she is hit on the head with an axe at the end of the chapter was by far the worst, being entirely gratuitous). Add in such non-POV character fake deaths as Rickon and (probably) Sandor, and I think it is clear that Martin overplays his hand on this one. "


I think they all have merits, Rickon, and Bran, were not "fake deaths", The circumstances is a ploy used by only Theon, to consolidate power in Winterfell. As far as Tyrion is concerned I have no clue what you of, in fact I believe Tyrion is one of the best written characters in fantasy. Davos, either, the man was swept overboard on a ship and survived (do all such people die?) . I just don't agree with the assesement, these characters didn't die.

Denethor, if possible we could continue such discussion in the Martin thread, if you don't mind, I am interested in going on further in it as I just don't agree with these survivors, being labeled fake deaths.
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Postby Denethor » Thu Oct 28, 2004 6:14 am

BornofFantasy wrote:Denethor, if possible we could continue such discussion in the Martin thread, if you don't mind, I am interested in going on further in it as I just don't agree with these survivors, being labeled fake deaths.


Done. :) (I'm greatly in favour of moving the discussion - those last two posts have contained some massive spoilers).
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Postby Epor » Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:01 am

Erikson tends to be in something of the same boat - great worldbuilding, a few interesting characters, and plenty of characters who are pretty much interchangeable.

Only a few interesting characters? Out of the "main characters" who isn't interesting? Most of the rank and file Bridgeburners never developed much personalities, and some of the characters in Midnight Tides felt a bit bland compared to ones in the previous books, but in general Erikson's characterization is good, and he manages to do alot with what might be called peripheral characters (there rarely is clear division between who's a main character and who's not).

I find Erikson to be superior to both Jordan and Gygax as a worldbuilder. Jordan good --> Erikson better. As for Gygax, Forgotten Realms isn't in the same league at all. It's a device for "adventurers" to meet a new monster every time they blink rather than a truly realized world. It was created for AD&D, not novels, and while it's good at what it's meant to do, there just is no comparison.

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Postby ereine » Sat Oct 30, 2004 3:09 am

Do you think that beginner fantasy readers could truly enjoy Erikson? I seems to me that you have to enjoy the genre and its cliches and to be able to understand the humour and all those races and beings. On one hand the books tell about humanity and wars and greed and easily understandable things, on the other they must be very alien to someone who has mostly read very realistic books (I've heard people say that reading fantasy is difficult because the things aren't real). I grew up reading fantasy so it's quite hard for me to imagine what reading fantasy for the first time is like. But I wouldn'd recommend Erikson for someone who wanted to start reading fantasy.
I don't know what I would recommend though, but if they weren't very young then maybe Martin.
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Postby BornofFantasy » Sat Oct 30, 2004 6:28 am

"I find Erikson to be superior to both Jordan and Gygax as a worldbuilder. Jordan good --> Erikson better. "


I would agree final product as it stands now will end up surpassing Jordan's WOT, like many authors will, given time. But to put it in context I would argue tha although it is my opinion the WOT series as a whole has turned into utter nonesense, and Erikson's series will surpass it, that Jordan's WOT laid down the foundation/standard for most modern world buidling in the genre, not only taht ones that actually sale. It could be said I cannot stand Jordan, and I wouldn't argue the point, however I by no means can say that his influnence as a worldbuilder is not evident in works such as Erickson's and the scope of his work is not lost on me when enjoying a series like aSoIaF. Erikson's work is fresher, newer, his world very nicely done, but Jordan did it like 20 years ago, and in my opinion opened doors for people to make what detractors would call "long-winded, excesively long, character driven series" (Which happen to be my favorite kind it seems:). The blueprint was set then, yes many have expanded on it, and even added nice storylines to go with it (ala Martin, Erikson, Bakker, Keyes etc), and even surpassed it in quality of series, but it's painfully obvious for me to see what series they read for influences on thier world building.

"As for Gygax, Forgotten Realms isn't in the same league at all."


Strangely enough, I never thougth I'd be the one to defend shared-world books:). Besides the point that I think these lines represent the lesser works of fantasy (call me a snob), I find it very for a line that has existed for 25 years, and had numerous different authors, making numerous different stories in a setting that has fed the the genre for years with new fans (weather I like them or not) not to be able to be in the same "league" with Erikson. The characterization may not be thier, the over all writing talent, the plots not near so complex or engaging, however to discount the worldbuilding of what truly kept this genre alive for years (the years before we were spoiled by such epic undertakings like aSoIaf, WOT, Mazaalan etc) is beneath me.
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Postby Epor » Sun Oct 31, 2004 1:37 am

Quote:
"I find Erikson to be superior to both Jordan and Gygax as a worldbuilder. Jordan good --> Erikson better. "


I would agree final product as it stands now will end up surpassing Jordan's WOT, like many authors will, given time. But to put it in context I would argue tha although it is my opinion the WOT series as a whole has turned into utter nonesense, and Erikson's series will surpass it, that Jordan's WOT laid down the foundation/standard for most modern world buidling in the genre, not only taht ones that actually sale.

WoT is not a final product either, though I guess it doesn't seem too likely that it will get any better. Laid the foundation? I don't see why you would elevate WoT above other works in the way you seem to be doing. Being the first to do something is worth some recognition, sure, but Jordan is not the first, not even close. The world of WoT, apart from the overall quality of the series, is a fine achievement. I find Erikson's world to be superior as it is now, and the gap will only continue to grow as more books come out, I imagine.

It could be said I cannot stand Jordan, and I wouldn't argue the point, however I by no means can say that his influnence as a worldbuilder is not evident in works such as Erickson's and the scope of his work is not lost on me when enjoying a series like aSoIaF. Erikson's work is fresher, newer, his world very nicely done, but Jordan did it like 20 years ago, and in my opinion opened doors for people to make what detractors would call "long-winded, excesively long, character driven series" (Which happen to be my favorite kind it seems:). The blueprint was set then, yes many have expanded on it, and even added nice storylines to go with it (ala Martin, Erikson, Bakker, Keyes etc), and even surpassed it in quality of series, but it's painfully obvious for me to see what series they read for influences on thier world building.

What's so painful about it? Assuming that Jordan was the supreme worldbuilder, and that other authors are following in his footsteps in the way they create their worlds (a statement I do not agree with at all) while surpassing him in their storylines and characters, why would that influence be a bad thing? A writer can't exist in a vacuum, and everything they have read will somehow influence their writing. That doesn't mean that by preceding one supersedes, if anything the opposite is more likely to be true.

Quote:
"As for Gygax, Forgotten Realms isn't in the same league at all."


Strangely enough, I never thougth I'd be the one to defend shared-world books:). Besides the point that I think these lines represent the lesser works of fantasy (call me a snob), I find it very for a line that has existed for 25 years, and had numerous different authors, making numerous different stories in a setting that has fed the the genre for years with new fans (weather I like them or not) not to be able to be in the same "league" with Erikson.

Quantity < quality. It's nice that the TSR books have introduced people to fantasy, and I too read them with great enthusiasm once. That, however does not make Gygax a great worldbuilder. Separate issues.

The characterization may not be thier, the over all writing talent, the plots not near so complex or engaging, however to discount the worldbuilding of what truly kept this genre alive for years (the years before we were spoiled by such epic undertakings like aSoIaf, WOT, Mazaalan etc) is beneath me.

There is lots of good fantasy before the ones you mention, and they have nothing to do with Gygax. Le Guin, Moorcock, Vance, Peake, etc.

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Postby BornofFantasy » Sun Oct 31, 2004 2:10 am

"WoT is not a final product either, though I guess it doesn't seem too likely that it will get any better. Laid the foundation? I don't see why you would elevate WoT above other works in the way you seem to be doing. Being the first to do something is worth some recognition, sure, but Jordan is not the first, not even close. The world of WoT, apart from the overall quality of the series, is a fine achievement. I find Erikson's world to be superior as it is now, and the gap will only continue to grow as more books come out, I imagine. "

Simply becasue WOT was a huge expansive series that sold, I am well aware of Leguin, Moorcock, Donaldson, Williams, Eddings, Zealany and many others before including Frank Herbert I need no history lesson because I was there:), however you are forgetting they wrote in the ages in which fanatsy was a very small subculture. It wasn't even 25 years ago, where the fanatsy sub-culture did not have the manstream appeal it does not. It wasn't 2o years ago when fans were "closet" fans of the genre, when names such as "trekkies" was being used. It wasn't even 20 years ago when you could get a fan to admit he enjoyed fantasy, those who looked over their shoudler while in the fantasy section of the bookstore. I'm not saying Jordan was the first, far from it, however in my opinion his series series was the first expansive series, in an era that fantssy was garnering mainstream attention.

Will people please use somrthing besides thier disdane for Jodran (which I admittedly share), as a excuse not to give credit where it is due.

"Assuming that Jordan was the supreme worldbuilder, and that other authors are following in his footsteps in the way they create their worlds (a statement I do not agree with at all)"


A supreme worldbuilder, as I said before to another, if one discounts his obvious worldbuilding abilites, it is best to agree to disagree as it is supremely evident to me, and noted in he genre by many. thier can be no fruitful conversaton, when basic points are not agreed upon, just 2 people shouting back and forth.

"why would that influence be a bad thing?"


The influence is not bad, the fact that people do not recognize the influence is what I find disturbing.

"There is lots of good fantasy before the ones you mention, and they have nothing to do with Gygax. Le Guin, Moorcock, Vance, Peake, etc."


As I said before, I am well aware of who they are, their bodies of work, I in fact I won most of thier work I can list 100's more if it had any relevance to the discussion. Although I consider most those you listed gods in our genre (particualry Moorcock), and undertand thier huge contribution, Moorcock was a more a "new Wave" influence, and he among the others you lisited still produced woks in an era that did not prodcue the mainstream appeal to the genre, that allowoed publishers to see such works could be succesful in mass production publications, against other genre's in the industry.
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Postby Epor » Sun Oct 31, 2004 4:25 am

Simply becasue WOT was a huge expansive series that sold, I am well aware of Leguin, Moorcock, Donaldson, Williams, Eddings, Zealany and many others before including Frank Herbert I need no history lesson because I was there:), however you are forgetting they wrote in the ages in which fanatsy was a very small subculture.

I'm not forgetting it, I just don't find it relevant to this discussion.

Will people please use somrthing besides thier disdane for Jodran (which I admittedly share), as a excuse not to give credit where it is due.

A supreme worldbuilder, as I said before to another, if one discounts his obvious worldbuilding abilites, it is best to agree to disagree as it is supremely evident to me, and noted in he genre by many. thier can be no fruitful conversaton, when basic points are not agreed upon, just 2 people shouting back and forth.


I don't discount them, I merely find Erikson to be the better one out of the two. You are the one who responded to my opinion: "I find Erikson to be superior to both Jordan and Gygax as a worldbuilder. Jordan good --> Erikson better" with argument.

The influence is not bad, the fact that people do not recognize the influence is what I find disturbing.

If someone claimed there to be no influence they certainly would be looking at things narrowly.

As I said before, I am well aware of who they are, their bodies of work, I in fact I won most of thier work I can list 100's more if it had any relevance to the discussion. Although I consider most those you listed gods in our genre (particualry Moorcock), and undertand thier huge contribution, Moorcock was a more a "new Wave" influence, and he among the others you lisited still produced woks in an era that did not prodcue the mainstream appeal to the genre, that allowoed publishers to see such works could be succesful in mass production publications, against other genre's in the industry.

I am unsure what you mean with "I in fact I won most of thier work". In any case, the mainstream appeal of authors & their created worlds is a whole separate issue.

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Postby BornofFantasy » Sun Oct 31, 2004 6:34 am

"I am unsure what you mean with "I in fact I won most of thier work". In any case, the mainstream appeal of authors & their created worlds is a whole separate issue. "

typo error I meant as any would be able to sumise "own", since you brought up "narrow thinking", your missing the point Jordan's mainstream appeal does have significance for the reason I already stated. To use your language WOT=expansive universe=mainstream financhial success from a publishing standpoint=publishers giveing other authors an oppourtuniy to do so. To think WOT's early success in the market, particularly with the type of fantasy it was dealing with didn't open doors for works like Erikson and Martin. Publishers seeing that the fans of the genre would buy more then "bubblegum fantasy" in high numbers goes back to Jordan.

I am done with this subject, I post to share information, to learn, and pass on, not to take turns picking at ones post. You believe what you believe, I believe what I believe.
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Postby Epor » Sun Oct 31, 2004 8:52 am

You believe what you believe, I believe what I believe.


Yeah, let's just leave it at that. :)

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Postby Mithfânion » Sun Nov 07, 2004 7:17 am

Note:The Bonehunters, book VI, will be released in July '05.
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Postby ereine » Sun Nov 07, 2004 9:29 am

That's good news, though it's too long time away. Do you whose stories it will follow?
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Postby Mithfânion » Mon Nov 08, 2004 5:20 am

Here's the synopsis Miss

The seven Cities Rebellion has been crushed. Sha'ik Slain and now the Malaz 14th Army face one last rebel force, holed up in the city of Y'Ghatan. But this is a place of foreboding, for here, long ago, the Empire's greatest champion, Dassem Ultor, was slain and a tide of Malazan blood spilled. But elsewhere, agents of a far greater conflict have made their opening moves. The Crippled God has been granted a rightful place in the pantheon. The groundrules have changed, irrevocabley, terrifying. And the prize? Nothing less than existance itself....

In other words, we're getting back to the main story arc. Erikson has already stated the books will follow a much more linear story arc from now one, without the excursions like Midnight Tides. Which is cool because that means the story is so big that he needs those five books to really tell the main story arc.

You would expect a return from Dassem Ultor (or Traveller....) in the next book, given that synopsis, and a whoel host of supernatural creatures. I personally think that he will introduce his Dragons now, he did say they were going to feature in later books and that they would be quite interesting (and of course hugely intimidating since they managed to subdue the Forkrul Assail).
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Postby ereine » Mon Nov 08, 2004 6:58 am

That sounds very interesting and I'm glad that it'll return to the main story, things are complicated enough already :)

The Traveller intrigued me with his quite brief visit and I thought that he had to be Dassem Ultor, though I can't remember now why I came at the conclusion.
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Postby undomiel » Mon Nov 29, 2004 12:48 pm

I finally got Gardens of the Moon from my library! I began reading it on friday and I wish I had more time to devote to reading because it's definetly an interesting book. As it is I find myself avoiding housework, phone calls and other distractions to read. I haven't read a book this complex in some time and I'm enjoying it. Though I would ask for less suspense. Would it kill him to tell you what's going on and what people's plans are every once in a while? Everytime you're on the verge of learning something he switches scenes. Half of the time I feel lost. I have no idea what's going on or even what the point of the story is. What is the goal?

Still, even with him keeping my in the dark, it is a well written book. I'm only about halfway through. Hopefully I will actually learn something by the end.
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Postby Epor » Sat Dec 11, 2004 11:54 am

Gardens of the Moon really does leave a lot of things unanswered. It's a good idea to re-read it once you've read the next few books, and many things will be seen in a new light. At times it felt like GotM was the Nth part of a long running series instead of the first part. Erikson doesn't underestimate his readers, which is something I like. :)

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Postby TheMightyRincewind » Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:27 pm

Mithfânion wrote:In other words, we're getting back to the main story arc. Erikson has already stated the books will follow a much more linear story arc from now one, without the excursions like Midnight Tides. Which is cool because that means the story is so big that he needs those five books to really tell the main story arc.


Yay, I hope we'll see more of the Cap'n (Paran) in that book. And I'd also be interested to hear more about those unwittingly ascended Malzan soldiers...
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Postby Elkay2 » Thu Jan 20, 2005 12:34 pm

Just picked up Gardens of the Moon. Wanted to read it badly because of this board and this http://archive.salon.com/books/review/2004/06/21/erikson/Salon.com review.
The detail is amazing. Only 50 pages in and I find myself going back and re-reading passages just to make sure I didn't miss something since I tend to be a fast reader. I hope the blue skin of the Empress and the gray skin of the Claw eventually will be explained. :D

PS the US cover is terrible. I'm a middle-aged woman who feels the obligation to read this covertly -- ie, at home, not on the Metro or on the airplane -- because the cover makes it look like something only a geeky adolescent boy would read....
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Postby Mithfânion » Sat Jan 22, 2005 4:12 am

I agree, the cover is horrible. The cover for the US edition of Deadhouse Gates, book II, was very bad too. Fortunately they changed it and have now simply adopted the UK cover.

Here's the synopsis for The Bonehunters:

" The sixth volume in Steven Erikson's truly epic fantasy sequence, The Malazan Book of the Fallen. There’s nothing like sweeping up tag-ends to change the world. The Seven Cities Rebellion has been crushed. Sha’ik slain by Tavore, the Malazan forces pacifying city after city on the troubled subcontinent, and one last rebel army, under the reluctant, embittered command of Leoman of the Flails, is pursued to the ancient and infamous city of Y’Ghatan by Tavore and the Fourteenth Army. Dogged by self-doubt and ill omens, the 14th must lay siege to the city, and Adjunct Tavore must seek to outwit Leoman of the Flails, the deadliest foe she has ever faced. Into this fraught scenario come both new and familiar characters. Among the latter, Heboric Ghost Hands, journeying to redress an old wrong. Apsalar, haunted by possession and now the principal agent of Cotillion, Patron of Assassins, marking a trail with blood and dripping daggers. Cutter, the killer who had once been a thief in Darujhistan, fleeing a shattered heart. Karsa Orlong, a warrior hunting his destiny. And two old friends, traveling companions, Mappo and Icarium, wandering once more the ravaged wastelands, Icarium seeking the ancient truths of his own life, Mappo seeking to keep those truths from him, at all costs. All, searching for such fates as they might fashion with their own hands, guided by their own will. If only the gods would leave them alone. Alas, the gods are disinclined to be kind, now that knives have been unsheathed, and there shall be war, war in the heavens."

Erikson said the POV's will be mostly soldiers (which doesn't exactly excited me, too mundane).
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Postby Mithfânion » Mon Feb 14, 2005 1:55 pm

Just noting that book VI has been delayed, The Bonehunters will now be published in February 2006.
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Postby Feline » Tue Mar 01, 2005 10:55 am

Hi everyone. I have a question.

I tried to read the first Malazan book (Gardens of the Moon?) some time ago, because I had heard so much praise for the series. So I read a few chapters (a hundred pages or so) and... then I gave up. The book just completely failed to suck me into the world. I can't quite put my finger on it. There were some things that annoyed me. Like some names. (I know this is kinda stupid, but sometimes, if I don't like a character's name (for example), and it stabs me in the eye twenty times per page I get really annoyed. Sometimes I get used to it, sometimes I don't.) And there was a bit too much magic to my taste, but this may be because I had just read Martin. ;) I don't know. These were definitely not the only reasons why I stopped reading.

Anyway, now I've heard that the first book isn't really that good compared to the later ones. At least according to some people. So I wanted to ask you if I should try another Malazan book. They are independent of each other, aren't they? Or did I give up too soon on the first one? Should I give it another shot?
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Gardens of the Moon

Postby berencamlost7 » Wed Mar 02, 2005 5:07 pm

Give it another shot. Gardens is by common consent of Erikson fans the most difficult to read. He actually wrote the book 10 years before the second one, and it does have a somewhat disjointed structure, which can be disconcerting. Character building and character descriptions are at a minimum. Plot explanation often non existent. Info dumps similarly almost non existent. And what you do get is not fully explained.

Erikson has said that not all his characters know the truth of given situations, so why should his readers ? Indeed its easy to make assumptions about many occurances in GOTM but its not until the third book that you actually get to know the truth behind many characters actions.

All of the above can make GOTM a very hard read. But thats why I, and many other Erikson fans, like it.

What it does have spades of us excellent actions scenes, loads of intriguing half understood (at first) concepts, and a whole heap of cool races.

Things get better as you read each book, as you begin to get used to erikson's style, and I would put the third book memories of Ice up there with A Storm of Swords and The Silmarillion as the finest fantasy works I've ever read.

So definitely give it another go. Persevernce pays off with this guy. Took me a few goes to get into GOTM, and I'm so pleased I did.
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Postby Rhaegar » Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:01 am

The Malazan series could have been one of the greats... books 2 & 3 are as good as fantasy gets. Unfortunately, the rest of the series doesn't acheive these levels. The troublesome first book stops many readers in their tracks. And the fourth book shows an alarming drop in quality, IMO. Mr. Erikson churns out these complex books quite quickly, and it shows.
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Postby Mithfânion » Fri Mar 04, 2005 1:12 pm

Well the sixth one will certainly take it's time and there'll be more than enough time to edit and.......edit..and..............edit.
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Postby Feline » Sun Mar 06, 2005 4:23 am

OK, I'll try it again some time. When I have lots of time. :P I think part of the problem was that I tried to read it in small bits before going to bed, and I was often tired after work. Maybe not the ideal state of mind for this book.
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Postby Epor » Thu Mar 17, 2005 11:27 am

After Memories of Ice anything short of brilliant would seem like a drop in quality. Compared to almost anything else, House of Chains shines. What are "the greats" you think the Malazan series is unable to equal?

I found Deadhouse Gates harder to read than Gardens, although the way you know very little (and most of that turns out to be false) during Gardens can be disconcerting, unless you like that sort of thing.

Bite the sacred apple
suck the poison
enjoy the taste
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