Monday, September 6

Steve Erikson explains himself

Of course there are three storm-clouds. Of course this detail is relevant. It's how short stories work.
This in regard to a small detail in the first installment of his 10 doorstopper series...
It may sound odd, but this is the essence of what makes the Malazan Tales of the Fallen at the same time so wonderful and yet hard to get into. Erikson writes his bookstoppers with the same intensity of prose as if they wore short storeis, with every line having deeper meaning. No filler.

Read the full gem of explanation here.


  1. Gardens of the Moon is the first book I've bought in roughly 15 yrs and the first fiction book I've attempted to read in almost as long, probably not a wise route back in to reading but Ghosts of Ascalon, which would have been a lot gentler, was nowhere to be seen in the few outlets I visited.

    Complex, confusing, taxing my memory for names and has the audacity to expect me to work for my escapism, I'm not even sure if high fantasy is the right kind of fiction for me BUT....

    The mans ability to create an atmosphere, a setting, a snippet of another time and place within a few words or a few lines impressed me. The feel of the relationships between characters impressed me the most, there was one line early in the book that really made me sit up, pay attention and know what was happening and in whose hand the power lay, it was a simple line that in context worked beautifully.

    Relationships are complex and there are probably a myriad webs of intrigue I'm unaware of so far, but those brief yet powerful descriptions of the moment keep me working to discover the whole and provide an anchor point.

    In short, from an illiterate, he's good :)

  2. He he, I seem to recall warning you it may not be the easiest book to pick up after such a long hiatus.
    One of the great things about Erikson's work is those sometimes brief, sometimes lengthier bits that really resonate with you. When you're such a bookophile like me and reread them you'll find what resonates can differ between reads. In part because of all the references you're only getting on the second or third reread.

    Remember the Jack Nicholson quote "You want the Truth? You CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!", well with Gardens of the Moon and the second and third books it's a bit like that, only substitude Truth with Foreshadowing for full effect :-)

    Gardens is the most approacahble of the series by the way, on acount of starting life as a movie script, hence the over-the-top rooftop chases. There's plenty more over the top movie-like epicness in the latter books though. There's this assassin's fight on the cold streets of Malaz city in #2 or the taking of an important city in #3.
    But Erikson's true epicness lies not in his cinematic scenes but the emotional barrages he lets loose at you, the whole doomed Chain fo Dogs in #2 for one, and the poignant burial of a Destriant in book #3 which manages to overshadow just about everything else for emotional content that happens in that book.

  3. Great explanation! I am sure I missing at least half of the details. Reading my new copy of #3 now. I had already once read it half way through a year ago. So I tried to continue where I left of but that is hard!