I just saw this over at The Wertzone, in relation to the tenth anniversary of Steven Erikson’s Malazan novels.
it is now ten years since Gardens of the Moon, the first novel in Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series, was published. Preceded by tremendous reviews (JV Jones’ review in SFX and the Stephen Donaldson cover-quote were probably instrumental in the book being as successful as it was), the book led to no less than nine sequels (seven of which have already been published) and Erikson becoming one of the most-discussed epic fantasy authors of modern times.
I’m not a genre writer who shuns the genre, and Erikson really brings out the fanboy in me. Although I’m only four books in —and it’ll take a good while until I get anywhere near finishing the series— I love it. This really is one of the most pleasing, immersive and challenging epic fantasy series I’ve ever known. I remember reading Memories of Ice and actually being awestruck at what Erikson was trying to achieve, and it really isn’t often that happens to me as a reader. The sheer scale, the sheer depth, the history—it’s incredible. The guy can slap down good prose, too. And to be able to produce one of these books a year, every year, on schedule, is an immense feat as a writer.
I’m in the middle of Memories of Ice right now. It’s…well, it’s intimidating as a writer. But a joy as a reader.
That’s my favourite of the ones I’ve read by a long way. Not a small-scale project, by any means…
Memories of Ice is the book most often cited by fans as Erikson’s best in the series Mark and one of the the best fantasy novels in recent years.
I still hold to the belief that the longer a series becomes the more it is subject to the law of dimishing returns.
Of the three still ongoing ‘biggies’ out there: Song of Ice and Fire, Malazan and Wheel of Time, even the most die-hard fans seem tempered by more recent volumes. It would take another order of supreme genius to sustain the quality over that length with a central story arc and such a human does not exist. Even Shakespeare and Wagner stopped at something akin to tetralogies, I think!
It is heartening to hear a fantasy novelist out there who doesn’t say, knee-jerk: “I don’t read other fantasy”. Hope for the rest of us!
A series I keep on meaning to get into, but never quite get round to.
As Nick says above, great to see an author recommending other stuff for people to read!