Next SFF Author: Shea Ernshaw
Previous SFF Author: Louise Erdrich

SFF Author: Steven Erikson

Steven Erikson The Malazan Book of the Fallen review fantasy author(1959- )
Steven Erikson is an archaeologist and anthropologist and a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His Malazan Book of the Fallen series has met with widespread international acclaim and established him as a major voice in the world of fantasy fiction. He lives in Canada. Maps, chapter summaries, and genealogies can be found at  The Malazan website. Note: Ian Cameron Esslemont is a co-creator of the Malazan Empire and writes novels in that world.



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Gardens of the Moon: Erikson displays a prodigious imagination

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

It’s always a question for fantasy fans: do I really want to read a first book in yet another long series? Remember when we moaned about when everything was a trilogy — now I’ll be happy to take a simple three-book series. Wouldn’t it be great if you could tell ahead of time if the trip will be worth it? Well, thanks to the quirks of international publication, you can with the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Gardens of the Moon,


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Deadhouse Gates: What the heck is going on?

Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson

The only words that I can think of to sum up Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series are “Wow.” and “What the heck is going on here?!?” (I would have used stronger language, but this is a family website). Erikson appears to be doing something big and shiny, but I have not yet been quite able to grasp what it is. Maybe I am being dense, but this is the second of his books that I have read, and I have the pervasive feeling as I progress through this series that I am missing something important,


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Memories of Ice: This is one of those stories that hooked me

Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson

I sometimes find myself lost in this story’s complexity. I think I’m getting the general idea that the gods of this world have a more direct relationship with the mortals than what we’re used to, and that the tale here really started hundreds of thousands of years ago. Also, sometimes when it seems like I’ve missed something, it eventually comes together, more or less.

I also get very frustrated over the lack of visual descriptions. That may be only my own personal pet-peeve, because I have this complaint for a lot of today’s fantasy writers.


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House of Chains: Good but with some rough edges

House of Chains by Steven Erikson

Being the fourth entry in Steven Erikson’s sprawling series THE MALAZAN BOOK OF THE FALLEN, House of Chains continues with the storyline first started in Deadhouse Gates and somewhat loosely with the repercussions of the explosive climax to Memories of Ice. I won’t bother trying to summarize the setup of the book, and readers are expected to have knowledge of the previous books. So, if you have not yet read them — and I would suggest you give at least Gardens of the Moon a try — then I wouldn’t recommend reading this review.


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The Bonehunters: So complex

The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson

The Malazan Book of the Fallen has become so complex that it’s very difficult to keep all of the storylines in order. It’s totally worth the effort, but these books are not exactly the sort that you can just pick up and read quickly. The Bonehunters is no exception and I found myself jumping back to the reference of who’s who quite a bit.

I struggle to write this review because so much that I want to say would be spoiler material for people who are beginning the series. 


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Reaper’s Gale: Malazan redefines fantasy

Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson

In modern fantasy literature, there are certain select works that define the genre such as The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice & Fire, the Shannara novels by Terry Brooks, and Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant Chronicles among others.


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Dust of Dreams: The best LRMMVSTLB fantasy epic

Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson

So, a long-running, massive multi-volume fantasy epic is winding to a close, a close so big that the last book actually has to be split, and it’s still 800 pages long. What’s that? No, this is the other long-running massive multi-volume split-the-last-book fantasy epic. Not The Wheel of Time but Steven Erikson’s Malazan series, whose penultimate book, Dust of Dreams, moves us nearly to the close. And if I had to choose only one LRMMVSTLB fantasy epic for newbies to start?


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The Crippled God: Ends the preeminent fantasy of the past 20 years

The Crippled God by Steven Erikson

If you want a quick, partial sense of what’s in store in Steven Erikson’s The Crippled God, look no further than this conversation between two characters (to remain nameless so as to avoid spoilers):

“There are too many rogue players in this game. Icarium. Draconus. The First Sword of the T’lan Imass. Olar Ethil. Silchas Ruin, Tulas Shorn, Kilava — even Gruntle, the Mortal Sword of Treach. And now the Elient, and how many dragons have come or are coming through the gate?


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Bauchelain and Korbal Broach: A pair of joyfully destructive necromancers…

Bauchelain and Korbal Broach by Steven Erikson

Bauchelain and Korbal Broach collects three of Steven Erikson’s novellas set in the Malazan Empire series, certainly one of the most ambitious, and I’d say one of the best, epic fantasies going. The collection, which includes Blood Follows, The Lees at Laughter’s End, and The Healthy Dead, follows the exploits of its eponymous main characters, a pair of joyfully destructive necromancers we first met in book three of the larger series,


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Crack’d Pot Trail: Delectable

Crack’d Pot Trail by Steven Erikson

Crack’d Pot Trail is the fourth of Steven Erikson’s Malazan novellas following the exploits of Korbal Broach and Bauchelain, a pair of sinister necromancers whose dark side is often thrown into a grayer cast due to their situational context and the characters (often allegedly “purer” or “better”) that surround them. As with the earlier novellas, Erikson lightens up on the dense worldbuilding, labyrinthine layered plots, and casts of thousands of the larger series to focus on,


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The Wurms of Blearmouth: A short comic tale by Erikson

The Wurms of Blearmouth by Steven Erikson

The Wurms of Blearmouth is the fifth novella by Steven Erikson centered on his gloriously disruptive pair of “evil sorcerers” Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, along with their by-now-relatively-stoic servant Emancipator Reese. As with the prior four, this is a far lighter tale than his lengthy, dense, and often deeply serious MALAZAN series. The BAUCHELAIN AND BROACH tales are more comic, far shorter, with far fewer moments of Erikson’s trademark “philosphophizing” (though fewer does not mean no such moments).


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The Devil Delivered and Other Tales: I’d love to see more of Grandma Matchie

The Devil Delivered and Other Tales by Steven Erikson

I’m a huge fan of Steven Erikson’s massive MALAZAN EMPIRE series, which I consider one of the outstanding works of fantasy in the past few decades. I’m also a fan of his trilogy (Bauchelain and Korbal Broach) of novellas set in that same universe following the two eponymous characters and employing a healthy dose of black humor and satire. His new collection of novellas, The Devil Delivered and Other Tales, has no connection to the Malazan world at all,


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This River Awakens: Beautifully dark and very challenging

This River Awakens by Steven Erikson

Pretty much all you have to do is say Steven Erikson and I’m there. This River Awakens (2012) is far different from anything most people will think of when they hear the author’s name. It’s not set in a secondary world. It’s not epic fantasy. There isn’t a huge war or expanding empire in the core of the book. From what I understand, This River Awakens was Erikson’s first book and it’s more fiction and urban fantasy than anything else.


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Forge of Darkness: Absolutely works

Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson

My personal experience with prequels has been quite mixed. They too often have a rote, going-through-the-motions feel to them. You get the sense the author is simply, mechanically connecting the dots, reverse-engineering the prequel story from characters and events laid out in the original story: “Explained why they call that thingamabob a “graggle”? Check. Explained why everyone wears red now? Check. Why Character A is a jerk? Check.” While this may result in some readerly satisfaction — “Oh, so that’s why it’s a graggle. Cool!”— I’ve found this approach seldom ends up creating an organically compelling storyline or rich characterization.


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Fall of Light: Takes a while to get going, but rewards the patient reader

Fall of Light by Steven Erikson

OK, look. I’m just going to put it on the table early on. I had a tough time with the beginning of Steven Erikson’s Fall of Light. And by “beginning,” I mean the first 150-200 of its 800-plus pages. It wasn’t just the pace (though it was admittedly more than a little slow). Or all the new characters (though really, one wonders at some point how many Tiste we haven’t met, not to mention Jaghut,


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Willful Child: Erikson’s Star Trek parody

Willful Child by Steven Erikson

Let’s start with what needs to be said when reviewing a book like Steven Erikson’s Willful Child, a full-bore parody/homage to Star Trek: The Original Series. One, humor is wholly subjective. I, for instance, have never understood the allure of Adam Sandler. My wife, meanwhile, has never understood why I find Airplane funny (I could go on and on with that list, but one will suffice). So one person’s rib-splitting, laugh-out-loud bit will be another person’s “meh.”  Second,


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Wrath of Betty: Has its issues, but will still make you laugh (and think)

Wrath of Betty by Steven Erikson

If you’re going to parody a TV series, as Steven Erikson did with Star Trek in Willful Child, then you can’t stop at just one book, can you? Think of all those other episodes ripe for the plucking! And so we’re back for more interstellar hijinks with the crew of the Starship Willful Child and their erstwhile leader Captain James T–, er, Captain Hadrian Sawbuck as they face hostile aliens, robots run Amok,


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Magazine Monday: Adams Takes Over at Fantasy Magazine

John Joseph Adams, in recent years the editor of a raft of excellent anthologies on different science fiction, fantasy and horror themes, has now become the editor of Fantasy Magazine. The March 2011 issue is the first published under his red pencil, so to speak, and its mix of new and reprint fantasy material is promising. All content is free on the web, though ebook subscriptions and editions are available for sale.

“The Sandal-Bride,” by Genevieve Valentine, is about Sara, a woman who needs to travel from one land to another to join her husband,


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The Solaris Book of New Fantasy: Celebrates the rich diversity of the genre

The Solaris Book of New Fantasy by George Mann (ed.)

I’m pretty much a novice when it comes to short fiction. Because of my lack of experience in this area, I hope that you will bear with me as I try to provide a thoughtful and comprehensive analysis of The Solaris Book of New Fantasy, even if I don’t always succeed. The plan is to first look at each short story individually providing synopses and commentary, followed by my evaluation of the compilation as a whole. So, let’s look at the stories:

1) “Who Slays the Gyant,


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Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders

Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery is a book I’ve been eagerly anticipating ever since it was first announced in 2009. I was particularly excited about the anthology’s impressive list of contributors which includes several authors I enjoy reading like Glen Cook, Greg Keyes, Scott Lynch, Joe Abercrombie, Garth Nix, Tim Lebbon, Caitlin R.


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Neither Beg Nor Yield: Stories With S & S Attitude

Neither Beg Nor Yield: Stories With S&S Attitude by Jason M. Waltz (editor) & M.D. Jackson (illustrator)

I don’t know how aware SFF fandom is, but sword & sorcery has had a resurgence of late. Jason M. Waltz and most of the authors featured in Neither Beg Nor Yield have been champions of this subgenre, some for the past quarter century. Mr. Waltz first published sword & sorcery and other great heroic and weird fiction with Flashing Swords Press and later under his own micro-press, Rogue Blades Entertainment.


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Next SFF Author: Shea Ernshaw
Previous SFF Author: Louise Erdrich

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