Malazan Empire: Submit your question for a new Steven Erikson interview - Malazan Empire

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Submit your question for a new Steven Erikson interview

#1 User is offline   pat5150 

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 04:34 AM

Hey folks,

It's been a while since my last Q&A with SE, and he was kind enough to accept my invitation to chat. So as always, I welcome fans' questions. But for fuck's sake, nothing that will get a RAFO (read and find out) answer. Every time I do this, I get loads and loads of dumbass questions everyone knows Erikson will never answer. So please, nothing that would get us a RAFO answer. It won't even be considered. . .

As was the case in previous interviews, the most interesting questions will be selected to be part of the Q&A. ;)

Cheers,

Patrick
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#2 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 02:20 PM

Considering the anthropological basis for your work and the manner in which you mange to weave a story without resorting to the tired tropes of Judeo-Christian mythology, and accounting for the refusal to make subtextual judgments about morality per se, who has the biggest cock in the books?
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#3 User is offline   Abalieno 

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 02:52 PM

Can I go with a much more elaborate and lengthy question than usual? It's a rather delicate matter and I don't want to be misunderstood.

I'll try:

- There has been quite an heated, ungenerous debate on forums about a presumed lack of editing and care for consistency on your part. We already know your stance, as a writer caught in the process of writing, about the push to drive the story forward to its ultimate destination while fighting and struggling against the tangle of details threatening to take you down. But once the thing will be wrapped up and finished it would make sense, maybe, to step out and take it as a whole to straighten those missteps and inconsistencies that have slipped through and that were kind of unavoidable with such an impossibly broad scope and ambitious series. For example the latest HC 10 Anniversary Edition of GotM has the 1st version of the text with even the simplest errors and inconsistencies still there (example: Dujek being called High Mage instead of High Fist pag.50, or the wrong warren name used by Quick Ben pag.98), but there are also more complicated matters, intricacies and various aspects that could be improved in GotM and other books. Most of these little mistakes, timeline problems and whatnot are concerns of overly dedicated fans who love to track the details and explore the text in every direction, so I'd like to ask if you have ever considered and are vaguely interested in ever doing this kind of laundry/polishing work that obviously couldn't be done in the first pass without succumbing to the text, but that opens now as a viable opportunity (at least from your own position as a writer, not considering the publisher's demand) to thoroughly content Everyone, really.

I'd really as to pass to Erikson the question in its unabridged form and let him choose whether to answer it or not. If he can write a 400k words book he'll have excuse me if my question is longer than usual...

This post has been edited by Abalieno: 09 November 2009 - 03:49 PM

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#4 User is offline   champ 

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 03:42 PM

Have you ever altered or developed your series story due to fans feedback / book reaction from what you had already planned for future novels and if so is there any stand out moment that springs to mind?

and/or

Has yours and ICE's vision of the Malazan world and where your aiming to end up with the series changed at all over the years you have been writing.

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 05:10 PM

Here's three:

I'm wondering about your sense of timing the 'mood' of a scene in the course of a book. Do you start writing a scene with the intent to make it comedy because you feel it's the right time for a laugh (by example, following on a particularly grim series of events you decide it's time to lighten the tone), or does it evolve as you wright out the scene (the plot calls for two characters to decide on a course of action and in writing the dialogue you decide it works best as a funny scene), or another way?


Anything at all you're willing to say about the Rake and/or Toblakai trilogies? Anything? Anything at all? Even if it's completely false and misleading and years from now we all look back and groan at how completely you played us (again ;) )?


My love for the Malazan books has no limits, but I really enjoyed The Devil Delivered and was wondering whether you have plans to write another futurist/sf book at some point?



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#6 User is offline   WhiskeyJackDaniels 

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 05:19 PM

Not sure if anyone has ever asked Erikson this before...

The world that you and ICE have created has more depth (in the amount of characters and places and their development) by far than any fantasy series I've ever read. I've read that this is due to the fact that you created the world and characters many years ago as a game. But I think its improbable that you created everyone before you started writing the books. Can you tell us which characters were from the original world you created, and which were created specifically for the books? Doesn't have to be a list, but maybe just a couple examples of characters that you thought needed to be added to make the story work better.
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#7 User is offline   Ulrik 

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 07:05 PM

Here´s mine, pls, if chosen, can anyone rewrite it into english from my czecho-english babbling? ;)

I have to admit that your anthropologist insight gives MBoF mark of unique feeling, which rarely some other author reach.
We have seen fall of White Face clan as society devouring itself (let´s put Draconus aside). You showed us Edurs and Teblors who went into ignorant primitivism, Seven Cities fragmentarised for ever, Seguleh turned into strictly isolated group chained by strict code of laws, even Malazan Empire looks to be at peak before shattering (parallel to Roman Empire?). Do you think that every nation or civilization awaits same destiny?
And thank you for Hetan/ Toolan storyline in DoD. Although I had to put book away for a day and got really bad mood, this are moments why are your books so excellent.
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#8 User is offline   alt146 

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 07:34 PM

All of your novels have several themes which are present throughout the length of the book - referrenced by the narration and characters, or simply made evident through the plot itself. These often set the tone of the book and add a lot to atmosphere - thoughts on the cyclical nature of civilisations while the characters are in the ruins of Raraku, Nimanders musings on the nature of leadership leading up to the finale of Toll the Hounds etc. Do you choose these themes before you start writing, or do they simply develop as you write? Do any of the themes have special meaning for you (other than the obvious links to anthropology and archeology)? And what would you say is the overarching theme of the series as a whole?
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#9 User is offline   wolf_2099 

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 07:41 PM

View PostCougar, on 09 November 2009 - 02:20 PM, said:

Considering the anthropological basis for your work and the manner in which you mange to weave a story without resorting to the tired tropes of Judeo-Christian mythology, and accounting for the refusal to make subtextual judgments about morality per se, who has the biggest cock in the books?



Dude. We know it's Ubula Pung.
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#10 User is offline   Sinisdar Toste 

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 09:56 PM

View Postwolf_2099, on 09 November 2009 - 07:41 PM, said:

View PostCougar, on 09 November 2009 - 02:20 PM, said:

Considering the anthropological basis for your work and the manner in which you mange to weave a story without resorting to the tired tropes of Judeo-Christian mythology, and accounting for the refusal to make subtextual judgments about morality per se, who has the biggest cock in the books?



Dude. We know it's Ubula Pung.

he calls it the "Horse" for Hood's sake
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#11 User is offline   D'rek 

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 04:22 AM

A bunch of short ones on geography for me. I don't think any of these are likely to be RAFO answers, but I suppose anything is possible.


1. Jacuruku - East or West of Korel? (there seems to be some contradictions in different books)
2. Where is Quaint in the wider world?
3. Where is the Wrecker's Coast (where Mappo and Gruntle go in TtH) in the wider world?
4. The malaziworld is physically similar to our own. Did/do you make an effort to justify the climates of different areas of your world according to our own standards?

This post has been edited by D'rek: 12 November 2009 - 04:42 AM

 worrywort, on 14 September 2012 - 08:07 PM, said:

I kinda love it when D'rek unleashes her nerd wrath, as I knew she would here. Sorry innocent bystanders, but someone's gotta be the kindling.
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#12 User is offline   Silencer 

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 05:01 AM

View PostUlrik, on 09 November 2009 - 07:05 PM, said:

Here´s mine, pls, if chosen, can anyone rewrite it into english from my czecho-english babbling? :killingme:

I have to admit that your anthropologist insight gives MBoF mark of unique feeling, which rarely some other author reach.
We have seen fall of White Face clan as society devouring itself (let´s put Draconus aside). You showed us Edurs and Teblors who went into ignorant primitivism, Seven Cities fragmentarised for ever, Seguleh turned into strictly isolated group chained by strict code of laws, even Malazan Empire looks to be at peak before shattering (parallel to Roman Empire?). Do you think that every nation or civilization awaits same destiny?
And thank you for Hetan/ Toolan storyline in DoD. Although I had to put book away for a day and got really bad mood, this are moments why are your books so excellent.


Here you go:

Quote

I have to admit that your background as an anthropologist gives the MBotF a unique feel, which most other authors can rarely attain.
Over the course of the story, you have shown the White Face Clan devouring itself as a society (putting Draconus aside), the Tiste Edur and the Teblor stuck in ignorant, primitive states, Seven Cities fragmented and divided forever, the Seguleh turned into a strictly governed, isolated society, bound up in laws, and even the Malazan Empire, seeming to be at its peak, about to shatter and fall (a parallel to the Roman Empire?). Do you think that every nation or civilisation is doomed to a similar fate?*
And thank you for the Hetan/Tool storyline in Dust of Dreams. Although I had to put the book away for a day, and got in a really bad mood, this was a moment that represented the reason your books are so excellent.


*one could also mention the Letherii, bound as they are to the corruption and self-destructive, immoral obsession with money, and the Awl, deluded by their leaders, lost and ultimately destroyed in their entirety, and the various cultures consumed by both the Letherii and Malazan empires, if one was so inclined. That wasn't included in Ulrik's original question, though, so I've left them out. ;)
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#13 User is offline   caladanbrood 

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 07:06 AM

 Slightly broader question. Steve, after the massive Lord of the Rings films, do you look at the growing mainstream success of authors like George RR Martin and Neil Gaiman, following in the impressive footsteps of Terry Pratchett, and take comfort that genre fiction is starting to become more accepted as a whole by society? Do you think the perceived social stigma attached to it can ever be overturned so that authors such as yourself are compared on a level playing-field to those who write in other more widely "respected" genres? And, I suppose, do you actually care? 

This post has been edited by caladanbrood: 10 November 2009 - 07:38 AM

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#14 User is offline   Ulrik 

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 07:58 AM

View PostSilencer, on 10 November 2009 - 05:01 AM, said:

Here you go:
...




*one could also mention the Letherii, bound as they are to the corruption and self-destructive, immoral obsession with money, and the Awl, deluded by their leaders, lost and ultimately destroyed in their entirety, and the various cultures consumed by both the Letherii and Malazan empires, if one was so inclined. That wasn't included in Ulrik's original question, though, so I've left them out. :killingme:


Thank you, Great One! :killingme: Damn, when I see the "translation", I began to wonder how you guys are able to read my posts...;)


For Letherii and Awl, well, I though about them, but, well, there was enough examples and almost every state or civilisation in MBoF crashes (even without clashes), so... ;))

Thanks again
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#15 User is offline   Cougar 

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 09:47 AM

View Postcaladanbrood, on 10 November 2009 - 07:06 AM, said:

Slightly broader question. Steve, after the massive Lord of the Rings films, do you look at the growing mainstream success of authors like George RR Martin and Neil Gaiman, following in the impressive footsteps of Terry Pratchett, and take comfort that genre fiction is starting to become more accepted as a whole by society? Do you think the perceived social stigma attached to it can ever be overturned so that authors such as yourself are compared on a level playing-field to those who write in other more widely "respected" genres? And, I suppose, do you actually care?


I'm reading this as "will people ever stop mocking me for being a fantasy nerd?".

You can bet your arse that you already know what the answer to the last sentence is!
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#16 User is offline   Abalieno 

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 03:42 PM

I have another (but if only one can be made give priority to the first):

- While reading the three novellas I thought that the writing was especially brilliant and truly inspired, compared to the longer novels. So I'd like if you elaborated a bit on the difference of approach you have to this shorter form. You write these between or along longer books? And from your own point of view what is that makes them so different in flavor?

Oh, and the naughty question. I have many of these.

- What the hell happened (Bridgeburner-side) at Pale? What was Hairlock looking for? What was Shadowthrone's original plan and intent with Sorry? Why send her over to the other continent if the target was Laseen? Why even drawing Laseen and Lorn's attention in Ikto Kan instead of keeping a low profile? If Shadowthrone wanted Dujek on his side, why the belligerent approach? If Laseen's original plan was to support Dujek and the Bridgeburners, and if this loyalty was proven, why she didn't try to protect them better? Why not simply sending soldiers away from Pale instead of burying them alive in the tunnels or even worse standing around doing nothing while they get slaughtered in range-based combat with Rake?

IMPORTANT QUESTION: do you think the text is consistent enough to provide answers if looking hard enough, or there is a certain amount of inconsistent misdirection that slipped through, changing of plans between books, that is plaguing our attempts to decrypt things?

This post has been edited by Abalieno: 10 November 2009 - 03:48 PM

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#17 User is offline   caladanbrood 

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 04:48 PM

View PostCougar, on 10 November 2009 - 09:47 AM, said:

You can bet your arse that you already know what the answer to the last sentence is!

That's why I put it in Posted Image
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#18 User is offline   Illuyankas 

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 07:11 PM

If Kruppe, Pust, Tehol, Bugg, Shadowthrone and Karsa were all playing poker, who would win? Who'd walk away with the pot? And how long would it take before Karsa destroyed the table, the cards and possibly the players?
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#19 User is offline   Abyss 

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 07:43 PM

View PostAbalieno, on 10 November 2009 - 03:42 PM, said:

...
IMPORTANT QUESTION: do you think the text is consistent enough to provide answers if looking hard enough, or there is a certain amount of inconsistent misdirection that slipped through, changing of plans between books, that is plaguing my attempts to decrypt things?



Fixed.

- Abyss, isn't exactly plagued or even mildly infected.
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#20 User is offline   amphibian 

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Posted 10 November 2009 - 08:34 PM

View PostAbyss, on 10 November 2009 - 07:43 PM, said:

Fixed.

I think that's a great way to remind him gently that he's at least coming off as a troll, and such behavior isn't usually rewarded. Nice job.

I know there was a list of questions ready to go for the last appearance he made at a convention a couple months ago. Erikson unfortunately wasn't able to answer them at that time. Can anyone dig that back up and see if any of the questions are worth porting over to here?
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