Malazan Empire: This is not a Tale of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach - Malazan Empire

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This is not a Tale of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach rather a treatise on the relationship between artist and audience

#1 User is offline   DurhangAddict 

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 05:40 PM

Like other Bauchelain & Korbal Broach tales, Crack'd Pot Trail is a fun, macabre romp filled with sex, violence and a little rustleaf. So why do I say this is not a B & KB tale?

Spoiler


The focus of the tale is on the Nehemothanai (various warriors hunting B&KB for various reasons) and the group of pilgrims and artists unfortunate enough to be sharing the trail with them. How this group comes to be travelling together isn't part of the story - after the narrator introduces himself and describes the characters travelling together, the tale picks up on the twenty third night of their journey.

Supplies have run dangerously low, and much like the real world where "might makes right" you can bet it won't be the Nehemothanai who will be going without.

The story follows the travellers through to the twenty fifth day of their journey, where all the while the artists are pitted against each other to, shall we say, sing for their supper.

Over the course of the journey, the stories and songs woven by the artists are used to explore the nature of art, inspiration and the creative process, the relationship between artist and audience (both disinterested and adoring) and the critics.

Of the stories and songs told, my favourites would have to be "Night Of The Assassin" and a dark, untitled story about a mortal Imass woman and her suffering village.

Other themes are explored using the non-artist characters, such as the nature of evil and the self-rationalization of it, control over others and the breaking of those bonds, revenge and redemption.

The story wraps up with some getting what they deserve, others getting what they do not deserve, and once again proof that for a sufficiently skilled artist, the word is mightier than the sword.

Now, a few more spoilers where I mention some of my favourite moments.

Spoiler

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#2 User is offline   Urizen 

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 11:00 PM

What about the new characters, where they as good as those we see in the previous novels?

Spoiler

" Ah, I despair, or I would if I cared enough. No, instead, I will make some ashcakes. Which I will not share."
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#3 User is offline   DurhangAddict 

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 01:00 AM

Absolutely - it's a very character driven story. Mr. Erikson certainly hasn't lost his touch in producing fascinating characters.

As for the noblewoman in the carriage:

Spoiler

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#4 User is offline   kcf 

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Posted 22 January 2010 - 04:57 AM

This was very well done. And I must say, Erikson has balls - balls that Steven Colbert would envy. I think every writer dreams of writing this book.


And he totally had me fooled

Spoiler


I'll post a full review sometime tomorrow.
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#5 User is offline   Salk Elan 

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 12:30 PM

It's simply brilliant, how Mr. Erikson gives the reader (or should we say 'Critic' maybe?) the feel of superiority over the Nehemothanai by subtly convincing us, that
Spoiler
, only to reveal the truth on the last two pages. Thus it deserves the name, for it actually IS a Tale of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach in the readers mind until that very point.

It's also very bold to hold the mirror up to one's own readers, as he does in this book, but that is certainly deserved (though I wouldn't go so far as to say I would like to eat his heart or scoop out his brain ;)).

Besides, does anyone know for certain, where this fascination with cannibalism comes? :) (Aside from the general human tendency to destroy ourselves.)
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#6 User is offline   Hoods Balls 

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Posted 02 February 2010 - 05:56 PM

Finnished crack'd pot trail a week ago - heavy laughing. The book is disgusting, and I mean that in the best sense. The literary experiment wich I think the series about Korbal and Bauchelain is, brings out some of SE best (and most disgusting sides :) ). I recommend it warmly even though it doesn't have so much to do with the world of Malaz and Korbal & Bauchelain. And I certainly got fooled again. Damn clever that Man is.

My absolute favourite part, if I have to choose one, is the song about Kalam and the Empress. I fell off my chair when I read it.

Keep em' coming Steven - I will continue buying them!

This post has been edited by Hoods Balls: 02 February 2010 - 06:06 PM

The superfluous, that very necessary thing

How to cheat Death: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=38...03730&hl=sv
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#7 User is offline   Ribald 

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 04:15 AM

I have to admit that I absolutely love this book and for several different reasons.

The first has already been discussed here and that is its nature as a KB & B novella. I just thought that it was a brilliant concept that was really well executed.

Linked to that that is the second reason and that is the sheer audacity that Erikson displays in playing with reader expectations and deliberately defying genre tropes. He takes the fantasy 'rule book' and throws it so far out the window that it probably crossed borders. In fact I think it was closely followed by the 'how to write a novel' guidebook. The long meandering character introduction, then followed by a recap. Absolutely brilliant and so far removed from what we have been trained to expect. The sex scenes, the swearing and the non typical ending all seem to blow apart genre norms and do it so well. So the confidence and verve that Erikson displays are definitely a reason to pick this up.

The play on Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is an added point of delight and another reason to read it. Anyone who has to read Chaucer or study the Canterbury Tales should read this simply to see a modern re-interpretation of Chaucer's classic. That is not to say that Erikson has ripped off Chaucer, but rather the parallels are fascinating and one has to assume deliberate and add to your enjoyment of both stories. His play with the form and type is simply sublime in places.

A fourth point are the themes of the relationships between artist and critic, between authors/artists themselves, and between author and audience. This is an amazing and highly entertaining insight into the mind of an author and an exploration of how authors as artists feel about their readers and critics and contemporaries. So it is a revealing study of the highs and lows that an author can experience and the frustrations and joys of the job. In particular I loved the discussions between the humble narrator and the smug critic. Posted Image

A fifth point is for fans of the Malazan series and applies to all the KB & B novellas. These novellas are wonderful little glimpses into the rest of the world, far removed from the massive sweeping events and the little touches and connections show the intricacy of the world that Esselmont and Erikson created. It adds to the rich tapestry created and so even if it doesn't advance the overall plots of the main series you just have to read it.

The last point, and by no means the least, is the humour. I can only guess that Erikson was laughing his ass off the entire time he was writing this. You can almost hear him chuckling to himself as you read. It is so entertaining and you really appreciate the fun he had writing it. And because of the joy Erikson obviously had in writing it you feel that almost as a contagion. It is just a great read read and I loved it.

Anyway, effusions aside, it is a great book and I now have to order copies for friends.
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#8 User is offline   Bonesaw85 

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 04:45 AM

Anyone know if this book will be in the "tales of bauchelain and korbal broach volume 2"?
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#9 User is offline   Imperial Historian 

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Posted 09 February 2010 - 11:11 AM

I have to agree I loved this book, I always like Erikson's short stories (personally I think he shows his best writing in them), and this one is one of the best.

RE publishing in a new collection, probably in the future, but maybe not in a B&KB collection, I suspect these books might lead to a new series focused around another character.
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#10 User is offline   Astra 

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Posted 12 February 2010 - 02:37 PM

Is it from Malazan world?
How thick is the novel (how many pages)?

Ta.

This post has been edited by Astra: 12 February 2010 - 02:37 PM

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#11 User is offline   Astra 

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Posted 14 February 2010 - 10:07 PM

View PostAstra, on 12 February 2010 - 02:37 PM, said:

Is it from Malazan world?
How thick is the novel (how many pages)?

Ta.


Bump! :rolleyes:
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#12 User is offline   End of Disc One 

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 03:54 AM

View PostAstra, on 14 February 2010 - 10:07 PM, said:

View PostAstra, on 12 February 2010 - 02:37 PM, said:

Is it from Malazan world?
How thick is the novel (how many pages)?

Ta.


Bump! :rolleyes:


181 pages.
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#13 User is offline   Imperial Historian 

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:25 AM

and yes it is set in the malazan world
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#14 User is offline   Astra 

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 01:40 PM

£20 too much for 181p for me :D

Will wait for ebook version.
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#15 User is offline   pat5150 

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 04:02 AM

Sadly, this is the first work by SE that I could never get into. :bs:

I was expecting our two favorite necromancers and their manservant, not reflections on the definition of art, artists, inspiration, etc. Took me well over a week to finish a novella!

Disappointed. . .

Patrick
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#16 User is offline   Harvester 

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 01:43 PM

View PostAstra, on 16 February 2010 - 01:40 PM, said:

£20 too much for 181p for me ;)

Will wait for ebook version.


This not a novel, it's a novella and it looks awesome. It's a really nice CE with pictures and the like. I am afraid of touching it, though. :bs:

btw. I have found a bunch of rare Erikson on Ebay.

http://stores.ebay.c...son&submit=find

This post has been edited by Harvester: 06 May 2010 - 01:48 PM

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#17 User is offline   caladanbrood 

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 02:03 PM

View Postpat5150, on 06 May 2010 - 04:02 AM, said:

Sadly, this is the first work by SE that I could never get into. :bs:

I was expecting our two favorite necromancers and their manservant, not reflections on the definition of art, artists, inspiration, etc. Took me well over a week to finish a novella!

Disappointed. . .

Patrick

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#18 User is offline   pat5150 

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 03:16 AM

Holy crap! :bs: Someone has it worst than me!

Seriously, I've loved everything Malazan thus far. But this novella turned out to be a major disappointment. . .

Patrick
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#19 User is offline   Abalieno 

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 03:44 AM

But it is disappointing only because it doesn't fulfill the expectation of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach being there, and maybe because it has a personal theme that some reader may consider uninteresting or distant from themselves.

I actually admire that Erikson experiments wildly and didn't just retreaded water. I think the novella was as high in quality as the previous, actually better than two of them. But I can also see very well that its theme isn't going to be so loved by a public as large as the one that may enjoy the previous three.

It's a more "niche" and personal kind of novel, but surely no lower in quality.
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#20 User is offline   pat5150 

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 03:30 PM

Which is the reason why it shouldn't have been billed as a Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novella. I have nothing against authors experimenting with styles and tones, etc. Just be up front about the fact that it's not what people expect it to be. Having Reese and Bauchelain appear in the last two pages of the book just doesn't cut it to make it a Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novella, methinks...

Patrick
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