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

#21 User is offline   anothevilbadguy 

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 03:44 PM

View Postpat5150, on 08 May 2010 - 03:30 PM, said:

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


But it not being about them was a quite central trick/joke/mystery. It is a novella, not a novel from the central series.
Anyway, I enjoyed it more than the previous three. Although at the time I had watched/read too much stuff about cannibals, as watched The Road same day as i read it. Made sleep sort of uneasy.
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#22 User is offline   pat5150 

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 12:02 AM

When one pays 20 pounds (which is the price of two novel-length hardbacks on Amazon.co.uk -- can't believe how fucking expensive books are in the UK) expecting a Bauchelain and Korbal Broach tale, one has a right to be disappointed by the fact that it's not. Crack'd Pot Trail is twice as expensive as Dust of Dreams was, so it's not like you're getting more bang for your buck (or pound). This collector edition novellas don't come cheap, so I feel they should have let fans know that it wasn't exactly a Bauchelain and Korbal Broach story...

God knows I love SE, but this one wasn't up to par...

Patrick
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#23 User is offline   anothevilbadguy 

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Posted 09 May 2010 - 01:49 AM

View Postpat5150, on 09 May 2010 - 12:02 AM, said:

When one pays 20 pounds (which is the price of two novel-length hardbacks on Amazon.co.uk -- can't believe how fucking expensive books are in the UK) expecting a Bauchelain and Korbal Broach tale, one has a right to be disappointed by the fact that it's not. Crack'd Pot Trail is twice as expensive as Dust of Dreams was, so it's not like you're getting more bang for your buck (or pound). This collector edition novellas don't come cheap, so I feel they should have let fans know that it wasn't exactly a Bauchelain and Korbal Broach story...

God knows I love SE, but this one wasn't up to par...

Patrick


Books generally are I have found a bit cheaper here, or there tend to be more cheap deals on Amazon. I do get where you are coming from, but i personally enjoyed the trick he played on us. It still was certainly mazalan, and did progress B&KB's story. Anyway you should give some of his other novellas a try, I found Revolvo the best. It deals with similar themes as Crack'd Pot, but I guess if you know that before hand you may be more interested. I do understand your feeling of 'betrayal'(couldn't think of a better word), but i do feel the humour and themes more than made up for the subterfuge.

This post has been edited by anothevilbadguy: 11 May 2010 - 01:07 PM

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#24 User is offline   caladanbrood 

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Posted 11 May 2010 - 08:52 AM

View PostAbalieno, on 08 May 2010 - 03:44 AM, said:

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.

It rather depends how you judge "quality". I have no problem at all with KB&B not featuring. It was a shame, because they, together with Mancy, are an excellent trio, but that is not the problem with this book.

I judge how good a book is on how much I enjoy reading it. Did I enjoy reading this? Barely :kallor: If he was trying to make a point about artists and their audiences, he should have made his point, and stopped qualifying it to dilute said point. Half the time I felt like the reader was being slapped around the face, the other half like there was some sort of artistic masochism going on. It ruined the flow of the book.

Not to mention that Flicker just irritated the hell out of me.
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#25 User is offline   cauthon 

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 12:25 PM

There are some fair points raised here. But the book is about BC and KB, I think. They are the reason for the party being together, and like others here, I have long suspected them to be hiding in the carriage, even though that may have been too obvious. I do admit that you have to read it with a different mindset from the other novella's, but that does not detract from it's worth. Try rereading, without expecting to meet the necromancer and his entourage. It's a funny book, gruesome and loaded with quite interesting pieces. But hey, YMMV.
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Posted 17 February 2011 - 10:29 AM

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

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

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


I don't blame you for feeling let down. It has just about nothing to do with B&KB, but the book is being marketed as a tale of B&KB (I checked amazon)? I hope SE wasn't involved in that. It seems like a marketing ploy to get his fan-base to read this more experimental, esoteric work, by manipulating expectations for it.
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Posted 17 February 2011 - 12:14 PM

But they are central to the plot! They are characters in the novella in all but actual presence!
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#28 User is offline   King Bear 

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 02:10 PM

View Postjitsukerr, on 17 February 2011 - 12:14 PM, said:

But they are central to the plot! They are characters in the novella in all but actual presence!


I haven't read it, just reviews for it, so I'm not sure if you're being sarcastic here or not. It's hard to pick up sarcasm over the net sometimes. If you're not, I'm sorry to suggest that you might have been. And if you are, I'm sorry that I suggested that you might not have been.

Anyway, I'll respond that although B&KB might be central to the plot in some way revealed at the end, if they're not actually in it, if the story isn't actually following them, then I can understand why someone reading it because of, or at least with, the impression that it's about them would be disappointed. Especially if they paid for it.
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Posted 17 February 2011 - 03:33 PM

I wasn't being sarcastic. SE is using a literary device. B&KB are continually at the forefront of your thoughts throughout reading CPT, such that the whole narrative circles around them and the relationships they have with the other characters. The plot is entirely about them, even though they don't feature.

I would add that, allowing one's expectations of a novel to spoil that novel's excellence, if said excellence appears in a direction unwanted or unlooked for, is a disappointing attitude to encounter, especially on these boards. That's a general observation, BTW, not a personal one. IT's an attitude you run into frequently in Amazon reviews, and is equally abhorrent there. But given the experience of SE that most coming to these novellas would surely have from the main series, it seems rather churlish to expect one's expectations to be gratified even in short fiction.
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Posted 17 February 2011 - 04:45 PM

View Postjitsukerr, on 17 February 2011 - 03:33 PM, said:

I wasn't being sarcastic. SE is using a literary device. B&KB are continually at the forefront of your thoughts throughout reading CPT, such that the whole narrative circles around them and the relationships they have with the other characters. The plot is entirely about them, even though they don't feature.

I would add that, allowing one's expectations of a novel to spoil that novel's excellence, if said excellence appears in a direction unwanted or unlooked for, is a disappointing attitude to encounter, especially on these boards. That's a general observation, BTW, not a personal one. IT's an attitude you run into frequently in Amazon reviews, and is equally abhorrent there. But given the experience of SE that most coming to these novellas would surely have from the main series, it seems rather churlish to expect one's expectations to be gratified even in short fiction.


Edit: Sorry about the confusion on the sarcasm. I genuinely couldn't pick whether it was intended sarcasticly or not. My bad.

I don't think I'm being abhorrent or churlish, though I don't think you were calling me that, or I hope not. I wouldn't let disappointment of expectations spoil my opinion of the novel itself. I do understand Pat's disappointment (one of the most fervent Malazan fans in blogdom from his reviews), since it was billed as a B&KB novel but they didn't directly feature. Until I read it I'll hold off on whether it's really a B&KB novel, on whether SE's literary device is truly enough make it one when the said characters are physically absent. Every review I've read talks less about B&KB and more about SE's exploration of artists and their critics. So I assumed that the latter was the point of the novel, and not to tell a tale about B&KB.

This post has been edited by Bombur: 17 February 2011 - 05:10 PM

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 05:20 PM

Oh, the plot if very much about artists and their critics, hangers-on, and sundry. But that doesn't make it not about B&KB. It's a conceit, and it's down to the reader to decide for themselves whether it works for them, in any particular reading. For this reader, it worked very well on at least those two levels. I just wanted in my posts above, to contribute a point of view that seemed to be missing from the thread to that point.
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Posted 17 February 2011 - 05:52 PM

View Postjitsukerr, on 17 February 2011 - 05:20 PM, said:

Oh, the plot if very much about artists and their critics, hangers-on, and sundry. But that doesn't make it not about B&KB. It's a conceit, and it's down to the reader to decide for themselves whether it works for them, in any particular reading. For this reader, it worked very well on at least those two levels. I just wanted in my posts above, to contribute a point of view that seemed to be missing from the thread to that point.


Yeah, I've been thinking this issue might be a case of HLA Hart's periphery of doubt concept. Whether it's really about B&KB or not is unclear and open to argument, and all that succeeds is success. So we'll probably always have folks who think it is, and folks who think it's not.

This post has been edited by Bombur: 17 February 2011 - 05:54 PM

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#33 User is offline   Kallyfudge 

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 12:58 AM

This is definitely a B&KB book! I really liked it actually, shows how their general awesomeness extends and effects other people in the Malaz world even if they may or may not be around. Even if they aren't present, the story is because of them, I saw the parts about artists and their critics as secondary (and quite humorous), just part of the events. I'd understand why you would think its a bit thin if you'd never read the previous 3 books but if you have then B&KB are very much present in their non presence!
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#34 User is offline   Mcflury 

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Posted 12 May 2011 - 08:01 PM

I just finished this book (would've finished earlier but I've been spending tons of time and trouble wrestling through the complete story of Don Quichot, so I got delayed in my reading) and I must say I loved it.

Sure, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach and their servant don't play a big part (as in almost no real active part) in this novella, but as some have mentioned before me: this whole story is still based on the presence of these loveable necromancers. Without their existance, surely this story would've played out completely differently.

But the main reason why I loved this book is because Steven Erikson, through the voice of Flicker, shows us the exact power of words. How they sometimes strike more true than a sword and can destroy lives more quickly and deftly than, let's say, two necromancers and a servant. Also, I loved the whole intrigue. For a big part of the story I also thought the people in the carriage where in fact B and KB and Emancipor in disguise, yet I constantly thought "well, I don't think SE would make it that simple... or would he now?" so I was constant in self-doubt.
Also the play of Flicker, life constantly at risk (because, surely, if Tiny had just flicked a finger Flicker would've never walked through Hood's gate; or if any of the knights chose so his head would've left his shoulders with a, no doubt, sobbing sound) but still rising up to any challenge and actually even completely obliterating all competition... it's amazing.
Also, the parts about artists and audiance and stuff, I didn't mind. They sometimes had me staring blank at the page trying to understand whatever words were written there, that's true, but still, I like a challenge now and then :D And let's be honoust... life's boring without challenges, is it not?

The things I was wondering about though... At the end of the book Flicker mentions he met B&KB in real a few months later, and he talked to them. I wonder... was Flicker meeting them on one of his jobs? Did they fight? Or did they just part ways with mutual respect? (because, for sure, B&KB would show respect for a man as... skilled as Flicker)
And then there was this thing with the ferryman, right at the end... what did he mean? Was he also trying to kill B&KB? Was he somehow speaking in the name of the Indifferent God? Because as I understood it, this Indifferent God was dead by then, and if not dead at least completely skull-broken. Anyways, that ferryman's one line just completely confused me. I'm sort of hoping the next story will pick up there, but I guess that will not be the case :D
Other insights are welcome as well of course :D
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#35 User is offline   Monkeyfister 

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 03:34 AM

View PostDurhangAddict, on 20 January 2010 - 05:40 PM, said:

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



I just ordered the book, and cannot wait to read it. Your spoilers make me want to read it all the more!

I simply love our TOTALLY EEEEEEVILLL duo of Korbal Broach and Bauchelain, but the very trail of corruption and EEEEEEEVILLL that follows them is now a part of their EEEEEEEVILLL legend!

It was the final line of the Publisher's blurb about the book that sold me on the spot:

"Will honor, moral probity, and virtue prove champions in the face of brutal necessity? No, of course not. Don’t be silly. "

I'm putting that above my desk in my cubicle. What's not to love about that???

It will go right next to my other favorite phrase: "Teach a man to build a fire, and he will stay warm through the night. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm the rest of his life."

I like to keep my co-workers guessing, and a little sideways like that.
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#36 User is offline   Knowing 

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Posted 14 November 2011 - 08:35 AM

View PostMcflury, on 12 May 2011 - 08:01 PM, said:

I just finished this book (would've finished earlier but I've been spending tons of time and trouble wrestling through the complete story of Don Quichot, so I got delayed in my reading) and I must say I loved it.

Sure, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach and their servant don't play a big part (as in almost no real active part) in this novella, but as some have mentioned before me: this whole story is still based on the presence of these loveable necromancers. Without their existance, surely this story would've played out completely differently.

But the main reason why I loved this book is because Steven Erikson, through the voice of Flicker, shows us the exact power of words. How they sometimes strike more true than a sword and can destroy lives more quickly and deftly than, let's say, two necromancers and a servant. Also, I loved the whole intrigue. For a big part of the story I also thought the people in the carriage where in fact B and KB and Emancipor in disguise, yet I constantly thought "well, I don't think SE would make it that simple... or would he now?" so I was constant in self-doubt.
Also the play of Flicker, life constantly at risk (because, surely, if Tiny had just flicked a finger Flicker would've never walked through Hood's gate; or if any of the knights chose so his head would've left his shoulders with a, no doubt, sobbing sound) but still rising up to any challenge and actually even completely obliterating all competition... it's amazing.
Also, the parts about artists and audiance and stuff, I didn't mind. They sometimes had me staring blank at the page trying to understand whatever words were written there, that's true, but still, I like a challenge now and then :p And let's be honoust... life's boring without challenges, is it not?

The things I was wondering about though... At the end of the book Flicker mentions he met B&KB in real a few months later, and he talked to them. I wonder... was Flicker meeting them on one of his jobs? Did they fight? Or did they just part ways with mutual respect? (because, for sure, B&KB would show respect for a man as... skilled as Flicker)
And then there was this thing with the ferryman, right at the end... what did he mean? Was he also trying to kill B&KB? Was he somehow speaking in the name of the Indifferent God? Because as I understood it, this Indifferent God was dead by then, and if not dead at least completely skull-broken. Anyways, that ferryman's one line just completely confused me. I'm sort of hoping the next story will pick up there, but I guess that will not be the case :p
Other insights are welcome as well of course :D


you may not have noticed but if you reread the full line at the end you'll realize who it is.

Literally ending spoilers below
Spoiler

More life may trickle out of men through thought than through a gaping wound.
--Thomas Hardy
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Posted 20 January 2012 - 02:27 AM

I know the song was hilarious! The indifferent god being not indifferent but a complete prick until he was knocked on the head, only to discover his own prick... now that was just plain NUTS. I finished the book with my mouth wide open. Usually, I cry my eyes out in some parts, laugh my butt off at others, but this book was just plain fun in every sense of the carnal word. I'm a loyal fan as well... Love you, Steven!

View PostHoods Balls, on 02 February 2010 - 05:56 PM, said:

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!

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#38 User is offline   Whiskey Bass 

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:01 PM

first Malazan book i have had to leave unfinnished, i just cant get into it.
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#39 User is offline   worry 

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 04:25 AM

I just finished this. Definitely my favorite Malazan novella, it made me cackle quite a few times. Loved the take on Canterbury meets Arabian Nights meets the Donner Party. And besides all the back and forth about artists, patrons, and critics, I just enjoy it when SE gets silly. He's one of the gallows humor all-time greats.
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Posted 19 November 2012 - 05:26 PM

I'm late to the game on this one, but i loved it and am pleased to see most of the posters felt the same.

I get why some had a complete opposite reaction, really i do, but treating this book as 'just' another novella with dark anti-heroes doing rediculous things
is overlooking the real beauty of it.
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