Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen - GOTM Ch. 6 & 7

Amanda and Bill have posted the next installment of their Malazan Re-read, which discusses Chapters 6 and 7 of Gardens of the Moon.
What this chapter does very effectively is present the idea of a power struggle within Darujhistan: with the Council split down the middle as to whether to declare neutrality (I love the fact Orr boasts to Baruk that they are one vote ahead as Rallick kills Lim!), the assassin war starting, and the real power, the Cabal led by Baruk, being courted by Anomander. The levels of political intrigue are dense and intricate right now and only going to become worse, I imagine.
My own re-read continues apace, although slightly ahead of the re-readers (I'm up to chapter 10) and I have to admit, this is a much richer book than I remember.  I'm sure part of it is that I've read all the other 9 books, so have a wide-angle viewpoint, but I'm both surprised and delighted to see how far in advance Erikson plotted.


Friday, July 23, 2010

I've finished my story. What happens next?

Karen Miller, author of the Kingmaker Kingbreaker and the excellent Godspeaker series' (plus lots of other things), has posted on her Livejournal page some advice on what to do once you've finished your magnum opus:
And why do I give it now? Because there is a massively humungous difference between celebrating the achievement of having completed the story … and actually having a manuscript that’s ready to submit. Being brutal, it’s almost unheard of for a seasoned professional writer to produce a perfect first draft. And that means the chances of an up-and-coming writer of doing so are pretty much Buckley’s and none.

So the first thing you need to do is sit on that completed manuscript for a while. Get back to your life for a month, six weeks. Stop living inside your head and rough and tumble it in the real world. No writer can ever achieve a true and objective distance from their own work, but it’s possible to come fairly close if you put the story down, put it away, and fill your mind and imagination with things completely unrelated.
Source: Karen Miller

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Malazan Book of the Fallen Is Done!

Steven Erikson's Facebook page was just updated with this message:
GASP! That would be me, coming up for air. How long was I down there? About twenty years, from conception to completion. The Malazan Book of the Fallen is done. Sure, editing and all that crap to follow. But ... done. I don't know who I am. Who am I again? What planet is this? Three months of butterflies ... maybe this double whiskey will fix that. Hmm. No. Delayed reaction going on here.
What an amazing achievement.  Ten books a year, for ten years; each of them a door stop-sized tome, and each one great.  This series is simply the best thing I've ever read.  I cannot wait to read Book 10 - The Crippled God - when it launches next Spring.

Well, done, Mr Erikson; you've done something remarkable.

Source: Pat's Fantasy Hotlist

The Cold Commands - U.K. Cover Art

The Cold Commands, Richard Morgan's sequel to The Steel Remains, is due April 2011, and Pat has the U.K. cover art:

The Steel Remains turned into a pretty amazing origin story and I'm excited to see what Richard Morgan can do now he's firmly established his world.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen - GOTM Ch. 3 & 4

Amanda and Bill continue their excellent re-read of the Malazan books with their commentary on Gardens of the Moon, chapters 3 & 4.

I just began my own re-read of this series and am enormously enjoying following along with Amanda and Bill.  Plus, I'm noticing all this other stuff that eluded me the first time around.  I completely missed that the Crimson Guard fought alongside Anomander and his Tiste Andii at the Siege of Pale.  


Friday, July 16, 2010

Kingdoms of Thorn & Bone - Resolution

I just finished The Born Queen, book 4 in Greg Keyes' Kingdoms of Thorn and Bone series and I want to write about it here but Sula and I are going to sit by a lake for a week.  So it will have to wait.

Let me just reveal that, overall, I thought the series took a turn for the worse in the final two books and by the end I couldn't wait for it to be over.  I'll try to explain why next week when I return from the wilds of Lake Simcoe.

Spoony Bard!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Malazan Re-Read of the Fallen - Ch. 2 & 3

Bill and Amanda have posted the next update for their Malazan Re-Read of the Fallen.  They cover Chapters 2 & 3 of Gardens of the Moon.  

This chapter, as Amanda points out, is where Erikson starts to earn his reputation for throwing us into the middle of things without worrying overmuch about whether we know what’s going on. The obvious plot example, of course, is beginning after the siege, but that will get explained relatively soon in Tattersail’s flashback. Worse is the sudden deluge of unfamiliar and unexplained vocabulary, some of which Amanda has already wondered about: Tiste Andii, Archmage (as a category—“an” archmage—rather than a title), Mother Dark and Mother Dark’s Children, Kurald Galain, the Holy Falah’d, Elder, T’lan Imass, Jhag Odhan, a slew of warrens, and the Deck of Dragons. Combine that with the other place names that get tossed around, references to previous and obviously important events such as the past legendary actions of the Bridgeburners, or Dancer and Kellanved killing Mock (hmm, must be of Mock’s Hold from the Prologue, so we think we’re okay and then wait, what, he was Tattersail’s lover?) and it’s enough to set the brain a-whirling.

Get it here.


Stonewielder - Cover Art

Pat, of Pat's Fantasy Hotlist, has turned up some cover art for Stonewielder, Ian Cameron Esslemont's upcoming Malazan novel.

Gorgeous!  Equally as nice as the art for Return of the Crimson Guard, the previous installment in Esslemont's sequence.  

From the publisher:
As promised, attached are an early glimpse of our cover-in-progress for Stonewielder PLUS the first few pages (13 in all I think) of Cam’s new novel. As always, I’d stress that these are uncorrected, might well change and not-to-be reproduced without permission etc. All being well, Stonewielder: A Novel of the Malazan Empire by Ian C. Esslemont with be published by Bantam Press hardcover on 25th November 2010.

Also, Malazan Empire has an extract from the novel which you can read here (or not, if you don't want to spoil anything). 

Stonewielder is set to be published November 25th 2010.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Malazan Re-read of the Fallen

Tor has decided to do a re-read of Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen.  
So, here’s the plan: we’ve broken up the books in parts of roughly 100 to 150 pages each. The page count is based on the US mass-market editions, but we’ll use chapter divisions as a yardstick so you can follow along regardless of which edition you have. We are planning one article per week—a leisurely pace, so as many people as possible can read along and still otherwise be productive members of society. This means that we’re probably going to take at least a year to cover the books that have been published so far—and by the time we’re done,The Crippled God will hopefully be out, so we can lead right into the final volume.
It sounds like it will be fun for new Malazan readers, who may need a bit of a lifeline to follow the plotting, and also for veterans interested in seeing the story arc laid out carefully.  Both Steven Erikson and his writing partner, Ian C. Esslemont have agreed to pop in and do a wrap-up, perhaps commenting on some of the conclusions the re-readers have drawn.
To be clear, neither of us is holding ourselves up as some sort of Malazan expert (especially Amanda, who expects to be going “huh?!” a lot). We’re not promising all the answers (we’re aiming for 82.7% of them) and we’re sure we’ll even make some mistakes (*gasp*). In a nutshell, we’re going to muddle through this together with you, and hopefully with your help we’ll all achieve a better if not complete grasp of this somewhat daunting material.
Amanda and Bill have already begun, and their thoughts on the prologue and first 100-ish pages of Gardens of the Moon can be found here.

I'm planning to do a re-read of the first nine books in advance of book 10 coming out next year.  Perhaps this would be a good time to get started on that?


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Richard Morgan - Update

Richard Morgan is primarily a sci-fi author, but last year he published a fantasy novel called The Steel Remains, which I enjoyed enormously.  Since then he's been toiling away on a follow up, called either The Cold Commands or The Dark Commands, and it looks like he's getting close to being finished.  From his blog:
So here’s where we are: my UK publishers, who’ve carried these delays with much good grace, have set a putative publication date of April 2011.  That means that I need to deliver the manuscript by some time in early Autumn this year.  As the pressures of game deadlines ebbs a bit, and as my six month sabbatical from prose whets my appetite to get back to it, this is looking reasonably do-able.  I’m actually starting to inch forward in the narrative, and I have – possibly a side effect of writing a lot of game and tie-in comic-book treatments recently – a clearer overall idea of where the book will go than at any time in the last two years.  It may take a while to get there, but at least I have a map.  And the good news is that, looking at that map, it seems me this book is likely to be a good deal longer than The Steel Remains; so if you liked Ringil and Co’s first outing, there should be about half as much again to like this time around.
So, that's encouraging.  I'm anxious to see what Ringil has been doing with his time since the events of the first novel.


A Dance With Dragons - Update

Over on his not a blog, George R.R. Martin has posted a brief update on his hotly anticipated, and long-delayed, novel A Dance With Dragons.  
What's happened is, I've decided to move two completed chapters, from Arianne's POV, out of the present volume and into THE WINDS OF WINTER. This is something I've gone back and forth on. Arianne wasn't originally supposed to have any viewpoint chapters in DANCE at all, but there's this... hmmm, how vague do I want be? VERY vague, I think... there's this event that would of necessity provoke a Dornish reaction. The event was originally going to occur near the end of the book, but in one of my forty-seven restructures I moved it to the late middle instead. And the timeline then required that the Dornish reaction happen in this book and not the next one, so I wrote the two Arianne chapters and was going to write a third... 

So, it looks like ADWD, Book 5 of his remarkable series A Song of Ice and Fire, is nearing completion (although no word yet on a publication date) and we have a title for Book 6: The Winds of Winter.  

Although I thought Book 4, A Feast For Crows, was uneven, and focused on characters I cared less about, I am anxious for this series to continue.  Martin has a very sharp sense of place and his plotting and world building are outstanding.  Hopefully he can draw this series to a conclusion that is worthy of its lineage.