Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Problem of Karsa Orlong


With Tor moving on to House of Chains, in its Malazan Re-read of the Fallen, it appears Steven Erikson thought this a good time to write an article about his character Karsa Orlong:
    So I ended up punching both ways. It’s a damned wonder I didn’t lose everyone after ‘House of Chains’ (or, more accurately, during the reading of ‘House of Chains.’). Structurally, I could not have introduced Karsa any earlier than I did. After three novels (all subversive in their own, unique ways) I was ready for something more overt—I was ready to take on the barbarian fantasy. At the same time, an entire novel of that relentless point of view would have been one bridge too far. The struggle between barbarism and civilization is not just specific to Karsa or even his tale: it is the struggle within each of us, as we battle desires with propriety, and as we battle need with responsibility. In the remainder of the series, those battles are played out on grander scales. It could be argued that civilization’s greatest gift is compassion—the extension of empathy, even unto strangers, and as such acts in half-formed opposition to barbarism with its pragmatic viciousness, and if compassion must be our shield, it is against our own baser natures.
It's a lengthy and interesting piece, and in it Steven reveals that he has plans for a trilogy featuring Karsa.  Check it out here.

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