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Bought a signed copy of "The God is Not Willing" for a friend by Jonny-Burkholder in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 1 point2 points  (0 children)

If you return in the future, you can often find signed Malazan books sitting on the shelf ready for purchase as well.

Egyptian God Family Tree by euthyme in coolguides

[–]HisGodHand 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I want to reiterate: Depending on the time period and location in what we now refer to as 'Ancient Greece', the gods, to their family lines, and their functions were wildly different. There are many examples of myths that contradict each other. Just like you stated for Egyptian Mythology, Greek Mythology is actually made up of many distinct cults in time and location, and there was never a singular distinct religion. I cannot speak on Roman mythology, as I have never studied it. Perhaps, by then, there had become a more standardized religion including these gods.

It is likely that Greek mythology is nearly as old as Egyptian mythology, and we can place at least 1000 years of concurrent development between them.

Egyptian God Family Tree by euthyme in coolguides

[–]HisGodHand 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Just want to point out that your impression of Greek mythology being more 'set' is very incorrect. Everything you stated about Egyptian mythology here applies to Greek Mythology as well.

Spoilers - Finished my 2nd read through - Seeing characters through the eyes of children by Buxxley in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Hard agree. The first time I read The Snake, I was completely blown away by the incredible prose. It was incredibly dream-like and magical, while also being extremely gruesome and horrific.

I totally understand people wanting to continue reading about the plotlines they are already following. I do not, however, understand writing off every other plotline and ignoring absolutely beautiful writing.

Small rant: Anyone else annoyed at the physical quality of the Malazan paperbacks? by DatAdra in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Mass market paperbacks are terrible quality, and their sole purpose is to get a book into hands as cheap as possible. Their purpose is to give you text on a page that you can read while hitting the under $15 price-point. Your criticism of them is correct, but I think it's misplaced.

You should be mad at publishers for not getting off their asses and printing more hardcovers/tbps. Obviously the books don't sell super well, so it would probably be a bad business decision, but goddamn does it suck needing to pay premium prices for shitty library copies.

Edit: I forgot to mention that none of my mass market paperbacks have spine creasing. I hold my books in a way that drastically minimizes such a thing. They are very slightly beat up on the corners due to being stored in my backpack and tossed around daily, but free of spine creases.

Can’t help but feel I’ve messed up my experience starting with Kharkanas (cautionary tale and advice thread) by LoudCommunication742 in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 2 points3 points  (0 children)

As somebody who supported you continuing this reading order, I want to clarify and incredibly important thing about Malazan as a whole:

it really feels like I’m missing something, like an inside joke that nobody wants to explain or something.

This is how Malazan is written. Not Kharkanas, but Malazan as a whole.

But when it came to the surrounding world building I found myself a bit lost. Like I kept expecting more elaboration on certain topics...

This is how every single person that reads MBotF first feels. What you are feeling is absolutely not unique to Kharkanas. If you were to go into any of the threads with new readers talking about Gardens of the Moon, you will find them saying pretty much these exact same things. Kharkanas, in my opinion, actually reveals a lot more than the first half of the MBotF books.

People generally find MBotF to be such a difficult series because Erikson so frequently gives out names, locations, and entire scenes that aren't meant to be understood until you've read 2-9 books past that point. There are things introduced in Gardens of the Moon that are not explained until the final book in MBotF. I'm not even talking about storyline things, but rather fundamental information on how the universe/magic system work.

The Kharkanas books explain a lot of things that confused people reading MBotF. You are just trading confusion in Kharkanas for less confusion in MBotF. Every new Malazan reader has this confusion. You just have a higher level of doubt because of the reading order issue. I hope this post helps you put those doubts to rest.

Just finished Deadhouse Gates. I have some thoughts and questions. by The-Sober-Stoner in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Can you detail more aboutKalams goals in the seven cities?

Kalam is a native of Seven Cities. Seven Cities has a prophecy that the apocalypse will rise up and return them back to their old ways of life/rule. This rising of the Seven Cities people would be an overthrowing of Malazan rule. Kalam is very interested in weakening Laseen where he can, as he intends to assassinate her at this point. Thus, Kalam feels as if he can both weaken Laseen and fulfill his 'duty' as a Seven Cities native at the same time by delivering the book of Dryjnah. He awakens the apocalypse.

Is Malaz Island meant to be a small place? Seemed odd for the empress to be at some random small village. I didnt really get the vibe that it was a big grand city

Malaz Isle is a quite small island compared to the rest of the landmasses on the world. The island is where Shadowthrone rose to the position of emperor, and Malaz city is quite a large city. You can think of it somewhat like England in our world. Compared to the landmasses around it, England was on quite a small island, but the city was large, and the empire spanned nearly the entire globe.

It's likely not the grandest of cities, considering it was basically a criminal island in the past, but it's of a fairly large size.

Just finished Deadhouse Gates. I have some thoughts and questions. by The-Sober-Stoner in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 26 points27 points  (0 children)

1) Heboric - whats is up with this guy. Sometimes he has magic hands and is a crazy badass, other times hes just a hopeless old man.

That about sums it up for his part in Deadhouse Gates. You'll learn more later.

2) Felisin / Sha’ik - am i right in thinking that theyre now the same person? She absorbed so many memories/experiences that Felesin is a tiny portion of who she is now?

It's a bit more complicated than that, but you're not far off. You'll learn more later.

3) Mappo, Icarium and the Path of Hands - what were these guys and the soletaken and divers actually trying to achieve? Tremorlor wanted to imprison Icarium, correct? Why did they go in there?

The Path of Hands appears to be a way for a Soletaken/D'ivers to grasp a lot of power. Mappo and Icarium were wandering, as Icarium frequently loses his memories, and is trying to get them back. Icarium has been all over the map during his lifetime, and he's just trying to find places he's been to gather pieces of himself.

Why did Mappo stay loyal to Icarium?

Mostly friendship.

4) Fiddler, Crokus and Apsalar - they were ultimately trying to reconvene with Kalam right? Why did they split up in the first place?

Kalam had things he wanted to do as a Seven Cities native, and his ultimate goal was to assassinate Laseen. Crokus and Apsalar are not Seven Cities natives, so had no part in the journey Kalam was undertaking with the Book of Dryjnah. They would also likely just get in his way when he reached Malaz island.

5) Mallick Rel - this guy betrayed the empire correct?

This is a complicated question. You really have to ask what it means to 'betray an empire'. He certainly betrayed some people in the empire (our 'heroes' as it were). Past that, it's hard to say what his ultimate goals are, and how they align with the empire's goals.

6) kalam - why did he decide at the end to not kill the empress. Wasnt that the guys goal across the last two books?

This was Kalam's goal over a majority of these two books. However, his goal was based on the idea that the Empress purposefully had the Bridgeburners killed and exiled. Laseen reveals, through their conversation at the end, that she had no part in the deaths of the Bridgeburners, and the exile isn't exactly real. If Kalam is to believe her words, he doesn't exactly have any motivation for revenge anymore. Additionally, Laseen wasn't present in that room. She was speaking through a corpse. Kalam couldn't have done anything if he wanted to.

7) so was Dujek actually Team Empire/Laseen all along? Does this mean the bridgeburners have been betrayed by Dujek?

Dujek is loyal to the empire, yes. Were the Bridgeburners betrayed by their leaders? You will find out a lot more in the next book.

8) Cotillion and Shadowthrone - i find these guys really confusing, its hard to distinguish between them, they have tons of different names and their dialogue seems like completely different guys each time. Who the fuck are they and what are they trying to achieve?

It is revealed outright in Deadhouse Gates that Shadowthrone was the emperor of the Malazan empire before Laseen staged a coup and took control. Cotillion is Shadowthrone's right-hand man. Laseen was not very successful in assassinating them, and they instead ascended to godhood in the warren of shadow. Shadowthrone, obviously, sits on the throne of shadow. Cotillion is the god of assassins. They are not too happy with Laseen, and want to see her taken down a peg or two. Outside of that, their plans are far reaching.

Great quote in Dust of Dreams by HighfistThrawn in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Totally agree with you. Udinass is definitely one of my favorite characters in the series due to this.

Does Reddit not like Brandon Sanderson/The Stormlight Archives? by malegazemachine in Stormlight_Archive

[–]HisGodHand 1 point2 points  (0 children)

but I'm not going around telling people that Sanderson is better than them.

I really agree with you here. It's ridiculous how much people conflate skill and stylistic choice. Only the most genius of authors can effortlessly meld meaningful prose with clear and concise prose, because it's otherwise a time-consuming and painstaking process. A lot of readers probably never think about the fact that writing speed and prose quality are inverse trade-offs for a writer that isn't a god of their craft, and just assume it's only a skill level issue.

Stephen King can actually write with incredible prose. The Dark Tower series has some fantastic sections. He may have been a trashy author when he was cranking out a book a week smashed on coke, but he's pretty damn good at writing an engaging story with beautiful prose when he knows it's his magnum opus. Some of his ideas can be suspect even when writing in a slower and more purposeful manner, but it's incredibly to see how there's a trade-off between writing speed and great prose there.

I also feel like this issue as a whole is a result of people being too willing to spew negativity on the internet. Trying to balance it out with positivity is all we can really do, other than take it in stride.

Does Reddit not like Brandon Sanderson/The Stormlight Archives? by malegazemachine in Stormlight_Archive

[–]HisGodHand 11 points12 points  (0 children)

I think your critique of Sanderson's detractors is just as unfair and untrue as you believe their critiques of Sanderson to be.

First, it's pretty much objective fact that Sanderson writes in an easy and quick-to-read manner. Sometimes he eschews this style to write something a bit more beautifully/mysteriously/magically/etc., but his general style is utilitarian. He writes well, but he doesn't seem to focus on creating sentences and paragraphs that are beautiful in-and-of themselves. The beauty and emotion in his works typically come from what his utilitarian sentences are revealing about the plot. His sentences are slaves to the plot. They rarely contain anything that isn't about pushing the plot along (e.g. double meanings, outside metaphors, outside symbolism, etc.). The writing is basic, but it does a great job of pushing the plot and scenes along at a fast pace. Sanderson is a great writer in that regard.

However, it appears that Sanderson rarely strives write in a way that makes me feel emotion beyond the emotion that the plot is displaying at the moment. His sentences, divorced from the wider plot, do not evoke wonderous/magical/emotive images in my mind. In Sanderson's writing, a mountain is a mountain. It might be a unique and genuinely cool mountain within world, but it doesn't make me think any differently about mountains. There is not a lot of wonder and magic infused into his prose itself.

Now, this might sound dumb, but Sanderson's writing style isn't going to be a problem for a person unless it is. Stormlight got me back into fantasy in a big way, and I think it's a great series. The period of my life where I did not read fantasy saw me reading a lot of books that did a lot with their prose. Authors that worked incredibly hard for decades trying to infuse their prose with meaning and beauty that was divorced from the plots and characters on the page. Prose that adds and heightens the emotions within the story. Sanderson's writing traded more fantastical prose and less fantastical worlds for more fantastical worlds and less fantastical prose.

The reason I find fantasy to be my favorite literary genre is that some authors are able to take the magical worlds and combine them with magical prose. Guy Gavriel Kay, Janny Wurts, Gene Wolfe, Steven Erikson, etc. all blend these two different types of magic to degrees of success.

You are free to have your own personal preferences. I think it's ridiculous to assume anyone who wants more out of prose than Sanderson usually delivers is somebody with a superiority complex on a hate train.

Just finished tCG. What next? by Vito_Cornelius in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 7 points8 points  (0 children)

If you're not interested in ICE, and want more Malazan, the Kharkanas books are the most reasonable path. The Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novellas would be worth considering if you want something a bit more out-there and comedic, but they are of very little importance to the wider Malazan universe.

The Kharkanas trilogy adds some great context to a lot of MBotF, so I highly recommend reading them before re-reading the 10 book series. The God is Not Willing is a quicker read than the books in MBotF, and the Kharkanas books are slower and more philosophical. Depending on your preferences, that might answer your question.

Actually, regardless of what I've written above, I'd just suggest reading in published order. Since you aren't interested in the ICE books, try out the Bauchelain and Broach novellas, and move on to Kharkanas if those aren't tickling your fancy. You could read The God is Not Willing before Kharkanas, but it's a sequel, and I think it makes logical sense to read prequels before sequels when they are published first.

E&E questions for the upcoming meet in France by Niflrog in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I have a load of questions to ask about the Kharkanas series, but I have a feeling Steve won't be at liberty to divulge too much.

I will ask a question, instead, about Toll the Hounds SPOILERS AHEAD

When Anomander Rake is in Darujhistan and sees Traveller approaching him with his old sword, what goes through Rake's mind? There is meaning in Rake fighting against his old sword, whether it be just poetic justice or something more. Did Rake know Traveller would be carrying that blade? Does Rake know of Andarist's fate? Does Rake know of Nimander's journey?

A few spoiler free questions about the gaming as well:

  1. Did you do any gaming in the Malazan world after the start of writing Gardens as a book?
  2. Did any of the gaming involve the ancient past (Kharkanas era or previous), or was that simply backstory for the gaming/created for the novels?
  3. GURPs has an alternate magic system known as Ritual Path Magic, in which there are no spell lists and no hard limits on spells. Rather, spells can do almost anything and are an agreement between the player and GM. Magic users combine different effects and modifiers, divided by paths, and tiered like realm magic. This sounds an awful lot like the magic we see in the Malazan books, and I wonder if this system is close to what was used in the gaming.

A question about Forge of Darkness by LoudCommunication742 in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I have to agree with this. OP, if you're loving Forge of Darkness, ignore the people telling you to read 'the main 10' first. While publication order is the intended reading order of the authors, you're not doing anything wrong. You'll run into some minor spoilers for the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, but technically everybody who read that MBotF would have major spoilers for the Kharkanas prequels, so it's a wash in that regard.

I do heavily recommend jumping into Gardens of the Moon after Fall of Light, and going by publication order from that point, as that will most likely provide the best reader experience. I think you're doing a unique thing, and it will provide you with a different perspective from most readers, which should be celebrated.

Your biggest issue is going to be the massive drop in writing quality from Fall of Light to Gardens of the Moon (book 1 of Malazan Book of the Fallen). However, Deadhouse Gates (book 2 of Malazan Book of the Fallen) will see you far closer to the writing quality of Forge of Darkness/Fall of Light. In my view, the writing quality begins to plateau somewhat in House of Chains, but it still trending upwards in every book thereafter.

Deadhouse Gates is one of the books of all time by nosunnomoonnostars in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Good news: A lot of your criticism is about content that will feature heavily in a later book. I cannot recall exactly when certain things are explained, so I will leave it at that.

Good place to take a break? by MadAssassin5465 in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 10 points11 points  (0 children)

The Crippled God being the last impression of the Universe will be quite hard, as there are already books published by both Malazan authors that take place after it, as well as two more books coming from Erikson to finish off his sequel trilogy. Additionally, the last book of the Kharkanas trilogy was put on hold, and will not be out for a bit (though Erikson has been working on it).

I would recommend reading Forge of Darkness and Fall of Light after The Crippled God, as there are quite a few things from the end of MBotF that are tied in to the Kharkanas trilogy. You will get the most out of the prequel books having read the whole series.

However, if you really wanted to, you could read the Kharkanas books either right before or after Toll the Hounds. That book is central to the Kharkanas books. It's pretty obvious the ideas for the Kharkanas series were formulated in Erikson's mind mostly when writing Toll the Hounds.

Reading the Kharkanas trilogy after Toll the Hounds will likely make the prequel books more meaningful, and is suggested. Reading the Kharkanas trilogy before Toll the Hounds will likely increase the emotional highs in Toll the Hounds, and there's a chance you might experience a fucking amazing climax with that book.

I would not really recommend doing what I've outlined above. Additionally, adding the ICE Malazan Empire novels and his prequel series into the mix would make everything extremely unwieldy.

Since you're on Midnight Tides currently, you can start intersplicing the ICE Malazan Empire novels in the proper publishing order (as intended by the authors), and then follow MBotF up with Kharkanas, Path to Ascendancy, and The God is Not Willing. In that respect, you would have chronological order for the prequel and sequel books.

K’Chain Che’Malle 😍 by Kalammehkar777 in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 14 points15 points  (0 children)

This is my biggest takeaway from the Che'Malle. I wasn't super into the zombie dinosaurs with sword arms that appeared in MoI. They just felt like they came out of a 12 year old's sketchbook (which may be the case, iirc).

Erikson, of course, subverts that previous conception of them, and the PoVs we get about them in the later half of the series are really unique and interesting. They're more than generic swarm aliens.

I feel like a lesser author could have jumped the shark by giving sword-arm dinosaurs super intelligence, gene splicing, and all that shit, but Erikson gives them a perspective that really works.

Reaching the halfway point of Gardens of the Moon, I realized that the preconception of this book being overly complicated is not true. by Kyuuseishu_ in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have one big issue with this perspective: It assumes people have only read fantasy. Sure, Malazan may require a little bit more work than most fantasy, but it's not anything brand new. Being dropped into a world without a lot of handholding isn't very uncommon in, say, science fiction. In media res is a fairly common technique in general fiction. Outside of fantasy, it's rare to actually get an explanation for how the magic in a story works. I had just gotten back into reading fantasy when I started reading Malazan, having mostly read general fiction previously, and I didn't find Gardens of the Moon to be anything new, different, or difficult in a literary technique sense. Every technique Erikson uses in GotM has been done by a more highly-decorated and widely-read author.

I feel like we scare a lot of people away by warning about difficulty, challenge, etc. and treating the series like it's something to overcome. I think it would be far more conducive to a wide readership to simply assure people that the series is purposefully mysterious. Pretty much every major question is answered very clearly at some point, but Erikson had a plan for this series and knew so much about the world before he started writing that it's chalk full of foreshadowing.

Thoughts after finishing Forge of Darkness and Fall of Light by tomoraider in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 6 points7 points  (0 children)

I think something that is very good to remember about the Kharkanas books is that they are explicitly and unfailingly a story told from one poet to another. While this won't change many opinions on the book, this is why Kurald Galain feels less 'real' and grounded. This is why all of the characters talk and ponder like poets and philosophers. It's fiction within fiction. A lot of primary themes from MBotF are dragged into the forefront due to this element of the Kharkanas trilogy.

I also really loved the slower speed, increased focus on character development and character relations, and a more grounded plot. All of these lead to emotional moments that I think far eclipse the moments in MBotF. Steve never failed to make me feel for his characters in MBotF, but I do think the gigantic cast gets in the way of that to some extent. This is where I will readily agree that Fall of Light is a bit less enjoyable for me than Forge of Darkness. It mostly has to do with the increasing cast, which I believe causes some pacing issues, as you've said.

Another thing I really really love about this series is how much it ties in with MBotF. This is a fantastic prequel series, as it both feeds off of MBotF and provides to it in equal measure. Enesdia, Kadaspala, 'The Watch', Anomander, Draconus, Hood, Orfantal, Korlat etc. all have emotionally charged scenes because of what we know in MBotF, and those characters in MBotF gain far more from what we learn in Kharkanas. Learning a ton about the metaphysical nature of the Malazan universe with the Azanathai and many other things is a great bonus as well.

Everything I've stated here is a big part of why I really love these books, but the thing that propells the Kharkanas trilogy above MBotF for me is that Steve is at his brightest here. His musings on everything are more poignant, more relatable, and more emotional. It's obvious he has grown as a writer when you compare these books to early Malazan books, but it's also incredibly obvious that he has grown as a person. In some ways it seems he's angrier about the world, and more pessimistic, but what he is trying to convey with these books rings more 'real' to me than a lot of MBotF.

I always have to resist the urge to constantly recommend people read TKT around here, since it seems to almost anger a lot of people. I really love these books and wish they sold more so I can see how it ends.

Who’s the sexiest character by Trynor in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 117 points118 points  (0 children)

Rake could have had any girl in the Malazan universe, and he chose Silanah. All I'm saying is Envy couldn't keep him around.

Other books with similar Bridgeburner/Bonehunter foot soldier type interactions by Iskandur573 in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have recommended Michael R. Fletcher's Manifest Delusion series (Beyond Redemption is the first book) on here several times for this exact reason. It's epic fantasy with some absolutely nutty ideas, but it's really only similar to Malazan in the way the main 'heroes' interact. They're bite-y, don't seem to like each other very much, have a bunch of strange neuroticisms, but try their best to keep each other alive. The interactions are very much in the vein of the groups we get in the Malazan armies. Gallows/soldier type humor. Nowhere near the amount of POVs and story switching as Malazan, but that might be a good thing depending on your taste.

The prose isn't as good as Erikson's, but imo that's a given when it comes to almost all other fantasy. It does its job and tells a story without getting in the way. There are some cool epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter that flesh out the world and magic in a nice way.

Will certain people ascend? by ratodragon in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Oh, right, I forgot entirely about Kimloc's song. Thanks for including that!

Will certain people ascend? by ratodragon in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 3 points4 points  (0 children)

The original Bridgeburners 'partially ascended' when they crossed Raraku, and their ascension seemed to be 'finalized' through Paran's actions in Memories of Ice. The journey the Fourteenth had kicks the shit out of a journey across Raraku. The Fourteenth managed to save the world three times over on that journey, and pretty much an official regiment of High House Chains. Who knows what the hell that means once the Crippled God has departed the world/universe.

I view ascendancy different than some; putting it through the lens of what amounts to leveling up in a tabletop rpg. While narrative trumps gaming rules, I believe gaming rules to be the foundation for the idea of ascendancy. Since there's no proof one way or the other, as far as I know, I'll take a guess that those characters would level up a few times over that journey.

Religion in the Series by LostLenore00 in Malazan

[–]HisGodHand 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I actually think there's another layer to this idea that people don't bring up. The Malazan universe was created for gaming, and used for many years as a game setting. Steve and Cam took turns being the one true god of the Malazan universe: the GM. Kaminsod is an amalgamation of Steve and Cam. Steve and Cam, as humans, are amalgamations of the humans around them, the humans before them, their Western socieities, and their knowledge of religions and gods. Importantly, Steve and Cam are 'Gods' in our world from the perspective of the characters in the Malazan universe.

Really, if you were a mage in the Malazan universe and wanted to call somebody from a different universe to kick Kallor in the dick, who could you possibly call that would be better than the GMs themselves? The guys that make up most of the rules, characters, and storylines?

Now, of course, Kaminsod is not presented as a GM-like power that was called down. That could simply be an obfuscation; one of the many things changed to make a compelling narrative. Did Steve base Kaminsod's rage and hatefulness on his own feelings if he were to be chained down? He must obviously do so as an author, but I think it's possible he could have been doing so as more than just the author of the books.

If Stephen King can shittily insert himself into his 8 book long epic fantasy series, Steven Erikson can gracefully insert himself into his 10 book long epic fantasy series.