Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Lost in the vastness of the Malazan world?

Fantasy Book Review just published an interview done with Steven Erikson, the author of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series and the co-creator of the Malazan world.

If you're like me and time to time felt overwhelmed by the vastness of the background information in the Malazan books then you should read this excerpt taken from the interview:
One of the things both Cam and I were agreed on regarding this series, was to write in a style that conveyed a sense of vastness, with a strong flavour of realism where not all answers are forthcoming, not all truths survive their utterance, and sometimes mystery abides no matter how desperate we all are for an end to the questions. That said, there will be plenty of resolutions, but the world will not be wrapped up with a pretty bow.

As for the events that have been recounted in the books, well, things are always open to interpretation, and I am also rather pleased to learn from readers that the books fair well in re-reads. I am a writer obsessed with layering my narrative, so there’s plenty to find for the reader even after the raw events of the story are well-known.

For the complete interview please see "Steven Erikson interview (September 2009)".

E-book Search and Price Comparison Engines

If you are an e-book reader, you may find the following two sites very handy:

Inkmesh is an e-book search engine. Its search index includes sites such as Sony eBook Store,, BooksOnBoard and Fictionwise. The complete list is supposed to grow to include other sites such as or

I find the overall usability of the site pretty good. They've done a good job. I like the search result presentation. Some quick enhancements that come to my mind are:
  • Sorting or searching according to device type or alternatively according to e-book format.
  • Inclusion of non-english sites
  • Ability to configure the number of books a search page contains is a price comparison site for e-books. I love the idea, even though I didn't quite like the site design (which is definitely secondary in my mind). One can use as a search engine or a comparison engine.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Free e-Book: The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

You can read Rick Yancey's The Monstrumologist on-line for a limited time.


Will Henry is an orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthrop, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet. Critically acclaimed author Rick Yancey has written a gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does a man become the very thing he hunts?

Friday, September 18, 2009

ABC interviews Fantasy Author Steven Erikson

ABC interviews Fantasy Author Steven Erikson
I write four hours a day, usually in the afternoon (I’m a late riser), at a local pub or cafe — the ones run by friendly, accommodating people who don’t object to my taking up a table and occasionally plugging in my laptop.
A nice interview but Erikson is still not smiling on the picture, though! ;)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

E-book of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol outsells the hardback on Amazon

With a romantic touch, maybe we can consider this day being the beginning of a new era in publishing: E-book of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol outsells the hardback on Amazon.

This is not a small accomplishment. I hope that it is a true indicator of e-book reader usage and what can be achieved with an appropriate pricing model. I'm sure people are going to argue about publisher's margins etc. but there are more and more e-book readers sold. It's a healthy market. We just need to solve a few important problems (such as appropriate pricing, DRM and common formats) for it to become mainstream relatively quickly. But for now, I'm savoring the moment.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Book Review: Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

Title: Gardens of the Moon
Author: Steven Erikson
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Bantam (UK & Canada) & Tor (USA)
Publishing Date: 1 April 1999
Paperback: 752 pages
Series: First of ten (or maybe more) novels of the epic fantasy series, The Malazan Book Of The Fallen.


The story starts with the encounter between a boy called Ganoes Paran and the Sergeant Wiskeyjack during the final year of the Emperor Kellanved's reign. Ganoes, who's in Malaz City with his father, witnesses the raiding of the Mouse Quarter. During their conversation, Wiskeyjack disapproves the young Ganoes' dreams of becoming a soldier.

Then the book fast forwards seven years: Emperor Kellanved and his ally called Dancer have been assassinated. Since then, the Empire has been ruled by the Empress Laseen whose eyes are set on the Genabackis continent. The Malazan 2nd army is besieging Pale, one of the two free cities remaining on this continent. And we find Wiskeyjack and Ganoes Paran among the many characters whose lives are touched by these events.

Don't Judge A Book By It But...

I know that there have been various different covers depending on the editions. Those are my two favorite ones. I really like both and they would be the type of cover that makes me pick up a book and have a look. The first cover doesn't tell much about the martial aspect of the book however it creates a better mystery. From this point of view, I think that the second cover makes more justice to the story. Furthermore, the person on the second cover is Anomander Rake, Lord of Moon's Spawn and the leader of Tiste Andii. He is an extremely cool character.


Wow! I just discovered that reading Erikson is a very fulfilling experience, in many ways. It's like drinking a pint of Murphy's (if you're asking "a pint of what?", it's like Guinness but it's better :). It's a superior stout from Cork, Ireland): It's tasty, it's rich, it has character, it has depth...

Gardens Of The Moon had been on my to-read list for a long while and I don't quite know why, I had always had something else to read. I mean, I don't know why I preferred to read something else but you know how it works. You have a list in your mind and depending on your mood you reshuffle that. Or you have a nice blog that you follow, you read a new review and bang! The list is reordered.

Anyway... I'm glad that I decided to plunge into the Malazan world. After a few dozen pages, I put the book down and I asked myself "Have I missed a few introductory chapters? Was there a book before Gardens Of The Moon?" It seems that it's normal to feel a bit lost in the beginning. It turns out that Erikson tells a story as it happens without constant background information giving. This becomes a very interesting style. On the one hand, potentially boring introductory chapters are avoided and it creates further mystery, and on the other hand the book reads like a real life event. Almost like the reader is a true witness to the story unfolding before her eyes but because she just arrived, she doesn't have much background information, naturally. So, at this point, if the reader is patient enough to follow Erikson's lead, she's rewarded by a window opening onto an incredible universe. I understand, now, what the author himself meant by saying "you either like it or you don't". Luckily I liked it very very much.

My first introduction to fantasy happened when I started to read my uncle's Conan comic books during my childhood. I still enjoy reading Conan, every now and then. The richness and the possibilities offered by the universe and the setting in Gardens Of The Moon reminded me of the Conan universe. Please don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting that the storylines or the styles are similar. It's just that the world created by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont is so rich with martial action, diverse races, deities, magical warrens, types of magic wielders, demons, armies, long forgotten civilizations, myths, etc. that the comparison came to me naturally, I guess.

The book has parallel stories running at the same time. Jumping from one story to another one is very frequent. And as I've already mentioned, it is rich in characters. My favourite ones are Anomander Rake, Whiskeyjack, the mysterious Kalam and Quick Ben who seems to be so much more than a simple mage. There are so many others: Irritating Tattersail, the confusing Ganoes Paran, the fat Kruppe, the young Crokus, Rallick Nom the assassin, Toc the Younger (I have the feeling that we're going to meet him again in a later book)... there are so many of them who make the whole book a delight to read. Furthermore, I found it was easy to connect with most of the characters.

Despite feeling lost in the beginning, Gardens Of The Moon ended up being a brilliant read. So much so that I had to continue with the second book of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series immediately after finishing the first one. I've never been afraid of ambitious books and Gardens Of The Moon certainly starts like the first book of a very ambitious series. So, if you're like me, you are going to love it.

Rating: 9/10


"Such tears had been shed before, and would be again - by others like her and yet unlike her. And the winds would dry them all."

Question: Why does Steven Erikson never smile on pictures?

Final Note: Even though I haven't been playing for a few years, I played role-playing games for a long time (mostly table-top and on-line – not much video games). I can clearly see the creative minds behind such a rich world and how this whole universe can relate to an RPG world. I believe it would truly be a wonderful experience to role-play in a game GMed by the author.

Monday, September 7, 2009

3 Free E-Books From Suvudu including Perdido Street Station by China Mieville

I'm very impressed by some of the titles given away by Suvudu for free. This month, Suvudu Free Book Library displays China Miéville's Perdido Street Station among the 3 free e-books they have available in multiple formats:

Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Changelings by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Free e-Book: Goat Dance by Douglas Clegg

You can read Douglas Clegg's horror book, Goat Dance, on-line on Scribd. Registered Scribd users can download a PDF version too.

You can also sign up for the author's newsletter at his official web site.

About The Book

From Douglas Clegg, award-winning author of The Hour Before Dark and The Abandoned, comes a novel of unimaginable terror and heart-pounding suspense. What secrets lie within the ancient place known as the Goat Dance? A Haunted Lake . . . Seven-year-old Teddy Amory should have died that winter's day on Clear Lake, when she fell through the ice while skating with her older brother, Jake. But something got inside her that day . . . something terrifying . . . A Haunted Town . . . Nightmarish forces lurk in the mountains of Virginia, and a shadowy darkness has begun to spread like a shroud over the living. Now a town must face its terrifying past as a possessed child threatens to unleash an unspeakable horror . . .