Tor.com has a non-spoilery review of Forge of Darkness, the first book in Erikson’s new Kharkanas trilogy, here. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of his Malazan Book of the Fallen novels, so I’m pretty excited to read this.
Here’s a snip from the review which testifies to Erikson’s mastery of eon-spanning, anthropological stroytelling:
“So how does Steven Erikson deal with these potential pitfalls in Forge of Darkness, the first novel of a trilogy set before his massive Malazan Book of the Fallen (MBoF) series? He sets the prequel so far in the past—thousands of years—that any lines connecting the dots have either long since faded out of sight over the horizon (because events and people have been forgotten) or have curved out of joint (because events and people were distorted into myth), thus freeing himself from the plot/character constraints that dog so many prequels.
The truly brilliant twist in Erikson’s method, however, is that many of his characters are so long-lived that they actually span that time period. You loved Anomander Rake in Malazan? No problem, he’s still here. But because time has lost and/or distorted so much, a lot of what you thought you knew about him was wrong or wasn’t the full story.
With this singular stroke Erikson frees his creativity, giving himself a nearly blank canvas to work on while retaining the characters that so captivated his audience the first time around. It’s the best of both worlds. As a side luxury, it also highlights two of his major themes—the ways in which story (“made up”) and history (“really happened”) often blur together and the way the present is continuously and eternally reshaping itself in response to the past. It’s sheer evil genius. And it absolutely works.”
It was going to be brilliant. Witty, erudite, informative–everything that makes a great post great.
But then I spent four hours assembling the most complicated piece of flat-packed furniture known to man. And I find I just don’t have the energy.
So here’s a video instead.
Both the New York Times and the Atlantic had articles on this disturbing phenomenon in the last few days. Definitely worth reading for anyone who uses Amazon, as a producer or consumer.
I completely agree with the Atlantic’s conclusion:
“Policing reviews could take time and alienate some customers, both self-published authors and reviewers, but to let reviews continue unregulated might alienate far more of them.”
Both authors and readers–but especially readers, of course–need to have faith in the honesty of the review system, for the simple fact that it’s often the prime driver behind making a purchase.
And to offer a non-literary equivalent, how happy would you be to find out that, say, Samsung had paid ten thousand people $15 each to write a five-star review of a new TV they’d brought out?
Not happy, I’d imagine.
I don’t think I did. How remiss of me!
If any of you lovely folks would like me to pop you an email the very second that ASCENSION POINT* is available to buy, you can sign up here: http://eepurl.com/msrZn
I solemnly swear never to abuse your trust by emailing you links to ‘hilarious’ cat videos. (Though those are available on request.)
That was all. Carry on!
* and all future books, of course!
On Friday I got the sample edit of ASCENSION POINT from the folks at RedAdept. My new editor, the delightfully-named Misti, did an edit of just the first four pages of the novel–and I was delighted to see her come back with 29 suggested changes! This is exactly the kind of thoroughness I’m looking for, especially for the first few chapters of the book. (Which are still significantly weaker than the later ones, despite my best efforts to bring them up to par.)
I like Misti’s editing style, and the quoted price was fine, so all systems are go. Misti’s going to start on the full edit early next week, and should finish roughly two weeks later. At which point I spend ten minutes marveling at how many red marks there are, then set about hammering it into shape/cutting away the fat/insert editing metaphor here.
There’ll be a few passes back and forth as we whittle down the changes, then it’ll be time for a proofread by another editor to catch all the little flaws we missed. ‘This colon should be a semicolon‘, etc.
And then? PUBLISHING TIME.
It clearly was now time for bed,
His eyes felt so bleary and red.
But it struck our host
That he had yet to post
So he banged out a link dump instead.
And finally, some immortal words from Mr. Kurt Vonnegut.