Steven Erikson biography and books reviewed

Steven Erikson was born on the 7th October 1959 in Toronto, Canada. Erikson is his writing name, his real name being Steve Rune Lundin. Educated in Canada, he trained in both archaeology and anthropology before graduating from the acclaimed Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has a wife and son and they currently live in Cornwall, UK.

Erikson is best known and he is in particular famous for the fantasy series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen. As an author he always attempts to go against the grain of fantasy convention when writing his novels and does not favour the good versus evil approach that many authors of the genre use. His characters are multi-dimensional and posses both the positive and negative traits that are prevalent in all human beings. It would be fair to say that no one can easily predict what will happen next in an Erikson novel. He also uses his his training as an archeologist and anthropologist to give his books a realistic feel and depth.

"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."
An excerpt taken from an interview we conducted with Steven Erikson in 2009. Read the full interview here.

The Malazan Book of the Fallen series started in 1999 with Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates followed this in the year 2000. Memories of Ice (2001), House of Chains (2002), Midnight Tides (2004), The Bonehunters (2006), Reaper's Gale (2007), Toll the Hounds (2008), Dust of Dreams (2010) and The Crippled God (2011) complete the series.

Erikson began writing fiction when he was in his early twenties and this was when he wrote what was, in is own words "a bad fantasy novel". Then followed a few years of archaeology and travelling plus two writing courses. Then, unemployed and with a pregnant wife, he started and completed the first draft of Gardens of the Moon. It was another 9 years until the book was published.

Erikson's enjoyment in turning the fantasy genre on its head shows in the vitality of his books. An example of his unique style can be found in the way he opened the series in the midst of an ongoing story rather than at the beginning, as convention usually deems necessary.

Erikson has taken the fantasy to another level and the genre is all the more fresh and worthy for it. The author has been short listed for the World Fantasy Award.

The official Steven Erikson website -

Steven Erikson influences

Steven Erikson also mentioned, in an interview, a book called The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton which he says "proved very influential in my writing, although in a most subversive way".

"Steven Erikson afflicts me with awe... vast in scope, almost frighteningly fecund in imagination, and rich in sympathy, his work does something that only the rarest of books can manage: it alters the reader's perceptions of reality" Stephen R. Donaldson

"Complex and powerful ... the best fantasy novel I've read since George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones, bar none ... Superb stuff" Waterstones

September 3rd 2009 interview with Steven Erikson

Steven Erikson's ongoing fantasy series, the Malazan Book of the Fallen has brought new life and originality into the fantasy genre. Steven Erikson kindly spoke to Fantasy Book Review in September 2009, shortly after the publication of the ninth novel in the series, Dust of Dream [...]

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Steven Erikson reviews

Gardens Of The Moon by Steven Erikson

The ten novels that make up A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen are works of great skill, imagination, ambition, depth and beauty. But not for the faint-of-heart, Erikson throws you in at the deep end and encourages you to swim. This series is one of the greatest fantasy literature achievements of the past one hundred years.

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The Crippled God by Steven Erikson

And so to and end comes what is arguably the best fantasy series ever written. This is of course subject to personal opinion and fans of Wheel of Time, A Song of Ice and Fire and Robin Hobb's trilogy of trilogies (Farseer, Liveship and Tawny) are quite able to put a very strong case forward for their favoured works but few can deny that the quality and ambition of the ten books that make up A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen are unmatched within the genre.

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Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson

Deadhouse Gates continues the Malazan Book of the Fallen, a story begun in the wonderful Gardens of the Moon.

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Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson

Memories of Ice is the third book of the series entitled A Tale of the Malazan Book of The Fallen. It follows directly after the events of the first book, Gardens of the Moon, and runs concurrently to the events in the second book, Deadhouse Gates.

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House Of Chains by Steven Erikson

In the aftermath of the Chain of Dogs extraordinary destinies are being played out. Karsa Orlong, a tribal warrior from Northern Genabackis descends into the southern lands as part of a raiding party. Adjunct Tavore faces the legions of the seer Sha’ik with an army of raw recruits. Waiting in the heart of the Holy Desert the Sha’ik’s warlords are at each other’s throats and she herself is haunted by the knowledge the her nemesis is her own flesh and blood. So begins the pivotal chapter of Steven Erikson’s spectacular fantasy series.

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Midnight Tides by Steven Erikson

After decades of internecine warfare, the tribes of the Tiste Edur have at last united under the Warlock King. There is peace – but it has been exacted at a terrible price: a pact made with a hidden power whose motives are at best suspect, at worst deadly.

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The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson

The Bonehunters sees us rejoining the Malazan Fourteenth Army, under the command of Adjunct Tavore Paran. Sha’ik is supposedly dead, the army of the Whirlwind in tatters, and the last survivors making for the refuge fortress city of Y’Ghatan under the leadership of Leoman of the Flails.

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Reaper's Gale by Steven Erikson

Rating a book is inherently dangerous. Well beyond the normal trials of dealing with authors who believe they’re the next Tolkien but are lucky to know how to spell Tolkien, it’s the really good authors that provide the greatest problems. For example, I finished my review for the Bonehunters by Steven Erikson over a week ago. At the time it was a 10 out of 10 book. I still believe it is. However, what happens when the next book is just as good?

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Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson

So here we are for the eighth time and it just gets better and better. I found this book to be a bit less frenetic than The Bonehunters as it seems like Mr Erikson is getting things organised for the final push. But that is by no means a reason to believe the action slows down. I guess things just seem more in control since we don’t spend any real time with the Malazan army.

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Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson

We’re back with the Malazans marching into the Wastelands to meet up with their allies the Burned Tears and the Perish to head into territory where they believe they will have the final confrontation with the crippled god. But an uneasiness seems to have taken hold of the Malazans as their leader, Adjunct Tavore has grown even more distant and unfocused while crossing the Wastelands. This is added to by the feelings of betrayal from the “sensitives” in the ranks. Definitely a different view of the Malazans to see them so unsure of themsleves.

"As I stated before, a strength of this series is the way in which major characters are eliminated, but I never imagined the scale in which people disappeared this time. I was getting flashbacks of George R.R. Martin’s A Storm of Swords. But for the first time in this series we have a cliff-hanger ending. With the good news is we only have to wait a year to see who survived"

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The First Collected Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach by Steven Erikson

Set in the awe-inspiring world of the Malazan Empire, three tales of the enigmatic and eccentric necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach collected in a single, readily available volume.

"This collection of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach novellas is an ideal companion pieces for fans of The Malazan Book of the Fallen sequence. It is also a great entry point for those contemplating reading the series. Definitely recommended." Fantasy Book Review

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The Second Collected Tales of Bauchelain & Korbal Broach by Steven Erikson

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The Wurms of Blearmouth by Steven Erikson

Tyranny comes in many guises, and tyrants thrive in palaces and one-room hovels, in back alleys and playgrounds. Tyrants abound on the verges of civilization, where disorder frays the rule of civil conduct and propriety surrenders to brutal imposition. Millions are made to kneel and yet more millions die horrible deaths in a welter of suffering and misery. But leave all that behind and plunge into escapist fantasy of the most irrelevant kind, and in the ragged wake of the tale told in Lees of Laughter's End, those most civil adventurers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, along with their suitably phlegmatic manservant, Emancipor Reese, make gentle landing upon a peaceful beach, beneath a quaint village at the foot of a majestic castle. There they make acquaintance with the soft-hearted and generous folk of Spendrugle, which lies at the mouth of the Blear River and falls under the benign rule of the Lord of Wurms in his lovely keep. Make welcome, then, to Spendrugle's memorable residents, including the man who should have stayed dead, the woman whose prayers should never have been answered, the tax collector everyone ignores, the ex-husband town militiaman who never married, the beachcomber who lives in his own beard, the now singular lizard cat who used to be plural, and the girl who likes to pee in your lap. And of course, hovering over all, the denizen of the castle keep, Lord--Ah, but there lies this tale.

"The novella is in essence a tale of xenophobia taken to the extreme and I would recommend it mainly to existing fans of the Malazan series. I will close this review with these apt words uttered by Bauchelain shortly before the novella reached its end: “A most enlightening lesson, wouldn’t you say, on the nature of tyranny”. Quite, and so it was."

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Willful Child by Steven Erikson

These are the voyages of the starship, A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life life-forms, to boldly blow the... And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback - think James T Kirk crossed with ‘American Dad' - and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child for a series of devil-may-care, near-calamitous and downright chaotic adventures through ‘the infinite vastness of interstellar space’...

"If you are a fan of Steven Erikson; if you are a fan of Star Trek; if you are a fan of science fiction, its tropes, and making fun thereof; if you are a fan of comedy, hilarity, and spoof; if you are a fan of any of these, or just like a good read that will keep you up into the wee-hours of the morning, then Willful Child by Steven Erikson is simply a must-read!"

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Rejoice by Steven Erikson

An alien AI has been sent to the solar system as representative of three advanced species. Its mission is to save the Earth's ecosystem - and the biggest threat to that is humanity. But we are also part of the system, so the AI must make a choice. Should it save mankind or wipe it out? Are we worth it?

The AI is all-powerful, and might as well be a god. So it sets up some conditions. Violence is now impossible. Large-scale destruction of natural resources is impossible. Food and water will be provided for those who really, truly need them. You can't even bully someone on the internet any more. The old way of doing things is gone. But a certain thin-skinned US president, among others, is still wedded to late-stage capitalism. Can we adapt? Can we prove ourselves worthy? And are we prepared to give up free will for a world without violence?

And above it all, on a hidden spaceship, one woman watches. A science fiction writer, she was abducted from the middle of the street in broad daylight. She is the only person the AI will talk to. And she must make a decision.

"In the end, then, Rejoice, A Knife to the Heart is a must-read for the 21st Century and a vital commentary on the sins of current politics. It is powerful and damning, unflinching in its honesty of humanity’s flaws and touching in its portrayal of our potential."

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Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson

It is the Age of Darkness and the realm called Kuruld Galain - home of the Tiste Andii and ruled over by Mother Dark from her citadel in Kharkanas - is in a perilous state. For the commoners' great warrior hero, Vatha Urusander, is being championed by his followers to take Mother Dark's hand in marriage but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such arrogant ambition. As the impending clash between these two rival powers sends fissures rippling across the land and rumours of civil war flare and take hold amongst the people, so an ancient power emerges from seas once thought to be long dead. None can fathom its true purpose nor comprehend its potential. And caught in the middle of this seemingly inevitable conflagration are the First Sons of Darkness - Anomander, Andarist and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold - and they are about reshape the world...

"And here we are in the second phase of the Malazan world, The Histories. I’ve been anticipating something like this happening since the Books of the Fallen ended and I have to say it, I was disappointed. Not from the content or style. It was good solid Erikson, but I just kept waiting to get caught up in things. It was like I was watching an episode of Mad Men and thinking something is going to happen soon to make this interesting and I will be able to forgive the slow build-up and won’t call AMC Studios and ask for that hour of my life back. Unfortunately I was never really satisfied. But unlike Mad Men, I will be reading the next books of this trilogy. I was satisfied enough from the history lesson and origins of the Tiste groups and factions, but that’s what it seemed to be to me, a history text book. I don’t know the reason and I am disappointed in myself because I have been on the Malazan ride from the beginning and counting the days until the next book came out. But this book failed to grab me and hold me tight. For the first time in years, and never in the Malazan series, I found myself looking at the page numbers and saying in my best 5 year old voice, Are we there yet?"

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