(urth) Round 2 of NPR top 100 sci-fi books of all time

Craig Brewer cnbrewer at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 3 22:00:29 PDT 2011

Marc, I have two good friends who read them as they came out, even ordering them from Canadian and UK outlets since they came out a month or so earlier. They each loved the first book for the same reasons you gave. Maybe the difference was finding it themselves versus me coming along after, being told it was good, and expecting it to unfold itself for me.

I suppose there is a touch of Wolfean-ism to how he only unfolds the larger backstory (and the cosmos) in pieces and even gives a number of red herrings along the way. So much is simply hinted at rather than explained, even towards the end, that a lot of the larger story seems to work by implication as much by exposition. Of course, it could also just be that the thing was so big, I couldn't keep it all in my head long enough to make it seem like there was more than implication...

From: Marc Aramini <marcaramini at yahoo.com>
To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
Sent: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 11:49 PM
Subject: Re: (urth) Round 2 of NPR top 100 sci-fi books of all time

--- On Wed, 8/3/11, Lane Haygood <lhaygood at gmail.com> wrote:

>From: Lane Haygood <lhaygood at gmail.com>
>Subject: Re: (urth) Round 2 of NPR top 100 sci-fi books of all time
>To: "Craig Brewer" <cnbrewer at yahoo.com>, "The Urth Mailing List" <urth at lists.urth.net>
>Date: Wednesday, August 3, 2011, 8:47 PM
>Yes to the more personal bit. I felt the first book tried to hard to be "The Black Company." the characters were all automatons without a hint of Croaker's charm or Lady's earnestness.  Hell Goblin and One-Eye weren't fighting! Where is the fun in that?
>Sent from my iPhone
>On Aug 3, 2011, at 10:41 PM, Craig Brewer <cnbrewer at yahoo.com> wrote:
>The Malazan books hit their stride for me around the end of the second book. And the third book was simply amazing. I kept at them because of some friends who swore by them, but I had the same reaction. I was a bit bored and bemused by the first book, and the second book seemed uneven and even just intentionally repulsive at points. And I know it sounds odd that if you just wait 2000 pages, it gets really good, but...it does. I never would have kept reading, though, if it hadn't been for other people pushing me (and for just wanting to know what they kept talking about). I actually think that Erikson's friend Ian Esselmont is a better writer, but his take on their world is decidedly less epic and much more personal...which is probably what that huge story needs.
Obviously I liked Malazan or I wouldn't have put it on my list, but I actually really really dug the 1st book for some of the nice little touches and the overall expository style, like a thief breaking into a girl he likes room, an injured wizard inexplicably becoming a little tom thumb wooden doll, multiple assassins in a rooftop chase, and for some reason the style was attractive to me in a way that a lot of the Black Company books weren't (I liked them, but I tend to like particular parts of them more than the whole, like Croaker in the statue saying something like "and you all live again" - very touching).  
I just really liked the actual prose style of Gardens of the Moon and the way explanations of how the magical system works were pretty much elided but still seemed consistently interesting, as well as the way the motivations of the characters were revealed.

I still haven't found anything modern that rivals the joy I get from Wolfe, but Erikson did leave an impression on me for some reason, and the first of his books is maybe my favorite of them (nobody else likes it that much though, I guess).   
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