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

Craig Brewer cnbrewer at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 4 09:08:25 PDT 2011

Absolutely. That's probably why my favorite book of the series was the third. On the one hand, it was just so monumentally tragic in all kinds of ways. But at the same time, you have this sense of complex historical depth mixed with that tragedy: the Tlan Imass story was incredibly moving to me. The hopelessness of the whole thing can get to you, though, especially when you realize that the central conflict isn't necessarily any kind of "good vs. evil" thing but is just more political maneuvering among powers. Existentialism seems right, since you have gods losing their faith and mortals constantly trying to live out some kind of "amor fati" in the midst of meaningless chaos.

From: Dan'l Danehy-Oakes <danldo at gmail.com>
To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
Sent: Thursday, August 4, 2011 10:32 AM
Subject: Re: (urth) Round 2 of NPR top 100 sci-fi books of all time

The thing about the Malazan books is, they're both huge-scale and
minutely-detailed. This seems paradoxical, but it isn't; Erikson is
dealing with huge cosmic concepts, but dealing with their effects on
the ground. They're war novels where the grunts and the generals get
equal time, not something you see every day.

They're also brutal, _brutal_ books. Major characters die
unexpectedly, even meaninglessly. There's a certain kind of
meaninglessness to the whole cosmology, actually: it's "as below, so
above" applied to existentialism.

The real achievement is the worldbuilding. Tolkien used facets of
linguistics to create a sense of ancientness; Erikson uses facets of
archaeology. It seems like you can't go anywhere in his world without
stumbling over the ruins of an ancient civilization.

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
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