A collection from Erikson (The Crippled God, 2011, etc.) featuring stories set outside of his established Malazan fantasy universe.
Erikson co-created the Malazan setting some 30 years ago to use in a role-playing game and has since written 11 novels set there—from 1999’s Gardens of the Moon to Forge of Darkness, due to be published later this year—among other works. (The setting's other co-creator, Ian C. Esslemont, has written his share of Malazan novels, as well.) But here Erikson takes a different tack, collecting three very different novelettes. None are connected to his fantasy series—indeed, they take place largely in various versions of North America—but all contain elements placing them squarely in the wider genre of speculative fiction. “The Devil Delivered” shows a tech-filled society facing an environmental apocalypse. “Revolvo” is a bizarre satire involving art and artists, set in an alternate Canada. In perhaps the most readily accessible story, “Fishin’ with Grandma Matchie,” a 9-year-old tells stories about his colorful grandmother, who lives at the bottom of a lake, rides a giant snapping turtle (and then a talking buffalo) and tangles with Satan. All three novelettes are skillfully executed—“Fishin’ with Grandma Matchie,” in particular, is a truly imaginative story in the folk-tale tradition—but they are a definite departure in subject matter and style from Erikson’s Malazan output and, indeed, differ greatly from each other. As such, they may not hold the interest of some of Erikson’s epic-fantasy-minded fans. That said, readers may find it refreshing to see the established fantasy author branch out.
An intriguing change of pace.