content by

Matt Bandstra

Diversity and Equality Are Foundational Concepts in Malazan Book of the Fallen

By nature of the genre, the premise of every fantasy novel asks “what if” questions. What if magic was real? What if children went to school to learn it? What if a pantheon of gods walked among us? As an archeologist and anthropologist, Steven Erikson asked questions about the clashing of cultures and classes, about climate and capitalism, about the relationship between gods and mortals—and not just if magic existed, but if it was available to anyone. What if magical abilities could be learned by anyone, regardless of age, gender, intelligence or skill? As Erikson states, “It occurred to us that it would create a culture without gender bias so there would be no gender-based hierarchies of power. It became a world without sexism and that was very interesting to explore.”

In the same matter-of-fact, almost mundane way that magic simply exists in the Malazan universe, so too does equality among the sexes. It just is—and that’s refreshing.

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