Fiddler: 'You introduced members of parties that pose a huge threat to Life as Malazans Know It' By the end of the first set of arcs, Steve's and mine, we hope that most of the main established lines of conflict will be resolved. Certainly a few loose threads will be dangling here and there as from a severely beaten rug, but for the most part the fatter threads will be answered -- sorry to be so conventional in actually resolving things! Anyway, you readers will be the judges of that. I believe that's about all as Steve's signed off. Many thanks to all who kicked in posts! Great to finally be logged in. Steve says to tell Shelter that he has his address (hey cool -- how many fans can answer a pop question and get mailed a book from the author in under an hour?) Signing off, Cam.
Abelieno: Yes, could aways do more. A first effort at tackling a few of the issues. But that wasn't the total focus of the novel anyway -- breaking every convention/expectation, I mean. (for experimental fiction try Cheever, for example). Kiska's growth remains (resilient wrongheadedness of youth and all that). As to one part of the end, well, Temper retires to obscurity and poverty just as the so lauded veterans of Wellington's Continental Army retired to begging for handouts on the streets of London. And that ain't the just rewards for loyalty of service you find in most of the rest of the genre.
Bookworm Blues: For a long time Steve and I have been in agreement on the fates of each of the major characters. If one of us was in doubt on this, we'd clear it up post-haste. As to letting go, no, not a problem in that the fates of each character is generally determined by the over-arching thematic logics. They go the way they have to go for things to make sense. (SPOILER ALERT FOR RETURN OF THE CRIMSON GUARD) For example, I've taken some heat for Laseen's end in Return. Perhaps I could have taken more time there and prettied it up but that would have undermined the shock of it. And speaking of genre conventions, conventions dictate for weeping all around at the death of the empress, a long funeral scene with hands to chest, and the traditional sending off to Avalon with Wagner swelling in the background. I say ,no, forget that cliched obligation. In the end she was alone in life and so she was alone in death. Cruel, but the thematic truth of it.
Abalieno: In Knives I'd hoped to provide two contrasting POVs, each of which stands on either side of the fence on this genre convention issue. On the one hand, we have a representative of the traditional 'romanticizing' of the genre with Kiska. Wide-eyed expectations of glory, rosy-hued romancism, and dreams of crowds applauding while laurels are pinned. On the other hand we have Temper. He is the counter-weight with his 'tempered' realization that the best thing to do is not cooperate in other's flesh-rending plans of aggrandizement, and that justice and reward do not necessarily follow effort (unlike the genre trope that it does).
Gah, Kruppe! Quite the challenge. Anyway, yes, Steve and I have picked up a number of each other's characters. And, like any point of view change, things always look different .... One uncontrollable element of all this is reader's expectations. Sometimes the reader is 'let down' because the character hasn't met his or her expectations. But that's not under the writer's control, that's brought to the text by the reader. We'd be guilty of dropping the ball if the individual ever acted 'out of character' with some sort of awful sentimental change of heart or something ghastly like that.
An earlier question posted asked 'why' we'd started the Malaz series. I'll tackle this since Steve wants to go out for a smoke. One reason we gave the Malaz world, the series, the character that it has (overturning fantasy warhorses (ha) of noble kings, etc) was that we decided to try to infuse the genre with some elements of literary sensibility. One of these is a kind of 'social realism' and any social realist examining human history cannot help but see that the traditional images, tropes, romanticisms, projected into the past have been laughably distorting. I mean, happy peasants? Generous Kings? Give me a break. We decided to stick a sword in all that.
Marc: Points for Marc. Yes, I'm starting to slip in 'arcticisms' (that's a new word, eh!) since I'm in alaska now.
Abalieno: Steve just said "I don't know where that came from" in response to this question of book sequence. The order of the books is long standing. A short-hand or speculation might have started the 'Assail next' thing. But no, that's my last, always was. What I can say more generally regarding the big picture ordering is that it has been remarkably stable. Like our writing processes also, I think. Neither of us cuts and pastes when we write the novels. We write in sequence. Each scene that follows each is written where you see them.
Steve and I so far have never had to curse and kick walls at the fates of any character. Speaking for myself, I often just ask myself what would make Steve laugh here, or 'he'll love it when he sees this.' Any really big question, such a thematic resolution for example, we make sure we clear with the other, as right now, for example, we've been talking through the various fates as realized in Steve's tenth.
Yes, Steve did most of the mapping in terms of geography, outlines, etc. I don't know how the labour broke down in terms of filling things out but a number of blank continents came my way which I then filled out with peoples, cities, civilizations, and such. Usually who was 'running' that game determined who would fill in the map. For example, Steve ran me in north Genabackis and so filled all that out. Then, later, I ran Steve in south Genabackis and filled out all the south.
Ezramon asked about how much we exchange information, touch base, and such. Actually not nearly as much as we would wish (or perhaps should). Remarkably, however, very little trouble has arisen in continuity and such as a result. The world is set in our minds, the arcs stand, and we are just realizing in prose what we'd played through (in general) years ago.