Monday, January 04, 2010

Steven Erikson on Writing, the Universe and Everything (as only he can say it)

Over at the Steven Erikson fan site Malazan Empire Steven Erikson has given a holiday message for his fans. This site is rather obscure if you’re not an Erikson fan and what he had to say hasn’t gone much further than the site. This is a real shame – it should be read by SFF authors and fans alike – it’s part essay, part love letter – heck, it even reads a bit like Paul rebuking some fledgling Christian population. It’s is simply good stuff.

Erikson discusses genre and its reputation in the literary world with some interesting bits. He also discusses the joy, pain and anger of privilege of knowing what your fans think. He explains a bit about his goals and desires in his writing – and he dishes out more than a bit of tough love for his fans. Then he answers fan questions directly – some are very specific, plot questions, some are bigger, some are interesting, others not. As I said above, good stuff.

A few juicy tidbits:

When even fans of the genre feel compelled to segregate and denigrate it, should someone be so presumptuous as to compare a genre work with real literature, and to then viciously attack the person in question for their temerity, can only leave a genre writer like me dismayed – and also a little angry. Why am I angry? I will explain.

For those who feel the need to attack the delight and excitement of one of my readers, when they discover something in one of my works that speaks to them on unique or surprising levels, next time send your vitriol my way instead. Take your shots at me if you feel the need to do such things: I can weather the storm easily enough, and if you care to argue literature over genre, fine. Let's.

If there is no challenge, no ambition, no risk of failure, what's the point?

'The first reader who reads this work and complains about loose ends, I will personally hunt down and shoot.'

Good form Mr. Erikson and thanks for the message. Also, don’t despair –
some of us fans did indeed like Toll the Hounds.

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