Steven Erikson

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Steven Erikson
October 2016
October 2016
BornSteve Rune Lundin
(1959-10-07) October 7, 1959 (age 62)
Toronto, Ontario
Pen nameSteven Erikson
PeriodSince 1991[1]
GenresEpic Fantasy, Science Fiction, Coming of Age
Notable works
Years active1991-present

Books-aj.svg aj ashton 01.svg Literature portal

Steven Erikson (born October 7, 1959) is the pseudonym of Steve Rune Lundin, a Canadian novelist, who was educated and trained as both an archaeologist and anthropologist.

He is best known for his ten-volume spanning epic fantasy series Malazan Book of the Fallen, which began with the publication of Gardens of the Moon (1999) and was completed with the publication of The Crippled God (2011). By 2012 over 1 million copies of the series had been sold worldwide,[2] and over 3 million copies by 2018. SF Site has called the series "the most significant work of epic fantasy since Donaldson's Chronicles of Thomas Covenant,"[3] and Fantasy Book Review described it as "the best fantasy series of recent times."[4] Fellow author Glen Cook has called the series a masterwork, while Stephen R. Donaldson has praised him for his approach to the fantasy genre and has compared him to the likes of Joseph Conrad, Henry James, William Faulkner, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.

Set in the Malazan world, Erikson has written a prequel trilogy, The Kharkanas Trilogy, seven novellas, a short story, and is currently working on a sequel trilogy, The Witness Trilogy, the first book of which, titled The God is Not Willing, was published in 2021.

His foray into science fiction has produced a comedic trilogy, the Willful Child Trilogy, a spoof on Star Trek and other tropes common in the genre, and a First Contact novel titled Rejoice, a Knife To the Heart, published in 2018.

Life and career[edit]

Steven Erikson was born in Toronto, Ontario, and grew up in Winnipeg.[1] He subsequently lived in the UK with his wife and son, but has since returned to Canada.[1] He is an anthropologist and archaeologist by training and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop.[5] For his thesis at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Erikson wrote a "story cycle" of short stories titled A Ruin of Feathers about an archaeologist in Central America. Subsequently, he received a grant to finish the work which was published by TSAR, a small Canadian publishing house. For his next work he co-won the Anvil Press International 3-Day Novel Contest for which he signed away the rights, a mistake he attributes to inexperience. Erikson's third book was also published by TSAR, and consisted of a novella and short stories titled Revolvo and other Canadian Tales. Later, upon moving to England, he sold what he refers to as his "first real novel" to Hodder and Stoughton — This River Awakens — written when he still lived in Winnipeg. Before assuming the pseudonym Erikson (as an homage to his mother's maiden name), he published his first four books, currently out of print, under his real name.[6][7] In addition to writing, he paints using oil paints.[7]


Erikson has stated that apart from examining the "human condition", all his literary work share "compassion" as a theme, or main driving force.[8] Furthermore, when envisioning the Malazan world, both Esslemont and he agreed to create societies and cultures that never knew sexism and gender based hierarchies of power.[9]

Other themes include social inequality, egalitarianism, death, life, history, historical accuracy .[10][11][12][13][14]


Erikson has stated explicitly that he enjoys playing with and overturning the conventions of fantasy, presenting characters that violate the stereotypes associated with their roles. They embody the multidimensional characteristics found in human beings, making them more realistic and giving the story more depth, which is why his books are anything but predictable. He deliberately began Gardens of the Moon mid-plot rather than beginning with a more conventional narrative.[15][16] The writer's style of writing includes complex plots with masses of characters. In addition, he has been praised for his willingness to kill central characters when it enhances the plot.[1]


Word of mouth is very powerful in fantasy, and the net carries its own energy. It made a huge difference – people were picking [Gardens of the Moon] up from Amsterdam to the US.

The first novel of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, Gardens of the Moon (1999), was well received. It was short-listed for a World Fantasy Award.[18] It has also earned Erikson the reputation as one of the best authors in the fantasy genre,[18] and was described as "An astounding début".[19] The novel was acclaimed for its "combination of originality and intelligent, strong and exciting storytelling".[18] The second book in the series, Deadhouse Gates (2000), was voted one of the ten best fantasy novels of 2000 by SF Site.[20]

Fellow author Glen Cook has called the series a masterwork of the imagination that may be the high water mark of the epic fantasy genre. In his treatise written for The New York Review of Science Fiction, fellow author Stephen R. Donaldson has also praised Erikson for his approach to the fantasy genre, the subversion of classical tropes, the complex characterizations, the social commentary — pointing explicitly to parallels between the fictional Letheras Economy and the US Economy — and has referred to him as "an extraordinary writer", comparing him to the likes of Joseph Conrad, Henry James, William Faulkner, and Fyodor Dostoevsky.[19][21][22][23]


Erikson attributes paper and pen Role-Playing games, specifically AD&D and GURPS, as being the biggest influence in his writing career, and even calls it the fundament of the Malazan Empire, from his Malazan Book of the Fallen series, is based on. Stephen R. Donaldson's, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and Glen Cook's The Black Company, both ushering post-Tolkien style of writing, are among some of the works that have influenced his storytelling. He also credits the works of Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Homer, Arthur C. Clarke, Roger Zelazny, John Gardner, Gustav Hasford, Mark Helprin and Robin Hobb as some of the influences he used in the Malazan works.[24][1]

List of works[edit]

Malazan Book of the Fallen[edit]

# Title 1st Publication Approximate Word Count[25] Pages (Bantam Paperback) Audio
1 Gardens of the Moon 1 April 1999 209,000 768 26h 8m
2 Deadhouse Gates 1 September 2000 272,000 960 34h 5m
3 Memories of Ice 6 December 2001 358,000 1187 43h 59m
4 House of Chains 2 December 2002 306,000 1040 35h 6m
5 Midnight Tides 1 March 2004 270,000 960 31h 3m
6 The Bonehunters 1 March 2006 365,000 1232 42h 6m
7 Reaper's Gale 7 May 2007 386,000 1280 43h 58m
8 Toll the Hounds 30 June 2008 392,000 1296 44h 9m
9 Dust of Dreams 18 August 2009 382,000 1280 43h 13m
10 The Crippled God 15 February 2011 385,000 1200 45h 21m
Approximate Total: 3,325,000 11,216 16d 5h 8m

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Steven Erikson biography". Fantasy Book Review. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
  2. ^ Per the cover copy of the paperback edition of The Crippled God.
  3. ^ Thompson, William (2004). "The SF Site Featured Review: Midnight Tides". The SF Site. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  4. ^ "House of Chains by Steven Erikson". Fantasy Book Review. 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2009.
  5. ^ "Steven Erikson". Macmillan. 2008. Retrieved July 11, 2009.
  6. ^ "Steven Erikson Facebook post November 25, 2020". Retrieved December 1, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Vandermeer, Jeff (2008). "Steven Erikson: No Lies, No Holding Back". Clarkesworld Magazine. Retrieved August 31, 2009.
  8. ^ Thornton, Jonathan (1 November 2018). "INTERVIEW WITH STEVEN ERIKSON". Fantasy Hive. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Steven Erikson - Le livre des martyrs : Volume 1, Les jardins de la lune". Mollat. 2:40 minutes in.
  10. ^ "Diversity and Equality Are Foundational Concepts in Malazan Book of the Fallen". Tor. 22 October 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  11. ^ "Why You Should Read Malazan – Part 5: The Themes". The Quill To Live. 13 July 2018. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  12. ^ "A Slow Exhale: The Consistency of Malazan Book of the Fallen". Speculiction. 11 November 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  13. ^ "14 Reasons to Read Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon". Tor. 6 September 2016. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "Inner Worlds II: Steven Erikson, the author of The Malazan Book of the Fallen - On fantasy, bias, and telling a story". Medium. February 2017. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  15. ^ "Interview with Steven Erikson". January 21, 2006. Retrieved July 11, 2009.
  16. ^ "On the spot at Bookspotcentral: Interview with Steven Erikson". Retrieved July 11, 2009.
  17. ^ Moss, Stephen (October 14, 1999). "Malazans and megabucks". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  18. ^ a b c "Steven Erikson". booksattransworld. Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  19. ^ a b "Steven Erikson". Retrieved 11 July 2009.
  20. ^ "Top ten books of 2000". SF Site.
  21. ^ Donaldson, Stephen R. (18 March 2015). "Stephen R. Donaldson: Epic Fantasy: Necessary Literature". The New York Review of Science Fiction. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  22. ^ "Episode 264: Glen Cook and Steven Erikson". The Coode Podcast, Discussion and digression on science fiction and fantasy with Gary Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  23. ^ "Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson". Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  24. ^ Erikson, Steven. "The World of the Malazan Empire and Role-Playing Games". Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  25. ^ "Wordcount of popular (and hefty) epics". 27 October 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2015.


External links[edit]