Defending Erikson versus Martin apologists

Once again I was participating to an interesting debate on Westeros forum when a moderator realized my arguments were not easy to counter in a normal discussion and so deleted all my posts. *groan*

I was quite pissed because I had written a lot and I’m one of those who can’t write the same thing twice. So now I had to rebuild everything and is only a pale imitation of a discussion that I considered engaging (not just with him) and that I was enjoying.

This is more or less what it was, it appends at the end of this thread:

Me: ASoIaF (A Song of Ice and Fire, aka Martin’s own fantasy series) risks to not be realistically realized and completed.

And so does Malazan. There’s a hell of a long way to go yet.

You still don’t think the series finishes with The Crippled God though, do you? Not even the authors are suggesting that. The only thing that finishes in the next book is the Crippled God story arc. Many, many other storylines stretching back to Book 1 will be going on for many years and many more books to come.

There is no more sign that ASoIaF cannot be brought to a conclusion than Malazan can be.

The Malazan series is ten books. It is going to be complete with that last book.

What Werthead considers “complete” is subjective. It’s a matter of quality. It’s a matter of whether or not the last book will offer readers what they consider a satisfying conclusion and proper closure. The last book isn’t out so we can’t say if it delivers from a subjective point of view or not. If it’s good or not. But it’s plain naive to argue that since more books are planned beyond the main series, and since we don’t know what happened to every character, then the Malazan series is to be considered as unfinished and as a failure in the same way of ASoIaF. Or even that their situation is comparable. That’s a quite ludicrous thing to say.

The difference is that Erikson is going to finish the series and it will be out there for readers to say if it’s good or if it’s shit. He went to the point and fulfilled his promises to the publisher and his readers.
Martin instead is holding back, and justifying these delays in the name of quality. But quality that has still to be proven and not to be taken so easily for granted.

Here people are being persuaded that a book taking forever is always synonymous of quality. It’s not. It is more like a hope of his faithful readers that is yet to be fulfilled. It’s suspended. A possibility but not a truth. It is ludicrous to say that Martin’s way of doing his series is something that Erikson should learn for himself and that is to be preferred (obviously assuming that it is even possible to translate a writing process from a writer to another like a program in a computer, but we’re just pretending in support of a discussion). Subjectively you can make your choice and have your preference, but no one can say if these delays are really justifying the quality of the book. Even more it’s arguable that is to be preferred a series that appears to stick to an high quality standard but that takes 20 years to get to the point, and actually not getting to the point at all, to one that stays on track both from the schedule perspective and writing intent of its writer, even if it suffers form some mistakes along the way and that sacrificed the strive for perfection to not lose anything of its deliberateness, drive and ultimate goal.

What Werthead does here is playing on semantics because he’s more interested to win an internet argument than actually understanding what I’m saying and having a normal discussion. So this has now become a linguistic problem.

How many trees you need to make a wood? 100? If 100 trees make a wood then what are 99 trees? Some trees together?

Words are just words. We use them to make ourselves understood but the words don’t mirror reality and can be used to deceive (a theme that should be well known to Malazan readers). “Complete” is solely what you consider so. It’s something subjective. You decide for yourself what you consider complete. But it is a fact that the Malazan series is 10 books. It was ten books when it was planned and it was delivered that way. So, as a project, it is complete. There are may be more books that Erikson decides to write that are set in the same world, but they would be their own projects. Projects within other projects. ASoIaF is planned to have 7 books. At this point it is not so plausible that Martin is going to deliver them and complete the series.

I will consider ASoIaF complete even if:
– Not all plot threads will be completely resolved in the last book.
– The conclusion sucks.
– Martin decides to write a sequel or prequel.

In the EXACT same way Erikson decided to write more books, Martin may decide as well (as long he achieves immortality) to write more books set in the same world. Does this mean that the series isn’t complete?

Are you saying that since now Stephen King has linked all his books through the Dark Tower now all those books are to be considered incomplete because there may be an odd character that may appear in another book sometime in the future?

What I said is that, as a project, the Malazan series is plausibly going to be completed. As a project it was “successful”, in the sense that it went as planned and Erikson delivered the goods. He wrote it in the exact way he wanted to write it. It is an accomplished thing. Fully realized. This doesn’t mean that it’s automatically great and everyone is going to love it. That’s for the readers to say. But as a project it worked. ASoIaF, as a project, was a failure. Because Martin planned seven books and is not plausible that we’ll see the end of it. It took him too long to write the thing, much longer than he thought. You can love it as much you want, but this doesn’t make it a “successful” project. Because as a project it betrayed its original intent and proved to be harder and above what Martin seems able to handle when facing human limits.

To re-rail back the discussion on the only point that was meaningful in what I was saying: I believe that Erikson wrote this series in the only way it was possible to write it. Taking more time for each book would mean stretching it over a too long period of time and it is very likely that done that way Erikson would have lost momentum, focus and deliberateness. Here we assume again that more time equals better quality. Not always, not univocally. It’s probable that the series would have gained in consistence and error-free continuity but Erikson himself decided that those mistakes weren’t a priority in what he wanted to achieve. It’s up to the readers then to say what they care the most about and if they enjoyed what he made in the way he made it.

That’s why I was saying that from my point of view it would make sense to make a revision AFTER the series is complete. Because I believe that there are significant margins of improvement and you can take care of the minor details and inconsistencies that slipped through. But the series itself, with its scope and intent, was executed in the only way that was humanly possible with a project with this scope and ambition. There aren’t better ways to do it. Stretching it over a period of 20 years would mean risking of getting swallowed and never again see the way out (not unlike Martin). Erikson proved that he could stay ahead of the thing, and demonstrated to be in control of it. Much more than any other example in fantasy.

That’s why I say it is a success. Even if it doesn’t mean that everyone is going to love it just because the writer fully realized what he intended to realize.

Then there’s the part where Werthead makes false claims in support of his theories. I knows he is well informed but he presents what are wild guesses as proven facts and people on those forums are starting to believe him because those guesses are plausible. But something plausible doesn’t make it true. Easier to believe, sure, but not true. It may be true, but we can’t simply take something plausible for granted as if it was proven.

“It took until 2006 for the advance to be paid back”
“it took significantly longer than expected for the series to make any money.”
“it’s not doing anything even remotely like it was commissioned to do.”

These are rather precise claims he made. I asked him to prove these claims and he deleted my posts instead. This is why I say that he makes wild, rough guesses and then pretends that we believe them. A lie that is made of parts that are true is a lie that is plausible, but still a lie. Werthead’s behavior leads to believe people here that “he knows stuff”, when instead he makes wild guesses that originate from true things he knows. Then he repeats those guesses across multiple forums over and over and over and over till he himself is persuaded that they are true. He brainwashed us and himself. And again I repeat that HE IS well informed, if he only stuck to things he know and didn’t make up the rest.

That’s the point where I said that the Malazan series should have taught him to not believe of truths that are made-up. He’s like Karsa before the journey, with the difference that he makes up his own lies.

I also commented that I saw plenty of times on those forums people comparing Erikson’s books to “anime” or “comic books” as a way to diminish their value and ridicule them in a way they believe is so subtle and smart, when instead it is really not.

That’s why I said that it’s a proof of how it seems the great majority of people are deeply hardwired hypocrite.

They read “fantasy” so they are ready to spring up and proudly defend the genre when one of those “fantasy versus serious literature” arguments comes up. They defend their own garden. Ready to go against those who call fantasy as a lesser form of literature and mock books that have magic, wizards and trolls.

But then they themselves have no concerns calling the Malazan series “anime in book form” or “literary comic book” as a cheap way to diminish its value and reduce the books to just a bunch of spectacular scenes. It’s the same as usual: people mocking what they do not understand in order to celebrate their own stuff and elevate it above the rest.

Next time your daddy mocks your fantasy book collection just remember that you are no different.

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