Gardens of the Moon – 10th Anniversary Edition

Got my copy of this hardcover UK edition of GotM from Amazon.co.uk.

– It follows more or less the format of other hardcovers.
– Exceptions: two less lines each page and they decided to move the image on the side of the book on top, so it mismatches with the others (where the image is at the bottom).
– It has a new 2-page foreword.
– It has still the very 1st version of the text, with all the mistakes and errors on the text (like Dujek being called High Mage instead of High Fist or the warren of Meanas being called Rashan).
– Same for the map, still error-ridden 1st version.

I took some time to type here what’s written in this new foreword.

To be honest, there is something slightly numbing about the realization that ten years have passed since the first publication of Gardens of the Moon. At that time the remaining novels in the series existed as ephemeral notions solely in my head. They belonged to the realm of dreams and wishes. The journey ahead, of words on a screen and then paper, still awaited me in the idyllic state that was the future. Yet the publication of Gardens of the Moon was, for me, a momentous event; for it permitted me to sharpen my focus, as I slowly, almost disbelievingly, comprehended that what was now coming to pass was indeed possible. These things could be reached. The import of that statement cannot be overemphasized. They can be reached.
I am now on the cusp of the tenth and final novel in the Malazan Book of the Fallen. Almost ten thousand pages span the gulf from Gardens to The Crippled God, a detail even more numbing than the decade it took to compose them. I am often asked; how do you sustain it? A difficult question to answer. How do I not? I have a tale to tell and until it is done an inexorable momentum drives me, an impatience against which I still struggle, knowing I need to do it right, and that haste is my deadliest enemy. Especially now.
So, I have been straining at the bit for a long time now. Ten years. Even longer if I include the seven or eight years it took for this first novel to find a publisher. And it is from this stance of long, familiar experience that I offer the following words to you, the reader, as you contemplate embarking on this series. If you are to share the journey that begins with Gardens of the Moon, hold tight against impatience. The story needs time, even as it seeks to urge you forward. There is something diabolical at work here and I have no idea what it is. It was never deliberate, even though, not counting the prologue, the first words of Gardens of the Moon are, uncannily,‘Prod and pull…’
I cannot claim any prescience with that opening; perhaps, indeed, I was aware on some subconscious level that I was fighting the very thing that confounds many readers with this series. For me, it was the push to advance the story versus the pull to keep it under control, to hold tight on the reins no matter how wild the bucking beast. For the reader, the whole thing reverses: the story pulls, the details prod, claw and tug.
Prod and pull, ‘this the way of the gods …
Well, they certainly jerked my chain.
I am always dubious when I read what writers have to say about their work years after the fact (and I do not exclude myself). My scepticism only deepens when those writers then advise others on how things should be done, based solely on what they did. How easy is that? The truth is that most advice sucks, simply because now one knows where it’s been, and experience is not something one can readily pass on anyway, as anyone with a teenaged child can tell you. So, when earlier on I offered some words on how to read my work, before I reached the final full stop I already felt jaded about the sentiment, no matter how well intentioned it happened to be. The novel will do what it does, and it is out of my control and maybe out of yours, too. With luck, one day you will be cracking the spine on the tenth and final novel in the series, and you will look back, slightly benumbed, to that creased and battered copy of Gardens of the Moon, there on your bookshelf, and you might think: That’s where this all started. What did I think when I read that book? Did I guess where it would take me, eleven thousand pages later? How do I feel now?
When you have an answer to that last question, let me know. We can share notes.

With thanks and best wishes,

Steven Erikson
Cornwall
August, 2009

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