Guest Blog: The Journey into Malaz by Ian C. Esslemont

The Journey into Malaz by Ian C. Esslemont

The question of the journey of the Malazan Empire up to now is of course impossible to answer in any short form.  However, I suppose I could trace out a few ideas that Steve and I pursued, or hoped we’d managed to pursue. 
Of course we both grew up on fantasy literature.  We love the genre; and as fans and budding writers and scholars of literature, we hoped to contribute to it, while, at the same time, providing something new – or at least different. 
So, in sculpting our material (consciously and unconsciously), we decided to take from the extant fantasy genre the elements we enjoyed, while at the same time excising those elements we wished to leave behind (such as moral absolutes). 
Then, we looked at other genres for models or other desirable elements, and we ended up importing aspects of war fiction, historical fiction, so-called ‘realism’, hard-boiled detective fiction, noir, ancient classical fiction, and others, to compile an approach that we hoped would set our particular world apart. 
Therefore, we ended up with a narrative that is at the same time gritty, street-level, and unblinking, while also containing aspects of historical sweep, political intrigue, mystery, and a concern for the relationship between humanity, its mythology, magic, and the pre-formalized religious (or spiritual) experience. 

Whether we achieved any of this, or how close we might have come, is of course not up to us.  We gave it a shot, and we hope some of that lurks there between the lines. 


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