Search SFE    Search EoF

  Omit cross-reference entries  

Erikson, Steven

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

Icon made by Freepik from


Pseudonym of Canadian archaeologist, anthropologist (no longer active in either profession) and author Steve Rune Lundin (1959-    ), whose first books, published under his own name, were mostly nonfantastic, beginning with A Ruin of Feathers (coll of linked stories 1991); the title story of Revolvo and Other Canadian Tales (coll 1998; rev vt including title story only Revolvo 2008 chap as by Steven Erikson) is a Satire set in an imaginary version of Winnipeg, Manitoba, not quite sufficiently estranged to fairly be deemed an Alternate World. When She's Gone (2004), again as Steve Lundin, is a comic tale featuring two hockey fans who canoe from Edinburgh to Cardiff, portaging en route through London.

Erikson is primarily known for The Malazan Book of the Fallen, a massively complex, visibly ambitious Epic Fantasy completed in ten volumes, beginning with Gardens of the Moon (1999) and ending with The Crippled God (2010); a prequel sequence, The Kharkanas Trilogy, begins with Forge of Darkness (2014), and the Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, a sequence of non-epic novellas set in the Malazan universe, begins with Blood Follows (2002 chap), and focuses on the kind of witty and occasionally savage half-comedic adventures found in sequences like the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser Heroic Fantasy tales by Fritz Leiber [for Epic Fantasy and Heroic Fantasy see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. The underlying shape of the Malazan Empire itself – though none of the actual stories – derives from development work on the GURPS Role Playing Game by Erikson in collaboration with fantasy author Ian Cameron Esslemont (1962-    ), who has also published novels set in the same Magic-irradiated overall universe. The Empire serves as a complex backdrop for at least three interconnected patterns of conflict, repression, rebellion and warfare; the perceived scale of this arena, being circumstantially more ample than the planet created by George R R Martin for his A Song of Ice and Fire sequence, allows more room for Erikson's numerous and ethically ambiguous protagonists (and interfering gods [see Gods and Demons]) to unpack their destinies, though the sequence as a whole does not quite achieve the cumulative narrative momentum of Martin's epic.

Some tales written during the long production period required for Malazan are of direct sf interest. The Devil Delivered (2004) applies Equipoisal jostlings of sf, fantasy and horror tropes to the complex depiction of a Near Future world beset by Climate Change, Pollution, Ecological degradation, the extinction of most animal species, and the threat of World War Three. The action takes place mostly in the Canadian prairies. The ghost of Sitting Bull (1831-1890) – last seen in Canada just before he surrendered to the American military, which would eventually enable his murder – imparts wisdom. It is discovered that the Evolution of Homo sapiens has been systematically misrepresented: we are in fact remote descendants of Martians who attempted to start again on Earth after rendering Mars uninhabitable; unfortunately we have followed the same tragic course as our ancestors. There is some sense however that a Gaia-like emanation from the deep soil is coming to something like consciousness, perhaps ultimately to inhabit the internet and to participate in a saving Transcendence.

More relaxedly, the Willful Child sequence comprising Willful Child (2014) and Willful Child: Wrath of Betty (2016) is a Parody of Star Trek (1966-1969), focusing on the first generation of stories set in that universe. Like almost any successful parody it is done with love, and the attendant spoofery is occasionally scattershot; but affection wins through. Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart: A Novel of First Contact (2018) is, on the other hand, a straightforward sf novel, in which an AI – calling itself Adam and claiming to represent a coalition of three concerned Alien races – first invests Earth and much of the Solar System with locally constructed Technology far beyond ours, and then establishes First Contact with Homo sapiens using a UFO-abducted sf writer as spokesperson. Stages of the plan to rescue Earth's biosphere from Anthropocene damage include Adam's assumption of the role of Gaia, protecting threatened animal habitats, whale pods etc with Force Fields which are also deployed to micromanage human violence even at the domestic level; external control of the Internet; the gift of a clean Power Source to replace nuclear and fossil-fuel energy; and Terraforming operations on Venus. Perhaps to mask a certain lack of tension resulting from Adam's effective omnipotence, the crowded tale includes revelations about other, unpleasant aliens ("Greys") formerly based on the Moon, and ends with a teasing discovery of apparent life on Mars, promising at least one sequel. [JC]

Steve Rune Lundin

born Toronto, Ontario: 7 October 1959



Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen

  • Gardens of the Moon (London: Bantam Press, 1999) [Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen: pb/Chris Moore]
  • Deadhouse Gates (London: Bantam Press, 2000) [Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen: hb/Steve Stone]
  • Memories of Ice (London: Bantam Press, 2001) [Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen: pb/Steve Stone]
  • House of Chains (London: Bantam Press, 2002) [Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen: hb/Steve Stone]
  • Midnight Tides (London: Bantam Press, 2004) [Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen: hb/Steve Stone]
  • The Bonehunters (London: Bantam Press, 2006) [Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen: hb/Steve Stone]
  • Reaper's Gale (London: Bantam Press, 2007) [Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen: hb/Steve Stone]
  • Toll the Hounds (London: Bantam Press, 2008) [Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen: hb/Steve Stone]
  • Dust of Dreams (London: Bantam Press, 2009) [Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen: hb/Steve Stone]
  • The Crippled God (London: Bantam Press, 2010) [Malazan: The Malazan Book of the Fallen: hb/Steve Stone]

Malazan: Tales of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach

Malazan: The Kharkanas Trilogy

Malazan: The Witness Trilogy

Willful Child


individual titles

collections and stories


previous versions of this entry

This website uses cookies.  More information here. Accept Cookies