After around 9 years, I have finally managed to complete the 10 volume set of Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson in matching numbers. It was around 9-10 years ago that Subterranean Press started publishing limited editions and releasing them one a year. Book 10, The Crippled God, arrived on my doorstep on Tuesday morning.
I regard the Malazan series as some of my favourite writing and like to make the comparison that Lord of the Rings is what you get when an English professor creates worlds, while Malazan is what you get from two archaeologists, one of whom is also an anthropologist. It is a challenging read and I recall several attempts to get into Book 1 as they are densely written, with lots of characters and perspectives to keep track of, not to mention a massive timeline of history.
I commented on instagram that book 5 is set in the time before book 4 while book 6 follows on from book 4. The series requires full immersion and it is hard to keep it all in the head. Minor characters and vignettes in early books may actually be portentous of later events and play a larger part further along. I’ve read a couple of interesting reviews recently including Tor and Medium, each grappling with the task of summarising Malazan effectively.
Collecting was a bit of fun in the early days as I was determined to read them all first before deciding to get special editions; I don’t do that anymore as I’ve had too many close calls. The first two Malazan had sold out by the time I decided I wanted the Subterranean editions so I ended up paying around $400 for book 2, then had a bit of luck and paid US$650 for book 1 of the same number, while the remaining were initially US$150 early on, but as costs rose in the following years, the final book was US$175.
Over the years I have been fortunate to acquire just about every other special edition of related works including all the releases from PS Publishing and Ian Esslemont’s works. I think the only title I’m sort of missing is the PS deluxe slipcase edition (100 copies) of Erikson’s The Lees of Laughter’s End, though I do have the limited release which was one of 500. I’d meant to follow it up years ago but didn’t get round to it and may have left it too late.
There have been books published in addition to the special editions including recent continuations. I am not aware of any special editions of those and have been picking up the first editions. It took me a while (along with access to Global Books in Print via my local library) to work out that the first edition (and first UK edition) was via Bantam Books and they were then released in the US through Tor. Increasingly I think the Bantam and Tor editions are being released almost simultaneously. While working that out I have ended up with 2-3 editions of each of the later works :-) That I think is getting a bit excessive. I have also managed to get the Bantam and Tor releases of the first book, Gardens of the Moon. Interestingly the first editions haven’t significantly increased in value like the Subterranean releases.