This was the question that I recently asked myself, having waded through the mire of 120 pages of the Garden of the Moon and being completly baffled as to how this got through editing. There seems to be a number of basic storytelling errors in the lack of clarity of this book. Presumably this flaw extends to the rest of Erikson’s books, but I can’t really be bothered to find out. It’s strange that many of today’s readers might groan about reading supposedly heavy books such as War and Peace. But I tell you what, those heavy books of the past are page-turners compared to some of the badly written, badly edited books published today.
I blame RPGs (role-playing games, not rocket propelled grenades). They seem to have given rise to a host of writers who want to turn their fantasy team based gaming experiences into literature. It shouldn’t be allowed. Unfortunately there are enough RPGers out there to read the stuff.
When I picked up Gardens of the Moon I was hopeful. Apparently Erikson is trained as an anthropologist, so maybe the cultures and societies of his work would be subtely created. No such luck, there seems to be a complete lack of sophistication in the regurgitation of fantasy tropes such as Free Cities, Robert Jordan like wormholes and nuclear bomb like magic. The writing was on the wall for me when I read that there was a war being fought three thousand leagues away from the army’s homeland. Unless I have missed something and this is a Scifi book, then that would be frankly impossible for a pre-industrial nation. The circumference of our own world is not this much!