There was a solid turn-out, around 40-45 fans showed up.
It was a really good session; Erikson read a number of passages from his new novel Toll the Hounds and explained the style and meaning behind each piece.
Then came the obligatory Q&A session. It was a bit of a minefield at times, as people frequently mentioned spoilers - though to their credit they did ask the rest of the crowd whether they had read that far in the series first. Thing is, no one in their right mind was gonna stick their hand up and look like a total n00b. I certainly wasn't going to admit that I'd only read Gardens of the Moon. Unfortunately I did learn the fate of one major character, which was a bit annoying, but I guess it's my own fault for not having read as much Erikson as I should have.
Erikson proved to have a nice dry wit, and his answers got plenty of laughs. He revealed quite a lot of interesting stuff. For example, he has signed on for two trilogies after the Malazan series. The first will focus on the early mythology of the Malazan world, while the second will pick up on events after the end of the current series. He also revealed that he writes for four hours a day, which can result in anywhere between two paragraphs and twelve pages of writing. He is currently playing 'Age of Conan' online, and criticised the way the NPC characters so willingly provide the information the player-character needs. He suggested this was unrealistic, given that people in real life would mostly refuse to co-operate or lie. He said that if there was a Malazan MMORPG, he would want all actions taken by the player to have consequences and would want the history of the world to be tangible. He also admitted he gets frustrated when asked by mainstream journalists as to what relevance fantasy has to modern life, and confirmed that the gender equality prevalent in the Malazan world was totally deliberate, a reaction against the gender-specific roles in other fantasy novels.
He talked about a whole lot more as well, but much I can't recall now. It was all very interesting though. Finally he signed plenty of books and took time to chat with everyone. Fortunately I managed not to make a total twat of myself in front of him. My fiancee was on hand to ensure that I didn't:
a) Squeal at Erikson
b) Hug Erikson's leg
c) Touch Erikson's balding head
d) Touch some other part of his anatomy
e) Any combination of the above
Fortunately I managed to suppress my admiration, and instead settled for a photo (above) and a signed copy of Toll the Hounds.
So, overall a good evening.
In other news, I received my review copy of Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky in the post, so will try to get around to that as soon as possible...