The OF Blog: Yes, it seems that Steven Erikson might be a Squirrelist

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Yes, it seems that Steven Erikson might be a Squirrelist

I have had my suspicions about him before, seeing references to a mage in the third novel, Memories of Ice, unleashing an attack of angry ground squirrels when he opened his warren, not to mention other references in the seventh novel, Reaper's Gale (and an undead squirrel in the novella The Lees of Laughter's End), but this scene from the novella The Healthy Dead cinches it for me:

He sat on the front step of his modest, friendless abode, watching a squirrel twitch confusedly at the base of a tree.  It had been busy for weeks storing various things in anticipation of the winter to come.  Curiously, it seemed such rodents despised company.  Loneliness was their desired state.  This is what came, he concluded morosely, of eating nuts and seeds.

The creature's present confusion had no outwardly apparent cause, suggesting to Imid that the source of its troubles came from within, a particular cavort of agitation in its tiny brain.  Perhaps it was experiencing an ethical crisis, making it jump about so in chittering rage.

All the fault of that damned manservant, Imid told himself.  Mulled wine and rustleaf and durhang, a veritable cornucopia of forbidden substances, and his indifferent aplomb in the consumption of those items had taken Imid's breath away.  Cruel as a squirrel, he'd been.  Driving the Saint of Glorious Labour to distraction, and worse...thoughts of violence.

Yes, rage and violence, those are the hallmarks of squirrels and their cruelty seems to strike some semblance of fear (OK, agitation) in the thoughts of Imid.  Nice to see that Erikson recognizes these wondrous squirrelly qualities, no?


Neth said...

well, the latest novella (which I have, but have not read yet) has a lizard cat mentioned in the blurb. So, I'd say there's a good chance for a squirrel, maybe even something like turtle squirrel or even better, a crocodile squirrel.

Squirrelist or not, Erikson reached his pinnacle with a pack-horse named for a narcotic berry: Neth.

Larry Nolen said...

I hope to get that one in the next few weeks, along with the new Esslemont, although I'm starting to experience Malazan fatigue 10 books (well, 13 if I count the first three novellas) into the re-read/review series.

But yes, being named after a fictional narcotic has to be intoxicating, no? ;)

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