One of the most constant projects I’ve been working on for the past decade is the refining and improvement of a world map for Steven Erikson and Ian Esslemont’s Malazan series of epic fantasy novels. This led to the Malazan Maps of the Fallen series I ran in early 2018.
I wasn’t expecting to revisit the Malazan setting so soon, but a few months ago Steven Erikson released his original Malazan world map from the 1980s on his Facebook page. Although many of the details of the map have changed since Erikson created the original (as seen in the maps in the books), the general shape of the world and landmasses remains the same. As such as, I was able to revisit the prior world map (created by D’Rek on the Malazanempire forum, although I moved and resized some of the landmasses and added new labels) and revise it. I also took this opportunity to redraw the entire map, as the previous one was not at high enough a level of resolution to mark in all the details required.
Steven Erikson’s original, hand-drawn map follows:
I made a fresh copy of this map for clarity. Again, it should be emphasised that Erikson drew this map in the 1980s, a clear decade and more before he published Gardens of the Moon, and it represents the world of Malaz at an earlier stage in its conception, hence “Leathers” instead of “Lether” and so forth.
I then combined this map with the prior world map. Several judgement calls had to be made here, most notably because Erikson was using a rough, square base for his world map whilst I have been using a rectangle meant to reflect the dimensions of a spherical world. This mean some re-placement of landmasses to make more sense in a more realistic context.
Korelri/Stratem I left unchanged from the previous map. Erikson himself notes that the original conception of Korelri/Stratem had changed anyway (presumably as he’d passed it over to Esslemont to develop further) so it was in error on his original map. This means that we still don’t have a canonical map for Stratem (which remains the biggest anomaly in Malazan cartography), but a whole host of other problems were resolved, including canonical information on the shape of Bael, the western extent of Seven Cities and the location of Genostel and Umryg.
Some additional finessing was required: Lether is clearly larger and more stretched on an east-west axis in the book than on the original map, so I mostly retained the prior world map appearance. I did adjust the entire east coast of Lether (in the area of Estonbase and Kolanse) because the original was clearly incorrect. I also increased the size of Jacuruku. It is possible that Korelri/Stratem remains too large on the new map and should be taken down in size, but I await further information to see if that is warranted. One of the most interesting bits of new information was the existence of a southern polar continent, with a northwards extension between Assail and Lether.
For now, this is the most up-to-date and semi-canonical Malazan world map that exists. I await more information emerging from future books to see if it can be updated any further.
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