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Thu Dec 15, 2011, 12:24 PM

 

Which well-reviewed authors do you find, well...boring?

I'll give a couple of personal examples.

Stephen Donaldson. I tried reading the Thomas Covenant series, and couldn't get past the main character. Early in the first book, the main character is magically cured of his leprosy by a young girl, incidentally curing his impotence at the same time. His reaction? He rapes her.

This is our "hero". No thank you.

George R. R. Martin. I read the first couple of books in the Song of Fire and Ice series. They're well-written, but I never found the plot or characters engaging. I don't mind fantasy being dark...I like Michael Moorcock, for heaven's sake...but I found Martin's books too "gritty", if you know what I mean.

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Reply Which well-reviewed authors do you find, well...boring? (Original post)
Abin Sur Dec 2011 OP
lazarus Dec 2011 #1
Abin Sur Dec 2011 #3
closeupready Feb 2012 #15
fe6252fes Jun 2012 #23
iris27 Dec 2011 #2
lazarus Dec 2011 #6
phantom power Dec 2011 #4
iris27 Dec 2011 #7
XemaSab Dec 2011 #8
white_wolf Jan 2012 #10
XemaSab Dec 2011 #5
semillama Jan 2012 #12
caseymoz Jan 2012 #14
LWolf Dec 2011 #9
Codeine Jan 2012 #11
caseymoz Jan 2012 #13
1monster Jun 2012 #16
Fortinbras Armstrong Jun 2012 #18
1monster Jun 2012 #19
getting old in mke Jun 2012 #20
getting old in mke Jun 2012 #21
XemaSab Jun 2012 #22
XemaSab Jun 2012 #17
Xyzse Jul 2012 #24

Response to Abin Sur (Original post)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 02:38 PM

1. I love both Donaldson and Martin

Covenant was an anti-hero. The true heroes of that series were the people of the Land.

ASOI&F can drag a bit in places, but I love it. I love how you can't get attached to characters, how all the intricate plots tie together, how things shift and change and are totally unpredictable.

I like dark and gritty.

I tried reading Zelazney (I'm a big Brust fan, so sort of had to), and couldn't get into the Amber books at all. I never really liked Moorcock. Heck, I didn't like Brust's Freedom and Necessity. Can't get into epistolaries.

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Response to lazarus (Reply #1)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 10:52 PM

3. I loved Zelazny's Amber series.

 

So...different strokes and all that!

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Response to Abin Sur (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 16, 2012, 05:01 PM

15. The Amber books are some of my absolute favorite reads.

 

I devoured them, as a child.

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Response to lazarus (Reply #1)

Wed Jun 13, 2012, 06:44 PM

23. +1000

 

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Response to Abin Sur (Original post)

Thu Dec 15, 2011, 10:19 PM

2. There are authors who've written works I like, who've also

written stuff I found unbelievably boring.

Jacqueline Carey wrote the Kushiel's Legacy series which I love...but she also wrote The Sundering which is absolutely ponderous. The story is basically Lord of the Rings from the POV of the "evil" side, so perhaps she was trying to mimic Tolkien's style, but it was a chore to get through those. I loved the concept, but not the writing.

Given the above, I guess I should say Tolkien. I honestly like the LOTR movies better than the books - really the only films that hold that distinction for me. I have read the series through, and I'd like to know more about Middle-earth, but the idea of picking up The Silmarillion or The Children of Hurin makes me cringe.

Robin Hobb wrote an eleven book series (3 trilogies and one 2-part)...out of that, I adore one of the trilogies and found the rest decent. But she wrote an unrelated trilogy called Soldier's Son that is just AWFUL, and centers on the least likeable main character ever.

Brust is another one where I loved the concept but not the writing. His To Reign in Hell is about the "fall of the angels", told from multiple perspectives, and is a fascinating concept. But the actual story itself dragged on terribly. It made me reluctant to try anything else of his, though in light of my experiences with Carey and Hobb, maybe I should reconsider.

(And I love A Song of Ice and Fire, but even I found the most recent one just a bit boring! I was thinking, "Come on, man! This is the best you've got after taking six years to write the thing?" )

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Response to iris27 (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 12:14 PM

6. give brust another try

his Jhereg books (about Vlad Taltos) are much more fun.

Then again, I love To Reign In Hell.

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Response to Abin Sur (Original post)

Fri Dec 16, 2011, 10:40 AM

4. CS Lewis

I tried reading the Narnia books, and sort of ended up skimming them. They definitely evoked a "blah, blah, blah" feeling in me.

Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun -- I don't exactly want to say I didn't like them, but they weren't page-turners in any way.

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Response to phantom power (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 05:44 PM

7. Re-reading the Narnia books as an adult was a bad idea, for me.

I loved them as a child, but as an adult, his disdain for scientists and the rather astonishing racism and sexism inherent in the story just leaped off the page. For crying out loud, one girl is metaphorically sent to hell for growing up enough to become interested in boys and clothes.

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Response to iris27 (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 17, 2011, 09:55 PM

8. The thing that really bugged me as an adult

was the tory values.

Little-d democrats are derided, and the monarchy is portrayed as the only reasonable option for a government.

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Response to iris27 (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 6, 2012, 11:40 PM

10. I can't stand Lewis's books because he uses them to preach.

It pisses me when I'm trying to read fantasy as escapism and I see read through the story of Jesus's death and resurrection. To be honest, I found the Screwtape Letters to be more entertaining, at least I knew what I was getting into. I had to read Screwtape in highschool, because I went to a Baptist School.

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Response to Abin Sur (Original post)

Fri Dec 16, 2011, 05:53 PM

5. I abandoned Neal Stephenson

after Cryptonomicon.

That book was seriously painful to get through.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 19, 2012, 05:51 PM

12. You should give Anathema a try.

I found it to be a real page-turner. Easily his best effort, and one of the better sci-fi books I've read in the last ten years.

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 04:18 AM

14. I didn't think it was boring.


But it was certainly a mess.

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Response to Abin Sur (Original post)

Thu Dec 29, 2011, 04:28 PM

9. An interesting question, and one which has me scratching my head.

Why? If they were "boring," I don't remember them. I read too many books to hang on to those I didn't find worthy.

So, rummaging around in my crowded brain, I'll trot out what I can find:

Stephenie Meyer and "Twilight"

Brust? Something about an assassin? I don't remember if I've got the correct author with the correct story. The story about the assassin...

Whoever wrote that series about a flat (?) world

I'm sure there are more, but as you can see, if I didn't value them, I didn't put them in long-term memory. Except for "Twilight;" it, and a bunch of derivatives whose authors and titles I won't repeat, are painfully etched into my brain. I'm a middle school language arts teacher, and my female students are obsessive.

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Response to Abin Sur (Original post)

Tue Jan 17, 2012, 09:03 PM

11. I agree with you about Donaldson.

 

Robert Jordan is another. I cannot fathom how people slog through his nonsense.

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Response to Abin Sur (Original post)

Thu Jan 26, 2012, 04:16 AM

13. Covenant was good for reasons other than the main character.


That was Donaldson's first book, he oddly enough, he never read fantasy before. He made a lot of mistakes. If were to write a character like Covenant, I think I would start him out when he begins to get heroic and somewhat virtuous, about midway through the 3rd book, and the reader only finds out about his felonies later. Although, it was a ballsy thing to do to have a protagonist as loathsome and ineffective as Covenant. It's a surprise the series ever became successful and it shows that it can be done.

That being said, I'm not even sure if Covenant is worst thing about the books. I think Donaldson's use of language is undeliberately comical in some parts.

Reviews all around are much better for Donaldson's subsequent works, whose protagonists are less odious. He seemed to have either learned his lesson or got it out of his system.

I don't find really any appeal in Ursula Le Guin. C.S. Lewis makes me snooze.

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Response to Abin Sur (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 01:34 PM

16. Agree with you 100% on Martin. I found the first book too much like work to enjloy.

The only character I found even vaguely sypathetic got his head handed to him half way through the book. Way too much gratuitous and violence through the book with no real believable motivations.

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Response to 1monster (Reply #16)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 10:27 AM

18. I also dislike Donaldson

I did not like Thomas Covenant. He goes on and on, endlessly kvetching about his guilt. In one place, he feels guilt because of something another character did. Also in the Thomas Covenant books, Donaldson wants to show off his vocabulary. He uses "coign" where any other person would have "balcony". He has one character say to Covenant that he is uxorious; a claim that is meretricious. Indeed, the claim is completely mendacious (for one thing, the character is unmarried) -- but what can one expect from a man who is wearing a carcanet?

In another of Donaldson's books, The Real Story, the main character, Thermopyle, is not a flawed hero, or even really an antihero. He is an unmitigated bastard with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. He is a thief, a murderer and a rapist. He destroyed the one friend he ever had, for no apparent reason. What makes things worse is that Thermopyle gets into trouble, and the reader is obviously expected to feel sorry for him. Why should we feel the slightest sympathy for a wholly unsympathetic character? Morn, a woman that Thermopyle has repeatedly beaten and raped, does feel sorry for him, leading me to believe that Donaldson has never met any rape victims. I have known some, and not a one of them would feel the slightest sympathy for the men who raped them under any circumstances.

In the same book, I had a serious problem with Morn's gap sickness.

My brother used to be a submariner in the Navy. On the second or third day of submarine school, the trainees would be taken out for a short trip on a submarine. Invariably, one or two of the trainees would show symptoms of claustrophobia. These trainees would then be sent elsewhere as unsuited for submarine duties for medical reasons. This was determined at the start of training, not -- as in Morn's case -- after completion.

One would expect that the trainees such as Morn would be sent out into the Gap at the beginning of their training, under controlled conditions, and those who showed gap sickness would be dealt with. Donaldson has the Space Patrol (or whatever it's called) saying "Some of our people may have serious psychological problems with the Gap, but let's not bother testing for it."

I wonder why Donaldson seems to prefer completely unsympathetic protagonists.

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #18)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 11:34 AM

19. I've never read Donalson... It sounds as if he might have been trying to get someone ready

for the vocab section of the SATs.

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Response to 1monster (Reply #19)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 03:57 PM

20. I was reading Thomas Covenant

at the same time as Gene Wolf's Sevarian series and kept a file box of index cards (before PCs) with words that were new to me. Eventually the box would barely close.

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Response to Fortinbras Armstrong (Reply #18)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 03:59 PM

21. I used "uxorious" in Scrabble once

Didn't score nearly as well as I would have liked, despite the "x" but sure made for bragging rights.

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Response to getting old in mke (Reply #21)

Tue Jun 12, 2012, 08:13 PM

22. My best word ever was ethernet

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Response to Abin Sur (Original post)

Fri Jun 8, 2012, 03:40 PM

17. The last two books in the Hunger Games

The second one started to feel like a slog, and the third one was painful to get through.

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Response to Abin Sur (Original post)

Wed Jul 25, 2012, 03:54 PM

24. Uhhh...

Tolkien.
-runs and hides-

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