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upupdowndown
09-30-2011, 09:23 AM
ITT we talk about authors that we used to read but can't anymore for various reasons.

My exhibit A is Orson Scott Card. I like Ender's Game and loved, loved, loved Speaker for the Dead. But Card's been slowly disappearing up his own ass and his very right-wing, homophobic worldview has really been poisoning his writing.

Recently he released a novella retelling Hamlet to make it an anti-gay screed (http://www.raintaxi.com/online/2011summer/card.shtml). Jesus.

MCBanjoMike
09-30-2011, 09:50 AM
Two words: Dave Sim.

KCar
09-30-2011, 10:00 AM
Does Robert Jordan count? Because the Wheel of Time began really well, and then the wheels started spinning as he started to craft the epic to end all epics. I remember reading volume 10 (I think?) and realizing that nothing happened, because he could only devote a single chapter to each of the plot lines he was attempting to follow.

Dubin
09-30-2011, 10:14 AM
ITT we talk about authors that we used to read but can't anymore for various reasons.

My exhibit A is Orson Scott Card. I like Ender's Game and loved, loved, loved Speaker for the Dead. But Card's been slowly disappearing up his own ass and his very right-wing, homophobic worldview has really been poisoning his writing.

Recently he released a novella retelling Hamlet to make it an anti-gay screed (http://www.raintaxi.com/online/2011summer/card.shtml). Jesus.
As wonderful as Ender's Game is, I think the warning signs for Card's right-wing extremism were already there in the sub-plot of Catholicism/people who want more than two children as rebels against the oppressive government and its birth-limit policy.

Vaeran
09-30-2011, 10:37 AM
On the subject of Card being a creepy weirdo, re-read Ender's Game sometime with an eye towards how often and how far out of his way he goes to note the Battle School boys all lounging around naked for no reason, culminating of course in Ender's wet, soapy fight with Bonzo in the shower.

I'm just saying.

Egarwaen
09-30-2011, 10:46 AM
Science fiction authors have this habit of turning into crazy conservatives as they get older. See, for example, Larry Niven. Or Ray Bradbury, who apparently now refuses to allow his material to be referred to as "science fiction" in his presence...

Rosewood
09-30-2011, 10:53 AM
For me, it's C.J. Cherryh. I loved Downbelow Station and the Ealdwood books, but nothing else of hers has clicked with me. And it's for a silly damned reason. In Cyteen, every single character uses "damned" liberally in their speech, making them seem homogenous, and in Foreigner Bren, aside from maundering too much, also has "damned" disease. I know both of these are good/respected books, but that damned thing just drives me crazy!

kaisel
09-30-2011, 10:58 AM
I'm going to have to go with Charles de Lint here. Some of his earlier novels were great, and his short stories have been really good (at least out of the two short story collections of his that I've read), but his later novels have the problems of making his characters far too similar, his plots being pretty much the same, and then shoehorning in a "they were fated to be together" plot for two of his popular characters, even if a previous book had them getting over that and dealing with it.

SpoonyBardOL
09-30-2011, 11:00 AM
Oh Orson Scott Card.

I also enjoyed Ender's Game, and really enjoyed Speaker for the Dead. I did my undergrad in social/cultural Anthropology, so the idea of mankind being totally unprepared for their first real encounter with an alien species (well, the Piggies were technically the second, but they were the first they tried to understand) really fascinated me. Xenocide and Children of the Mind were... not as good, but I still enjoyed them enough to finish the Quartet. I haven't looked at any of the other stories in the Universe, though, most of the folks who directed me to the Ender series to begin with warned me against them. Anyone know how they hold up?

Anyway, yeah, Card's political beliefs weren't that hard to spot as I went on through the series. They weren't enough to drive me away, because I enjoyed Speaker too much. But I'm not as interested to check out his other works.

So how about that George R. R. Martin? (he had to be mentioned)

fugu13
09-30-2011, 11:02 AM
I think Card very much has let his prejudiced and wrong sociopolitical opinions unfairly color his writing, but there's a lot out there being leveled against him unfairly.

Hamlet is not an anti-gay screed. Hamlet's father is made into a child molester, but according to Card (and a number of people who read it) there are no gay couples in it. There're a few phrases that could be read as having a homosexual subtext, and I think say things about Card's mentality, but aren't clearly intended that way at all. It certainly doesn't rise to the level of an "anti-gay screed", which would require at least rather more clarity.

The background for Ender's game was written while at BYU. He is part of a culture that values having many children, and that value dominates more than the strong tendency for social conservatism -- I know a number of extremely liberal (including pro gay marriage) Mormons who are still pro multiple children. He wrote Ender's mom as being Mormon. There's really nothing ultra conservative about writing one of your first stories around a value like that.

The shower thing is mildly amusing, but keep in mind he was trying to imagine a situation where children were being treated as soldiers. Soldier recruits at the time showered together, naked (and quite possibly still do, it isn't exactly a topic I keep abreast of), and that's a convenient piece of downtime to write dialogue into. That doesn't mean there's nothing to read into it, but be careful assuming there's no other possible explanation ;) .

Evil Dead Junkie
09-30-2011, 11:07 AM
. Or Ray Bradbury, who apparently now refuses to allow his material to be referred to as "science fiction" in his presence...


In all fairness he was always more of a fantasy author. And he' s now like a hundred. And a national treasure. Dude deserves a bit of slack.

Evil Dead Junkie
09-30-2011, 11:09 AM
Frank Miller. I just spent four thousand words writing about this for inreads so I'm a bit tuckered out but yeah...

Falselogic
09-30-2011, 11:13 AM
I think Card very much has let his prejudiced and wrong sociopolitical opinions unfairly color his writing, but there's a lot out there being leveled against him unfairly.

Hamlet is not an anti-gay screed. Hamlet's father is made into a child molester, but according to Card (and a number of people who read it) there are no gay couples in it. There're a few phrases that could be read as having a homosexual subtext, and I think say things about Card's mentality, but aren't clearly intended that way at all. It certainly doesn't rise to the level of an "anti-gay screed", which would require at least rather more clarity.

The background for Ender's game was written while at BYU. He is part of a culture that values having many children, and that value dominates more than the strong tendency for social conservatism -- I know a number of extremely liberal (including pro gay marriage) Mormons who are still pro multiple children. He wrote Ender's mom as being Mormon. There's really nothing ultra conservative about writing one of your first stories around a value like that.

The shower thing is mildly amusing, but keep in mind he was trying to imagine a situation where children were being treated as soldiers. Soldier recruits at the time showered together, naked (and quite possibly still do, it isn't exactly a topic I keep abreast of), and that's a convenient piece of downtime to write dialogue into. That doesn't mean there's nothing to read into it, but be careful assuming there's no other possible explanation ;) .

Hey, this isn't the thread for defending authors its the one for trashing them. I don't want to hear your justifications for Card's asshattery!

Anyway, David Eddings was great until he decided all he wanted to write about was little girls who were really grown women. Yeah, that is creepy.

Evil Dead Junkie
09-30-2011, 11:33 AM
OK after a bit of thought I have to say that Tom Wolfe is probably the number one person on this list.

Post modernism ruined him. Tom Wolfe used to be the greatest writer of the individual that this country produced and I will swear to it in any court in the country. Then in his collection Hooking Up he started getting super into post modern philosophy and it drained all the life out his work like a fucking vampire. Tom Wolfe no longer writes about individual's he writes about misfiring chemicals in the brain. Disbelief in free will results in some boring fucking fiction.

I've never read a book with such mounting dread and disappointment as I Am Charlotte Simmons. It was so tone deaf and awful, just completely lifeless. And that was before it turned into a two hundred page game of "Who Is Going To Pop Charlotte Simmons' Cherry?" With Wolfe narrating like a dirty old uncle.

You can't write a book called I Am Charlotte Simmons if you apparently do not believe that Charlotte Simmons exists.

Droewyn
09-30-2011, 11:50 AM
Hamlet is not an anti-gay screed. Hamlet's father is made into a child molester, but according to Card (and a number of people who read it) there are no gay couples in it.

That's rather the point. There are no gay couples, because that would imply that there are positive aspects of homosexuality (commitment, devotion, dare I say love?). It's pushing the GAY = CHILD MOLESTER angle hard.

How is that not anti-gay?

***

The Mercedes Lackey School of Heavy-Handed Social Commentary deserves special attention. Her characters used to be easy for her target audience to relate to; they were outsiders for one reason or another in societies that valued conformity over expression. Then she started trying to top herself for tragic backstories and things got ridiculous quick. I fully expect the next Valdemar protagonist to have been set on fire at birth by evil parents, born with no arms or legs, or both.

upupdowndown
09-30-2011, 11:54 AM
That's rather the point. There are no gay couples, because that would imply that there are positive aspects of homosexuality (commitment, devotion, dare I say love?). It's pushing the GAY = CHILD MOLESTER angle hard.

How is that not anti-gay?

Don't forget that Card is on the board of NOM, the "National Organization for Marriage", perhaps the leading anti- gay marriage organization out there and a torrential font of terrible homophobic bullshit. Card has also said multiple awful things about homosexuality in interviews.

So when a book like this comes along that seems to play into horrific anti-gay stereotypes, you know what? I'm pretty sure it's about horrific anti-gay stereotypes!

Zodar
09-30-2011, 11:58 AM
Nabokov apparently really liked Nixon

also ender's game has some pretty unpleasant issues (http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tenshi/Killer_000.htm) of its own, Card's craziness was just more subdued then

fugu13
09-30-2011, 12:11 PM
That's rather the point. There are no gay couples, because that would imply that there are positive aspects of homosexuality (commitment, devotion, dare I say love?). It's pushing the GAY = CHILD MOLESTER angle hard.

There are also no gay characters (though the child molester does mostly molest male children), and most of the characters that could possibly be interpreted as gay are done so on the basis of passages that would put them as part of gay couples. Have you actually read it, or even lengthy quotations?

You're even getting OSC's angle wrong, which is GAY = MOLESTED AS A CHILD, not GAY = CHILD MOLESTER.

Vaeran
09-30-2011, 12:12 PM
Mercedes Lackey

I'm convinced that one day Mercedes Lackey found an old shoebox of stories she wrote in fifth grade about being a princess with a magical talking horse, the same stories that every fifth grade girl wrote about being a princess with a magical talking horse, and just shipped them off to a publisher on a whim. No one was more surprised than she when a check came back in the mail and suddenly she was an author.

Falselogic
09-30-2011, 12:13 PM
You're even getting OSC's angle wrong, which is GAY = MOLESTED AS A CHILD.

How is that better?!

Alex Scott
09-30-2011, 12:14 PM
Is this also the thread for bad authors who stayed bad? Because I still have a few bruises from The Fountainhead.

upupdowndown
09-30-2011, 12:17 PM
You're even getting OSC's angle wrong, which is GAY = MOLESTED AS A CHILD, not GAY = CHILD MOLESTER.


GAY = MOLESTED AS A CHILD

So when a book like this comes along that seems to play into horrific anti-gay stereotypes, you know what? I'm pretty sure it's about horrific anti-gay stereotypes!

Rosewood
09-30-2011, 12:18 PM
The Mercedes Lackey School of Heavy-Handed Social Commentary deserves special attention. Her characters used to be easy for her target audience to relate to; they were outsiders for one reason or another in societies that valued conformity over expression. Then she started trying to top herself for tragic backstories and things got ridiculous quick. I fully expect the next Valdemar protagonist to have been set on fire at birth by evil parents, born with no arms or legs, or both.

I was going to mention Mercedes Lackey in my other post, although I wasn't sure if she was all that good in the first place to qualify as someone who'd gone downhill. When I first got out of college, I loved her first Heralds trilogy. You've got the magically-endowed, sexually liberal wish fulfillment sub-society, and their telepathic white horse bond companions, and its being the first books like that I'd come across*, I gobbled the whole thing up start to finish.

Then I started on her first bard novel, which also had the sexually liberal sub-society, as well as its villains being a homogenously puritanical, unsympathetic group of priests out to quash the bards and their music (and their groovy, free-lovin' ways, presumably, though I don't specifically remember that). Even though I am not especially religious, this cheap straw man turned me off her books for good.

*that type of sub-society is still around in fantasy, even twenty years later. Bujold's Sharing Knife books have one. And I'm sure they existed well before Lackey showed up...

ASandoval
09-30-2011, 12:26 PM
Is this also the thread for bad authors who stayed bad? Because I still have a few bruises from The Fountainhead.

You and me both, brother. And I could only get through half of it.

Alex Scott
09-30-2011, 12:35 PM
Did you stop before or after the rape scene that makes the heroine fall desperately in love with Light Yagami Goddamn Batman Howard Roarke?

And then there's Ellsworth Toohey. If he demonstrated anything, it's that Rand didn't so much dislike altruism, as fail to grasp the concept.

fugu13
09-30-2011, 12:42 PM
How is that better?!

It isn't, it's showing Droewyn wasn't actually working from the book or OSC's opinions with what he was writing, but an incorrect set of assumptions. OSC certainly has no problem being homophobic (he embraces it, see his NOM position), but out of the entire book there are maybe a half dozen to a dozen short passages that suggest homosexuality on the part of some characters, and he's explicitly stated he intended none of the characters to be gay.

I'm not saying he didn't subconsciously write in a few bits of gay-suggesting languages because he's writing about people who were molested as children, and he believes that makes people more likely to be gay, but you have to go a long, long way to get from that to "anti-gay screed".

I know a number of intelligent, well-read people who read the story back when it was first released several years back (to absolutely no controversy at all, which would be strange if the "anti-gayness" of it were so obvious), and they didn't even notice the possibility of any of the characters being gay, because there wasn't enough of a suggestion of it there to make them think that.

Behemoth
09-30-2011, 12:58 PM
This thread reminds me of a blog I wanted to start, called Popular Author Stop Sucking (or something better). Each week I would examine an author and explain why that author sucked and how he or she could improve. I planned on discussing both authors I felt had always been bad (Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, R.A. Salvatore, Raymond Feist) and authors that had once been good but gotten worse over time (Orson Scott Card, Robert Jordan (obviously I had planned this while he was still alive), George R. R. Martin). Although I wouldn't focus exclusively on genre authors, I would probably have ended up mostly talking about them for obvious reasons.

I think Card very much has let his prejudiced and wrong sociopolitical opinions unfairly color his writing, but there's a lot out there being leveled against him unfairly.

Hamlet is not an anti-gay screed. Hamlet's father is made into a child molester, but according to Card (and a number of people who read it) there are no gay couples in it. There're a few phrases that could be read as having a homosexual subtext, and I think say things about Card's mentality, but aren't clearly intended that way at all. It certainly doesn't rise to the level of an "anti-gay screed", which would require at least rather more clarity.

The background for Ender's game was written while at BYU. He is part of a culture that values having many children, and that value dominates more than the strong tendency for social conservatism -- I know a number of extremely liberal (including pro gay marriage) Mormons who are still pro multiple children. He wrote Ender's mom as being Mormon. There's really nothing ultra conservative about writing one of your first stories around a value like that.

The shower thing is mildly amusing, but keep in mind he was trying to imagine a situation where children were being treated as soldiers. Soldier recruits at the time showered together, naked (and quite possibly still do, it isn't exactly a topic I keep abreast of), and that's a convenient piece of downtime to write dialogue into. That doesn't mean there's nothing to read into it, but be careful assuming there's no other possible explanation ;) .

I agree with your defenses above, Fugu, except with regards to the Hamlet one:

A. As is my understanding, Rosencratz and Guildenstern are presented as a couple in the book, both having been given "teh gay" by Hamlet's father;
B. The book perpetuates a myth that one is "turned gay" via child molestation, and given that it's a pretty well established sociological and psychological fact that people tend to perpetuate abuses visited on them as children, it's no small leap to say (based on the reasoning above) that "child molestors create gay people who grow up to be child molestors"; (I can't say for certain that Card holds this view, but I know plenty of people who very much believe that "all gay people are predators"); and
C. Whether or not the book was intended as an anti-homosexual screed, the level of ignorance it portrays at least imbues it with a strong anti-homosexual message.

That said, what I consider to be the biggest tragedy with Card is that somebody who once wrote flawed and nuanced characters now only writes the same series of caricatures, all of whom parrot his socio-political beliefs and deliver lines in Card's patented wise-ass manner. Reading his more recent books is exhausting because not everybody in the world thinks and talks this way.

Evil Dead Junkie
09-30-2011, 01:03 PM
I just want to point out at this juncture that even Hemingway shot himself rather than finish The Garden Of Eden.

Really when you think about it that's the most honest review of all time.

Falselogic
09-30-2011, 01:04 PM
It isn't

Thank you, I'm glad we can agree this is a bad book by a once good author.

fugu13
09-30-2011, 01:13 PM
A. As is my understanding, Rosencratz and Guildenstern are presented as a couple in the book, both having been given "teh gay" by Hamlet's father;
B. The book perpetuates a myth that one is "turned gay" via child molestation, and given that it's a pretty well established sociological and psychological fact that people tend to perpetuate abuses visited on them as children, it's no small leap to say (based on the reasoning above) that "child molestors create gay people who grow up to be child molestors"; (I can't say for certain that Card holds this view, but I know plenty of people who very much believe that "all gay people are predators"); and
C. Whether or not the book was intended as an anti-homosexual screed, the level of ignorance it portrays at least imbues it with a strong anti-homosexual message.


A. This is wrong. They're presented as a pair of comrades (much as in the original). There are a small number of passages which might hint at them being a gay couple, and absolutely nothing making it clearly so. OSC has explicitly stated that he did not intend them to be gay.

B. At best there are a couple of maybe-subtly-hinted-at-being-gay characters, and no explicitly gay characters. There is a child molester, but if none of the child molester's victims are clearly gay, how does it do this?

C. OSC's position is certainly extremely ignorant. It isn't at all clear that position had much impact on the contents of the book. The case is built on the idea that there are characters in the book turned gay by molestation. That characters are gay is at best hinted at, and the author has said he intended all of the characters to be straight (which is a bit strange if this is intended to be an anti-gay screed, since he certainly has no issue with writing those, or writing anti-gay passages in fiction, which he's also done repeatedly).



Thank you, I'm glad we can agree this is a bad book by a once good author.

It is a bad opinion, but it isn't more than maybe vaguely hinted at in the book (which I think is bad for entirely separate reasons).

Behemoth
09-30-2011, 01:27 PM
A. This is wrong. They're presented as a pair of comrades (much as in the original). There are a small number of passages which might hint at them being a gay couple, and absolutely nothing making it clearly so. OSC has explicitly stated that he did not intend them to be gay.

B. At best there are a couple of maybe-subtly-hinted-at-being-gay characters, and no explicitly gay characters. There is a child molester, but if none of the child molester's victims are clearly gay, how does it do this?

C. OSC's position is certainly extremely ignorant. It isn't at all clear that position had much impact on the contents of the book. The case is built on the idea that there are characters in the book turned gay by molestation. That characters are gay is at best hinted at, and the author has said he intended all of the characters to be straight (which is a bit strange if this is intended to be an anti-gay screed, since he certainly has no issue with writing those, or writing anti-gay passages in fiction, which he's also done repeatedly).

Fair enough; having not read the book myself I guess I shouldn't have waded into the fray.

Egarwaen
09-30-2011, 01:32 PM
The Mercedes Lackey School of Heavy-Handed Social Commentary deserves special attention.

To be fair to conservative sci-fi authors, fantasy authors just tend to go crazy. Mercedes Lackey is kinda infamous at this point for insisting that there's some kind of grand stalker rapist conspiracy following her every move, and thus she needs lots of well-muscled, attractive young men paid to be around her 24 hours a day whenever she attends a con or anything where she might come in contact with fans.

Anyway, David Eddings was great until he decided all he wanted to write about was little girls who were really grown women. Yeah, that is creepy.

Wait, David Eddings stopped writing the same mythic journey cycle bullshit story over and over again?

Adrenaline
09-30-2011, 02:01 PM
I really liked the first 8 Ender books. Yeah, all of them. Then I found out the extent of his militant homophobia and I lost interest in reading anything else by him.

So how about that George R. R. Martin? (he had to be mentioned)

No he didn't.

Dizzy
09-30-2011, 02:03 PM
I'm going with Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis. They are easy targets these days, but they once meant the world to me. It wasn't that they originally were good, but that their subsequent work was so bad that it revealed the books that got me hooked were really bad as well.

You know who had a rather epic meltdown when their favorite author went bad (http://www.badgerinternet.com/~bobkat/observer1.html)?

upupdowndown
09-30-2011, 02:30 PM
I'm going with Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis. They are easy targets these days, but they once meant the world to me. It wasn't that they originally were good, but that their subsequent work was so bad that it revealed the books that got me hooked were really bad as well.

You know who had a rather epic meltdown when their favorite author went bad (http://www.badgerinternet.com/~bobkat/observer1.html)?

oh man Dizzy, that DFW review of Updike is about my favorite literary takedown ever.

Dubin
09-30-2011, 02:31 PM
I'm guessing that for the young educated adults of the 60s and 70s, for whom the ultimate horror was the hypocritical conformity and repression of their own parents' generation, Mr. Updike's evocation of the libidinous self appeared redemptive and even heroic. But the young educated adults of the 90s -- who were, of course, the children of the same impassioned infidelities and divorces Mr. Updike wrote about so beautifully -- got to watch all this brave new individualism and self-expression and sexual freedom deteriorate into the joyless and anomic self-indulgence of the Me Generation. Today's sub-40s have different horrors, prominent among which are anomie and solipsism and a peculiarly American loneliness: the prospect of dying without once having loved something more than yourself.
Is this the thing? (http://artofmanliness.com/2010/03/21/the-bucket-list-generation-in-the-age-of-anomie/) Is this the next thing that's afflicting relatively well-to-do college graduates right now? Because I'd like to throw out just the bathwater for once, and not the baby again. (http://www.thielfoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=14:the-thiel-fellowship-20-under-20&catid=1&Itemid=16)

upupdowndown
09-30-2011, 02:35 PM
Is this the thing? (http://artofmanliness.com/2010/03/21/the-bucket-list-generation-in-the-age-of-anomie/) Is this the next thing that's afflicting relatively well-to-do college graduates right now? Because I'd like to throw out just the bathwater for once, and not the baby again. (http://www.thielfoundation.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=14:the-thiel-fellowship-20-under-20&catid=1&Itemid=16)

Dubin, this David Foster Wallace review of Updike came out in the late 90s, I believe.

Sarcasmorator
09-30-2011, 02:41 PM
Wait, David Eddings stopped writing the same mythic journey cycle bullshit story over and over again?

Actually, no!

I enjoyed the Garion and Sparhawk series (both of each), but his writing quality took a dive with "The Redemption of Althalus" and I couldn't get into the "Dreamers" series. Not sure I'd put him in this thread personally, though.

Dubin
09-30-2011, 02:42 PM
Dubin, this David Foster Wallace review of Updike came out in the late 90s, I believe.

I recognize that, but that one word "anomie" just leapt out at me since I get the general sense that the internet right now is still wondering what it means to be an adult.

Evil Dead Junkie
09-30-2011, 02:47 PM
I'm going with Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis. They are easy targets these days, but they once meant the world to me. It wasn't that they originally were good, but that their subsequent work was so bad that it revealed the books that got me hooked were really bad as well.

You know who had a rather epic meltdown when their favorite author went bad (http://www.badgerinternet.com/~bobkat/observer1.html)?

God Imperial Bedrooms was so bad, I still have hope Ellis can pull out of the tail spin. I'm resigned to the fact that Palaniuk is stuck in schtickville.

Funnily enough though that DFW article shares literary fellowship with the last thing Tom Wolfe wrote that I liked. (Can't find the essay online but it's called "My Three Stooges" and it's pretty fucking funny)

Rosewood
09-30-2011, 03:50 PM
I enjoyed the Garion and Sparhawk series (both of each), but his writing quality took a dive with "The Redemption of Althalus" and I couldn't get into the "Dreamers" series. Not sure I'd put him in this thread personally, though.

I remember enjoying the Belgariad, or at least the first couple books of it, skipping a bunch of his stuff, then trying Redemption of Althalus and groaning at yet another writer who seemed to believe that snark/snippiness and wit are the same thing.

Since there were fifteen years in between my reading those books, it's hard to say if he got worse, or I got pickier, in the meantime. I should pull out my old yellowed copies of the Belgariad and see.

Sarcasmorator
09-30-2011, 03:56 PM
I assure you, he got worse.

Behemoth
09-30-2011, 04:05 PM
I assure you, he got worse.

Falselogic
09-30-2011, 04:10 PM
I assure you, he got worse.

The hero's journey stuff doesn't bother me so much and I really enjoyed the fact that Sparhawk and company were old dudes and often acted like it. Fucking Flute though, I hated Flute and it only got worse when she started talking...

and then they made a second set and it was all Flute all the time... and the Dreamer female char was just Flute but worse.

Evil Dead Junkie
09-30-2011, 04:15 PM
I've always heard that the Belegriad was pretty good and it was the pointless sequel saga that sucked ass.

Was I misinformed?

Sarcasmorator
09-30-2011, 04:21 PM
Nah. The Malloreon isn't as good as the Belgariad, but it's still good (and Eddings has the decency to lampshade the fact that it's kind of an artificial extension) — some of the fun for me comes from the new members of the group, some of which were on the other side before. The Belgarath the Sorcerer stand-alone book is a lot of fun (and was my introduction to his books). Polgara the Sorceress is not as good, but still enjoyable. Rivan Codex is skippable.

I like the Elenium and the Tamuli a great deal each, and the first series flows more smoothly into the second than the Belgariad and Malloreon.

hafrogman
09-30-2011, 04:27 PM
On Card, I find it kind of interesting to compare his works. I'm not sure he can be classified as some who "went bad", and not because of what small hints at his philosophies you can find in Ender's Game. I've read some of his other stuff, he doesn't bother to hide normally. But I still can read and enjoy the Shadow series and Ender in Exile and suchforth, even though they came out much, much later. I think he understands on a concious or subconcious level that the Ender series is popular and profitable in a way that none of his other writings are or ever will be. And so he intentionally restrains himself for those books to avoid alienating the larger reading population.

My author who's gone off for me would be Robin Hobb. I do love the Assassin's Apprentice series. Then the Liveship Traders set in the same world was alright. Then the returned to her first characters, and wrote another three books that were good. Then she abandoned all of that and wrote a new series in a new world . . . and what the hell is this? Maybe it was just a fluke, oh look she's going back to the Liveship series and . . . meh. I'm still hoping it's just a phase, but maybe that's just me being overly optimistic.

Googleshng
09-30-2011, 04:50 PM
Looking at the thread title, I just figured, "This is going to be about Orson Scott Card isn't it."

That said, what I consider to be the biggest tragedy with Card is that somebody who once wrote flawed and nuanced characters now only writes the same series of caricatures, all of whom parrot his socio-political beliefs and deliver lines in Card's patented wise-ass manner. Reading his more recent books is exhausting because not everybody in the world thinks and talks this way.

Yeah, this right here is the thing. It's not that he used to be a totally great and awesome person who suddenly developed some crazy preachy ideas. He's always had those, and they always used to be present to some degree in what he wrote. That, in and of itself, is not a big deal.

The thing is, at some point it went from him having weird personal beliefs somewhat coloring whatever he wrote to him having characters rip their faces off mid-narrative, going completely against everything established about them, and just directly preaching at the reader.

The later Ender books were a bit off that way, but generally we had a bunch of newly introduced characters and adults we last saw when they were 12 year old kids with a lot of immediate problems, so whatever. Chalk it up to character growth or something.

The Bean books though? Dear gods. "I'm a coldly logical, generally emotionless pragmatic kid who has not and never will hit puberty, but even I realize IT IS THE DUTY OF EVERY SINGLE HUMAN BEING ON THE PLANET TO GET MARRIED TO SOMEONE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX AND RAISE A WHOLE BUNCH OF KIDS!"

Tanto
09-30-2011, 05:07 PM
Anyway, David Eddings was great until he decided all he wanted to write about was little girls who were really grown women. Yeah, that is creepy.

Eddings's problem was easy: At some point during the Tamuli he became so attached to his precious creations that he started refusing to put them into any situation that might threaten them even remotely. The Dreamers is especially bad about this -- it's all curbstomp victories and good guys sucking each other off (metaphorically speaking).

You can put up with Eddings's miscellaneous bullshit when the baddies are threatening and the dialogue is snappy. Not so much when the conclusion is even more foregone than usual and the good guys spend the whole series gushing about how great each other are.

Egarwaen
09-30-2011, 05:33 PM
On Card, I find it kind of interesting to compare his works. I'm not sure he can be classified as some who "went bad", and not because of what small hints at his philosophies you can find in Ender's Game. I've read some of his other stuff, he doesn't bother to hide normally. But I still can read and enjoy the Shadow series and Ender in Exile and suchforth, even though they came out much, much later. I think he understands on a concious or subconcious level that the Ender series is popular and profitable in a way that none of his other writings are or ever will be. And so he intentionally restrains himself for those books to avoid alienating the larger reading population.

I think there's clearly a difference in Card's thinking, and you can see it most clearly in the Alvin Maker series. Look at the first book - which is a fantastic alt-history colonial fantasy - and then compare it to the other books in the series as they go along. The second book swaps out the villain for a clear Satan figure, and every book after that pushes the Mormon angle harder and harder until it wholly dominates the series.

Now, the difference might only be in how he feels compelled to express his thinking. He might have gone from simply believing these things to believing them and believing that they must be upheld and exemplified in everything he writes.

Though I can't believe we've gone this long without bringing up Frank Miller, the poster child of author mental breakdowns.

fugu13
09-30-2011, 05:43 PM
The Alvin Maker stuff wasn't really an about-face. From the beginning it was a fantasy loosely based on the life of Joseph Smith. I agree that it started out strong, but by the end was hard to even read.

hafrogman
09-30-2011, 05:52 PM
Now, the difference might only be in how he feels compelled to express his thinking. He might have gone from simply believing these things to believing them and believing that they must be upheld and exemplified in everything he writes. The Alvin Maker stuff wasn't really an about-face. From the beginning it was a fantasy loosely based on the life of Joseph Smith. I agree that it started out strong, but by the end was hard to even read.I can't argue that he hasn't pushed political agenda more with his writing in recent years (in explicitness, if nothing else), but I still think he scales it back for Ender.

When you consider that Ender in Exile (2008) was written directly between Empire (2006) and Hidden Empire (2009). Now I'll admit, I can be fairly oblivious at times, so EiE might have more subtext than I saw. But I couldn't even get through the dust jacket of Empire before putting it down in disgust.

Droewyn
09-30-2011, 05:58 PM
I was going to mention Mercedes Lackey in my other post, although I wasn't sure if she was all that good in the first place to qualify as someone who'd gone downhill. When I first got out of college, I loved her first Heralds trilogy. You've got the magically-endowed, sexually liberal wish fulfillment sub-society, and their telepathic white horse bond companions, and its being the first books like that I'd come across*, I gobbled the whole thing up start to finish.

Then I started on her first bard novel, which also had the sexually liberal sub-society, as well as its villains being a homogenously puritanical, unsympathetic group of priests out to quash the bards and their music (and their groovy, free-lovin' ways, presumably, though I don't specifically remember that). Even though I am not especially religious, this cheap straw man turned me off her books for good.

*that type of sub-society is still around in fantasy, even twenty years later. Bujold's Sharing Knife books have one. And I'm sure they existed well before Lackey showed up...

Her series have always been a bit touch and go. I'm very fond of her urban fantasy books, as well as the Elemental Masters series (fairy tales without actual fairies set in Victorian England). It's when she decides she must Make A Point About The World We Live In that she goes south fast.

Droewyn
09-30-2011, 06:02 PM
It isn't, it's showing Droewyn wasn't actually working from the book or OSC's opinions with what she was writing, but an incorrect set of assumptions.

I'll cop to that. I read an article about the story in question that indicated Hamlet's dad was molesting him. Or possibly I read it wrong. So shutting up on the subject now.

Also, fixed that for you.

Egarwaen
09-30-2011, 06:07 PM
The Alvin Maker stuff wasn't really an about-face. From the beginning it was a fantasy loosely based on the life of Joseph Smith. I agree that it started out strong, but by the end was hard to even read.

I'd argue that there was a severe difference in subtlety. And while Card might've stated such, there's nothing in the first Alvin Maker book that can be used to argue that. A quick gander at wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_life_of_Joseph_Smith) is all it takes to see that Alvin's early life and Joseph Smith's have nothing in common.

In fact, digging through Smith's biography, I think it's transparently obvious that the connection is something Card decided to graft on later, as there's not a single thread of similarity between the two.

JDS
09-30-2011, 07:40 PM
Wallace on Updike is nothing; Updike hitting Salinger so hard he probably stopped him from publishing any more is something.

Dave Sim

I'm not sure Sim's craft degraded so much as his post mid-90s outspokenness highlighted the strangeness that was already extant in his work. He never stopped being a great comic artist, but his obsessions and solipsism have always kept him from doing great work (if that makes any sense.) His early stuff is held back by over-dense attempts at worldbuilding that go nowhere, badly dated industry in-jokes and nonsensical plotting; his later stuff blighted by his belief that he is The Last Real Man. In between the strangeness there's great stuff, but (with the possible exception of Jaka's story) you always had to pick it out from the flotsam. I have no trouble believing the man is in actuality a high-functioning schizophrenic as he once claimed.

I Am Charlotte Simmons

Wolfe trying to cop youngster lingo is pretty hilarious even if I sympathize with his views. Rules of Attraction had already covered the same ground with more confidence and panache.

Speaking of Ellis, it's amazing how bad Lunar Park sucked after that great opening. Drugs really do eat your creativity.

Karzac
09-30-2011, 07:43 PM
Updike hitting Salinger so hard he probably stopped him from publishing any more is something.

Say what?

JDS
09-30-2011, 07:59 PM
here's the url to Updike's review of Frannie and Zooey, but it looks like it's behind a wall now:

https://myaccount.nytimes.com/auth/login?URI=http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/09/13/specials/salinger-franny01.html&OQ=Q5fQ72Q3dQ31

also here's a link to a relevant article by Janet Malcolm, because Janet Malcolm owns:

https://myaccount.nytimes.com/auth/login?URI=http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/09/13/specials/salinger-franny01.html&OQ=Q5fQ72Q3dQ31

Karzac
09-30-2011, 08:02 PM
Yeah, both are behind walls. Summary? Did Updike just not like all the religious stuff in Franny and Zooey?

JDS
09-30-2011, 08:14 PM
Hard to summarize, but he basically accused Salinger of devolving his fiction into spiritual tracts with the Glasses as instructive paragons/ciphers.

edit: hahaha, i forgot i'm already registered


Anxious Days For The Glass Family
By JOHN UPDIKE
FRANNY AND ZOOEY
By J. D. Salinger.

Quite suddenly, as things go in the middle period of J. D. Salinger, his later, longer stories are descending from the clouds of old New Yorkers and assuming incarnations between hard covers. "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters," became available last year in "Stories from the New Yorker 1950-1960," and now "Franny" and "Zooey" have a book to themselves. These two stories--the first medium-short, the second novella- length--are contiguous in time, and have as their common subject Franny's spiritual crisis.

In the first story, she arrives by train from a Smith-like college to spend the week-end of the Yale game at what must be Princeton. She and her date, Lane Coutell, go to a restaurant where it develops that she is not only unenthusiastic but downright ill. She attempts to explain herself while her friend brags about a superbly obnoxious term paper and eats frogs' legs. Finally, she faints, and is last seen lying in the manager's office silently praying at the ceiling.

In the second story, Franny has returned to her home, a large apartment in the East Seventies. It is the Monday following her unhappy Saturday. Only Franny's mother, Bessie, and her youngest brother, Zooey, are home. While Franny lies sleeplessly on the living-room sofa, her mother communicates, in an interminably rendered conversation, her concern and affection to Zooey, who then, after an even longer conversation with Franny, manages to gather from the haunted atmosphere of the apartment the crucial word of consolation. Franny, "as if all of what little or much wisdom there is in the world were suddenly hers," smiles at the ceiling and falls asleep.

Few writers since Joyce would risk such a wealth of words upon events that are purely internal and deeds that are purely talk. We live in a world, however, where the decisive deed may invite the holocaust, and Salinger's conviction that our inner lives greatly matter peculiarly qualifies him to sing of an America where, for most of us, there seems little to do but to feel. Introversion, perhaps, has been forced upon history; an age of nuance, of ambiguous gestures and psychological jockeying on a national and private scale, is upon us, and Salinger's intense attention to gesture and intonation help make him, among his contemporaries, a uniquely relevant literary artist. As Hemingway sought the words for things in motion, Salinger seeks the words for things transmuted into human subjectivity. His fiction, in its rather grim bravado, its humor, its morbidity, its wry but persistent hopefulness, matches the shape and tint of present American life. It pays the price, however, of becoming dangerously convoluted and static. A sense of composition is not among Salinger's strengths, and even these two stories, so apparently complementary, distinctly jangle as components of one book.

The Franny of "Franny" and the Franny of "Zooey" are not the same person. The heroine of "Franny" is a pretty college girl passing through a plausible moment of disgust. She has discovered--one feels rather recently--a certain ugliness in the hungry human ego and a certain fatuity in her college environment. She is attempting to find her way out with the help of a religious book, "The Way of a Pilgrim," which was mentioned by a professor. She got the book out of the college library. Her family, glimpsed briefly in the P. S. of a letter she has written, appear to be standard upper-middle gentry. Their name is nowhere given as Glass; Franny never mentions any brothers. Her boy friend is crass and self-centered but not entirely unsympathetic; he clumsily does try to "get through" to Franny, with a love whose physical bias has become painfully inappropriate. Finally, there is a suggestion--perhaps inadvertent--that the girl may be pregnant.

The Franny of "Zooey," on the other hand, is Franny Glass, the youngest of the seven famous Glass children, all of whom have been in turn wondrously brilliant performers on a radio quiz program, "It's a Wise Child." Their parents, a distinctly unstandard combination of Jewish and Irish, are an old vaudeville team. From infancy on, Franny has been saturated by her two oldest brothers, Seymour and Buddy, in the religious wisdom of the East. "The Way of a Pilgrim," far from being newly encountered at college, comes from Seymour's desk, where it has been for years.

One wonders how a girl raised in a home where Buddhism and crisis theology were table talk could have postponed her own crisis so long and, when it came, be so disarmed by it. At any rate, there is no question of her being pregnant; the very idea seems a violation of the awesome Glass ethereality. Lane Coutell, who for all his faults was at least a considerable man in the first Franny's universe, is now just one of the remote millions coarse and foolish enough to be born outside the Glass family.

The more Salinger writes about them, the more the seven Glass children melt indistinguishably together in an impossible radiance of personal beauty and intelligence. Franny is described thus: "Her skin was lovely, and her features were delicate and most distinctive. Her eyes were very nearly the same quite astonishing shade of blue as Zooey's but were set farther apart, as a sister's eyes no doubt should be." Of Zooey, we are assured he has a "somewhat preposterous ability to quote, instantaneously and, usually verbatim, almost anything he had ever read, or even listened to, with genuine interest." The purpose of such sentences is surely not to particularize imaginary people but to instill in the reader a mood of blind worship, tinged with envy.

In "Hoist High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" (the first and best of the Glass pieces: a magic and hilarious prose-poem with an enchanting end effect of mysterious clarity), Seymour defines sentimentality as giving "to a thing more tenderness than God gives to it." This seems to me the nub of the trouble: Salinger loves the Glasses more than God loves them. He loves them too exclusively. Their invention has become a hermitage for him. He loves them to the detriment of artistic moderation. "Zooey" is just too long; there are too many cigarettes, too many goddams, too much verbal ado about not quite enough.

The author never rests from circling his creations, patting them fondly, slyly applauding. He robs the reader of the initiative upon which love must be given. Even in "Franny," which is, strictly, pre-Glass, the writer seems less an unimpassioned observer than a spying beau vindictively feasting upon every detail of poor Lane Coutell's gaucherie. Indeed, this impression of a second male being present is so strong that it amounts to a social shock when the author accompanies Franny into the ladies' room of the restaurant.

"Franny," nevertheless, takes place in what is recognizably our world; in "Zooey" we move into a dream world whose zealously animated details only emphasize an essential unreality. When Zooey says to Franny, "Yes, I have an ulcer, for Chrissake. This is Kaliyuga, buddy, the Iron Age," disbelief falls on the "buddy" as much as on "Kaliyuga," and the explanatory "the Iron Age" clinches our suspicion that a lecturer has usurped the writing stand. Not the least dismaying development of the Glass stories is the vehement editorializing on the obvious--television scripts are not generally good, not all section men are geniuses. Of course, the Glasses condemn the world only to condescend to it, to forgive it, in the end. Yet the pettishness of the condemnation diminishes the gallantry of the condescension.

Perhaps these are hard words; they are made hard to write by the extravagant self- consciousness of Salinger's later prose, wherein most of the objections one might raise are already raised. On the flap of this book jacket, he confesses, "There is a real-enough danger, I suppose, that sooner or later I'll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locutions, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I'm very hopeful." Let me say, I am glad he is hopeful. I am one of those--to do some confessing of my own-- for whom Salinger's work dawned as something of a revelation. I expect that further revelations are to come.

The Glass saga, as he has sketched it out, potentially contains great fiction. When all reservations have been entered, in the correctly unctuous and apprehensive tone, about the direction he has taken, it remains to acknowledge that it is a direction, and that the refusal to rest content, the willingness to risk excess on behalf of one's obsessions, is what distinguishes artists from entertainers, and what makes some artists adventurers on behalf of us all.

Mr. Updike is a writer of fiction. His titles include "The Poorhouse Fair" and "Rabbit, Run."

Karzac
09-30-2011, 08:42 PM
Yeah, those are pretty valid criticisms. I still like Franny and Zooey though, just because I love the way Salinger writes.

Although isn't he wrong about "Carpenters" being the first Glass story? I thought the protagonist of Salinger's first story, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish", was Seymour Glass.

JDS
09-30-2011, 08:54 PM
I think it was the first one to be written with the intention of being a Glass story. "Bananafish" and "Down at the Dinghy" were both standalone short stories retro-fitted into the Glass mythology IIRC ("Uncle Wiggly" too, kinda.)

edit: for my part, I find the criticisms interesting but I disagree with the notion that Seymour is meant to be admired and that his influence and worldview is anything but ultimately harmful.

Matchstick
09-30-2011, 10:00 PM
Two words: Dave Sim.

I totally heard that. I loved High Society and Church and State all the way through (including the quirks JDS mentions). I concur with JDS that his art sensibilities didn't seem to fade (I still haven't quite finished the entire story) even as his textual bits got tedious. I do wonder how much Gerhard's contributions were a factor. I still cherish the original art I bought from Dave back in the day.

ASandoval
09-30-2011, 10:32 PM
Did you stop before or after the rape scene that makes the heroine fall desperately in love with Light Yagami Goddamn Batman Howard Roarke?

I must have stopped before because I certainly would have remembered that. All the more reason to just not move forward.

JDS
09-30-2011, 10:34 PM
Making allowances for the fact that Sim himself later admitted that at the time he had nothing interesting to say about religion past kneejerk anti-clerical nihilism, Church and State is okay until the Sacred Secret Wars Arc (terrible comics industry in-jokes that kill the momentum) but starts having real trouble when it segues into the Ball of Tarim/Trial of Astoria/the Ascension. I think Sim must have had some sort of temporal lobe episode right about that time, because all of a sudden you have a heretofore meticulously developed plot turning on inexplicable events like

*deep breath*

Astoria, for no clear reason, warping magically to the Eastern Pontiff and murdering him off-panel, the bizarre "rape" scene, Astoria's trial with the weird timeslips with the trial of Suenteus Po, the Ball of Tarim attaching itself to Cerebus's head, Lord Stormsend all of a sudden having all this secret knowledge, Leonardi and Julius hiding in the crawlspace of Cerebus's hotel for some reason, the fake Regency Elf, MacMuffin losing his faith and stabbing himself to death, the ascension, the artist guy from the early issues melding with the Swamp Thing/Man-Thing parody and beating up Cerebus -- coupled with the gnawing realization that Sim doesn't feel obligated to clue his reader in on any of this. And he never does, unless you count his doing his typically verbose equivalent of shrugging a few years later as an explanation. He just seems compelled to stack intrigue upon vagueness upon nonsense. I would have been satisfied with him just stopping somewhere to clarify the Eastern Church's relationship with the Western Church.

It's no longer a story, really, but a fever dream, and the highest testament to Sim's craftsmanship is that these issues are still readable and often entertaining. I think the comic reached its peak circulation around this time, actually.

Issun
09-30-2011, 10:59 PM
You and me both, brother. And I could only get through half of it.

I made it through Atlas Shrugged. You should all fucking bow down and worship me.

Anyhoo, on subject: Jean Auel. Clan of the Cave Bear was an amazing piece of literature, and yet all the other books in the series are mediocre schlock. With embarrassingly bad sex scenes.

George R. R. Martin is flirting dangerously with this definition.

Falselogic
09-30-2011, 11:06 PM
Anyhoo, on subject: Jean Auel. Clan of the Cave Bear was an amazing piece of literature, and yet all the other books in the series are mediocre schlock. With embarrassingly bad sex scenes.

I don't know... I'm willing to give women their fair share but I have a hard time believing every advancement primitive man made is because of them, let alone a single one...

Behemoth
09-30-2011, 11:07 PM
George R. R. Martin is flirting dangerously with this definition.

He really is, isn't he?

I made it through Atlas Shrugged. You should all fucking bow down and worship me.

I made it all the way through Atlas Shrugged AND The Fountainhead AND Anthem. I am an objectivist god!

Falselogic
09-30-2011, 11:08 PM
I made it all the way through Atlas Shrugged AND The Fountainhead AND Anthem. I am an objectivist god!

I'm two out of three: Anthem and the Fountainhead (that's the architect one, right?)

Olli T
09-30-2011, 11:30 PM
Man, Eddings was always crap, and I feel nothing but shame for having read the first two series. His characters are like paper cutouts.

Issun
09-30-2011, 11:36 PM
That's a little harsh. Eddings was never a very good writer, but his characters and dialogue in the Belgariad/Malloreon were fairly well done.

Paul le Fou
09-30-2011, 11:44 PM
I'll throw Alan Moore into the ring. I think it really struck home when I went to read Promethea and realized that once I got through some of the interesting formal experiments he did, like a circular page that read in both directions, it was a convoluted mess of neo-mystical navel-gazing, and a good dose of Sandman Did It Better myth re-imagining. It's like he forgot to pull his head out of his ass long enough to check whether or not what he was writing looked good from any other angle.

Loki
10-01-2011, 12:06 AM
Making allowances for the fact that Sim himself later admitted that at the time he had nothing interesting to say about religion past kneejerk anti-clerical nihilism, Church and State is okay until the Sacred Secret Wars Arc (terrible comics industry in-jokes that kill the momentum) but starts having real trouble when it segues into the Ball of Tarim/Trial of Astoria/the Ascension. I think Sim must have had some sort of temporal lobe episode right about that time, because all of a sudden you have a heretofore meticulously developed plot turning on inexplicable events like

*deep breath*

Astoria, for no clear reason, warping magically to the Eastern Pontiff and murdering him off-panel, the bizarre "rape" scene, Astoria's trial with the weird timeslips with the trial of Suenteus Po, the Ball of Tarim attaching itself to Cerebus's head, Lord Stormsend all of a sudden having all this secret knowledge, Leonardi and Julius hiding in the crawlspace of Cerebus's hotel for some reason, the fake Regency Elf, MacMuffin losing his faith and stabbing himself to death, the ascension, the artist guy from the early issues melding with the Swamp Thing/Man-Thing parody and beating up Cerebus -- coupled with the gnawing realization that Sim doesn't feel obligated to clue his reader in on any of this. And he never does, unless you count his doing his typically verbose equivalent of shrugging a few years later as an explanation. He just seems compelled to stack intrigue upon vagueness upon nonsense. I would have been satisfied with him just stopping somewhere to clarify the Eastern Church's relationship with the Western Church.

It's no longer a story, really, but a fever dream, and the highest testament to Sim's craftsmanship is that these issues are still readable and often entertaining. I think the comic reached its peak circulation around this time, actually.



Man this is the truth, especially about that last bit about how even though this crazy stuff makes no sense it's still engaging and entertaining. I really did like the Ascension and Cerebus and Sim meeting. A worthy little bit of comics art that I would easily recomend if it didn't mean going through Reads first. I cut my losses after that, figuring that Sim had hit his peak and going any futher would just be begging to be disapointed.

Still, there's always Jaka's Story.

Anyway, you guys know Dan Simmons right? And you have fond memories of Hyperion? Then you should check out what his new book is about.

With "Flashback," Simmons has, for the moment at least, put the past behind him and turned a righteous pen to a dystopian future. It is circa 2032, or more precisely, the 23rd year of Jobless Recovery. The U.S. is tottering, weighing in at only 44 ½ states, its mass eaten away by Mexico, its interior rotted out by floods of immigrants, by loss of faith in a free-market economy, by national healthcare and a myriad of other entitlement programs, by the global-warming hoax and green-energy boondoggles, and by drugs, the most pervasive being "flashback," which allows its users to visit their pasts in a dream state. It's a bad, bad time, and its fatal origins lie, we are instructed, with the Obama presidency, its spendthrift domestic programs and pusillanimous foreign policy.

Highways are disintegrating, people live in former malls cut into cubicles, and, adding insult to injury, right-wing talk radio has been banned. Japanese overlords have set up "green zones" across the land and America's once proud and powerful military is now hired out as mercenaries to fight for Japan and India. At the same time, a New Global Caliphate flourishes and Islam spreads. An immense and towering mosque sits at ground zero and annual celebrations commemorate the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In Los Angeles, where much of the story takes place, the bells of Christian churches add their peels to "the cries of the muezzin ... to show their solidarity, understanding, and forgiveness." The Caliphate has obliterated Israel with 11 exceedingly dirty nuclear bombs, killing 6 million Jews. The survivors of this "Second Holocaust" are now sequestered in a former Six Flags amusement park in Denver by a U.S. government "terrified of angering the Global Caliphate" that is waiting to exterminate them.

JDS
10-01-2011, 12:19 AM
I don't think Moore's ever became a bad author as much as one that's no longer interested in doing capital-G Great Comics. Post-From Hell, he tends to do comics for the paycheck or as an avenue to explore whatever catches his fancy at the moment. More of a question of changing priorities than an inability to perform, shall we say. A shame that his preoccupations nowadays tend to veer into cartoon porn, degradation, and ultraviolence. If pressed I would have to admit that I'd rather he not have done Lost Girls and Neonomicon or lent his credibility to a shlock factory like Avatar, but I'm kind of a prude like that. I don't think he's entirely justified his fascination with pre-war fiction in LEG either: I mean, it started as a great idea for a fun miniseries but has developed into a massive bore ever since he did the ridiculous maxi-universe thing in Black Dossier.

Still, I can't say that I've ever read an Alan Moore comic and said to myself "man, he's really fallen off". You've just got to watch out for the Big Projects because Moore's the kind of author that prioritizes his attentions -- in the nineties, you could forgive him all the crappy Image stuff because it was subsidizing From Hell. Now, unfortunately for comics fans, his comics are subsidizing his counterculture zine and the upcoming gigantic written History of The Occult (I think this is still the case, anyway.)

Zeroneight
10-01-2011, 12:45 AM
Anyway, you guys know Dan Simmons right? And you have fond memories of Hyperion? Then you should check out what his new book is about.

This is waaaaay weirder than what happened to Orson Scott Card, who was kind of an asshole even when Ender's Game was written. Yeeesh.

Evil Dead Junkie
10-01-2011, 12:56 AM
Though I can't believe we've gone this long without bringing up Frank Miller, the poster child of author mental breakdowns.

Frank Miller. I just spent four thousand words writing about this for inreads so I'm a bit tuckered out but yeah...

Ahem.

In regards to the Updike review I've always loved the line "...loves The Glasses More than God does." And have used it to describe my own relationship to certain films before.

But it seems mighty odd to see Updike throwing stones at an author for having religious preoccupations. Like Roth criticizing someone for having too many thoughts about Penises in one of their books.

Olli T
10-01-2011, 01:31 AM
This is waaaaay weirder than what happened to Orson Scott Card, who was kind of an asshole even when Ender's Game was written. Yeeesh.

Word.

Olli T
10-01-2011, 01:40 AM
That's a little harsh. Eddings was never a very good writer, but his characters and dialogue in the Belgariad/Malloreon were fairly well done.

C'mon. Everyone is a walking stereotype. Plus the whole thing where everyone in sneaky thief country is a sneakty thief, and everyone in big strong guy is a big strong guy, and so on? The king of the murgos is not a totally evil guy only because he's a halfblood. What. The. Fuck.

Lion Yamato
10-01-2011, 02:27 AM
Does Robert Jordan count? Because the Wheel of Time began really well, and then the wheels started spinning as he started to craft the epic to end all epics. I remember reading volume 10 (I think?) and realizing that nothing happened, because he could only devote a single chapter to each of the plot lines he was attempting to follow.

I feel your pain, brother. Book ten was pretty much a travesty, compounded shortly thereafter by Jordan's decision to write an unnecessary prequel (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Spring) before continuing the rest of the series.

I will say, though, that the last two books, written by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's passing, have picked up the pace dramatically and have really gotten me back into things after quite some time away. I actually just read books 12 and 13 in a marathon session just a few weeks ago, and am pretty excited for 14 in March (zomgz, final book, who would've thought we'd actually see the day!)

Also, you all need to lay off Eddings already. 12-year-old Lion Yamato was all over that shit.

Rosewood
10-01-2011, 02:29 AM
Astoria, for no clear reason, warping magically to the Eastern Pontiff and murdering him off-panel, the bizarre "rape" scene, Astoria's trial with the weird timeslips with the trial of Suenteus Po, the Ball of Tarim attaching itself to Cerebus's head, Lord Stormsend all of a sudden having all this secret knowledge, Leonardi and Julius hiding in the crawlspace of Cerebus's hotel for some reason, the fake Regency Elf, MacMuffin losing his faith and stabbing himself to death[...]

I know I read all this, but remember very little except that Astoria and Cerebus and Julius existed at the same time in the same place, and that I thought Gerhard's contribution to the look and feel of Cerebus was extraordinary.

Jaka's Story was vivid to me at the time it came out, and is still a fairly good memory of that particular time period of my comics fandom. Sim was saying things I could relate to at the time, although it became apparent he hadn't meant what I thought he had meant on some subjects when Reads started up.

I assume that saying that "I am female" is enough to explain my not buying in to a single thing that he was selling in the latter parts of Cerebus.

Behemoth
10-01-2011, 08:11 AM
Anyway, you guys know Dan Simmons right? And you have fond memories of Hyperion? Then you should check out what his new book is about.

Yeeeeeeeah. And to be fair, I was a pretty big fan of both The Terror and Drood, but Black Hills was terrible, and I didn't need to read more than the jacket flap of his latest to know it was terrible as well.

Evil Dead Junkie
10-01-2011, 09:25 AM
It was funny I almost bought Flashback on my Nook because I thought the concept of the drug itself was pretty cool, then I noticed the unusually low rating and flipped over to the customer reviews...

Thank you customer reviews.

Dizzy
10-01-2011, 10:57 AM
because Janet Malcolm owns

The Journalist and the Murderer put me to sleep.

JDS
10-01-2011, 11:17 AM
The Journalist and the Murderer put me to sleep.

The Silent Woman is one of the best books about the Hughes/Plath complex.

upupdowndown
10-01-2011, 11:35 AM
It was funny I almost bought Flashback on my Nook because I thought the concept of the drug itself was pretty cool, then I noticed the unusually low rating and flipped over to the customer reviews...

Thank you customer reviews.

He's actually used the concept of a drug called Flashback before in a short story in his collection Lovedeath. I had no idea that he was a crazy winger-dude.

not that his political beliefs are going to stop me from reading him in the future - but will avoid Flashback like the plague.

Büge
10-01-2011, 11:36 AM
I guess since Alan Moore and Dave Sim were mentioned, we can bring up other comics authors, right?

There's John Byrne and his ego trips.

Chris Claremont with his labyrinthine plots and femdom fetish.

Steve Ditko disappeared up Ayn Rand's ass.

Garth Ennis and Mark Millar have been spiraling downwards since about 2006.

And of course there's Brian Michael Bendis. I'm convinced that he's not a bad author per se, but his weaknesses become glaringly obnoxious when he's taken out of his element.

Dizzy
10-01-2011, 11:51 AM
The Silent Woman is one of the best books about the Hughes/Plath complex.

Eh, I'm willing to give her more tries.

Savathun
10-01-2011, 03:19 PM
Oh. Someone already mentioned Dan Simmons.

Well... Nevermind, then.

Egarwaen
10-01-2011, 03:21 PM
Anyway, you guys know Dan Simmons right? And you have fond memories of Hyperion? Then you should check out what his new book is about.

You know what? No. This doesn't surprise me at all. All that same shit was there throughout Hyperion and Endymion. The whole thing was laced with anxiety about "others", be they foreigners or simply different of thought. The sheer volume of misogyny and barely-repressed sexual hysteria made me give up part-way through.

It's been >10 years since I read them, but I remember loads of evil mothers, evil wives, evil mistresses, occasionally evil robot mistresses. All of society's ills were laid at the feet of the 'teeming masses' and those that were different. There was a literal Madonna figure.

I think the safest statement here is that many of these authors have stopped feeling the need to disguise their deranged conservative claptrap.

And now, I'm going to throwdown: C.S. Lewis.

The Narnia series starts off with a magical world full of danger and adventure and, yeah, Christian symbolism. Sure, there's some creepy there, but it's mostly well-hidden.

Then The Last Battle comes along. This book scared me out of my wits when I was a kid, as Lewis suddenly starts bashing the reader in the face with Christian apocalypse dogma. Susan had sex? Banned from Narnia! Animals doubted Aslan even for a moment? Consigned to oblivion! Hundreds of people die in a train accident so the children can join Aslan in his paradise of purity! World devoured by dragons then drowned and frozen solid! BTW, you're all dead too!

Yeah, what?

Sheana
10-01-2011, 03:24 PM
I feel like I should say something about Anne McCaffrey here, but if I'm honest she was always bad, it just took me a few years to notice.

JDS
10-01-2011, 03:46 PM
Susan had sex? Banned from Narnia!

No minor point that Susan isn't banned from Narnia, she denies it and refuses to acknowledge that she was ever there.

Andrew Rilstone wrote something very interesting refuting the "Susan goes to hell for becoming an adult" notion a long time ago but I can't seem to find it. :(

Egarwaen
10-01-2011, 04:11 PM
No minor point that Susan isn't banned from Narnia, she denies it and refuses to acknowledge that she was ever there.

Andrew Rilstone wrote something very interesting refuting the "Susan goes to hell for becoming an adult" notion a long time ago but I can't seem to find it. :(

Sorry, I don't buy these refutations. Susan was banned from Narnia for daring to become an independent, adult woman. Arguing otherwise goes against the plain meaning of the text and the flavor of reactionary Christian theology Lewis is spouting.

Sheana
10-01-2011, 04:13 PM
What happened to Susan always irked me greatly as a kid. I remember reading about how upset it made JK Rowling when she read the books when younger, too.

Though that's probably small beans compared to the weird 'and then everybody died and Aslan was Jesus hooray' ending of the series.

GyroNinja
10-01-2011, 04:57 PM
To be fair, I think the other reason that Susan doesn't go to heaven is that at the time of the story she isn't actually dead yet.

Although yes, the Last Battle is pretty jarring, especially considering that after the first book's pretty heavy crucifixion allusions, books 2-6 are actually pretty light on the Christian allegory. And then, bam, Revelations but with talking animals. What?

:edit: I should probably add that as I kid I remember actually liking the Last Battle, because while it's pretty crazy, at least you can't call it boring.

And really as an adult, while the Susan part bugs me, the part that I really find awkward is that it really cements the Calormen as a race of "scary muslim brown people".

Egarwaen
10-01-2011, 05:13 PM
Although yes, the Last Battle is pretty jarring, especially considering that after the first book's pretty heavy crucifixion allusions, books 2-6 are actually pretty light on the Christian allegory. And then, bam, Revelations but with talking animals. What?

Depends on which "first book" you're talking about. If you're referring to The Magician's Nephew, then remember that it was written while Lewis was writing The Last Battle. If it's The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe... Then I'm mostly confused.

GyroNinja
10-01-2011, 05:15 PM
I'm talking about the order he wrote them in, yes. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is the one where Aslan dies for our sins and then is resurrected.

And okay there's some fairly strong Genesis parallels in the Magician's Nephew but nothing that would prepare you for the Last Battle.

R.R. Bigman
10-01-2011, 05:28 PM
Although yes, the Last Battle is pretty jarring, especially considering that after the first book's pretty heavy crucifixion allusions, books 2-6 are actually pretty light on the Christian allegory. And then, bam, Revelations but with talking animals. What?

Doesn't Revelations have talking animals?


This thread makes me sad.

GyroNinja
10-01-2011, 05:42 PM
Doesn't Revelations have talking animals?

If you count the beast with 7 heads and 10 horns and 10 crowns as an animal, then yes I suppose it does.

(Fun fact, the first google autocompletion result for "the beast revelations" is "being obama". Hooray for the internet.)

Reinforcements
10-01-2011, 05:48 PM
To be fair, I think the other reason that Susan doesn't go to heaven is that at the time of the story she isn't actually dead yet.

Although yes, the Last Battle is pretty jarring, especially considering that after the first book's pretty heavy crucifixion allusions, books 2-6 are actually pretty light on the Christian allegory. And then, bam, Revelations but with talking animals. What?

:edit: I should probably add that as I kid I remember actually liking the Last Battle, because while it's pretty crazy, at least you can't call it boring.

And really as an adult, while the Susan part bugs me, the part that I really find awkward is that it really cements the Calormen as a race of "scary muslim brown people".
Don't forget the part at the end when Aslan and the kids are wandering around in the void and they stop to observe some atheist dwarves and explain at length why they're stupid and deserve to go to hell.

Googleshng
10-01-2011, 09:36 PM
And really as an adult, while the Susan part bugs me, the part that I really find awkward is that it really cements the Calormen as a race of "scary muslim brown people".

... who worship Satan. And one of the other big blasphemies that really gets preached at is suggesting that their god and Aslan are the same god so you're cool either way.

GyroNinja
10-01-2011, 09:43 PM
... who worship Satan. And one of the other big blasphemies that really gets preached at is suggesting that their god and Aslan are the same god so you're cool either way.

Although it's okay if your worship their god as long as you're a good person.

Unfortunately only exactly ONE of them appears to be good enough to not deserve eternal hellfire. Too bad for the rest of them I guess.

Rascally Badger
10-01-2011, 09:54 PM
I feel like I should say something about Anne McCaffrey here, but if I'm honest she was always bad, it just took me a few years to notice.

I feel this way about many authors I used to read. Like that 2 year period when I loved Terry Brooks.

keele864
10-01-2011, 10:13 PM
I feel this way about many authors I used to read. Like that 2 year period when I loved Terry Brooks.

And if you don't get rid of them, seeing those books on the shelves serves as a rebuke to your younger self... A few weeks back I took twenty-something books down to the library bookstore so they would no longer embarrass my shelves.

And to cross-post from the general reading thread, one recent (yesterday) book purchase has rather irked me:
Amongst other things, I picked up a nice hardback of Michael Moorcock's The Opium General. This seems like one of his most political books, and I think I shall violently disagree with it. In the introduction, for example, he speaks of his "ambivalent" feelings about Ulrike Meinhoff. Apparently her "methods of protest" partook too much of a "male dialectic" and therefore don't help feminist. But Mike remains "emotionally supportive." Self-styled intellectuals really know how to lay on the bullshit, don't they?

Maybe this wasn't the best purchase. If I read it, I shall doubtless dent my bedroom walls from repeatedly throwing the volume at it.

KCar
10-02-2011, 12:16 AM
Hey - way lttp here, but I just want to way on fugu's assertion that in Hamlet (the original), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are portrayed as comrades and not a couple.

Their names totally mean Rosy Wreath and Golden Bottom. Take that as you will.

fugu13
10-02-2011, 12:19 AM
I never said there wasn't also the possibility of them being gay in the original, just that they were clearly portrayed as comrades ;) .

Googleshng
10-02-2011, 12:31 AM
I feel this way about many authors I used to read. Like that 2 year period when I loved Terry Brooks.

If you squint a bit and just make up your own ending rather than actually read the last chapter, a couple of his books kinda half hold up sorta!

KCar
10-02-2011, 12:31 AM
So were Ace and Gary. But seriously though, much love.

Dizzy
10-02-2011, 11:28 AM
In all fairness he was always more of a fantasy author. And he' s now like a hundred. And a national treasure. Dude deserves a bit of slack.

Apparently Fahrenheit 451 was really bad (http://www.wetasphalt.com/content/why-i-hate-fahrenheit-451). I wouldn't know. I didn't care for anything I read from the anthologies teachers taught in grade school. His stuff seemed too overwritten and glibly imaginative.

Karzac
10-02-2011, 11:32 AM
Apparently Fahrenheit 451 was really bad (http://www.wetasphalt.com/content/why-i-hate-fahrenheit-451). I wouldn't know. I didn't care for anything I read from the anthologies teachers taught in grade school. His stuff seemed too overwritten and glibly imaginative.

Farenheit 451 is great.

Dubin
10-02-2011, 11:35 AM
Ray Bradbury is great. :( A Sound of Thunder and All Summer in a Day are two of my most favorite stories.

keele864
10-02-2011, 01:27 PM
Apparently Fahrenheit 451 was really bad (http://www.wetasphalt.com/content/why-i-hate-fahrenheit-451). I wouldn't know.

Nope, the critic was really bad, especially when he accuses Bradbury of "handwaving" tricks, then does the same thing himself. And when you make the argument that television and games make us smarter, you should probably take the time to spell your words correctly. "Poors" for "pores?" Really?

And when Rosenfield denounces Bradbury's advocacy of "telling fresh detail," he seems not to note that this "incredibly shallow view of literature" comes from another character, who claims that such is "my definition, anyway," not not the be-all and end-all criterion of literary merit.

And how does finding solace in a lit candle constitute Luddism? And Rosenfield's denunciations of Bradbury's nostalgia also seem to ignore his frequent writings on the importance of social change, the evils of racism, etc. Whereas Rosenfield believes that anyone holding fond memories of the past and annoyed by political correctness must be a "reactionary asshole" who looks forward to nuclear armageddon.

And I must say, what can one make of Rosenfield's list of sf writers who have contributed to the mainstream? Samuel Delany and Neal Steaphenson and Michael Moorcock* are fine writers, but their mainstream influence is almost nil. Oh, but they're probably more politically in line with Rosenfield, so they're cited as influential.

In conclusion, for someone who claims to love reading, Eric Rosenfield sure as hell isn't much good at it.

*In a previous post I complained about Moorcock's incomprehensibly silly politics, but I'm not going to reiterate that here.

Falselogic
10-02-2011, 01:34 PM
*In a previous post I complained about Moorcock's incomprehensibly silly politics, but I'm not going to reiterate that here.

Can you link to it cause I missed it and would interested in reading it!

keele864
10-02-2011, 02:23 PM
Can you link to it cause I missed it and would interested in reading it!

It's pretty brief and perhaps a bit too nasty (http://www.gamespite.net/talkingtime/showpost.php?p=1163948&postcount=5935). I like Moorcock, but I think his tendency to support the underdogs and the unappreciated sometimes turns into support of some very questionable people. And my post is based off his politics c. 1986; they may well have changed by now.

JDS
10-02-2011, 05:39 PM
The bit about "quality of information" in F-451 is one of the most genuinely prescient things I've read, and if people would do well to view Bradbury's criticisms through that lens instead of dismissing him as a reactionary Luddite crank because he insults their machines and doesn't want to be associated with Michael Moore.

dwolfe
10-02-2011, 06:08 PM
Sorry, I don't buy these refutations. Susan was banned from Narnia for daring to become an independent, adult woman. Arguing otherwise goes against the plain meaning of the text and the flavor of reactionary Christian theology Lewis is spouting.

Um...the point is that by being "independent" she turned her back on her faith/Aslan...which is exactly that flavor of theology. And still is for much of Christianity.

keele864
10-02-2011, 07:32 PM
The bit about "quality of information" in F-451 is one of the most genuinely prescient things I've read, and if people would do well to view Bradbury's criticisms through that lens instead of dismissing him as a reactionary Luddite crank because he insults their machines and doesn't want to be associated with Michael Moore.

The more I think about the Luddite thing, the less I understand it. Surely there's always been a Luddite/precautionary strain to sf from its earliest days. Look at Frankenstein or The Island of Dr. Moreau. Or look at J.G. Ballard, who the author of that piece seems to like.

To quote Ballard:
The first drafts of my novels have all been written in longhand and then I type them up on my old electric. I have resisted getting a computer because I distrust the whole PC thing. I don’t think a great book has yet been written on computer.

(OK, I have probably beaten this dead horse enough, but someone was wrong on the Internet and I just had to comment.)

I don't think this thread has discussed V.S. Naipaul yet? Nobel Prize winner, great novelist, miserable misogynist, treacherous friend, and occasional racist. Paul Theroux wrote a whole book (http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/09/20/daily/theroux-book-review.html) denouncing Naipaul, while the man's authorized biography contains Naipaul's admission (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/apr/13/biography.features) that "it could be said that [he] killed [his wife]" with his poor treatment. More recently, Sir Vidia has announced that he is a better writer than any woman who has ever lived (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/02/vs-naipaul-jane-austen-women-writers) and that Jane Austen in particular is inferior to him.

And yet I still bought Naipaul's The Enigma of Arrival a few weeks back. Sometimes I wonder about myself.

Dubin
10-02-2011, 08:58 PM
The great thing is how science itself (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704631504575531932754922518.html) is finding physiological phenomena behind the intuition writers have that longhand is a most necessary skill.

The thing about sci-fi and "Ludditism" is, wouldn't a sci-fi story that unconditionally celebrates technological progress be less a story so much as unappealing propaganda? Never mind the political alignment that SF is theoretically supposed to have: if you're writing fiction, it has to be a story, and if it's a story, there has to be conflict of some kind; and if technology is the central focus of the story, then it's only natural that the conflict would be with the technology itself.

Also:
The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.
If telling detail were all it took to make literature, then the greatest of literature would be a litany of telling details devoid of plot, character arc or substance.
He seems to not understand what Faber means by "life".
Why would a character need to change as long as you have some telling, fresh details about his or her life?
Because living things grow!

Karzac
10-02-2011, 10:06 PM
Honestly, the most annoying annoying thing for me about the Wet Ashphalt article is that he calls it "Ludditism."

It's "Luddism" dummy!

Issun
10-02-2011, 10:28 PM
David Eddings, Anne McCaffery, and Terry Brooks all told engaging stories that brightened our adolescence and can, if we give them a fair shake, entertain us as adults. Why, exactly, are we shitting on them again?

I mean, they aren't great writers by any stretch of the imagination, but when I compare them to most of the fantasy novels that litter the book table at work, I have to say that they're definitely above average for their genre.

Rascally Badger
10-02-2011, 10:47 PM
The last time I read Terry Brooks was about 7 years ago, some continuation of the Shannara series, and I found it to be pretty trite. That was when I realized that I hadn't really enjoyed his books for some time. I don't hate his stuff or anything, but I'm content to let it remain a part of my high school memories and never revisit it.

Dubin
10-03-2011, 12:15 AM
I mean, they aren't great writers by any stretch of the imagination, but when I compare them to most of the fantasy novels that litter the book table at work, I have to say that they're definitely above average for their genre.
Eeeeyyyyuuuuugh. http://www.the-weaving.com/images/temp/emot-gonk.gif Words like that scare me away from giving high fantasy a fair shake anymore.

I mean, I haven't read any of those authors so I'm in no position to judge their merits in particular, but my first good taste of Dunsany (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Plunkett,_18th_Baron_of_Dunsany) spoiled me to the greater part of fantasy and sci-fi in general even on the "junk food" level.

Anyway,
Why, exactly, are we shitting on them again?
Nyoro~n (´・ω・`)
And if you don't get rid of them, seeing those books on the shelves serves as a rebuke to your younger self... A few weeks back I took twenty-something books down to the library bookstore so they would no longer embarrass my shelves.
For my part I'm mostly annoyed at my younger self for being so easily impressed by flavor-of-the-month philosophies. I still like Fight Club, but I think I already smelled something fishy in the second Palahniuk back-cover summary I read. My greatest shame is being thoroughly enamored with the Sword of Truth series all the way until the end of the fourth book.

Super secret contribution to the thread: Carl Sagan, less because of the man himself than because I became the kind of person who trips balls on Dunsany.
Hrm . . . H.L. Mencken. Also Philip K. Dick.
Why am I choosing only dead authors. :c

Olli T
10-03-2011, 01:08 AM
My greatest shame is being thoroughly enamored with the Sword of Truth series all the way until the end of the fourth book.

Man, tell me about it. Goodkind keeps on piling on the obnoxious elements slowly and since it's all in the same the same story, I started hating myself for not picking up the hints earlier.

Evil Dead Junkie
10-03-2011, 01:11 AM
I don't think you can really blame yourself on SOT until book Five.

If you're still onboard after the demon chicken you have no one to blame but yourself.

Dubin
10-03-2011, 01:23 AM
There was a demon chicken?

I was literally 12 years old when I started reading, so the first four had exactly everything I had the capacity to want from fiction: sex, violence, magic, and sex, by the bushel and by the mountain. Then the fifth book was stuck with a plot device that literally annihilated all magic from the world, cut out all the violence except for a small handful of assassinations at the end, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWknSR7lRas#t=0m53s) set itself upon a course that could never really find any excuse to detour for sex, and deliberately steered the main focus of the greater part of the book away from the young 20-somethings that we've spent four books getting to know and cheer for, in favor of obtuse faux court politics from the perspective of some nobody whom the narrative was taking deliberate pains to make us hate, since he's a bad guy and bad guys deserve to die.

Fonz, skis, and shark, front and center, before I was even old enough to notice or care about the crazy.

Seriously, there was a demon chicken?

Reinforcements
10-03-2011, 06:37 AM
Seriously, there was a demon chicken?
It was no chicken. It was evil incarnate.

upupdowndown
10-03-2011, 06:50 AM
I don't think this thread has discussed V.S. Naipaul yet? Nobel Prize winner, great novelist, miserable misogynist, treacherous friend, and occasional racist. Paul Theroux wrote a whole book (http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/09/20/daily/theroux-book-review.html) denouncing Naipaul, while the man's authorized biography contains Naipaul's admission (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/apr/13/biography.features) that "it could be said that [he] killed [his wife]" with his poor treatment. More recently, Sir Vidia has announced that he is a better writer than any woman who has ever lived (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/jun/02/vs-naipaul-jane-austen-women-writers) and that Jane Austen in particular is inferior to him.

And yet I still bought Naipaul's The Enigma of Arrival a few weeks back. Sometimes I wonder about myself.


See, Naipaul is a great counter-example. I feel pretty strongly that we shouldn't judge books based upon the conduct/politics/personal views of their authors. (Heck, if I engaged in that practice, huge swaths of my literature collection would vanish off my bookshelves.) I set this thread up to just talk about when someone whose body of work we had previously enjoyed started to turn out work we didn't like.

If you're still enjoying Naipaul's work, and if you don't think his misogyny/chauvinism really shows up in the work, why not keep enjoying it?

MCBanjoMike
10-03-2011, 06:53 AM
Speaking of authors you grow out of, good lord do I ever wish I could go back in time and stop my younger self from reading all those fucking Piers Anthony novels. Sure, some of the Xanth ones were OK, but pretty much everything else was terrible. The guy's sense of sexuality and male/female relationships is so stunted it makes my brain hurt to think about it now. Guess I enjoyed the cheap thrills when I was 14, though.

Adrenaline
10-03-2011, 08:56 AM
I'd be angry at Dizzy for thinking a book that's considered a classic must actually be bad because somebody on the Internet wrote that it was, but I guess that's what we should expect from an AI.

Büge
10-03-2011, 09:09 AM
I don't think you can really blame yourself on SOT until book Five.

If you're still onboard after the demon chicken you have no one to blame but yourself.

And if you make it to book eight, there are evil pacifists.

Karzac
10-03-2011, 09:10 AM
My greatest shame is being thoroughly enamored with the Sword of Truth series all the way until the end of the ninth book.


*Cries*

keele864
10-03-2011, 09:11 AM
See, Naipaul is a great counter-example. I feel pretty strongly that we shouldn't judge books based upon the conduct/politics/personal views of their authors. (Heck, if I engaged in that practice, huge swaths of my literature collection would vanish off my bookshelves.) I set this thread up to just talk about when someone whose body of work we had previously enjoyed started to turn out work we didn't like.

If you're still enjoying Naipaul's work, and if you don't think his misogyny/chauvinism really shows up in the work, why not keep enjoying it?

I agree with you for the most part, though it's possible for an artist to go so very far off the rails that I won't support them anymore. Still, this hardly ever happens, especially since I'm probably unusually tolerant of politically incorrect ideas. I have no desire to read Orson Scott Card, for example, but if I wanted to, his politics wouldn't keep me from doing so.

Re: misogyny and chauvinism: Did you read The Millions on Philip Roth (http://www.themillions.com/2011/09/an-open-letter-to-the-swedish-academy.html)? Short version: Roth may be a bit of a misogynist, but he's still one of our great writers. I don't disagree, because when Roth is on, he's one of our best writers.

Behemoth
10-03-2011, 10:03 AM
*Cries*

Bwaaaaaaaaaahahahahah!

In the interest of full disclosure, this is coming from someone that read the sixth SoT book and thought "cool, that was like, an objectivist fantasy book!"

Falselogic
10-03-2011, 10:10 AM
David Eddings, Anne McCaffery, and Terry Brooks all told engaging stories that brightened our adolescence and can, if we give them a fair shake, entertain us as adults. Why, exactly, are we shitting on them again?

I mean, they aren't great writers by any stretch of the imagination, but when I compare them to most of the fantasy novels that litter the book table at work, I have to say that they're definitely above average for their genre.

I'm not crapping on the Belgariad or even its sequel the Mallorean, and I'm on record stating that the Elenium is one of my favorite series of all times, it just gets worse as there is more and more Flute and then by the time you get to his last series it's all Flute characters steamrolling everything.

Dizzy
10-03-2011, 12:06 PM
I'd be angry at Dizzy for thinking a book that's considered a classic must actually be bad because somebody on the Internet wrote that it was, but I guess that's what we should expect from an AI.

I thrive on anger. Is angar Adrenaline angar? I would link dozens more unfair critiques of classics in order to fuel the angar.


Re: misogyny and chauvinism: Did you read The Millions on Philip Roth (http://www.themillions.com/2011/09/an-open-letter-to-the-swedish-academy.html)? Short version: Roth may be a bit of a misogynist, but he's still one of our great writers. I don't disagree, because when Roth is on, he's one of our best writers.

He's certainly entertaining when he doesn't irritate but I don't know about great. The best Great American Novel written in the past decade wasn't even printed, it was shot for TV. Though I wouldn't object to Roth winning the Nobel Prize if it is important enough for him and his fans.

Issun
10-03-2011, 12:18 PM
And if you make it to book eight, there are evil pacifists.

Yeah, that's the one where I finally said "Fuck this noise."

shivam
10-03-2011, 12:22 PM
i think i stopped at the one with the communist statue on the front, and i only read that one cause someone gave it to me. but this thread is about good authors going bad, not bad authors getting worse.

Olli T
10-03-2011, 01:55 PM
Would it be bad to say Kurt Vonnegut? He didn't turn into a dick like Card, but his latter books that I've read didn't hold up particularly well.

Behemoth
10-03-2011, 02:18 PM
The best Great American Novel written in the past decade wasn't even printed, it was shot for TV.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you almost exclusively read non-fiction?

MikeDinosaur
10-03-2011, 02:22 PM
Well, I read a lot of fiction and I'd agree with him, though we might be thinking of different shows.

Frankly I feel bad for anyone who reads tons of contemporary American fiction and has to tell themselves it's as good as it's ever been. Phillip Roth has several funny books that hold together all the way through, but he hasn't done anything Great great since Portnoy's Complaint, at least so far as I'm aware. I haven't read Shylock or the American trilogy, though.

Adrenaline
10-03-2011, 02:23 PM
Quick both of you say the name of the show at the same time and if it's the same one, you have to get married.

teg
10-03-2011, 02:26 PM
I will probably never re-read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy on the grounds that, while I loved the books as a kid, I don't think a book so grounded in the author's theological views could possibly hold up. Also because apparently the only thing that changes when you grow up is you start calling people "dear" a lot.


Also, I tried to read a Dean Koontz novel once, but then his personal viewpoints kept interrupting the narrative and telling me not to. It was back and forth between "here is an intriguing thriller" and "global warming is a myth."
It's the same problem with Jurassic Park, really, except in Jurassic Park it's only in one scene and it's not unreasonable to read it as "if the planet's environment changes, its species will change with it."

Dizzy
10-03-2011, 02:26 PM
Phillip Roth has several funny books that hold together all the way through, but he hasn't done anything Great great since Portnoy's Complaint, at least so far as I'm aware. I haven't read Shylock or the American trilogy, though.

I'm surprised he got away with publishing a book like The Dying Animal. That's something he should have kept in his diaries or posted on deviantART.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you almost exclusively read non-fiction?

Okay, so I went through a period where I was rabidly anti-medieval fantasy and ultimately anti-fiction and basically anti-everything? I'm done with that. I'm more interested in licking boobies now.

upupdowndown
10-03-2011, 05:06 PM
Quick both of you say the name of the show at the same time and if it's the same one, you have to get married.

I, for one, am tickled pink when Adrenaline indulges in whimsy.

Büge
10-03-2011, 09:06 PM
Yeah, that's the one where I finally said "Fuck this noise."

I always thought it was suspicious that my local used bookstore had at least a dozen hardcover copies of Naked Empire. That is, until I learned about the evil pacifists.

blinkpen
10-04-2011, 04:30 AM
i think i stopped at the one with the communist statue on the front, and i only read that one cause someone gave it to me. but this thread is about good authors going bad, not bad authors getting worse.

No no no, the statue is against communism, because designing a society around social programs that help the unfortunate and promote altruism are inherently born of and only propogate inconceivable evil. All the "communist" statues in the book are of people beaten and ravaged and whipped and miserable before the light of holy deities that will bless the penitent and miserable in the afterlife.

Because communist welfare programs, crushing religious doctrines, and tyrannical fascist leaders who allow their soldiers to absolutely obliterate, ruin, and rape the entire landscape go completely hand in hand, you see.

And I absolutely ate up everything that book was selling lock stock and barrel when I was a teenaged lad. I considered it the greatest novel the world had ever known. I have brought shame and dishonor to my family.

Karzac
10-04-2011, 09:14 AM
And I absolutely ate up everything that book was selling lock stock and barrel when I was a teenaged lad. I considered it the greatest novel the world had ever known. I have brought shame and dishonor to my family.

I didn't go quite that far, but I did quite like that book when I was sixteen. I will never forget my shame.

Posaune
10-05-2011, 03:42 AM
Hey - way lttp here, but I just want to way on fugu's assertion that in Hamlet (the original), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are portrayed as comrades and not a couple.

Their names totally mean Rosy Wreath and Golden Bottom. Take that as you will.

U jokin' right? Stern means star, dogg.

fugu13
10-05-2011, 10:37 AM
Whichever meaning stern was intended to have (and while stern means star in German, the English audience's minds quite possibly would have jumped to bottom, first), it works as gay innuendo ;) .

NoKidding
11-30-2011, 05:56 AM
Reading Glass Soup now, I can sadly put Jonathan Carroll on this list. It's really quite bad.

ghosttaster
11-30-2011, 08:04 PM
Super secret contribution to the thread: Carl Sagan, less because of the man himself than because I became the kind of person who trips balls on Dunsany.
Hrm . . . H.L. Mencken. Also Philip K. Dick.
Why am I choosing only dead authors. :c

Whoa, whoa. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Philip K Dick's 'going bad' is what makes him so interesting. Sure, he wrote some not so good stuff- but if he never went fucking crazy he'd be just another high-tier SF guy. You just can't write something as singular and brilliant as VALIS with a functioning mind.

Evil Dead Junkie
11-30-2011, 08:45 PM
Whoa, whoa. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Philip K Dick's 'going bad' is what makes him so interesting. Sure, he wrote some not so good stuff- but if he never went fucking crazy he'd be just another high-tier SF guy. You just can't write something as singular and brilliant as VALIS with a functioning mind.

Ghosttaster you are good people. I officially nominate you for forum personhood 900 posts early.

Issun
11-30-2011, 11:02 PM
If any of a majority of authors throughout history had written Mosquitoes, it would be quite impressive. However, it had the misfortune to be written by William Faulkner and so, when compared to any of his other works, it is profoundly disappointing.

Savathun
12-01-2011, 12:37 PM
Also, I tried to read a Dean Koontz novel once, but then his personal viewpoints kept interrupting the narrative and telling me not to. It was back and forth between "here is an intriguing thriller" and "global warming is a myth."
It's the same problem with Jurassic Park, really, except in Jurassic Park it's only in one scene and it's not unreasonable to read it as "if the planet's environment changes, its species will change with it."

Oh, are you talking about The Taking? The one where a character flips through channels where three fictional experts smugly assure us that climate change is bullshit?

And where it rains something that we're told looks, smells, and tastes (!?) like semen?

Phantoms is probably the only good one he wrong, and he seems to actually feel weirdly guilty about this, if you read his new Afterword. And even it is filled with bizarre religious crap, a deus ex machina, and a character who dies horribly because he decided to become a cop and rebel against his parents rather than be the gentle veterinarian they knew was best for him.

Let your parents live through you vicariously or enjoy getting skewered by a giant blob wasp, ungrateful fuckers.

Evil Dead Junkie
12-01-2011, 01:02 PM
It's funny I bought What The Night Knows on audiobook because it was ten dollars and I heard it was the best thing Koontz wrote in years.

It is and it's still terrible. In all fairness I'll say I'm about halfway through and there has been one legitimately great scene, in which you there's an attack on a family, you're tricked into thinking they're safe, and then they get massacred in an attack even more brutal than the initial one.

But the rest of it is just dreadful. Koontz seems to have no idea how people act or speak. It's just a bunch of people encountering The Rape Ghost and then coming up with stupid reasons not to tell each other about it.

The funniest part thus far is when it's revealed early on that the family's beloved Golden Retriever is dead. I figured Ha! Well here's one Koontz book that won't have a magic Golden Retriever.

Would you be at all surprised if I revealed that a Ghost Golden Retriever factors into the plot later?

Behemoth
12-01-2011, 02:42 PM
magic Golden Retriever.

Wait, is this really a thing?

upupdowndown
12-01-2011, 02:48 PM
Wait, is this really a thing?

It totally is. Whenever Mr. LRLR is reading a new Koontz book I make a point of asking him what SUPERPOWERS the golden retriever has in this one.

Loki
12-01-2011, 03:33 PM
Please document them here for prosperity!

Shagohod
12-01-2011, 04:13 PM
Please document them here for prosperity!

I think you mean posterity

Behemoth
12-01-2011, 04:37 PM
I think you mean posterity

No, he meant prosperity. Loki's offering a Benjamin for each correctly cited reference of a magical golden retriever.

nadia
12-01-2011, 05:30 PM
Roald Dahl. I know he's dead and can't hurt me anymore, but the dude was kind of a prick. He was an anti-Semite, for starters, and I don't mean because he criticised Israel (he did lots of that, too), but I mean making remarks about how if the Jews weren't such, y'know, Jews, maybe Hitler wouldn't have Holocaust'd them.

But reading his books, you just get the impression that the guy did not like anyone on planet Earth, and that especially includes other minorities. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, besides being a boring book, featured a very long, very uncomfortable "joke" about the Chinese.

And with the exception of Saint Charlie, the kids in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory get fucked up pretty bad for being brats. I suppose we're supposed to say, "Ha ha, they got what they deserved!" and to be fair, that's easy to say when you're a kid, because we're surrounded by bullies and bad kids, and when we're pushed far enough, we wish for bad things to happen to them. But then we grow up, and maybe that's why I simply grew out of Dahl's work. I looked back and said, "Wow, that's mean."

Dahl had a pretty rotten life, though (publication success aside), so I don't hold a big grudge against him. I won't be going out of my way to make sure my kids read his stuff, though.


Anyhoo, on subject: Jean Auel. Clan of the Cave Bear was an amazing piece of literature, and yet all the other books in the series are mediocre schlock. With embarrassingly bad sex scenes.

I really enjoyed Cave Bear (I mean, we're talking about the origin point of Ayla from Chrono Trigger, so what's not to love), but when I tried to follow up with Valley of the Horses, I don't think I got a hundred pages in. Yeesh, what a pile. I guess I just preferred the pseudo-scientific background behind Cave Bear; it was interesting to read an interpretation of the Neanderthal way of life versus the Cro-Magnon.

Sarcasmorator
12-01-2011, 05:35 PM
My interest petered out at The Plains of Passage; Clan of the Cave Bear was definitely the best of them.

Egarwaen
12-01-2011, 05:43 PM
And with the exception of Saint Charlie, the kids in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory get fucked up pretty bad for being brats. I suppose we're supposed to say, "Ha ha, they got what they deserved!" and to be fair, that's easy to say when you're a kid, because we're surrounded by bullies and bad kids, and when we're pushed far enough, we wish for bad things to happen to them. But then we grow up, and maybe that's why I simply grew out of Dahl's work. I looked back and said, "Wow, that's mean."

Dahl's books are very much children's novels. They're invariably revenge fantasies for those who feel picked on, abused and powerless and, in particular, have a severe lack of empathy and perspective. Like, you know, most kids. Re-reading them as an adult - or even a teenager - is a really bad idea. They're hardly the only thing that falls into that category, but I can't think of many of the others off the top of my head.

nadia
12-01-2011, 05:53 PM
Dahl's books are very much children's novels. They're invariably revenge fantasies for those who feel picked on, abused and powerless and, in particular, have a severe lack of empathy and perspective. Like, you know, most kids. Re-reading them as an adult - or even a teenager - is a really bad idea. They're hardly the only thing that falls into that category, but I can't think of many of the others off the top of my head.

Yeah, I can wave away the bad things happening to children for that very reason, but I'm less dismissive of stuff like, "Ha ha, those Chinamen are sooo cray-zee!"

Karzac
12-01-2011, 06:37 PM
I like to ruin Karzac's childhood.

Seriously, what? I loved Roald Dahl as a kid. Was he really that racist? Are his books really that vindictive? I don't want to go back and check now.

I'm going to go cry in the corner now.

blinkpen
12-01-2011, 06:38 PM
My only exposure to Dean Koontz was this one night, this one magical night, where I was up super super late and I was super super bored and all I wanted to do was watch some kind of horror movie, any horror movie, even if it sucked. So I saw this thing called Intensity on the DVR's On Demand function, and god damn if I didn't sit through the whole thing. I don't know how. It was like 3-4 hours, total, a two parter. It was a major idiot plot that only worked because so many of the characters in it just acted so stupid. A girl is vacationing with her best friend's family and a random serial killer stops in and kills the entire family except for her, and instead of waiting for him to leave and calling the cops she gets into his RV because she briefly saw a picture of a little girl in his possession and decided he must have a little girl tied up somewhere and has to rescue her.

That is seriously the main motivation for the plot.

The main reason I sat through the whole thing is because of this man (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgfGuXxXNb8#t=3m40s).

Evil Dead Junkie
12-01-2011, 06:42 PM
Oh man I could not possibly disagree more. Dahl's clean droll prose impresses an adult .As pointed out he's uncanny at capturing children's point of view. And as for his personal beliefs that is just classic period of its time stuff. If we had to disregard every author who had unpleasant beliefs we would have to get rid of almost every writer born before 1950 and all of the British ones.

I take his dark misanthropic wit and imagination over the bland pc pablum I'm forced to sell everyday anytime.

Infact the books where he gives those dark impulses free reign (like the wonderfully nasty The Twits) are his best.

In summation if you don't like Matilda there is something wrong with you. It's demonstrable fact.

Evil Dead Junkie
12-01-2011, 06:47 PM
Seriously, what? I loved Roald Dahl as a kid. Was he really that racist? Are his books really that vindictive? I don't want to go back and check now.

I'm going to go cry in the corner now.

Vindictive yes. Racist is arguable (talking strictly about the text here not personal life. Which yadyadayada ten thousandth seperate art from artist debate) though I'll grant this is probably mostly because his books rarely left the anglo world.

Karzac
12-01-2011, 07:03 PM
Well, that's nice to hear. My favourites of his were always The BFG and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

I do remember there being a Chinese guy in one of the books. Was it George's Marvellous Medicine?

nadia
12-01-2011, 07:47 PM
What "bland pc pablum" are you referring to, exactly?

Büge
12-01-2011, 08:27 PM
http://comiquegique.wikispaces.com/file/view/calvin_and_hobbes_demolish_school_bomb_fighter_jet .jpg/115802319/calvin_and_hobbes_demolish_school_bomb_fighter_jet .jpg

This particular strip got Bill Watterson in trouble because people thought it was unconscionable that a child would fantasize about blowing his school up. But that's what kids do.

Karzac
12-01-2011, 08:31 PM
Just tell me that Dr. Seuss never did anything bad.

AJR
12-01-2011, 08:40 PM
Actually, I heard that every time Dr. Seuss finished a book, he ate an orphan.

But it's alright, because he always made extra sure it would be a child that the world wouldn't miss.

Evil Dead Junkie
12-01-2011, 08:52 PM
What "bland pc pablum" are you referring to, exactly?

Oh about 95% of what passes for children's lit today. Rick Riordian, Erin Hunter, Rachel Renee Russell, Jeff Kinney, the biggies.

Basically anything contemporary not JK Rowling or Neil Gaiman.

Issun
12-01-2011, 08:56 PM
Rick Riordian

It saddens me that Percy Jackson seems to be the definitive "What if Greek Gods were Real?" series when this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orphans_of_Chaos) exists.

ajr82
12-01-2011, 10:12 PM
My only exposure to Dean Koontz was this one night, this one magical night, where I was up super super late and I was super super bored and all I wanted to do was watch some kind of horror movie, any horror movie, even if it sucked. So I saw this thing called Intensity on the DVR's On Demand function, and god damn if I didn't sit through the whole thing. I don't know how. It was like 3-4 hours, total, a two parter. It was a major idiot plot that only worked because so many of the characters in it just acted so stupid. A girl is vacationing with her best friend's family and a random serial killer stops in and kills the entire family except for her, and instead of waiting for him to leave and calling the cops she gets into his RV because she briefly saw a picture of a little girl in his possession and decided he must have a little girl tied up somewhere and has to rescue her.

That is seriously the main motivation for the plot.

The main reason I sat through the whole thing is because of this man (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgfGuXxXNb8#t=3m40s).

It also has Molly Parker as the main female character, and I'm always happy to watch something that she's in.

keele864
12-01-2011, 10:21 PM
Has anyone here looked at Dahl's adult writing? Switch Bitch is a pretty nasty piece of work, but at least two of the stories in the collection have stuck with me. In his adult writing I think Dahl is almost like a funnierPatricia Highsmith.

(Highsmith was a pretty miserable person too of course)

nadia
12-01-2011, 10:26 PM
Oh about 95% of what passes for children's lit today. Rick Riordian, Erin Hunter, Rachel Renee Russell, Jeff Kinney, the biggies.

Basically anything contemporary not JK Rowling or Neil Gaiman.

I'm just curious why you chose the term "PC." In my experience--and as someone who used to sling the term around--people who complain about stuff being too PC are generally complaining (say, in the context of books) about horrible, horrible things like female main characters and heroes who might not be white.

That's not likely what you meant, but it just got my hackles up. I've read my fair share of Erin Hunter, and I don't see why her (their) stuff counts as pablum. It's just stuff about cats and bears. Hell, shallow kids' series are nothing new, and there's nothing wrong with kids reading them unless the underlying message is really, really awful, like Twilight. Growing up, I loved the fuck out of the Sweet Valley Twins until one day I was stricken with chicken pox and my mom bought me the latest book as a get well present, and I realised, "Wow, what the Christ am I reading?"

And there are other hardcore series out there, too. Hunger Games, for instance, though "Mockingjay" was kind of bad.

It's great that you all like Dahl. I'm not trying to change that. I love CS Lewis and Laura Ingalls Wilder, but I can also understand why people (some in this very thread!) might find their works offensive.

Also, Calvin is such an excellent character because Watterson let him act like a selfish dick at times. I've gone over this before, but most authors won't let their protagonists be anything but saints in a cruel world. That's why the countless C&H imitators are all forgettable.

Gunther, an Otter
12-01-2011, 10:35 PM
Actually, I heard that every time Dr. Seuss finished a book, he ate an orphan.

But it's alright, because he always made extra sure it would be a child that the world wouldn't miss.

This is clearly a lie, since its a plain fact that Theodore Geisel never really liked children that much.

Evil Dead Junkie
12-01-2011, 10:58 PM
I'm just curious why you chose the term "PC." In my experience--and as someone who used to sling the term around--people who complain about stuff being too PC are generally complaining (say, in the context of books) about horrible, horrible things like female main characters and heroes who might not be white.



Yeah that definitely lines up with my 3,500 or so posts.

PC for me is another way of saying safe. Dahl's books are brave enough not to talk down to children, he has more in common with Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson, than the fiction mills who write for kids because that's where the money is and any content that might be offensive gets excluded because that drives off the money.

Just because Shallow kids books are nothing new doesn't mean that they should be the standard. By that token we should all except shitty movie and wallpaper music. Yeah there's plenty of shovelware out there doesn't mean I won't praise stuff that pushes farther.

Hunger Games is decidedly a Teen book, there's all kind of stuff there that' pushing the limit. Dahl was writing directly for children which is a completely different classification.

nadia
12-01-2011, 11:01 PM
Yeah that definitely lines up with my 3,500 or so posts.

Didn't mean to offend, I just wasn't sure.

Rick Riordian struck me as more of a teen writer, but I haven't read his stuff, so I don't know for sure.

Evil Dead Junkie
12-01-2011, 11:02 PM
He definitely going for the twelve and under sweet spot.

JDS
12-02-2011, 08:10 AM
Just tell me that Dr. Seuss never did anything bad.

lol (http://www.tricycle.com/files/images/blog/honorable5thcolumn.jpg)

Karzac
12-02-2011, 11:42 AM
Well then.

Karzac
12-02-2011, 11:44 AM
Didn't mean to offend, I just wasn't sure.

Rick Riordian struck me as more of a teen writer, but I haven't read his stuff, so I don't know for sure.

I know that when I worked in a bookstore his stuff was in the Fiction 9-12 section, if that counts for anything.

nadia
12-02-2011, 12:01 PM
ITT we learn that esteemed childhood authors are/were human beings, and therefore capable of terrible things.

JDS
12-02-2011, 12:08 PM
Seemingly anyone who could draw/sing/write/play instrument in the forties got in line to do a SLAP A JAP PSA hahaha.

nadia
12-02-2011, 12:30 PM
The world needs less Slap a Jap and more Hug a Pug. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzNsEHcaBfA)

Falselogic
03-22-2017, 12:12 PM
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C7inogTVwAAis1j.jpg

BEAT
03-22-2017, 01:11 PM
http://comiquegique.wikispaces.com/file/view/calvin_and_hobbes_demolish_school_bomb_fighter_jet .jpg/115802319/calvin_and_hobbes_demolish_school_bomb_fighter_jet .jpg

This particular strip got Bill Watterson in trouble because people thought it was unconscionable that a child would fantasize about blowing his school up. But that's what kids do.That's not a good writer going bad. That's a good writer perfectly portraying the thoughts of literally any elementary school kid on their Monday morning bus ride.

EDIT: Ahahah that post is 6 years old oh my god False why you do this.

Falselogic
03-22-2017, 01:29 PM
EDIT: Ahahah that post is 6 years old oh my god False why you do this.

I had something to post and I needed somewhere to post it!

The nice thing about the internet is nothing is every really over.

Falselogic
03-22-2017, 01:30 PM
The nice thing about the internet is nothing is every really over.

That's also the awful thing about it.

Adrenaline
03-22-2017, 01:45 PM
How exactly did you look up this thread? What term did you search for? Were you looking for this thread specifically, that you somehow remembered after six years, or just looking for something about bad writing?

Falselogic
03-22-2017, 01:46 PM
How exactly did you look up this thread? What term did you search for? Were you looking for this thread specifically, that you somehow remembered after six years, or just looking for something about bad writing?

If I told you then anyone could do it!

Mr. Sensible
03-23-2017, 03:32 PM
Probably with Google search operators. More specifically, adding "site:talking-time.net" to the end of a Google search string will restrict the results to the site/domain you specify.

I'm guessing searching "bad writing" or "bad authors" or something similar with that operator on the end would do it.

edit: Did I just man-splain how to do google searches, fml

Büge
03-23-2017, 04:46 PM
I had something to post and I needed somewhere to post it!

The nice thing about the internet is nothing is every really over.

Yeah? Then why can't I find full episodes of Beat The Geeks?

jpfriction
03-23-2017, 05:08 PM
Yeah? Then why can't I find full episodes of Beat The Geeks?

The TV geek signed my shirt once. Still have it.

"Nice Pecs", he wrote. What a guy.

Posaune
03-24-2017, 08:28 PM
The TV geek signed my shirt once. Still have it.

"Nice Pecs", he wrote. What a guy.

Paul Goebel, the King of TV?

Who I know, like, peripherally from mentions on various LA podcasts and vague memories of that show.

Johnny Unusual
03-26-2017, 06:29 AM
I listened to two of Paul's podcasts, The Paul Goebel Show and the follow up Hey, Watch This until he moved away from LA. I also contributed to his failed Kickstarter Ubergeek, which was going to be a Beat the Geeks-styled game show aimed at much more hardcore geeks.

Also, last year he had a failed suicide attempt. He seems to be doing better now, though. I wish him well.

jpfriction
03-26-2017, 05:31 PM
Paul Goebel, the King of TV?

Who I know, like, peripherally from mentions on various LA podcasts and vague memories of that show.

Yes, apparently. I guess I never knew his name. (Signature is illegible).

They did a beat the geeks touring show after they were cancelled which came to my undergrad school. I seem to recall they had to bill it as something else because they weren't actually associated with Comedy Central? Definitely had the usual movie and tv guy, can't remember who the third one was.

Anyway, my friend Troy got picked to compete but picked the hard questions too early in the final portion and didn't win anything. Fun was had by all.

Meditative_Zebra
03-28-2017, 03:24 PM
I don't like Haruki Murakami's newer books nearly as much as I liked his older ones. But I don't know if that's more on me or on Murakami.

Peach
03-28-2017, 04:39 PM
You can only have your characters start jogging and open a jazz bar so many times.

But, yeah, I agree, his new stuff is alright, but it lacks a certain something.

TK Flash
03-29-2017, 01:43 AM
But, yeah, I agree, his new stuff is alright, but it lacks a certain something.

Not enough pasta? Not enough jazz LPs?

...Don't tell me he forgot to put in the fucking cat??