Don't give up on that book!

Discussion in 'Science Fiction' started by Asimovking, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. Asimovking

    Asimovking "Dime Store Rock"

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    I have learned yet again why you should keep reading a book past the 1/3 mark. It was rough going in Revelation Space until about page 200. I still have around 100 pages to go, it has turned into a really good book. I have had this experience with other books in the past.

    Makes me think I should give Ilium and Mindstar Rising another try. I made it to about page 100 on each book before putting them back on my bookshelf. I'm thinking it might have something to do with being burned out at the time because I was attempting to read them after doing pretty much nothing but eat, sleep and breathe ASoIaF for over a month :p
     
  2. Chrysippus

    Chrysippus Registered User

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    Yeah, Revelation Space really picked up the pace, although it sounds like you burnt out on it a lot more than I did.

    I always try to keep reading, no matter how weak a book seems at the time. It took me three tries to get past page 60 in Dune Messiah back in middle school, but I'm glad I finished. I probably should have put down Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon; I doubt I'll read the subsequent books. The last book I put down was Gene Wolfe's An Evil Guest last winter. After reading and loving his The Sorcerer's House the previous summer, I was stoked to read An Evil Guest, but after about 100 pages, I had no real idea what was going on. Worse, I didn't care. So I put it down. I intend to come back to it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2012
  3. Colonel Worf

    Colonel Worf Registered User

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    There's just so much good stuff out there to read that I have a hard time reading through hundreds of bad pages to get the meat of a novel. I think a good book should be consistently entertaining from beginning to end. Nowadays, I'm picky enough that if a book doesn't grab my attention within the first couple of chapters, I'll just toss it aside for later.
     
  4. owlcroft

    owlcroft Webmaster, Great SF&F

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    In what ways?

    I am curious, and would be interested to hear, about the ways in which the sorts of books in question were bad at the outset, and the ways in which they were good later on, far into them.

    For myself, I find it extraordinarily rare for a book to alter materially mid-stream. Nowadays, if I have the rare opportunity (rare for me, as I live in a deeply rural area) to hold in hand an unread book, I can skim a half-page or so from three of four random points throughout and have an idea--normally quite reliable--whether or not I will like the book.
     
  5. Asimovking

    Asimovking "Dime Store Rock"

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    Revelation Space: I'm not much of a fan of hard sci-fi, so it was pretty much just that the building up of everything didn't interest me much. Then when everything really got going I was hooked. It's more of the style of hard sci fi than it is the plot or anything.
     
  6. Overgeeked

    Overgeeked Fishbowl Helmet

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    If the author can't be arsed to make the whole thing at least marginally interesting, I can't be arsed to take the time to read it. No offense to those who like to slog through, but there are too many amazing books out there to waste time reading something that doesn't grab and hold your interest.
     
  7. psikeyhackr

    psikeyhackr Live Long & Suffer

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    I am probably spoiled by my age. When I started reading SF most novels were only 150 pages. 300 pages was an extremely long book. So if a writer can't get me interested in 100 pages I tend to think there is something wrong with the writer.

    But tastes and standards have changed and I have limited interest in conforming. I forced my way through Revelation Space. It got better but it never got good.

    psik
     
  8. livens

    livens Registered User

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    My biggest peeve: When an author used pages and pages of explaining the current political and social situations. Sometimes this is just a character thinking to him/her self in an effort to explain the world to the reader. While some of this is necessary, I prefer it when things are explained by letting the characters simply interact with the world.

    I am reading Brin's Existence right now and when the book switches to Tor's storyline Im having to read ALOT of these type of long winded descriptions. I try not to but I find myself skimming through some of the longer bits.

    Usually this doesnt last through the entire book. After the first third or half of the book the author will get down to business. So I agree with the OP that its best to stick it out.
     
  9. Anjasa

    Anjasa Erotic SFF Author

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    I almost gave up on Dune so many times. It starts out soo slow. I'm glad I didn't as I really loved it afterwards, but yikes.

    I still can't get past the first 30 pages of Grapes of Wrath though.
     
  10. Pub

    Pub Registered User

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    I've just finished revelation space and am on redemption ark now never been into sci fi mainly fanatasy. But i am enjoying alistar reynolds books
     
  11. Omphalos

    Omphalos Orthodox Herbertian

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    I've given up on a few Stephen King books half-way through. About the only time I'll give up for good is where I am reading an author whose works I think generally stink. SK has a bunch of good books (from early in his writing career), and he is getting better again (thank goodness) but for a looooooong while there I wondered if he had gone insane. Those Dark Tower books are a perfect example. I loved the first one, and liked the second one. But did not like the middle books too much the last three were absolutely terrible. I started each of the last three and threw them away in disgust. Never bothered to see "how it all ended!!!!" and still don't care too.

    Though i will say again that the man has come back from the precipice. Cell and that one about the force field were pretty darn good, and I'm going to read the Kennedy thing soon.
     
  12. JimF

    JimF Registered User

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    I have a very similar experience with King. I read 400 pages of It before putting it down and the only other things by him I've read since is the Dark Tower, which I loved.

    I used to slog through a book once I started but now if a book doesn't grab me after 50 pages or so I put it down.

    My reading time is limited and I am somewhat of a slow reader. My older brother can polish off a novel in a day or two, but not me. So I concentrate on what entertains me. Oddly I think I actually read faster on my Kobo than I do with a regular book. But ebook or not, if it doesn't grab me I won't finish it.
     
  13. Anjasa

    Anjasa Erotic SFF Author

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    When I was a young teen, and I was gobbling up controversial books left and right (to me controversial meant they had the f-word or were about demons and had sex in them), and I still couldn't get into Stephen King.

    Only thing I ever finished was a short story about a guy stranded on an island with a bag of heroin.
     
  14. heretics fork

    heretics fork Curmudgeon

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    I had the same experience with Revelation Space. I ended up liking it quite a bit and am glad I stuck with it because some of the later novels in the series (Chasm City in particular) are just phenomenal.

    The most serious offender in my experience was Erikson's Gardens of the Moon. I stopped reading 200 pages in twice and had to be talked into giving it another go. I finally got past my sticking point and found it to be an excellent fantasy novel.

    I also wonder how many books I have given up on too early.
     
  15. ArthurFrayn

    ArthurFrayn the puppet master

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    I was actually quite the trooper for sticking with books till the end despite misgivings. One book singlehandedly destroyed my capacity to stick with a book when my instincts told me otherwise. That was Perdido Street Station. I never want to have a life robbing reading experience like that ever again, if it can be helped, so if my instincts tell me to put a book down, I put it down.
     
  16. JayDoggett

    JayDoggett New Member

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    What made it difficult to read?
     
  17. PeterWilliam

    PeterWilliam Omnibus Prime

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    I just had this happen to me during the past month or so. I was reading David Brin's Existence and something just clicked off. For whatever reason, I now know that the 'red-line' is there somewhere and, when surpassed, will spur me to quit a read that drops my interest.
     
  18. Colonel Worf

    Colonel Worf Registered User

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    I've heard people say that they will stick with a book to the end even if they're not interested by the first or second chapter. To me, that's like watching 120 episodes of a show when you didn't even like the pilot.
     
  19. Sipwood

    Sipwood Registered User

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    I thoroughly enjoyed Mindstar Rising (and its sequels) and would recommend giving it another try.
     
  20. Sipwood

    Sipwood Registered User

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    Agreed. I really struggled to get into GOTM, but once I did I became hooked. The Malazan series is easily one of my favorite fantasy series, if not my favorite.

    Until recently I would nearly always finish a book once I had started reading it (War and Peace being the exception. Everybody had the same name and I just could not get going with it). However recently I am becoming a little more fussy and I am more willing to let a book go. Part of it is having a Kindle. I now have so many books on me when I am reading that there is no need to persevere with a bad book, because I have another one that I can start reading straight away.

    I am currently about 50% of the way through Deathworld by Harry Harrison (I have had it on my Kindle for ages, but thought I would read it given his recent passing) but I am about to give up on that. Am I making a mistake? Anybody want to try to convince me to carry on?