Our world has problems. [BAD BOOKS]

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by Luya Sevrein, Aug 19, 2010.

  1. Luya Sevrein

    Luya Sevrein Humble Grifter

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    I don't understand why alot of people - not just young adults - seem to have completely gone off the rails and simply love swooning over pathetic romances, bland, unbuilt characters and makeshift vampires?

    I have nothing against Urban Fantasy books, even Young Adult ones. It's just a genre. A genre that is getting punched in the face.

    I have nothing against crappy Romance books. They are fun for some people, they are escapism. But they should not be able to be held up as the GREATEST WORK OF LITERATURE EVUR.

    I tried searching Fantasy on Amazon, all I wanted were great, interesting books and classics. All I get is Twilight, Twilight, Twilight and something about '_____ was an ordinary girl. No one loved her. BUT THEN A VAMPIRE DID.'

    Bad issues, bad romances, are all right in books if handled with some kind of overview and knowledge. Not glorified.

    How can we teach people what good writing, good characters are? How can we change this?
     
  2. Roland 85

    Roland 85 Registered User

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    You can't. Sturgeon's law applies not only to literature, but to the people who read it as well.
     
  3. Industrious1

    Industrious1 Data Error

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    Careful Luya, if you don't like Twilight there is a serious possibility of KatG dropping a wall of text on your head :p
     
  4. Rulkez

    Rulkez Registered User

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    Not coming over preachy and elitist would be a good start. If people want to read yet another supernatural romance for (heaven forbid) entertainment then so what , It's not as if the popularity of Urban/Supernatural fantasy is stopping people reading or writing better novels , so why the snobbish attitude that it is somehow important to stop people reading books like Twilight.

    I have never ever seen anyone claim Supernatural romances are somehow 'best literature eva' , I doubt that anyone actually thinks they are . I have no idea why you think we need to teach these people what good writing or characterisation is, or why you think that your personal opinion on what makes a good book should have on what the general populace reads for fun.
     
  5. Roland 85

    Roland 85 Registered User

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    Actually, the Twilight army DOES think Twilight is the best literature eva, but that's only because for most of them it is the ONLY literature they've ever read.

    And although Rulkez has a point, it is not completely valid to me. Yes, obviously if people want to read shit, it's their prerogative to do so, but publishers have a moral obligation to not only supply product, but also... educate the culture of readership. And it is also not entirely true that spewing Urban/Supernatural fantasy is not stopping people from reading or writing better novels. Because to publish all that quantity of "loved by a vampire" crap, you need to NOT publish other stuff. And good books generally sell less than bad ones, simplistic and absurd as it sounds...
     
  6. Luya Sevrein

    Luya Sevrein Humble Grifter

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    I agree with Roland, he got what I'm trying to say there.

    I really don't think you should accuse someone of being snobbish when you have misunderstood what they are saying. Or, just don't accuse anyone of anything and keep debate to the subject.

    I understand why it's popular. I can get that people like easy reads and escapism. I don't like, however, that people look up to this and think it is THE BEST EVUH. I don't like that people who, at one point, were considered good sources for literature fuel the fire and agree. Educated people praise these books. Educated people say 'This is the modern Romeo and Juliet!' Unless they are trollin' and mean it ironically (as R&J was a parody and all), it's madness. -Braces-

    It's like me saying the 'Wind Singer' series are the best fantasy books ever written. I loved them when I was a pre-teen. But they are just easy reads.

    Stephen King gets what I'm trying to say.
     
  7. metalprof

    metalprof I should be working

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    Substitute popular music for popular books and this is not a new complaint. How could anyone claim the Beatles were the best music eva when they could be listening to Mozart?

    This is probably not new even for books. I'll bet some people complained about other people liking all that new Shakespeare (later Dickens, later Twain, later Tolkien) crap when there was so much better stuff out there.

    Rather than trying to correct the choices of people based on what they choose to read, I'd rather have them more properly phrase their response to the works. If fans of Twilight really did intend to claim that those books are the pinnacle of literature, then I'd have to dump a bowl of mashed potatoes on their heads. But if they (hopefully more correctly) stated that they enjoyed those books more than any others they'd ever read, then I'd be happy for them that they found something they liked so much, even if I don't share their enthusiasm.

    It would be nice if shelf space was more evenly distributed between the popular stuff and the "more proper" stuff, so that the latest fads don't shade out more substantial works, but that's not how economics works.

    I'll optimistically consider the Twilight phenomenon to be, hopefully also like the Harry Potter phenomenon, the "gateway drug" to better reading. If someone discovers a love for books by being introduced to them through the Twilight books, is that so bad?

    Ken
     
  8. Roland 85

    Roland 85 Registered User

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    Problem is that Beatles were amazing for what their goals were. So is Harry Potter and so is Tolkien. Not so with Twilight. It is just mediocre, EVEN as a supernatural romance novel...
     
  9. dragonangel517

    dragonangel517 Registered User

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    I don't know about everyone else, but I read fiction for entertainment. I read the first two books of the Twilight series, decided it was not for me, and moved on. It was too YA for me. As are the Harry Potter books. But I watch the movies, mainly for the special effects.

    I see the popularity of Twilight as a good thing. Girls are READING, which is never a bad thing. Look around this site at all the people who are writing, again, not a bad thing. It gives hope to all wanna be authors-especially those that write fantasy- that a publisher just might actually read their manuscript.

    I have never understood how someone can equate popular with bad. There are lots of popular things I don't like, but someone does, or else they would not be popular. Doesn't mean they are bad, just that I don't like them.

    Someone once said variety is the spice of life. I agree.
     
  10. DelphicRaven

    DelphicRaven Registered User

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    I got into a similar discussion with someone a few days ago who works in a bookstore. He had a great point on the whole topic. He said that he views the trend of Twilight and etc as a good thing because at least people are reading and from those books he can recommend other similar authors and slowly get them to explore genres, authors and books they never would have before.

    I'm not a Twilight fan, but I can see his point and I agree with previous posters, at least people are reading.
     
  11. Roland 85

    Roland 85 Registered User

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    It is a false point I fear. It arises every time a book happens to turn into pop-culture trend. Yes, people are reading, but just like with Dan Brown, A) people are readinc crap, and B) 99.99% of them will never read another book in their life, or if they do, it will be the next pop-culture trend.

    I think the best thing about the Harry Potter books is the fact that they were good literature as well as pop-culture trend, and since they were targeted at the general YA audience (not the "I'm a lonely female desparate for attention" audience), they actually DID get a lot of kids into reading. I seriously doubt Brown or Meyer could boast any such thing.
     
  12. Luya Sevrein

    Luya Sevrein Humble Grifter

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    The point I'm trying to make is that, while everyone has the right to chose, and while I basically agree that it is a symbol of hope... That should not equal the pathetic amounts of praise they are getting.

    It's like we've reached a stage where we're so happy someone's reading we'll praise anything just to keep up the hype. I don't think that's healthy even though people disagree.
     
  13. Rulkez

    Rulkez Registered User

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    So where are these people who claim that Twilight is great literature ?

    It's a strawman set up by people with some axe to grind with the series. No one really thinks that it is the height of literary achievement, certainly no one who should be taken seriously. The idea that publishers have literary works of genius sitting gathering dust on their desks because they want to publish the next Twilight clone is also absurd. Those literary novels that only a few read only get published because Vampire romance #394580327 sold a bazzilion copies and funded it.

    I don't understand why people feel the need to make " how can we save {insert fanbase of popular media here} from their stupidity " threads. These people are reading books, if they are reading them solely because its a pop-culture thing then so what , if they never read another book then who cares . These titles allow the publishers to take a chance on new authors and niche title.

    Your 'point' such as it is , is that you don't like Twilight, you cant stand the praise it gets , and you're getting a little upset because some faceless name on the inturw3bs compared some "serious literature" to sparkly vampire fic ?

    Personally I think people who get really upset over the latest pop-culture craze and the people who read/listen/play whatever the product is have more issues than the grubby commoners they want to educate.

    *looks for the speechless emote*
     
  14. Luya Sevrein

    Luya Sevrein Humble Grifter

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    Not the point, again.

    Many amazing books have come out along WITH Twilight. Books that get no where near as much praise.

    It depends on taste. Yet, I'm sure most people agree that to have a decent novel you need some kind of PLOT and definable characters.

    If you want to know people who claim it is amazing, check anyone who panders to pre-teen girls and middle-aged women as well as people who were, at some point, authorities of literature.

    Check most of the magazines, NY Bestseller list and reviews, TIME Magazine, Reader's Digest, various multimedia news broadcasts. Even little sheets in libraries which say 'TWILIGHT, THE LITERARY PHENOMENON.'

    So the main argument is 'Heck, these people are reading!'

    'But they'll never read again...'

    'So what?'

    Is that not a contridiction?

    Okay, look, the way it is. If you have no friends, at all, if all you want is to be part of a social circle, and thus you accsept the first group of people to want you it doesn't make it right. They might still be shallow, petty, useing assholes.

    I'm just, personally, not a person to accept things because 'at least you've got friends/at least they're reading.'

    Yes, yes that was it! I'm glad I have you here to tell me what I think.

    Since you're beggining to put 3s in your speech and telling me what I think, I'm'a stop now.

    If you want to get leetist about it then you should know, Consequences will never be the same.
     
  15. kirk

    kirk Registered User

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    Interesting discussion here and I would agree with the op to a point if Twilight WASN'T the greatest series that's ever come out; I consider myself fortunate to live in a time where books like that get the praise and attention they truly deserve.
    I can't think of any other author (alive or dead, and not just fantasy) that comes even close to whoever wrote twilight in terms of beauty of prose and plot depth.
     
  16. Rulkez

    Rulkez Registered User

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    Literary phenomenon put in a tag line != Fantastic work of Literature . I think the failing here is how you choose to take the praise the series received.

    I don't get your point mostly because you have barely made one.



    Right , so you're upset because Twilight has gotten more media time than some more literary novels ? When has this not been the case ? In fact outside outside of whatever is the latest pop-culture craze ( Twilight , Brown , Harry Potter etc) when do books ever get much mainstream media attention.

    Those who would be interested in those other novels will either know about them or more likely at least know where to find out about them.

    I believe that the vast majority would never read period. These people wouldn't be reading 'serious literature 101' if Twilight never existed. So their purchase of Twilight means nothing to me, because hell a few of them might learn that reading is something they enjoy and move on to other authors and genres, and if they don't ? Then yeah who cares, the bazzilion copies they all bought WILL allow publishers to give that little start up author a break, or take a risk on a book that they know wont have mass market appeal.


    Books like Twilight have their place in the industry, they are integral to the industries survival . I have never read a Meyer novel , and have no real desire to change that. I don't however feel the need to rage over it's success or make assumptions about it's readership.

    Why don't you give us an example of a book you think deserved praise , but maybe didn't receive it or the sales you think it deserved. I'm not arguing that Twilight is some amazing work of literature , but I don't think that it it and its ilk never existed that millions would flock to 'serious' fiction.
     
  17. Luya Sevrein

    Luya Sevrein Humble Grifter

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    The problem here is that every point you are raising is irrelevant to my actual debate. (That's what this is meant to be, by the way, not a strawman mish-mass of 'How dare you think this?')

    Twilight is a smut book. Popular, peddled smut. It consists of weak plots, mostly focussing around a romance where a (debatably) vampire boy thinks some human girl smells nice and the girl thinks he is hot. The author has created a smut romance and inserted it into a genre that sells well and generates huge fan bases.

    Fine. They have to exist, as you say.

    Why, though, should we praise them? Should we be happy just to be presented with a novel and lose every thought in our mind that tells us 'Oh heck, si this the way mainstream lit is going?'

    Do not praise a book that does not deserve it. Even if that book is popular.

    If someone comes up with an amazing argument and series of point as to why Twilight (and others) are amazing, then fine, praise it. But no body so far has. Everyone's arguments have been 'I'm so happy to see my teenager read!', and 'Oh, the story of those 2 lovers is so unique and magical and forbidden!'

    There are many young adult books (fantasy or not) that are of a higher writing quality, have deeper plots, more rounded characters and include actual issues other than 'Oh no, should I do my boyfriend before we get married?'

    Going Bovine
    A Great and Terrible Beauty
    Prey
    Ink Exchange
    Thirst
    Blood and Chocolate
    Beautiful Creatures
    Deepwoods
    Wind Singer
    Naughts and Crosses

    Many more that I don't know as I don't read young adult books that much anymore.

    Then, there are the classics that prehaps people beggining to read should be introduced too.

    I honestly don't know how to make this ANY clearer. It's not that the poor book exists. It's not that the poor book is loved. It's that the poor book is praised without reason.
     
  18. Roland 85

    Roland 85 Registered User

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    I agree with some of Rulkez' points. It is true that exactly the success of Twilight and the likes finances the publication of less-successful but potentially worthier books. It is also true that to most of Meyer's fans the series is not "great literature" because, frankly, they don't care about literature and they don't see those books as such, so they don't need to proove anything in that direction. It is also true that - annoying as it is that books like these become pop-culture phenomena - there is no real problem in this, apart from a sad conclusion about the mass audience's intelligence and tastes.

    That said, all the above are generalizations. And - as with most generalizations - the exceptions could be rather extreme. It is true that less commercial works are published on the strength of the sales of more... uh... crappy literature, but it is also true that publishers work with slots. They can only publish a limited number of novels per year. So, you are a publisher and you have a choice between the debut novel of someone who could turn out to be the next Hal Duncan or China Mieville, and Bitten By the Night, Part 48 of The Vampires of Passionville. Which one do you choose?

    And it is really a matter of perspective. I happen to know an example of exactly this retarded attitude that Luya describes. One of the most vocal fans in my country is like that. He has a site, a real-life club that gives annual awards, he appears on national TV and radio... and he is the one that got that abomination Robert Stanek translated and published. He also firmly believes that sales = quality and his favorite books are always the ones that sell best for the current year, as well as their clones. He is influential enough that people listen to him and form opinions based on his words. It's a sad picture, and deeply disgusting.

    And I stand by my words that you mocked on the previous page - publishers should form tastes, not just react to them. Perhaps I am naive enough not to be pragmatically cynical... or perhaps I am mature enough not to. Who knows.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  19. Luya Sevrein

    Luya Sevrein Humble Grifter

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    If poorly written but popular books at least help get lss well-known authors and their works, which might be amazing, off the ground then that's a positive. But do you think it's a positive thing that we need that? We need a poorly written smut book to be able to explore, as a society, deeper or more fluently written works that, though they may have been published, I still have not heard people speak of above those lesser books.

    Generalizations sucks, unfortunetly, we need them to form oppinion and debate and grow. Because, otherwise nothing would apply to anything. XD

    Here is one huge generalization. Celebrity book clubs. You know like Oprah or Richard and Judy? Never been a fan myself but they have always recommended good books. I assume this is because they have some kind of agent or publisher working for their show. Yet, when a bad book comes out, one that is clearly smut, if over a certain number of people like it they go along with it and promote it. It's shameless. But not even with any kind of 'This is amazing because ___' Just 'OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH!' Like Roland says.

    I think it's a certain way of lieing to yourself.
     
  20. Palfrey

    Palfrey Registered User

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    People seem to be forgetting that according to some critics, fantasy is by default crap literature (because it is "not real" :rolleyes: ). According to the way society sees it, we (fantasy fans/writers) don't have the literary high ground. So who are we to judge? (SF gets a tad more respect, but still not much).

    Personally, while I'm not a fan of Twilight or Dan Brown, I don't like most books that are highly praised by critics either. I consider myself a "middle ground" reader and I see nothing wrong with that. Ultimately everyone reads for entertainment: Those who like "literature" are simply entertained by different things than those who like Brown. Good/bad taste doesn't exist in the absolute.