Page 3 of 6 FirstFirst 12345 ... LastLast
Results 31 to 45 of 85

Thread: "Cliched Trash"

  1. #31
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Brisvegas
    Posts
    132
    Quote Originally Posted by SiberianSamurai View Post
    I don't really mind cliches so long as thery're not used as a crutch to propel an otherwise flat story lacking depth or characterization. Too often there are stories written with characters who too closely fit the preconcieved mold of what has come before.
    Once again we get this assertion that there is a lot of cliche fantasy out there. Can somebody provide examples of this, or are we stepping around naming names to avoid offending fans? Most of the examples I can think of are 20 years old.

  2. #32
    I, too, have noticed the tendency to avoid naming names in this sort of thread, and it always annoys me as well.

    So sure, here are a few names that pop into mind when people discuss cliche-ridden heaps of crapmongery:

    -- Terry Brooks, early Shannara novels

    -- Dennis L. McKiernan, Mithgar books

    -- David Eddings, everything after either the Belgariad or the Eleniad depending on who you ask (but that he devolves pretty spectacularly at some point is not in question)

    -- Gail Z. Martin, The Summoner (and sequels)

    -- Kristen Britain, Green Rider (and sequels)

    -- Patricia Bray, Devlin's Luck (and sequels) (NB that this one may be less a case of cliche overload than "written in bog-standard Fantasyland, utterly undeveloped, with nothing at all to lift it above that")

  3. #33
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Brisvegas
    Posts
    132
    Quote Originally Posted by Liane View Post
    -- Terry Brooks, early Shannara novels
    This is the 20 year old stuff I was talking about

    Quote Originally Posted by Liane View Post
    -- Dennis L. McKiernan, Mithgar books
    -- Kristen Britain, Green Rider (and sequels)
    -- Patricia Bray, Devlin's Luck (and sequels)
    These I've never heard of.

    Quote Originally Posted by Liane View Post
    -- David Eddings, everything after either the Belgariad or the Eleniad depending on who you ask (but that he devolves pretty spectacularly at some point is not in question)
    I'd argue that Eddings's later works were actually much less cliche than his earlier works, and its his inability to come up with decent original storylines that causes these to fall apart. The Belgariad/Mallorean/Elenium/Tamuli are very much bog standard fantasy novels (once again, 20 years old), but done in an engaging enough way that it *works*. I think this is a good example of the fact that its not the cliches that are the problem, but the execution. The Dreamers, from what I read of it, was a rather original concept destroyed by terrible execution, whereas the entirely unoriginal Belgariad is considered his finest work.

    In defence of the 20 year old works mentioned above, I doubt the ideas presented in these novels were considered cliched back then.

  4. #34
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    The island of Arylyn
    Posts
    1,523
    Quote Originally Posted by Zedar View Post
    I'd argue that Eddings's later works were actually much less cliche than his earlier works, and its his inability to come up with decent original storylines that causes these to fall apart. The Belgariad/Mallorean/Elenium/Tamuli are very much bog standard fantasy novels (once again, 20 years old), but done in an engaging enough way that it *works*. I think this is a good example of the fact that its not the cliches that are the problem, but the execution. The Dreamers, from what I read of it, was a rather original concept destroyed by terrible execution, whereas the entirely unoriginal Belgariad is considered his finest work.
    You must not have read The Redemption of Althalus, a book that was entirely constructed of archetypes.

    [

  5. #35
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Brisvegas
    Posts
    132
    Quote Originally Posted by Radone View Post
    You must not have read The Redemption of Althalus, a book that was entirely constructed of archetypes.
    The characters yes, the storyline not so much.

  6. #36
    Yobmod Yobmod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,565
    Once again we get this assertion that there is a lot of cliche fantasy out there. Can somebody provide examples of this, or are we stepping around naming names to avoid offending fans? Most of the examples I can think of are 20 years old.
    These I've never heard of.
    The reason no one hears of these authors, is that they write nothing worth discussing. Which muddies the point, as the other examples (Eddings / Brooks etc) are actually somewhere near the high end of cliched fiction, as shown by the amount of discusion they generate.

    But in any B&N the shelves are overflowing with authors i've never heard of, all on the 2nd or 3rd book of a fantasy series, that will sink without a trace of critical or fan appreciation. These are the books with all the cliches in and that enforce the conception that cliches are intimately tied to bad writing.

    And generally i think there is a corellation. Bad writers are far more likely to use cliches in their plot, characterisation and world-building. But there is no causation in the direction of cliches to bad writing.
    Last edited by Yobmod; June 10th, 2008 at 08:12 AM.

  7. #37
    Yobmod Yobmod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    1,565
    To further emphasise the point, sites like Scifan allow one to see books released by year.
    http://www.scifan.com/titles/year.as...age=9&Items=30

    They have 2500+ from 2005. The vast majority are by authors that never get a single mention here or on other forums. I would guess that maybe 200 of those books are remembered now, with only 100 in a couple more years.

    Within the other 2400 are a LOT of cliches!

  8. #38
    Re: Eddings, I suppose there's a special corner of Cliche Land dedicated to the authors who mostly cannibalize themselves as opposed to outside sources (see also: Mercedes Lackey, everything published after 1995. I think Lackey is single-handedly responsible for the One-Dimensional Gay Wangster with Long Flowing Hair + Deceased Soulmate. Since indirectly this makes her responsible for some of the worst side alleys of fanfic, that is a horrific burden to carry through life). But the point is, it's now a fantasy cliche, regardless of where it came from.

    Yobmod already covered the point re: the reason you haven't heard of those authors is because they didn't write anything worth talking about. The great mass of current cliche-ridden fantasy comes from authors you've never heard of and, unless you spend way too much time trolling the shelves (which I do!), never will.

  9. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Afrobro View Post
    Cliches are lazy.
    I'm sorry, I've only read to this post.

    But.

    Afrobro, I have two questions for you.

    I.
    Have you ever tried to write fantasy?

    II.
    If so, are you willing to send me it? I'd like to critique it and/or point out any cliches you use.

    I would argue that fantasy is an extremely hard genre to write in its own right. You have to deal with legions of Martin, Erikson, and Bakker fans who will gnash their teeth and chew their gums in anticipation of tearing apart your work because it involves a magic artifact and a talented swordsman or two.

    Okay, so I have maligned thousands of decent, intelligent people, but damn if you don't know what I mean.

    If you write fantasy -- or any sort of fiction for that matter, but particularly fantasy -- you will know that cliches are not lazy. The wandering swordsman is cliche, and yet he is at once intriguing and thrilling to read about . . . at least in my opinion. Fantastically talented swordsmen are cliche, but if we didn't have them, our Kellhus might not make it through his confrontation with the Sranc and the Nonman in the opening pages of The Darkness That Comes Before.

    Kellhus is a wandering swordsman (okay, not wandering, but traveling), but Bakker deftly twists him into a cold-blooded manipulator -- although in all honesty the character probably evolved the other way around -- who is not your average Strider.

    Cliches, or tropes if that tickles your fancy, are lazy only if the talespinner opts not to expand and warp them into creations of his own. As a Roman Catholic, I might call Christianity a rip-off of Judaism, but it's not. It takes the Old Testament God and makes him its own, with a different code of behavior and massively different core belief than Judaism. Taking the wandering swordsman and making him the wandering swordsman who is really the son of a middle-class merchant, rather than the son of a shepherd or (if you're looking at the other extreme of the farmboy syndrome) an aristocrat, isn't really making the trope your own. Taking the wandering swordsman and making him Kellhus is making the trope your own.

    Now tell me R. Scott Bakker isn't lazy, or I'll chop your head off and feed it to my sister.

    EDIT: Oh, and if you still hate cliche-"ridden" fantasy, read Landmoor by Jeff Wheeler. Yes it is an unknown book, yes I have brought it up before in glorifying light, no I am not Jeff Wheeler, no I don't have any ulterior reason for advertising this book. This is book includes numerous tropes, but guess what, pal, it's damn gripping and monstrously satisfying in the end.
    Last edited by Mock; June 10th, 2008 at 06:52 PM.

  10. #40
    One problem I have with the idea of "cliche's" is that, after a while, everything becomes cliche. When Tolkien first turned elves into tall, beautiful people who were ancient and noble and apart from mankind, it wasn't cliche to portray them so.

    Now it's about as cliche'd as it gets. I can't think of a fantasy novel containing elves written since The Lord of the Rings that doesn't portray them that way.

    Lately I've heard the term "cliche'd" attached to such authors as David Gemmell, George RR Martin and Steven Erikson. I could scarcely believe it when I heard someone criticize Martin of all people for a lack of originality. BTW, it wasn't on this site. It was a critical review. It talked about other works that have used elements like a plot against the King, an incestuous brother and sister, the honorable bastard son, the tomboy daughter, wolves as "spirit mates", disfigured men, etc. and acted like there was nothing to Martin's story but that sort of window dressing and then declared that because there were some elements of Martin's work that didn't spring directly from his head that his books were nothing but trash.

    Umm...Here's the thing with that. Since man has been speaking in clear language, man has been telling stories. This means there are only so many things that have never been done before in literature. In fact, I would suggest that there is nothing that has never been done before in literature. Name a plot device, name a macguffin, name a plot twist, etc. It's all been done.

    It's all about how you do it. As was pointed out earlier in this thread, The Belgariad is about as cliche'd as it comes, and yet it's very enjoyable. I burned through those books in about a week and a half, and that isn't just because they're short. Other short books have taken me twice as long because it was a chore to read them. There was hardly a single part of The Belgariad that annoyed me. It had characters I could appreciate and care about. It had sparkling humor and creative dialogue.

    I've read "original" works that left me totally cold. All of them had elements that had been used before, and elements that seemed to come totally out of left field. I had seen them all praised as being totally "original" and so much better than all that "cliche'd trash", etc. And they sucked. Their original elements do not a great novel make.

    Novels with cliche'd elements coupled with crap presentation, such as the Green Rider series (which I've never read but they have been pretty much unanimously agreed upon here) are quickly forgotten.

    The bottom line is, cliche's are often little more than tried and true elements of the genre, that belong to the genre just as surely as serial killers belong to crime novels, handsome strangers belong to romance novels, veils of fog belong to mariner novels and ghosts belong to horror novels. To use them does not immediately indicate laziness on the part of the author, and really when an author tries to be original all he's doing is helping to invent new cliche's.

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Zedar View Post
    Once again we get this assertion that there is a lot of cliche fantasy out there. Can somebody provide examples of this, or are we stepping around naming names to avoid offending fans? Most of the examples I can think of are 20 years old.
    Over the years I'm sure a lot of the people around here have come across very potent examples of bad, cliched fantasy. Some have already posted examples in this thread, but you can also check the 'I wanted to burn it' thread for yet more examples.

    I've posted some of my notables there, but if you insist here are some more:

    ~Janny Wurts- some people love her but I think the writing is really cliched and bad, and her writing has all of the characteristic over sentimentality that I loathe in fantasy. I had to put it down.
    ~Melanie Rawn- I thought her most popular series was awful, although I forget the name of it.
    ~Gemmel- I will probably get flack for this, but this is just what I think. I've read two of his books and I thought they were mediocre at best. All the usual suspects were there.
    ~Raymond Feist-More of the same
    ~Rothfuss- This one got lots of accolades but I thought the characters were wooden.
    ~Mercedes Lackeye
    ~Britain
    ~Eddings
    ~Ruckley-This series tried to propogate itself as being a godless world, but in fact its just a world in which the gods have left (in other words the gods exist, they simply don't care), and this has been done before as well. There is really nothing new with it, and the characters and plot progression lacked depth (i.e., they were cliched)

    Man I could probably keep going but I'll stop. I doubt you'll agree with me anyways.
    Last edited by SiberianSamurai; June 10th, 2008 at 10:44 PM. Reason: wanted to write more

  12. #42
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Brisvegas
    Posts
    132
    I'm starting to get the impression that people are using the word cliche to describe fantasy that they don't like, rather than fantasy which is actually derivative. For example, however much people may hate Gemmel's work, I don't really think it could be described as cliched to any degree. His most famous work, Legend, is about a single siege in a war. No elves, no quest, no orphan farmboy who is secretly heir to the kingdom, no company of brave companions (except perhaps the thirty, but they don't really fit any stereotypes).

    Once again I'll put forward my viewpoint here that cliched and trash are two completely unrelated terms. One does not imply the other, there are terrible works with no cliches, great works full of cliches, terrible works with no cliches, and great works that are completely original.

    I'd actually be curious to see how people would rate Lord of the Rings, if they read it with no knowledge of its place in fantasy history. Viewed objectively, the entire work is one long cliche, would the modern reader dismiss it as drivel after a hundred pages? In my opinion, LotR has been given an unfair advantage by being first to market If we swapped the publication order of LotR and, say, Magician, would Magician be viewed as an all time classic and LotR as well written but ultimately unoriginal tripe?

  13. #43
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    47
    If you swapped them maybe we would not have this board or the great books that built on it and everything that came after it.

    Or maybe we would have better
    why ask questions like this that can not be answered as not one of us can do it

  14. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Takoren View Post
    One problem I have with the idea of "cliche's" is that, after a while, everything becomes cliche. When Tolkien first turned elves into tall, beautiful people who were ancient and noble and apart from mankind, it wasn't cliche to portray them so.

    Now it's about as cliche'd as it gets. I can't think of a fantasy novel containing elves written since The Lord of the Rings that doesn't portray them that way.
    Actually, the D&D RPG (throughout its 4 advanced editions and earlier ones as well) and most novel tie-ins in D&D worlds picture elves as shorter than humans, around 5 feet tall. Maybe taller in Dragonlance, but definitely not in the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk.

    That's what I liked about the Dark Sun setting, it completely turned all the regular D&D tropes on its head. Hairless and beardless dwarves, tall, skinny roguish Elves running in the desert (as far from noble and regal as you could get), no orcs, etc.

    I haven't really read Feist (except for the first graphic novel), but apparently the Riftwars were based on his D&D games?

  15. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by columbob View Post

    I haven't really read Feist (except for the first graphic novel), but apparently the Riftwars were based on his D&D games?
    ?? I was not aware of any D&D games based on the Riftwars. The computer RPG such as Betrayal at Krondor, Betrayal at Antares, and Return to Krondor were after the books, and based on the books. Were there any after those????

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •