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  1. #16
    benh benh's Avatar
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    I agree with wolfbane on Martin. He's good, just not amazing. I really thought the first one... what is it... the crown of kings? I thought that was excellent. I really invested in those characters and I really cared and when so and so happened toward the end (you all know what I'm talking about), I thought to myself wow! Here's something sweet.

    I'm halfway through the green one... steel and snow, and really, the only reason I still care about the characters is because I connected with them in the first one. I just don't give a crap. Sorry, it's interesting, but yeh.

    My biggest one is a book by Vonda N McIntyre, called The Moon and the Sun. I bought it because it won awards, scored good reviews, etc. I just, once again, wasn't interested. It was okay. Nothing more.

    Anyway thats me.

  2. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Thor View Post
    Have you ever had your expectation built up to Olympian heights about an author either by critical acclaim, or popularity or both, only to read with incredulity and ask: what is all the hype about?

    Here is my top 5 list, what's yours?

    [...]
    4. Robert A. Heinlein
    Too much talk, too much irrelevant talk, none of which truly attains to insightfulness or cleverness - you grok? On the bright side though, he did provide the impetus for a wonderful showcase of Denise Richards' ... acting skills.
    I still contend that Heinlein, and the majority of his generation of pulp/s.f. writers, were short story writers who floundered mightily at novel length. Some, like Alfred Bester and Fred Pohl, found ways to write novels, some didn't. The majority of the novel-length works from that generation, though, are mighty thin gruel.

    [...]
    2. Orson Scott Card
    Fart eater. Wow those kids are so ... lord of the flies. My innocence is lost Orson all thanks to you.
    I'd heard a lot of hype on Ender's Game by the time I read it. I felt that the young Fred Brown of the 1940s could have produced something like it at 1/10th the wordage, maybe less; it ended up reading like an over-long Twilight Zone episode.

    That said, I found Speaker for the Dead a much more textured, engaging novel in spite of the cliff-hanger ending. I haven't read any more in the series, though.

    Randy M.

  3. #18
    Gentleman and Scholar Wulfa_Jones's Avatar
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    Erikson and Bakker for me.

    I managed to read Gardens of the Moon and Deadhouse Gates, but really struggled with them. Gardens of the Moon was alright and I enjoyed the ideas behind Deadhouse Gates, but Eriksonís prose and characterisation just didnít capture me.

    Iíve attempted Bakker's The Darkness that Comes Before about five or six times now and never make it past the first quarter of the book. Just canít see what the fuss is about.

    Iím reading GRRM slowly but surely. The first few books really got me and I sped though then, however, when I reached Sword of Storms I started to drag and havenít finished it yet. I enjoy the story, but get frustrated and sometimes feel like Martin needs to just get on with it.

  4. #19
    Wow, you guys already got all of mine.

    Seconded on Bakker and Erikson. I stalled out around 50 pages of Bakker's first book and 100 pages of Erikson's. I really don't understand the praise for Bakker; I do understand the praise for some of Erikson's concepts, which are pretty awesome when people tell me about them as just pure ideas, but the execution doesn't work for me.

    And Heinlein, oh man, yes. So overrated. Terrible like brainmelting and woah. His female characters are just annoying and offensive beyond my ability to express. This isn't the SF board so I wouldn't have thought of him ordinarily, but since he's been mentioned, I will just co-sign any and all disses thrown in that direction.

    Re: Rothfuss -- as a previous poster mentioned, I would probably have liked his book if I had approached it as a standard fantasy novel. Since I was expecting it to be the Second Coming of Martin, it was something of a letdown and I really didn't get very far (plus, as I've ranted about before, I am not a fan of Kvothe at all). I will give it another try after I've thoroughly hammered my expectations down, and I expect I'll like it a lot more then. That's definitely a prime example of a book that's probably fine on its own merits but just doesn't stand up to the hype.

  5. #20
    Registered User Trinuviel's Avatar
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    I've had a few disappointments whit books that have been touted, on the internet, as the best fantasy in decades:

    Steven Erikson
    - I found Gardens of the Moon almost unbearable reading. Plot and action was jumbled to the point of it being almost incoherent, the characters was rather bland and the author uses magic and god-like creatures to the point of overkill. I struggled through the whole book, but cannot muster enough enthusiam to continue reading the series since I really don't care what happens next.

    Joe Abercrombie's The Blade Itself was another disappointment. First and foremost, because I found his world-building exceedingly poor and secondly because I didn't really find the characters interesting enough to keep on reading. While I did enjoy some of his deadpan humour, I just felt that his book was posturing as a "dark" and "gritty" fantasy by simply making every character deeply unsympathetic but without portraying the kind of harsh and brutal world that would produce such characters.

    Scott Bakker's Prince of Nothing trilogy was not exactly a disappointment to me. I quite enjoyed it, but find that his internet reputation as a new master of epic fantasy is somewhat undeserved. His novels deals with some interesting themes, but they are also hampered by some serious flaws, especially when it comes to structure, pacing, and to a certain extent, characterization.

  6. #21
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    It does bother me because as some have said, there is an investment of time and a shared experience with the author.

    Books that have let me down or where "I just didn't get it"

    Little, Big by John Crowley - I remember being excited to get the recent (2006) reprint from Harper after seeing so many good things about the book and a great deal of praise from writers about the book. I started reading and couldn't figure out what the big deal was, I was absolutely bored to tears.

    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell - Neil Gaiman let me down on this one, I have to admit. I thought it was interesting, but plodding, and v-e-r-y l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g winded.

    M. John Harrison - Light was pretty good, so I thought I'd try his acclaimed Virinconium novels but like Little, Big I hunted used book shops for the books for years and was thrilled when BantamSpectra reissued the book in a terrific looking omnibus in 2005. Boy was I let down, I couldn't even finish the whole thing it just meandered and went nowhere.
    Last edited by Rob B; October 20th, 2008 at 01:15 PM. Reason: Added Virinconium

  7. #22
    Omnibus Prime Moderator PeterWilliam's Avatar
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    Bakker's series - It was ok, but too hyped. After reading it, I couldn't believe how ugly and grim the entirety of it was. Read with prozac. Take as directed.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    It does bother me because as some have said, there is an investment of time and a shared experience with the author.
    For me hyping is bothersome because it creates expectations and then I judge the book from there. The best example this year - Steel Remains by RK Morgan - Without the hype I would have liked it much more, would have been about my 10th fantasy book of the year, but with the hype I feel somewhat disappointed in it.

    For Bakker series I had a different reaction based on the author's "take me seriously" preaching which made me nitpick the books mercilessly and lessened my enjoyment. Still fantasy, still imaginary and very *unrealistic/extraordinary* politics and characters, still pop-history/philosophy. I read the books when published so before the big time hype and I thought them very good, but again I do not buy the "my book is more essential, important, relevant, shows that fantasy is real literature.." thingy.

    I understand that some sff writers are frustrated by the nose-thumbing from the mainstream critics, though considering the total irrelevancy of such and their well deserved and well documented demise, I think that sff authors should revel the fact they write in such a vibrant part of modern literature

    Vandermeer does the "I'm important" thingy sometimes too but he is much less good at genre fantasy than Bakker so it does not bother me so much - but I think Scott Bakker is very good and should be a top fantasy name rather than a semi-cult one.

    I am a bit surprised about the above comment about Light by MJH which has been published relatively recently and was available at any online bookstore. I have the first UK edition from 2002 I think. The Centauri Device or Viriconium, yes they are harder to find, but Light??

  9. #24
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Sorry Liviu, I meant Virinconium - I couldn't find it for the longest time and finally read it in the reissue omnibus from 2005.

    As for The Steel Remains - I agree to an extent. I liked it very much, but the hype surrounding it set the bar almost impossibly high.

  10. #25
    Would be writer? Sure. Davis Ashura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterWilliam View Post
    Bakker's series - It was ok, but too hyped. After reading it, I couldn't believe how ugly and grim the entirety of it was. Read with prozac. Take as directed.
    You're not alone. When reading his first book, I felt like his world was bathed in a murky cloudiness and full of depressed and depraved people. I didn't care about his characters because they were such miserable and awful individuals. That said, his technical abilities as a writer are outstanding. It's like the movie "Seven"; a movie I detest but can also appreciate for its artistic merits.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    Sorry Liviu, I meant Virinconium - I couldn't find it for the longest time and finally read it in the reissue omnibus from 2005.

    As for The Steel Remains - I agree to an extent. I liked it very much, but the hype surrounding it set the bar almost impossibly high.
    I was just very surprised about the Light - I thought you meant The Centauri Device at first - took me some time to track that down some years ago and I was a bit "that's all??" after everyone doing modern space opera from Banks on claim it as forerunner - though the description fit Viriconium better

    Regarding TSR - I am eager to see where the series goes and I can see myself liking it a lot and getting it into my top series depending on how it develops.

    Even without the hype though, there quite a few other fantasies this year that appealed more to me but somehow 2008 has been a very strong year for me in fantasy with many unexpected positive surprises

  12. #27
    Ringworld is the only work where I completely missed the origins of the hype.

    For most of the works listed here it's pretty obvious where the hype comes from. Unless we're talking books that don't live up to the hype then that's a different story.

  13. #28
    Analyze That
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ranke Lidyek View Post
    When a well-known editor proclaims a certain book "the best fantasy I've read in 30 years" and that book (I'm looking at you, In the Name of the Wind) ends up being a run-of-the-mill fantasy novel, her opinion and integrity begs questioning. It's also unfair to the author to be saddled with unreasonable expectations. I managed to enjoy Rothfuss' novel for what it was, but for others I think the book may have fallen below the bar set for it and it hurts fantasy as a whole. It worked for sales, but it kills the genre and people's respect for it. The fact that Paolini sells tons of novels does us no favors.
    This line of criticism isn't really fair to anyone. If an overhyped book hurts fantasy as a whole, then fantasy as a genre is in huge trouble. The whole point of hyping a book is to increase sales for that book. As a reader, you need to understand that a book that many others like may not be the best book for you, and read novels at your own risk. If you worry about spending time, money and effort reading a book that you don't like, it's the risk you take being a reader.

    Since when are people not entitled to their opinion. If an editor makes a statement that it was the best book she (it was a she, wasn't it, I'm not exactly sure) has every right to the opinion, you as a reader need to take that statement for what it is, a recommendation. It's not telling you this is the best book of fantasy written in 50 years, it's telling you, in one person's very subjective opinion, it's more enjoyable than any book she's read in the last 50 years.

    You also cannot say it's unfair to Rothfuss to have his book hyped up so much. He's the prime beneficiary of this hype, and I'm sure the opinion of him as a writer is still higher than many who have not been hyped at all.

    Recommending novels is all based on hype. How would a person decide what to read without some sort of hype regarding the novel. Do they pick the nicest cover? The author who's publisher makes the best blurb on the back of the book? Be realistic. Books need hype, and it's the job of a reader taking that hype for what it is, to pick the book they think they'd like the best.
    Last edited by molybdenum; October 20th, 2008 at 04:10 PM.

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by molybdenum View Post
    ... Be realistic. Books need hype, and it's the job of a reader taking that hype for what it is, to pick the book they think they'd like the best.
    Here, here! Let's have more hype!

    No, seriously. More attention to the fantasy genre would make me happier. I don't mind if the publishers want to draw attention to a particular book. I want to know what other people liked to read because it will give me an idea of what other good books are out there. It's still up to me whether I like the book or not, and I don't blame it on the people recommending a book (even if it's the publishers) if I don't enjoy it.

    I also particularly agreed with:

    Quote Originally Posted by molybdenum View Post
    As a reader, you need to understand that a book that many others like may not be the best book for you, and read novels at your own risk. If you worry about spending time, money and effort reading a book that you don't like, it's the risk you take being a reader.

  15. #30
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by molybdenum View Post
    Since when are people not entitled to their opinion. If an editor makes a statement that it was the best book she (it was a she, wasn't it, I'm not exactly sure) has every right to the opinion. You as a reader need to take that statement for what it is, a recommendation. It's not telling you this is the best book of fantasy written in 50 years, it's telling you, in one person's very objective opinion, it's more enjoyable than any book she's read in the last 50 years.

    You also cannot say it's unfair to Rothfuss to have his book hyped up so much. He's the prime beneficiary of this hype, and I'm sure the opinion of him as a writer is still higher than many who have not been hyped at all.
    Good thoughts and I'll respond to each of the above. When the Recommendation is the form of a letter on the Advance Copy of the book and the person in question is the Editor in Chief of the publisher, then it certainly does hold a certain amount of weight. Then again, it is the publisher's job to sell their books.

    Interesting statement about the fairness to Rotfhuss (or any other author in that position). On one hand, yes he is the beneficiary of all that hype. On the other, it still does put some expectations on the title.

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