October 20th, 2008, 06:16 AM #16
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.
October 20th, 2008, 08:58 AM #17
- Join Date
- Sep 2005
2. Orson Scott Card
Fart eater. Wow those kids are so ... lord of the flies. My innocence is lost Orson all thanks to you.
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.
October 20th, 2008, 09:27 AM #18
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.
October 20th, 2008, 09:34 AM #19
- Join Date
- May 2008
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.
October 20th, 2008, 10:57 AM #20
I've had a few disappointments whit books that have been touted, on the internet, as the best fantasy in decades:
- 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.
October 20th, 2008, 11:53 AM #21
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
October 20th, 2008, 12:42 PM #22
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.
October 20th, 2008, 12:44 PM #23
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
- Ann Arbor, MI, USA
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??
October 20th, 2008, 01:16 PM #24
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.
October 20th, 2008, 01:32 PM #25
October 20th, 2008, 01:43 PM #26
- Join Date
- Dec 2005
- Ann Arbor, MI, USA
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
October 20th, 2008, 01:49 PM #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.
October 20th, 2008, 02:02 PM #28
- Join Date
- Jan 2008
- Now off an island
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.
October 20th, 2008, 03:17 PM #29
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:
October 20th, 2008, 03:38 PM #30
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.