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  1. #46
    Where have I been? Moderator JRMurdock's Avatar
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    Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment, slightly off kilter, or just not all there, I can see where some dislike a book for a variety of reasons. Me, I love nearly all sci-fi and fantasy and most horror. Even where there are plots hanging by a thread or shallow, unlikeable characters, I can see past that and plod on to the end of a book to try and see what it was that got the book published in the first place.

    Eragon: Formulaic and nearly a re-write of 1000 other fantasy novels, but a straight forward read with no read twists or turns. A great YA novel for teens who've not been exposed to Any real fantasy

    Martin: I didn't like his characters, I saw exactly where the plot was going, and there were far too many threads in ASoIaF to keep track of unless you read the book(s) in one sitting, but it brought fantasy away from the farm-boy is the savior of the world type of fantasy

    Bakker: There was nothing NOTHING happy about these books. They were dark, introspective, and delved deeply into the psyche of each character so deeply that you almost felt like you needed a shower after crawling out of their skins, but it was unlike any fantasy I'd ever read.

    The Gunslinger: This was a rambling book that made little sense, but if you read the backstory about HOW it was written (over many years and in between many different novels) you realize why it meanders and makes little sense AND if you persevere into the other 6 books, you get into classic King style and THEN and only THEN does the first book actually make sense.

    Tad Williams: I read all of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. It took me two years to finish and the one thing that stuck in my head when I finished was... wait a second, he's still got a thorn stuck in his hand from the first book that no one ever took out. WTF. But in the end, I cared about the characters because I'd spent so long with them (even though I read a wide number of books in between).

    I think that's what's wrong with me. Once I start a book, I MUST finish that book/series. I haven't read Dragonlance or Pern, but I feel a need to find out how the author(s) was able to produce so many novels in a series. I also like to try and figure out WHY others liked a book and I can always see both sides of the fence in regards to disliking a book as well.

    For Hype and Buzz, I try to play down anything I hear about a book and try to go in with as little expectation as possible. If I go into something thinking "I'm going to love this, it's going to be the BEST" I'm usually let down. The same thing goes for any media (TV, Movies, etc). So I've found that by being slightly cynical, I can give a critical eye to what doesn't work in a book, but I can also use that same eye to see what does work.

  2. #47
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    And I for one am pleased to see the discussion diving into hype, buzz, expectations and the like
    For me "buzz" is when a book gets read and liked a lot by various people, and the word spreads through this forum, blogs... The latest book I would have not read without the generated buzz is The Painted Man by P. Brett which I absolutely loved and I am happy to add to the "buzz" surrounding it as I am happy to add to the buzz around the Shadows series by B. Weeks or the Insect Kinden series by A. Tchaikovsky though the latter two I've bought and read before the buzz reached me so to speak...

    Hype is when someone - could be publisher, agent, editor, reviewers, other authors - starts saying that this book is the best thing since ketchup, pink dragons or what not, this book reinvents the genre, this book is the one you gotta read before anything else, this book is the best I've read in my last 100 years and so on...

    I think there is a clear difference and while buzz is positive, hype is negative at least for me since it detracts from my enjoyment of the book

  3. #48
    Registered User Luke_B's Avatar
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    I'm pretty oblivious to "hype", I think. For example, people keep indicating that there was a big marketing push behind The Steel Remains, but I didn't notice any. However, I do often find myself underrating books compared to other posters on this forum or online reviewers. The Steel Remains is probably an example of this. It was received some very good semi-professional reviews initially, and though I liked it, I did feel the plot was a bit thin and I expected more after the brilliant Black Man. The First Law Trilogy is another piece of work I felt was overrated. The first two books were fun, but I thought they were much more flawed than other posters seemed to on this forum. But I think my enthusiasm for the third book is on par with others. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill is a book which fell short of my expectations based on reviews. It felt like a short story smeared over novel's worth of pages to me. More recently I've been disappointed by Halting State by Charles Stross. He seems to have gone backwards after The Glasshouse, and though the book was okay I wanted something with more depth. Based on some reviews and posts here, I (perhaps unfairly) expected Stealing Light by Gary Gibson to be up to the standard of Iain M. Banks, Peter F. Hamilton or Alastair Reynolds, and again it was okay, but didn't go anywhere near meeting those lofty standards.

  4. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by suciul View Post
    I think there is a clear difference and while buzz is positive, hype is negative at least for me since it detracts from my enjoyment of the book
    Yes, but what about: *OMG that is TEH B.E.S.T. thing since bred came sliced!!!!!!111 w00t!*

    Buzz or Hype?

    I've got the impression that readers who spend a lot time online on the boards are more prone to call anything 'hyped' when it stays for too long in the centre of their attention. You know, we've got 45 minutes generation out there (inclusive 3 commercial breaks). They got bored when something last longer.

  5. #50
    Omnibus Prime Moderator PeterWilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maus99 View Post
    Maybe I'm just ...
    Whoa. This entire post completely mirror my own positions, especially regarding the works listed. Where have you been?

  6. #51
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Yes, but what about: *OMG that is TEH B.E.S.T. thing since bred came sliced!!!!!!111 w00t!*

    Buzz or Hype?
    Buzz. Just because the buzzer annoys you doesn't mean that it wasn't their honest reaction to the story. It's just not buzz that you're probably going to pay attention to.

    For instance, I think Rob completely missed the point about Jonathan Strange. It's supposed to be like Dickens, Trollope and their ilk. It's supposed to be long, plodding with bits of lunacy and dramatic climax, not a lot of hard action, with inept, hesitant wizards and so on. So if it had been edited, it would have destroyed the premise of the book as a satirical homage to the Victorian writers. But, that's the reaction that Rob had. It's honest, he was bored, he didn't think it worked well in that form, that's his critique. Whereas I was squealing like a pig in slop over the book and thought she did it brilliantly.

    The problem is that it is very hard, unless you make a movie from the book which has stars in it, to create the celebrity hype which is the main hype driving machine of the other industries. And even with a movie, it mostly just creates hype for the movie. It creates sales for the novel, but it doesn't necessarily make the novel or its author cool.

    But say if you had Angelina Jolie tell you that you should buy a fantasy novel. Now, this would be nearly impossible to have happen because no publisher could afford to pay Angelina Jolie to do this on a book. But let's say that the author somehow knows Jolie and talked her into doing it (as has occurred for a few book trailers lately.) Would you buy the fantasy novel? A few guys might, and it would certainly attract your attention to the novel to take a look at it, which would definitely help, but unfortunately, the focus would probably be more on Jolie doing a commercial for a book than it would on the book itself. Most of you would ignore it in terms of actually buying the book. Sure, if Jolie wrote the book, then you might go ahead and buy it out of curiousity. If she's starring in the movie version of the book, perhaps. But you don't really care what she reads or says she reads. What she wears and what make-up she endorses/shills for, sure. Maybe her recommendations about knives, okay. But the things that they do to make movies and rock music hip and desirable to teens, young people, and various demographics are not things that they can easily do for fiction.

    They used to get around that somewhat by trying to turn some best-selling authors into celebrities of a sort. But that ended in the 1980's when talk shows stopped being interested in fiction authors as witty guests most of the time. The closest you come now is NPR in the States, but that's mostly non-fiction like David Sedaris. The problem is that, unlike non-fiction, nobody really cares who the author is of a fiction work. They just care about what the author produces and the characters in the work. No one cares what cologne George Martin prefers or wants a George Martin lunchbox. They just want George Martin to finish the damn series already. Maybe if George Martin married Angelina Jolie, then it would be of interest.

    And there's even less interest in publishers. No one cares if DAW's EIC thinks Name of the Wind is the greatest thing since Swiss cheese -- most of them don't even know who she is. They can't even tell you that it's DAW that published the novel without checking their bookshelf. They're much more likely to know who heads up a movie studio, since that info gets shoved in our faces by the media. Sure, the party faithful of the conventions might take note and so buy the book -- and then the party faithful might turn on the book like dogs if they are displeased with it. And frankly, the party faithful, while still an important influence of buzz, no longer are major tastemakers of the whole fan market.

    There's no way that I can feel cheated or suspicious or negative about hype because all they're trying to do is draw my attention to a book. If I don't buy the book, I will not be out of fashion. My friends will not all have the book and look down on me if I don't. (Whereas if I haven't seen a movie, listened to a band or I'm in business and didn't get/read some business guru bestseller, they will.) The publisher and the booksellers selling the thing have no way of knowing whether I'll like it or not. They thought people would like it. And they're not going to run around saying that it's awful and no one should buy it, are they? I mean, it's your choice, but it seems kind of strange to get upset about hype.

    And why would you get upset because someone liked a book and recommended it and then you didn't like it? My husband likes comic SFF. Glen Cook's comic Garrett P.I. is one of my favorite series, so I told him he should try it. He tried the first book, didn't like it. But he didn't resent me for suggesting it or liking it. Nor did he psychoanalyze possible defects in my viewpoint that would cause me to like a book he didn't like, such as my attention span or my susceptability to advertising.

    I get not getting the hype and buzz around a book and shaking your head over it. Somebody says they don't like Martin, or Gaiman or someone whose work I usually like, I don't think their judgment is warped. But I don't get people getting angry about it.

  7. #52
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    Buzz. Just because the buzzer annoys you doesn't mean that it wasn't their honest reaction to the story. It's just not buzz that you're probably going to pay attention to.

    For instance, I think Rob completely missed the point about Jonathan Strange. It's supposed to be like Dickens, Trollope and their ilk. It's supposed to be long, plodding with bits of lunacy and dramatic climax, not a lot of hard action, with inept, hesitant wizards and so on. So if it had been edited, it would have destroyed the premise of the book as a satirical homage to the Victorian writers. But, that's the reaction that Rob had. It's honest, he was bored, he didn't think it worked well in that form, that's his critique. Whereas I was squealing like a pig in slop over the book and thought she did it brilliantly.
    I got the point and can almost, almost appreciate what she did in writing in that style and for pulling it off. However, I was reminded of the novels I had to read in college I didn't enjoy.

  8. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    Buzz. Just because the buzzer annoys you doesn't mean that it wasn't their honest reaction to the story. It's just not buzz that you're probably going to pay attention to.
    Just for the record, I know Kat didn't address myself specially, I find such comments amusing not annoying.


    Quote Originally Posted by KatG View Post
    If I don't buy the book, I will not be out of fashion. My friends will not all have the book and look down on me if I don't.
    Ha, but there is something like peer-pressure on boards. You haven't read a book, you cannot really talk about it. (Have you read Bitten now or not? )

  9. #54
    Analyze That
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    I have such a hard time thinking of a book as overrated. People always complain about overrated books such as Harry Potter and Eragon and the like, but I think they might be looking at it the wrong way. Harry Potter is not overrated, in my opinion, it's that all other books that are equal or better than Harry Potter happen to be vastly underrated.

    The era of the book is dying in a way. Yes, books are being made more accessible to the public through the internet and the like, but people aren't looking for books anymore. Books make people think, make them use their imagination, which seems to be too much work for people nowadays. Let's look at some famous "overrated" authors from this genre. What do you think the percentage of people in English Western civilization have heard of George RR Martin. I hadn't, until I found this forum. What about Robert Jordan? Steven Erikson? Now how many people have heard of JK Rowling?

    We can say Name of the Wind was hyped up beyond belief for people who were looking for fantasy books, but for the general population, almost nothing. We need books to get more hype to get people reading. We need books to get hyped until we as people who follow these books get sick of it. We see news all over about movies, celebrities, stars, sports, etc. all over the place, whether we look for it or not, but books only come now to those who are searching. I think more people would enjoy reading if they were better introduced to it. They get these books in high school which they find boring, (high schools pick out good books, but not necessarily exciting ones), and decide books are boring. Somehow they need to be shown otherwise, and if takes hyping more average books to the level of Harry Potter to prove it, so be it.

  10. #55
    Omnibus Prime Moderator PeterWilliam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by molybdenum View Post
    We need books to get more hype to get people reading. We need books to get hyped until we as people who follow these books get sick of it.
    I concur with molybdenum's post, but with this excerpt, in particular. Having read many series and books, I was in danger of becoming the kind of reader I don't want to be. That is to say, looking down upon series/authors that: 1.) present worldviews I might disagree with, 2.) manage to sell gazillions under a withering burden of criticism (e.g. Goodkind, Eddings, Brooks, Feist, et al) and 3.) are merely unpopular with us (i.e. the readers who stylizie themselves as the genre snobs). It's too discouraging.

    In order to draw in an ever increasing talent pool of authors to continue to supply us with great stories, virtual vacations, episdoes of escapism, or what-have-you, then we (the readers) are going to have to accept a few things;
    1.) a certain amount of 'crapmongery' (hey, there is always going to be a bottom end to the bell curve), 2.) a mountain range's worth of mediocrity (of which the bell curve largely consists) and 3.) that it will, in the end, be worth it for the talented authors and utterly glorious stories that will come to us, in time.

    For these reasons, I don't mind Paolini. I don't mind Eddings. I don't mind Goodkind (actually going to try reading the first book, since I've no frame of reference upon which to objectively judge Goodkind - no pun intended [Goodkind & Objectivity ]). I don't mind Jordan. In fact, I'd be more than willing to tip my cap to them all, if it would mean that we can count on an ever increasing pool of great stories and authors. Bring the genre all the attention it can handle, I say.

  11. #56
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob B View Post
    I got the point and can almost, almost appreciate what she did in writing in that style and for pulling it off. However, I was reminded of the novels I had to read in college I didn't enjoy.
    Exactly. You didn't like that sort of story. Whereas for me, ideal. It was like reading P.G. Wodehouse mixed with Hans Christian Anderson.

    Ha, but there is something like peer-pressure on boards. You haven't read a book, you cannot really talk about it. (Have you read Bitten now or not? )
    Oh that's right, some of you experience peer-pressure. Haven't read Bitten yet. Did manage Patricia Briggs book.

    The era of the book, or rather the novel, isn't dying. It is in fact entering a new and exciting phase. And interest can be quite high -- J.K. Rowling being testimony of that. But, fiction has a major stumbling block in that for the last twenty, twenty-five years or so, the media has had next to no interest in fiction authors. And it is in large part because fiction authors do not generate the celebrity hype of product placement. They don't franchise as well as an actor and nobody cares who they are sleeping with anymore. Authors don't necessarily have interesting anecdotes about playing poker with George Clooney.

    Authors can generate interest when they get media exposure and then lots of people buy their books. Showing kids in costumes waiting for Rowling's latest showed that people are interested in books more than the gloomy predictions showed. But even someone like Rowling is not as useful to the media as Elizabeth Banks. When the media can be made to bother to pay attention, books sell because then people become aware that they are there. If they aren't on the media, then people aren't aware that they are there, because you have to go into a bookstore to find them. And bookstores aren't sexy.

    The general population was aware of Name of the Wind, that's why it became a major bestseller nationally. They are aware of George Martin, that's why he's very high up in the bestseller lists. But they aren't as aware of them as the Chihuahua movie because these authors don't get as much press. The reasons they don't get enough press are largely not because people aren't interested, but because the media likes to interview pretty actors and non-fiction writers.

    So if we can improve the media coverage -- which has happened slightly, thanks in part to Rowling, in part to Oprah, etc., and if we can get books into more stores, we'd probably see an improvement in those reading numbers we're always worrying about. And yes, authors who get attention help fund their publishers so that the publisher can do other authors.
    Last edited by KatG; October 22nd, 2008 at 06:49 PM.

  12. #57
    Harry Potter, I feel, is overhyped.

    Now I admit that I've only watched the movies and didn't read any of the books. I also know, duh, that the books have more stuff in them than the movies, but I get tired of all the one book fantasy readers who've only read Potter and tell me I absolutely HAVE to read it.

    I watched the movies. I even liked the movies. However, I don't want to spend more than 2 hours at a time with it. I may not "know what I'm missing," but I have a pretty good idea. I think if these rabid fans read just one major fantasy series outside of Potter or only read the wikipedia article about it, they'd probably understand why I don't want to spend my time on a boy in a cutely named magic school when I'm too busy reading books about a kingdom sliding into a five-sided civil war because the king's wife had an incestual relationship with her twin brother and tried to hide the fact by killing everyone who knew and the king as well.

    I think people that love Harry Potter can agree with me that it's over-hyped just by going to www.fanfiction.net and finding 376,437 entries. Without checking every single one of them, I already know 80% of it is erotic.

  13. #58
    Felis silvestris Hellions's Avatar
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    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?

    Oh yes and the most serious offenders are the high profile urban fantasy authors making the bestseller lists, namely Laurell K. Hamilton, Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris. I have been severely underwhelmed by each of them and I don't understand the huge success of their books which are nothing but overinflated bags of clichés laced with lazy writing. Just my harsh opinion

  14. #59
    Analyze That
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    Let me clarify myself. I think in comparison to other books, Harry Potter is definitely overrated. The problem I feel is that books in general aren't nearly hyped enough. Those friends who Irrelevant is talking about who say Harry Potter is the greatest, because they haven't read any other fantasy books, I take as proof as that the media does not hype up the books that really should be hyped.
    I don't think Harry Potter got too much hype, considering all the media coverage...for example...the life of celebrities gets. Good books should get that amount of hype from the media. Great books should probably get even more... for me a book's appearence on Oprah doesn't mean it has gotten the attention of the general public.

  15. #60
    The Somnambulist by Jonathan Barnes.

    Reading it was like watching an amateur magician trying get his trick right, only to finally pull it off to anti-climactic effect. Really thin writing too: most of the book involves the forgettable lead trekking from crime scene to Murky Underworld™ appointment then back to base, replete with loveable wallpaper support characters. The novel's climax is the opening few lines. Seriously. Also the Victorian backdrop just leads to really predictable 'flights of fancy'. Yes, our main character has a fetish for bearded women, because the story's set in Victorian times and those times were sanctimonious and enormously conservative! Ya geddit? Ehh? Ehh? EEEEH!

    But the worst crime of all: the Somnambulist as a literary device was a total sleeper. Never even had its surface skimmed - and incidentally the ending was pissweak. Barnes may as well just have written about an albino prostitute with tourette's.

    Not close to the worst spec fic I've read, but profoundly unsatisfactory. It's amazing just how unclever an ostensibly 'clever' book can be.
    Last edited by Hide & Reason; October 26th, 2008 at 01:38 AM.

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