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  1. #61
    Humble Grifter Luya Sevrein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dyloot View Post
    I don't really want to get in a big debate on this tbh. WoT and ASOIAF are complicated like Lost is complicated: the authors both promise vague and intriguing elements to the plot and neither have delivered. They both require far less reading comprehension than the Scarlet Letter and lack the beauty of Hemingway's simple (yet incredibly deep) prose.

    Martin and Jordan are no Salingers, Hemingways, Faulkners. And that's fine, since that's not what most of us are looking for on a regular basis.

    BtW, I dig the fact that Frost's Fire and Ice is so memorable to readers that they continue to call Martin's work ASoFaI instead of the author's given name.
    I honestly didn't know it was meant to be 'Fire and Ice'. I'll call it that for Mister Martin.

    Though repeated titles are a bit halfassed.

  2. #62
    I don't know about this argument. Not sure how characters' "blandness" makes them more relatable.

  3. #63
    Humble Grifter Luya Sevrein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirk View Post
    I don't know about this argument. Not sure how characters' "blandness" makes them more relatable.
    It's an argument I've heard on other forums that made sense to me. If you describe a character minimally then it is not stopping people with long hair, short hair, blue eyes, green eyes, dark skin, light skin relating. If you say 'She didn't have many hoobies bar reading,' Then hey, they are reading so at least they have one thing in common. Really baseline, simple You ___, I ___ stuff. It's why self-inserts exist in fandoms, people like this.

    Again, this is for teenagers who don't read, as most of us who do or who've grown up begin to look for characters who are people in themselves and not our gateways.

  4. #64
    Quote Originally Posted by Luya Sevrein View Post
    I honestly didn't know it was meant to be 'Fire and Ice'. I'll call it that for Mister Martin.

    Though repeated titles are a bit halfassed.
    Martin's is Ice and Fire. Frost's is Fire and Ice.

  5. #65
    As someone mentioned previously on here, I was under the impression that Martin's title was generally confused with the popular ski film. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093027/
    Also, as far as complexity and depth goes, I think Bella remains unrivaled.

  6. #66
    Quote Originally Posted by Luya Sevrein View Post
    Do I really need to spoon feed you sources? If we ignore the teenage girls and twilightmoms, all though some of them actually seem intellegant and still praise the book without logical reasons being stated. I'm talking about mainstream media. Can I also point out that because Twilight was in the example does not mean it is the sole book I am talking about.
    Yes, I do want you to spoon feed me sources. I haven't seen any "people who, at one point, were considered good sources for literature fuel the fire and agree". You apparently have. Your point has been you don't like how the media and experts are treating the series. Show me where these folks are saying these things.

    Don't you think though that the ability to debate books such as The Old MAan and the Sea and Animal Farm happens because the books have substance. They may you think, they bring up issues that effect or could effect everyone to a deep level.
    I've seen lots of debate about Twilight, in fact far more than I've seen about Animal Farm. Twilight certainly makes people think.

    I mentioned Pulitzer Prize winners, but I think many of them are way beyond more audiences' reading and interest level. Some of them, like the Hours, really require context to understand the brilliance. Others, like the Shipping News and the Road, take a reader willing to stray from the norm in terms of prose and enjoy something different. And then there are novels like Middlesex, which asks the reader to embrace a hermaphrodite as the main character, that focus on subject matter that makes some uncomfortable.

    Often the best books demand something from the reader that popular fiction does not.
    Absolutely. Many of the books readers like are ones that have elements that make them inaccessible to non-readers, so naturally there is going to be divergence of experience.

  7. #67
    Registered User Roland 85's Avatar
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    A few things that caught my attention:

    Quote Originally Posted by Palfrey View Post
    Years ago I would have agreed with you - I still want to agree with you - but I had to do a re-think. The reason being, I hate classical music. On an intellectual level I understand that is by many measures better than other music, but I don't care. So who am I to say that someone else has bad taste?

    I think you have high brow and low brow, and there can be good and bad in either. In other words, they can't be evaluated against the same yardstick. In the case of music, there had to have been bad, now-forgotten classical composers just as there are bad artists in any other genre. A series like Twilight might be shallow and sensationalist, but it must do a good job of being those things or it wouldn't be popular.
    I agree with your second paragraph, but the first one really confuses me. To me, being able to hate something AND intellectually realize that it is "many measures better" than something else, is the highest level of art appreciation. I don't see how this affects your agreeing or disagreeing with me as it pretty much mirrors my own world view.




    Quote Originally Posted by Sancho View Post
    As for your questions:

    If art is subjective, why are there art classes? -- Just because something is subjective, it does not mean there is nothing to learn from it, philosophy being a prime example. Debate stimulates the mind.

    Museums with ‘standards’? – Elitism.

    Why are there critics? – Silly question. As proved here, people with opinions tend to express them. Especially when the point under observation is not absolute.
    How do you manage to always compile a post that has something I completely agree with, and something that utterly annoys me? You are a complex person, sir. I am with you on the first bold, although I'd say art classes are more about learning OF, than FROM (those two always go hand in hand where art is concerned anyway).

    However, I'd wager that you are aware yourself how ridiculous the second line is, right? I mean, sculpture and painting are among the most snobish and elitist-driven arts, but most respectable museums' standards have little to do with either quality. Not putting a Tom of Finland next to Monet is NOT elitist, it's good taste...

    As for critics, I do honestly believe that there IS such a thing as a reliable critic. I have people that I know have infinitely more wisdom than me where literature is concerned, and even though I might not always agree with them, their opinions matter to me and I pay attention to them.



    Quote Originally Posted by txshusker View Post
    thank you Sancho. (you're original post.. not the latest.)

    I always fine these debates interesting. Someone posted earlier that SFF doesn't normally get its critical due from the standard literature critiquers because it's gimicky or lacks nuance and a genre... and I would say that that rankles 99% of the board members. I don't want to put words into the main debaters' mouths, but I would guess it does you, too. Yet, here it is, the exact argument within the genre itself.

    I hated Catcher in the Rye in high school. What a whining arse. I love The Old Man and the Sea. For Whom the Bell Tolls? Boring.... Animal Farm - rocks. And Alas, Babylon was the best book I was ever forced to read in school

    I like The Davinci Code. I love Foucault's Pendulum. I love performing Shakespeare, find most of Twain trite but amusing, enjoyed most of the original modern vampire gateway drug that is Anne Rice and find Julie Kenner's soccer mom mildly entertaining. James Joyce bites, Harry James bores and James F Cooper absorbing.

    I find Harry Potter enjoyable and Thomas Convenant breathtaking.

    I like Mozart for reading, writing or watching my daughter sleep, and I beebop to Debbie Gibson on road trips with my wife. I think that The Beatles were as every bit as complicated and creative with production values in the Apple years as Mozart was in his short prime. I'm apathetic towards Nirvana but head bang to Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam.

    The best selling American author of all time is Harold Robbins, the second is Sidney Sheldon, and the 3rd is Danielle Steel. In Britain, after Shakespeare (but he didn't really write his own plays - we all know that, right?) is Agatha Christie followed by Barbara Cartland.

    I can't tell Luya, from your post if you've actually read one of the Meyer's series. I haven't, so I can't comment on its merits. Don't intend to, either, no matter how hard my sister and niece push. (I can't stand the sight of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.)

    Pre-teens and teens love teen romance. Always have. Always will. (It's in the hormones, I think). In their world, when they have not been introduced to much else, it is the greatest work ever. Just as my first venture into SFF was The Riddlemaster of Hed and I never thought I'd enjoy another book as much. Until I read Piers Anthony. And Michael Moorcock. And Fritz Lieber. And Donaldson, Duncan, Card, McCaffrey, Zimmer Bradley... and on into now. (Am I dating myself? in years, not in love.)

    A lot of people hate my favorite author, and I cannot understand for the life of me why. Doesn't mean it's not valid. And don't forget, many more people who have read them think they're the bees knees than hate it.. so if you're into majority rules rules, you're in the losing group. And you're the one who premise is wrong in the opening thread.

    But doesn't Meyer tell a story? Maybe not one you like. But the ups and downs of teen angst and love is a story. I don't know about the "smut" part, as you keep referring to... but if it's YA, certainly it can't be worse than anything that happens on Big Brother or the Real World or Avatar. (check out the new alien sex scene on the new DVD release!)

    As to Sturgeon applying to readers, that's plain hubris. The "authorities" tastes are as varied and prejudiced as every one on this board - there's no accounting for it, and I don't take any of them for their word unless I've read the piece myself. Reading is not a science with definitive laws, equations and outcomes. Analyze all you want, but don't think that because some (me) don't write down every sentence of symbolism and tie it to a part later in the novel makes them (me) "less" of a reader. Some remember the characters, some the climax, some the depth of the Christian overtures. Does getting one instead of another make them less? I don't think so. And it will change with every book an individual reads and every re-read of the same book.

    Publishers have a moral obligation to publish those books which make their investors money - it's why they were hired, it's why they still have a job. Saying otherwise, albeit altruistic, is simplistic and oblivious to the goals of publishing houses - make money. It'd be a nice goal, but we don't live on the set of Star Trek. I'm sure many of them try to fit a few books they like more into the works if they can; but don't think Google's free search engine and their "pro-green" marketing doesn't have ulterior motives. It's no coincidence some ride Segways around campus and that they want to try and charge every website a fee for access bandwidth. Follow the money.

    I also disagree with the thought that the best books demand something from the reader that popular fiction does not. That also is the hubris of the mainstream. Have you ever read hard core SciFi? Does the tedium, length and complicity of TWoT or ASoFaI not demand something from the reader? I've read Hemmingway and Hawthorne... they ain't complicated - even with the depth of symbolism. It's more of a matter of the reader's accessability to the material when they read it.
    Your post completely confused me. I admit that I have exactly NO idea what point you were trying to make with it. And I'm not being smart, I really don't get it. I can only point out - as someone professionally involved with music for two decades now - that no, the Beatles were NOT as "complicated and creative" as Mozart. Very few things in music are comparable to Mozart, and music being way more abstract than the other arts, it's a good call not to form opinions on it without having the actual knowledge of its workings. I don't say that to make myself bigger than you, it's just the way it is. I'd say almost the same for things like James Joice. Until one can say that they can completely understand everything the guy tried and did with Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake, I think the smarter thing is to withhold judgment. It's what I do. If you think you "get" him, then by all means, label him of the "biting" persuasion.

    As for the complexity and demands of the reader, you made a good point but in my opinion went entirely the wrong way with the examples. It is not ASoIF and WoT that demand a lot, it is the symbolic meta-fantasy books like The Book of All Hours, Little Big or Book of the New Sun that do it. It is SF like Stand on Zanzibar or Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, not the hardcore SF. All you need to appreciate it, is scientific knowledge. This is not a demand, it's a prerequisite.




    Quote Originally Posted by Dyloot View Post
    I don't really want to get in a big debate on this tbh. WoT and ASOIAF are complicated like Lost is complicated: the authors both promise vague and intriguing elements to the plot and neither have delivered. They both require far less reading comprehension than the Scarlet Letter and lack the beauty of Hemingway's simple (yet incredibly deep) prose.

    Martin and Jordan are no Salingers, Hemingways, Faulkners. And that's fine, since that's not what most of us are looking for on a regular basis.
    I just post this because I like it, and it gives a good answer of the last paragraph from my previous quote. I don't fully agree here either though. The works might actually deliver, and that would still not mean any sort of demand. That is to say, delivery is irrelevant. Plot complexity is only demanding when it serves a symbolic/thematic purpose. When it is used to say something different from what's on the surface. A funny example - Buffy the Vampire Slayer's episode Once More With Feeling is a demanding piece of entertainment, as it is a cheesy musical with cheesy show tune numbers, which is - at the same time - the most serious episode of the most serious and down-to-earth season of the show - the fulcrum around which the whole story arc rotates, and very painful, despite the cheerful musical numbers. But to get that, you have to be not only open-minded, but also very perceptive of nuances. That's the way I see "demands" in entertainment.

  8. #68
    Humble Grifter Luya Sevrein's Avatar
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    I can find the article from Reader's Digest anymore, though I have all ready said where I found my sources. It has been over a few years of 'noticing things on the side,' and people must know what I mean because alot have agreed that, at least, media does do this.

    I know it is not ideal for me to not have snap-links off the top of my head, sorry about that.

    It's not the youtube videos of people screaming, 'I LOVE TWILIGHT!' Though I feel horribley devoid of hope from them, they're still just oppinions.

  9. #69
    Analyze That
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    First off, I'd like to state that I'm not a Twilight fan. Not at all. I have no idea why it is so popular. That said, I am going to defend it to the point where many of you are going to think I'm being ridiculous.

    I think a lot of what gets forgotten in this conversation is intention and degree of difficulty. Meyer was never trying to write a book of literary genius. She knew as soon as she wrote the book that it was never going to come close to a Pulitzer Prize. She wasn't trying to be Hemingway, she wasn't trying to make a statement on the world as a whole. She was trying to write an entertaining paranormal romance novel involving vampires. And not only did she succeed, she succeeded to the point where it has become the most famous paranormal romance in the world right now.

    And here I'm going to drop a bit of a bombshell. Roland, don't go berserk. Stephanie Meyer is just as good a writer as many of the literary geniuses in the world. And it is because no paranormal romance that I can think of has reached the popular success that Meyer's has. And popular success what was exactly what she was looking for. You don't think that takes an incredible amount of skill to do what Meyer has done? If it doesn't, then are you saying Meyer's success is simply due to luck? Of course not. There's been 90 Pulitzer prize winners in the past 90 years. There's only been a select few authors who have achieved the amount of popular success Meyer has in that time. I am certainly not going to say that each of those 90 authors is better at what they do than Meyer is.

    And I don't want to hear the argument that Meyer is only popular because her readers haven't read anything better. There are plenty of well read people who still worship Meyer. It's a very narrow opinion with very little fact behind it made from people looking for explanations why a book they couldn't stand is so popular.

    Commence arguments.

  10. #70
    So successful and popular equals incredible amounts of skill and talent? If a lot of people like it, it MUST be good, right? I wish I could argue against it, but I can't.

  11. #71
    Well, it is fairly easy to argue with this sentiment as it is a textbook logical fallacy (seriously, it is in any logic textbook under "Argumentum ad populum")

    Popularity does not by necessity equal quality.

    That being said, good for Ms Meyer, I have not read her books, nor do I intend to but she has created something extremely popular. Congratulations.

  12. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by heretics fork View Post
    Well, it is fairly easy to argue with this sentiment as it is a textbook logical fallacy (seriously, it is in any logic textbook under "Argumentum ad populum")

    Popularity does not by necessity equal quality.

    That being said, good for Ms Meyer, I have not read her books, nor do I intend to but she has created something extremely popular. Congratulations.
    Wrong. Logic textbook authors only say that because their own work isn't too popular.
    But seriously, I suppose sarcasm isn't easy to see in a forum post.

  13. #73
    trolling > dissertation nquixote's Avatar
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    It's interesting. Although I am a notorious Hater on this forum, I have absolutely no problem with Twilight. I think it's because Twilight is not even close to being my thing, and I respect people who like very different things from what I like. In contrast, I get annoyed when the public likes things that are very similar to what I like, but which I consider inferior.

    For example, Terry Goodkind's books are similar in many ways to the epic fantasy that I like, but suck so hard that it annoys me to no end that Goodkind's works are actually more popular than the series I think are good.

    But Twilight is just something for People Other Than Me.

  14. #74
    we need a sarcasm smilie

    edit; well said quixote
    Last edited by heretics fork; August 21st, 2010 at 12:44 PM.

  15. #75
    Humble Grifter Luya Sevrein's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirk View Post
    Wrong. Logic textbook authors only say that because their own work isn't too popular.
    But seriously, I suppose sarcasm isn't easy to see in a forum post.
    Actually, popularity usually only denotes a likeable trait in the book.

    For example, in Twilight's case, 'Are you a plain, dull teenage girl who no one listens too? Well, you can have a passionate romance and an exciting life too.'

    Exciting pace, unorigional but sub-plot stubbed story, easy reading, lots of romance seem to be the usual.

    This doesn't equal a good book, or a good writer.

    Not every person who says Popularity does not equal quality is simply pining over their own works not having sold so well. Not every person who disagrees with something you say has an alterier motive. It's all just oppinions and that above is mine.
    Last edited by Luya Sevrein; August 21st, 2010 at 01:42 PM.

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