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Thread: Unreadable SF.

  1. #1
    Registered User Mugwump's Avatar
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    Unreadable SF.

    We’ve all come across these frustrations. List them (and the reasons for abandonment) below:

  2. #2
    Give me liberty! Ouroboros's Avatar
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    Simon R. Green's Deathstalker series : Green takes a fun-if-dim Star Wars inspired universe and populates it with one lethal death machine after another, letting them kill each other off one by one. The problem being that he takes several novels to do it in, with an awesome amount of repetition. He will literally repeat the backstory almost verbatim three times per book.

    Aside from that, Green writes well below 'fun pulp' in the realm of 'kitsch crap'. Murderous teddy bear cyborgs may sound fun, but they're not. Red haired feisty female space pirates never giving our muscle-bound hero a break but secretly loving him may sound fun, but they're not. Wafer thin characters, a rebellion plot seemingly written by a 12 year old and as I said, you don't have to sit through it just once, he's sure to repeat back what has happened so far every few hundred pages.

    I can think of a few others, but I'm not sure they're worthy of villifying in public to the same degree as the above.

  3. #3

    Unreadable sci-fi?

    Well, if it was in Chinese or Russian I most definitely couldn't read it!

    Seriously, i can't speak for all sci-fi fans, but I would never discuss in public another author's short comings.

    All science fiction books are treasures to me, even if i couldn't get into a-- difficult to understand novel.

    However......................

  4. #4
    Registered User Mugwump's Avatar
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    Okay - David Brin's Kiln People, the absolute worst novel I've read in years.

    Also pretty much anything by Samuel L. Delany. I cannot understand the worship.

  5. #5
    Registered User lemming's Avatar
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    I have to second the "anything by Samuel Delaney". I feel the greatest of guilt saying this, because... I've met him. I loved him. He liked me. We had similar thoughts about the movie Species. And still, if I make myself read something by him, almost every sentence is a slog and in 30 minutes I won't be able to remember what the story was about. :/

    Because hope springs eternal, one day I will still try to read Dahlgren.

  6. #6
    Lemurs!!! Moderator Erfael's Avatar
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    I'm with you, Mug. That's(Kiln People) the only book I have abandoned in the last year, and I can't say that I feel any the worse for not knowing how it turned out.

  7. #7
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    Kevin J Anderson's Hopscotch. the premise was very flimsily presented and the characters were such cardobaord cut outs. The prose itself smacked too much of the sort of mildly-dumbed down narrative you get occasionally in YA novels. I just went and traded it in for somethung else after finishing a hundred pages. Avoid this man's books, please.

    Paul Pruess: Broken Symmetries. A very cool premise marred by an attempt to appeal to the techno-thriller crowd as well, and this horrible habit writers have of making a couple of their main characters attractive and involved in a sexual relationship with each other, in hopes of landing a movie deal.

    I'm still unsure on Delaney - I really liked his short stories collected in Driftglass, really didn;t make head nor tail of The Einstein Intersection.

  8. #8
    Woof, woof! scooter13's Avatar
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    One man's treasure .............

    Actually, I didn't love Kiln People, but I did find it entertaining enough to keep reading it. Though I found the ending a bit cheesy.

    The one book that I found unreadable was Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. There is just too much science, it hurt my brain. And other than two characters (over the 300 pages I did manage), I found all of them childish and annoying. Though even through what I disliked, I can see why others adore this book. It just wasn't for me.

  9. #9
    Who me? SusF's Avatar
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    I still struggle to try to read the original Foundation books by Asimov, even though I've read everything else of his over the years.

    Anything by CJ Cherryh. I just can't get into it. I've tried over and over again since I met her years ago and she used to come to our little Science Fiction club. She's great in person.

    Anything by Frank Herbert execept the first Dune book.

    Susan

  10. #10
    Originally posted by scooter13
    One man's treasure .............



    The one book that I found unreadable was Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. There is just too much science, it hurt my brain. And other than two characters (over the 300 pages I did manage), I found all of them childish and annoying. Though even through what I disliked, I can see why others adore this book. It just wasn't for me.


    I find her or his work a brilliant piece of writing. Although, I'm still trying to get through the first two chapters.....

    Glad I named my book "Red Stars". Has nothing to do with the above novel.

  11. #11
    Registered User Mugwump's Avatar
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    Originally posted by SusF
    Anything by CJ Cherryh. I just can't get into it.
    Agreed. I fought my way through Downbelow Station. Three chapters of Rimrunners convinced me she's just too much hard work.

  12. #12
    Next to Arch Stanton ezchaos's Avatar
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    I'll agree that some of Cherryh's books are pretty painful to get through. However, a few were good, IMO.

    I read the first Chanur book and had to put down the second book in the series. Both books were just very boring and not much seemed to happen. The 2nd book is probably the only SF book I haven't finished. On the other hand, I can give a huge list of fantasy books I've put down.....

  13. #13
    Anything cyberpunk (well, there are some exceptions: Besher's novels, for example.)
    Speaking of Cherryh - her stuff is usually great but Downbelow Station is one of the few books I couldn't finish.
    Greg Bear: he's probably my 'unreadable author'. I loved Blood Music but his other novels just don't work for me. Moving Mars was painfully boring and unjustifiably long. Still, he is someone who's ideas I admire.
    (He's not sci-fi, but) Raymond Feist is a disaster.

  14. #14
    Hip, cool, jiggy wit' it emohawk's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mugwump
    Agreed. I fought my way through Downbelow Station.
    I had the same problem, to the point where after I read a sentence I couldn't remember what I'd just read because I wasn't paying attention anymore. I'm going to give it another go some day though. Having said that I really enjoyed Cyteen so I won't write off Cherryh as an author, maybe it was just that novel?

    I agree with you about Delany as well, though I did like Babel-17. I can appreciate his work, but it's just such an uphill battle to read. For example Dhalgren is obviously a great achievement, and I liked bits of it, but most of the time my obviously feeble brain couldn't grasp what the point he was trying to make was. Maybe writing about decay, voilence and sexual exoerimentation/depravity was cathartic for him.

    Another author that I find can be a real struggle is Gene Wolfe. I loved The Book of the New Sun, but the other novels of his I've read just couldn't hold my interest. He manages to make me think the problem is more with me than him so I periodically keep trying his work. His new fantasy novel(s) The Wizard Knight looks hopeful though.

    These are clearly not bad authors, just sometimes inaccessable.

  15. #15
    What's taters, Precious? Grasshopper's Avatar
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    The Mars trilogy was science filled but I liked it.
    But....I found The Years of Rice and Salt SOOOOOOOOOOO boring. Reincarnation....blech!!

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