July 31st, 2004, 09:43 AM
Fitz, I did not look at it because it started out being addressed to someone else. I apologize. Thanks for the welcome. Hope I can be a boon to the pool of Fantasy readers here.
Originally Posted by Fitz
July 31st, 2004, 05:13 PM
High Priest of Cainism
Wow, someone else backs up my choice. Those excerpts are priceless, btw...
Originally Posted by Memnoch
August 11th, 2004, 01:26 PM
Were they really that bad
Originally Posted by magze
August 11th, 2004, 01:44 PM
Yes the story line was good its just the way it was written it didnt catch my imagination the characters were a bit two dimmensional everytime it started to get intresting the focus would switch to something else .I think it was more the style of writing I didnt like
Originally Posted by rune
August 13th, 2004, 05:04 AM
I seem to be a glutton for punishment so I'll answer:
Winter King by Cornwell
Since some or most of you will probably call me an idiot or illiterate, I'll tell you why.
Spoilers for the book. All of this is IMHO, of course.
Over the years I've learned to tolerate a lot from different writers. However, I still have some points that significantly lower my enjoyment of a book. One of them is "mediaeval realism" and one is rape. WK combines these. (For that matter, most "realism" books tend to have rape in them for some revolting reason.)
I’ve read a couple of Cornwell's novels before and I should have known better than to pick up this book. However, it had (and has) been quite a while since I’ve read enjoyable Arthurian fantasy and I was suckered by the classification of fantasy in the back.
I know what it was like during the mediaeval times and I have (for the moment at least) no interest in reading about it. Also, I wouldn't categorize "realism" in fantasy. Unfortunately, marketing doesn't agree with me and mediaeval realism stories are indeed called fantasy even in their back-covers.
Also, I really hate it when people try to cram Arthurian stories in "realism mode". I love and enjoy the fairy tale like Arthurians. They can't have really happened especially in mediaeval times and therefore it is useless to try to mutilate them to that small box.
I can tolerate rape in a story as long as it has a point and the rapist gets what is coming to him quickly and/or viciously. Even then I can't really enjoy the book anymore. It has brought back the feel of our miserable real world and I don’t read fantasy to feel that.
What really bothered me was the scene where Arthur gives a woman to man who has said that he will rape her repeatedly and does so, barely off-screen. Is this the modern code of chivalry? That it's okay to rape a woman whose only “crime” is to fall in love with a "wrong" man? Is this the "Arthurian Ideal" of a perfect world and justice for all?
I'll never touch anything that Cornwell writes, ever again. And I'll lump Martin in that pile, too.
August 13th, 2004, 08:59 AM
Blackwing, I take it that you probably don't like Stephen Donaldson's Thomas Covenant books, either.
August 13th, 2004, 09:58 AM
Now, I understand that you don't like all that stuff, but does that get it a "Worst Fantasy Book Ever" award, or simply a "Book Blackwing Doesn't Like Award." Seems like it should be more of the second as you don't really mention anything that inherently makes it a bad book. Nothing you've mentioned is really unexpected in the time period.
Originally Posted by Blackwing
August 13th, 2004, 03:35 PM
well, for my two cents worth....
Prospero's Children, by Jan Siegel
The Theif's Gamble, by Juliet E. McKenna
Yah, i know, Robinson Crusoe is a bit random, but i was reading it to my sister last night and it reaminded me just how bad it really was.
But as for Prospero's Children, the plot was interesting....if not too belivable, but i hated the way it was written. But maybe that was just the style. Also, it didnt really explain much. it glanced over things i thought would be important, and the whole story turned out to be a bad love story disguised as a fantasy,
....patheticly, i cant really remember why i really didnt like the Theifs Gamble, having read it awhile ago. i think it was turning too much into a romance. i didnt like the main character, or the story. but i cant say anything beyod that...
August 15th, 2004, 05:34 PM
I absoultely loved The Wayfarer Redemption series, but i hated the runelords... i think that the worst series ever written is probably david eddings. i liked it when i was younger, but now it's just sooo immature. i mean, garion's just a bumbling farmboy, ce'nedra's a spoiled brat, all of the races are just generalized... look at the tolnedrans, they all love money, alorns are berserking drunk people... i read a very interesting e-mail i found which i'll copy here now:
Originally Posted by Archmage
THE BELGARIAD. A great big quintology about a farm boy who learns
that he is really the heir to the throne and possesses tremendous
magical power. Naturally, he must claim the throne, start a war, and
quest across the country to stop a dark lord from doing bad stuff. He
is accompanied by many colorful companions from various countries,
most of whom are stereotyped examples of their cultures: ie, all
Tolnedrans are savvy and greedy, all Ulgos are fanatically religious,
all the horse-nomad people are austere and bloodthirsty in a noble
THE MALLOREAN. A time loop causes the events of the Belgariad to occur
all over again, to mostly the same people. This is not my sarcastic
way of implying that THE MALLOREAN is a scene-by-scene retread of THE
BELGARIAD. It is actually explained in the text that this is what's
going on. The audacity of this excuse to write the same quintology
twice leaves me breathless.
Eddings has written other books, which I have avoided like the plague
I suspect them to be. My comments below refer only to the quintologies
When people refer to "extruded fantasy product," this is the sort of
thing they're talking about. It doesn't mean that it's utterly without
redeeming value, but that it is mostly or entirely unoriginal and
inspired by the work of others (usually Tolkien); that it possesses
many stereotyped and cliched characters, occurrances, and themes; and
that it has a (subjective, of course) cranked-out feel to it.
I will credit Eddings for telling a lively story, which captivated me
when I was sixteen and less critical. However, the flaws in his
writing make him unreadable to me now.
1. The majority of the characters possess a truly stunning stupidity
and/or lack of emotional maturity. The farmboy Garion is a blockhead.
His girlfriend Ce'Nedra is a spoiled brat. The two five thousand year
old wizards who are looking after him, Belgarath and Polgara, behave
like a pair of bossy teenagers, and repeatedly conceal information
from him that he, and their own cause, would have been better off had
they revealed it. There are not one, but two, dunderheaded knights.
Even the gods are idiots who require a good talking-to. (What did they
THINK would happen to the people who were created without a god to
guide them?) Everyone ponders totally unmysterious prophecies, and
never figures them out. When a man described as "the man with two
lives" is killed, everyone howls melodramatically. Gee, think he'll be
This makes the only character who isn't a moron, the rat-faced little
man, Silk, steal the show. He drinks! He wisecracks! He gambles! He
tells Garion useful things! He's a spy! He's a prince! He's tragically
and secretly in love with his married aunt! He has another tragic
secret involving his mother! The rat-faced little man is by far the
most fun character in the entire canon, no doubt about it. Which
brings me to...
2. The terrible, repetitive writing style. Silk is described as "a
rat-faced little man" about once for every year Belgarath has been
alive. No can just say anything without an adjective attached: he said
slyly, she said sheepishly, they bellowed loudly. Most horribly,
Eddings is overly fond of weasel words such as "like," "sort of" and
"kind of." They are kind of scattered across every page, sort of like
confetti, and once you, like, notice this, you will never be able to
read Eddings again.
I'm not even going to get into the stunningly immature treatment of
sex: "Baby!" "Chair!" "Baby!" Those who have read will understand, and
shudder in appalled memory.
August 16th, 2004, 05:04 AM
You are right. I only managed to read a couple of chapters of the first book. Granted, it was a very, very, very poor translation which might have affected more. But from the descriptions I've seen I won't touch it.
Originally Posted by Priestvyrce
That's why I inted to avoid it in the future. And let's make it "*The* Book Blackwing Doesn't Like And Would Gladly Take Away From Libararies so No-one Would Be Exposed To It Ever Again Award."
Originally Posted by Erfael
Shoudn't incorrectly used mythical figures have an award as well? Using the Arthurian names in a non Arthurian setting has to be at least some sort of style error.
Oh, you would have liked me to go on and on about the infuriatingly smug characters, Lancelot and Galahad as brothers ( ) and nearly insane Merlin? Lets just say that it didn't have a single character that I liked or recognized.
However, if you want to hear about pacing and stuff like that, I didn't really pay attention to that. Which of course shows also how much I Didn't Like it.
August 16th, 2004, 11:12 AM
\m/ BEER \m/
I had seen very good things about this book for a while before actually reading it. I don't think it was terrible, but rather bland and nothing really grabbed my attention about the book.
Originally Posted by Rira
Last edited by Fitz; August 16th, 2004 at 11:12 AM.
Reason: added ending quote tag
August 16th, 2004, 11:28 AM
Blackwing - Being historically accurate and containing a rape scene does not make a book "the worst fantasy novel ever". Nor does having smug characters (in your opinion, I don't remember more than one or two) or providing an interesting twist on the Arthurian legend by making Merlin's sanity questionable. Also, if you don't consider it fantasy, then why are you mentioning it in this thread?
August 16th, 2004, 12:15 PM
I agree that the first novel by Ms. Siegel wasn't the most original, though I did like her Atlantis, it still had enough in it to pull me in for a second time. The Dragon Charmer was the best of the lot.
Originally Posted by Fitz
August 17th, 2004, 05:21 PM
I wouldn't be stupid enough to call the Thomas Covenant series the worst fantasy novel/series in existence, but to put it simply I was more interested in the urban setting and the mentality of Thomas the Leper rather than Thomas the Unbeliever in the world called the Land. For me it was a case where the character overcame the story/plot, as I wasn't too thrilled with the fantasy aspect of the series. Amusingly enough, I've found myself reading the sections where Thomas Covenant and Linda Avery are back on Earth, rather than the Land.
August 17th, 2004, 05:49 PM
I like what I like...
So... err... you mean you like the reality parts of a leper paying his bills, hitchhiking to a bar, and talking to faith healers... but not those silly bits in Revelstone, seeing the death of the wraiths, the immortal rigidity of the Haruchi... and the defense of the land against overriding and true evil...
Originally Posted by LordGrimm
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