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Weekly Book Buzz: Stephen Donaldson%u2019s Latest Thomas Covenant Novel (Article) - 10/19/2010 1:31:50 PM

For me, Donaldson has always defined the "unreadable middle book of a trilogy".  The Illearth War is the most unbelievable slog of a book; to this day it is my yardstick for slow, unreadable fantasy (no matter what the Jordan haters may say).  The Power that Preserves is actually a pretty good book, but it is unclear whether it was worth going through The Illearth War to get there.  

The same is to be said of The One Tree (the middle book of the other trilogy).  Thomas Covenant is unconscious for most of the book, and we are left reading unlikable, flat characters.  In fact, the whole second trilogy is awful, and I only suffered it in hopes of recapturing some of the magic from The Power that Preserves.

I hadn't realized there was a new series, but my taste in fantasy has progressed since the 80s, and there are a lot more options.  No thanks.


The Fall: Book Two of The Strain Trilogy (Article) - 9/25/2010 2:25:15 PM

Is the writing any better in this book?  Because it was absolutely awful in the first.  It was as if Del Toro had made a great outline and passed it on to junior high school student to write it for him.

Don't believe me?  Just count the number of similes (like a, as a, etc...) that appear on a page.  The paragraph describing the eclipse had over 8 similes in it!  I suspect it is because there is not enough material here for a trilogy, and so the author had to pad with description the best that he could given his limited abilities.  But in the end, the results are unintentionally hilarious.

The other problem is that Setrakian is a buffoon.  He is an over-the-top Hammer-style character.  By itself, that is perfectly fine.  However, this completely undercuts the emotional weight of his Holocaust survivor past. The juxtaposition is jarring. 

If you want to read a good novel about a Holocaust-survivor vampire hunter, read Carrion Comfort.

TV Wasteland: Bang On (Article) - 9/20/2010 7:05:45 PM

 Wow, The Event was awful.  Horrible acting and unlikeable characters undermine the twist at the end. I guess it is a good thing that NBC starts sucking now, so that they do not put it on perpetual life support like Heroes.

Weekly Book Buzz: The Way of Kings (Article) - 9/3/2010 11:10:47 AM

 I had a long post to tjanson and do not see it.  Hopefully it has not been munched by the Tubes monster.

Weekly Book Buzz: The Way of Kings (Article) - 9/3/2010 11:07:18 AM


And that's a shame really. I love fantasy but today it seems all publishers want are these mega-epic series that go on for 10 books and 20 years.

The Way of Kings notwithstanding, that used to be true, but is less true now.  Indeed, the mega-epic movement nearly killed fantasy in the late 90s.  You have Jordan, Martin, and Goodkind, and who else? They are hard to pull off.

However, we are seeing a major revival in fantasy right now with a lot of new blood.  Sanderson, Brent Weeks, Pat Rothfuss, Peter Brett, and so on.  Many of these are trilogy focused (including Rothfuss, whom I think is the strongest of the bunch).  Indeed, Sanderson wrote entirely trilogies and stand-alones before starting WoK.  I think these books were very flawed (battles often had no emotional weight and came off as hollow action sequences), and that WoK is his best work.  But that is because he has grown as a writer and not because the series is Super Epic(TM).

The popularity of the epic was was due to a major reaction against the young coming-of-age tropes in fantasy that dominated during the 80s.  Particularly once YA started to adopt them in their works.  So there was this search for an "adult voice" in fantasy.  It was the epics that provided this.  In Jordan's case, he started off with very young characters, but the epic allows them to quickly grow beyond that point and begin dealing with adult issues (this is why the series really took off in the later books).  But an epic is not actually necessary -- it was just the way in which the writers in the 90s found their adult voice.

The rise of the new stars is because writers like Rothfuss have discovered how to capture that adult voice in a series of reasonable length.

And in case you think this is just my weird theories, just read Sanderson's or Rothfuss' blog.  A lot of what I am saying is conventional wisdom in the fantasy publishing industry these days.

Weekly Book Buzz: The Way of Kings (Article) - 9/1/2010 7:19:14 PM

 Hobbs:  If Brooks wrote Shannara today it would be classified as Young Adult.  Same with Eddings.  Young protagonists with coming of age themes.

Weekly Book Buzz: The Way of Kings (Article) - 9/1/2010 7:12:25 PM

Wow Walker, you finished a thousand page book in one day? I wish I had the time you have on your hands. It's going to take me a week or two to finish it once I start it.

4pm - 2am.  I read fast.

Weekly Book Buzz: The Way of Kings (Article) - 9/1/2010 6:38:06 AM

Read WoK last night.  It was pretty good.  As some people point out, his magic duels still read like someone narrating video game moves.  But there was a lot less of that in this novel and a lot more about the characters.  It was a better book because of it.

10 TV Actors We Want To See In More Movies (Article) - 8/20/2010 10:29:18 AM

Really, saying the Old Spice guy should get roles in movies is kind of like saying the "Where's the beef?" lady should have had roles in movies

She did.  The movie is called Moving Violations and stars Bill Murray's younger brother pretending to be Bill Murray.

She did not do much more because she died soon afterwards.

5 Reboots We Would Love to See (Article) - 8/14/2010 6:08:15 AM

Maximum Overdrive has no one else of consequence?  It has Yeardley Smith -- as in Lisa Simpson.  Turn in your geek badge.

The problem with The Wraith is that it is essentially a week modernization of High Plains Drifter.



Date Joined: December 21, 2007