George R. R. Martin

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at
Thu Jun 27 17:17:10 EDT 2002

On Thu, 27 Jun 2002 21:56:32 +0100, Dorian E. Gray wrote:

>Melissa said...
>>Mary Gentle's _Ash_... Is
>> it Dorian who likes these books so much?
>Yes, that was me. 

What a relief.  Then my brain has not completely disintegrated after all.

>It's a really amazing book, I think (published in one
>volume over here).  Very realistic depiction of medieval warfare and

I especially liked how it was "alternate" history but not incredibly

>> in fact, given my antipathy to Ash's
>> language,
>> I kinda wished there was a version that focused more on the frame a la
>> _Possession_.

>I don't have strong feelings one way or the other about profanity; I didn't
>object to it in "Ash" because it's *right* for that character in that
>setting.  I only object when it's tossed in for the sake of "ooh, look at
>me, I'm daring, I'm using bad language in print!".

I agree, and that's when I will be bold enough to call it a Bad Thing.  And
in this case, it *is* just right.  But it is frequent enough that I like to
point it out for people (like me) who have a problem with it in the
abstract.  Unfortunately, I have people I recommend to who are even more
sensitive than I am, and I have once or twice had someone bring a book back
saying "there's just too much swearing!" and I didn't even realize there was
ANY!  So sometimes I feel that all I'm doing is categorizing the Level of
Profanity rather than talking about the overall quality of a book, and
that's depressing.

>> David Eddings.

>(Just to provide a contrasting opinion; I don't at all mind that the
>Mallorean is basically the Belgariad all over again; I think he did it
>better the second time!  And I like all the bit where you learn about the
>"enemy" culture.  Not saying Melissa is wrong, of course.  Just that it
>isn't something that upsets *me*.)

Good point.  The truth is, he still has a very large following, so he's
doing *something* right for *some* of the reading public.  :)  There are
parts of the Malloreon I liked quite a bit--Silk's female counterpart, for
one.  But in general, no, I don't recommend his books to people, because my
distaste for them makes it impossible for me to be impartial.  I try not to
recommend *any* books I dislike unless my reasons for disliking them are
idiosyncratic and don't apply to the general public, like not liking stories
about Intelligent Horse Companions.  There's nothing wrong with those in
general, so I won't read them but will feel comfortable suggesting them to
my horse-obsessed younger sister.

In this case, though, more important than the question of whether or not
Eddings is good is the question of whether or not he is a good follow up to
George R. R. Martin.  I think he isn't, really, and I even remember thinking
when I was reading the first book that Martin's world was a stark contrast
to Eddings'.  Polar opposites, really.  So a reader might enjoy Eddings
normally, but not want to read the Belgariad right away after Martin.

Anyway, it's an interesting discussion.  I am recently engaged in looking at
highly popular books that are not "high quality" writing (independent of
genre) because I have a theory that the so-called low quality is a part of
what makes such books popular.  I don't know whether that means it's time to
be scared, or what....

Melissa Proffitt
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