tad williams (was Re: : fantasy monarchies)

christian nutt ferricide at hotmail.com
Fri Feb 7 00:27:16 EST 2003


>From: Melissa Proffitt You do see the absurdity in taking your reactions to 
>one book and applying
>them to the author in general, and then saying you aren't talking about
>another book by the same author?  If it's authorial weakness then it 
>applies
>across the board.

well, writers can change. i'm not interested in finding out.

>I just don't even know where to begin with this.  You're not making the
>distinction between what you like and what is genuinely bad writing.

yeah, it's a bad habit of mine. i feel things very strongly and then figure 
that's enough for everyone -- obviously, it's not. it's funny, because i 
write reviews for a living, and i always make a point of backing up my 
assertions with specific examples, avoiding generalities, etc. when things 
get conversational, though, someone has to draw it out of me. well, not 
always.. but that'll feed into my next point.

You're
>making assertions without backing them up with examples.  If you're going 
>to
>cite, for example, an author who writes "endless flowery prose," then 
>you'll
>have to be specific about what constitutes endless flowery prose.

the problem with me and books is that i don't take notes or underline or 
anything while reading. then i forget a lot of the specifics. i'm big into 
rereading -- i prefer often to reread a book i like than try a new one. it 
makes for bad book discussion on my part unless i know i'm going to have one 
ahead of time (or i know the books back to front, which is the only reason i 
can discuss DWJ successfully.) when i was in a reading group i took notes. 
usually, i don't even think of anything but the story, and devour it.

>Having read far too much bad fantasy for my own good, I can state
>unequivocally that Tad Williams doesn't do any of the things you name 
>above.

it's not necessary, but i really did loathe the writing in MS&T on my most 
recent readthrough (1998, so you can imagine why i can't remember it 
anymore.) at the time, i felt he was guilty of a number of bad decisions. i 
just have to go with my reaction that i remember, even if i can't back it 
up. the only thing i can remember is that he kept using the metaphor "like a 
terrier killing a rat" whenever something big picked up something small 
(i.e. an ogre and binabik, or something).

i like fast-moving stories with a lot of dialogue. i'm sure a lot of the 
books i really like would be of little or no interest to the people on this 
list.

> >honestly, i do believe that length is a weakness.
>
>I think you're wrong.  Different kinds of fiction, different styles, 
>require
>different lengths.

i believe (and i may be wrong) that there's no good reason for a book to be 
more than around 500 pages. i find that's about as much as i can stand and 
still enjoy the whole thing, anyway. i prefer books in the 200-300 page 
range. i stopped reading cryptonomicon because it was just too long (well, 
there were other reasons, too).

>I think this reflects your
>preferences rather than a reasonable expectation of all fiction.

i think i'm just arrogant enough to think that my preferences are a 
reasonable expectation of all fiction. it's taken me a long time to 
cultivate the ability to appreciate and respect things i don't like in other 
media -- i never got around to it for books because i read them so much less 
than i watch movies, listen to music, play games, etc.

>Well, DUH, I have been talking about nothing else for the past hour!
>
>(That's a plug for the Phoenix Guards series, which is also a prime example
>of necessary and enjoyable verbosity.)

yeah, the problem is i tend to delete threads about books i don't know about 
(aren't i awful?) because i have no basis for understanding them. (i'm also 
pretty spoiler-sensitive.) not to mention there are way too many messages 
for me to keep up.

i seem to have a very different character than many/most of the list 
members; i'm just not a book fan or a fantasy fan especially. i just like 
DWJ. books are (please don't hurt me) well below my interests behind movies, 
anime, and games. i'm not being condescending -- i'm not saying books are 
inferior. more than anything, it's just that it's been difficult for me to 
get involved in it. but it leads me to put less effort back into it as well. 
i tend to desubscribe from this list at the merest excuse and then begin to 
miss it and drop back in ... i've lost track of the number of times i've 
done that.

i'm such a troublemaker. =) it seems like every so often i have to do 
something really egregious to the list and piss a variable number of 
upstanding list members off. this community is very unusual for me. i'm much 
more used to dealing with different types of people with very different 
interests, so i apologize.

similarly to christopher, where he discovers that he thought everyone liked 
him automatically and didn't noticed that had stopped, i figure everyone 
thinks i'm interesting and my opinion is valid automatically. =) it's a bad 
habit.

now please go back to your regularly scheduled discussion. i'll try only to 
interrupt when i have a good basis for my points.

christian.

PS: i'm really not that foolish when i write reviews. honest. i can forward 
some URLs to anyone who's curious. =)

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