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preyer
04-18-2005, 11:08 AM
what's the worst SF/F book you ever read and why?

the spectre of vonda mcintyre was brought up in another thread. while being an award winner (hugo award?) and having a fan-base which would no doubt lambast me to no end, none of that detracts from her having written the worst sci-fi book i ever read, 'the crystal star,' which was an 'expanded universe' star wars novel.

where do i start with how bad it was? the thing that sticks out most is the abyssmal characterization, having han solo's internal thoughts revolve around fifty syllable words, made worse because i'd never heard the words before myself. i don't think a single character rang true with what i already know about them.

the book was just boring. it had maybe two decent side-ideas as background filler. i'm sure we can all point to a book and ask, 'what was the point of those secondary characters other than to waste space to pad an otherwise bad novella-length story?'

afair, what information she gave turned out to have utterly predictable conclusions. the ending, however, just came out of left field, introducing the true villian in the last chapter. having no indication that what happened was coming, it just pisssed me off. (i think there may have been a mention of the villian being behind some giant doors for the purposes of some cult religious practice, but the way it was done totally didn't make me even the slightest bit interested in finding out what it was or what was going on. it turned out to be some blob-thing (wow, how exciting) and some very heavy-handed and yawny religious gobbledegook which came off as more crap to add to the pile to hide the true horrendousness taking place.)

had it not said 'star wars' on the cover, no one would have bought it, me included, though fortunately i spent a whopping fifty cents on it in a garage sale (and i should have gotten my money back). this was at a time, though, when you could have put a label saying 'mynock spit' on a jar of vaseline and moved a million units, so we all got suckered. in fact, i think this stinker of a novel is infamous for being so terrible. stay away at all costs! :)

ever been driving a stick shift and accidentally went to go into fourth gear and put it in first and hear a terrible noise, then when you look in the rear-view mirror you see all the traffic behind you swerving out of the way to avoid the metal things you've just dislodged from underneath your car? now imagine you could bottle that feeling and drink a case of it with a beer bong, and you barely know what it's like to read this book. (another appropriate example would be waking up after a bender to discover you've pisssed in your laundry hamper at some point during the night, puked in your wife's new gucci purse plus she's highly irate with you because you said something about her niece and how good she looks in tight jeans.)

zizban
04-18-2005, 04:48 PM
Dragon Riders of Pern. Seriously flawed book. Could have been so much better, but alas she ruined what was a great idea.

Anaparenna
04-19-2005, 05:17 AM
I don't remember the title (obviously it didn't stick with me), although the book itself wasn't terrible. However, every time anyone ate anything, it was a spiced meat pie. The author somehow got stuck on that as the food of choice. The characters made them, bought them in the market, had them served in inns, and one even turned up at a banquet...by the end I was very tired of spiced meat pie, and I've never even eaten one.

Crunchy Frog
04-19-2005, 05:26 AM
The Fifth Sorceress by Robert Newcomb was by far the worst book I ever read. Horrible writing. Possibly worse than Atlanta Night.

alanna
04-19-2005, 05:55 AM
Dragon Riders of Pern. Seriously flawed book. Could have been so much better, but alas she ruined what was a great idea.


it's not SF/F...i'm blanking out on the title I wanted to put...I think it was "The Sun Prince" or something like that... so I'll put this one...

"A Breathtaking Work of Staggering Genius"

great title, hated the book...was good to start, then went downhill...i actually didn't finish it! then again, lol, I love Anne McCaffery, so it could be that my taste in books is wonky! :)

preyer
04-19-2005, 10:11 AM
i started 'breathtaking' and put it down around forty pages into it. not that it was bad, just i lost interest in it and kinda never picked it back up. not SF of F, but it's nice to have at least started a book someone else has read.

Zane Curtis
04-19-2005, 01:58 PM
Oh, wow.

There's this one book I read -- a fantasy trilogy thing -- that was so bad it put me off generic fantasy for the longest time. I didn't read any fantasy for several years, until the likes of China Mieville and Jeff Vandermeer came along. This book was so horrible that I threw it away, which is a rare occurrence for an old hoarder like me. So I can't tell you whether my initial opinion of it stands up. I bought it cheap out of the bargain bin, and I still felt ripped off.

Until recently, I had forgotten all about this turkey until I ran across the author's website. Now I could tell you who it was, and what the book was. But if I did, someone would probably get all offended and tell me it's their favourite book. Or maybe the author himself reads this forum. Stuff like that seems to happen to me.

:Ssh:

Julie Worth
04-19-2005, 03:13 PM
This is an impossible question. The worst books Iíve not read at all. A lot of bad books I put down after a chapter or two, cursing myself for having spent the money, while the simply average Iíve completely forgotten. Even with good books, the titles escape me.



Okay, so Iíll vote for Venus on the Half Shell. That has to be the worst--the only book to be panned before it was written.


(Edit: I was kidding about Venus.)

bluejester12
04-19-2005, 07:25 PM
I cant think of the worst, but Sword of Shannara is such a blatant LotR ripoff...worst than anything Ive ever read for originality.

zizban
04-19-2005, 07:39 PM
I cant think of the worst, but Sword of Shannara is such a blatant LotR ripoff...worst than anything Ive ever read for originality.

Yes, but it was a good ripoff. Came out in the mid 80's, before the fantasy genre really exploded. I read it when I was 15 and I liked it a lot. If I were to pick it up now, without reading it before, I would say the same thing as you.

victoriastrauss
04-19-2005, 08:03 PM
The Fifth Sorceress by Robert Newcomb was by far the worst book I ever read. Horrible writing. Possibly worse than Atlanta Night.But not intentionally. Which is sad.

I got about halfway through this book--picked it up from the library because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. It was indeed bad.

The worst book I've read recently, though, is The Da Vinci Code, which is not just badly written but ludicrously researched. Many of its key premises are wrong, and those that aren't wrong are stupid.

- Victoria

DaveKuzminski
04-19-2005, 08:06 PM
Sometimes, it's safer to self-declare yourself to be a hack. Then anything you write that's not bad is to your real credit.

clintl
04-19-2005, 08:19 PM
The worst I've read is Mike Moscoe's The First Casualty, and it was assigned to me to review. I hated writing that review, and I hope he didn't see it (although chances are he did, as it was in a prominent online publication devoted to SF). He was nominated for one of the major SF awards for either a novelette or novella last year, so that book probably isn't a good indication of his skill. I haven't read his nominated story - I'll have to look it up one of these days.

Julie Worth
04-19-2005, 08:46 PM
The worst book I've read recently, though, is The Da Vinci Code, which is not just badly written but ludicrously researched. Many of its key premises are wrong, and those that aren't wrong are stupid.

- Victoria

Yes, I read a few chapters and gave it away. After a decent start, it bored me to tears. Obviously, having some religious controversy is fantastic for sales.

Richard
04-19-2005, 08:54 PM
Da Vinci Code is indeed crapola.

The worst book I had to endure recently was Cecilia Dart-Thorntonś The Iron Tree. Rarely have I encountered an author with so many books under their belt, and yet be so utterly incompetent at writing dialogue. Itś not the worst fantasy I've ever had to read (for review, in this case, so there was no bottling out after the first chapter), but hellś bells, was it tempting to review it from the cover blurb and use the rest of the pages as compost.

Pthom
04-20-2005, 02:03 PM
Any of the "Left Behind" series.

Torin
04-20-2005, 04:24 PM
I really hated "Rider by the Gate" by C.J. Cherryh. I've enjoyed other Cherryh books, and I loved the premise behind this, and the writing itself was decent, but I didn't care about *any* of the characters. Not a single one, and for me, caring about at least one character's fate is crucial to my enjoying the book.

whitehound
04-21-2005, 08:41 AM
CJ Cherryth is a very variable writer: she has at least four distinct literary styles, one of which I adore, one of which I can take or leave and two of which I can't be bothered with. I re-read the whole Chanur sequence, and Rimrunners, at least once every couple of years - but I gave up on Forty Thousand in Gehenna, and on The Tree of Swords and Jewels, after a couple of chapters. I personally quite liked the Rider books, but they certainly aren't her best work.

I would nominate The Amber Spyglass, the last of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. I adored Northern Lights, quite liked The Subtle Knife - but I just got so bored with The Amber Spyglass that I gave up about a third of the way through. And I kept hoping that he would notice how horrible he had made his society of witches, but he never seemed to: evidently he really does think that murdering someone because they refuse to have sex with you, or desecrating a tribal religion and demanding that the people fall down and worship you, are OK behaviours provided you are a scantily-clad young woman.

Jamesaritchie
04-21-2005, 01:37 PM
what's the worst SF/F book you ever read and why?

the spectre of vonda mcintyre was brought up in another thread. while being an award winner (hugo award?) and having a fan-base which would no doubt lambast me to no end, none of that detracts from her having written the worst sci-fi book i ever read, 'the crystal star,' which was an 'expanded universe' star wars novel.

where do i start with how bad it was? the thing that sticks out most is the abyssmal characterization, having han solo's internal thoughts revolve around fifty syllable words, made worse because i'd never heard the words before myself. i don't think a single character rang true with what i already know about them.

the book was just boring. it had maybe two decent side-ideas as background filler. i'm sure we can all point to a book and ask, 'what was the point of those secondary characters other than to waste space to pad an otherwise bad novella-length story?'

afair, what information she gave turned out to have utterly predictable conclusions. the ending, however, just came out of left field, introducing the true villian in the last chapter. having no indication that what happened was coming, it just pisssed me off. (i think there may have been a mention of the villian being behind some giant doors for the purposes of some cult religious practice, but the way it was done totally didn't make me even the slightest bit interested in finding out what it was or what was going on. it turned out to be some blob-thing (wow, how exciting) and some very heavy-handed and yawny religious gobbledegook which came off as more crap to add to the pile to hide the true horrendousness taking place.)

had it not said 'star wars' on the cover, no one would have bought it, me included, though fortunately i spent a whopping fifty cents on it in a garage sale (and i should have gotten my money back). this was at a time, though, when you could have put a label saying 'mynock spit' on a jar of vaseline and moved a million units, so we all got suckered. in fact, i think this stinker of a novel is infamous for being so terrible. stay away at all costs! :)

ever been driving a stick shift and accidentally went to go into fourth gear and put it in first and hear a terrible noise, then when you look in the rear-view mirror you see all the traffic behind you swerving out of the way to avoid the metal things you've just dislodged from underneath your car? now imagine you could bottle that feeling and drink a case of it with a beer bong, and you barely know what it's like to read this book. (another appropriate example would be waking up after a bender to discover you've pisssed in your laundry hamper at some point during the night, puked in your wife's new gucci purse plus she's highly irate with you because you said something about her niece and how good she looks in tight jeans.)

To be honest, I don't think there are many bad published books out there. Most of them are books we like, or books we don't, but few of them are bad in any sense that really matters.

I'd rather talk about books I love than spend time putting down writers who have most often pleased millions of readers.

Some of the books listed here will be around, and will still be read for pleasure, long after we're all dead, buried, and forgotten.

Life's too short, and payback's a bitch. Better to concentrate on the books you love.

triceretops
04-21-2005, 02:21 PM
I don't like bringing the old master down, but one of his books just floored me. It's 332 pages of straight dialogue, with very little to no narrative or atmoshpere. The card games go on forever, the women speak like men, the old mentor (as always) speaks like a gangster, has intercourse with his daughter--liberal drug and liquor usage is promoted, and it's just the biggest piece of hack-crap that I've ever read. All of his characters speak with the same tone and dialect, even if they're sperated by 60 years in age.

Farnham's Freehold, by Bob Heinlein.

I think this book was a showcase for Bob's love of Bridge, and it was hastily written to fill his portfolio or quota. It's a far cry from Stranger in a Strange Land, to be sure. What in the hell was on his mind to vomit this thing up?

Tri

VMcNeill
04-22-2005, 11:37 AM
Any of the "Left Behind" series.


Have to agree with this one. Although I'm not sure if I would call the books novels, the letters are huge and double spaced to make the book thicker. With a smaller font and normal number of lines, the book would probably be 50 pages if that much.

I need to read the fifth sorceress. I've read a lot of really bad things about this book.

Calla Lily
04-22-2005, 03:17 PM
I am not alone! Other people in the planet were bored to tears by DaVinci Code too!

Hallelujah!

I borrowed it from the library to see what all the fuss was about...yawn. Wimpy hero, ludicrous ending. But give the man his due: he mixed in just enough fact with his fiction and tossed in just about the most controversial theory about Jesus around and wham! Free publicity from right-wing Christians everywhere.


Now I'll confirm my heretical rep: My vote for worst book is Stranger in a Strange Land.

Sorry, but Heinlein alternately bores and annoys me.


BUT! His short story "Requiem" always brings a lump to my throat.

-the Lily

whitehound
04-23-2005, 02:41 AM
Most of Heinlein I find irritating in the extreme and very Mary-Sue-ish: but The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag is one of the creepiest things I've ever read. Indeed I used to know a guy who was so thoroughly creeped out by it that he deliberately erased the very existence of the story from his memory, and if anyone reminded him of it he would actually scream.

soloset
04-23-2005, 02:57 AM
I cant think of the worst, but Sword of Shannara is such a blatant LotR ripoff...worst than anything Ive ever read for originality.

It was supposed to be. Sheesh. Well, not exactly, but if I get into a lengthy discussion of it I'll bore you all to tears.

As far as just plain poor writing goes, I can't think of a single one. I did see a book at the used bookstore the other day with a back blurb to die for -- it referred to a war between the "Elvish and Mannish Races" over the "Elvish Jewels". I SO wish I'd picked that up.

I am a Heinlein fangirl, I admit it. Some of his works have an alternate use, too -- you can make people's eyes cross if you try to explain certain of them. Try "By His Bootstraps" sometime, or "I Will Fear No Evil".

Calla Lily
04-23-2005, 03:24 AM
Most of Heinlein I find irritating in the extreme and very Mary-Sue-ish: but The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag is one of the creepiest things I've ever read. Indeed I used to know a guy who was so thoroughly creeped out by it that he deliberately erased the very existence of the story from his memory, and if anyone reminded him of it he would actually scream.

Argh! this reminded me of a story I've worked several years (20, maybe) to forget: Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream". I read that and have never, ever opened one word written by him ever again. I'm sure it's a brilliant story because it affected me so profoundly -- in a negative way. Much like Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (gag, retch, shudder) and the first 15 minutes of Kill Bill part 1. After those 15 minutes I left the room and did laundry etc. till the DH was done watching it. The man will not be receiving a dime of my money again.

fallenangelwriter
04-23-2005, 06:05 AM
Heinlein was a good writer, but he did eventually start producing some bizzarrely bad stuff.


Farnham's freehold was great until about halway through, when he completely scrapped his survivial story for a really bizarre political thing.

but far worse, IMHO than Freehold was "Glory Road". i read the entire thing, but found mos tof it simply unbearable.

as for his dark materials, i actually liked the Amber Spyglass. it was the golden compass i couldn't stand. i'm very glad that I persevered through it to reach the much better books two and three.

triceretops
04-23-2005, 08:28 AM
I'll admit that I haven't read Heinlein's full range of material, but everything I picked up had the same old mentor in it, showcasing some profoundly wise old and irrefutable lessons on life, over and over and over again. I'm convinced that Heinlein's protag's were strongly autobiographical in nature, and that if he wasn't brow-beating some young recruit, he was winning over some dame that was half his age. There was a strain to be "hip" in many of his books--it has been said that he was a "people" writer, but I have failed miserably to find well-drawn characters with distinct voices in any of his stuff thus far.

During my association in the SFWA years ago, it was revealed to me by several "golden age" writers that there was a snot-nosed kid, who hung around them, made a general nuisance of himself, started flame wars, thought his dung didn't stink, acted like a rebel and made up his own causes, bull-dozed his way into the sci-fi community (when they tried to avoid him), disagreed on any topic (just to get a reaction), slammed technology (professing to hate computers, in favor of typewriters), and generaly wrote material that was/is hailed for its shock value. Since his reputation preceeded him, I have not, to this day, read anything of his, nor will I, I suppose. Though he might be the greatest writer of the 20th century, I'm convinced that Harlan Ellison is one of the biggest egotistical loud mouths in the business. Sorry, the guy reminds me of Shemp, and if there is a more humble/softer side to his nature, I'd sure like to hear it. The only literary spine that he has that I'd like to crack, is his.

There, I said it, finally--after holding it in for 17-years. There will be no Harlan in my inventory.

Triceratops

azbikergirl
04-23-2005, 09:34 AM
I would nominate The Amber Spyglass, the last of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. I adored Northern Lights, quite liked The Subtle Knife - but I just got so bored with The Amber Spyglass that I gave up about a third of the way through.
I felt the same way. Read the first two books in the trilogy and totally lost interest in the third. :(

My favorite book to hate was Absolute Power by David Baldacci, although not F/SF. The opening line killed me ("He gripped the steering wheel loosely") and it never got any better than that. I never read another of his novels. Blech!

whitehound
04-23-2005, 01:31 PM
Argh! this reminded me of a story I've worked several years (20, maybe) to forget: Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream". I read that and have never, ever opened one word written by him ever again.
Oh, yeah, I Have No Mouth... is a *horrible* story. Most of Ellison's work is sick and horrible, and in fact he is a notoriously horrible person, legendary in fannish circles for arrogance and rudeness. But I can recommend one short story by him, called Sleeping Dogs, which is hair-raisingly creepy without being at all sick.

Just as I don't much care for Heinlein, but ...Jonathan Hoag is one of my all-time favourite stories, so I avoid almost anything by Eliison but Sleeping Dogs is likewise on my favourites list.

Liam Jackson
04-23-2005, 02:39 PM
I tried Harlan Ellison's work. I must not be one of the enlightened folk. (Okay, so we all knew that already) I couldn't through the first chapter of Ellison's book. The name of that novel will come to me sometime today. Sadly.

SeanDSchaffer
04-23-2005, 07:46 PM
Believe it or not, it was by one of my favorite authors: Piers Anthony. It was a Xanth novel entitled Dragon On A Pedestal. The only reason I thought it was 'bad' was the excessive amount of exclamation points in the story. Were it not for the exclamation points in what seemed like every other sentence, I would have much more thoroughly enjoyed it. All-in-all, the story itself was pretty good -- but those damned exclamation points all over the place... they really detracted from the book.


:Shrug:

Elincoln
04-23-2005, 09:04 PM
Argh! this reminded me of a story I've worked several years (20, maybe) to forget: Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream". I read that and have never, ever opened one word written by him ever again. I'm sure it's a brilliant story because it affected me so profoundly -- in a negative way.

I remember that story. I had to read it in college and the professor thought that since I was into Fantasy and SF, that I would give a good critique. I hated it and proceeded to hand her some books from Orson Scott Card to prove not all SF writers were alike.

O.K. the worst SF series I ever 'tried' to read was Mission Earth, from L.R. Hubbard. I could not even finish the first chapter.

The second on my list is The Chaos Gate from Josepha Sherman. Only because it's the only one in the series that wasn't written with Mercedes Lackey. Something was definitely missing with that one and I had to stop mid-way.

-Elaine

preyer
04-23-2005, 11:53 PM
i actually made it through the first 'mission earth' novel (i believe it's a decology). what struck me was why i was even reading it because the hero was so annoying perfect that he was boring and the main character, some evil-minded snot of a man, was just the opposite, without one lick of redemption there. maybe it got better, maybe not. it wasn't a bad book, asair, it was just boring.

i managed to get suckered in by 'battlefied: earth' by the cover's statement 'the best selling sci-fi story ever,' or words to that effect. i thought, wow, i should read this. sucker! little did i know his 'sales' were largely based on his cult buying warehouses of his books to keep his name in the limelight. i later picked up a copy off the bookshelf just to see if what people had said about it being nothing more than a propaganda device was true, and sure enough, there in the book was a mail-away postcard thing requesting information on scientology. i learned all this while researching how cults work. pretty interesting stuff, but it's made me afraid to read any more of his book (probably not missing anything, lol).

soloset
04-24-2005, 12:22 AM
i later picked up a copy off the bookshelf just to see if what people had said about it being nothing more than a propaganda device was true, and sure enough, there in the book was a mail-away postcard thing requesting information on scientology. i learned all this while researching how cults work. pretty interesting stuff, but it's made me afraid to read any more of his book (probably not missing anything, lol).

I wouldn't put it past 'em to have a tracking device implanted in the front cover of each book -- those people are *serious* about gathering information about potential recruits. And once they have your information, nothing short of moving without a forwarding address will save you. And even then, they'll try to track you down.

Elincoln
04-24-2005, 01:28 AM
I wouldn't put it past 'em to have a tracking device implanted in the front cover of each book -- those people are *serious* about gathering information about potential recruits. And once they have your information, nothing short of moving without a forwarding address will save you. And even then, they'll try to track you down.

LOL Good thing I had picked mine up at the library. I have enough problems with Christians.

-Elaine

allion
04-25-2005, 05:12 AM
My husband mailed one of those cards in that was in one of the Hubbard books for info on that organization. He still gets mail from them today, and this is over 10 years after that initial mailing.

Yes, they are persistent.

Karen

triceretops
04-25-2005, 11:22 AM
As a newspaper editor, I was approached by some mysterious source to review the entire Hubbard series of books and was offered a flat flee to review them. Quite a hunk, actually. It was implied to me that my fee would double if I gave the series a favorable review, and make it sound legitimate to my reading audience.

I declined.

Tri

Elincoln
04-25-2005, 05:21 PM
As a newspaper editor, I was approached by some mysterious source to review the entire Hubbard series of books and was offered a flat flee to review them. Quite a hunk, actually. It was implied to me that my fee would double if I gave the series a favorable review, and make it sound legitimate to my reading audience.

I declined.

Tri

Thank Goodness you did! :Clap:

I'm sorry but the first was horrible and I wouldn't dare read the rest, even if I was paid.

Torgo
04-25-2005, 06:38 PM
There was an awful book cowritten by Marvin Minsky and Harry Harrison about a robot - so awful I've forgotten what it was called.

MadScientistMatt
04-25-2005, 07:04 PM
I've heard one rumor of a case where one of L. Ron Hubbard's books were bought back by the publisher and recycled into the next shipment of the book. Bookstore managers noticed this when the shipment of books arrived from the publisher with their own price stickers already on the "new" books. Talk about a creative way to establish the book as a best-seller.

Zane Curtis
04-26-2005, 02:51 AM
During my association in the SFWA years ago, it was revealed to me by several "golden age" writers that there was a snot-nosed kid, who hung around them, made a general nuisance of himself, started flame wars, thought his dung didn't stink, acted like a rebel and made up his own causes, bull-dozed his way into the sci-fi community (when they tried to avoid him), disagreed on any topic (just to get a reaction), slammed technology (professing to hate computers, in favor of typewriters), and generaly wrote material that was/is hailed for its shock value.

Well, that's funny, because Harlan Ellison speaks very highly of them -- he has, in fact, been a tireless advocate for some of the old timers he feels were unfairly overlooked.

:Huh:

Elincoln
04-26-2005, 05:30 AM
Well, that's funny, because Harlan Ellison speaks very highly of them -- he has, in fact, been a tireless advocate for some of the old timers he feels were unfairly overlooked.

:Huh:

I think after his heart attack (or stroke, I forget which), he realized he better play nice if he wanted to be remembered.

whitehound
04-26-2005, 06:38 AM
In any list of painfully boring books, I would like to nominate A Quest for Simbilis by Michael Shea. I tried, I really did - but the artificial characters and over-mannered writing reduced my mind to jelly in about three chapters.

Julian Black
04-26-2005, 05:18 PM
It's good to see I'm not the only one who hated The Da Vinci Code.

I admit I didn't get very far into it before giving up; it was the insane albino monk that did it.

Brown gave his albino character pink eyes. Albino rats and rabbits have pink eyes, but humans don't; theirs are generally blue or bluish-gray. Even those with such low levels of eye pigmentation that their eyes have a noticeable pinkish cast to them do not have pink eyes. It just doesn't happen. Furthermore, this albino character had absolutely no visual impairment as a result of his albinism--and if he had so little pigment that his irises looked pinkish in bright light, he most certainly would. He'd be legally blind, in fact.

So I figured that if Brown couldn't get his facts straight regarding a fairly common and well-documented medical condition, he was probably going to screw up everything else, too.

allion
04-26-2005, 07:40 PM
snip...
So I figured that if Brown couldn't get his facts straight regarding a fairly common and well-documented medical condition, he was probably going to screw up everything else, too.

I picked this book up in a bookstore, and the style threw me off. The passive voice hit me like a bad smell. And if he screwed up this point, I agree, the rest of his research has to be suspect.

Mind you, we have this book at home, so one day, I will read it just to see how far I can get without throwing it against the wall and to see how bad it is. Kind of like watching movies you know are going to be awful to see how awful (Catwoman, Elektra...)

Karen

DaveKuzminski
04-26-2005, 08:03 PM
Albino rats and rabbits have pink eyes, but humans don't; theirs are generally blue or bluish-gray.

Uh-oh, I'm in trouble already with you even though my story is on another world similar to Earth by virtue of having human characters. However, their DNA was modified long ago by their forebears in order to make themselves immune to some artificial plagues. As a result, their immediate descendents retained that immunity, but less than a thousand years later it caused an outbreak of wildly divergent hair and eye colors among a new generation that didn't possess all of the original DNA modification.

aka eraser
04-26-2005, 08:26 PM
I have three nominees and in each case it wasn't the first book in the series but latter ones that disappointed greatly. The initial books were good enough to whet my appetite for the series.

Most disappointing: Robert Jordan. The man's name has become synonymous with "yuck" in my mind.

Both Elizabeth Haydon' Rhapsody series and John Marco's Tyrants and Kings lost me forever in book two.

Other writers that burned out later in the game are Terry Goodkind and L.E. Modesitt Jr. I'm a bit worried about George R. R. Martin but am in wait-and-see mode there. Will give him one more book.

Newcomb's Fifth Sorceress is in my to-be-read pile. I guess I'll let it drift to the bottom.

DaveKuzminski
04-26-2005, 09:18 PM
One problem I've experienced with the series I'm currently writing is that you have to have ups and downs for both sides if you have a conflict on a national or global scale. You can't have one side always succeeding. After awhile, that becomes boring. On the other hand, if you can introduce subtle changes by having some simple inventions or alliances come into the series then the balance can be affected in interesting ways. Then one side or the other is forced to catch up somehow or be defeated.

Of course, your main characters shouldn't be the ones who come up with those inventions. Otherwise, you run the risk of creating a Mary Sue.

I think this is why a lot of series become dull. They don't apply these principles and the main characters then have to carry too much of the story.

aboyd
04-26-2005, 09:43 PM
Any of the "Left Behind" series.Wow. If you think the Left Behind series is bad, try This Present Darkness, by Frank Peretti. Or anything by Peretti, for that matter. It redefines bad, IMHO. I've never been able to finish his books.

-Tony

preyer
04-26-2005, 10:07 PM
one thing i try to avoid is books that seem like where one major setback obliterates the enemy. 'battlefield earth' was like that, where the hero, using bombs and transport devices, is able to destroy the enemy. i had a hard time figuring out exactly how the battle of endor effectively destroyed the empire in star wars. okay, palpy and vader are dead, as well as a huge investment in the death star and plenty of ships and crew, but even at a greatly signficant percentage, is there still not a bureaucracy in place to refute unsubstantiated reports of a rebel victory until they can again put a strangle-hold on key systems? i mean, the empire took control *without* a death star, why can they not hold onto that? they kept control after the first death star, so, why after the loss of many of their destroyers and their leader, could they not maintain their position? it would be like killing our president, most of the house and senate, and wiping out, let's say, fifty percent of our armed forces while somehow managing to knock out our nuclear capabilities. would that destroy america? maybe, but not overnight galaxy-wide.

i let that stuff go in a movie, but in a book, i don't know, i just expect more. i don't think it's reasonable that by killing the leader everything would automatically fall apart. had we killed hitler in '43, there'd still have been a WWII, albeit perhaps a shorter war. indeed, maybe the nazis would have won *without* hitler. maybe the empire would have won *without* the emperor. i'm a lot more lax when it comes to fantasy, too, where one leader i think is more at the core of why they're fighting. that is, there's not a command infrastructure underneath sauron, it seems, that's able to continue the fight (or maintain authority, as the case may be). just where there's one devastating loss after another for the good guys, they come out of it, while one devastating loss for the bad guys and it's movie over, book closed, story finished.

i'm also not into computer viruses disabling entire fleets. that's just such crap. these viruses are always created an hour before being downloaded, too, and the computers the bad guys have are so poorly designed that they can't defend themselves and when you infect one, it wrecks the entire mainframe.

what i never understood in EPI was how you could destroy the battle droid command ship and that powers down the droids fighting on the surface. do wha? in the beginning, you could give your droid commanders a task and they carry it out (locate the gungan city, round up survivors, search for missing jedi), yet during a battle, basically another task, they suddenly need this orbiting control system to function. lucas does love to show nature kicking the hell out of technology, doesn't he? 'crack' legion of stormtroopers my arse. *on* crack, maybe, but not being able to totally wipe-out a tribe of teddy bears doesn't speak well of their training where 'only imperial stormtroopers are this precise.' it must be a lot harder to hit fat, slow-moving, screaming targets than it appears.

DaveKuzminski
04-26-2005, 10:27 PM
Yes, it is harder to hit slow moving targets. That's exactly how we succeeded in sinking the Bismarck. It's guns were designed to track and shoot down attacking planes. However, the designers felt that it would be fast attack planes, so they didn't develop a program for planes that were slower such as some of those available 20 years earlier in WWI. Thus, a bunch of last chance obsolete planes, the only ones in range, had the fortune of finding and attacking the Bismarck. They didn't sink it, but they damaged the steering. That effectively sealed its doom.

As to shooting, that depends upon a lot of factors. The troops they used might have been overrated. They could have had a bad hair day. Hard to tell with those helmets, though. They were caught by surprise. That could be sufficient to affect other factors and even their aim since they could then be too rattled to aim properly.

I won't address the command and control of the droids. Obviously, Lucas didn't read the manual for If I was an Evil Overlord. He clearly relied on writers who hadn't, either.

Same goes for the viruses. Also, it's a movie or TV episode, so such things have to be time compressed. Sometimes, it's necessary to do that in order to convey the rest of the story. It's not good storytelling, but sometimes it's all that works.

Regarding leaders, you're very much on target. Germany didn't collapse when Hitler died, but his death did make it possible for the next leader to contact the Allies and arrange for surrender. However, collapses and surrenders happen in many ways.

What Lucas did was select one ending that was dramatic, even though he originally stated there would be 9 Star Wars films after it became apparent that the first one was a huge hit capable of sustaining sequels. In one interview of his that I recall reading, he stated there would be 3 prequels to SW and 5 sequels. Obviously, Star Wars is running out of energy to keep going since some of the movies have been poorly received so it's doubtful that we'll see the last 3 which probably address the kind of more realistic ending you'd like to see.

Julian Black
04-27-2005, 01:05 AM
Uh-oh, I'm in trouble already with you even though my story is on another world similar to Earth by virtue of having human characters. However, their DNA was modified long ago by their forebears in order to make themselves immune to some artificial plagues. As a result, their immediate descendents retained that immunity, but less than a thousand years later it caused an outbreak of wildly divergent hair and eye colors among a new generation that didn't possess all of the original DNA modification.[laughs] If you can find a way to explain how a human being can end up with true pink (unpigmented) irises that makes sense, I won't throw your book against the wall. But you really have your work cut out for you if you want to convince me that those pink-eyed (or even blue-eyed) albino characters don't have severely impaired vision.

That doesn't mean you can't do it. Maybe, in your world, they do have normal vision, but I'd want to know how that is possible. Otherwise, I will simply figure that albino characters are just there as gratuitous exotics. At best, I'll be constantly distracted by what I know about albinism and its affects on human vision in this world.

How those people with albinism deal with their low vision could be interesting, however. There may even be advantages in it, depending on the society you're writing about and what kind of technology is available.

I almost used an albino character in a book I started a few years ago. I abandoned it after doing some research and realizing that what I wanted to do with that character was biologically impossible (and the story offered no room to explain it). So when Brown's crazy pink-eyed albino monk-hitman successfully shot a moving target, under low light conditions, from a distance, I could smell the suckiness rising from the pages. It was like a miasma. I think I managed to read about 30 pages of The Da Vinci Code before I gave up...

Betty W01
04-27-2005, 01:34 AM
Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I eagerly read the first couple, slowly trudged through the next few, got part way through the (I think it was) 7th one and said, "I don't have enough brain cells or days on earth left to devote to this anymore." It was more than just a sense that the story threads had become a little too entangled. I honestly think he's lost complete control of the series and the characters and has no idea how to end the thing, so he just keeps on tangling the threads up more and more, hoping no one will notice. My theory is that sooner or later, the whole ball of yarn will rise up and choke him to death. (If a disgruntled fan doesn't do it first...)

And besides, a good rule of thumb I've discovered is to avoid paperback novels whose general spine shape resembles a capital C before it's even opened. A Jordan book could be used as a blunt instrument with nothing added to it.

Robert Jordan - just say NO!

DaveKuzminski
04-27-2005, 01:57 AM
Well, they're not actually albinos. I should have mentioned that to begin with. Basically, I started with the premise that if scientists can inject DNA from jellyfish into other creatures to make them glow or produce other colors, then similar feats should be possible with advanced technology and advanced knowledge of DNA. That is the level at which the science was for these people. Then it went freaky on them. ;)

alaskamatt17
04-27-2005, 02:31 AM
I hated Harry Turtledove's Into the Darkness. It wasn't really a bad book, but it had too many character threads and not enough conflict to validate all of them. He's a good writer, but things got out of hand with that book.

zizban
04-27-2005, 02:37 AM
With Robert Jordan, I got to book nine before giving up. His general idea isn't bad, its actually quite good, its just he's taken far too long to do anything with it. For a while I thought that the ending of the whole series would be worth it but I doubt that now.

whitehound
04-27-2005, 03:33 AM
Brown gave his albino character pink eyes. Albino rats and rabbits have pink eyes, but humans don't; theirs are generally blue or bluish-gray. Even those with such low levels of eye pigmentation that their eyes have a noticeable pinkish cast to them do not have pink eyes. It just doesn't happen. Furthermore, this albino character had absolutely no visual impairment as a result of his albinism--and if he had so little pigment that his irises looked pinkish in bright light, he most certainly would. He'd be legally blind, in fact. I found this surprizing, so I looked up albinism in humans, and the very first reference I tried (at www.lowvision.org (http://www.lowvision.org/)) states "in some cases the iris may be pink" and provides a spectacular photograph to illustrate this point. It lists various visual problems associated with albinism but each of them *may* be present - not must.

www.albinism.org (http://www.albinism.org/) says "Although some individuals with albinism have reddish or violet eyes, most have blue eyes. Some have hazel or brown eyes... People with albinism always have problems with vision, and many have low vision. Many are 'legally blind,' but most use their vision for reading, and do not use braille. Some have vision good enough to drive a car."

So it's perfectly possible, if uncommon, for an albino human to have red eyes, and perfectly possible for one to have near-normal vision - although I agree that if the albinism were so severe as to cause pink irises you would at least expect the person to be daylight-blind. An albino hitman is certainly unlikely - but it's more likely that he would be able to hit a target in low light than in bright light.

Albino horses also, incidentally, sometimes have blue (a.k.a. "china") eyes and sometimes pink.

Pink-eyed rats seem to have normal vision except that they are dazzled by moderately strong light, and can often be seen to weave their heads from side to side, trying to compensate for the blurring. I was very irritated by Terry Pratchett's portrayal of the albino rat Dangerous Beans, in The Amazing Maurice, as being blind, tiny, shy and frail. Not only are albino rats not blind - some don't even do the head-weaving thing - but one of the side-effects of the albinism gene is that albino animals tend to be substantially bigger and heftier, and therefore calmer and more confident, than their normally-coloured siblings. I don't know if that is true of human albinos or not.

Albinism in humans is polygenic (there are several different genes which can cause it, often in complex combinations). The lack of pigment tends to affect the development of the eye in embryo and cause problems such as nystygma (uncontrolled tremor in the eyeball): but for the purposes of an SF story you could certainly postulate a new mutation which allowed the eye to develop normally, apart from the loss of pigment to the iris and retina - in which case the person should be able to see quite normally with the aid of dark glasses.

MadScientistMatt
04-27-2005, 05:32 AM
Well, you know what they say about Robert Jordan. "The problem with reading The Wheel of Time is that there is no beginning nor end." I read the first two books or so, but then decided I would put it aside until the final book was actually in print so I could be sure that the series actually does end, rather than the author dying and leaving it incomplete. From what I've heard about the later books, maybe I shouldn't pick it up again.

DreamWeaver
04-27-2005, 05:32 AM
I cant think of the worst, but Sword of Shannara is such a blatant LotR ripoff...worst than anything Ive ever read for originality.I'm seconding this one. I've never finished it. I gave up after the third time I threw it against the wall. Not just for the horrendous Tolkien ripoff, but also for gratuitous modifier abuse. That book probably used up the entire English-speaking world's ration of adjectives and adverbs for that year. Possible two years.

But, Easton Press published it in a gorgeous gen-you-wine leather binding as part of their *Masterpieces of Fantasy* collection, so there's no accounting for taste--definitely a YMMV topic.

Kris

DreamWeaver
04-27-2005, 05:49 AM
With Robert Jordan, I got to book nine before giving up.I think it just got too complicated. The last book I read spent the whole time catching up on each subplot and moving it forward one baby step. Several hundred pages of one baby step per subplot doesn't add up to a novel in which anything really happens. So I gave up, too.

Kris

Elincoln
04-27-2005, 06:09 AM
With Robert Jordan, I got to book nine before giving up. His general idea isn't bad, its actually quite good, its just he's taken far too long to do anything with it. For a while I thought that the ending of the whole series would be worth it but I doubt that now.

I did the same thing. After the ninth one, I realized that the main characters were too deep in...trouble...and I didn't have the heart to read how they get out of it (or worst, that they don't get out if it and the ending will suck).

Plus I found the whole series hard to chew through. I spent too much time rereading sections because I couldn't understand what he was trying to portray.

Calla Lily
04-27-2005, 03:12 PM
The Wheel of Time discussion here reminds me of the Pern books by Anne McCaffrey. I got through 2, I think, before I was utterly confused and annoyed by who was doing what in which time. When she started to head her chapters by which time and place things were in, I threw up my hands in despair.

zizban
04-27-2005, 05:17 PM
The Wheel of Time discussion here reminds me of the Pern books by Anne McCaffrey. I got through 2, I think, before I was utterly confused and annoyed by who was doing what in which time. When she started to head her chapters by which time and place things were in, I threw up my hands in despair.

Same here. The first Pern book, the Dragon Riders of Pern, gets my award for "Best idea ruined by a writer" award.

Pthom
04-27-2005, 09:53 PM
Same here. The first Pern book, the Dragon Riders of Pern, gets my award for "Best idea ruined by a writer" award.Maybe so, maybe so. But David Brin's Startide Rising comes in a close second.

Betty W01
04-27-2005, 10:00 PM
Well, you know what they say about Robert Jordan. "The problem with reading The Wheel of Time is that there is no beginning nor end." I read the first two books or so, but then decided I would put it aside until the final book was actually in print so I could be sure that the series actually does end, rather than the author dying and leaving it incomplete.

I'm not sure anyone would be able to tell...



From what I've heard about the later books, maybe I shouldn't pick it up again.

I vote "no". Unless you end up in prison for a few years with nothing better to do. (And even then I'd advise you to take up watching your fingernails grow. Lots more action there...)

whitehound
04-28-2005, 02:06 AM
Each to their own - Startide Rising is one of my favourite books!

soloset
04-29-2005, 09:49 AM
I'm seconding this one. I've never finished it. I gave up after the third time I threw it against the wall. Not just for the horrendous Tolkien ripoff, but also for gratuitous modifier abuse. That book probably used up the entire English-speaking world's ration of adjectives and adverbs for that year. Possible two years.

But, Easton Press published it in a gorgeous gen-you-wine leather binding as part of their *Masterpieces of Fantasy* collection, so there's no accounting for taste--definitely a YMMV topic.

Kris

The Sword of Shannara was supposed to be an homage to and revival of LotR-style fantasy. At the time, there was a dearth of good fantasy that far exceeded the recent drought. The genre was failing, and Sword revived it by essentially making LotR accessible (which is probably why it's included in a "Masterpieces of Fantasy" collection -- the historical value). Anyway, that's the way I heard it. :D

That said, Elfstones was far better writing and far better in the plot department, and far more involving. Don't know about the rest of the series, since I didn't read 'em.

Oh, and for a really amazing cliff notes version of LotR, try The Iron Tower. Our library had books 1 and 3. To this day, I have no idea what happens in the middle (but I suspect the wizard dies and someone tries to steal the MacGuffin).

DreamWeaver
04-29-2005, 06:09 PM
The Sword of Shannara was supposed to be an homage to and revival of LotR-style fantasy. At the time, there was a dearth of good fantasy that far exceeded the recent drought. The genre was failing, and Sword revived it by essentially making LotR accessible (which is probably why it's included in a "Masterpieces of Fantasy" collection -- the historical value). Anyway, that's the way I heard it. :D Thanks, Soloset. That's an interesting take on the matter. I guess I would have said at that time there was no genre, period. So, perhaps SoS helped kickstart the whole fantasy genre by making folks realize they didn't have to be able to equal LOTR, or even come close, to write epic fantasy. For that, I am grateful to it, and to you for pointing out something I hadn't considered. There've been a number of good epic fantasies since then that I wouldn't want to have missed. Unfortunately, SoS is not one of them.

As for making LOTR accessible...I'm not touching that. It indicates such a huge difference of opinion that it's unlikely we would ever agree. Obviously, our mileage DOES vary :).

Kris

soloset
04-29-2005, 08:24 PM
As for making LOTR accessible...I'm not touching that. It indicates such a huge difference of opinion that it's unlikely we would ever agree. Obviously, our mileage DOES vary :).

Kris

Hehehehe, I'll admit it, I didn't like Lord of the Rings at all. Except for the Fellowship of the Rings; the other books made my eyes cross.

I have to admit it! I am a plebe!

[Edit] Maybe I throw all caution and respect to the winds and admit I liked the movies, too. Or maybe I should just go hide.

DreamWeaver
04-30-2005, 01:26 AM
Hehehehe, I'll admit it, I didn't like Lord of the Rings at all. Except for the Fellowship of the Rings; the other books made my eyes cross.

I have to admit it! I am a plebe!

[Edit] Maybe I throw all caution and respect to the winds and admit I liked the movies, too. Or maybe I should just go hide.No, I didn't mean it that way! It's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. I love the movies, too.

Here's my admission: I like to read James Fenimore Cooper and Jane Austen, which by Mark Twain's estimate puts me completely beyond the pale. If everyone liked the same thing, bookstores would only have one book for sale.

But... <sly tweak> I guess SoS didn't help make LOTR accessible to you, and it sure didn't make it accessible to me. If I'd read SoS first, and if someone had told me if that if I liked SoS I would love LOTR, I would never have picked up LOTR. So, I'll stick by that part of what I said ;)</sly tweak>.

I think it's great that you like fantasy. Me, too.

Kris

wardmclark
04-30-2005, 02:48 AM
I'm not sure if I'd call it science fiction except in the very broadest sense, but I struggled vainly through Jean Auel's latest, Shelters of Stone, and regretted it.

I fought my way through that whole, long, rambling narrative waiting for something to actually happen. Nothing did.

I can't understand how an author who could produce something as great as Clan of the Cave Bear could so swiftly descend to writing Stone Age romance novels. Her work has gotten steadily more silly and nonsensical. I don't get it.

triceretops
04-30-2005, 03:06 AM
Yeah, Ward. I think Jean's getting a little long in the tooth (old). Bless her though, I remember when she was all the rage with Clan, and nothing could stop her. I think maybe it's time she shelved the series and went on with something else--she's even admitted this desire. Jean was one of a kind with Pleistocene paleontology, and her wonderful ice age research. I've written on exactly the same subject, but there's only so much you can do with it.Tri

zizban
04-30-2005, 03:52 AM
Elfstone is good, I think probably the best he's done in that never ending Shannara series. One writer who needs to give up is Katherine Kurtz. Her Deryni books were, once upon a time, good reads, but each one reads like every other.

Phouka
04-04-2006, 10:51 AM
I've found a kindred group! You all have covered every book that I dragged myself through and promptly got rid of. I will admit to not liking LOTR. No, not quite true. I really like the story, the grand sweeping arc of the thing...it's the actual writing that I simply can't stand. Every single place or thing in the novel has some pompous sounding name -- 'The Blah of Blahblah' and after the fifth or sixth reference to these painfully named object, I was laughing outright. Heresy, I'm sure, but there you go.

I simply can't finish anything Goodkind writes, or Jordan. The have degenerated into a bizarre ego-trip for the author, and they are dismissive and downright insulting to the reader. A friend tried to get me to read the Left Behind books, and I read exactly four pages. Unbelievably bad.

A lot of the horror/paranormal stuff, which seems to be classed as fantasy or dark fantasy now is screamingly bad. The only book I've ever thrown away was some dreck by a 'dark romance' novelist that I picked up as an airport read for a long flight. The writing sounded very much like a lovelorn 13-year old girl and used every single cliche in the book. Every single one.

Forbidden Snowflake
04-04-2006, 02:10 PM
Wraethu or however it was called, awful! I didn't manage to read the first book and I succesfully forgot all about it.

However the Da Vinci Code I liked. It's fiction, I don't care for his research, I don't care if what he writes has any truth in it, it's fiction and a good story. However horribly written, but let's ignore that.

waylander
04-04-2006, 03:45 PM
Myrren's Gift by Fiona McIntosh

Actually this one has an OK plot, but it is ruined by being riddled with all the errors that a writer makes in their first ever attempt to write a novel. Astonishing as 1) this is her 4th book and 2) no editor has made her sort it out

Anya Smith
04-04-2006, 06:01 PM
The latest and biggest disappointment was Ilium by Dan Simmons. Possibly because I loved his Hyperion series. Ilium, and I heard Olympos also, are just cobbled up from borrowed ideas. I found it ridiculous that characters from Homer and Shakespeare mix with cyborgs, and even they're not original


Though I heard some people liked them, I bemoan my $24.00, and time spent on Ilium.

aka eraser
04-04-2006, 10:56 PM
The latest and biggest disappointment was Ilium by Dan Simmons. Possibly because I loved his Hyperion series. Ilium, and I heard Olympos also, are just cobbled up from borrowed ideas. I found it ridiculous that characters from Homer and Shakespeare mix with cyborgs, and even they're not original


Though I heard some people liked them, I bomoan my $24.00, and time spent on Ilium.

From the different strokes dep't: Ilium was my favourite read of 2005. I loved the tongue-in-cheek humour and got a real sense that he had fun writing it. I know I had fun reading it.

Shadow_Ferret
04-04-2006, 11:32 PM
Worst book I ever read was something called the Dark Tide, part of some Iron Tower trilogy. Right, like someone would torture themselves enough to read all three books.

Another horrible book was some book in the Vampire Files series by P.N. Elrod. Writing was equally as bad as the Iron Tower thing. I can't understand how that has become a series.

Those are the only two books I've ever physically thrown at a wall.

Peggy
04-04-2006, 11:58 PM
One of the worst SF books I ever picked up was based on a mostly aquatic planet, where the intelligent species lived in the great sea (and maybe they were all or mostly female?). Humans came to trade and, inevitably, began to despoil the planet. Over and over the book (which I've forgotten the name of) harped on the theme of "save the environment". While I agree with the sentiment, it was done in such a heavy-handed manner that I couldn't even get halfway through the book. That was pretty unusual for me, since I'm a totally promiscuous reader.

dragonjax
04-05-2006, 12:23 AM
Most disappointing: Robert Jordan. The man's name has become synonymous with "yuck" in my mind.
I have to admit, I'm hooked on the damn series. I have to see the flipping thing through to the end. When I'm done, I'll probably give away all the books. ((sigh))


Other writers that burned out later in the game are Terry Goodkind and L.E. Modesitt Jr. I'm a bit worried about George R. R. Martin but am in wait-and-see mode there. Will give him one more book.
Absolutely agree with you re Goodkind (I stopped reading his series in the middle of book three -- how many times could various characters call Richard "a rare one"?); I've only read on Modesitt, and I have to admit that I wound up skimming the last 2/3 of the book. Martin, though, to me is getting better and better. I was horribly disappointed that he had to split his fourth book into two: A FEAST FOR CROWS and the upcoming TO DANCE WITH DRAGONS -- I think a lot of the nuances will be lost, and he's given away parts of TDWD in the latter pages of AFFC. Ah well -- guess people don't want to read a 2,000-page book...

Sage
04-05-2006, 12:28 AM
I have to admit, I'm hooked on the damn series. I have to see the flipping thing through to the end. When I'm done, I'll probably give away all the books. ((sigh)) And that's why Jordan will keep dragging it on & on. People keep buying them, & everyone I've ever heard talk about the series say that it's losing quality & they're tired of the series, but they have to see it through to the end. If everyone is going to keep shelling out money for it, regardless of quality or no indication of the series ending, what incentive does he have to ever bring it to a conclusion?

dragonjax
04-05-2006, 12:51 AM
And that's why Jordan will keep dragging it on & on. People keep buying them, & everyone I've ever heard talk about the series say that it's losing quality & they're tired of the series, but they have to see it through to the end. If everyone is going to keep shelling out money for it, regardless of quality or no indication of the series ending, what incentive does he have to ever bring it to a conclusion?
I know, I know.

It's an addiction, I need help... :Shrug:

Simon Woodhouse
04-05-2006, 02:24 AM
BattleAxe by Sara Douglass.

Generic characters, generic plot and terrible prose. But is did inspire me, because I thought if that can get published and make it onto a book shop shelf, then there's hope for me.

Phouka
04-05-2006, 03:37 AM
That's how I look at the truly horrid dreck that ends up in my to-read pile. I haunt the bookstores for new stuff, and some of it is so painfully, so awfully bad that I think, "Damn! I can write better than this. If THIS can get published, I can."

ChaosTitan
04-05-2006, 05:30 AM
The last book I hurled across the room was Dark Prince by Christine Feehan. I got all the way to page 66 before giving in to my utter boredom. Watching the paperback sail through the air and crash to the floor was more interesting.

Linda Adams
04-05-2006, 05:49 AM
Take a Thief by Mercedes Lackey. It was so filled with mispelled words to show dialect (the main character's way of speaking, so you know how much) that I got about a third into it before I was begging for mercy. The dialect made it extremely difficult to read because I couldn't just simply read--I had to stop and try to translate what the words meant!

Anya Smith
04-05-2006, 06:09 AM
Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. I eagerly read the first couple, slowly trudged through the next few, got part way through the (I think it was) 7th one and said, "I don't have enough brain cells or days on earth left to devote to this anymore." It was more than just a sense that the story threads had become a little too entangled. I honestly think he's lost complete control of the series and the characters and has no idea how to end the thing, so he just keeps on tangling the threads up more and more, hoping no one will notice. My theory is that sooner or later, the whole ball of yarn will rise up and choke him to death. (If a disgruntled fan doesn't do it first...)

And besides, a good rule of thumb I've discovered is to avoid paperback novels whose general spine shape resembles a capital C before it's even opened. A Jordan book could be used as a blunt instrument with nothing added to it.

Robert Jordan - just say NO!

I agree, it's awful, though I only read one. Maybe he titled it Wheel of Time, so he could go on and on, like a wheel keep turning.

victoria.goddard
04-05-2006, 07:05 AM
Somebody upthread mentioned Cecilia Dart-Thornton. I have to say I was enjoying her "Bitterbynde Trilogy" very much, right until I got to the end, which was possibly the most disappointing ending of any book I've ever read. It was as if she said--"Er, can't think of how to end this satisfactorily, so I--I know! I'll make the main character lose her memory and everything beforehand will be as a dream told secondhand to her." The reason why her memory was lost made sense, but emotionally and in terms of where stories ought to go by their own internal logic (even with a negative ending, as the title of the trilogy indicates--a bitter necessity), totally wrong. It'll be a long time before I read anything else by her, because she made me lose my faith in her ability to draw her story to a close in a satisfying manner. Which is the point of fiction!

Also she mentioned on several occasions the "bell-like tones of magpies". Even in Australia, which was a large influence on her story (think European folk-lore creatures--wights and fairies and kelpies and all--in a southern-hemisphere setting; that was very cool), magpies do not have bell-like voices. They're almost as harsh-sounding as peacocks.

I also have a problem with Mercedes Lackey's later Valdemar books. They all have exactly the same narrative voice (which puports to be 3rd-person limited, so to me this is a problem) and tell the same stories. Yet some of her earlier ones were good.

My-Immortal
04-05-2006, 08:33 AM
Somebody upthread mentioned Cecilia Dart-Thornton. I have to say I was enjoying her "Bitterbynde Trilogy" very much, right until I got to the end, which was possibly the most disappointing ending of any book I've ever read. It was as if she said--"Er, can't think of how to end this satisfactorily, so I--I know! I'll make the main character lose her memory and everything beforehand will be as a dream told secondhand to her." The reason why her memory was lost made sense, but emotionally and in terms of where stories ought to go by their own internal logic (even with a negative ending, as the title of the trilogy indicates--a bitter necessity), totally wrong. .

I'm kinda glad I wasn't in the middle of reading the above book....(or somewhere midway through the last book of the trilogy).

Pthom
04-05-2006, 10:16 AM
It's an addiction, I need help... :Shrug:I have a quarter of a million words written that are in nead of critical comment...if nothing else, it just might possibly cure you of mediocre sci fi.......

waylander
04-05-2006, 01:08 PM
BattleAxe by Sara Douglass.

Generic characters, generic plot and terrible prose. But is did inspire me, because I thought if that can get published and make it onto a book shop shelf, then there's hope for me.

Funny you should mention Sara Douglass. I read her novel 'The Nameless Day' and it was a strong contender for worst ever until Fiona McIntosh came along.

MDavis
04-05-2006, 04:41 PM
I suppose we're not really delving into the POD world of bad books here, but I just have to throw this out here, because it is BY FAR the worst fantasy book I've ever read. I suspect it will trump all of the Jordan/McCaffery/Goodkind/Brooks issues combined.

But I beg you--for your sake--not to read it.

It's The Divine Source, by an "accquaintance" of mine who calls himself Razor Whitewolf. I am ashamed to say that I was the editor, and so I had to slog through an even worse version than what eventually got published. BUT I got paid, so it wasn't all bad http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/wink.gif .

It reads like a videogame. Imagine reading a book that's written strictly like Final Fantasy 8. Walk two feet--BATTLE!--walk two more--BATTLE! You get the point.

Everything is either massive or impossibly something.

If you want a good laugh, check it out on Amazon. It's almost two pounds, so it makes for a good doorstopper.

Tirjasdyn
04-05-2006, 06:45 PM
Crystal Fire was by far the worst book. I have seared the author's name from my memory. The writng is bad, the story is bad, everything about it is horrible.

Proof that no one should ever have a facination with wookies and rape.

No it's not a star wars book...it's a sci fi romance.

JerseyGirl1962
04-05-2006, 08:19 PM
By the 4th book in the Wheel of Time series, I was through. The 1st three were pretty good, but I gave up about a 1/3 of the way into the 4th book.

I've since given them all away. Good riddance!

I didn't care for Neil Gaiman's American Gods. I know it won awards, but, sheesh...not to be a prude, but it seemed there was some sort of sex act every few pages. If it was some sort of erotic novel, well, I wouldn't be reading it ;), but at least it would've made sense to have a lot of those scenes. And the name dropping! Talk about product placement! Only read through about the 3rd or 4th chapter before I gave that one away.

Another one was Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Didn't like it at all...confusing, and the endless games at Battle School (I think that's what it was called) bored me. I finished it, but decided never to read any novels by him again.

~Nancy

aka eraser
04-05-2006, 09:23 PM
I suspect I'm not the first but I've been using "Jordanize" as a verb for years now.

About three or four years ago I wrote to Elizabeth Haydon to discuss the first book in her The Symphony of Ages series. I had a problem with a couple of areas in the book and wanted to get it off my chest. She was kind enough to reply, saying she appreciated receiving something other than pure plaudits. We swapped a couple of more emails, talking about writing in general, and I said (in what turned out to be my last mail to her) I hoped she wasn't planning to "Jordanize" her series - that she'd wrap it up in three or four books.

There was no response and Google tells me there's at least six books in the series now. I stopped reading part-way into the second. Not because we were no longer penpals but because the protagonist was no longer even remotely believable.

Nangleator
04-06-2006, 12:55 AM
one thing i try to avoid is books that seem like where one major setback obliterates the enemy...
An even worse variation of this happens in movies so often, I've nicknamed it. I call it a 'James Bond Exit' when the good guy kills the bad guy, and somehow because of that death, the building/island/planet begins to disintegrate and explode -- Just slowly enough so that the hero (and love interest) can run out to safety.

Bad books: Some of the later Stainless Steel Rat novels really drove me crazy. I absolutely loved the earlier ones, but A Stainless Steel Rat is Born was painful to read. Not a bad story, just bad prose and dialog.

Phouka
04-06-2006, 03:38 AM
The last book I hurled across the room was Dark Prince by Christine Feehan.

I've found worse! By Sherrylin Kenyon. I actually sat and stared at the back of an airline seat rather than read it. I have a sneaking suspicion that they are actually the same person.

victoria.goddard
04-06-2006, 03:52 AM
Is Dark Prince the one about Alexander the Great (and Chiron, and some sort of weird curse)? If so, I vaguely remember starting it many years ago, but I can't remember much beyond the first chapter, so I suppose I didn't think highly enough of it when I was fourteen to finish it. I think I still have it somewhere, though . . .

badducky
04-06-2006, 09:19 PM
I've got to say "Fountainhead" by Ayn Rand. I don't know if it qualifies as a sci-fi/fantasy book, but it sure felt like a fascist fantasy-world to me.


Ayn Rand is awful.

Lucifiel
04-07-2006, 09:42 PM
I've found worse! By Sherrylin Kenyon. I actually sat and stared at the back of an airline seat rather than read it. I have a sneaking suspicion that they are actually the same person.

Yes! Her books were soo cheesy and bad, I felt myself cringing. My good gods. And not to mention Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series which went on and on and on and on and on...

Wait, now I'm editing this post again 'cos I still have a few more books to add!

P.N. Elrod: "wannabe Sherlock Holmes who ends up a bad imitation of him"

What else? Hmmm... Kim Harrison/Laurel Hamilton(I only read all of her books 'cos I was just bored and stuck at someone elses' place, with nothing to do).

Phouka
04-08-2006, 07:34 AM
I love Hamilton -- she's my guilty pleasure, and each of her new books is a good dose of spectacular erotica. Although someone pointed out that if you took out the sex scenes, there's be 20 pages of novel left. Ah, well.

I just finished two novels by J.R. Ward (the blackdagger brotherhood) and, while they are actually pianfully cheesy -- her character names are eye-rollingly funny -- they are strangely compelling. Maybe I'm attracted to bad sci-fi/dark fantasy books just like I'm attracted to bad sci-fi movies. Sometimes, they are enjoyable as fluff and forgotten immediately afterwards.

Lucifiel
04-08-2006, 04:05 PM
I love Hamilton -- she's my guilty pleasure, and each of her new books is a good dose of spectacular erotica. Although someone pointed out that if you took out the sex scenes, there's be 20 pages of novel left. Ah, well.

I just finished two novels by J.R. Ward (the blackdagger brotherhood) and, while they are actually pianfully cheesy -- her character names are eye-rollingly funny -- they are strangely compelling. Maybe I'm attracted to bad sci-fi/dark fantasy books just like I'm attracted to bad sci-fi movies. Sometimes, they are enjoyable as fluff and forgotten immediately afterwards.

Actually, Hamilton's first few books were readable(not the very best but passable for a lazy afternoon, just barely acceptable) but as the series went on, it just collapsed into an endless drivel of sex. The only reason why I kept reading was 'cos I was hoping for something that would salvage the mess. Unfortunately, not.

Mmm, if you want dark fantasy, I think there is Kelley Armstrong. Now, her books are good! :D

Jay Tomio
04-22-2006, 02:33 PM
Some that are just terrible IMHO:

Robert Newcomb
Christopher Paolini
Terry Goodkind
Terry Brooks
Robert Jordan
Kevin J.Anderson (in fact, all Starwars books no written by Matt Stover, Sean Stewart, Karen Traviss, and some Zahn novels)
Dragonlance as a whole
Mercedes Lackey (how many animal companions can we make!)
Bernard Cornwell
David Webber
David Farland

Diana Hignutt
04-22-2006, 03:00 PM
Are you guys aware, that science fiction and fantsy writing is a relatively interconnected career that depends, often enough, on the good graces of others, and networking in the field?

Me, I'd avoid, badmouthing the work of living authors in public. You never know they might be the ones in the position to make a referral for you to get that big agent. My three close calls with big agents came through referrals from other authors. On two cases they didn't handle fantasy (but one agonized over the decision) and the other said it wasn't yet my time, but they wanted me to keep submitting my work to them (a real biggie, too).

There's too much networking involved for success to be bashing people's hard work.

You might want to give this some thought.

Jay Tomio
04-22-2006, 03:23 PM
Personally, I don't live my life avoiding opinion, just in case someone might be immature enough to take an opinion on their work personally and not choose to be a beneficial force in my career because of it.

As a webmaster and reviewer for a website (and spinning of new ezine!) who knows full well the networking involved and the relative small world that is the genre community, and I enjoy a great relationshiip with several dozen authors, and a couple dozen publishers, who want opinions not a peanut galllery.

Critcism comes with the business, and I have found the overwhelming majority of professional authors appreciate it - and the others don't care what is said on a online forum.

I'm not a writer, but there are plenty of writers who aee also sources of criticims, and suffer no ill-effects. In the end, talent is what matters. Being a universal cheerleader, or silenced, for what might happen seems a bit superficial - but that's just me.

Diana Hignutt
04-22-2006, 03:53 PM
Jay,

I don't disagree with what you said. But, I'm a small enough person, that if someone dissed a book of mine as "the worst book", and I found out about it...no referral for them.

I have no problem with genuine criticism of my work, nor do most writers, but people are people, and people hold grudges.

waylander
04-23-2006, 12:12 AM
Fair comment, but no-one on this board knows who I am.

Diana Hignutt
04-23-2006, 03:58 PM
Yet.

Higgins
09-08-2006, 02:25 AM
CJ Cherryth is a very variable writer: she has at least four distinct literary styles, one of which I adore, one of which I can take or leave and two of which I can't be bothered with. I re-read the whole Chanur sequence, and Rimrunners, at least once every couple of years - but I gave up on Forty Thousand in Gehenna, and on The Tree of Swords and Jewels, after a couple of chapters. I personally quite liked the Rider books, but they certainly aren't her best work.

I would nominate The Amber Spyglass, the last of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. I adored Northern Lights, quite liked The Subtle Knife - but I just got so bored with The Amber Spyglass that I gave up about a third of the way through. And I kept hoping that he would notice how horrible he had made his society of witches, but he never seemed to: evidently he really does think that murdering someone because they refuse to have sex with you, or desecrating a tribal religion and demanding that the people fall down and worship you, are OK behaviours provided you are a scantily-clad young woman.

I bailed on Pullman when I found he could not manage Angels. Who can't do a good Angel?

But you guys are missing all the truly appalling Sci Fi monstrousities of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. There was one where the inner being of a star had to be whipped for some reason and it was just a little guy sort of a baby seal.

yanallefish
09-08-2006, 03:57 AM
Oh, lemme see, I have a little list...
Wheel of Time - started out okay, I didn't mind reading through some of it, got a little into it... drove me crazy after a while because he left open too many loose ends and I kept going "ok this is the book where it ends, right?" and then nope, it wasn't because he added on a different idea.
Pern - well, I said it in a different line here, but yeah, later stuff's just not appealing to me.
Goodkind - is ok for a while, then seems to lose it
Brooks - not a bad read but ditto about the "ok for a while" thing
Dan Brown - :rant: don't even get me started...
I'm not even going near the horrors of the '40s, '50s and '60s. Groan. I've read some of those, with bad taste left in mouth syndrome...

(though I do admit that I read Burrough's stuff and thought that worked all right; it was the story that carried him, I think, and made you not think about possibility/impossibility stuff. I liked Xanth when I was a kid, just for screwing around).

As for this:
QUOTE]Are you guys aware, that science fiction and fantsy writing is a relatively interconnected career that depends, often enough, on the good graces of others, and networking in the field?

Me, I'd avoid, badmouthing the work of living authors in public. You never know they might be the ones in the position to make a referral for you to get that big agent. My three close calls with big agents came through referrals from other authors. On two cases they didn't handle fantasy (but one agonized over the decision) and the other said it wasn't yet my time, but they wanted me to keep submitting my work to them (a real biggie, too).

There's too much networking involved for success to be bashing people's hard work.

You might want to give this some thought.[/QUOTE]

Yup, I'm aware of it. At the same time, I don't believe in tiptoeing around just because Person X is a bigger cheese than myself. As far as I've seen, there are a number of writers out there who would rather know if people don't like something they've written. And, well, none of us are going to be liked by everybody either. (climbing off soapbox)

triceretops
09-08-2006, 04:41 AM
Silent Zone--Independence Day, was a rushed prequel to Independence Day. Like we really needed to know why earth was attacked in the beginning. Big, big bore. Cashing in on the movie franchise.

Tri

Inkdaub
09-08-2006, 03:44 PM
I love the Wheel of Time.

I read the Iron Tower trilogy that has been mentioned and didn't hate it but it is an obvious LotR rip. McKiernan has better books, though.

I dislike the work of the two Terrys...Brooks and Goodkind.

LeslieB
09-08-2006, 04:13 PM
The Thomas Covenant books. I read the first two or three because a friend loaned them to me because he wanted to have someone to talk about them with. I have to admit that I enjoyed the world that he built, and thought there were some really good characters. But it was all ruined by his irritating protagonist. I kept thinking over and over, "This would be a really good book if someone would just throttle that idiot and be done with it."

Diana Hignutt
09-08-2006, 04:22 PM
As for this:
(Are you guys aware, that science fiction and fantsy writing is a relatively interconnected career that depends, often enough, on the good graces of others, and networking in the field?

There's too much networking involved for success to be bashing people's hard work.

You might want to give this some thought.)

Yup, I'm aware of it. At the same time, I don't believe in tiptoeing around just because Person X is a bigger cheese than myself. As far as I've seen, there are a number of writers out there who would rather know if people don't like something they've written. And, well, none of us are going to be liked by everybody either. (climbing off soapbox)

Just a little note to make my point again. Last week, out of the blue, I received a referral from a well-known fantasy author. As a result, the top editor at a top fantasy publisher is now reading my first novel (the rights to which I have reacquired).

But, hey, go ahead, dis anyone you want...

I will repeat that while most authors do want to know if people like their work, and they do appreciate constructive criticism, they don't want to see their books listed online among the "Worst Books Ever." There is definitely a difference. There are some biggies in the genre that read and post in this forum. I promise, I won't make this point anymore. Best of luck!

Pthom
09-08-2006, 10:02 PM
I don't think it's required to "dis" an author to express one's displeasure with a story or a book written by her (or him--or it).

We all know what makes a decent critique. Why should it be any different when giving a review of a book?

Diana Hignutt
09-09-2006, 04:55 PM
I don't think it's required to "dis" an author to express one's displeasure with a story or a book written by her (or him--or it).

We all know what makes a decent critique. Why should it be any different when giving a review of a book?

Peter, Peter, Peter,

What am I going to do with you? I'm not disagreeing with what you're saying, however, I'm pointing out that there's a difference between critiquing someone's work and "gang-critiquing" it on a public messageboard under the heading of "Worst Books."

Let's say that I'm actually Robert Jordan and I hang out here under a psuedonym that bears no relation to my name, or maybe I just lurk. Now, here I come to this thread, and low there's my hard work being bandied about as among the worst books of all time. Being Rober Jordan, okay, I'm used to it. I'm a pro after all. However, if I were inclined to take a shine to someone on this board and wanted to help some struggling author get ahead, I sure wouldn't help someone who thought my work was among the worst books of all time. Even though I'm Robert Jordan, I'm a human being, and I get offended. Sure, maybe, I'll read the critique here and say, man, that Pthom's got me pegged. I'll have to try harder next time. I'll have to see how I can help him by putting in a good word to that big agent. Or maybe I say, screw him, see if I ever help him.

Now, you're thinking that I'm probably not Robert Jordan, and that even if I was, I wasn't going to help you anyway. Well, so far, I've received three referrals from major authors completely out of the blue, simply by networking here.

To me this thread seems like piling on, and that's not necessarily a good idea in a business that can depend on the good graces of other authors. That's all I'm saying.

Don't you see the difference, or is it just me? Don't you see the difference between a critique and what one poster did, listing a bunch of living, famous authors as "just terrible"? IMHO, it's not good business. That's all.

Pthom
09-09-2006, 07:04 PM
Sure I see the difference. However, I am not convinced that everyone posting in this thread does. And I should point out that the title of this thread begins with "Just for Fun..." Seems to me that anyone upset by commentary here is just not paying attention. :)

yanallefish
09-10-2006, 03:47 AM
I see the difference as well. I dislike so-and-so's work. Hate the authors? No, I don't know them. If at some point in the future I run into Someone Big and they happen to have read something I wrote about disliking their work, and they hate me for it, well that is their decision. Constructive criticism? Yes, I'd give it if asked. But well, as Pthom pointed out, this forum was started with "Just for fun..." Personally, if it were my own book/story/whatever someone was complaining about in here and I happened to run into that, well, I'd want to know about that, to see what it was that they hated, etc. That's just me. "dissing" doesn't come into the picture for me.

Neeli
09-10-2006, 04:01 AM
I don't like bringing the old master down, but one of his books just floored me. It's 332 pages of straight dialogue, with very little to no narrative or atmoshpere. The card games go on forever, the women speak like men, the old mentor (as always) speaks like a gangster, has intercourse with his daughter--liberal drug and liquor usage is promoted, and it's just the biggest piece of hack-crap that I've ever read. All of his characters speak with the same tone and dialect, even if they're sperated by 60 years in age.

Farnham's Freehold, by Bob Heinlein.

I think this book was a showcase for Bob's love of Bridge, and it was hastily written to fill his portfolio or quota. It's a far cry from Stranger in a Strange Land, to be sure. What in the hell was on his mind to vomit this thing up?

Tri

He did NOT have intercourse with his daughter Karen, it was Karen's friend (forgot her name).

I liked the first part of the book about the nuclear disaster, and then the second half...? Too bizarre. (My pet peeve in SF is use of time-travel to undo stuff. It's cheap...too easy.) I've read many of his books, and most seem to have too much sex, and unrealistic women. I've liked very few of them. But I agree, the bridge stuff was just stupid.

Neeli
09-10-2006, 04:08 AM
I read Song in the Silence by Elizabeth Kerner and, though I actually finished it, I gagged most of the way through. Why? It's hard to explain--predictability, "found" solutions, cheesy scenes, severe challenges to my suspension of reality at every turn, overdone "high" language... I could go on and on.

It made me wonder how such tremendously amateur work like that gets published (Tor Fantasy was the publisher I think)--and how can I do the same? ;)

On another note, Dragon Riders of Pern is one of my all-time favorites and an inspiration, though I admit there are parts that are very poorly done.

Anonymisty
09-10-2006, 08:27 PM
Ayn Rand is awful.

I read Atlas Shrugged last year, and while I rather liked the idea, it could have done with a bit of chopping. 300, 400 pages worth would have been fine. When I hit Galt's 90 page radio speech, I wanted to slam my head against the wall.

Rand could have used a good editor with a pack of red pens at hand.

Diana Hignutt
09-12-2006, 04:05 PM
I read Atlas Shrugged last year, and while I rather liked the idea, it could have done with a bit of chopping. 300, 400 pages worth would have been fine. When I hit Galt's 90 page radio speech, I wanted to slam my head against the wall.

Rand could have used a good editor with a pack of red pens at hand.

Hear, hear! Is there anyone who has actually read all of that speech?

DragonHeart
09-20-2006, 07:42 PM
I don't think it's necessarily a bad book, but I could not even get through the first ten pages of Dragon World by Byron Preiss and Michael Reaves. Something about the writing style just completely bored me, even though there was an interesting event going on. I bought it a few years back so I don't know, maybe I'll give it another try, but chances aren't looking good.

~DragonHeart~

dragonjax
09-20-2006, 08:09 PM
I have a quarter of a million words written that are in nead of critical comment...if nothing else, it just might possibly cure you of mediocre sci fi.......

:ROFL:

RG570
09-20-2006, 11:52 PM
Hear, hear! Is there anyone who has actually read all of that speech?

I read the entire book. I skipped nothing. Not one paragraph.

Anyone who does this deserves a medal.

I remember getting into the "count how many times the author uses this particular word" game too. I don't remember what the word was, but it was in like every sentence.

For a week after, I was gun-ho about her ramblings. Then the intoxication of the Grand March wore off, and I saw it for the hackneyed pseudophilosophy that it is, and devote much of my writing to countering her nonsense, since it's much too pervasive in our culture.

What it comes down to is that Ayn Rand was just cheesed off that she was denied the good bourgeois life of luxury she was born into when the Bolsheviks took over.

Linthar
09-25-2006, 06:48 AM
The worst book I've ever read was one I had the misfortune of picking to do a book report on back in middle school. It was a fantasy and I don't recall its exact name, but it was the hounds of, followed by some made up name which I can't recall at all.
The writing was horrendous, the plot was terrible, and the only claim it had to be called young adult, was that it was far to long for most people that were younger. It also had the annoying problem of 80% of the book consiting of the main characters get in trouble, the character they just met and we aren't ever going to see again saves them, they travel a little more and repeat the process. Wait makes it worse is that this 80% of the book following the forumula could have been taken out or shrunk into about 10 pages without impacting the overall story.

I did get one good thing out of it though. I can now think of it as a excellent example of what not to do in anything I write.

RTH
09-25-2006, 05:47 PM
From the different strokes dep't: Ilium was my favourite read of 2005. I loved the tongue-in-cheek humour and got a real sense that he had fun writing it. I know I had fun reading it.

Yeah, Ilium was a blast. I think I liked it so much BECAUSE I could tell Simmons had a lot of fun writing it. I found that fun infectious...

Evaine
09-25-2006, 08:34 PM
Linthar, would that be The Hounds of the Morrigan (by somebody O'Shea)?
If so, Morrigan isn't a made up word - it's the name of the Irish Goddess of War, and if this is the right book, then it was set in Ireland.
I have to say I didn't enjoy it that much, either, though it had its moments.

Linthar
09-26-2006, 04:43 AM
Linthar, would that be The Hounds of the Morrigan (by somebody O'Shea)?


Yeah thats the one. Now that I see the title, I definatly reconize that the word has meaning, but that kind of stuff doesn't stay well in the mind several years later.

But thanks, I'll no longer have a voice in my head nagging me to remember the title.

tigaseren
09-30-2006, 10:24 PM
I try to avoid scifi (i prefer fantasy) in general but every once in a while my father, who has a knack for finding the absolute worst books/movies out there would hand me something to preread for him. I think the worse SciFi I've ever come across was called The Magnificent Wilf. Compeletly pointless, changing plot lines seemingly every other chapter and then all of a sudden at the end we have this huge parade for the main character wife who was mistaken as a Wilf (although the book never explains what a 'wilf' is). To make matters worse the only thing we do get to know about a wilf is they are dangerious and due to be shot on sight. But then all of a sudden they're throwing a parade with big banners proclaiming 'the magnificent wilf' then the book ends. It was horrible. Coming a close second was a book called "the Outlaw School" which was pointless, plotless, but had so much bloody potential I kept reading it. The best part of the book was the back cover!