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Author Topic: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List  (Read 6539 times)

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Offline Fuzzy Necromancer

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Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« on: February 25, 2009, 04:50:32 PM »
It's very popular. It's a trend that's sweeping a nation. There are people who obsess over it and see it as a rich allegory for their life, name cats and offspring after it's characters, etc. There's a movie in the works, and it crowds the bookshelves everywhere. You've browsed it, scrolled up a summary, or even read it.

You HATE this fantasy novel/series.

Maybe you once enjoyed it, then took a long good look at it and realized it made you want to hurl, like somebody waking up after a drunken fling to discover their bedroom has three unattractive strangers and a goat. Maybe all your friends love it, and you can't see what the big deal is. Maybe the author's message goes against all you love and hold dear.

Whatever the reason, you can't stand it. You'd like the author to get staked through the heart or turned into a pack of squirrels, assuming you wouldn't prefer they just outright never existed.

Who's on your Fantasy Series Hit-list? You can also mention a single or handful of works if a complete hitlist would be too exhaustive.
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Offline mrbasehart

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2009, 05:10:39 PM »
I'm terribly worried that George Martin is going to completely screw up TSoFaI series.  Apparently there's only two books left in the series, but I can't see anyway of him finishing it properly by then (especially as the 6th book tells the 5th from a different viewpoint). 


Offline ImOscardotcom

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2009, 05:26:11 PM »
I'm terribly worried that George Martin is going to completely screw up TSoFaI series.  Apparently there's only two books left in the series, but I can't see anyway of him finishing it properly by then (especially as the 6th book tells the 5th from a different viewpoint). 

Speaking of which, have you seen this yet?


Offline SJP

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2009, 05:28:16 PM »
Two words: Piers...Anthony.  I would say 'Xanth Series,' but I think my disgust goes well beyond those books.

I friend of mine said I should read the first book in the Xanth series.  Being young, naive, and having just become friends with this guy, I figured why not.  I read it, somewhat enjoyed it, then kept going with them.  In fact, I ended up reading quite a bit of Piers Anthony.

It wasn't until I found out the next book in the series I was supposed to read was, "The Color of Her Panties."  Something definitely did not sound right about that.  And then I read "Firefly."

I was done with him right then and there.  I realized, flat out, that the man was just a maladjusted perv who needed some serious counseling.

If you've never read the book, Firefly has nothing to do with Joss Whedon.  It is essentially the story of an unknown entity that is killing people, leaving their skeletons behind.  Sound interesting?  Turns out the monster is actually a gelatinous blob that releases pheromones that cause its victims their sex desires to go into hyperdrive.  It then pretty much rapes them to death.

I am not kidding.  It rapes them to death.  Throw in a subplot about a simple, impotent groundskeeper and a nymphomaniac who tells stories about how she willingly walked across the street as a child to have sex with a child molester, and you've got a complete and total mess on your hands.  It's like Patton Oswalt's rountine about "Death Bed: The Bed That Eats," only serious.

Piers Anthony seems like a pretty notable weirdo, though.  He wrote another book that focused on a character who was diabetic, and he wrote a chapter at the end of the book saying how he made the character diabetic because he had been (erroneously, it turned out) diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.  Not so bad, but then he wrote another book about a left-handed character, with another epilogue stating all these facts about left-handed people more likely to die in car accidents than right-handed people.

I'm left-handed.  I'm still alive.  Case closed.
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Offline mrbasehart

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2009, 05:31:01 PM »
I'm terribly worried that George Martin is going to completely screw up TSoFaI series.  Apparently there's only two books left in the series, but I can't see anyway of him finishing it properly by then (especially as the 6th book tells the 5th from a different viewpoint). 

Speaking of which, have you seen this yet?

Honestly, I don't mind if he takes his time to write the books (besides, I don't think he needs another person pressuring him to finish) as long as they're finished in a way that seems complete. 

There's another series that went on too long: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  Seriously, after the first two... call it a day Doug! :)


Offline Fuzzy Necromancer

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2009, 06:15:13 PM »
Xanth is not on my hit-list, but that's probably because I've never had the poor fortune to read a Peirs Anthony novel.

The Mythadventures series, of which I've only read "Another Fine Myth," would go into my hit-list, albeit probably in the lower half. The plot is mediocre, but what really bugs me are the characters. Everything about them that is supposed to be quirky and humorous, I find nerve-gratingly irritating. Because the comedic aspect is the primary redeeming trait to our cast of morally gray main characters, I have no emotional investment, and just wish they'd get sat on by a giant frog or eaten by Ann Coulter or something. This goes double for Green Fanservice chick. I also find Istvan a pretty pathetic villain, as all of his menace comes from informed ability and off-screen deeds of evil.

The upper echelons of my list are reserved for works I find philosophically offensive AND badly written.

The Muchly All-Women-Want-To-Be-Slaves-and-it-is-a-Crime-Against-Nature-to-Suggest-Otherwise Gunless Meathead Philibuster of Gor, by John Norman, gets an honorary mention. I have fortunately never read these works. The only contact with them has been reviews, wiki articles, the fanservice-filled Outlaw of Gor film on MST3K (which apparently toned down the source materials sexist overtones) and the adroit parody-fic "Houseplants of Gor." That said, I must include it because of the sheer zenith this work has achieved in the realm of popular awfulness. Ignore the inept prose and fondness for "muchly." The author goes beyond the realm of traditional sword-and-sorcery fanservice, author interest, and bondage setups, and puts forth the ideology that all men really want to own property, all women really want to be owned and treated like crap, and the world would be perfect if everyone lived by this. It's one thing to say "this is my kink, and I'm writing about it." It's another to say "this is the law of the universe, and everybody who says their not into it is in denial, and you're ruining our utopia by wanting consensual sex."
The worst kind of badness comes not from porny fanservice, nor from long-winded preachyness, but the union of the two.
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Offline SJP

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2009, 06:34:16 PM »
I've heard of Gor, but never read any of them.  I would make a joke that Piers Anthony sounds like "Gor-Lite," but he's not into ownership.  He's more like that guy with the video camera from "Drop Dead Gorgeous."  "What?  Oh, this?  I just keep this in the glove compartment for insurance."

To be honest, other than Xanth and Lord of the Rings, the only real fantasy series I've read is the first half of "The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever."  I can't really say I hate it, but I can't really say I like it, either.  It is interesting in the fact that Tom himself is a leper from the 'real world' who can't believe in the wonderful, magical world he occasionally finds himself in, because to believe in it would make him forget about his very real and life-threatening condition, which would kill him.  This is the interesting part.  The part that sucks is that he travels all over the place constantly whining and complaining everywhere he goes.  "Look, here's our wonderful fields, where wonderful things happen!  And here's some nice food to eat!"  "YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND HOW AWFUL LIFE IS!  BOO HOO HOO HOO!"  Just take the food and enjoy yourself for twenty minutes, already.

The weirdest thing is, I don't even really like most fantasy as a genre, but I like writing it.
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Offline Fuzzy Necromancer

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2009, 07:01:24 PM »
I don't think that's too weird. I think a lot of the fantasy market is flooded with uninspired tripe, and somebody who really sees the potential of the genre is upset by that.

Or I could just be glorifying our pickyness. >.>

I tried to start one of the Thomas Covenant novels, but I didn't get past "previously, on Doorstopper Fantasy Series." The part where it mentioned he raped the young girl who tried to befriend him killed my interest.
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Offline SJP

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2009, 07:53:50 PM »
Yes, there is that.  Stephen Donaldson went far out of his way to ensure Thomas was as lovable as possible.
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Offline Fuzzy Necromancer

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2009, 08:52:09 PM »
Love doesn't hurt. It kills.

"Where there's smoke, there's a smoke-making machine."


Offline mrbasehart

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2009, 09:11:34 PM »
And he can't write dialogue for shit.  :)


Offline Fuzzy Necromancer

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2009, 09:45:46 PM »
"You're a <positive adjective> man, Richard."
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Offline SJP

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2009, 03:15:38 PM »
I love Adams.  All of them as well.  A shame he died before he could finish "The Salmon of Doubt."  Yes, it was supposed to be a Dirk Gently, but I thought it said in that book somewhere he was considering making it the sixth Hitchhiker book, since it was headed in that direction anyway.  And though it technically isn't fantasy except for maybe the fourth book, I would say it is certainly one of the most quotable sci-fi/fantasy series of all time.  I still love "They hung in the air in exactly the same way that bricks don't."

And as for Donaldson...I may have just been caught up in the moment.  I started reading the second trilogy, where the blind guy gives Thomas a stern talking to, but I guess the problem I have with the first trilogy of books is the same problem I have with a lot of fantasy books in general.  The reason why I don't read a lot of them is just that the authors get caught up in a lot of traveling almost for the sake of traveling.  "We have to get to Mount Evilgod before it's too late!"  "Mount Evilgod?  But that's nearly twenty-seven parsecs away!"  "That's as may be, but we have to go anyway, and the best way to do it is to follow the most dangerous path along the most winding rivers...because the enemy won't expect it!"  "But sir, enemy patrols have been in that area for months now!"  "Then send the short fellow who has never done this before along with that renegade nobody can fully trust, because the oracle said they are the most likely to succeed!"

That, or the deposed royalty tries to take back the throne in a seven-part epic.  I know half the fun is in the journey, but not when the journey takes seven years to read.

That might explain why I like Terry Pratchett so much.  His stories are very self-contained, funny as crap, and satirically relevant.  I'm sure somebody out there has the Discworld on their hit list, but it ain't on mine.
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Offline Jinto

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2009, 06:14:54 PM »
I think we can say antipathy for Piers Anthony is universal. Forget Xanth for a moment, the Incarnations of Immortallity series went downhill faster than a major rollercoaster's first drop, hit rock bottom, and never went uphill again.


Offline Fuzzy Necromancer

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Re: Your Fantasy Novel Hit-List
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2009, 06:15:15 PM »
Oh, I love Donaldson. Yeah, his Covenant raped a girl. I was going to defend in the story why he did this, but I realized I don't care at all whether or not any of you like Covenant.   Meh. Lots of characters murder and steal, and that's ok, but raping a girl isn't, gotcha.


No, it's not.

I ask you to familiarize yourself with the TVTrope Term "Moral Event Horizon."

He rapes the girl after he finds out the earth magic has cured his impotence. It's like somebody being offered a drink from the chalice of life and responding by pissing into it.

Theft is not as bad as rape. MURDER isn't as bad as rape. Killing somebody can sometimes be justified. Rape has no justification, no possible value for the greater good. It is pure, platonic evil. It's also not something I want to read a description of in any detail. Throw all the veins gushing like crimson fountains and messy brain-squashing you want, but spare me the fine details of a rape scene.

There are just certain things a protagonist can do that makes it impossible for me, as a reader, to care about him in any positive way, or to desire anything other than his painful and permanent death, possibly with a nasty afterlife. Once a character steps over this line, he is beyond redemption, and I have no wish to hear his story.

Thomas Covenant is just such a character.

You can get away with plenty of shit and still be "morally grey," but rape is utter, midnight-colored evil to the core. The only possible reason for reading about his exploits is to find out what vital organs the victim and/or her family fried and ate.
Love doesn't hurt. It kills.

"Where there's smoke, there's a smoke-making machine."