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Michael Cisco
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 02:55 pm:   

Jeff V. is "sick as a dog" according to his superhero power board, and my Lambshead-sharpened diagnostic instincts tell me not only that he suffers from febris tabulae (colloquially known as "The Lists") but that I have also been contaminated.

As has already been amply demonstrated by the hard-working staff of the ReaderCon bad prose competition, we may safely nominate John Norman's GOR novels, but what else makes the list, and why?
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Josh Lukin
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 07:21 pm:   

Dan Simmons's Song of Kali does for South Asians what John Norman does for women. Perhaps the Dark Evil Hindoo motif is forgivable in someone of Alfred Bester's generation, but it's hard to take in a more recent story (substitute Israel for India in the novel's storyline and see what it feels like). My reaction to this melodramatic Orientalist narrative was disgust; but I recounted the story to an Indian woman, expecting a similar response --and she could not stop laughing.
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JeffV
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 07:36 pm:   

Good point.

I also thought the parts of Dan Simmons' Hollow Men novel set in Florida were laughable--he had Ocala north of, rather than south of, Gainesville. And his swamp descriptions indicated he'd never been there, let alone watched a Discovery Channel special. Multiple generic descriptions of "alligators and birds" just doesn't cut it.

Jeff V.
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Mike Simanoff
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 07:11 am:   

I nominate ANYTHING written by the terrible team of Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. They constantly summarize the plot and characters as if their novels had been serials, which is offensive to anyone with an attention span, and their prose is about as inspired and graceful as a rubber tire.
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Nicholas Liu
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 07:29 am:   

I simply nominate anything written by Kevin J. Anderson.
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JH
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 04:09 am:   

Having just attempted to read The Woods Out Back, I would have to nominate anything written by R. A. Salvatore. He seems like a very nice chap in real life, but what atrocites he commits against language and genre!

~Jack~
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Mastadge
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 05:46 am:   

Hmm...

J.V. Jones' THE BARBED COIL (The Baker's Boy was pretty atrocious, too, but not as bad as this)

Just about anything by Terry Brooks or Bob Salvatore (who, as someone noted, is a nice guy, but a terrible author).

I'll add another nomination for Kevin J Anderson.

Sara Douglass' WAYFARER REDEMPTION

Jennifer Roberson's CHEYSULI CHRONCILES


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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 11:43 am:   

I fourth Kevin J. Anderson's nomination. Never read anything by Salvatore, perhaps thankfully. And Robert Jordan -- I read THE EYE OF THE WORLD as a favour to a friend and swore to myself never again.

And now for the kindler: I could never finish a book by Robert Heinlein. He's either too boring, or too nauseating. I still have a friend's copy of TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE around, and in the year and half I've had it, I couldn't go past page 90. Because it goes on and on and on without leaving the same place. I did leap forward to some of Lazarus Long's diary entries at said friend's suggestion -- Ugh! I *hate* novels that preach and talk down to the reader, especially when they do it as brazenly as this one or, worse still, STARSHIP-friggin'-TROOPERS. I would return the book, but my friend says he only wants it back after I finish it, so I guess it's my dubious honour to own it now . . . :P

Best,
Luís
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Mastadge
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 11:54 am:   

I've only read two Heinlein books. Starship Troopers, because I always read a book before I see the film based on it, and Glory Road, because it was recommended to me. I don't love either of them, but I don't think they're bad.
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 02:20 pm:   

I think it was TIME ENOUGH FOR LOVE that I read, and man TIME ENOUGH is right, should have called it TOO MUCH DAMN TIME FOR ME TO CARE - I know exactly what you're getting at Luis (why can't I find the accent? please imagine an intentional accent there over the "i") - TEFL was like a big smarmy slab of buttery feces served up with an unctuous grin. Two kinds of books I hate - beautiful things happen to beautiful people and ugly things happen to ugly people. And wisdom strictly from the back columns of Readers' Digest. Phooey.
Frankly, I don't think Clarke can write either.

Brooks wrote the Shanana books, right? Like Tolkien on demerol. And after a good whack on the noggin with a frying pan.
I read a whole stack of Eddings as a teenager while recovering from this hideous wisdom-tooth operation; somehow it seemed an appropriate complement to pain and medicated stupor.
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Luís Rodrigues
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 04:12 pm:   

In the old days, surgeons (read, barbers) treated people with sciatica by cutting them behind the ears, so the even more intense pain would provide some sort of distraction from the symptoms. I feel it may have been the same in your case, with wisdom-tooth and Eddings instead.

Best,
Luís

PS: The accent appears to be optional nowadays, I certainly don't notice it in most cases. And when in doubt over how to reproduce it on a keyboard that doesn't have accents, copy & paste are your friends. :-)
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Night Shade Books
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 05:14 pm:   

I shall hang my head and admit that Starship Troopers is one of my favorites books... as is Song of Kali. In my defense, there's really only two Heinlein novels I like, ST and Tunnel in the Sky. Simmons, on the other hand, I pretty much worship.

On the other hand, I'd like to add a number of people to the "please stop it" pile:

Jasper Fforde. Please, Mr. Fforde, I beg you. Quit. You're not as clever as you think you are.

Richard Matheson. It hurts me how bad his recent work is. Matheson has written some of my favorite books of all-time, but it doesn't excuse Hunted Past Reason. Not that it's fantastic, except perhaps in it's awfulness.

Frank Belknap Long. No appreciable writing talent to speak of. "Hounds of Tindalos" should prove that. The original "they're coming...ahhhhhh!!" story.

And put me down for a KJA vote.

Jason
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Mastadge
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 06:34 pm:   

Fforde: Damn . . . I just picked up Eyre Affair today, after hearing nothing but great reviews. . .

Matheson: Haven't read anything recent, but I AM LEGEND and his other early stuff I've read is really good. . .

Long: Haven't even heard of the guy. . .

Also going to throw Terry Goodkind's name in here. . .
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GabrielM
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 07:46 pm:   

Jason (unless it's Jeremy) notwithstanding, EYRE AFFAIR is a very good, very funny book. And this coming from someone who detests most comedy SF, including Pratchett and Holt and the like. Fforde's sequel has not been as well received. I picked up just yesterday, but probably won't be reading it for a while.

I admit to liking SONG OF KALI myself....

As for Long, I think "Hounds of Tindalos" is a pretty good tale, but would agree that most of the remainder of his work isn't worth a second look....
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Michael Cisco
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 10:28 pm:   

Without Matheson, you got no LEGEND OF HELL HOUSE nor I AM LEGEND / OMEGA MAN, nor do you got a number of Twilight Zone episodes; but, as my own lamentable experience tells me plain, past goodness does not vaccinate against future crapulence.
But see, I like Long. Most of his stories are a bit smarmy, but he wrote a few set in the near future, in which humans are enslaved by bees, ants, and (I think) birds, who are mutually at war with each other. Bizarre and lame-sounding as the premise of these stories may sound, and the plots were pure hokum, I still found myself enjoying them.
Didn't Simmons write the Hyperion books? I read them on airplanes long ago ...
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JH
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 03:00 pm:   

From what I understand, many of the recent releases by Matheson--especially those from Gauntlet Press--are "trunk novels" that hadn't been published for very good reason. His age and collectibility seem to have drawn these manuscripts from their musty holds and onto the market; too bad they're doing such damage to his reputation.

I apologize not one whit for liking Heinlein's novels, especially Stranger in a Strange Land, but also even Time Enough for Love. I read them in high school, which may be the perfect venue for them, and I remember them fondly if imperfectly.

Song of Kali is the only Dan Simmons novel that I really disliked, although I'm not overly fond of The Hollow Man. I thought the first both turgid and anticlimactic, and the latter just somewhat dull. Everything else I've very much enjoyed.

This past weekend I read Laurell K. Hamilton's A Kiss of Shadows, which I'm glad I only paid $3.00 for but wish I'd not bought at all. I was forewarned about the gratuitous sex scenes (which not only didn't forward the plot, but also failed to titillate--shame!), but didn't expect the pointless exposition, the chapters that did nothing to develop either story or character, the repitious over-writing, and the bad grammar. How did this author make the best-seller list again?

~Jack~
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Mastadge
Posted on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 03:19 pm:   

I read the first four or five Anita Blake novels several years ago. Enjoyed 'em; didn't think they were great. Then again, a lot of the books I enjoyed several years ago I've found that I now can't stand, and I haven't felt any pressing desire to go back and read any more of her books.
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JeffV
Posted on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 09:39 pm:   

For what it's worth, I think the Fforde is a piece of shit. It's so light weight it floats away on the breeze. And I like humor. But this precious, bloated, needling wheezing of Fforde's does not qualify.

JeffV
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Rhys
Posted on Monday, April 11, 2005 - 06:18 am:   

Extremely late to this discussion... I've just had the misfortune to come across Dan Simmons' Song of Kali and (for what it's worth) I have to agree with Josh Lukin's opinion of it (see above).

The book is bollocks, utter crap. Dan Simmons deserves to be expunged from the earth.

But at last, Fantasy Masterworks have printed a duff book!
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steve r
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 09:16 am:   

No , no, no - he has earned the right to live for the superb 'Hyperion' alone! (I admit I didn't finish 'The Hollow Man')
(I've just noticed the time, Rhys! I guess by now you have been forcibly removed for attempted large manicide!)
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Nels
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 10:21 am:   

Weird. I've just read SoK too. And while I thought it was shit, it wasn't nearly as bad as Richard Laymon's "Fiends", which a "friend" recently forced me to read.

I'd been lucky enough to avoid having read any of his stuff. Now I thank the eldritch Elder Gods that I managed to hold out for so long, and curse them that I eventually sat down to read one. The book was puerile, emotionally retarded, unlikeable, annoying, uninvolving, pointless and above all STOOPID.

And I thought Brian Lumley was bad...
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Mastadge
Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 02:14 pm:   

For my money, Simmons' best are still CARRION COMFORT and PHASES OF GRAVITY. I haven't read SONG OF KALI.
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MTC
Posted on Saturday, April 30, 2005 - 11:15 am:   

You're all well in advance of me, I see! I've read the two Hyperions, but that was many years ago and I can't say what I'd think of them now. At the time, I liked them well enough.

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