Author Topic: Reading/Book Pet Peeves  (Read 260026 times)

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Nikko-chan

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #210 on: February 03, 2013, 06:22:16 PM »
Complaint that's more or less specific to science fiction and fantasy:

Cultures don't scale that much.  I can see there being a tribe/group of people who do X (live in a big city, are good at mining, like wearing fluffy dresses, etc.) but that doesn't mean I can buy a whole PLANET of city-living miners in fluffy dresses exist!  Leaving aside the obvious issues with your entire planet being urban (the amount and cost of space traffic necessary to bring in food for that huge a population would far outstrip any planet's wealth or resources), history has shown us time and time again that human populations tend to form splinter groups when the population gets big enough to split.  Try to show me a "vacation planet" and I'll ask you where all the workers live - do they own expensive resort real estate too, or do they have a hidden slum outside of town?  Same with "this race of aliens is nomadic and really good with riding horses" - logic would dictate a mix of rural and urban living anywhere the same as we have here.  Often alien races end up being shorthand for specific stereotypes (warlike, greedy, noble, etc.) and authors/scriptwriters completely ignore the fact that any race would have a huge range of normal variation in individual personalities.

Pretty much this! I have a copy of a Star Wars book called "The Guide to Alien SPecies" or something like that. While it's a fun read, your complaint sums it up exactly! For example, one species might be described as highly xenophobic. The whole species. Really? All members of the species hate outsiders for whatever reason? (Superiority complex, religious reasons, fear that contact with others could lead to colonization or contamination of their "pure" culture) Even if a planet's governing body holds those beliefs, surely there would be dissenters? Surely there would be differences of opinion, with different groups having different ideas, or positions at various places along the ideological spectrum? For example- the governing body's position is one of isolationism, but in reality, citizens have different ideas- some are very isolationist or xenophobic, others hold a moderate position advocating perhaps just enough contact with outsiders to avoid becoming out of touch, or coming up on the wrong end of a technology gap, and others still (even if they're a minority and catch flak for it) advocating for openness.

I'm trying to avoid this in my own writing- true, I'm dealing with a race of beings who coexist with humans on this planet, who have their own culture and ideas. But at the same time, they're not all ideological clones- The majority believe in a symbiotic relationship with humans, but there's a minority who have been badly treated by humans, and don't want to play nice anymore. In some cases, they've integrated peacefully with humans, two cultures coexisting in relative peace. In other areas, they tend to butt heads.

It is possible for a race to be genetically xenophoboic... that is, they react with hostility toward other lifeforms on a biological level.  But basically, yes.

You mean like the Daleks?

Jocelyn

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #211 on: February 03, 2013, 10:16:07 PM »
I've taken to reviewing historical novels that aren't, on Amazon. One of my most recent reviews is about a novel where the heroine, in 1200, decides to marry the hero but not consummate the marriage. And he agrees!

Somehow, I suspect that a heroine would have a tough job pulling that off in 2013, much less in 1200. Apparently the author had never heard that in the Middle Ages, there were limits on how much control women had over their lives.
Oh, and the hero produces, literally overnight, a marriage contract, which the heroine reads before signing. Without any witnesses.

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #212 on: February 03, 2013, 11:04:17 PM »
Complaint that's more or less specific to science fiction and fantasy:

Cultures don't scale that much.  I can see there being a tribe/group of people who do X (live in a big city, are good at mining, like wearing fluffy dresses, etc.) but that doesn't mean I can buy a whole PLANET of city-living miners in fluffy dresses exist!  Leaving aside the obvious issues with your entire planet being urban (the amount and cost of space traffic necessary to bring in food for that huge a population would far outstrip any planet's wealth or resources), history has shown us time and time again that human populations tend to form splinter groups when the population gets big enough to split.  Try to show me a "vacation planet" and I'll ask you where all the workers live - do they own expensive resort real estate too, or do they have a hidden slum outside of town?  Same with "this race of aliens is nomadic and really good with riding horses" - logic would dictate a mix of rural and urban living anywhere the same as we have here.  Often alien races end up being shorthand for specific stereotypes (warlike, greedy, noble, etc.) and authors/scriptwriters completely ignore the fact that any race would have a huge range of normal variation in individual personalities.
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RingTailedLemur

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #213 on: February 04, 2013, 03:22:02 AM »
Books with vague or no endings at all...like the Sopranos, but in book form.  One author in particular is guilty of this: Brian Keene.  He writes horror fiction and I've read about six of his books, but after reading the last book I have to say that I will never read another book of his ever again.  Of the six books that I've read from him, three had vague/no endings where you're supposed to come up with your own conclusion on how the story ends.

The last book that I read from this author involves characters that are stuck in a town which has been surrounded by a supernatural evil mist and so they escape, but you never find out what happens to them because you find out at the very end that it's a diary that the main character has left behind about everything that happened.  The book basically ends with: "We're leaving right now to cross the supernatural evil mist in order to escape this town, but I can't tell you what happens because I'm leaving this diary here for other people to find!  Yes, I know that the story has culminated in seeing what happens when you cross the supernatural evil mist, but you'll have to imagine what happens to us because I'm leaving the book here!"     

Some people call endings like this "artistic," but I consider them lazy and cop-out's.  I read books because I want a story and I want the story to end.

That's Stephen King's The Mist, isn't it?

Morrigan

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #214 on: February 04, 2013, 09:58:11 AM »
Books with vague or no endings at all...like the Sopranos, but in book form.  One author in particular is guilty of this: Brian Keene.  He writes horror fiction and I've read about six of his books, but after reading the last book I have to say that I will never read another book of his ever again.  Of the six books that I've read from him, three had vague/no endings where you're supposed to come up with your own conclusion on how the story ends.

The last book that I read from this author involves characters that are stuck in a town which has been surrounded by a supernatural evil mist and so they escape, but you never find out what happens to them because you find out at the very end that it's a diary that the main character has left behind about everything that happened.  The book basically ends with: "We're leaving right now to cross the supernatural evil mist in order to escape this town, but I can't tell you what happens because I'm leaving this diary here for other people to find!  Yes, I know that the story has culminated in seeing what happens when you cross the supernatural evil mist, but you'll have to imagine what happens to us because I'm leaving the book here!"     

Some people call endings like this "artistic," but I consider them lazy and cop-out's.  I read books because I want a story and I want the story to end.

That's Stephen King's The Mist, isn't it?

It is.  It might also be another author's book, but it's definitely the Mist.  The ending of the movie was vastly different (superior) to me, though, since it had an actual ending.

Most of SK's have regular endings, though.

Twik

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #215 on: February 04, 2013, 11:10:47 AM »
I've taken to reviewing historical novels that aren't, on Amazon. One of my most recent reviews is about a novel where the heroine, in 1200, decides to marry the hero but not consummate the marriage. And he agrees!

I'm not sure that's impossible on the face of it. There might be reasons why a husband would go for this - it could be a politically expedient marriage to a woman he wasn't attracted to, or he had physical/psychological problems that made sex impossible, or even religious scruples. However, I doubt that was what the author was driving at.

(The idea of a chaste marriage reminds me a bit of the story of Ivar the Boneless (my favorite historical nickname) and the Viking Curse....)
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Bexx27

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #216 on: February 04, 2013, 11:47:04 AM »
Books with vague or no endings at all...like the Sopranos, but in book form.  One author in particular is guilty of this: Brian Keene.  He writes horror fiction and I've read about six of his books, but after reading the last book I have to say that I will never read another book of his ever again.  Of the six books that I've read from him, three had vague/no endings where you're supposed to come up with your own conclusion on how the story ends.

The last book that I read from this author involves characters that are stuck in a town which has been surrounded by a supernatural evil mist and so they escape, but you never find out what happens to them because you find out at the very end that it's a diary that the main character has left behind about everything that happened.  The book basically ends with: "We're leaving right now to cross the supernatural evil mist in order to escape this town, but I can't tell you what happens because I'm leaving this diary here for other people to find!  Yes, I know that the story has culminated in seeing what happens when you cross the supernatural evil mist, but you'll have to imagine what happens to us because I'm leaving the book here!"     

Some people call endings like this "artistic," but I consider them lazy and cop-out's.  I read books because I want a story and I want the story to end.

I'm totally with you. As I posted earlier, I don't want to have to use my imagination to fill in major parts of the story. The ending is part of the story. If I wanted to make up my own ending, I'd make up my own beginning and middle, too. Don't get me wrong, I like thought-provoking books, but they should provoke thoughts about the author's message and its implications for my own life, society, etc., not "I wonder what happened?"
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Amanita

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #217 on: February 04, 2013, 03:56:54 PM »

It is possible for a race to be genetically xenophoboic... that is, they react with hostility toward other lifeforms on a biological level.  But basically, yes.

If a trait like xenophobia is genetic, on a biological level as opposed to social, cultural, or religious, That's one way to justify it. But that's something that a writer should provide some detail on- if it's genetic, how else does this genetic predisposition affect them? Does it give them any other proclivities?

A biologically/genetically hardwired thing like the Daleks I could understand. But races where everyone seems to be on the same ideological page without any such explanation are harder to swallow.

dirtyweasel

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #218 on: February 04, 2013, 04:46:21 PM »
Books with vague or no endings at all...like the Sopranos, but in book form.  One author in particular is guilty of this: Brian Keene.  He writes horror fiction and I've read about six of his books, but after reading the last book I have to say that I will never read another book of his ever again.  Of the six books that I've read from him, three had vague/no endings where you're supposed to come up with your own conclusion on how the story ends.

The last book that I read from this author involves characters that are stuck in a town which has been surrounded by a supernatural evil mist and so they escape, but you never find out what happens to them because you find out at the very end that it's a diary that the main character has left behind about everything that happened.  The book basically ends with: "We're leaving right now to cross the supernatural evil mist in order to escape this town, but I can't tell you what happens because I'm leaving this diary here for other people to find!  Yes, I know that the story has culminated in seeing what happens when you cross the supernatural evil mist, but you'll have to imagine what happens to us because I'm leaving the book here!"     

Some people call endings like this "artistic," but I consider them lazy and cop-out's.  I read books because I want a story and I want the story to end.

I'm totally with you. As I posted earlier, I don't want to have to use my imagination to fill in major parts of the story. The ending is part of the story. If I wanted to make up my own ending, I'd make up my own beginning and middle, too. Don't get me wrong, I like thought-provoking books, but they should provoke thoughts about the author's message and its implications for my own life, society, etc., not "I wonder what happened?"
Books with vague or no endings at all...like the Sopranos, but in book form.  One author in particular is guilty of this: Brian Keene.  He writes horror fiction and I've read about six of his books, but after reading the last book I have to say that I will never read another book of his ever again.  Of the six books that I've read from him, three had vague/no endings where you're supposed to come up with your own conclusion on how the story ends.

The last book that I read from this author involves characters that are stuck in a town which has been surrounded by a supernatural evil mist and so they escape, but you never find out what happens to them because you find out at the very end that it's a diary that the main character has left behind about everything that happened.  The book basically ends with: "We're leaving right now to cross the supernatural evil mist in order to escape this town, but I can't tell you what happens because I'm leaving this diary here for other people to find!  Yes, I know that the story has culminated in seeing what happens when you cross the supernatural evil mist, but you'll have to imagine what happens to us because I'm leaving the book here!"     

Some people call endings like this "artistic," but I consider them lazy and cop-out's.  I read books because I want a story and I want the story to end.

That's Stephen King's The Mist, isn't it?

It is.  It might also be another author's book, but it's definitely the Mist.  The ending of the movie was vastly different (superior) to me, though, since it had an actual ending.

Most of SK's have regular endings, though.


Actually, the book is called Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene, but the ending is pretty much the same.

*edited because I chose the wrong quote
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 09:27:44 PM by dirtyweasel »



Jocelyn

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #219 on: February 04, 2013, 09:33:41 PM »
I've taken to reviewing historical novels that aren't, on Amazon. One of my most recent reviews is about a novel where the heroine, in 1200, decides to marry the hero but not consummate the marriage. And he agrees!

I'm not sure that's impossible on the face of it. There might be reasons why a husband would go for this - it could be a politically expedient marriage to a woman he wasn't attracted to, or he had physical/psychological problems that made sex impossible, or even religious scruples. However, I doubt that was what the author was driving at.

(The idea of a chaste marriage reminds me a bit of the story of Ivar the Boneless (my favorite historical nickname) and the Viking Curse....)
Yes, in this case, the husband desperately wanted to consummate the marriage, but when his bride made it clear she didn't, he was too much of a gentleman to proceed. It wasn't an arrangement they discussed before the wedding; she just sprang it on him on the wedding night.

Editeer

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #220 on: February 04, 2013, 10:03:22 PM »
Romance books by British/Australian authors that have the story set in America.  The author has properly done her geography research, however, the heroine worries about scraping her "tyres" on the "kerb" as she pulls into the "carpark " then takes the "lift" up to her "flat."


I enjoy spotting such bloopers.  :)

My peeve is authors who constantly use brand names. The character doesn't drive her car, or even her luxury sedan; she drives her turbo Mercedes S-class. Every reference to the car thereafter is to "the Mercedes." Hey, we already know the character is wealthy and has impeccable taste. The worst for this is Patricia Cornwell. Her protagonist doesn't have a watch, or an expensive watch, or a very expensive watch. No, we are told seventeen times about her BREITLING TITANIUM watch. Gee, I wonder what Cornwell got/wants for her birthday.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #221 on: February 04, 2013, 11:05:12 PM »
That makes me think of a series I stopped reading even though I do like other things by the author.  The books are the Nuala McGrail series by Andrew Greeley and I enjoyed the series at first but it really got on my nerves after a while that one character, Dermot, kept insisting he wasn't a yuppie yet loved talking about his Mercedes, the elite yacht clubs he'd take his wife to, having a house on Lake Michigan and mind you, a house in a very well to do part of the beach. 

Dude, we get it, you're loaded and don't have to work because you made some kind of mistake when you were a stock broker.  And your family's loaded too.  We get that as well.  I'd like you a lot more if you weren't trying to make the reader believe that you're humble despite having money when you're making sure they know just how rich you and your wife are.  There's nothing wrong with being wealthy and enjoying what you can afford, really, but rubbing your wealth in the faces of others while pretending you're just like every other middle class person is just annoying. 

Edited to add: I still enjoy the Bishop Blackie series, and was rather amused at how he seemed rather annoyed that his family insist he get rid of his old car and replaced it with an expensive brand new SUV that he really didn't enjoy driving.  That and it was hard to be the invisible auxillary bishop when one is driving a big black and fancy SUV.  He much preferred having an older car (A mustang, I think it was) that was very cool but didn't make him stick out quite as much.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 11:14:46 PM by Piratelvr1121 »
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MerryCat

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #222 on: February 04, 2013, 11:36:14 PM »
Romance books by British/Australian authors that have the story set in America.  The author has properly done her geography research, however, the heroine worries about scraping her "tyres" on the "kerb" as she pulls into the "carpark " then takes the "lift" up to her "flat."


I enjoy spotting such bloopers.  :)

My peeve is authors who constantly use brand names. The character doesn't drive her car, or even her luxury sedan; she drives her turbo Mercedes S-class. Every reference to the car thereafter is to "the Mercedes." Hey, we already know the character is wealthy and has impeccable taste. The worst for this is Patricia Cornwell. Her protagonist doesn't have a watch, or an expensive watch, or a very expensive watch. No, we are told seventeen times about her BREITLING TITANIUM watch. Gee, I wonder what Cornwell got/wants for her birthday.

This. So much this! Also, for some reason, when authors start doing this I start imaging the characters as being like Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping up Appearances. In my head the main characters are all speaking in affected English accents and boasting about their candlelight suppers while the secondary characters are all rolling their eyes behind the main characters' backs.

LEMon

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #223 on: February 05, 2013, 01:11:00 AM »
Romance books by British/Australian authors that have the story set in America.  The author has properly done her geography research, however, the heroine worries about scraping her "tyres" on the "kerb" as she pulls into the "carpark " then takes the "lift" up to her "flat."


I enjoy spotting such bloopers.  :)

My peeve is authors who constantly use brand names. The character doesn't drive her car, or even her luxury sedan; she drives her turbo Mercedes S-class. Every reference to the car thereafter is to "the Mercedes." Hey, we already know the character is wealthy and has impeccable taste. The worst for this is Patricia Cornwell. Her protagonist doesn't have a watch, or an expensive watch, or a very expensive watch. No, we are told seventeen times about her BREITLING TITANIUM watch. Gee, I wonder what Cornwell got/wants for her birthday.

This. So much this! Also, for some reason, when authors start doing this I start imaging the characters as being like Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping up Appearances. In my head the main characters are all speaking in affected English accents and boasting about their candlelight suppers while the secondary characters are all rolling their eyes behind the main characters' backs.
It also gets interesting when the items used become dated.  Picture someone boating about their wonderful phone which is now the totally outdated, useless brick, or that no one remembers any more.

CrochetFanatic

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Re: Reading/Book Pet Peeves
« Reply #224 on: February 05, 2013, 01:37:14 AM »
I've just thought of another one, and I think someone might have mentioned it earlier in this thread.  Stories written in the first person perspective.  Now, don't get me wrong.  If it's done right, the story can be great.  It's just very difficult to pull off.