Author Topic: well, THAT was the worst book ever!  (Read 144608 times)

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Kendo_Bunny

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1635 on: February 05, 2012, 09:23:47 PM »
Fantasy books by an author whose name I seem to remember as P. J. Salvatore.  The plots were good but the writing drove me crazy.

Nothing was ever 'dark'.  It was always 'negrescent'.  Nothing was ever pale.  It was 'etiolated'.  Although these books were supposed to set in medieval Europe, people were always eating potatoes, hot peppers and corn on the cob. 

R. A. Salvatore - I haven't read anything of his lately - but have a couple of books in the "to read pile" with that last name on them............

The writing style definitely sounds like R.A. Salvatore... his books don't take place in medieval Europe, but in the very similar generic fantasy landscape. Also in his stories, no one has eyes. They all have "orbs". He commits even more gratuitous thesaurus abuse than Stephenie Meyer.

cabbageweevil

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1636 on: February 06, 2012, 06:31:09 AM »
"Gratuitous thesaurus abuse" -- wonderful expression !  Something which a fair number of writers, including competent / good ones, are prone to; giving considerable annoyance to many of their readers.

I've found this tendency in, to name just a couple, Lawrence Norfolk (who I've tried, and found I couldn't get on with); and Louis de Bernieres (he of "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"): whose output I find rather highly variable as regards quality, and "enjoyable or otherwise".  Authors being quick on the draw with the thesaurus in this way, usually annoys me; enthusiastically throwing around long and obscure words strikes me as showing off, rather than being clever or original.

Gyburc

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1637 on: February 06, 2012, 06:53:22 AM »
Stephen Donaldson is rather prone to this, at least in the Thomas Covenant series. The Mordant's Need books are better. I didn't get into the sci-fi series at all, so I don't know about those!
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iridaceae

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1638 on: February 06, 2012, 08:22:11 AM »
Stephen Donaldson is rather prone to this, at least in the Thomas Covenant series. The Mordant's Need books are better. I didn't get into the sci-fi series at all, so I don't know about those!

I believe the late John D. MacDonald once referred to it as the "look Ma, I'm writing!" syndrome.

cabbageweevil

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1639 on: February 06, 2012, 12:33:57 PM »
Or -- the expression favoured by H.G. Wells's character Mr. Polly, with his talent for the creative mangling of the English language: "Sesquippledan verboojuice".

Ms_Cellany

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1640 on: February 06, 2012, 12:43:55 PM »
I'm enough of a geek to immediately think, "Did he mean 'sesquipedalian' ?"
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violinp

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1641 on: February 06, 2012, 12:49:34 PM »
I'm enough of a geek to immediately think, "Did he mean 'sesquipedalian' ?"

It's not just me?
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Amanita

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1642 on: February 06, 2012, 01:03:10 PM »
Me too! I went and read "Eye of Argon". Laughed my butt off, then read the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style commentary version and laughed even harder. The sad thing about it is that underneath all the overwrought prose, there's a decent story in there somewhere. I did have a few quibbles though- If the ruler of that land is such a vicious tyrant who kills anyone who opposes him, then why do peasants throw things at him when he's out in public, according to one of the characters in that story? Wouldn't he have his soldiers kill them? And at one point in the story, the main character gets into a scuffle in the throne  room, and the king's advisor takes what sounds like a serious wound. But later, we see the king and his advisor again, and the guy is just fine, no sign given of his earlier injury. Hello, continuity error!

artk2002

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1643 on: February 06, 2012, 01:08:08 PM »
I think that the inclusion of different languages may, indeed, be a cultural thing rather than a showing off thing. There was a time when knowing a bit of Latin, French and German was par for the course, especially for educated people in Europe. You run into it all the time (especially French) if you read anything written before, say, 1930s-ish.

I agree, mostly based on the fact that Agatha Christie included a lot of (Belgian) French in her Poirot books (maybe others, I haven't read most of her stuff).  When I first tried reading those books as a kid, I had to give up - all the untranslated French threw me off.  Now I can at least guess at what he's saying in context and it's not typically germaine to the plot.

(I also think she's a bit overrated, but certainly not in the "worst" category!)

It is absolutely a cultural thing. Particularly in the Sayers stories. These are two people educated at Oxford and they would throw in comments in multiple languages as a matter of course.

There's a bit in a song by Gilbert and Sullivan poking fun at the inclusion of remarks in other languages ("Young Strephon is the kind of out" from Iolanthe.)
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Nika

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1644 on: February 06, 2012, 01:56:44 PM »
Stephen Donaldson is rather prone to this, at least in the Thomas Covenant series. The Mordant's Need books are better. I didn't get into the sci-fi series at all, so I don't know about those!

Ew, Thomas Covenant. My uncle gave me the first three a few years ago. Didn't take too long for me to toss the book away from me in disgust. Never even opened books two and three.

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Elfmama

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1645 on: February 06, 2012, 03:28:36 PM »
Me too! I went and read "Eye of Argon". Laughed my butt off, then read the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style commentary version and laughed even harder. The sad thing about it is that underneath all the overwrought prose, there's a decent story in there somewhere. I did have a few quibbles though- If the ruler of that land is such a vicious tyrant who kills anyone who opposes him, then why do peasants throw things at him when he's out in public, according to one of the characters in that story? Wouldn't he have his soldiers kill them? And at one point in the story, the main character gets into a scuffle in the throne  room, and the king's advisor takes what sounds like a serious wound. But later, we see the king and his advisor again, and the guy is just fine, no sign given of his earlier injury. Hello, continuity error!
Continuity errors, even major ones, can sneak into all sorts of writing.  I'm thinking about MZB's Two to Conquer.  In one scene, a man and a woman are cuddled up in bed; she is specifically described as sleeping with her head on his shoulder.  Another man enters the room; the first man wakes up, leaps out of bed, and has an entire conversation with the intruder before the woman wakes up.

I don't know about you, but if my shoulder-pillow jerks out from under me, I'm going to wake up immediately!
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cabbageweevil

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1646 on: February 06, 2012, 07:10:57 PM »
I'm enough of a geek to immediately think, "Did he mean 'sesquipedalian' ?"

It's not just me?
I take it, that's what Mr. Polly was trying to say -- his formal education had ended at an early age. Subsequently, he loved reading; but for trying to handle the reading matter that came his way, he was pretty much on his own.  He had a thing about botching words to end them in the "oose" sound; another nice one of his, was "eloquent rhapsodoose".

Miss Misery

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1647 on: February 07, 2012, 10:24:10 AM »
The Beverly Hills Diet (1981) by Judy Mazel. Basically its Mazel's raging eating disorder trying to pass itself off as a diet. There were actually papers posted in medical journals about this book and one paper said it was the first time an eating disorder -- anorexia nervosa -- was marketed as a cure for obesity.

 :o

Winterlight

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1648 on: February 07, 2012, 11:21:42 AM »
Susan Wittig Albert's Beatrix Potter mysteries. I like her other series but this one is terrible. She continuously repeats information from previous books- whole pages of it! We don't actually need half a chapter on the badgers that you wrote three books ago and have put into every book since.

She repeatedly interjects the omniscent narrator, who takes up even more pages moralizing and prosing and explaining everything. I don't need you to tell me why two characters aren't necking on the front porch- I already know it's 1911 and that was highly inappropriate. Show, don't tell!

And she sucks at continuity. If you're going to make a point of mentioning a character's violet water perfume twice in one chapter, don't switch it to lilac ten pages later. If a character's name is Felicia in one book, turning it to Felicity in the next is irritating.

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lollylegs

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Re: well, THAT was the worst book ever!
« Reply #1649 on: February 07, 2012, 06:06:33 PM »
Stephen Donaldson is rather prone to this, at least in the Thomas Covenant series. The Mordant's Need books are better. I didn't get into the sci-fi series at all, so I don't know about those!

I believe the late John D. MacDonald once referred to it as the "look Ma, I'm writing!" syndrome.

I might be thinking of someone else, but wasn't it, "Look how pretty I'm writing?"