I finished Young Miles the other day. This is an omnibus of The Warrior’s Apprentice, The Mountains of Mourning, and The Vor Game. I liked it better than the chronological prequel omnibus, Cordelia’s Honor, in that it was less political, feel-good, and more space opera and strategic sci-fi. Of course, there was still the whole mutant hate thing going on, but it felt sort of like a mash of Ender’s Game and Starship Troopers. At the end of the day, I still find the books somewhat … intellectually damped, but if you just treat them as easy-read fictions, they’re pleasant mindless entertainment, sort of like early Robert Jordan; still not really sure what all of the fuss and praise is about — maybe it gets better as we get past Bujold’s first few books. 6/10. I’ll probably continue the series, to see what happens, just because it’s getting harder and farder to find easy-read fiction that is at least agreeable these days.
Which brings me to the next topic, uniting Robert Jordan (who thinks the series brilliant), mutant hate, and everything that’s wrong with Fantasy writing: I started A Game of Thrones. Thank god there are only three books in the series so I won’t get dragged down like Jordan as he slowly bludgeons me to death with his awful plot deceleration and the writing of an elementary student.
That said, I’ve had about all I can take of the following in fantasy:
- Animals doing strange things (being here when they weren’t before) are a sign
- Something is here that hasn’t been here in a thousand years; they’ve come past the walll/seal/gate/whatever it is that holds off the evil, and this is an omen
- Random overly gratuitous sex scenes thrown in to wake the reader up from some dull writing
- Anything to do with “the dragon” “a dragon” “blood of dragons” “i am a dragon”
- Teenagers and children with superhuman wisdom, insight, and power/strength/maturity. Give me a break already, children are dumb.
- Anybody with the name “Tyrion”
- Too many characters in the first few pages. I’m a stupid reader with poor memory, introduce me slowly, especially when you’re using different names for the same characters all over the place! (ok, this isn’t really a bad thing, but I sure wish I could keep fourteen plots and thirty characters straight at the beginning of a novel)
Maybe I should just be done with fantasy for a while, but I don’t understand why folks can’t innovate the fantasy genre, and end up writing the same damn stories over and over again. I’m sure the book will get better, as everybody on the planet seems to love GRRM.
But, what I’m coming to realize is that I’ve found another Wheel of Time series, with a plot that slows until nothing happens in each book and everybody stuffs another $30 into the publisher’s pocket because they’re hooked on the drug and want to know what happens (of course, nothing happens, but instead we just continue our gradual approach to the singularity that is plot death, where an infinite amount of text appears on page without anything happening). I’m basing this all on reviews that are out there on the Internet, but by the time I get to the fourth book, I suspect I’m going to feel the same way. Just what I was hoping for!
- Please, somebody write some innovative fantastic fiction.
- Ending a series is good thing, honest. If you’re still full of creativity and imagination, start a new series (you may think you are, but you’re most likely wrong), it’s ok, I promise.
In the meantime, I need to give up on serial novels.
For those keeping track, I’m still reading GEB … but not as quickly. I’m about halfway in and have reached my “when will this end?” point. Every time I read a few more chapters I can’t stop thinking about isomorphisms and self-referential structures for the week that follows; I’m not yet sure if this is a good thing.