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Old 03-23-2012, 04:19 PM   #61
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I love this thread so muchly.

Husband keeps wanting me to read GRRM, just because he thinks it will be amusing to watch me hate it.

How about Patricia C. Wrede? I love her fantasy. In-depth and interesting, but with a very hopeful "good wins the day" tone.
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Old 03-24-2012, 05:49 AM   #62
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My dislike for GRRM has nothing to do with "grittyness," despair or shades of gray. It's his refusal to "get to the frickin' point already!" that has caused me to wash my hands of him.

I find the trend of milking genre series' into far more books than they have story for (even by the most lenient of standards) to be vastly more damaging than a little grit and moral ambiguity could ever dream of being.

Someone point me to the new scifi project/consortium that has the one rule of; "No sequels, no prequels, no reusing of worlds/characters." Intended to inspire genre authors to create stories instead of franchises. That, I could throw my support behind.
As much as I like (er, okay, love) GRRM's ASoIaF series, you make a great point. I thought after SK's Dark Tower I had learned my lesson re: being milked. But no. And when "The Wind Through the Keyhole" gets released... Let's just say there is wind blowing through the huge hole in my better judgement as well.

For those of you with the fortitude of character to resist this, . I'm made of weaker stuff.

Is it me, but if SF is 90% pessimistic, isn't Fantasy just the opposite? Like Belfaborac said how many
Quote:
clean-cut, heroic, upstanding, nausea-inducing protagonists
have we had down the years compared to the other side of the coin. I'm glad that we seem to have more of a choice these days.

if you like the "hopeful" Fantasy. I do too (if its well written, recommendations welcome), just not all the time. Different strokes and all that...
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Old 03-24-2012, 10:18 AM   #63
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And when "The Wind Through the Keyhole" gets released... Let's just say there is wind blowing through the huge hole in my better judgement as well.

For those of you with the fortitude of character to resist this, . I'm made of weaker stuff.
I'll resist until a few readers whose tastes and opinions I'm familiar with tell me it wasn't a mistake of monumental proportions. Until then... I'm going to be leery as hell about Wind Through the Keyhole. The past is rife with disastrous results when an author decides to "wake up" a series that was all wrapped up, put to bed and tucked in. Nobody would be happier than me if King bucked the odds on this one (and I know there's scads of gaps in the various time-frames of the series that can be filled with narrative), but I can't think of a single instance where I've been able to honestly say; "Yeah... I'm sooooo glad <insert author> decided to drag that one out of mothballs (after the better part of a decade)." I'm always willing to hear other's examples where they thought it worked out well, though.

"Wanting more" is most often the best state to leave your readers in. The problem is that the readers themselves don't usually understand that they're better off not "getting more" once the final curtain has fallen. So they clamor for more and usually end up with a bad taste in their mouth when the author makes the mistake of actually giving it to them.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:32 AM   #64
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I'm always willing to hear other's examples where they thought it worked out well, though.
I generally agree that it is best for authors to leave their early visions alone. A project that is ended is generally best left alone. (DUNE comes to mind. As far as I'm concerned the series should have ended with the first volume.) Sequels and spinoffs don't often match the tone and appeal of their precursors.

But there are exceptions, of a sort.
Marion Zimmer Bradley revisited/recast the entire back end of the Darkover saga when she decided to revisit SWORD OF ALDONES and ended up with HERITAGE OF HASTUR and SHARRA'S EXILE, easily the best two volumes of the series. (Although I have a soft spot for SPELL SWORD myself.)

For a straight much-delayed extension, I'd offer up the FOUNDATION Series. Asimov went back to the "finished" Trilogy-that-wasn't and took up the challenge of the critics that argued that the implied victory of the Second Foundation was "the bad guys winning" and ended up folding almost all his SF books into a unified timeline running from END OF ETERNITY to ROBOTS AND EMPIRE and beyond. And it mostly works in you ignore the occassional inconsistency.
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:39 AM   #65
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Thanks for the suggestions! I'll keep those in mind as examples of "maybe it can occasionally work" (but I have to admit that I've always preferred Bradley's brother Paul's Darkover novels).
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Old 03-24-2012, 11:42 AM   #66
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Thanks for the suggestions! I'll keep those in mind as examples of "maybe it can occasionally work" (but I have to admit that I've always preferred Bradley's brother Paul's Darkover novels).
Big *maybe*.
I'm not about to fight anybody that argues that the tone and style of the latter Foundation books is way different from the tone of the earlier works. The narratives are not exactly congruent.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:21 PM   #67
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Also, it's not easy to get a good story out of a happy and peaceful utopia.
Of course not... how realistic is a happy and peaceful utopia? But a story in which a crisis threatens a non-utopic but otherwise-stable society is always workable (though, in most cases, more epic than realistic). Better off writing a story in which a crisis or person threatens an otherwise-stable group or society... much more workable, much more realistic. And can be optimistic.
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Old 03-24-2012, 12:25 PM   #68
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Big *maybe*.
I'm not about to fight anybody that argues that the tone and style of the latter Foundation books is way different from the tone of the earlier works. The narratives are not exactly congruent.
Well, it doesn't help that for like 25 years Asimov had absolutely no desire to write another Foundation story, but finally pressure (and a large enough advance!) from his publisher caused him to cave. (such a shame, though, that bringing back the Foundation eventually led to the two prequel novels )
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Old 03-24-2012, 02:00 PM   #69
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you just need an author who is able to make the science understandable, entertaining and fit in a fictional narrative.
I think that's where the problem lies.
The people who has a thorough understanding of the sciences (or are at least willing to put in hours of research) are not the ones writing the fiction.

Some fiction writers just try to replace sound scientific knowledge with the shock value of pessiimistic/ violent novels that we're getting right now.

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Old 03-24-2012, 05:12 PM   #70
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I think that's where the problem lies.
The people who has a thorough understanding of the sciences (or are at least willing to put in hours of research) are not the ones writing the fiction.
You don't need a PhD to write good SF. But a writer can be a good enough researcher (and just know enough about science) to write good SF.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:56 PM   #71
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I think that's where the problem lies.
The people who has a thorough understanding of the sciences (or are at least willing to put in hours of research) are not the ones writing the fiction.

Some fiction writers just try to replace sound scientific knowledge with the shock value of pessiimistic/ violent novels that we're getting right now.
Isaac Asimov was a practicing scientist (Phd. in Chemistry) who wrote an SF novel or two ( you may have heard of him).

Stephen Baxter, David Brin and Gregory Benford are other scientists who write science fiction. I'm sure there are others.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:09 PM   #72
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My dislike for GRRM has nothing to do with "grittyness," despair or shades of gray. It's his refusal to "get to the frickin' point already!" that has caused me to wash my hands of him.

I find the trend of milking genre series' into far more books than they have story for (even by the most lenient of standards) to be vastly more damaging than a little grit and moral ambiguity could ever dream of being.

Someone point me to the new scifi project/consortium that has the one rule of; "No sequels, no prequels, no reusing of worlds/characters." Intended to inspire genre authors to create stories instead of franchises. That, I could throw my support behind.
As to why trilogies, etc...

LINK

Money quote:

Quote:
Why do trilogies become series? Sometimes, it's just audience demand, or the publisher's desire to keep a popular story going. But also, in a lot of these cases, the authors set out to create universes before they start writing the actual books, and they wind up with grand mythical realms. This is likely why these epics lend themselves so well to other mediums like TV, film and videogames – they are immersive, due to the sheer scope of their universes.

George R.R. Martin, for example, reportedly wanted to create a Tolkienesque world before penning A Game of Thrones. He was no doubt busy creating ancient blood feuds, lineages, and mythologies for his great project, all of which had to be touched on in the actual story. Tolkien sat on a perpetually expanding legendarium — poems, fictional languages and beastiaries — for decades, before incorporating middle-earth into a longer narrative. Upon becoming successful, he was therefore able to draw from these many existing middle-earth elements to write LOTR. Frank Herbert's process was similar. He collected and researched Dune's elements for years before publishing the first book. When it took off, the world of Dune already existed; he simply had to direct it into a narrative form.
My own take: originality is hard. Building a rich, complex original world is REALLY hard. Most writers don't successfully do it even once. Not surprisingly , most writers who do it tend to recycle (er , revisit) their creations rather than imagine new ones.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:38 PM   #73
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I'm not sure if today's SF writers are so much pessimistic as REALISTIC. Realism means that there would be good and bad in any vision of the future-and maybe more bad than good. As Mr. Housman put it:

Quote:
Therefore, since the world has still
Much good, but much less good than ill,
And while the sun and moon endure
Luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure,
From the POV of the early SF writers of the 1920s and 30s , the current world looks like a dream come true , but from the POV of a Congolese peasant or even someone living in the Fukishima Prefecture, things are far from perfect.

Frankly, I'm not sure that the SF writers of the past were all that "happy-clappy". Isaac Asimov was the virtual poster child of the techno-optimist but even his universe featured war, imperialism, societal collapse, etc.
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Old 03-24-2012, 08:45 PM   #74
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As to why trilogies, etc...

LINK

Money quote:



My own take: originality is hard. Building a rich, complex original world is REALLY hard. Most writers don't successfully do it even once. Not surprisingly , most writers who do it tend to recycle (er , revisit) their creations rather than imagine new ones.
Often true.

But sometimes it's even simpler.
Writers aren't always the masters of their stories; sometimes a story spawns other stories mid-stream, or the ending of one creates the need for another.

One example that comes to mind (given that I already mentioned SPELL SWORD above) is Bradley's FORBIDDEN TOWER, a story spawned by a comment from one of the author's friends about the challenges the protagonists were likely to face to maintain the "happy ending" of SPELL SWORD. More, not only did this lead to a story over twice as long as its precursor, it also led to a revision of THE BLOODY SUN and the above-mentioned SWORD OF ALDONES. So a single comment led to a simple fairy tale-ish standalone story becoming the cornerstone to half the entire Darkover series.

Writing is hard work; writers are often compelled to follow-up whenever a good story or compelling characters present themselves so sequels and series aren't always about milking a popular character or millieau for a few extra bucks; sometimes it's about a muse that just won't be denied.

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Old 03-25-2012, 12:36 AM   #75
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My favorite authors are still some of the oldest ones. Larry Niven is currently top of my list.
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