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Old 10-21-2008, 07:31 AM   #46
Lemurion
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I believe we not only have to consider quality but also qualities: not all the qualities that make a great short story are required for a great novel and vice versa.

Different readers, and writers, prefer different qualities. Some really like short fiction, others love massive doorstops. I like both. I thoroughly enjoy magazine short fiction (I've read the entire decade of the 1950's for Astounding (Analog), Galaxy, and If) but I also love long epics like Lord of the Rings.

One thing I've noticed is that different genres seem to lend themselves to different lengths, too. I've read far more good short science fiction and horror stories than fantasy. There's something about the fantasy genre that works best for me in a minimum of novella length.

RHadin made an interesting point about character, saying that short fiction wasn't really long enough to really get to know a character. This may be one reason why SF has often worked better in the shorter lengths. Real SF (as opposed to the pulp adventures in space the genre started with) is a literature of ideas, and many of those ideas can be stated in a single sentence.

It's a lot easier to write a good story about a one-sentence idea than about a deep character. However, if a reader doesn't really care about the ideas as much as the characters it probably won't appeal to them.

Different strokes for different folks.

Not even a perfect example of something they don't like will appeal to someone. I don't like mushrooms but love onions; I'm enough of a cook to tell the difference between a perfectly cooked mushroom dish and a bad one, but I'm still not going to eat it. I'm going to have my onions.
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:20 PM   #47
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I'm an avid reader. I currently have around 800 paperback/hardback sci-fi/fantasy books in my collection and an additional 100 e-books(all purchased since December of this year goooo cybook). I will stipulate that there are looong books that have no reason to exist but there are also short books that suck too. It's about the author and the writing. Hands down a long book from my favorite author appeals to me much more so than a short one. If the author's story doesn't require 500+ pages (ideally 5k+ pages in a 3-7 part series) then it's honestly not that imaginative and their world building needs work. I have a top 100 shelf and there are only 2 stand alone books on it and none under 450 pages. The only author I have found worthy of my shelf for stand alones is Alastair Reynolds. My top six on the other hand: Robert Jordan, Michelle West, George R.R. Martin, Kate Elliot, Steven Errikson and Dan Simmons all had something to say and went about it in a grandiose fashion. Plus there's the whole economy of scale here, I can read a 350 page book in a single sitting(~2 hours). I need more meat than that to make it more efficient than a movie.
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Old 10-22-2008, 03:29 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Blue Tyson View Post
Nope, exactly the opposite - unless an anthology.

If is too long, a waste of time
.

Long and average, or long and bad is way worse than short and average.
Um.......I humbly disagree there.....even if you really really dislike a book, you've learned something and thats never a waste of time..........
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Old 10-24-2008, 12:45 AM   #49
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Um.......I humbly disagree there.....even if you really really dislike a book, you've learned something and thats never a waste of time..........
Quite the opposite, let's take a long, bad book, by a bad writer, with a story you have seen a million times before and know how it ends, with all the sophistication of a dead cane toda.

In fact, this is likely to make you dumber than teach you anything. As well as waste a lot of time you could have used to actually learn something.
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Old 10-24-2008, 08:42 AM   #50
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I'm almost scared to admit this, but length is certainly a consideration for me. Not the most important, but it is something I will think about, especially if I'm undecided about buying. As a child in the library I never wanted the thin books, they'd be over too soon
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