Anyone?

for discussing authors not listed here, main list or "possibles"

Anyone?

Postby jonnyH on Wednesday, 17 September 2008, 8:06 pm

I have quite briefly searched through the list of authors and haven't found a page for Robert Jordan. Jordan is one of my favourite authors and most of his wheel of time novels topped best sellers lists, he has masterful use of 3rd person limited (probably the best I've seen and this is a difficult style to write) and I would say one of the great fantasy authors, am I simply missing his name or has he been deliberately avoided?
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Re: Anyone?

Postby owlcroft on Thursday, 18 September 2008, 4:36 am

[A]m I simply missing his name or has he been deliberately avoided?

I wouldn't say "deliberately avoided", but he has been sampled at multiple books' length and not included here.

He obviously has a huge fan base, but different readers and different places have different criteria for evaluation. That is a genteel way of trying to say that taken all in all, I, at least, did not feel that his oeuvre is of the same quality level, all things considered, as that of the other authors who are listed here. As I try to say in a number of places, that is not equivalent to damning him to perdition: it is merely a comparison rating. Authors listed here are rated from 1 to 5 stars, but that's only the visible part of a personal scale that runs from -5 to +5; and on that scale, a 0 (or perhaps even a -1) is an author who is quite readable, just not one who belongs in elite company. And this site, recall, is premised on guiding visitors to the elite company of speculative-fiction authors.

There is a whole page here that lists numerous authors who are not included in these lists, but who come well recommended by what I consider reputable sources, and which are simply waiting for me to find enough time in life to read enough of their work to validate (or not validate) the associated recommendations. If an author you think worthy is not listed in either the regular full list or on that "possibles" page, I would of course like to hear about him or her and his or her work.

Anyway, I hope you don't go away angry, and will stay to further explore the site and contribute to more threads on these forums. Welcome to the site.
Cordially,
Eric Walker, webmaster
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Re: Anyone?

Postby DavidTate on Friday, 19 September 2008, 11:56 am

Any list or discussion that restricts itself to consideration of that which is "better than merely good" will eventually run into disagreements over where that line is. One man's tripe is, occasionally, another man's sweetbreads.

I have a particular personal problem with what I'll call "guilty pleasure" authors -- authors whose works are badly flawed, but that offer some element(s) that I enjoy so much that I'm willing to ignore the flaws. The works of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller are probably a good example here. I'm a sucker for a well-realized mannered society, to which exploding spaceships and 9-foot turtle lords can only add spice. I have re-read my copies of the Liaden novels a dozen times. The plots, however, tend to be... well ventilated, and they occasionally blow the fuses on my WSOD(*)-o-meter.

There are other, more extreme examples -- David Weber, among others too embarrassing to name. It's important to remember that this site is not about what is enjoyable (to me, to you, to anyone), but what is great. Just as all enjoyable food is not great cuisine, not all enjoyable fiction is great fiction.

(*)willing suspension of disbelief
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Re: Anyone?

Postby owlcroft on Friday, 19 September 2008, 9:49 pm

All of what David says is abundantly true. I only want to clarify that I was responding to jonnyH's explicit query about this site, which is, of course, a listing of exactly one man's tripe and sweetbreads. On some authors, included and excluded, I will go to the walls fighting, but on many it is--to me--a matter of chacun a son gout.

I particularly agree with "guilty pleasures"; indeed, there is on the site a short list of some of what I find the more outstanding of what are, or used to be, called "camp" tales, which I include not for academic reference but because I find them fun. There are a few other, lesser-rank such pleasures, too: most anything by Dave Duncan, Simon Green's "Nightside" stuff, Dan Crawford's "Nimnestl", and the odd one-offs like Gertrude Friedberg's oddity The Revolving Boy or David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself. But the problem with "gulity pleasures" is, as I see it, that they are much more idiosyncratic choices; most literate people will more or less agree on the merit of well-written books, whether or not they themselves especially enjoy them (yes, it is possible to not enjoy some well-written book), but will tend to disagree much more on whether this or that less-well-written thing is a fun read.

Incidentally, David, I see "baseballogist" in your sig. I forget now whether in past we have explored that topic; as you probably know, I run not one but two baseball related sites (c.f. the Owlcroft menu site).
Cordially,
Eric Walker, webmaster
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Re: Anyone?

Postby thepaladin on Wednesday, 04 February 2009, 4:12 pm

May I comment? So far as Jordan is concerned...I really liked some of his works, but later it seemed that, well, maybe he could have profited if he’d allowed more input from a good editor.

So far as “guilty pleasures” goes, I see nothing wrong with the occasional “box of brain candy” Like I assume all here I have a long list of writers who others may not appreciate. Doesn’t bother me... I’m old enough that if someone doesn’t approve of my taste, that’s fine. I like it.

I hope to find here discussions of books and even bodies of work that we can all agree or disagree on “agreeably” and express why we like or dislike.

So, for me....long live Jim Butcher (among others) maybe not someone others would call literary, but hours of enjoyment. I could give a long list, but you get the idea...brain candy is quite good.

among friends
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Re: Anyone?

Postby DavidTate on Thursday, 05 February 2009, 9:16 pm

Hi Mike; welcome.

Jim Butcher is a good example. I have read all of the Harry Dresden novels, and will continue to read them as they come out. They aren't good, but they are certainly fun, for a certain dark value of "fun". I make a killer Steak Diane, but I also likes me some cheeseburger now and then.

I really admire what Eric is trying to do (as I understand it) with this site -- partly because I think a lot of the authors he highlights are vastly underappreciated, and partly because I wish to stand at his back in the battle against the postmodernist rejection of the notion of "quality". There was only a brief instant between the day SF&F became a legitimate subject of literary criticism, and the day literary criticism itself was co-opted by the anarchists. It's nice to help that brief candle shine a bit longer.

(OK, apparently riesling makes me pontificate. Sorry about that...)

Cheers,
David
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Re: Anyone?

Postby thepaladin on Sunday, 08 February 2009, 1:02 am

Riesling huh? I have to admit that I don’t drink much (alcohol) and have no “pallet”....my favorite wine is probably, beer. Still, it comes from a deprived upbringing. My parents were teetotalers.

As for quality works of speculative fiction, I’m glad the sight is here also. While we will often probably disagree as to what constitutes a quality work...we all stand to have worlds open to us we might not have stumbled over were we not coming here and sharing our thoughts and ideas.

You know, to return to the question that opened this thread, when I started reading the Wheel of Time series I thought it stood to be one of the premier fantasy epics of all time. It was at that time (I think, but if I’m wrong don’t hate me) supposed to be complete in 7 volumes. I tend to wonder if it wasn’t the victom of its own success. I mean the publishers had a sure fire best seller with each volume. It became obvious as the “series” went on that the editors were having less and less to do with it. I mean we had conversations where the same event was described from maybe seven points of view...500 pages covers one day. I have read that since Mr. Jordan’s death his heirs have the notes to finish the story. But I still believe that if every volume from say 7 on were to be turned over to a good editor it would end up a better series.
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