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  #21  
Old 08-22-2012, 09:57 AM
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I read this when you first wrote it and have been mulling it over periodically since then. A friend is reading the series right now, and close to completing The Crippled God, so lots of back and forth have occurred. I have purposefully NOT talked to him too much about anything so as to allow him to form his own opinions. I have been curious to see his reactions to things that I liked/bothered me as well and not wanted to taint him.

So here are a few responses...keep in mind, in the end I LOVED these books. Yes, I agree with a lot of criticisms, but in the end I understood much more of the point of it all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by yks 6nnetu hing View Post
Particularly considering that Erikson completely ignores the philosophical and ethical thought and his humour is very slapstick.
I disagree. His characters, many of them, struggle with the philosophical issues throughout the books. To me they feel more real, as they quite often make bad choices, wrong choices, selfish, evil choices. That makes them much more believable. Shining beacons of light bore me. The slapstick I find amusing, and again, very real. I spend my days doing what others may consider dreary work, but interspersed in my day are hysterical comments, entertaining stories, foolish mistakes, etc. Humor is what I live for in my day to day life. These characters seem more real to me than Nynaeve and her braid pulling.

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But anyways, as I said, my problems with Malazan stem directly from the writing style which I consider to be self-congratulatory and narcissistic while actually never even reaching to the mediocre level of the Fantasy genre.
I didn't read the forward. I never do. That may be a good thing, may be a bad thing. I stay away from author details much more now that I have come to realize GRRM is kind of a douchebag in real life. That made me sad. And has taken some of the joy out of SoIaF for me. So, I do totally understand your annoyance with SE and how it could taint the entire reading process. I like his take on fantasy. Everything is confusing, just like real life. No one knows what is occuring 300 miles away, EXCEPT the Gods. Sometimes anyway. The Magic doesn't always make sense to me, or even the characters. Should it? No. Weird shit happens at random points. Again, just like my life.

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I had serious problems relating to his characters. The ones I liked it was obvious the reader was not supposed to like and/or they got killed off.
aaaaah. Here I laugh. I have found, from discussions, that most folks LIKE the same characters that I do and I would guess they might overlap with your choices. I think that is part of SE's value and is in part intentional. I like the mean guys, the nasty guys, the sad guys. Quite a few died. Many had very brief appearances.

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Jordan writes good battle scenes, as does Sanderson, as does Rothfuss. But not Erikson, his are... I just couldn't get excited about them, but that may be because I really didn't care who won, so that harks back to the character thing and the prose thing.
The only battle scenes that really truly "got" me in WoT were "Asha'man, Kill!", one of the Seanchan exchanges and Ituralde's scenes. The White Tower battle in particular = BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Erickson's battle scenes made me taste the dirt and dust and oil.

I am, as mentioned, awaiting the final page turning of a friend. Upon completion I had to sit and stew on it for a while before I thought...O.M.G. I get it. I get it. At first I was mad, sad, confused as there is an abruptness to it that made me wrinkle my brow. Then let it all soak in and I re-read the last few chapters, flipped around a bit to look up old, odd bits, and then I was A-MAZED by the scope of the books. I like the ending. I like the books.

So Yks dear, I adore you, but I disagree!
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Last edited by SauceyBlueConfetti; 08-22-2012 at 01:55 PM.
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  #22  
Old 08-23-2012, 02:47 AM
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spoilers from the first 3 books ahead! fair warning now!

It is difficult for me to clear up in my head whether I dislike some parts of the books because I dislike those parts of the books or if it's something that's transferred from other parts. Perhaps after reading and hating the first three books, I just love to hate them?
Quote:
Originally Posted by SauceyBlueConfetti View Post
To me they feel more real, as they quite often make bad choices, wrong choices, selfish, evil choices. That makes them much more believable. Shining beacons of light bore me.
Oh I agree, shining beacons of light are not much fun at all. However, I never once got the impression that an Erikson character was faced with a deep personal dilemma and put a lot of thought into the choice. Yes, bad choices were made as well as good, but I didn't *feel* like any of it was done with any thought for the characters' own development. A lot of it felt like skipping around on a forest path and randomly picking which way to go. Not that randomness is a bad thing, it's just that too much of it makes the story unbelievable. Kind of like one of the absurd jokes I usually quite like: "the purple and the horse sat and knitted tree branches, but look, a table flew by!" It's amusing for a while but a whole series like that? no thank you.
Spoiler:
the whole Jaghut and friend traipsing, for example. There was supposed to be some big drama in the past about this one, sure, but the day-to-day actions were very much along the lines of "shall we take the right turn or the left? this will have strong impact on the Universe as we know it. I don't know what to do. Left it is"


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The slapstick I find amusing, and again, very real. I spend my days doing what others may consider dreary work, but interspersed in my day are hysterical comments, entertaining stories, foolish mistakes, etc. Humor is what I live for in my day to day life. These characters seem more real to me than Nynaeve and her braid pulling.
to me, there's good slapstick and there's bad slapstick. Charlie Chaplin is good slapstick, the Three Stooges is bad slapstick. Terry Pratchett is brilliant slapstick but Erikson's funny moments don't really fit with the story. And very much a matter of taste - I don't like the taste of milk for example, that's not to say that milk is disgusting in and of itself, it's just not for me.

Quote:
I didn't read the forward. I never do. That may be a good thing, may be a bad thing. I stay away from author details much more now that I have come to realize GRRM is kind of a douchebag in real life. That made me sad. And has taken some of the joy out of SoIaF for me. So, I do totally understand your annoyance with SE and how it could taint the entire reading process.
depending on the author, the foreword and/or the afterword can be really great. I love the Bernard Cornwell afterwords, but that's because of the genre he writes in: he goes into detail about which characters were real people and how much he took literary liberty with which bits of the story. To me, that's the juiciest part of his writing, to be able to get a look behind the scenes, so to speak. I also like the author's notes of GGK and Umberto Eco, it's always fun to see whethere they got their inspiration from the places I thought they did, and sometimes to be surprised with a bit you didn't see the first time, and wanting to read the story again just to have that extra bit of perspective... The foreword on Ender's Game is really interesting. On the other hand, the foreword of Erickson basically says "if you hate my book, you're not intelligent enough to appreciate it" - I don't particularly like to be insulted before even starting to read the book; but you know, I gave it a chance and read three whole volumes, hundreds and hundreds of pages of text and it was not good. It simply wasn't enjoyable for me, not on an emotional level, certianly not on an intellectual level and even the humour, as I said, I couldn't relate to.

Quote:
I like his take on fantasy. Everything is confusing, just like real life. No one knows what is occuring 300 miles away, EXCEPT the Gods. Sometimes anyway. The Magic doesn't always make sense to me, or even the characters. Should it? No. Weird shit happens at random points. Again, just like my life.
I didn't have a huge problem with the confusing bit. I had a problem with the repetitive confusion, meaning the example of absurd humour I gave above.

Quote:
I have found, from discussions, that most folks LIKE the same characters that I do and I would guess they might overlap with your choices. I think that is part of SE's value and is in part intentional. I like the mean guys, the nasty guys, the sad guys. Quite a few died. Many had very brief appearances.
I found the big sword dude to be really boring, he was supposed to be this big warrior guy with a murky past and magic and whatnot, and he kept doing random things for no reason whatsoever. I liked the girl who became the storm witch or whatever, I thought there was some rare emotion written into her story. Kruppe was amusing at first but as the story progressed, I got more and more annoyed by him... I liked the original Tattersail, hated whatever became of her.

Quote:
The only battle scenes that really truly "got" me in WoT were "Asha'man, Kill!", one of the Seanchan exchanges and Ituralde's scenes. The White Tower battle in particular = BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. Erickson's battle scenes made me taste the dirt and dust and oil.
you really need to read Cornwell. his storylines are sometimes simple, but his battles are superb! you are able to see and hear the confusion of a battlefield, the smell of blood, the way the main characters foot gets tangled in the guts of a disemboweled enemy as he steps over him to slash at the next guy, it's just... roar and grit and noise and adrenaline. He's also very good at the concept of "every battle plan lasts as long as the first shot is fired. After that it's chaos and you only hope to survive". Bernard Cornwell is the best battle scene writer I've ever read, bar none. RJ on the other hand was good at the tactical battle, now and then focusing in on single combatants, it's less vivid but the tactical aspect of it balances it out. Reading RJ's battles is more like watching an expert game of chess. Sanderson is great at single combat, it's fast and exciting and quite original in the way he makes the combatants use the environment. Erikson's on the other hand are - to me - much like an afterthought written in order to get to the point.
Spoiler:
the whole Chain of Dogs (I think?) book was one big battle, right? with the point of it being everyone dies in the end; that was clearly where the book was going and that's where it went with very little surprises along the way. I won't even get into how ridiculous I found that the only person with a clear military understanding of the whole situation aside from the general guy was the historian, that was just... so poor storybuilding I wanted to cry. If I remember correctly at that point I had to put the book down and just breathe for a bit, just marveling at how horribly, fascinatinly stupid it is that every single solider and officer in the whole army has less tactical military understanding on the situation than a historian.


Quote:
I am, as mentioned, awaiting the final page turning of a friend. Upon completion I had to sit and stew on it for a while before I thought...O.M.G. I get it. I get it. At first I was mad, sad, confused as there is an abruptness to it that made me wrinkle my brow. Then let it all soak in and I re-read the last few chapters, flipped around a bit to look up old, odd bits, and then I was A-MAZED by the scope of the books. I like the ending. I like the books.

So Yks dear, I adore you, but I disagree!
right back at you I think some books are simply a matter of taste. There are lots of tastes in the world and it would be horribly boring if everyone would like the exact same things.
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Last edited by yks 6nnetu hing; 08-23-2012 at 02:54 AM.
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  #23  
Old 08-24-2012, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yks 6nnetu hing View Post
the Three Stooges is bad slapstick
Gasp! Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no!
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by SauceyBlueConfetti View Post
Gasp! Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no, no!
I know. But I can't stomach it. Same way I get an almost violent reaction to The Office. it's just wrong to laugh at other people's misery like that.
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Old 08-27-2012, 10:48 AM
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I love the Malazan books.

Only series that beat WoT in my book(pun intended).

But yeah. They're not everyone's bowl of soup.
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Old 08-28-2012, 05:56 AM
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The series peaked at Deadhouse gates then got progressively confusing, self-defeating and up-its-own-arse.

I persevered until the Crippled God and felt cheated by the non-ending. Nothing was explained. How very post-modern and sh*t.

Ian Cameron Esslemont's books are the cypher, as at least he EXPLAINS things.

Malazan is the Finnegan's Wake of Fantasy.
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