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  #61  
Old 09-30-2011, 07:42 PM
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Yeah, those are pretty valid criticisms. I still like Franny and Zooey though, just because I love the way Salinger writes.

Although isn't he wrong about "Carpenters" being the first Glass story? I thought the protagonist of Salinger's first story, "A Perfect Day for Bananafish", was Seymour Glass.
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  #62  
Old 09-30-2011, 07:54 PM
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I think it was the first one to be written with the intention of being a Glass story. "Bananafish" and "Down at the Dinghy" were both standalone short stories retro-fitted into the Glass mythology IIRC ("Uncle Wiggly" too, kinda.)

edit: for my part, I find the criticisms interesting but I disagree with the notion that Seymour is meant to be admired and that his influence and worldview is anything but ultimately harmful.
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  #63  
Old 09-30-2011, 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by MCBanjoMike View Post
Two words: Dave Sim.
I totally heard that. I loved High Society and Church and State all the way through (including the quirks JDS mentions). I concur with JDS that his art sensibilities didn't seem to fade (I still haven't quite finished the entire story) even as his textual bits got tedious. I do wonder how much Gerhard's contributions were a factor. I still cherish the original art I bought from Dave back in the day.
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  #64  
Old 09-30-2011, 09:32 PM
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Did you stop before or after the rape scene that makes the heroine fall desperately in love with Light Yagami Goddamn Batman Howard Roarke?
I must have stopped before because I certainly would have remembered that. All the more reason to just not move forward.
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  #65  
Old 09-30-2011, 09:34 PM
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[simrant]

Making allowances for the fact that Sim himself later admitted that at the time he had nothing interesting to say about religion past kneejerk anti-clerical nihilism, Church and State is okay until the Sacred Secret Wars Arc (terrible comics industry in-jokes that kill the momentum) but starts having real trouble when it segues into the Ball of Tarim/Trial of Astoria/the Ascension. I think Sim must have had some sort of temporal lobe episode right about that time, because all of a sudden you have a heretofore meticulously developed plot turning on inexplicable events like

*deep breath*

Astoria, for no clear reason, warping magically to the Eastern Pontiff and murdering him off-panel, the bizarre "rape" scene, Astoria's trial with the weird timeslips with the trial of Suenteus Po, the Ball of Tarim attaching itself to Cerebus's head, Lord Stormsend all of a sudden having all this secret knowledge, Leonardi and Julius hiding in the crawlspace of Cerebus's hotel for some reason, the fake Regency Elf, MacMuffin losing his faith and stabbing himself to death, the ascension, the artist guy from the early issues melding with the Swamp Thing/Man-Thing parody and beating up Cerebus -- coupled with the gnawing realization that Sim doesn't feel obligated to clue his reader in on any of this. And he never does, unless you count his doing his typically verbose equivalent of shrugging a few years later as an explanation. He just seems compelled to stack intrigue upon vagueness upon nonsense. I would have been satisfied with him just stopping somewhere to clarify the Eastern Church's relationship with the Western Church.

It's no longer a story, really, but a fever dream, and the highest testament to Sim's craftsmanship is that these issues are still readable and often entertaining. I think the comic reached its peak circulation around this time, actually.

[/simrant]

Last edited by JDS; 09-30-2011 at 09:44 PM.
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  #66  
Old 09-30-2011, 09:59 PM
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You and me both, brother. And I could only get through half of it.
I made it through Atlas Shrugged. You should all fucking bow down and worship me.

Anyhoo, on subject: Jean Auel. Clan of the Cave Bear was an amazing piece of literature, and yet all the other books in the series are mediocre schlock. With embarrassingly bad sex scenes.

George R. R. Martin is flirting dangerously with this definition.
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  #67  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:06 PM
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Anyhoo, on subject: Jean Auel. Clan of the Cave Bear was an amazing piece of literature, and yet all the other books in the series are mediocre schlock. With embarrassingly bad sex scenes.
I don't know... I'm willing to give women their fair share but I have a hard time believing every advancement primitive man made is because of them, let alone a single one...
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  #68  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:07 PM
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George R. R. Martin is flirting dangerously with this definition.
He really is, isn't he?

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I made it through Atlas Shrugged. You should all fucking bow down and worship me.
I made it all the way through Atlas Shrugged AND The Fountainhead AND Anthem. I am an objectivist god!
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  #69  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:08 PM
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I made it all the way through Atlas Shrugged AND The Fountainhead AND Anthem. I am an objectivist god!
I'm two out of three: Anthem and the Fountainhead (that's the architect one, right?)
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  #70  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:30 PM
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Man, Eddings was always crap, and I feel nothing but shame for having read the first two series. His characters are like paper cutouts.
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  #71  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:36 PM
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That's a little harsh. Eddings was never a very good writer, but his characters and dialogue in the Belgariad/Malloreon were fairly well done.
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  #72  
Old 09-30-2011, 10:44 PM
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I'll throw Alan Moore into the ring. I think it really struck home when I went to read Promethea and realized that once I got through some of the interesting formal experiments he did, like a circular page that read in both directions, it was a convoluted mess of neo-mystical navel-gazing, and a good dose of Sandman Did It Better myth re-imagining. It's like he forgot to pull his head out of his ass long enough to check whether or not what he was writing looked good from any other angle.
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  #73  
Old 09-30-2011, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by JDS View Post
[simrant]

Making allowances for the fact that Sim himself later admitted that at the time he had nothing interesting to say about religion past kneejerk anti-clerical nihilism, Church and State is okay until the Sacred Secret Wars Arc (terrible comics industry in-jokes that kill the momentum) but starts having real trouble when it segues into the Ball of Tarim/Trial of Astoria/the Ascension. I think Sim must have had some sort of temporal lobe episode right about that time, because all of a sudden you have a heretofore meticulously developed plot turning on inexplicable events like

*deep breath*

Astoria, for no clear reason, warping magically to the Eastern Pontiff and murdering him off-panel, the bizarre "rape" scene, Astoria's trial with the weird timeslips with the trial of Suenteus Po, the Ball of Tarim attaching itself to Cerebus's head, Lord Stormsend all of a sudden having all this secret knowledge, Leonardi and Julius hiding in the crawlspace of Cerebus's hotel for some reason, the fake Regency Elf, MacMuffin losing his faith and stabbing himself to death, the ascension, the artist guy from the early issues melding with the Swamp Thing/Man-Thing parody and beating up Cerebus -- coupled with the gnawing realization that Sim doesn't feel obligated to clue his reader in on any of this. And he never does, unless you count his doing his typically verbose equivalent of shrugging a few years later as an explanation. He just seems compelled to stack intrigue upon vagueness upon nonsense. I would have been satisfied with him just stopping somewhere to clarify the Eastern Church's relationship with the Western Church.

It's no longer a story, really, but a fever dream, and the highest testament to Sim's craftsmanship is that these issues are still readable and often entertaining. I think the comic reached its peak circulation around this time, actually.

[/simrant]
Man this is the truth, especially about that last bit about how even though this crazy stuff makes no sense it's still engaging and entertaining. I really did like the Ascension and Cerebus and Sim meeting. A worthy little bit of comics art that I would easily recomend if it didn't mean going through Reads first. I cut my losses after that, figuring that Sim had hit his peak and going any futher would just be begging to be disapointed.

Still, there's always Jaka's Story.

Anyway, you guys know Dan Simmons right? And you have fond memories of Hyperion? Then you should check out what his new book is about.

Quote:
With "Flashback," Simmons has, for the moment at least, put the past behind him and turned a righteous pen to a dystopian future. It is circa 2032, or more precisely, the 23rd year of Jobless Recovery. The U.S. is tottering, weighing in at only 44 ½ states, its mass eaten away by Mexico, its interior rotted out by floods of immigrants, by loss of faith in a free-market economy, by national healthcare and a myriad of other entitlement programs, by the global-warming hoax and green-energy boondoggles, and by drugs, the most pervasive being "flashback," which allows its users to visit their pasts in a dream state. It's a bad, bad time, and its fatal origins lie, we are instructed, with the Obama presidency, its spendthrift domestic programs and pusillanimous foreign policy.

Highways are disintegrating, people live in former malls cut into cubicles, and, adding insult to injury, right-wing talk radio has been banned. Japanese overlords have set up "green zones" across the land and America's once proud and powerful military is now hired out as mercenaries to fight for Japan and India. At the same time, a New Global Caliphate flourishes and Islam spreads. An immense and towering mosque sits at ground zero and annual celebrations commemorate the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In Los Angeles, where much of the story takes place, the bells of Christian churches add their peels to "the cries of the muezzin ... to show their solidarity, understanding, and forgiveness." The Caliphate has obliterated Israel with 11 exceedingly dirty nuclear bombs, killing 6 million Jews. The survivors of this "Second Holocaust" are now sequestered in a former Six Flags amusement park in Denver by a U.S. government "terrified of angering the Global Caliphate" that is waiting to exterminate them.
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  #74  
Old 09-30-2011, 11:19 PM
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I don't think Moore's ever became a bad author as much as one that's no longer interested in doing capital-G Great Comics. Post-From Hell, he tends to do comics for the paycheck or as an avenue to explore whatever catches his fancy at the moment. More of a question of changing priorities than an inability to perform, shall we say. A shame that his preoccupations nowadays tend to veer into cartoon porn, degradation, and ultraviolence. If pressed I would have to admit that I'd rather he not have done Lost Girls and Neonomicon or lent his credibility to a shlock factory like Avatar, but I'm kind of a prude like that. I don't think he's entirely justified his fascination with pre-war fiction in LEG either: I mean, it started as a great idea for a fun miniseries but has developed into a massive bore ever since he did the ridiculous maxi-universe thing in Black Dossier.

Still, I can't say that I've ever read an Alan Moore comic and said to myself "man, he's really fallen off". You've just got to watch out for the Big Projects because Moore's the kind of author that prioritizes his attentions -- in the nineties, you could forgive him all the crappy Image stuff because it was subsidizing From Hell. Now, unfortunately for comics fans, his comics are subsidizing his counterculture zine and the upcoming gigantic written History of The Occult (I think this is still the case, anyway.)
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  #75  
Old 09-30-2011, 11:45 PM
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Anyway, you guys know Dan Simmons right? And you have fond memories of Hyperion? Then you should check out what his new book is about.
This is waaaaay weirder than what happened to Orson Scott Card, who was kind of an asshole even when Ender's Game was written. Yeeesh.
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  #76  
Old 09-30-2011, 11:56 PM
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Though I can't believe we've gone this long without bringing up Frank Miller, the poster child of author mental breakdowns.
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Frank Miller. I just spent four thousand words writing about this for inreads so I'm a bit tuckered out but yeah...
Ahem.

In regards to the Updike review I've always loved the line "...loves The Glasses More than God does." And have used it to describe my own relationship to certain films before.

But it seems mighty odd to see Updike throwing stones at an author for having religious preoccupations. Like Roth criticizing someone for having too many thoughts about Penises in one of their books.
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  #77  
Old 10-01-2011, 12:31 AM
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This is waaaaay weirder than what happened to Orson Scott Card, who was kind of an asshole even when Ender's Game was written. Yeeesh.
Word.
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  #78  
Old 10-01-2011, 12:40 AM
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That's a little harsh. Eddings was never a very good writer, but his characters and dialogue in the Belgariad/Malloreon were fairly well done.
C'mon. Everyone is a walking stereotype. Plus the whole thing where everyone in sneaky thief country is a sneakty thief, and everyone in big strong guy is a big strong guy, and so on? The king of the murgos is not a totally evil guy only because he's a halfblood. What. The. Fuck.
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  #79  
Old 10-01-2011, 01:27 AM
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Does Robert Jordan count? Because the Wheel of Time began really well, and then the wheels started spinning as he started to craft the epic to end all epics. I remember reading volume 10 (I think?) and realizing that nothing happened, because he could only devote a single chapter to each of the plot lines he was attempting to follow.
I feel your pain, brother. Book ten was pretty much a travesty, compounded shortly thereafter by Jordan's decision to write an unnecessary prequel before continuing the rest of the series.

I will say, though, that the last two books, written by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's passing, have picked up the pace dramatically and have really gotten me back into things after quite some time away. I actually just read books 12 and 13 in a marathon session just a few weeks ago, and am pretty excited for 14 in March (zomgz, final book, who would've thought we'd actually see the day!)

Also, you all need to lay off Eddings already. 12-year-old Lion Yamato was all over that shit.
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  #80  
Old 10-01-2011, 01:29 AM
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[simrant]Astoria, for no clear reason, warping magically to the Eastern Pontiff and murdering him off-panel, the bizarre "rape" scene, Astoria's trial with the weird timeslips with the trial of Suenteus Po, the Ball of Tarim attaching itself to Cerebus's head, Lord Stormsend all of a sudden having all this secret knowledge, Leonardi and Julius hiding in the crawlspace of Cerebus's hotel for some reason, the fake Regency Elf, MacMuffin losing his faith and stabbing himself to death[...][/simrant]
I know I read all this, but remember very little except that Astoria and Cerebus and Julius existed at the same time in the same place, and that I thought Gerhard's contribution to the look and feel of Cerebus was extraordinary.

Jaka's Story was vivid to me at the time it came out, and is still a fairly good memory of that particular time period of my comics fandom. Sim was saying things I could relate to at the time, although it became apparent he hadn't meant what I thought he had meant on some subjects when Reads started up.

I assume that saying that "I am female" is enough to explain my not buying in to a single thing that he was selling in the latter parts of Cerebus.
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  #81  
Old 10-01-2011, 07:11 AM
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Anyway, you guys know Dan Simmons right? And you have fond memories of Hyperion? Then you should check out what his new book is about.
Yeeeeeeeah. And to be fair, I was a pretty big fan of both The Terror and Drood, but Black Hills was terrible, and I didn't need to read more than the jacket flap of his latest to know it was terrible as well.
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  #82  
Old 10-01-2011, 08:25 AM
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It was funny I almost bought Flashback on my Nook because I thought the concept of the drug itself was pretty cool, then I noticed the unusually low rating and flipped over to the customer reviews...

Thank you customer reviews.

Last edited by Evil Dead Junkie; 10-01-2011 at 10:12 AM.
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  #83  
Old 10-01-2011, 09:57 AM
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because Janet Malcolm owns
The Journalist and the Murderer put me to sleep.
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  #84  
Old 10-01-2011, 10:17 AM
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The Journalist and the Murderer put me to sleep.
The Silent Woman is one of the best books about the Hughes/Plath complex.
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  #85  
Old 10-01-2011, 10:35 AM
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It was funny I almost bought Flashback on my Nook because I thought the concept of the drug itself was pretty cool, then I noticed the unusually low rating and flipped over to the customer reviews...

Thank you customer reviews.
He's actually used the concept of a drug called Flashback before in a short story in his collection Lovedeath. I had no idea that he was a crazy winger-dude.

not that his political beliefs are going to stop me from reading him in the future - but will avoid Flashback like the plague.
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  #86  
Old 10-01-2011, 10:36 AM
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I guess since Alan Moore and Dave Sim were mentioned, we can bring up other comics authors, right?

There's John Byrne and his ego trips.

Chris Claremont with his labyrinthine plots and femdom fetish.

Steve Ditko disappeared up Ayn Rand's ass.

Garth Ennis and Mark Millar have been spiraling downwards since about 2006.

And of course there's Brian Michael Bendis. I'm convinced that he's not a bad author per se, but his weaknesses become glaringly obnoxious when he's taken out of his element.
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  #87  
Old 10-01-2011, 10:51 AM
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The Silent Woman is one of the best books about the Hughes/Plath complex.
Eh, I'm willing to give her more tries.
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  #88  
Old 10-01-2011, 02:19 PM
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Oh. Someone already mentioned Dan Simmons.

Well... Nevermind, then.
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  #89  
Old 10-01-2011, 02:21 PM
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Anyway, you guys know Dan Simmons right? And you have fond memories of Hyperion? Then you should check out what his new book is about.
You know what? No. This doesn't surprise me at all. All that same shit was there throughout Hyperion and Endymion. The whole thing was laced with anxiety about "others", be they foreigners or simply different of thought. The sheer volume of misogyny and barely-repressed sexual hysteria made me give up part-way through.

It's been >10 years since I read them, but I remember loads of evil mothers, evil wives, evil mistresses, occasionally evil robot mistresses. All of society's ills were laid at the feet of the 'teeming masses' and those that were different. There was a literal Madonna figure.

I think the safest statement here is that many of these authors have stopped feeling the need to disguise their deranged conservative claptrap.

And now, I'm going to throwdown: C.S. Lewis.

The Narnia series starts off with a magical world full of danger and adventure and, yeah, Christian symbolism. Sure, there's some creepy there, but it's mostly well-hidden.

Then The Last Battle comes along. This book scared me out of my wits when I was a kid, as Lewis suddenly starts bashing the reader in the face with Christian apocalypse dogma. Susan had sex? Banned from Narnia! Animals doubted Aslan even for a moment? Consigned to oblivion! Hundreds of people die in a train accident so the children can join Aslan in his paradise of purity! World devoured by dragons then drowned and frozen solid! BTW, you're all dead too!

Yeah, what?

Last edited by Egarwaen; 10-01-2011 at 02:31 PM.
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  #90  
Old 10-01-2011, 02:24 PM
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I feel like I should say something about Anne McCaffrey here, but if I'm honest she was always bad, it just took me a few years to notice.
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