Strange Books

I’ve had this migraine since the morning I wrote my last entry, and it’s beginning to piss me off (the migraine, not the last blog entry). It has slowed my writing down enough that I’m starting to question the sanity of writing 3 books at the same time. Fortunately, I’m not having any problems keeping the proper characters in their respective novel, so yay me.

Been getting some strange books to review lately for Shiny Book Review. For some reason, publishers are sending us the second and third book of an anthology to review while ignoring the first part. I wouldn’t normally say anything except that it has happened five separate occasions in the past two weeks, from three different publishers. As I said, it was just a strange happenstance that made me want to comment on it, and to ask a question. Is this the modus operandi now for publishers? I can see, for example, sending the first two books of an anthology, but the last two? Just seems strange to me.

Granted, I’m not reviewing anything at this time because of my own deadlines that are quickly approaching, but still… it’s not as if I’m never going to review a book again (no, the E.T. book did not cause me to have a pulmonary embolism).

I was reading this past weekend some old fantasy books I loved when I was a teenager (the Dragonlance series) and I was surprised to see that, as an author, just how poorly Dragons of Autumn Twilight was written. Verb tense changes on the fly, character POV shifts without warning, combined with a straight formulaic story from a DM’s perspective just made me shake my head. While still the standard for high fantasy not named Tolkien, the stories just seem… quaint now. Of course, I’m not a fantasy writer (well, not yet… still working on something which may or may not come to fruition one day), so who am I to judge? But when compared the Brandon Sanderson, poor Dragonlance seems kind of weak. Granted, the series did get better after the first book (and the Twins trilogy is still my favorite fantasy series ever), so it’s not like I hate it or anything. Just noticing that, as I get older, my reading habits change and I start to see mistakes the writer makes more and more often.

Which is a shame. One of the only escapes I had when I was in group homes was a book. I miss the fantastical worlds which could take me out of the dreary group home existence. Maybe that’s why I hate most dystopian science fiction?

4 thoughts on “Strange Books

  1. One thing I read was that the first Dragonlance book was written and tossed out there pretty quickly after the module it was based on had been developed, and it proved to be such a mess that they went ahead and let them write the books first and then go back and make the modules match the books. About 10 years ago, I went back and reread Dragonlance (up through the second trilogy). Parts of it held up better than I’d expected (especially the Twins arc), but the first book had a lot of problems. At least it wasn’t as bad as Shannara, even though it probably contributed to the ruin of popular fantasy at least as much.

      • It was the start of mainstream fantasy writing becoming incredibly self-referential and samey, between the would-be Tolkiens and D&D as its own subgenre of fantasy. It led to the literary equivalent of cousin-marrying, producing certain traits to deformative extremes after a certain point. The same thing happened with 90s comics, only there it was with edgy knockoff Batmans & Wolverines instead of Middle Earths.

  2. I could never get into the Dragonlance books.

    Outside of Tolkien, I think Tad Williams (delusional A$$hat though he be) has done high fantasy best with his Memory, Sorrow & Thorn series. I haven’t read any of Brandon Sanderson’s stuff, but he keeps getting recommended.

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