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mygif

So… is it just me, or is anyone else trying to come up with a good ‘rape’ pun for their comment?

“Looks like this book made you go rape-shit.”

Doesn’t work. Just makes it sounds like I now think you’re a fecal rapist.

“Rapes of Wrath?” Some pun around grape? Fape? Mape? Shape? Lape? Crepe?

Rape. Word has lost all meaning.

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Candlejack said on March 22nd, 2011 at 11:55 pm

I once read a book in which the author consistently mixed up the words “bare” and “bear”. Our abusive asshole protagonist Kale wouldn’t bear his soul to his wife because he couldn’t bare to have her look at him with pity, that sort of thing. But like I said, completely consistent in using the wrong word every time. I couldn’t imagine what the editor was thinking–unless the editor did it to the author on purpose, for making him or her read that pile of steaming crap. I think that was the first time it occured to me that I didn’t necessarily have to finish every book I picked up.

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mygif

Huh. This reminds me of how I felt after reading Benighted.

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Aussiesmurf said on March 23rd, 2011 at 12:42 am

I remember King’s book Danse Macabre talked about how the Werewolf was one of the three great horror archetypes, along with the Vampire and the Thing Without a Name. He was really emphasising the idea of duality rather than wolves raping and killing people though. His ‘fountainhead’ werewolf novel was Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Is there a ‘werewolf’ novel you would recommend? Either metaphorical or literal werewolf?

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quirkygeekgirl said on March 23rd, 2011 at 7:42 am

Good rant. I think this is a good example of someone with a fantastic book agent.
and
Are editors today really just reading the crap and rather than doing their job, slapping covers that sell on shit books?

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Dies The Fire is the book that’s made me the most angry at wasted potential. All technology immediately stops working (in a nice touch, there’s a sequence where the characters admit that it totally breaks the laws of physics — my reaction was “okay, as long as we both know this is impossible, I’ll play along”), everyone has to survive in a shockingly changed world.

And then? Fucking 200 pages of Wicca-stroking and the hilarious assertion that SCA members would be the new uber badass ruling class of the world, because they already know how to swordfight. And there’s like ten more books in the series! God.

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mygif

It is very, very rare for me to actually get upset with a book, as opposed to just bored with it. I think it has only really happened once – the Rise of Solamnia series by Douglas Niles, in which a murdering power-hungry rapist is celebrated by the books as the absolute paragon of human nobility.

And, I suppose, I did get upset over the Soldier Son trilogy by Robin Hobb, but mainly because of how excellent her other series were and how terrible that one was in comparison.

But in general, if an author I’m not invested in writes a crappy book? That’s reason to be disappointed, but not upset, unless the central premise of the book is actually offensive.

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Every book by Robert Sawyer is a collection of wasted good ideas.

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@quayec I don’t know if I’d go that far. I do like his ideas better than his writing, but his writing is still okay.

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mygif

Well, as Patrick Swayze said in “Road House” when a punk not worthy to tie his shoes insulted his prowess: “Opinions vary.” I’m mystified how anyone can call “inept” the author of nearly sixty books and novels, winner of numerous awards, and voted the coveted Grand Master Award by the World Horror Convention (along with such other luminaries as Peter Straub and Stephen King). I can understand someone not liking a particular novel by a great novelist such as Ray Garton, but to call that author inept leaves one to wonder who in the world the reviewer might consider ept. I’ve read “Ravenous,” and for what it’s worth coming from me, I think it’s one hell of a good read. I’m not a critic, of course, and only sixteen of my novels have been published in half again more time than it has taken the prolific, hard-working and multi-talented Garton to be bought 60 times by the ultimate critics in New York–the ones whose careers are at risk if their choices don’t sell. Editors make mistakes and crap can sell (although one man’s crap is another man’s rap.)

Let’s just say I defend the right of any person to his or her opinion, but as someone else who knows a thing or two about the business, and who thinks this particular novelist is a national treasure, and who thought “Ravenous” was a great read, I could not disagree more strenuously with the review posted here.

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mygif

I, too, defend the right of any person to his or her opinion, but I also expect the holder of the opinion to defend the opinion I’m defending their right to hold, if you get what I’m saying. :) An appeal to authority is no defense at all; simply saying, “Well, he must be good, because he’s had sixty novels published” is no more a convincing defense of a novel than saying, “Well, he must be good, because I think he’s good and I’ve had sixteen novels published.”

(Or, for that matter, than saying, “He must be good, because I say he’s good and I’m six foot five!” But I digress to a Monty Python reference.)

You are saying that the novel, and the author, are very publishable. I could not agree more. Ray Garton most definitely had sixty novels published, and I’m sure will have more. Obviously, his stuff sells. But as I’m sure you’re aware, while there is some overlap, publishable is not always the same as “good”.

I have explained, at great length, why I thought the novel was bad; the characterization was trite and perfunctory, the plot was dull and predictable, the prose joyless and bland, and the violence overused to greatly diminishing returns. I am interested to hear why you thought it was a “great read”, but I’m guessing it wasn’t because you had sixteen novels published. Please try explaining again. :)

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Yeah, John. Quit ragging on the guy who wrote the novelisation of Kenan & Kel’s Good Burger movie.

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fsherman said on March 24th, 2011 at 8:59 am

There’s nothing like reading a bad variation on something good (i.e., Ravenous vs. Salem’s Lot) to appreciate that being good is hard work. Like MLJ’s Mighty Crusaders characters in the sixties, when the writers were aping Marvel’s style–it goes so wrong, it drives home that no matter how easy Lee and Kirby made it look, it was difficult.
I quite liked Benighted myself.

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mygif

Mr. Seavey, I believe you bypassed an important part of my point, which is that Garton has won numerous awards culminating in the coveted Grand Master award for horror fiction, given to a very few of the top authors in the genre. I believe I made the point myself that being published does not guarantee quality–“one man’s crap is another man’s rap”–so there was no need to knock down that straw man. You’re sure I’m aware of it because I said as much. But when those awards start to pile up, as they have for Ray, and come to include what many authors and readers consider the ultimate award, I think it is curious, if not ungenerous, to try and brand a Grand Master an “inept author” for any reason, particularly on the basis of one out of sixty novels under review.

I don’t feel it necessary to defend my opinion of RAVENOUS any more than it would be necessary for you to defend yours. It is, after all, only an opinion, and I hope you’d agree I’m entitled to it whether I expand on it or not. I’m an author, not a critic. I enjoyed the novel–a lot–and that’s all the defense it would need for me coming from another professional in the field. By the way, I offered that I had written sixteen published novels solely for the purpose of identifying myself as a professional author, “for whatever it’s worth.” If it’s worth nothing to a given individual, so be it.

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Candlejack said on March 24th, 2011 at 3:00 pm

But there aren’t sixty novels under review–just this one. This one, judged on its own merits, which you assure us exist but can’t be bothered to mention. Even Stephen King and Clive Barker have books that, judged on their own and leaving the author’s prestige at home, don’t measure up.

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Tanya Huff’s ‘The Enchantment Emporium’. I liked her Valor books and I like the idea of urban fantasy so I thought I’d give it a try.

I don’t even know where to start. I really don’t. There is more tension in One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish than there is in this book. The heroes aren’t heroic at all. Have you ever read a novel where you keep thinking the villain is right all the time, even though you know that’s not how you’re supposed to read him? It got so bad that even the author seemed to feel she had to make him do something over the top (and stupid, and against established character) to justify his being the bad guy, and he still comes across better than the heroes! Not to mention the massive double standards in play when it comes to rape in the story.

MAGIC RAPE IS STILL RAPE, PEOPLE! It really is.

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mygif

It’s not a straw man at all, Mr. Spruill. What you’ve been doing is called an “appeal to authority”, a common logical fallacy; saying “Ray Garton is good because he’s won awards” is no more true than saying a criminal is guilty because he’s been convicted. People might win awards because they’re good, but they’re not good because they win awards.

The fact is, people win awards for lots of reasons, and we can only speculate on why the World Horror Society gave the Grand Master title to Garton. Perhaps they decided that while no one title in his body of work merited consideration, his tireless and prolific efforts at writing horror earned him some consideration. Perhaps they thought that he was a wonderful human being whose contributions to the horror community and whose dedication to the fans merited him consideration. Perhaps Steven Spruill kidnapped their families and held them at gunpoint, threatening to kill them if they didn’t give Garton a Grand Mastership. We simply don’t know.

(Just in case Mr. Spruill doesn’t have a sense of humor about these things, I am using comedic hyperbole to make a point. I do not sincerely believe that he would do something like that, if for no other reason than I can’t believe any author would go to those kinds of lengths to make sure someone else gets a coveted award. :) )

The point is, it’s not the award that matters, or the commendation or the publication or the acclamation. It’s the reasons for these things that matter, and since we don’t know them, they’re simply not relevant. If the board of the WHS wants to come on here and explain why they gave Ray Garton an award and what they see as positives about the man and his work, I’d be just as happy to listen to them as I am to listen to you. But they’re not doing that, and neither are you. You’re simply citing the existence of the award as though that should be enough, without actually presenting evidence to support your point of view.

In fact, to be honest, your comments have really done more to convince me that you don’t like Ravenous very much. If you did enjoy the book as much as you claimed to, then surely it wouldn’t be much effort at all to talk about the things you liked? Goodness knows that when I like a book, people have a hard time getting me to shut up about it. :) But all you’ve done is cite other people’s opinions without explanation.

I am genuinely interested to hear what your opinion is on the book. I am sincerely curious about the things you enjoyed and the things you found worthy of complimenting in it, and I’d love to discuss them with you. You’re absolutely right, you don’t have to defend these opinions any more than I have to defend mine. But I think you’ll find that people give them more weight if you do so, instead of just mentioning that you’re a Professional Author and leaving it at that.

If you want to explain why you liked Ravenous, please feel free to do so. I promise I’ll listen; I just read the book, after all, and enjoy discussing literature. If you don’t, well, then just put up another comment explaining that the Grand High Poobah of All Horror has officially named Ray Garton as “One of the Good Ones”, and we’ll all understand. :)

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Eric S. Smith said on March 24th, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Our man clearly has specific ideas about what might make a book good or bad, which makes the vagueness here all the more disappointing. “A great read,” which is as specific as he gets, is the very definition of a satisfactory potboiler, so that only goes to support one of the claims to which he objects.

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Candlejack said on March 25th, 2011 at 12:13 am

Oh, I see. He’s on a first-name basis with Garton. That might kind of explain things. I would probably defend my friends, too, so sorry for the harsh tone earlier, Mr Spruill.

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What interests me about the discussion going on here is that Steven has forgot the main rule about presenting arguments: Everyone has the right to opinions, but not all opinions are equal. The person who cites evidence and reason to his claim will always call about more respect than someone who says it’s his opinion, man.

Steven, you can shift the goal posts all you like, but the contention here is the quality of the book Ravenous. If you feel the characters are fully realized, or that the theme is utilized to its full potential, then present counter-arguments. Just saying he has a lot of awards doesn’t change that Seavey thinks this story is a bad story.

I’m sorry, but I never enjoyed literature classes where discussion was just a free for all wash of interpretations. If we don’t set up any quantifiers for art, then we can’t have a real discourse about it.

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Danbu-Sama said on March 25th, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Given the quality of Sprull’s weblog comments, I don’t think I trust his opinion of what makes for quality writing at all.

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Magnabonzo said on March 26th, 2011 at 6:44 am

Piers Anthony has deeply irritated me many times. He comes up with some great ideas and some interesting characters, but sometimes seems to lose interest halfway through a book or a series. If the author isn’t interested, why should I be?

His “Incarnations of Immortality” series falls off sharply after the great “On a Pale Horse” (though the Time-related one is good too)… ditto his Xanth series.

His one-off KiloByte (sp?) was truly awful.

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El Acordeonachi said on March 27th, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Books that make me angry? Let’s see…The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks. After thoroughly enjoying most of his Culture books (written as Iain M. Banks) I decided to try his straight up fiction. The Crow Road was good. Then I saw The Wasp Factory on a list of the 100 most important books of the 20th Century. So I checked it out. All I’ve got to say is if you’ve already read it, I’m sorry. If you haven’t, don’t.

Also, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. How Donaldson expects me to give a damn about his protagonist is beyond me…

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Tales of the Boojum said on March 28th, 2011 at 2:30 pm

“Piers Anthony has deeply irritated me many times.”

Man, Piers Anthony was the first author I thought of when I read this post. Have you ever read something so appalling that it retroactively tainted everything else you’ve ever read by that author? Firefly did that to me. It features a creature that seduces and consumes its victims, absorbing their memories in the process, which is about the most benign thing that happens in the book. The rest of the story is a platform for graphic sexual violence. Then, when the story has a sliver of a chance to not be a total waste (the creature’s offspring are about to hatch with the memories of the only interesting or sympathetic characters in the book), Anthony ends the book with a long and rambling author’s note that basically says, “I just spent the last 300 pages writing about domestic abuse, rape, and sex with kindergarteners to underscore how very wrong domestic abuse, rape, and sex with kindergarteners is. I really wasn’t just trying to be shocking. Honest.” So I felt icky and insulted.

I’m generally opposed to the destruction of books, but that one went in the recycler when I finally decided I didn’t want it in my house anymore. I only hope it’s found a productive life somewhere else as a newspaper or roll of paper towels.

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