Which authors have disappointed you the most?

Discussion in 'General Book Discussion' started by Mith, Sep 27, 2011.

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    Mith

    Mith Confused

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    You know what I mean, you visit the various internet forums, read through the book recommendation threads and see a lot of glowing reviews and lots of hype on particular names. So you go out, spend your money (or use your library card) get the book(s) home ..... and you're left feeling flat, wondering what you're not seeing in these authors that everyone else has.

    Do you have any disappointments like that?

    For me there's two:

    China Mieville - I've tried my best with Perdido Street Station, The Scar and Iron Council. But even though I can see the mans talent, I can't make myself read more than a few chapters and even that's a slog!

    Gene Wolfe - The big one for me, so many people recommended him to me that I thought I was onto a real winner. I struggled my way through the first book in the Book of the New Sun and a chapter or so into the second book before putting it down. I bought the Wizard Knight duology and never completed the first book. Like Mieville I can see his talent but his stories just didn't capture me.

    I really wanted to enjoy both Mieville and Wolfe and am disappointed that I can't seem to get what most everyone does from them!
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    Dornish First Sword

    Dornish First Sword New Member

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    Extollager

    Extollager Active Member

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    Alfred Bester... just can't get into those two famous novels.
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    pyan

    pyan Fortiter et recte! Staff Member

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    George RR Martin - I really liked the first two Game of Thrones books, and was looking forward to the rest. But the delays over the recent ones, plus his inability to give me an identifiable hero/ine to attach my affections to, has soured me to the extent that I haven't even borrowed ADwD from the library.
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    biodroid

    biodroid Expensive Gadget User

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    pyan - I agree, George RR Martin for me is a really good writer but his story is too bleak and the characters you really associate with get killed off or are just too "grey". To me fantasy should have a decent amount of magic and sword fighting and a balance of politics (if that's required for a story). ASOIAF is too historical and not much fantasy to me. I will probably watch the tv show because it is a lot shorter than reading 1000's of pages.

    I felt a bit disappointed with John Scalzi's Old Man's War, I read it because of some of the chron's recommendations but it was a bit too whimsical and witty and even though the character could die, he was put in the most dangerous situations and was like a superhero. The ending went a bit flat for me, I just couldn't bother reading any more of his books and it is also because he uses different main characters in the sequels.
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    gully_foyle

    gully_foyle Here kitty kitty kitty!

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    I'm so sorry to hear Extollager can't get into Bester, although I must admit apart from "those two" every thing else is a bit dull.

    Anyway, for me it would be Charles Stross, this guy cannot write, and I found Ken McLeod to be dull, dull, dull, which is unusual for a Scot.

    Ofcourse I disclaim my comments, etc, etc.
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    Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate I lie. A lot. Honest!

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    *applauds*

    Finally. Someone other than me who was less than impressed with Mieville's books. I was starting to wonder if there was something wrong with me.

    Only the first two? You didn't like the third? A lot of people consider A Storm of Swords to be the best of the series. The last two were definitely disappointing, though. Perhaps not bad enough that I would recommend against reading them, but borrowing them from the library (rather than spending your own money on them) seems about right.

    Hmmm... so what was I disappointed in (besides Mieville)? Well, I don't know if this counts, since it is an anthology containing several authors rather than a particular author's books, but I was underwhelmed by The New Space Opera. I had picked it up largely because I haven't really read any proper Sci-Fi, and wanted a good place to start. From the recommendation around the Chrons, I gathered this might be a good taster... and I didn't like it.

    There were, maybe, a couple of stories that I thought were decent; on the whole, though, it couldn't hold my interest. Since this anthology contained several "Who's Who" of SF, I have since concluded that perhaps the genre is just not for me.
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    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    I would say an author disappoints me when I have read other great books that I really liked by them and then I come across a r real "stinker". It's a disappointment because I know they can do so much better.

    William Hope Hodgson's "In the Nightland" was like that. Up to then I had enjoyed everything I had read by him but that book was dreadful.

    A.E. Van Vogt's "The Weapon Shops of Isher" was a bit like that too. I had thoroughly enjoyed other books I had read and this book was highly regarded so I had high hopes indeed which were unfortunately dashed.
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    Tillane

    Tillane Left-minded

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    Yeah, I think this is where most of my literary disappointments stem from, too. Most recently, I have to say, they've come from the pen of a certain Iain Banks. I loved - still love - a good portion of his early books, both his SF and non-genre stuff, but in the last few years he seems (to my mind, at least) to have run out of ideas. Surface Detail was something of a return to form, but still fell some way short of those early novels.

    In terms of books I've been recommended, I suppose the one that disappointed me most was probably Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora. I'd heard so many good reviews of the book both on here and elsewhere, but when it came down to it I almost tossed the thing after 200 pages. I don't think I've been quite so bored by a protagonist in ages.
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    Boneman

    Boneman Active Member

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    Without wishing to decry his work, I too found Mieville's work inpenetrable. I have a feeling it's because he's too intellectual (and I'm not) in his writing, and it lacks any real feeling, as far as I'm concerned. My mind just becomes disinterested.

    And at the other end of the spectrum there's Terry Goodkind. I liked the first book and loved the second, but the downhill ski slope that the books took after that were incredibly disappointing. (I was in waterstones t'other day, and I see he's returned to the same world, with the same tired - nay exhausted - formula of dense prophecies and inpenetrable mystery, designed to intrigue us. Maybe if I can't sleep I might borrow it from the library...)
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    biodroid

    biodroid Expensive Gadget User

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    I would like to add Iain M Banks, I tried to read Surface Detail but it was just not going anywhere and didn't feel like a space opera.

    I read about 200 pages of Perdido Street Station and stopped, I just couldn't get the idea of beetle headed women making ornaments out of their spit.
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    Mouse

    Mouse roar

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    I second Tillane and say Scott Lynch. I've heard so many good things about him but found Locke Lamora so incredibly dull. I didn't finish it and got rid of the book.
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    Devil's Advocate

    Devil's Advocate I lie. A lot. Honest!

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    I agree. The intellectual bit sounds about right, and the reason it irritates me is because I can't shake the feeling that it's a deliberate and calculated move. In other words, Mieville writes in a way that he feels is intellectual, rather than simply writing naturally and if it's intellectual, so be it. Seems almost... fake to me. Like he's trying too hard. I could be wrong, of course, though God knows the chances of that happening are infinitesimally small.

    Another Mieville critic! Woohoo!

    We should start an anti-fan club.
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    alchemist

    alchemist Not on holidays

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    Robert Silverberg - I know he's legendary in SF circles, but the two novels I read were seriously underwhelming. It's been a while, so forgive me if i get anything wrong.....

    Hot Sky at Midnight - possibly the worst ending I've ever read (and that includes PFH's Night's Dawn trilogy). It was as if suddenly he was told he had to finish the novel in two days, instead of the two months he had planned. It came to a shuddering halt in a handful of pages, and the interesting antihero was discarded as if he wore a red Star fleet uniform.

    The alien Years - it made reference to a deficiency of War of the Worlds and then went right on and did the same. The decades-long span of the novel might have been a strength, but it came over as disjointed, and we never learned anything of note about the aliens. It came over as little more than an occupied-France allegory where the Nazis get bored one day and move on.
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    Coragem

    Coragem Believer in flawed heroes

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    Okay, this worries me. These too guys are very near the top of my "to read" pile, and all the reviews I've seen for PSt Station and Wolf's book of the new sun have been 5 stars.

    But if, for example, they're "heavy", over overly descriptive, or lacking likeable characters ...

    Reading is my primary means of entertainment and relaxation, and when I'm reading stuff I dislike I get DEPRESSED!

    Better not to bother?

    Sorry, George RR is genius. Yes the stuff is slow at teams, and more realism that fantastical magic, but SO well realised and well written. A small detail, but he even used commas well, unlike so many bad writers who resort to crazy dashes all over the place.

    My recent disappointment has been Blade of Tyshalle. I found Heroes die very entertaining, if a little over long and indulgent near the end. But Blade of Tyshalle really disappointed me. Yes, the Caine character is still very, very strong, as are some of the other characters. But for me it was over long, badly written in places, and with pages and pages of pointless, complex description, which wasn't in any way relevant to the plot! Also, it seemed that everything had to happen and "unhappen" a dozen times before it finally, actually "happened"!

    Coragem.
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    Fried Egg

    Fried Egg Active Member

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    Since they are both highly acclaimed authors, and there's no such thing as a universally liked author (you will always find detractors, no matter who you are talking about), I would at least give them a try and make up your own mind.
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    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    For me probably JM Barrie - I don't know if I had ever read Peter Pan before reading it to my kids last month. It was awful -- the descriptions really bad, sentence construction made it hard to read out loud etc. My kids were disappointed and so was I.
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    Vince W

    Vince W Member

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    Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson; too much of not a good thing. I don't know that I'll ever finish the series.
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    Timba

    Timba Member

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    For me it is Steven Erikson, The Malazan Book of the Fallen. I was heading into some surgery and knew I would have serious downtime in front of me, the reviews looked good, I was psyched, never managed to finish the first book. Not even sure why. At times I enjoyed it but I would put it down and never feel particularly motivated to pick it up again. I have not given it away or thrown it out though but I am going to have to wade through much more of my to be read pile before I give this another go.
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    Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian New Member

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    Orson Scott Card. Ender's Game struck me as very simplistic, adolescent wish-fulfillment. I have no idea why it has the cult following that it does, other than nostalgia. I was also slightly disappointed by David Foster Wallace. The amount of hype that Infinite Jest gets, and the too-many-to-count comparisons to Pynchon, made me really excited. While I enjoyed Infinite Jest overall, it was not the earth-shaking masterpiece it was made out to be, and Wallace is definitely no Pynchon. I would give IJ a 3 out of 5.

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