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  #51  
Old 12-05-2012, 04:00 AM
Orville mogul Orville mogul is offline
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I agree with the previous posters about Stephen King, though I don't personally think his writing has changed that much, it is just that after reading a certain number of his books it becomes formulaic. I still think he is a great writer though and I continue to read him.

Jenaroph is right about the genital thing. My own complaint is King using sex as a weapon (e.g. Roland's sex with the giant spider in Dark Tower) or underage/coercive sex (the pre-teen gang bang scene in IT). Seems like he really gets his jolllies out of these.

Ludlum. Just hate him now. Same story over and over. And the occupational stereotypes really grate. I con't remember which book it was, but in one the female lead was an economist and every other sentence out of her mouth had to remind us of that....
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  #52  
Old 12-05-2012, 06:47 AM
Dave Hartwick Dave Hartwick is offline
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Originally Posted by Nava View Post
I don't understand this one. You're saying that Heinlein writes everybody with the same accent and you dislike that? Or that he uses such an accent to "characterize"? I come from a literary tradition where most accents are barely hinted at, so the fact that in English most authors transcribe speech "phonetically" (according to their own notion of phonics, of course) took a long time to get used to - if someone's characters always speak the same way, it's fine with me.
Certain stock characters of Heinlein's speak the same way. He might be the captain of a starship, the oldest man in the universe, or the head of a top secret spy ring, but corny ass phrases like "root hog or starve" or "middlin' proud" will fall out of his mouth. He could do slang pretty well, IMO. I don't mind how The Moon is a Harsh Mistress was narrated, although I've run into people who did.
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  #53  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:19 AM
The Other Waldo Pepper The Other Waldo Pepper is offline
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I was just recently trying to explain Piers Anthony to a friend who'd never heard of him, and said that many, many geeky folks went through a phase at around 12-15 years old where they read and loved Piers Anthony novels...but that most of us are pretty embarrassed about this now. I don't know how many times I've had the "Oh man, I used to love Piers Anthony too! God, what were we thinking?" conversation.
But, as other folks have been implying -- and I'll come right out and say -- if he'd stopped with A SPELL FOR CHAMELEON instead of running the series into the ground, and likewise stopped with ON A PALE HORSE and SPLIT INFINITY, I figure we'd all be having conversations lamenting how the guy could've done so much more.

He can write books that aren't embarrassing -- but apparently decided, hey, why bother when I can half-assedly author four or five of these a year?
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  #54  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:31 AM
Mr. Accident Mr. Accident is offline
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Another vote for King. I havent really cared for any of his work since The Green Mile, even though I have read most everything he has written. The Dark Tower series, Under The Dome, and 11/23/63 being the ones I skipped.

Laurel Hamilton. I liked her books up to Obsidian Butterfly. After that her focus shifted to sex with the plot being an afterthoughr if that. I gave up on her Anita Blake series after what should habe been the two biggest fights of the series got just a few pages each. Dont get me wrong, I have no problem with sex in a book, but dont make it the primary story of the series when the first ten books or so barely have any.

Simon Green. His last few books have seemed a bit to preachy to me.
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  #55  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:36 AM
Gagundathar Gagundathar is offline
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Another vote for Piers Anthony and Stephen King.
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  #56  
Old 12-05-2012, 08:13 AM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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I'd read every word Ruth Rendell ever put down on paper (long pre-internet, when I searched the library and used book stores). My favorite author EVER! But she wrote a book (can't remember the name) with a bit too much S&M, and it unduly disturbed me, and I haven't caught up with anything written after that. She's good at sick and twisted - maybe too good!

I've always loved "Salem's Lot", "The Shining", and "The Stand". I've dipped into Stephen King on and off over the years, but other than these three, can't say I've enjoyed his writing since. Even he admits he wrote a few ludicrously convoluted doorstops while wacked out of his mind on coke.

Last edited by salinqmind; 12-05-2012 at 08:16 AM..
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  #57  
Old 12-05-2012, 08:44 AM
Enright3 Enright3 is offline
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I'm on the second book of the Dark Tower series, borrowed from the library, because I never read it (it wasn't finished when I was on my big King kick when I was a teen). I have to say I may not read as far the third. It's really dreary so far.

Has he ever written a single book where he doesn't describe how some character's genitals are reacting in various situations? Egads, the man has a one track mind. I don't think that much about my OWN crotch, much less fictional ones.
Interesting you say that. I stopped reading around the time when the Dark Tower series began in the 80s. I was really into the first one, and the second one too IIRC. I got bogged down his never ending description of pushing Odetta(?) in a wheel chair through the sand. I didn't read too much of his stuff after that. I just looked at his bibliography and see that I've read 15 of his books; none of them past 1990.
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  #58  
Old 12-05-2012, 09:32 AM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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Nice to see that I wasn't the only one who thought the Dark Tower series was "meh." People talk about this series like it's the finest bit of literature since Shakespeare, but I mostly found it boring. There were some good parts, but the first book was so dreadfully dull that it took me three tries to get through it (and I only made it because I found an audiobook). The middle ones were okay, and the last two were ugh. I think Stephen King's "ugh" period coincided with the stretch when he was recovering (physically but mostly emotionally) from his near-death hit and run accident. I feel for what he went through, but I was getting really tired of reading books about his string of various author characters recovering from trauma (and in the DT series it was literally *him*).

Lately I think he's been much better--loved "Under the Dome" and "11/22/63."
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  #59  
Old 12-05-2012, 09:35 AM
by-tor by-tor is offline
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I thought Heinlein was a great writer... when I was a kid.
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  #60  
Old 12-05-2012, 09:42 AM
Trepa Mayfield Trepa Mayfield is offline
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Originally Posted by Infovore View Post
Scott Adams: Used to love "Dilbert" until I read his horrible misogynistic rants on his blogs. I still chuckle occasionally at a strip but I no longer buy his books.
Yeah, me too. He also went on these megalomaniacal tirades about how he knew how to control the system and it was really disturbing.
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  #61  
Old 12-05-2012, 11:03 AM
Clothahump Clothahump is offline
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Looks like I'm the first to mention Dan Brown. I really enjoyed The Da Vinci Code and have read everything but The Lost Symbol. I lost interest once I found out how outrageously inaccurate many of his "facts" were.
Brown wrote "factual" novels? That's news. I'm re-reading Angels & Demons, and the DaVinci Code right now; they're rollicking good reads, but they're fiction and never claim to be anything else.
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  #62  
Old 12-05-2012, 11:05 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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Originally Posted by koeeoaddi View Post
I wish they'd bag the 'mythology' in the Pendergast books and get back to some good old fashioned murder/monster potboilers (with or without him), like Still Life With Crows, Riptide and The Ice Limit.

I've also fallen out of love with Ruth Rendell, Elizabeth George and (tragically) Peter Straub, whose most recent book was hilariously terrible (and I do mean Son of Rosemary, by Ira Levin-level awful).
I still read the Pendergast books, but I don't buy them. And I agree 100% with koeeoaddi: A.X.L. has turned into a total Gary Stu. I loved Still Life with Crows. Now he's practically a Marvel Comic. The next book is out Tuesday; that may decide whether I'll ever read anything more. I'm dubious.

I'm still in with Ruth Rendell; I pick up Elizabeth George now and then, and I've never read anything by Peter Straub.
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  #63  
Old 12-05-2012, 11:20 AM
Yorikke Yorikke is offline
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I thought Heinlein was a great writer... when I was a kid.
Hmmm. I first tried Heinlein when I was about... 25? Stranger in a Strange Land. I hated it. I read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for the first time last year, at age 38-ish, and loved it! Different strokes...
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  #64  
Old 12-05-2012, 11:22 AM
Yorikke Yorikke is offline
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I still read the Pendergast books, but I don't buy them. And I agree 100% with koeeoaddi: A.X.L. has turned into a total Gary Stu. I loved Still Life with Crows. Now he's practically a Marvel Comic. The next book is out Tuesday; that may decide whether I'll ever read anything more. I'm dubious.

I'm still in with Ruth Rendell; I pick up Elizabeth George now and then, and I've never read anything by Peter Straub.
The next book is the last of the trilogy about his wife, right? Or was that the most recent one? Just give me a good standalone story, goddammit!
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  #65  
Old 12-05-2012, 11:53 AM
PunditLisa PunditLisa is offline
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Ditto on Laurel K. Hamilton. No plot, no character development, unless you count her vagina as a character. And it's seen way too much development, if you know what I mean.

I used to love Diana Gabaldon, but I no longer recommend the books. I loved when they were presented as a double trilogy. Now Gabaldon is content to spend 600 pages writing about 6 months of mundane comings and goings. And her plot devices are starting to repeat. Wrap up the story already!

Janet Evanovich jumped the shark after about #6. She's written herself into a corner because she won't allow her main character (Stephanie Plum) to mature and grow. So she keeps regurgitating the same plot, including the love triangle, to the point where it's beyond stale. It's now moldy. One amateur reviewer suggested that her daughter is actually doing the writing now, and I wonder if there's some grain of truth in that.
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  #66  
Old 12-05-2012, 11:57 AM
hogarth hogarth is offline
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
But, as other folks have been implying -- and I'll come right out and say -- if he'd stopped with A SPELL FOR CHAMELEON instead of running the series into the ground, and likewise stopped with ON A PALE HORSE and SPLIT INFINITY, I figure we'd all be having conversations lamenting how the guy could've done so much more.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I agree that he would have been better off quitting while he was ahead and I disagree that I would be praising his (early) books now.
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  #67  
Old 12-05-2012, 12:01 PM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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V. C. Andrews was a guilty pleasure when I was a teenager/college student, and I still sometimes go back and reread the "Flowers in the Attic" series. After that, though, except for "My Sweet Audrina" which was a one-off, I coudn't get through any of her other series (I gave up after trying the first book of the next couple). I'm not sure exactly when Andrews died and somebody else started ghost-writing her stuff, but I could argue that the FitA series was at least a fresh idea, while every subsequent series seemed to just rehash old territory with different characters.
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  #68  
Old 12-05-2012, 12:02 PM
koeeoaddi koeeoaddi is offline
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The next book is the last of the trilogy about his wife, right? Or was that the most recent one? Just give me a good standalone story, goddammit!
Douglas Preston said, in a Goodreads thread he participated in last year, that the upcoming book WILL be a stand alone, so ...yay!

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Originally Posted by salinqmind View Post
I'd read every word Ruth Rendell ever put down on paper (long pre-internet, when I searched the library and used book stores). My favorite author EVER! But she wrote a book (can't remember the name) with a bit too much S&M, and it unduly disturbed me, and I haven't caught up with anything written after that. She's good at sick and twisted - maybe too good!
Yes! This is it, exactly. The exception is when she writes as Barbara Vine, for some reason. I thought The Minotaur was very good, but just about everything else since Sight for Sore Eyes has squicked me out mightily.
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  #69  
Old 12-05-2012, 12:23 PM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
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...and another vote for Stephen King, who I used to greatly enjoy but for years has churned out twice as many words for less than half the effect.

Plus all the detective fiction writers who've carried on well into the post-senility phase of their heroes (i.e. Robert Parker, Robert Crais, Dick Francis (deceased, but writing from the grave via the medium of his son) and their derivatives. Give it up, fellas, and especially you fans who need to move on to fresher stuff.
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  #70  
Old 12-05-2012, 12:52 PM
maggenpye maggenpye is offline
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I really enjoy Ruth Rendell, but salinqmind makes a good point.

I used to love Ben Elton's books - until the one with the graphic (oh so very graphic) fisting scene. The next book I picked up began with a graphic sex scene and I just put it to one side and haven't finished it.
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  #71  
Old 12-05-2012, 01:11 PM
GargoyleWB GargoyleWB is online now
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I struggled through a few Laurel Hamilton books, but must never had made it to the "good parts" sex versions of the series, since they had neither plot, character, or sex.

I loved Neal Stephenson up through The Diamond Age, after which he drifted quickly into less entertainment and more self-congratulatory narratives. His books now feel like a PBS William F Buckley style round-table discussion.

John Varley has slipped from all-time-favorite-must-reads-of-new-books-as-soon-as-they-hit-the-shelf to save-them-for-long-airplane-flights.
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  #72  
Old 12-05-2012, 01:24 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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Hmmm. I first tried Heinlein when I was about... 25? Stranger in a Strange Land. I hated it. I read The Moon is a Harsh Mistress for the first time last year, at age 38-ish, and loved it! Different strokes...
When Heinlein was good, he was great. But he did produce some less than great stories. And Stranger is not a good starting point for someone who is new to Heinlein. In addition, Stranger was a groundbreaking book that needed to be read for the first time in that era (the 60), as it has become fairly dated now. I used to love it, but nowadays I have issues with it.

Many of his stories are considered seminal. For instance, "By His Bootstraps" and "All You Zombies" are considered THE defining time travel stories, never mind H. G. Wells.

If you can find some of his books and collections in the library, check them out, especially the juveniles. Some are worth buying for your own collection.
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  #73  
Old 12-05-2012, 02:22 PM
Jenaroph Jenaroph is offline
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Originally Posted by Orville mogul View Post
Jenaroph is right about the genital thing. My own complaint is King using sex as a weapon (e.g. Roland's sex with the giant spider in Dark Tower)...
Yikes. I may just stop reading it now if that's coming up.
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  #74  
Old 12-05-2012, 04:28 PM
kbear kbear is offline
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Patricia Cornwell can fall into a hole.
You got that right!
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  #75  
Old 12-05-2012, 04:46 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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Plus all the detective fiction writers who've carried on well into the post-senility phase of their heroes (i.e. Robert Parker, Robert Crais, Dick Francis (deceased, but writing from the grave via the medium of his son) and their derivatives. Give it up, fellas, and especially you fans who need to move on to fresher stuff.
Robert B. Parker is also deceased, Just wanted to point out that he had a few different series of novels going on, branching out from Spencer. James Lee Burke writes novels with different protagonists from Dave Robichaux. And Robert Crais is writing novels starring new characters, too. There are probably more.

Alice Hoffman lost me with The River King, all the elements were there, but it simply didn't gel and I disliked the characters. I think she's writing young adult or kids stories now.

Last edited by salinqmind; 12-05-2012 at 04:49 PM..
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  #76  
Old 12-05-2012, 05:18 PM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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Last night, I paged through The Eiger Sanction, The Loo Sanction, and Shibumi by Trevanian.
I read these years ago when they were new and I was young. I remember liking them very much and thinking Trevanian was A Great Author.
My opinion of Trevanian, now, would be that he is A Horse's Ass. His spoofing of the super spy genre is, at best, ham fisted. There didn't seem to be any love for the genre he spoofed.
Worse, though, is that for reasons I can't articulate, I come away from his work with a distinct feeling that he has nothing but contempt for his audience. What little is out there in the way of interviews and such reinforces that feeling.
Another pleasant youthful memory ruined by trying to revisit it...
I loved Shibumi the first time I read it. I disliked it intensely the second time. The third time I found I could enjoy it and while at the same time notice all the things I didn't like about it.

I went through the same cycle with Stranger In a Strange Land.
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  #77  
Old 12-05-2012, 05:42 PM
Unauthorized Cinnamon Unauthorized Cinnamon is offline
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I enjoyed a lot of Michael Crichton's books, but I couldn't read him after this story broke (the article title ably sums up everything that disgusts me): Global Warming Denier Michael Crichton Fictionalizes Critic as Child Rapist

It's funny, two of the frequent mentions here are Laurell K. Hamilton and Piers Anthony. I must have missed the window on them, because I picked up a novel by each of them within the last ten years, and I couldn't read beyond a few chapters. I was like, "Why do people like these again?"

I'll never forgive Thomas Harris for the execrable Hannibal. It's one thing to go the Eddings or King route where you just start wearing thin, it's a whole other level to deliberately shit on your fans.
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  #78  
Old 12-05-2012, 06:09 PM
Celidin Celidin is offline
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John Grisham ... thought his books were great legal thrillers, excellent popcorn books for the beach, but about the time I hit college the books got boring. I went back and read a couple of his earlier ones recently, and they feel like they hold up, so I'm going to go with "he's changed".

Tom Clancy+1 ... I still enjoy the original Jack Ryan books up through Bear and the Dragon. I find them a lot shallower and more repeatative now, but as a whole they're still worth a read. Basically after he sold out with "Tom Clancy's Random Novel by Someone Else", his own writing went to crap.

Orson Scott Card+1 ... When his Homecoming Saga first 3 books came out, they were great books for me. After I grew up and realized they were an extremely thinly veiled rehashing of the Book of Mormon, I can't really stand it too much. Also, by the time the 4th book came out, I think his writing got significantly, significantly less coherent or interesting.
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  #79  
Old 12-05-2012, 06:18 PM
AuntiePam AuntiePam is offline
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Originally Posted by salinqmind View Post
Alice Hoffman lost me with The River King, all the elements were there, but it simply didn't gel and I disliked the characters. I think she's writing young adult or kids stories now.
I enjoyed her early stuff, stopped reading her for awhile, then picked up The River King for a quarter at a library sale. If it wouldn't give me a reputation as the town cheapsake, I'd ask for my quarter back. That story made no sense at all.

Another author I've stopped reading is Toni Morrison. Her early stuff is miraculous, but Paradise was just hateful. I think that's the title -- it's the one before A Mercy, which was fine, but too short.
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  #80  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:02 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
But, as other folks have been implying -- and I'll come right out and say -- if he'd stopped with A SPELL FOR CHAMELEON instead of running the series into the ground, and likewise stopped with ON A PALE HORSE and SPLIT INFINITY, I figure we'd all be having conversations lamenting how the guy could've done so much more.
No, I don't think we would. While A Spell for Chameleon was better than many of the later Xanth novels, I've read plenty of other fantasy novels that were as good or better. If Anthony had given up on writing after Chameleon then I don't think anyone would really miss him now. Lots of authors only publish a couple of books and never become particularly successful. Heck, if Terry Pratchett -- a popular author here on the SDMB, a favorite of mine, and one who was capable of much more than the first two Discworld novels indicated -- had quit after The Light Fantastic then I wouldn't be thinking "I wish he'd stuck with it, that series had so much potential" now. He'd be just another fantasy author who'd written a couple of books that were reasonably entertaining but nothing really special.

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Brown wrote "factual" novels? That's news. I'm re-reading Angels & Demons, and the DaVinci Code right now; they're rollicking good reads, but they're fiction and never claim to be anything else.
The only Dan Brown novel I ever read was The DaVinci Code so I don't know if he's done this in other books, but right at the beginning of the book there's a page that claims that while the plot and characters are fictional the secret societies and rituals are real.
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  #81  
Old 12-05-2012, 07:19 PM
pinkfreud pinkfreud is offline
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I doubt that I will ever read another Patricia Cornwell novel. I used to gobble 'em up, but at some point (I think it was midway through Predator) what had once seemed exciting suddenly seemed sick and icky.
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  #82  
Old 12-05-2012, 09:17 PM
Trick Rider Trick Rider is offline
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Brown wrote "factual" novels? That's news. I'm re-reading Angels & Demons, and the DaVinci Code right now; they're rollicking good reads, but they're fiction and never claim to be anything else.
I'd always gotten the impression that he felt he was exposing some kind of secret in everything he wrote. I hope I'm wrong, because he writes well.
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  #83  
Old 12-06-2012, 12:52 AM
voguevixen voguevixen is offline
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You got that right!

I came in to say Patricia Cornwell too. "Oh you did NOT just kill him off!" ::flings book across room::

I'm behind on my Stephen King so I can't say how he's fared. I think the last I read was the Tom Gordon one, which I liked. It's him who has changed though because he's sober now right? I remember reading "Tommyknockers" when it came out and I'm like at the thing with the super heavy menstruation or whatever and how incoherent it was and thinking "how did this get published?! Who comes up with this?" Him admitting he was hammered the whole time he wrote that makes much sense to me now.

I haven't read him in quite a while but one thing I loved about John Grisham was he was known for these taut legal thrillers (but sometimes hit & miss. "The Client" was horrible, only to be followed up by the delightful "The Rainmaker".) Then one day when Oprah's book club was in its heyday he at some point must've snorted and said "I got this." and wrote "A Painted House" which was almost a parody of Oprah's book club selections, while still being a well-written entertaining read. That's talent.
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  #84  
Old 12-06-2012, 07:22 AM
GoodOmens GoodOmens is offline
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I had a run of adoring Tom Robbins in hi school and college. My wife even got me a first edition of Skinny Legs And All. Not so much anymore. Perhaps my mistake was watching the movie of Cowgirls.
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  #85  
Old 12-06-2012, 10:24 AM
Apocalypso Apocalypso is offline
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Stephen King - I still like most of his older stuff, but The Dark Half sucked, Insomnia and Needful Things took waaaay too long to get to the point, and after that I completely lost interest in reading anything else he wrote.
I'd say King changed, since I can still enjoy his earlier works up to and including It or so.
Dean Koontz - After a while I realized he was writing the same book over and over and lost interest. Intensity was his high point imo. This one is on me.
Dave Eddings - Read one series as a teen and liked it. Read another series and realized he was re-using dialogue and entire scenes. Went back and re-read some in my mid/late twenties and realized what an awful writer he was, really shallow and one dimensional characters.
Forgotten Realms (multiple authors) - Like the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, this was a pen and paper fantasy game with books written to go along with it. Again, something where I liked the colorful characters and interesting fantasy setting as a teen before I realized how crap most of the writing was. Douglas Niles in particular was pretty bad. NEVER liked Ed Greenwood though, he would easily sink to the bottom among the worst hacks.
Terry Brooks - One of the first fantasy series I ever read. I remember thinking at one point "If I read the phrase 'red hair flying' ONE more times, this book is going in the garbage". Sure enough a few pages later it turned up, and into the rubbish bin it went. Sword of Shannara is a poor hack's version of LOTR.
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  #86  
Old 12-07-2012, 08:46 AM
Kamino Neko Kamino Neko is offline
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Forgotten Realms (multiple authors) - Like the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, this was a pen and paper fantasy game with books written to go along with it.
[nitpicky hijack]Forgotten Realms WAS AD&D - a specific setting for the AD&D ruleset. And D&D3.X. Not sure if there's FR material for 4e or if there will be for Next.[/nitpicky hijack]
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  #87  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:41 AM
Dogzilla Dogzilla is offline
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Yeah, I've got nothin' new here:

Dean Koontz
Michael Crichton
John Grisham

Read any more than about three of each and you'll may agree with me that all three of those guys just seem to keep writing the same shit over and over again.

I can't figure out why Orson Scott Card is so awesome. I got Ender's Game because I liked the Hunger Games and wanted to read something similar -- I like dystopian novels. I couldn't get past about page ten. I was so bored and so NOT drawn into the story, I can't figure out why he's so damn popular. I gave up on the whole dystopian novel kick and discovered Terry Pratchett. I think I'm on my 8th Pratchett novel and still loving it. My goal is to read every. last. stinkin'. one.

Oh, and Scott Adams. After I read that horrible "God's Debris" piece of dreck, I unsubscribed to my Dilbert newsletter and banned Adams from my life. I had no idea he was a tinfoil hat wearing kook, but I am done with him now. Hateful freak.
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  #88  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:40 AM
3:20:59 or bust 3:20:59 or bust is offline
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I can't believe it took so long for someone to mention Thomas Harris. His photo should be by this entry in the encyclopedia.

Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs were fantastic. And then...wow, I don't even want to think about Hannibal. What an absolute pile of crap.
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  #89  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:30 PM
SCAdian SCAdian is offline
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Originally Posted by Kamino Neko View Post
Then I happened to see the fourth Geodyssey book in the book store (this was around 2001, so it'd been out for a bit apparently), and remembered I'd liked the earlier ones.
Thank you for mentioning these! I read the first two and have been trying to remember the titles/author's name so I could reread them. Didn't know there were others....
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  #90  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:38 PM
DummyGladHands DummyGladHands is offline
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I's still good with King; Koontz, who never stops showing off his admittedly admirable vocabulary, gets old quick.

I am puzzled about what the heck has happened to Anne Tyler. Used to gobble her books up. The last 2 or 3--meh.
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  #91  
Old 12-07-2012, 09:56 PM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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90 posts in and no mention of Harlan Ellison or JD Salinger?

Neil Gaiman: When he first popped up in the late 80s, he showed limitless potential and a fresh new take on old ideas. The last thing of his I read--The Graveyard Book--showed desperate revisiting or all of those old ideas, again and again.

PJ O'Rourke was great when (A) he assumed his readers didn't already agree with him and (B) recognized that "curmudgeonly" only functions with"funny." Not sure when this became a problem, but he hasn't had a really good book since All the Trouble in the World. Wait: That was the last book to repackage his old Rolling Stone pieces, right? All the subsequent ones were from The Atlantic and Weekly Standard? I think I can pinpoint this after all...
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  #92  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:10 PM
SCAdian SCAdian is offline
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I came in to say Patricia Cornwell too. "Oh you did NOT just kill him off!" ::flings book across room::
I was very happy when she killed off a certain character. I was very unhappy when she brought that character back.

Loved the first few books, but eventually gave up on her....
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  #93  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:53 PM
salinqmind salinqmind is offline
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Originally Posted by 3:20:59 or bust View Post
I can't believe it took so long for someone to mention Thomas Harris. His photo should be by this entry in the encyclopedia.

Red Dragon and Silence of the Lambs were fantastic. And then...wow, I don't even want to think about Hannibal. What an absolute pile of crap.
It took ELEVEN YEARS after Silence of the Lambs for him to come up with Hannibal. We all had to wait for eleven years, and OMG the excitement when we heard there was a new book! ..... He had all that time to write, and that was what he came up with.
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  #94  
Old 12-07-2012, 11:43 PM
elfkin477 elfkin477 is offline
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Yeah, Laurel K. Hamilton. I loved the first 8 books in the Anita Blake series, but then....then Anita started having sex. Lots of boring, repetitive sex. Writing bad erotic fanfic of your own characters is just weird.

And Stephen King. He hasn't been the same since he got run over. Seriously, the last books he wrote before then are the last ones I truly enjoyed.

And let me add Amy Tan to the authors who write the same books over and over list. I read four books of hers. They were all the same basic story: fiercely independent Chinese-American daughter clashes with traditional Chinese mother who has a tragic secret in her past.
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  #95  
Old 12-08-2012, 11:50 AM
digs digs is offline
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I came in to say Patricia Cornwell too. "Oh you did NOT just kill him off!" ::flings book across room::
But then didn't she bring him back at the end of... the next book? Protagonist turns a corner and there's her soulmate just...what?...sitting on the stairs? And, no chemistry, just "Oh, I should've told you, I'm not dead." (Not sure; I've tried to block it out)

I loved Cornwell's early books, but then I started playing a game where I tried to identify the exact paragraph in the last chapter where her publisher called and said "It's going to the printer this afternoon-- finish it up in the next hour!" And all the plot devices, all the loose ends BAM! wrapped up in twenty pages.

And I'm nodding my head a lot reading this thread. I, too, gave up on the first Dark Tower book, but slogged through the audiobook (thanks to Frank Muller's reading), and later gave up on Mr. King... but tried and loved "11/22/63" (esp. the audiobook: narrator had a delightful hint of Maine accent).

But if an author finds a schtick that I like, and schticks with it, that's ok with me. Dick Francis is the extreme example of that. Every single book is: plucky almost-middle-age guy whose career somehow intersects with horse racing is thrust into a mystery that he's really not equipped for. And now his son is writing exactly the exact same exact book... it's uncanny... but kind of fun.
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  #96  
Old 12-08-2012, 12:28 PM
Implicit Implicit is offline
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But if an author finds a schtick that I like, and schticks with it, that's ok with me. Dick Francis is the extreme example of that. Every single book is: plucky almost-middle-age guy whose career somehow intersects with horse racing is thrust into a mystery that he's really not equipped for. And now his son is writing exactly the exact same exact book... it's uncanny... but kind of fun.
This summer I reread 40 Dick Francis books. Sure they are all the same, but it's a good same. The son's books, however, lack the charm of the original books. He inserted misogyny disguised as chivalry to try and capture the feel of the older time period of the early books, I felt icky after reading one.

I find that I give up on most series after 4 or 5 books, it would probably be easier to list those I haven't given up on.
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  #97  
Old 12-08-2012, 12:44 PM
Tapiotar Tapiotar is offline
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When Heinlein was good, he was great. In addition, Stranger was a groundbreaking book that needed to be read for the first time in that era (the 60), as it has become fairly dated now. I used to love it, but nowadays I have issues with it.

Many of his stories are considered seminal. For instance, "By His Bootstraps" and "All You Zombies" are considered THE defining time travel stories, never mind H. G. Wells
I loved his juveniles, like "Have Space Suit Will Travel" and "Red Planet" when I was in elementary school, and he turned me into a lover of SF. I first read Stranger in 1969 or 1970, when I was 17 years, and it fit my personal time and societal time perfectly. I still love "By His Bootstraps", "All you Zombies" and many other short stories from the classic period. But the works of his that I don't care for at all were the latest, To Fear No Evil and To Sail Beyond the Sunset.

Also agree with above posters on Janet Evanovitch -- she should have quit after Plum book 6 -- and Laurell Hamilton, who should also have quit after Anita Blake book 6. Never cared that much for King -- even the earlier works fell apart by the endings, so I stopped following him early on, and I find Dan Brown unreadable. Though you could make a good drinking game out of his books -- take a drink every time he starts a sentince with an adverb, and you'll be plastered by the end of the first chapter.

May I suggest Robert Louis Stevenson? I gobbled up Treasure Island and Kidnapped when I was a kid, but now I no longer have patience with the dialect. I think that is more a flaw in myself than in him, however.

Most of the authors I've really loved, I've continued to enjoy. I'll still reread Louisa May Alcott or L.M. Montgomery when I need a break from the modern world.
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  #98  
Old 12-08-2012, 04:07 PM
tellyworth tellyworth is offline
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Brown wrote "factual" novels? That's news. I'm re-reading Angels & Demons, and the DaVinci Code right now; they're rollicking good reads, but they're fiction and never claim to be anything else.
The Da Vinci Code includes in its introduction a page titled "Fact:", which prattles on about the Priory of Sion, and then claims:

Quote:
All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.
It's rubbish of course - the Priory of Sion was a hoax, and many of the details he refers to are either incorrect or hoaxes.
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  #99  
Old 12-08-2012, 04:21 PM
Beastly Rotter Beastly Rotter is offline
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And let me add Amy Tan to the authors who write the same books over and over list. I read four books of hers. They were all the same basic story: fiercely independent Chinese-American daughter clashes with traditional Chinese mother who has a tragic secret in her past.
Someone, can't remember who, described her books as "Three generations of Chinese women argue in the kitchen."
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  #100  
Old 12-08-2012, 09:53 PM
Lamia Lamia is offline
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Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
And let me add Amy Tan to the authors who write the same books over and over list. I read four books of hers. They were all the same basic story: fiercely independent Chinese-American daughter clashes with traditional Chinese mother who has a tragic secret in her past.
FWIW, her sixth novel, Saving Fish from Drowning, departs from this formula.
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