Tell us something you hate about an author you love.

In which we discuss the flaws in the writing of authors we otherwise adore.

Hate, in the thread title, is something of an overreach. The flaw in question needn’t be something that ruins the author’s work; in fact it probably can’t be, logically, since otherwise you wouldn’t love the author, right?

Love, by contrast, is not an overreach. Let’s try to restrict ourselves to authors whose work we actually enjoy, rather than using the thread as an opportunity to slam people we don’t like, okay? In other words, be nice.

Author, of course, refers to the writer of novels, short stories, and poetry. Whatever flaws you see in the television shows and movies of, say, Joss Whedon are not relevant, partly because film and TV are so collaborative that it’s difficult to pin down who is ultimately responsible for what, but mostly because I don’t start threads about TV shows and don’t talk to people who do.

Anyway, to reiterate: please name an author you love, and tell us a habit of his or hers that never fails to annoy you.

I love the Lord Peter Wimsey novels of Dorothy Sayers, but her anti-semitism, particularly in Busman’s Honeymoon really disturbs me. It hasn’t stopped Busman’s Honeymoon from being my favorite book, but I always feel that I have to include a caveat if I recommend it.

The same issue applies to Charles Dickens; however in that case I really do hate Oliver Twist, although I love many of Dickens’ other works.

I like the Travis McGee novels in general, but hate the archaic use of “dear” and “darling” when the characters are speaking to each other. People may have talked like that in the 40s, but not during the period these novels are set in.


He had a thing about incest.

He had other nutty ideas, but his ideas about nudity, polyamory, the gold standard, chivalry, reincarnation and so on are charmingly nutty.

Incest not so much.

I could do without the fact that H.P. Lovecraft was such a racist.

I love G.R.R. Martin’s plots, but I hate that he feels the need to describe every piece of food and every item of clothing in minute detail when it doesn’t really progress the story at all, and that he introduces new major characters thousands of pages into a story.

China Miéville, Terry Pratchett and Jonathan Lethem are not as hilarious as they think they are.

Also, I could have done without finding out about Arthur C. Clarke’s pedophilia.

I hate (really, merely dislike) John Ringo’s anvilicious way of dropping his personal politics into his novels.

It’s not that I disagree with him much, but crikey, Mr. Ringo, learn and/or attempt a bit of subtlety!

George R R Martin will latch on to a word or phrase and work it until it loses all meaning. In Loaves and Fishes in Tuf Voyaging, he uses the word “puling” 4 times on one page. But, as anyone who has read A Feast of Crows knows, words are wind.

Still, a lot of the blame for this should fall on his editor. Come on guy, you can’t tell me you didn’t notice all those stupid 'nuncle’s.

One of my favorite authors of science fiction is H. Beam Piper. Was, I should say, he died over fifty years ago. Bastard committed suicide. He wrote some of my favorite books and short stories.

There are five authors that top my list. Heinlein, Kuttner, Asimov, Robinson, and Piper. That’s how high I ranked him personally.

EEK! :eek:

So the title Childhood’s End is creepily ironic?

Alan Moore, author of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Watchmen and other majorly influential comics/graphic novels does tend to use rape overly much, and comes off as a cranky, grumpy, cantankerous madman in interviews.

Most frequently, what I most hate about my favorite authors is that they have this terrible habit of being dead.

I really wish they would stop that.

Aside from that, there’s Orson Scott Card. He’s not a favorite author, but I’d really like to be able to read more of the Ender series without giving any money to such a nutty religious fucktard with severe homophobia.

Speaking of religious fucktards… I often wish P.K. Dick (who is a favorite) had not been so entranced with the Christian mythos, because I feel his insightful delusions would have had much more meaning to me had he been willing to explore various mythologies and realities in a more free-form style.

I love Robert B Parker. He is my role model and writing savant. But he can’t write women worth a damn. Poor, poor Susan.

Gail Simone–I love her beginnings and middles, but her endings have never been successful.

I really do like Robert Jordan, and taken as whole I love the Wheel of Time series, (the world building was IMO fantastic) but Robert (if you were still alive), we need to talk mate.

  • Advance the plot for chrissakes, the WoT series was at least 3 books longer than it needed to be. Not even needed, but the middle 3-4 books, just dragged, and dragged, and dragged, and … well you get the idea.
  • can your characters please stop with their ‘ticks’, if one more dress is smoothed, braid tugged, forehead knuckled, etc, etc I am going to kick something, really quite hard.

If I can indulge a second author, (what is it with me picking on dead guys) Mr Clancy what happened? You used to be cool. Red Storm Rising, Red October, Patriot Games, CoTK, they hooked me big time, I’ve reread them dozens of time, even up to Sum of all Fears you were still pumping out great technothrillers that would keep me up all hours to finish them. But then what happened? The publishers wheeled a dumptruck of cash up to your door? Your reputation was so established you figure you could phone it in?

Couple of specific hates for these later books to keep this in line with the OP,

  • Tom, do not under any circumstance write ‘romance/love’ stuff/dialogue etc. Just don’t do it! It is clear that it is not your forte.
  • Your ‘everyman’ hero far too quickly became your ‘everything’ hero, oh he’s VP now? Sure. What’s that, he’s the President now? Sure whatever Tom. He’s solved the middle east problem, cured world hunger, probably developed free energy in there somewhere, and solved all world problems both domestic and foreign?
  • Lastly (I know this is not technically a writing flaw - but I need to vent)- selling you name to books without making it clear you didn’t write it. (Needed another dumptruck I guess) I remember buying the first ever Ops Centre book, with your name prominently on the front, maybe the apostrophe “Clancy’s” should have been a clue. There was a little ‘created by’ with your name and someone else’s - OK, collabarating with someone, fair enough. But Gee, I don’t know, maybe you should have made it clear the book was written by someone else!! It took me about 2-3 pages to think there was something wrong. (If you can’t tell I’m still bitter about that). I’m actually fine with the concept, but those early book covers were tantamount to fraud in making you think the book had been written by Clancy himself.

Stephen King can craft characters that seem like people I know. He can make the unreal seem real. But he can’t end a novel to save his life.

The revolving door afterlife in Steven Erikson’s Malazan series really cheapened what should have been some gutting deaths. In one particularly egregious example, in book X a character dies a poignant death, but returns to life near the end of book X+1. That made it impossible to take it seriously when another character dies a couple of chapters later.

Clarke was not a pedophile, and the allegations against him vanished as soon as they were challenged. No one came forward to attest to them, and the London tabloid that made the charge withdrew it when the Sri Lankan police asked for the evidence. Clarke also suffered from post-polio syndrome and was not able to have sex for about 20 years before the charges were alleged. Anyone who followed the case (as opposed to the original sensationalist allegations) knows that charges were balderdash, but, alas, these sort of things never seem to die no matter how preposterous they are.

Are we talking about the same China Miéville? Writes about a woman who murders her infant during post-partum depression and is forced by a sadistically whimsical bureaucracy to have her dead child’s living arms grafted to her head as punishment and perpetual reminder? That China Miéville? Because he’s a terrific writer, but he never struck me as holding himself up to be a bag of laughs.

Edward Abbey was a shitty plumber; I’ve helped fix his mistakes.