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Reed Rothchild
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Member · Posted
4 minutes ago, Reed Rothchild said:

Finished both of these up since they're relatively short

Cell

King does I Am Legend.  Definitely in the bottom half of his library, but not as bad as some people make it out to be.

 

66370

Not very good.  Probably the worst book of his I've ever read, and I've read around 50 of them.  Stephen King's Breakfast Club.

Found the same with Rage. I got two thirds in and gave up, it is definitely the worst King novel I've read too. Probably better he stopped publishing it, even if I don't believe it should have been.

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I just finished up Project Hail Mary and I was underwhelmed, to say the least. I wouldn't consider myself a book snob, but I'm really surprised at the near universal acclaim the book has received.

A few things that really dragged the book down (SPOILERS):

Spoiler
  • Extremely one-dimensional main character. He is completely defined by his professions (school teacher, rebel scientist) and MacGyver abilities, with some unoriginal humor thrown in for entertainment sake. He's probably one of the least interesting protagonists I've ever read. I saw one review that said his dialogue could have been spit out by an algorithm and I couldn't agree more.
  • The plot is a grab bag of ideas stolen from much better sources. The book reads like one giant cliché. You've got Earth in peril, the sole survivor/savior, amnesia/flashbacks, first contact, alien communication, etc. The list goes on and on.
  • The amnesia plot paired with the flashback writing style is just painful, both slowing down the book and artificially building tension. It only took me about ten minutes of reading to see that this was headed towards a "twist" in the flashback timeline which would be revealed at some pivotal moment towards the end of the book. Well, I was right and the twist sucks and doesn't change anything. In fact, the main character barely even reacts to this life-changing moment due to his complete lack of personality.
  • Weird mix of hard science and absolute gibberish. Weir goes to great length to make some aspects seem plausible (even harping on complicated things like time dilation and mass/energy relationships), but then hand waves to cover up giant plot holes. It's a weird dissonance and I don't know if it's intended to trick the audience or simply provide balance to the more technical aspects. The worst of it is the bad biologic science which makes the entire plot nonsensical.
  • No matter how much I suspend disbelief, I can't get over the fact that the protagonist translates an entire alien language in a few days and becomes fluent in weeks. It made me want to rewatch The Arrival which elegantly deals with that same concept.
  • The ending. Ugh. Probably one of the absolute worst in any book I've ever read. So cheesy and schlocky and just absolutely painful. If you like your Hollywood endings, this is the book for you.

Anyways, it's not terrible, but it's certainly not good. If you spend any time analyzing the characters and plot, you'll realize this is nothing more than throwaway, mass market fiction.

I understand different people like different things and I guarantee that someone out there considers this their favorite book of all time. I'm just surprised at how many people like it.

Has anyone else read this book? If you enjoyed it, what were your favorite aspects?

Edited by DoctorEncore
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  • 4 weeks later...
Editorials Team · Posted

Read Hyperion for the book club.  Love it, especially the scholar and priest's tales

77566.jpg

 

And I just finished Malazan 2.  Also loved it.  Loved Coltaine's march.  Love Fiddler and Kalam.  Excited to jump right into part 3.

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September was a very good reading month for me.

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Member · Posted
14 hours ago, Reed Rothchild said:

Read Hyperion for the book club.  Love it, especially the scholar and priest's tales

77566.jpg

 

And I just finished Malazan 2.  Also loved it.  Loved Coltaine's march.  Love Fiddler and Kalam.  Excited to jump right into part 3.

55401.jpg

 

September was a very good reading month for me.

Hyperion was fabulous. Fall of Hyperion was okay. Not nearly as wonderful as the first book. Still, you'll want to read it to find out what happens to the characters. Honestly, predictable and dry compared to the first book, but that is how it goes.

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53 minutes ago, Reed Rothchild said:

I could see that.  I generally love intro installments that set a journey into motion and hint at big later payoffs, building it up in your imagination.

Probably why I love Fellowship of the Ring the most.

Perhaps the finest fantasy series I read was Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe, the first book being Shadow of the Torturer.  The series is technically 4 books, but book five is a direct sequel, and there is even a six book which acts as a codex. I thought the first Hyperion was on the same level as Book of the New Sun, but the second fizzled out while Wolfe's books were constantly just fabulous.

Shadow-of-the-torturer.jpg

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1 hour ago, doner24 said:

Next up for me is Dune, I’ve read so many books, especially Fantasy and SciFi and have never read Dune!

I was the same. I’m currently half way through and it’s amazing so far. I wish I had read it earlier. Hope you enjoy it as much as I am.

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/14/2021 at 8:32 PM, JamesRobot said:

Just wrapped up Ready Player Two.  Kinda takes a weird dark turn but I enjoyed almost as much as the first.  

Didn't really care for it. The pacing was off... certain sections stretched on for too long (Prince, John Hughes), while potentially interesting subplots were omitted entirely (low five quest). It brought all of his weaknesses as a writer (that were present in the first book) into stark focus, without the novelty or compelling world building to compensate.

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28 minutes ago, G-type said:

Didn't really care for it. The pacing was off... certain sections stretched on for too long (Prince, John Hughes), while potentially interesting subplots were omitted entirely (low five quest). It brought all of his weaknesses as a writer (that were present in the first book) into stark focus, without the novelty or compelling world building to compensate.

No, def not a great writer but I expected that going in.  For what it is, I think he did a decent job building the side worlds.

I'm half expecting a Lo Five spinoff.  That and the book is in Parzival's voice so I can see why it may have been omitted. But yeah, definitely a missed opportunity. 

 

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From a Buick 8

Decent.  There's barely a story here, and the entire thing could have been done as a novella in one of his collections, but I still enjoyed it for what it was.

 

Joyland

Again, decent.  And much better than The Colorado Kid.  But the fact that this is more of a coming-of-age story and less a hard boiled crime story makes it seem like a bit of false advertising.  Either way, I've now read like 6-7 lesser King novels this year, so I kind of feel like I have to target some of his celebrated works next.  The few that I haven't already read at least.

 

The Silence of the Lambs

Read it for the book club.  Great, but the movie follows the book so closely that it didn't leave any surprises for me.

 

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

Also read this for the book club.  One great story, a few decent ones, and some rather weak ones.  Clearly Harlan did a lot of drugs, because this reminded me of William Burroughs in some ways.

 

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders

Gaiman short stories.  This time a couple great stories, a couple good ones, a lot of meh ones, and some poems that did absolutely nothing for me.  Worth it just for the highs.

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Member · Posted
On 11/25/2021 at 1:37 AM, Reed Rothchild said:

I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream

Also read this for the book club.  One great story, a few decent ones, and some rather weak ones.  Clearly Harlan did a lot of drugs, because this reminded me of William Burroughs in some ways.

NOPE - Harlan Ellison was a very outspoken critic of drugs to the point where he refrained from not only alcohol, but even caffeine! I thought Ellison was a super talented and cool individual, but I never really enjoyed his stories, they just didn't vibe with me, and I did read quite a lot of his stories including "I Have No Mouth".

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