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TV, Movies and Games > Genre Writers You Just Can't Appreciate

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message 1: by James (new)

James H. (jhedrick) | 128 comments A recent conversation with a buddy of mine over Ben Bova's "Mars" series brought up what is probably a well worn discussion: what sword/laser artists (writers, especially, but other genre artists as well) do you have trouble appreciating?

A lot of early "classic" and "hard" science fiction writing (Niven, Asimov, Bova, Clarke) leaves me pretty flat. It's a frequent critique, but the quality of the writing sometimes takes a backseat to the ideas. Clumsy exposition, tours of nifty worlds but minimal story and/or characterization, that kind of thing.

Also, I just can't get into Dr. Who. Tried several times, with several different doctors. Just can't get into it.

Those are mine. Anyone else want to step up and throw something out there?


message 2: by Isaiah (new)

Isaiah | 74 comments For me it's Philip K. Dick. I've read a few books and have never been wowed by any of them. I don't hate his writing or the stories, but at the end of every one I just think, "meh."

As for T.V. I love Dr. Who, but I know several people who don't care for it. I couldn't get into Agents of Shield. It jut never grabbed me.


message 3: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6352 comments GRRM. Just seems like history. *ducks*


message 4: by Louise (new)

Louise (louiseh87) | 352 comments Tamahome wrote: "GRRM. Just seems like history. *ducks*"

I gave up on GoT, and I'm an historian :)


message 5: by James (new)

James H. (jhedrick) | 128 comments Brian wrote: "Ray Bradbury has always been a struggle for me. I think I've only ever been able to finish one of his books, Fahrenheit 451 and I probably gave it more stars than i sh..."

I'm with you on Bradbury, never could get into him. Too pulpy maybe, although I like a lot of pulp stuff, Howard and others. And man, I can understand getting fed-up with GRRM. He'll drive you up the wall sometimes.


message 6: by Gary (last edited May 04, 2014 03:52PM) (new)

Gary OK, I'll admit it: I tried to read Harry Potter and put it down. Don't get me wrong, I get why it is/was so popular (at least I think I do) but it's just too much of a punny, mish-mash for my taste. I read enough to recognize that the whole thing was like that, but then the specter of half a dozen more books of comparable stuff was just too daunting. I had to give it a pass.

Maybe someday I'll gird myself and give it a read.


message 7: by Joaquin (new)

Joaquin Garza | 37 comments I still haven't read The Name of the Wind, it's #4 on my TBR pile, but I'm approaching it very very skeptically because of the hype and because of certain smugness from the author

And as they said... 'An author that gives 5 stars to his own book cannot write a 5 star book'


message 8: by Scott (new)

Scott (dodger1379) | 126 comments This could be a long list :)

George R.R. Martin - I just think he's a poor writer.

The others on my list are more books that aren't for me (meaning I can totally understand why others like them but they just don't do it for me)....
Catherynne M. Valente and Joe Abercrombie - I've tried them and they just don't strike a chord for me.


message 9: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments I can't stand Doctor Who.

Or Pratchett, or Jordan, or RA Salvatore. All of these guys just seem.. too camp, too stuck in the genre archetypes to do anything original.


message 10: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4188 comments I've been trying to get into some of the "classic" authors like Philip K. Dick and Arthur C. Clarke...but I'm finding that their writing style just isn't for me. I keep trying, though.

As much as I wanted to like it, Scott Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora wasn't for me. Nor was recent (ish, within the last year) S&L pick Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh. I'm growing tired of Neal Stephenson (who moved from my "must buy first day" list to my "meh, maybe when it's on sale" list thanks to Anathem and Reamde). And recent S&L alum and current critical darling Ann Leckie really wasn't for me.

But I keep trying these things. They just move lower to the ever-growing list.


message 11: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 701 comments Kenneth wrote: "Or Pratchett, or Jordan, or RA Salvatore. All of these guys just seem.. too camp, too stuck in the genre archetypes to do anything original."

I can see how you can have those opinions on Jordan and salvatore, but Pratchett? Stuck in archetypes? Not original? Really?


message 12: by Kaleb (new)

Kaleb Enders Game by Orson Scott Card. I started the book, but I have no interest in finishing it. That and The Hunger Games. That trilogy is nit worth the hype.


message 13: by Rob (new)

Rob  (quintessential_defenestration) | 1035 comments Neal Stephenson makes the list for me too. I started snow crash, had to out it aside during a semester and then just never could gmotivate myself to pick it up again. The same thing happened with Dune.


message 14: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Joaquin wrote: "I still haven't read The Name of the Wind, it's #4 on my TBR pile, but I'm approaching it very very skeptically because of the hype and because of certain smugness from the author"

I feel like I'm in a minority because I found Patrick Rothfuss's writing to be extremely uneven. The first two books are totally engrossing page turners with an interesting world, but the characterization is amateur to my senses and the pacing is all over the place. Because the book is from the protagonist's point of view, I think he's great while I'm reading, but when I put the book down I start to seriously question his choices.

My unappreciable is the recently deceased Iain M. Banks. He stuffs his Culture novels chock full of interesting aliens and cultures, but I have a really hard time relating to either the godlike Minds or the post-scarcity, spoiled brat humanoids. The plots tend toward the depressing as well for the three I've read. I've decided to just stop throwing myself against that particular wall.


message 15: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments Rob wrote: "Neal Stephenson makes the list for me too. I started snow crash, had to out it aside during a semester and then just never could [motivate] myself to pick it up again."

I couldn't get into Snow Crash, but I loved The Diamond Age (weird ending, though) and Anathem. I enjoyed Reamde but I thought it was way too over-the-top on just about every front for me to consider it well-written. Consider picking up one of his others.


message 16: by Ivi_kiwi (new)

Ivi_kiwi | 87 comments Peter v. Brett. His book, the warded man, well, it really annoyed me, so i could not finish it.


message 17: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments Kevin wrote: "Kenneth wrote: "Or Pratchett, or Jordan, or RA Salvatore. All of these guys just seem.. too camp, too stuck in the genre archetypes to do anything original."

I can see how you can have those opini..."


Taken as a comedy writer, sure. It's nothing new. Just applied to SF and very similar in style to Hitchhiker's.


message 18: by Michele (new)

Michele | 1154 comments Kim Stanley Robinson. I read the Mars trilogy and was completely unmoved by it, found it dry as dust. I also tried Years of Rice and Salt and lemmed it about 50 pages in.

I tried Locke Lamora and couldn't get into it, but I may try it again.

I liked Mistborn, gave up on Elantris, and haven't felt the need to jump on the Sanderson bandwagon. Also really disliked the final WoT book, but I dunno who to blame for that :)


message 19: by Dara (last edited May 05, 2014 12:43PM) (new)

Dara (cmdrdara) | 2702 comments John Scalzi. I liked Old Man's War alright. Really didn't like Redshirts. He just doesn't work for me.


message 20: by Joseph (last edited May 05, 2014 01:18PM) (new)

Joseph | 2294 comments For me it's Samuel R. Delany -- I've tried various things of his at various points over the years (including some when I was entirely too young) and nothing has ever quite clicked.

But seriously: As an SF-reading young teen in the library, how could I not pick up this?

Triton by Samuel R. Delany


message 21: by Dharmakirti (new)

Dharmakirti | 942 comments For me, it is Sanderson. I just don't get why everyone goes nuts about him. I don't dislike his work, I just don't think it's all that.

A couple others that come to mind: Larry Niven, Raymond Feist, and R.A. Salvatore.


message 22: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2501 comments One popular author I just don't get the hype around is Guy Gavriel Kay.


message 23: by Pat (new)

Pat (patthebadger) | 100 comments I was never able to get into the whole 'Cyberpunk' thing. I enjoyed Snow Crash but Neuromancer et al just didn't do it for me. I also can't get into Vernor Vinge - I've tried a few times but ended up Lemming him every time.

The only other genre staple that I have trouble with is Superheroes (in all their forms). Even when I was a kid they never really interested me... apart from Batman... Batman's cool.


message 24: by Igor (last edited May 10, 2014 06:11PM) (new)

Igor (igorrodrigues) | 13 comments T.H. White but I think I'm not alone here. :D Also Orwell's 1984 elbow drop me deep.


message 25: by Joaquin (last edited May 07, 2014 07:50AM) (new)

Joaquin Garza | 37 comments Igor wrote: "T.H. White but I think I'm not alone here. :D Also Orwell's 1984 made me elbow drop me deep."

I couldn't with the audiobook of The Once and Future King. It was too dull.

AndrewP wrote: "One popular author I just don't get the hype around is Guy Gavriel Kay."

I've just read Tigana, but I considered it hands down the best fantasy book I read in 2013. Maybe because I considered Kay original both stylistically (instead of the classic british medieval motif of regular fantasy, we had an italianated style reminiscent of Franco Zeffirelli's films) and thematically (dealing with community, patriotism, memory and cultural identity instead of plain honor, duty and quest or plain dog eat dog politics).


message 26: by Lawrence (new)

Lawrence Carrington (wontolla) Philip K. Dick has always bored the crap out of me. I prefer the movie adaptations of his work.
Somebody lent me Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks. I got the impression the author was showing off instead of telling a story.

I also have a love / hate relationship with Herman Melville's Moby Dick (more hate than love). Boring, but hey, it gets cool quotes in Star Trek!


message 27: by Rob (new)

Rob  (quintessential_defenestration) | 1035 comments Next time you pick it up, try reading Melville as someone writing absurd comedy. It makes a lot more sense, and suddenly he cetology bits are hilarious rather than really boring


And I guess I'm going to have to check out one of Stephenson's non-snow crash items.....eventually.


message 28: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments I really like Melville. Imagine you're reading him at the turn of the last century. It works much better if you aren't considering subconsciously that anyone could just wikipedia 'whales' and get a page of info.


message 29: by Michal (new)

Michal (michaltheassistantpigkeeper) | 294 comments I got about 70 pages into The Name of the Wind before giving up. Brandon Sanderson also comes to mind as a fantasy writer who is very interested in expounding at length about things I really don't care about (i.e. elaborate magic systems).


message 30: by Tamahome (last edited May 07, 2014 10:20AM) (new)

Tamahome | 6352 comments I got through 33% of The Way of Kings and lemmed it. But all my Goodreads friends love it, it seems. Maybe I'll go back if Graphicaudio does it!


message 31: by Paul (last edited May 07, 2014 10:42AM) (new)

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments Akkk! So many of my favorite things have been mentioned on this list from Bradbury to Thrones to Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sanderson...and OMG Firefly...how dare! My brain almost exploded reading that and this list.

But I will ad my own
Larry Niven...makes me sleepy
CJ Cherryh....Makes me bored
Samuel Delany...Makes me scream out loud
Ann Leckie...didnt get the hype, very avg

Some other stuff

Superman. (Almost every one who has written nim since 1940 including most movies) I dont get it worst superhero ever he cries more than Lois Lane.

Low Hanging fruit but Stephanie Meyer...need I say more.

Almost any Female written Urban Fantasy seriously how many times can you have sex with a vampire anyway...hello no blood flow no erection...stupid.
Heather Grahame was one of the few highlights for me in the dangerous women anthology so maybe its the genre because I love woman who write straight Sci-fi or fantasy its just enough with the damn Vamps vs Wolves(or any shifter) vs witches vs zombies sex with supernaturals crap already.


message 32: by Ken (last edited May 07, 2014 07:05PM) (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments Firefly is opaque to my sensibilities. I just don't understand the rage other than it's... indie?

Maybe it's just the one book I read by Cherryh (Fortress of Ice). I am aware that it wasn't the first in that series, but I followed the plot no problem. I detected that her characters are written in a very female way, including the males. It kind of bent the realism for me.


message 33: by Molly (last edited May 07, 2014 09:15PM) (new)

Molly (mollyrichmer) | 134 comments Unfortunately, I can't deal with too much classic sci-fi--a lot of flat characters and weird sexism. I also really don't care for comedy writing. I find it really boring. I realize there are probably exceptions to both of these, but sifting through them all seems way too exhausting.

In terms of book club picks, I despised Tigana. I kept expecting it to get better because everyone else seemed to love it so much, but it never happened for me. Oh well, to each his own. I like that the group is big enough that there's always someone to commiserate with, regardless of majority opinion.


message 34: by Dharmakirti (new)

Dharmakirti | 942 comments Tamahome wrote: "I got through 33% of The Way of Kings and lemmed it. But all my Goodreads friends love it, it seems. Maybe I'll go back if Graphicaudio does it!"

Save yourself the time and just read the wikipedia plot summary.


message 35: by Joaquin (new)

Joaquin Garza | 37 comments Dharmakirti wrote: "

Save yourself the time and just..."


Funny, I did the same with Clash of Kings all the way to Dance with Dragons


message 36: by Viola (new)

Viola | 187 comments Paul wrote: "seriously how many times can you have sex with a vampire anyway...hello no blood flow no erection..."

That is why they drink blood, so they can get it up.


message 37: by Wilmar (new)

Wilmar Luna (wilmarluna) | 241 comments Delicious. :)


message 38: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4188 comments Outside of books, I must confess I hate Star Wars.

I'll go turn in my nerd hat now.


message 39: by Tamahome (new)

Tamahome | 6352 comments The one with the propeller?


message 40: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4188 comments Yeah, that's the one. I didn't realize they gave you one, too. ;)


message 41: by Kaleb (new)

Kaleb Mark Lawrence. Prince of Thorns was a poor novel in my opinion. It wasn't the great book I hoped it'd be and it was the gore fest others say it was either. I've read bloodier books.


message 42: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Griffin | 51 comments Paul wrote: "Akkk! So many of my favorite things have been mentioned on this list from Bradbury to Thrones to Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Sanderson...and OMG Firefly...how dare! My brain almost exploded reading t..."

You crack me up! And I totally agree with you.


message 43: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2501 comments terpkristin wrote: "Outside of books, I must confess I hate Star Wars.

I'll go turn in my nerd hat now."


Yay!. I though I was the only one:) To me the 'pew', 'pew' and whooshing arcing spaceships is the epitome of bad science fiction. The original BSG is a close 2nd.


message 44: by Paul (new)

Paul Harmon (thesaint08d) | 639 comments You're making my heart hurt. Hating Star Wars is like hating happiness and puppies and Ice Cream.
I also Loved the original BSG...I'm so sad...the world no longer has meaning for me I might as well just start watching reality TV...well no I'll never be that pathetic.
I'll just go watch Star Wars and remember why for 35+ years it has made hundreds of millions of people happy and willing to try Sci-fi. Or how it changed the world of Geekdom, Sci-fi, pop culture and Movies forever.


message 45: by Hesper (new)

Hesper | 85 comments I haven't been able to make through more than one book from either GRRM or Patrick Rothfuss. For reasons already mentioned by others.

William Gibson sort of belongs here too, though he's pure love-hate for me. Love his use of language, hate his protagonists and plots, such as they are.

And I find Gaiman charming and imaginative, but pathologically unable to deliver on a single one of his set-ups.


message 46: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments BSG is seriously boring.


message 47: by Ben (new)

Ben Nash | 200 comments Just remembered, I couldn't stand Justin Cronin's The Passage. I thought it was boring and derivative, but I had to finish it for one of my other book clubs.

Also Cormac McCarthy's book The Road. I get what he was trying to do with the language -- making it sparse to convey the same feeling that was going on with the characters and world -- but the lack of almost any punctuation drove me batty. I also thought there was way too much hype around the book. It did what books in genre have been doing for decades, but got so much attention because it was written by an 'acceptable' author. Irksome.


message 48: by Baelor (new)

Baelor | 169 comments Hesper wrote: "I haven't been able to make through more than one book from either GRRM or Patrick Rothfuss. For reasons already mentioned by others.

William Gibson sort of belongs here too, though he's pure lov..."


Totally agree about Gaiman. His books are good, but they have never reached the heights of great for me.


message 49: by Ben (new)

Ben (bennewton_1) Allow me to add to this incredibly depressing thread by saying that I don't really like The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Given my tastes in other comedies I've never really been able to figure out why, I probably should love it but instead I thought it was a bit boring and not especially funny or clever.


message 50: by Ken (new)

Ken (kanthr) | 334 comments Right there with you regarding McCarthy. Extremely over-hyped imo.


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