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Old 5th October 2010, 12:13 PM   #161
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God-Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert.
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Old 5th October 2010, 12:22 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by Pure_Argent View Post
God-Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert.
That's easily fixed, just read any of the ones that came after it
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Old 5th October 2010, 12:25 PM   #163
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A bit off topic, but there seem to be a few Swedes posting. How does Stieg Larsson read in the original language?

I'm only asking out of interest, while I'm a bit mystified by the acclaim his millennium trilogy got, I certainly wouldn't say they belonged in this thread.

Last edited by Guybrush Threepwood; 5th October 2010 at 12:39 PM. Reason: change would to wouldn't
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Old 5th October 2010, 12:36 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
A bit off topic, but there seem to be a few Swedes posting. How does Stieg Larsson read in the original language?

I'm only asking out of interest, while I'm a bit mystified by the acclaim his millennium trilogy got, I certainly would say they belonged in this thread.
I think they're great. Well, okay, to be fair I never finished the final book.

The plot gets a bit silly at times, but the writing is good. It's written in very plain Swedish, but it's presented very well.
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Old 5th October 2010, 12:52 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by Pure_Argent View Post
God-Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert.

I had forgotten this one. I did slog all the way through it as a got an autographed first edition when Herbet was in Melbourne quite a few years ago.

It was certainly not as good as the first three, but is still better than Asimov's later wordfest attempts to hook everything he ever wrote into a single timeline. (And ditto Heinlein's Multiverse - see Number of the Beast, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond the Sunset)

Norm
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Old 5th October 2010, 01:12 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by fromdownunder View Post
I had forgotten this one. I did slog all the way through it as a got an autographed first edition when Herbet was in Melbourne quite a few years ago.

It was certainly not as good as the first three, but is still better than Asimov's later wordfest attempts to hook everything he ever wrote into a single timeline. (And ditto Heinlein's Multiverse - see Number of the Beast, The Cat Who Walks Through Walls and To Sail Beyond the Sunset)

Norm
Meh... I never got beyond the second part of the Dune series. Dune itself was not bad, but the second one was - not really sucky enough to qualify for this thread, but sucky enough to persuade me not to read any further.
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Old 5th October 2010, 01:49 PM   #167
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Originally Posted by Philosaur View Post
(though nothing pre-Snowcrash, which I hear isn't very good anyway).
Zodiac is very good.

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My only gripe with Stephenson is that his descriptions are both lengthy and unclear. I often have to read back over the descriptions a couple of times before I'm able to visualize what he's writing about.
I totally agreed with something Roger Zelazny once wrote that giving more than 3 attributes to a character somehow made the character less clear rather than more clear. Neal has this problem.
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Old 5th October 2010, 01:55 PM   #168
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Originally Posted by ZirconBlue View Post
Oh, yeah. Anthony was my favorite author during my teens. I'm not sure whether he became much worse over time, or my tastes changed.
He became worse. Even as a teen, I found stark contrast between his books. The early Xanth novels were fun; The Shade of the Tree and the Planet of Tarot books were crap.
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Old 5th October 2010, 02:01 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by Wudang View Post
Zodiac is very good.
Thanks for the info! I'll check out Zodiac.

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I totally agreed with something Roger Zelazny once wrote that giving more than 3 attributes to a character somehow made the character less clear rather than more clear. Neal has this problem.
I find I have the problem most with his description of places and things, not so much with his characters. I often really like his characters (and characterizations).
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Old 5th October 2010, 02:31 PM   #170
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The people nominating Spenser novels fill me with sadness and a desire to say very rude things that would probably get me kicked off the forum. I love those books, and they only improved with the appearance of Susan Silverman.

Ok, worst book. The one that always springs to mind is Red Rabbit by Tom Clancy. I don't expect high literature from Clancy, but this one was truly awful. Nothing happens, he screws up the backstory of his main character, and the whole book assumes the reader is familiar with the attempted assassination of the Pope in 1981. Oh, and the details of mutilating the corpse of a dead girl with a blowtorch? Yeah, that really wasn't necessary.
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Old 5th October 2010, 02:37 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by Sledge View Post
The people nominating Spenser novels fill me with sadness and a desire to say very rude things that would probably get me kicked off the forum. I love those books, and they only improved with the appearance of Susan Silverman.
QFT. :-)

I'm going to miss the new Parker novels that seemed to be published every few months. Fortunately, he wrote quite a few I haven't read yet.

-- Roger
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Old 5th October 2010, 02:43 PM   #172
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
That's easily fixed, just read any of the ones that came after it
I weep bitter tears for Frank Herbert, because he didn't die of a heart attack immediately after publishing Dune. If he had, he would be hailed as one of the greatest science fiction authors ever. Since he did not, he isn't The Guy Who Wrote Dune. He's The Guy Who Wrote Everything After Dune.
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Old 5th October 2010, 02:49 PM   #173
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Originally Posted by jadebox View Post
QFT. :-)

I'm going to miss the new Parker novels that seemed to be published every few months. Fortunately, he wrote quite a few I haven't read yet.

-- Roger
I think there's a couple of Spenser novels I haven't read yet. After that, I guess I'll catch up with the Sunny Randall and Jesse Stone novels, but it won't be the same. Got annoyed that both Jesse and Sunny ended their relationship to carry on chasing after people who clearly aren't good for them.

Another book I hated, and really wish I hadn't read: Songs of the Dancing Gods, Jack Chalker. Loved the first two books, then thought it went downhill with the third when the characters returned to Earth. The fourth one just dumped all over what went before by turning the charming fantasy land into a grim medieval world. Horrible book and killed my interest in the series.
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Old 5th October 2010, 02:56 PM   #174
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Holy mother of God, you managed to trek through that? I've promised myself to do it some day.
It was a chore. Of course, I read an English translation, so it might flow better in the original German.

There may still be people who read it and nod through the whole thing, but I just had to keep putting it down and hug my dog.
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Old 5th October 2010, 03:02 PM   #175
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Originally Posted by Madalch View Post
He became worse. Even as a teen, I found stark contrast between his books. The early Xanth novels were fun; The Shade of the Tree and the Planet of Tarot books were crap.
I'm glad someone mentioned this, it was going to be one of my choices; To me, the worst book is not the most atrocious one outright... there's something that makes me just feel blasť about pure rubbish, it is what it is and I can't feel too offended by it. But something which holds out at least some promise, and then slowly decays into absolute tosh adds the bitter poison of disappointment to it's failings in my eyes.

Piers Anthony then; My brother got heavily into him when we were around 12 years old, and would lend me his books after he had finished reading them. I can remember being impressed with the first Xanth book, "A Spell for Chameleon", in particular the maturity shown by the Wizard Trent character; who even when he is able to once more use his actual magic, prefers not too, instead relying upon personal qualities rather than brute power to lead... The line which goes roughly "If I broke my word to Bink, how could you trust my word to you?" has stayed with me as a good example of the virtues of over all honesty, and a nice illustration of how you can make someone heroic without giving him biceps the size of basketballs and a singing sword of slaying.

However, as I started to mature, Anthony started to regress... and when you consider he'd started at an early adolescent sort of age in the first place, the results were increasingly horrifying; puns replaced plotting, and an infantile over fascination with women as a voyeuristic pleasure seemed to enthuse everything left over... I believe I finally vowed to quit the Xanth series when I looked at one of the frontispieces of a book and saw "The Colour Of Her Panties" was a forthcoming title.

My younger brother slogged on to the Incarnation of Immorality books, but I could never bring myself to do so. I believe they showed a similar decline in quality?


The other choice I would have made would be Ian Rankin's "Hollow Chocolate Bunnies Of The Apocalypse". I'd never read any Rankin before, and a friend gave me the book because she thought the title was cute. I remember not being very enthused myself, but when stuck on some boring course somewhere about how to improve your job seeking skills, I took it with me to see if it could lighten the mood; and to my surprise I found the first chapter, with it's deliberate narrative conceits incredibly funny, and couldn't wait to get home and finish the rest of the book.

But as I read further on, the conceit was quickly dropped and replaced with an attempt to tell straight the concept of "Toyland", even whilst the characterisation of characters described became ever more inconsistent and undermined it entirely; is Humpty Dumpty the Egg-person of nursery rhyme fame, or a human being? The book states explicitly both contradictory realities at different points.

The main characters in particular become more like McGuffins themselves, and as the plot degrades, McGuffins to nowhere; The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the title? Apparently Rankin came up with the line for another book, but couldn't make it fit there... but can't even make it fit here in the book written for them either which is even more shocking. It is not an exaggeration to say that the plot doesn't depend on chocolate in the slightest, but the protagonist has to be based in a chocolate factory, and leave the Hollow Bunnies at the scene of each crime, for no other reason than Rankin wanted to use the line. Indeed, by leaving the bunnies he's actually providing nothing more than a means to locate him at the chocolate factory he doesn't need, which means we the reader have to endure the tedious, ham fisted "Ahh but I meant to lure you here!" nonsense towards the end, so beloved of hack writers. And it could have so easily been avoided... all you had to do was say something like "The currency of Toyland is chocolate coinage, hence the protagonist is also trying to control the lands through..."

Nearing the penultimate chapters, I came within inches of just hurling the book in the bin, as the revealed protagonist just becomes ever more ridiculous and incoherent; Some of the reviewers on Amazon insist this is part of the humour, but to me Rankin has none of the skills of comedy during these passages, which would allow the bizarre to be still recognisable and thus set up the required discord which would allow us to laugh. What do I mean by that? Well, let me give two examples;

Example One: The Funny One. Monty Python's Witch Sketch.

Quote:
BEDEMIR: Quiet, quiet. Quiet! There are ways of telling whether
she is a witch.
CROWD: Are there? What are they?
BEDEMIR: Tell me, what do you do with witches?
VILLAGER #2: Burn!
CROWD: Burn, burn them up!
BEDEMIR: And what do you burn apart from witches?
VILLAGER #1: More witches!
VILLAGER #2: Wood!
BEDEMIR: So, why do witches burn?
[pause]
VILLAGER #3: B--... 'cause they're made of wood...?
BEDEMIR: Good!
CROWD: Oh yeah, yeah...
BEDEMIR: So, how do we tell whether she is made of wood?
VILLAGER #1: Build a bridge out of her.
BEDEMIR: Aah, but can you not also build bridges out of stone?
VILLAGER #2: Oh, yeah.
BEDEMIR: Does wood sink in water?
VILLAGER #1: No, no.
VILLAGER #2: It floats! It floats!
VILLAGER #1: Throw her into the pond!
CROWD: The pond!
BEDEMIR: What also floats in water?
VILLAGER #1: Bread!
VILLAGER #2: Apples!
VILLAGER #3: Very small rocks!
VILLAGER #1: Cider!
VILLAGER #2: Great gravy!
VILLAGER #1: Cherries!
VILLAGER #2: Mud!
VILLAGER #3: Churches -- churches!
VILLAGER #2: Lead -- lead!
ARTHUR: A duck.
CROWD: Oooh.
BEDEMIR: Exactly! So, logically...,
VILLAGER #1: If... she.. weighs the same as a duck, she's made of wood.
BEDEMIR: And therefore--?
VILLAGER #1: A witch!

Example Two: The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies Approach (paraphrased)

Antagonist: Ahah, you're evil!
Protagonist: Actually, I'm made of wood.
Antagonist: Ok then. In that case I...
Protagonist: Sorry, now I'm a duck.
Antagonist: Well that doesn't matter because...
Protagonist: In fact, I'm a witch.
The Readers: You can't just assert nonsense and claim it's funny! Where's the artistry?! You may as well just shout "Tom Bosley!" and expect people to laugh!
Protagonist: I was Tom Bosley all along!
The Readers: Just... just stop it. Now.

I very nearly did stop there. But I struggled on, to the ending that just cemented the "you're spitting on our minds now" feeling, and I've not attempted to read anything other than the initial, rather amusingly dark first chapter ever again. And never will. Truly the book itself is as hollow as it's title.
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Old 5th October 2010, 03:02 PM   #176
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Warpath.

I forget who wrote it, and I'm not especially inclined to look it up, but its premise was pretty much Native Americans colonizing space in magic space canoes.

Yeah.

And as if that wasn't horrible enough, the writing was awful. I hate to get rid of books, even bad ones, but that was one that got purged after I eventually slogged through it.
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Old 5th October 2010, 03:36 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by Comrade Raptor View Post
Warpath.

I forget who wrote it, and I'm not especially inclined to look it up, but its premise was pretty much Native Americans colonizing space in magic space canoes.
Okay- now I want to read that one.
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Old 5th October 2010, 03:51 PM   #178
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Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

A bit of a review I found on Amazon sums it up nicely:

Quote:
This was without a doubt the worst book I have ever had the displeasure of reading. From the moment you pick it up to the moment you put it down you are continually assaulted by the most unrealistic, poorly researched, dribble you are ever likely to come across. The story struck me as some sort of high school writing assignment fleshed out to become a novel, and I have to wonder why any editor would give it the time of day. The characters have no depth, the action is so unrealistic that it is laughable and the attempts at plot twists leave you with your intelligence well and trully insulted, especially if you have any interest in the military.
The author even has a characters' pre-teen daughter along (on a dangerous mision to Antarctica no less). The daughter just happens to be a mathematical wizz who is able to open a vital lock at a critical moment as she recognises the combination as part of the Fibonacci sequence.
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Old 5th October 2010, 04:02 PM   #179
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Originally Posted by Laton View Post
Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

A bit of a review I found on Amazon sums it up nicely:



The author even has a characters' pre-teen daughter along (on a dangerous mision to Antarctica no less). The daughter just happens to be a mathematical wizz who is able to open a vital lock at a critical moment as she recognises the combination as part of the Fibonacci sequence.
As I posted earlier, Reilly's brother is worse, but this is a very fine nomination. The point is that I bought it and read it even though I knew it was rubbish, and Reilly is one of the world's richest writers. Crap sells.
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Old 5th October 2010, 04:19 PM   #180
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Originally Posted by bjornart View Post
I enjoyed Stephen Donaldson's Gap series, and the Thomas Covenant books, once I stopped waiting for him to cheer up. I also enjoyed the first few books of The Sword of Truth.
I struggled through the first Covenant book. I will not struggle through any other of Donaldson's books. I'm not masochistic enough.

I also despised The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I can't believe I read that crap. I can't believe there were sequels to that crap!
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Old 5th October 2010, 04:36 PM   #181
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Originally Posted by Ysidro View Post
I struggled through the first Covenant book. I will not struggle through any other of Donaldson's books. I'm not masochistic enough.
This is one of the places where I have to disagree with the rest of the posters in this thread.

The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever possesses a special place on the top shelf of my personal collection. I consider it to be one of the finest works of high fantasy ever written.

But I've learned that the Thomas Covenant books are very much like licorice. You either love them to death or you can't stand them. So... yeah.
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Old 5th October 2010, 04:39 PM   #182
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Originally Posted by Ysidro View Post
I struggled through the first Covenant book. I will not struggle through any other of Donaldson's books. I'm not masochistic enough.

I also despised The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks. I can't believe I read that crap. I can't believe there were sequels to that crap!
I couldn't read the first Covenant book. But the Mirror books were decent.

I only vaguely remember reading SoShannara. But the sequels were, well, better than the first.
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Old 5th October 2010, 04:53 PM   #183
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
As I posted earlier, Reilly's brother is worse, but this is a very fine nomination. The point is that I bought it and read it even though I knew it was rubbish, and Reilly is one of the world's richest writers. Crap sells.
My mother-in-law seems to love his books, I could borrow any of them if I so wished but Ice Station was so bad I won't read any more of his stuff, even if I can get them for free.
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Old 5th October 2010, 05:06 PM   #184
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Originally Posted by Pure_Argent View Post
I weep bitter tears for Frank Herbert, because he didn't die of a heart attack immediately after publishing Dune. If he had, he would be hailed as one of the greatest science fiction authors ever. Since he did not, he isn't The Guy Who Wrote Dune. He's The Guy Who Wrote Everything After Dune.
While I quite liked the later Dune novels there is nothing and I mean NO THING at all redeeming about his son's poorly written, canon-breaking, cash cow milking Dune books.
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Old 5th October 2010, 05:31 PM   #185
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Originally Posted by Madalch View Post
Okay- now I want to read that one.
Taste is subjective, so it's possible that the premise might be interesting enough for you to excuse the writing. It wasn't to my taste, but I like watching Godzilla movies (the more googly the suit's eyes the better) and films with flying saucers on very visible strings . . . so my tastes can hardly be considered highly refined.
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Old 5th October 2010, 06:50 PM   #186
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Originally Posted by Pure_Argent View Post

But I've learned that the Thomas Covenant books are very much like licorice. You either love them to death or you can't stand them. So... yeah.
I don't like licorice either.
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Old 5th October 2010, 06:55 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by Laton View Post
...by Matthew Reilly
I picked up this one book (cheap, or garage sale, or something) because it looked interesting. After about the fourth occurence of a chapter ending "And then he saw it" or "And then it happened" I realized it was similar in style to another book that had really irritated me in its writing style. Sure enough, same author.
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Old 5th October 2010, 07:00 PM   #188
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Originally Posted by Ysidro View Post
I don't like licorice either.
Neither do I!

See, we all have something in common. Ebony and ivory...
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Old 5th October 2010, 07:14 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by Dave Rogers View Post
Worst book I haven't finished was the third one in Stephen R. Donaldson's Gap series (and, by implication, the whole series). I reached an epiphany part way through the book when I realised that I wanted all the major characters to die, immediately if possible, and the story to come to an end, because not one of them had a single redeeming feature. As a reader, stopping reading the book was the best way to bring that about, so I did. I've never regretted the decision.

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Quite possibly the worst book I have ever read was the FIRST book in the Gap series. Why someone would ever read another is beyond me. you read them all?
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Old 5th October 2010, 07:14 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
That's easily fixed, just read any of the ones that came after it
Silence, whelp! Heretics and Chapterhouse are awesome. God-Emperor was indeed very, very dull, very painful to read, but I still wouldn't classify it as anywhere close to the worst book ever. But thankfully he redeemed himself with the last two, they are great. I actually like them better than Dune Messiah and Children of Dune, though the first one remains the best, of course.

The real way to "easily fix" this is to read his son's worthless cash-grabbing prequels.
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Old 5th October 2010, 07:41 PM   #191
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Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast. I read it when young and don't remember much except I hated it and thought it was the worst book ever. I don't remember if I read Titus Groan first; probably not, or I wouldn't have anything else by Peake.
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Old 5th October 2010, 07:42 PM   #192
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I can safely say I've never read a really bad book because I'm smart enough to know when to quit.

But of those I got part-way through (about 30-50% as I recall, stubbornly hoping it would suddenly turn) was Timeline by Crighton. gawd.
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Old 5th October 2010, 07:42 PM   #193
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Originally Posted by RSLancastr View Post
Quite possibly the worst book I have ever read was the FIRST book in the Gap series. Why someone would ever read another is beyond me. you read them all?
I've heard you also once dabbled in the scribblings of Sylvia Browne. Is this true?
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Old 5th October 2010, 07:51 PM   #194
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Originally Posted by bigred View Post
But of those I got part-way through (about 30-50% as I recall, stubbornly hoping it would suddenly turn) was Timeline by Crighton. gawd.
I also read Timeline, but in its entirety. The first 30% is, in fact, the best part.

I also saw the movie, (on a rented DVD), which sucked.

And, I will almost shamefully admit that I actually played through the computer game version. (In my defense, I bought for practically nothing from a clearance bin.)

If I ever started a thread asking "What was the Worst Computer or Video Game You Ever Played?", my answer might, in fact, be Timeline.

(But, And Another Thing is still the worst novel.)
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Old 5th October 2010, 07:57 PM   #195
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I'm probably the only person on the planet who thinks so, but I loathed "West of Eden" by Harry Harrison.

I thought it was overwrought, but I kept reading it because the premise was so promising, I couldn't believe it wasn't better!
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Old 5th October 2010, 07:58 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by CptColumbo View Post
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler. Do I need to go any further?
Would I be Godwining this thread if I said Eoin Colfer's writing style was worse than Hitler's?
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Old 5th October 2010, 08:03 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by HawaiiBigSis View Post
I thought it was overwrought, but I kept reading it because the premise was so promising, I couldn't believe it wasn't better!
You know, I think this brings up an interesting point. A lot of the time expectation could influence what you think of a book (or a movie, or anything else for that matter).

If you go into a book with preconceived notions of greatness, you might be much more disappointed in how bad it was, than if you had no expectations at all.

If anyone reads And Another Thing... expecting it to be an actual continuation of the HHGG series, they will be sorely more disappointed, than someone who goes into it knowing that it's a mockbuster-style rip-off.
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Old 5th October 2010, 08:10 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by Madalch View Post
He became worse. Even as a teen, I found stark contrast between his books. The early Xanth novels were fun; The Shade of the Tree and the Planet of Tarot books were crap.
Good to know. I've been afraid to revisit some of the books I enjoyed so much for fear of realizing they actually sucked.


Originally Posted by A Lurker View Post
My younger brother slogged on to the Incarnation of Immorality books, but I could never bring myself to do so. I believe they showed a similar decline in quality?
I actually liked the Incarnations of Immortality series (and the Apprentice Adept series) more than Xanth. On a Pale Horse is actually one of my favorite books. The series did decline somewhat, but only because the other Incarnations were less interesting than Death. For Love of Evil (book 6) was pretty strong. (I've just discovered that he apparently added a new book to the series in 2007, which sounds pretty lame.)
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Old 5th October 2010, 08:12 PM   #199
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I also read Timeline, but in its entirety. The first 30% is, in fact, the best part.
I liked it, personally. The finish may be a little weak, but, overall, it was a fun read.
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Old 5th October 2010, 08:13 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by ZirconBlue View Post
I actually liked the Incarnations of Immortality series (and the Apprentice Adept series) more than Xanth. On a Pale Horse is actually one of my favorite books. The series did decline somewhat, but only because the other Incarnations were less interesting than Death. For Love of Evil (book 6) was pretty strong. (I've just discovered that he apparently added a new book to the series in 2007, which sounds pretty lame.)
I also like the Incarnations of Immortality, and some of his other stuff. I never much liked most of the Xanth stuff.

When he is good, he can be very good. The flip is also true.
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