sleepyjohn00 (sleepyjohn00) wrote,

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What I'm Reading, and why I'm not into it

It's a bad sign in a fantasy novel when people are calling each other 'Boss'.

I picked up a copy of Steven Brust's Dragon , which is part of a fantasy series concerning one Vlad Taltos, assassin.  I'm about a hundred page into it, and beginning to wonder why I'm bothering.

Steven Brust has been praised over and over  on BoingBoing, so when I saw this on the shelf, I figured it would be worth a try.

My Opinion: Mr. Brust has read the Amber series by Zelazny, and extracted all the style points that annoyed me about Amber, and made them his own.

Look, the idea of a fantasy novel is that you are looking at another world, a place totally separate from ours.  Things  are different there.  If the author is not helping you gain that feeling, it's harder to believe.  And when the dialogue is all modern television patter, people being snarky and ironic and using contemporary grammar, I don't know whether I'm looking at a magical assassin in a city of wonders, or a merc in Southeast Asia. 

LeGuin said it in 'The Language of the Night' and in 'From Poughkeepsie to Elfland', and Tolkien talked about it in "On Fairy-Tales".  The author is trying to build another world.  The style, the grammar, the vocabulary all have to help build that belief.  Bujold,  LeGuin, Kay, even Robert Howard make that other world in your head with their style.  Brust uses diffferent nouns, like sword instead of gun and Dragon instead of CEO, but most of the dialogue (and the narrator's internal monologue) could come out of any modern paperback thriller.  Sarcasm and snarkiness have to be used sparingly, and he's smearing them on with trowels.

I'll probably finish it, as a spiritual exercise in self-discipline, and because there's nothing else to do when you're home with a cold.

Tags: books

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