Swords and Suckery

I don’t have nearly the patience for world building that I used to. Back when I was a kid I wanted my fiction to be a transcendental experience. I wanted fantasy worlds that had nothing in common with the real one.

After nine and a half books of the Wheel of Time I don’t think I’ll ever read about another fake planet populated with the same elf-like beings on one side, orc-like beings on the other and humans in the middle.

I don’t know if this is because I’ve become more satisfied with the real world and my place in it or if I’ve become less satisfied with attempts at fictional world building. So much of it is just more of the same-old painted over with funny words.

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Comments: (12)

12 Comments »

  1. I think you can only get away with “made up words” if you are:

    – Jonathan Swift (cunning, witty and funny as hell)
    – Lewis Carrol (expertly lyrical and playful)
    – J.R.R. Tolkien (master world builder)

    Comment by mollymillions — October 1, 2008 @ 9:15 am

  2. I think Randall is unduly harsh re: Anathem. Yes, there are some new words. You quickly stop noticing them. The book completely rocked.

    Comment by hober — October 1, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  3. After 918 pages of Cryptonomicon it’ll be a long, long time before I’m willing to invest that much time in another Stephenson novel.

    A lot of my reluctance to put that much time in a series or big ass book is the goal I set to read all the books that I own. I’ve been at this for three years and I still have 32 to go. If I ever get that shelf cleared I might become more open minded.

    Comment by tone_milazzo — October 1, 2008 @ 10:43 am

  4. After 918 pages of Cryptonomicon it’ll be a long, long time before I’m willing to invest that much time in another Stephenson novel.

    Fair enough. I think several traditional complaints about Stephenson, most notably how virtually everyone hates his endings, don’t really apply to Anathem. I read it at a pretty brisk pace, nothing at all like the slow plod that was the Baroque Cycle. The ending actually ties up various (but not all) loose ends in a satisfying way.

    Comment by hober — October 1, 2008 @ 10:46 am

  5. i really. really. did not like Wheel Of Time. I got the 1st book and couldn’t even get through it.
    The Mountains of DHUM? please just write “Doom” cuz thats what i see/read and know you mean.
    And yeah any time some writer says Elf – apart from Pratchett – I immediately go to Tolkien Elf – no matter how they try to repackage it.

    Comment by demonslayer — October 1, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

  6. and me!

    JOHHNY TURTLEDOVE!

    Comment by demonslayer — October 1, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

  7. It’s pretty much a patchwork of other fantasy/scifi novels.

    Some hicks go on an adventure (LOTR) eventually running across desert warriors (Dune) and a mysterious, creepy dragon riding culture from a far away island (Elric) and on and on…

    What I did like was that Jordan, being a combat veteran of Viet Nam wrote battle scenes with an intensity that I had never experienced before.

    But now he’s giving up the action for the political maneuverings of fake people in fake countries.

    Comment by tone_milazzo — October 1, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

  8. i thought he was dead? =/

    Comment by demonslayer — October 1, 2008 @ 3:15 pm

  9. “Now” being the point in time when I gave on Crossroads of Twilight.

    Comment by tone_milazzo — October 1, 2008 @ 3:22 pm

  10. You, of course, are in a class by yourself 馃檪

    Comment by mollymillions — October 1, 2008 @ 3:23 pm

  11. Gave up on?

    Comment by mollymillions — October 1, 2008 @ 3:30 pm

  12. Something like that…. 馃槢

    Comment by tone_milazzo — October 1, 2008 @ 3:32 pm

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