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View Full Version : What was the last really crap book you read?


Lazarus and the Gimp
23-10-2002, 21:06:40
For me- "White Teeth". It was rubbish. I've not seen such cliched and one-dimensional characters in ages.

Sir Penguin
23-10-2002, 21:19:09
Blue Mars. But that was a long time ago, and I just got Red Mars from the library, so my opinion of it will probably go up quite a bit in a matter of time.

SP

Noisy
23-10-2002, 22:22:01
'Artifact' by Gregory Benford. Not utterly crap, but it fails the test of 'would you pass this book on to your father for him to read?'

The Management
23-10-2002, 22:49:09
Unix for dummies

moomin
23-10-2002, 23:27:49
Das Kapital by Karl Marx.

And, yes, it is fiction. Extremely boring and tedious fiction, but still...

Venom
24-10-2002, 00:28:12
My 3rd grade math book.

King_Ghidra
24-10-2002, 08:21:33
Originally posted by Noisy
it fails the test of 'would you pass this book on to your father for him to read?'

in my case any book more advanced than 'see spot run' would fail this test

anyway i vote for 'officers and gentlemen' by evelyn waugh - once again, not totally crap, but poor and uninspring by the standard of other things i've read lately

TAZ
24-10-2002, 08:27:33
Originally posted by Noisy
'Artifact' by Gregory Benford. Not utterly crap, but it fails the test of 'would you pass this book on to your father for him to read?' My dad would probably enjoy Artifact. I just read it myself. Its is highly implausible and the story is quite crap.

Nav
24-10-2002, 09:58:39
Originally posted by Sir Penguin
Blue Mars. But that was a long time ago, and I just got Red Mars from the library, so my opinion of it will probably go up quite a bit in a matter of time.

SP No wonder you found it crap, you're supposed to read Red, Green THEN Blue! :rolleyes:

Funkodrom
24-10-2002, 10:07:16
I read Red, blue then green. :D

Scabrous Birdseed
24-10-2002, 10:36:22
Some P.D. James book over the summer, where the solution to the murder involved Grand Foreign-Spy Conspiracy in the little sheltered village. :rolleyes:

King_Ghidra
24-10-2002, 11:17:47
why read these stupid murder mysteries??!?!?!?!?

unless you are hoping to become a typical english housewife

Scabrous Birdseed
24-10-2002, 11:20:15
I like murder mysteries. I never got why that's a lower form of literature than, say, Science Fiction which seems universially accepted here.

Funkodrom
24-10-2002, 11:21:55
(Good) Science fiction is often social commentary, pointing out social issues by developing worlds and cultures that take certain aspects of society to extremes.

Scabrous Birdseed
24-10-2002, 11:25:15
Good detective fiction is also often social commentary, but in a more subtle way, and certainly often extremely psychologically insightful like a good work of fiction should be.

Funkodrom
24-10-2002, 11:48:42
The trash sci-fi and detective novels drag both genres down.

Same with all genres I suppose you can have a beautiful love story as a brilliant work of literature but there are also a million trashy 'romance' novels.

Sean
24-10-2002, 12:07:49
Oh, it would have to be a Heinlein, just not sure which.

(Actually, dare I say For Whom The Bell Tolls?)

King_Ghidra
24-10-2002, 12:11:35
i think all genre fiction is bad fiction

anyone who sits down and says, i'm going to write a detective novel or sci fi novel or whatever novel is going to come up with a shit book if you ask me, becase they have already established that their work will be a cliché

if the work isn't writen from honest intentions it will only tread in the same footsteps as every work before it

if p d james has written fifty books or whatever then what is the merit in reading any more than one or two of those?

Sean
24-10-2002, 12:15:12
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
anyone who sits down and says, i'm going to write a detective novel or sci fi novel or whatever novel is going to come up with a shit book if you ask me, becase they have already established that their work will be a cliché
I disagree. I think that a writer who gives themself some artificial boudaries will feel more constrained by them, and puish the limits of their genre.

King_Ghidra
24-10-2002, 12:38:57
if that was true, the boundaries would be being pushed. But something tells me they're not.

if anyone can give me an example of a detetctive novel that pushes the boundaries of the genre i'd be happy to read it.

If not i'll go back to watching silent witness XI or whatever the fuck it is now.

I actually do kind of agree, but ultimately Sean what you're talking about is 1% of genre fiction. Most is, by definition, the same as the rest.

Sean
24-10-2002, 12:40:34
So? Most of all fiction is crap anyway.

Qweeg
24-10-2002, 12:45:05
'Stranger in a Strange Land'

-by Wotzizface.

This book dealing with a human raised amongst aliens was actually very interesting and original from the point of view of the alien-man, but I couldn't read more then twenty pages becouse of the way Robert Hienlen portrayed and dealt with women. It's weird becouse I think he was actually being satirical- but it was just too much for me, I found Conrads 'Heart of Darkness' easier to read, and I'm black!

In heart Heart of Darkness though, the writer never portrayed the Africans as anything other then very human, but in Stranger in a Strange Land I really got the impression that women were seen as a cross between retards, sexual-items and farm-animals.

I don't think of myself as a feminist particularly, just humanist, and this stuff made me gag way too much, I couldn't stomach it. Even if he was being satirical I couldn't bring myself to care for the people that lived in such a world, I've never read a book that came over so much like a black-and-white film before, like watching those old documentaries from the fifties or something- as in Harry Enfields 'Mr Chumney Warner' character banging on about how women can't do maths becouse it makes their head hot.

Most crap paperbacks I have read I immediately forget, this one though was probably very intelligent, just culturaly- too different.

Qweeg
24-10-2002, 12:50:28
Originally posted by Funkodrom
(Good) Science fiction is often social commentary, pointing out social issues by developing worlds and cultures that take certain aspects of society to extremes.

I agree, also I like the way good sci-fi writers can build an entirely new world- and yet include all the realities of the real one, it's like the power of observation needed to draw a scene entirely from memory. Ursula Le Guin's good at that, building a world (warts and all) that is authentic becouse it has very authentic and believable 'warts'.

Some sci-fi writers do that less, or don't focus in that world-building direction, or authentic imperfections in said world- but are still good for other reason.

King_Ghidra
24-10-2002, 13:20:24
Originally posted by Sean
So? Most of all fiction is crap anyway.

well i'd say that's because most fiction is genre fiction these days

whether it's sci-fi, fantasy, detective, romance, chicklit, lad-lit, clubbing lit, horror, or travel lit it's all the same to me.

Truly original and distinctive novels don't need the crutch of a horde of genre worshippers to justify their worth.

I hate genre writing because the focus of it is so small, and each new book seeks only to exploit a gap in the genre that has not yet been filled (oooh, no ones done a book about rent boys turned robbers yet), rather than an honest expression of an artistic desire from within the author.

of course there are exceptions, but i consider the genres to be the cause of most of the poor writing (and the continued ability of poor writers to make money) to the detriment of original fiction.

Qweeg
24-10-2002, 13:23:30
I agree with that too, the same can be said of the PC games industry, the burden/label of 'Genre'.

Of course, in writing or film- if even a single alien is involved for instance, then it's gonna be labelled as Sci-fi, it's not always the writers fault.

Funkodrom
24-10-2002, 13:27:06
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
i think all genre fiction is bad fiction

anyone who sits down and says, i'm going to write a detective novel or sci fi novel or whatever novel is going to come up with a shit book if you ask me, becase they have already established that their work will be a cliché

if the work isn't writen from honest intentions it will only tread in the same footsteps as every work before it

That doesn't make any sense. It only makes sense if the criteria for a book to be part of a genre is that they don't step outside the bounds of what's already in that genre?

And why does writing, for instance, Sci Fi, make a book dishonest?

Did Aldous Huxley not set out to write a sci fi book when he wrote Brave New World? If he did does that mean it's shit? What about Orwell's 1984? (Just mentioning a couple talked about here recently.)

Scabrous Birdseed
24-10-2002, 13:43:08
I think form is necessary before you decide to play with it. The novel itself is a form with presuggested attributes like a plot, character, etc. I think it's vain to presuppose that all novels do not play within a framework of expected attributes and that the good ones try to use these attributes in a stylistically interesting, subverted way.

King_Ghidra
24-10-2002, 13:43:21
i don't see what the evidence is that orwell or huxley set out to write sci fi books in the sense in which sci fi exists as a genre now

in fact i don't believe that they set out to write sci fi at all, their books are political and sociological critiques that happen to occur in an imagined future world

just because a book is set in the future does not make it sci fi genre does it - although admittedly i didn't define exactly what i meant by each genre, as this would be a herculean task

Funkodrom
24-10-2002, 13:44:26
Having pondered that for a bit I know where you are coming from. I just think that being within a genre doesn't automatically make something devoid of artistic merit. Lowbrow stuff always sells better than stuff that makes you think, whether it be literature, film, music or whatever. It might be easy to make a genre film like a war film or gangster movie but that doesn't mean that within those genres you can't get honest artists making worthwhile films.

Funkodrom
24-10-2002, 13:48:15
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
i don't see what the evidence is that orwell or huxley set out to write sci fi books in the sense in which sci fi exists as a genre now

in fact i don't believe that they set out to write sci fi at all, their books are political and sociological critiques that happen to occur in an imagined future world

just because a book is set in the future does not make it sci fi genre does it - although admittedly i didn't define exactly what i meant by each genre, as this would be a herculean task

I think that probably we're agreeing. If what you're saying is that the author should start out with what they want to say and then set it however is best to get that message across rather than, for instance, setting out to write a sci-fi book and then looking for an idea that fits that genre I would agree.

Funkodrom
24-10-2002, 14:01:16
in fact i don't believe that they set out to write sci fi at all, their books are political and sociological critiques that happen to occur in an imagined future world

For me that's what Science Fiction is. That's certainly what I tend to find the most satisfying about the sci fi I do read.

King_Ghidra
24-10-2002, 14:14:43
Originally posted by Funkodrom
I think that probably we're agreeing. If what you're saying is that the author should start out with what they want to say and then set it however is best to get that message across rather than, for instance, setting out to write a sci-fi book and then looking for an idea that fits that genre I would agree.

that is exactly what i meant

frikking server, as soon as a decent debate starts, i can't get in to post replies

Funkodrom
24-10-2002, 15:34:29
That's what I figured once I'd thought about it a bit more.

Yeah, I know. :bash: New server move will be a godsend.

Noisy
24-10-2002, 19:22:18
Originally posted by Qweeg
'Stranger in a Strange Land'

-by Wotzizface.

This book dealing with a human raised amongst aliens was actually very interesting and original from the point of view of the alien-man, but I couldn't read more then twenty pages becouse of the way Robert Hienlen portrayed and dealt with women. It's weird becouse I think he was actually being satirical- but it was just too much for me, I found Conrads 'Heart of Darkness' easier to read, and I'm black!

In heart Heart of Darkness though, the writer never portrayed the Africans as anything other then very human, but in Stranger in a Strange Land I really got the impression that women were seen as a cross between retards, sexual-items and farm-animals.

<snip> No - he was not being satirical (or at least, not in his portrayal of women). Your summary of his attitude towards women characters is carried across all of his books.

Noisy
24-10-2002, 19:27:07
Originally posted by Scabrous Birdseed
I think form is necessary before you decide to play with it. The novel itself is a form with presuggested attributes like a plot, character, etc. I think it's vain to presuppose that all novels do not play within a framework of expected attributes and that the good ones try to use these attributes in a stylistically interesting, subverted way. Warning! Warning!

Someone has purloined Snapcase's password and is using his login to post reasonable comments!

Venom
24-10-2002, 19:32:59
Qweeg is black?!?!?!?

Sir Penguin
24-10-2002, 22:21:49
Originally posted by Nav
No wonder you found it crap, you're supposed to read Red, Green THEN Blue! :rolleyes:

I was only ten, I didn't understand these things.

I just started Ringworld. I can see why people like it.

SP

King_Ghidra
25-10-2002, 08:48:42
Originally posted by Noisy
Warning! Warning!

Someone has purloined Snapcase's password and is using his login to post reasonable comments!

reasonable? he said i was vain without any provocation! :bash:

i am vain but that's neither here nor there :nervous:

anyway his point was moot because i had never accused the 'genre writers' of failing to subvert the structure of the novel itself, what i had actually accused them of was failing to chllenge the structure of their genre, specifically that by even attempting to write in a genre (as opposed to simply writing what felt natural to write) they were shooting their own artistic eforts in the foot.

Qweeg
25-10-2002, 12:29:44
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
reasonable? he said i was vain without any provocation! :bash:

i am vain but that's neither here nor there :nervous:

anyway his point was moot because i had never accused the 'genre writers' of failing to subvert the structure of the novel itself, what i had actually accused them of was failing to chllenge the structure of their genre, specifically that by even attempting to write in a genre (as opposed to simply writing what felt natural to write) they were shooting their own artistic eforts in the foot.

You spelt 'eforts' wrong, should be 'efforts'..

Qweeg
25-10-2002, 12:35:07
Originally posted by Venom
Qweeg is black?!?!?!?

No now, don't pretend you didn't see those signed pictures of myself that I sentcha, I hope Your Cousin Vinnie *wink wink* is satisfied with them .

King_Ghidra
25-10-2002, 12:39:19
Originally posted by Qweeg
You spelt 'eforts' wrong, should be 'efforts'..

and next counterglow meet, you are dead :shoot:

Qweeg
25-10-2002, 19:29:55
:D

TAZ
25-10-2002, 23:47:44
Originally posted by King_Ghidra
i don't see what the evidence is that orwell or huxley set out to write sci fi books in the sense in which sci fi exists as a genre now

in fact i don't believe that they set out to write sci fi at all, their books are political and sociological critiques that happen to occur in an imagined future world

just because a book is set in the future does not make it sci fi genre does it - although admittedly i didn't define exactly what i meant by each genre, as this would be a herculean task

Some of R9obert Silverberg's middle career stuff illutsrates this perfectly. His masterpiece "Dying Inside" uses the story of a telepath who wasted his gift and his response to beginning to lose his powers to produce a really powerful book about how important it is to use our talents to the best effect and how we shouldn't let our fears stand in the way of what we can do. Top book.

monolith94
26-10-2002, 20:28:17
Of course murder mysteries can be used to provide social commentary and interesting themes! For examples just read "A Jury Of Her Peers" and "A Scandal In Bohemia", or perhaps watch Chinatown or the even more incisive "High And Low", by Kirosawa!

paiktis22
09-11-2002, 16:01:29
Lately we are overrun by one-time "writers".

Books upon books of people just writing the story of their lives. And then nothing else.

At first it was welcomed I think, a new breath in literature. Then it got boring really boring because book after book they all seemed frightenly alike and that led to a feeling of exasparation.

Fron now on these books are completely crap and predictable and I have read a few.

Drekkus
12-11-2002, 23:35:40
Did I mention already that I was extremely annoyed by Ryands The Fountainhead? Incredibly one dimensional, predictable story of some autiste savant being a good uebermensch.