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Old February 24 2012, 11:54 PM   #120
stj
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Re: What SF/F Book Are you Reading? .. Redux

Turtledove has interesting ideas occasionally but is a horribly slip shod, painful writer. His best books are standalones like Ruled Britannia, The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump or Agent of Byzantium. His work as H.N. Turteltaub is better written but marred by an apparent tendency to really get off on moral primitivism. His series about ancient Greek merchants who embody the libertarian free market ideal are notably stupid even in the SF and fantasy fields, particularly for someone who went to a real university/college.

Tried to read China Mieville's Embassytown. The first time I ran across psychic powers/personality traits as the key to interstellar travel, in Cordwainer Smith, it was really exciting. Then when I ran across it in a Robert Sheckley short story, it was amusing. The third time, in Samuel R. Delany, it was getting rather old hat, and kind of hard to accept but there were other things going on, so I perservered. Then, when I came to it yet again, it was downright stale. It was vaguely insulting to be treated to such fatuous nonsense yet again. But this time the other thing going on was a first person narrator who regaled the readers with fine writing of the trendiest sort who announces to us that she isn't a literary person! You don't have to believe the narrator is reliable but you do have to be able to imagine that the narration is coming from an actual character. As it was, it seemed it was just China Mieville, who for some inexplicable reason occasionally pretended to be someone else who I could not believe would ever, ever, talk or write like that.
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