Archive for Steamed

50 Shades? I wouldn’t read it.

Posted in Books, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 11, 2013 by urbannight

Years ago, I used to do improve writing every day.  I would get home from work, turn on the computer and write.  I had a book, from which I got the idea, that gave a list of things to write about.  I did those sometime.  Other times, I developed a fun game where I walked into a room and glanced around.  The first thing I saw would become my subject.  I would have to write at least a page about the item. 

I’m thinking about it as I looks at my Pessimist’s, tear-away calendar.  Today’t entry is 50 Shades of Meh.  It calls the book unreadable and gives examples of the repreative nature of the book. One such example is that the author mentions that the protagonist ‘blushes or flushes’ a total of 125 times. 

I particularily like how the calendar writer tells us that the 50 shades book started as Twilight fan fic and when you compare 50 Shades to Twilight, Twilight ‘reads like Dostoevsky’ in comparison.

They give a sample sentence and I found that it made my head hurt.  Well, it was two sentences.  Let me share it with you.

“Anticipation hangs heavy over my head lika a dark, tropical storm cloud.  Butterflies flood my belly – as well as a darker, carnal, captivation ache as I try to imagine what he will do to me.”

I’m having trouble with the alliteration.  To much alliteration ruined a mystery series for me a few years back.  At first it was amusing and enjoyable.  But then it started to feel if the author was attempting to put it in just to see how many times she could do it in one novel. 

It isn’t too different from how the puns in Piers Anthony books were originally amusing, but latter books began to have so many puns sent in by readers that the stories themselves were getting lost.  And all the characters started to sound alike.  Not a good thing to have happen.

I also didn’t like going from tropical storm clouds to butterflies that fast.  My brain seizes up and I want to know which image I’m supposed to carry for what will follow.  The feeling of dark energy and movement and building tension inplied by the storm coulds or the sense of sunlight flashing off the wings of a flock of brightly colored butterflies. 

And what is with ‘darker, carnal, captivating ache’?  ‘A darker ache’ is all she needed to get the point across.  Without actually reading the books I am still able to know exactly what she means. 

If I had bought it, just from those two sentences, assuming they are typical of the rest of the book, it would have joined the handful of unfinished books I have.

Island of the Blue Dolphins.  Technically, I did finish it one time.  It took me four years.  It was the first one or two chapters that were so awful that I could never get past them.  I started it in grade school and finished in high school.  In college, I thought I would give it another try.  The rest of the book was really interesting.  Again, the beginning was so bad I actually got rid of the book.

Steamed.  A steampunk novel by a romance writer that utterly failed.  It was also a ‘travel to an alternate reality’ novel.  The male lead in his own world would have been a great story.  The female lead’s story in her world would have been a great story.  But the story she tried to tell with them together was horrible.

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series.  I stopped after book Seven.  I got totally disgusted.  The series was already dragging on too long, taking off on too many tangents.  He told us it would be seven books long.  At book seven, not only was it nowhere near done, he created a HUGE new tangent.  I never picked up another book in that series again.

So, no 50 Shades of anything for me.  I think I’ll resume my reading of early Andre Norton science fiction.  There are a few awkward elements to her early books.  But I really want to find out where Ross and the others end up.

Yep, It Had Me ‘Steamed’ All Right.

Posted in Books, Entertainment, Writing with tags , , , , , , , on May 30, 2012 by urbannight

When I first started reading Katie MacAlister, I didn’t know if I would like her.  It took her a couple books to get her feet under herself and I really started to like most of her books.  But this one was awful. 

It starts with a very Twainish male lead, Jack, in a world that doesn’t seem to be our world and yet is not a steampunk world.   A scientist and Quaker (which is also not believable in the characterization) who seems to land in outragious adventures everytime he tries to go on vaction.  Think Huck Finn crossed with McGuiver or something similar.

Then an accident happens in his lab that throws him into another world.  An accident that isn’t at all believable.  Nanotech and Helium?  An accident with an experiment that would have been in a ‘clean’ room rather than a room where his sister could just wander in off the street and cause the accident.   Or if not a ‘clean’ room, then at least one with a lot more security.

Then we see the world of the female lead, Octavia.  It is supposed to be a ‘Steampunk’ world but it is more of an alternative history because the world’s political structures seemed to have diverged before the Victorian era and the Industrial Revolution. 

The back-story about her and her most recent romantic relationship is fairly interesting.

But the book falls apart as soon as Jack and Hallie from ‘our’ reality find themselves in the alternate ‘steampunk (NOT)’ reality.  For starters, he never takes it seriously.  He treats it like he has landed in a world-sized, science fiction convention. 

For a romance writer, she uses some the worst of the outdated concepts that authors moved away from a good 20 years ago or so.   

It went downhill so fast that this is one of the few books I’ve ever spent money on that I actually stopped reading.  It was so bad I couldn’t even justify giving it away. 

The sad thing is that if she had kept the two worlds completely separate, she would have had two really interesting stories to tell.  The attempt to force them into one story was a failure.

It seemed like a writing experiment that didn’t work but got published anyway because her name has a big enough following.  They realized they could make a profit off it before word of mouth got around about how bad it really was.