Bad SF and F.

Discussion in 'SciFi & Fantasy' started by guthrie, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Any poor books, films, comics, cartoons, of the above genres?

    I have a couple to suggest.
    "revelation space" By alastair Reynolds. I bought it, it had a pluadits aying something like "the first great book of the new millenium" or suchlike on the front. (ok, i got it second hand and therefore cheap.) Looked like space opera. Indeed it was. He had some original ideas (and many more unoriginal) , and as hes a cosomologist in real life, that side of things was fine and interesting. But the characters sucked big style. I didnt care about any of them until the last 10 pages. (of over 200 I think) The plot was not particularly confusing, but yet was confusing, somehow cloudy and not well explained. The character motivation was rubbish, and they didnt really come across as individuals. I wouldnt mind that since it is space opera, but somehow it promised more, and never delivered. Yet still had all these plaudits plastered all over it. So, for a first book, sort of acceptable, yet no actually particulalry good. A friend of mine got half way through it and flung it across the room.

    Another one with similar problems is Iain Banks "A song of stone", set in an unnamed planet. society which is having a revolution. Quite frankly , a few pages into the book I couldnt see any point whatsoever into the story. So I never went any further. Possibly I was having a bad day, and didnt read it well enough. Or maybe it really does have dull, uninteresting and unsympathetic characters in a situation that is boring, stereotyped and pointless.

    Anyone got anything else? Feel free to argue furiously about how bad something is or isnt.
     
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  3. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    Battlefield Earth. A terrible book made into an even more terrible movie.

    :m: Peace.
     
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  5. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

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    "Midworld" Alan Dean Foster. I read the first ten or so pages, couldn't go any further. Melodramatic and overdone.

    "Rendezvous with Rama" Arthur C. Clarke. Wasn't that great. It was just so hollow, pun intended. Bland characters, bland description. There was virtually nothing to set it apart, other than the general idea of the whole thing. I want to reread the sequels, to see if they're actually any good at all.

    edit: Battlefield Earth is my favorite shitty movie. The director just couldn't get enough of those diagonal camera angles!
     
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  7. SwedishFish Conspirator Registered Senior Member

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    xanth series. not only is it really bad in both writing and story, the writer obviously is appealing to the subset of scifi/fantasy dorks who can't get women and are apparently bitter about it.
     
  8. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    Xanth. The first few were good, but they rapidly began to have a real "production line" feel to them, and were unable to hold my atention at all. Stupid puns became abundent and were often repeated monotonously. Good call, SF.

    :m: Peace.
     
  9. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Xanth? I am not sure Ive seen it much here, but then I'm not that much into fantasy.
    Then as for "Rendezvous with Rama", I'd like to disagree, but dont remember it being very good myself. The sequals were rather boring as well, but at least not very over the top technologically, whereas a lot of stuff I've been reading in the past couple of years are.
    Surely theres some fans of Zanth etc out there who'd like to argue the toss?
     
  10. pragmathen 0001 1111 Registered Senior Member

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    I read Revelation Space by Alistair Reynolds as well. While I enjoyed some of the concepts in there (machine-entities intent on destroying evolving intelligence), I also didn't really get into the characters all that much.

    I picked up Chasm City, only after overcoming repeated attempts to dissuade myself, to check it out. I liked it quite a bit and it was remarkably different from Revelation Space (although Chasm City is mentioned in RS).

    As far as bad scifi, I'd go with Souls in the Great Machine by McMullen??? I've only read about 70 or pages into it, but its premise concerns a future time where people live in Australia and operate via means of steam and hanging clothes on the line and such. Cool beans but I just can't get into that right now.

    I also tried the Parafaith War by L.E. Modesit. Although it may be akin to telling someone how to raise their kids, I feel, after reading 100 pages of that book, that I could've written it better. Not exactly engaging. A cross between Dune (the spice-mining part) and perimiter defence manuals. Snore!
     
  11. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    4,089
    "machine-entities intent on destroying evolving intelligence"

    Sure, enjoyable concept. Done several times already, by Ken Mcloud, Gregory Benford, and others, so I dont class it as original. ( I have a novel idea and outline done on a similar concept.) Actually, I cant remember, is the machines disliking biological sentients in the book? I cant remember.
    I've started CHasm city just now, its a bit dull and, well, normal so far.
     
  12. Disco-neck Ted Registered Senior Member

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    Most of Alan Dean Foster's stuff is terribly derivative and poorly written, in my opinion. Ugh.

    As for Xanth, the first book was actually pretty good. Not long after that, ol' Piers Anthony stopped writing books and began writing outlines on the premise that if he failed to sell a book outline, no big deal, at least he hadn't wasted all that effort and then failed to sell an actual book. Plus, he began to pad out the books by using many of the puns the fans wrote in to him. Double ugh.

    Who else sucks? In the fantasy world, Terry Brooks and whoever writes those awful "Netherhells" books... Craig Shaw Gardner, yeah, that's him! Not much stinks worse than failed humor.

    Oh, and Simon Hawke is pretty bad.
     
  13. SwedishFish Conspirator Registered Senior Member

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    yeah i had heard piers anthony started only writing outlines. whoever filled them in should be shot.
     
  14. goofyfish Analog By Birth, Digital By Design Valued Senior Member

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    Hawke's Time Wars series was pretty good, IMHO.

    What's not to like? Time travel, parallel universes, contemporary
    disputes arbitrated by combat in the past, temporal sabotage/terrorism,
    and a bit of romantic content sprinkled in....

    :m: Peace.
     
  15. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Just finished "Chasm city" Its definitely better than "revelation space", but is a bit long, and the plot is still a bit annoying, tehres too much "luck" involved I think. The characters are better, although the main one is too dissociated between his original self and later one. Maybe He'll produce a really good book in the 3rd or 4th one, we'll have to wait and see.
     
  16. alain du hast mich Registered Senior Member

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    1,179
    crappiest SF/F ever, Star Trek *hides in bomb shelter*

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    JK
    that out of the way (and assuming u can actually count Harry Potter as Fantasy), Id have to say that. The good guys are boring, the bad guys are unrealistic, the plots, well, for most of the book, theyre talking about school, cmon.

    Also, the Conan the Barbarian series, (by Robert Jordan) Conan, never says a single word just to chat to a friend in the first 3 books (thats all i read) and all the other characters dissapear at the end of each book
     
  17. Disco-neck Ted Registered Senior Member

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    Mmmm.... yeah, guess my brain stalled early on in the retelling of Lancelot's story. The idea of our brave hero, protected in nearly indestructible armor, attacking (and killing!) his opponents with a sonic lance (or whatever his weapon was) just seemed totally brain dead. I mean, they went back in time here, and the idea of just whacking whoever, whenever, for almost no reason seemed kinda stupid and dangerous. They coulda set the thing on 'stun', maybe? Sure, time is 'flexible' and all that, but why take the chance?

    Oh, well. To each his own. The time wars stuff was his better work, and perhaps some of the others make pretty good 'juvenile' fiction. But on the whole, I find Mr. Hawke fails to deliver on his premises/promises (see Catseye Gomez or the Inadequate Adept). It's funny to hear the guy slagging off on Heinlein in general and Friday in particular, when the Gomez seems like just a second rate Friday.

    Heh. Got a bit out of hand there...

    *wipes specks of saliva off computer monitor*

    Carry on.
     
  18. Repo Man Valued Senior Member

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    The summer of 1980 I was staying with my dad. For some work related reason, he had to be in Reno Nevada part of that summer. Me, my brother, and him all had to sleep in his old Ford van. One night out of desperation, my brother and I went to the movies. We saw Battle Beyond the Stars, ( http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click...itic=columns&sortby=default&page=1&rid=254219 ) starring Richard Thomas.
    I've seen some awful sci fi over the years, but this was easily the worst movie I'd ever seen at the age of 14.
    I'd managed to forget about this movie, but this thread reminded me.

    I think most sci fi is bad. But every now and then a movie like The Fifth Element comes along and makes up for it.
     
  19. alain du hast mich Registered Senior Member

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    fifth element, lol, two funny bits in it, the evil guys blowing themselves up, and the crazy reporter dude with no fashion sense
     
  20. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    I liked fifth element for the crazy style, and fashion and everything. It was predictable as hell, but well enough acted and outlandish enough to pull it off. I want more films like it.
    OOps, im getting off topic on my own thread.
     
  21. DeeCee Valued Senior Member

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    I gotta nominate william Gibsons more recent efforts. Virtual light and Idoru just bored me to tears. Where did it all go wrong for you Bill?
    If you take a wonder round any second hand bookstore you'll find 99% of all the sci-fi on the shelves is piss poor. I also find that a lot of sci-fi don't age well. Try reading Ringworld without cringing. A classic in it's time I'm told. (if such a thing is possible

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    Dee Cee
     
  22. guthrie paradox generator Registered Senior Member

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    Hey, its better than the "timeless" romantic crap people read. In fact, it goes out of date so is more..... scientific!
     
  23. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

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    Sturgeon's law: 90% of SF is crap, But then, 90% of everything is crap!
     

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