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Mama Deb
mamadeb
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December 2010
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Mama Deb [userpic]
Stuffs

It feels like I'm being paid to surf the web, but I am actually doing a job - I'm answering the phone for three different offices and passing things along to them. But that's all I'm doing, and the phone doesn't ring for an hour at a time (and then three lines ring at once.) I also entered listings.

vassilisa posted a link to this story: Jane Austen. It's sad and wonderful.

And a rant, now, about one of the greats of science fiction.


Robert Silverberg

I'm reading the Prestimion Trilogy. For those who are unfamiliar, these are a series of novels set on the planet Majipoor, which he invented for his classic work Lord Valentine's Castle (which I highly recommend.) These are listed as fantasy because there is magic, but it's also very stfnal. And the series I'm reading now takes place about a thousand years or so before LVC and and its sequelae.

This rant is not about details of the plots or the characters. These are fine. What bothers me is the writing itself - and that's very sad given that Silverberg has always been a fine writer.

The problem is that everything in these books is heavily foreshadowed - the twist that forms the plot of the first novel is telegraphed in the first pages and then multiple times until it actually happens, thereby leaving no suspense. (Actually, since we know the future of this planet, we also have no suspense on the eventual ending, only how he'll get there. And even that is telegraphed to some degree, as the main character is shown as disliking a certain practice.) And even after the twist happens (fairly quickly - I'll give him that) and the events of the novel proceed from there, we are told constantly about the twist.

In the second book, which I've just started, there's a similar problem. Part of the resolution of Book 1 was pretty much guarunteed to cause problems, and it is (quickly, again), but we are reminded again and again what that problematic resolution was. This isn't even foreshadowing now. It's "Character caused X to happen. So this event is the result." and then, "Character caused X to happen. So that event is the result." That the events are happening are interesting, but we know *why*. It's been hammered into us why.

Silverberg is better than this. Way better than this. This feels like padding and it just removes whatever suspense there is and clogs the story. Unless he's become a primo don and is not allowing himself to be edited. Has anyone heard such stories about him?

Comments



It feels like I'm being paid to surf the web

Tee hee! My boss called in an hour ago to say he'd be out for the rest of the day, and I haven't done a bit of work since. Pathetic!

Thanks for the JA story. I'm printing it out right now.