2009-09-10

Coming Up Next!

Today’s pet peeve: books that admit to being the first in a series, but which don’t actually tell a complete story in and of themselves. That is, books that are actually only the first half of a book but don’t bother telling you that.

The guilty case in point: Karavans by Jennifer Roberson, which i picked up because it looked interesting and compelling and was sharply written across the half-dozen sample pages i scanned. And in the reading, sure enough, it was all interesting and compelling and sharply written. Only not until getting to the end of the book is it revealed that virtually nothing that’s set up in the book is actually resolved in the book. Rather, that’s all been saved for the next book. Ah, well.

Actually, this isn’t just today’s pet peeve. It’s an old pet peeve; i’ve just never bothered noting it before, i don’t think. The most egregious example of this kind of crap that i’ve personally encountered is probably Hyperion by Dan Simmons, which is a book in which literally nothing happens over the space of some five hundred freaking pages except the main characters recounting their life stories to each other. These recountings are all rendered in a series of vignettes so drastically stylistically different from each other that my supposition at the time was that they were actually unsold short stories that Simmons used to fill space. Oh, and if i remember correctly, they’re all traveling in a boat on wheels at the time.

Yes, i know that Hyperion won the Hugo or the Nebula or both (i’m not looking it up). Take everything i say for what it’s worth.

But Mr. Simmons: If you happen to read this, with the utmost respect, you owe me a week of my life.