The Bakker Effect

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I blame Bakker, I really do. His Prince of Nothing series, while technically brilliant installed a sense of loathing for any indepth, oversized books. It was like turning up for a football match and instead receiving a five hour lecture on nuclear physics. I appreciated the imagination, flair and Marianas trench level of detail, but I really struggled. The pacing was too slow, the events too prolonged.

Why do I mention all of this? Well, I'm faced by a book from Alastair Reynolds and the size is huge and the writing small. Yes, its one of those space opera sci-fi epics that Peter Hamilton has made his own over the years. First impressions don't count when it comes to books you have to put the effort in, but I'm still reeling from Bakker and have an allergy to epic's of late. Black Man was a sizeable book, but Morgan keeps you guessing and never drops down into the lower gears.

The other problem is that sometimes I really struggle with books that are already conceived as a series. Why? Few actually pull it off and instead stretch matters out to guarantee more sales, as you're more likely to follow a series after investing in it initially. However I've ditched a few at the first hurdle and rightly so.

Perhaps that's why I enjoy the overlooked novella and short story formats just as much. I'm sure James Barclay said writing a novella was one of the hardest things he had to do as a writer, really installed a sense of discipline and focus. And the result wasn't that bad either!

Right, I'll go find something short to read and Reynolds will be returned book case!

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