[personal profile] rj_anderson
[personal profile] sartorias aka Sherwood Smith has a fascinating discussion going over on her LJ about when you only like one (or, if they're prolific, two or three) of an author's works and bounce off the rest. So far the responses have mostly been people commisserating and sharing which authors and which books affected them this way, but there's also been some discussion of why this happens.

I don't think there's any one answer to that question myself -- the reasons are as diverse as the individual readers. Sometimes the author undergoes an ideological or philosophical transformation between books (or even just becomes bolder about expressing the views they already had) which leads to a irreconcilable conflict of my thinking and theirs, or pushes my tolerance for those differences over the limit. (See: Philip Pullman.) Sometimes it turns out that the things I loved best about the author's first book -- the style, the tone, the atmosphere -- don't carry over into subsequent novels because they were a feature of that story, not the author's writing as a whole (such as Beagle's The Last Unicorn, which I mentioned in the comments of Sherwood's post). And sometimes I eagerly expect certain things from a series or sequel to a book I really loved, only to find that the author had a completely different plan and veers off in a direction that doesn't interest me at all (I've heard several readers say this about Maria Snyder's Study books, for instance).

Then there's the rarer phenomenon when you love an author's prose but not their poetry (or essays, or what-have-you); or you think them brilliant scriptwriters (or lyricists) but terrible novelists, or the other way around. The ability to put together words in an arrangement that pleases you in one medium doesn't always carry over to others, and that can cause this kind of dissonance as well.

What about you? If you have a much-loved book or books by a certain author but found that most or all of their other works left you cold, what were your reasons for feeling that way? Feel free to comment on either my post or [personal profile] sartorias's as it pleases you; I'll see it in either case.

Date: 2016-05-29 04:59 am (UTC)
anghraine: anakin, shadowed, holding a red lightsaber; text: shatterer of worlds (anakin [i am become death])
From: [personal profile] anghraine
I'm used to liking authors better as they go on, so it's always a bit bemusing when there's one that I actually like less as they write more. Piers Anthony is a mediocre (and creepy) writer at best, but the first books of many of his series often click with me nevertheless, but he always loses me afterwards. (I still re-read "On A Pale Horse"—I absolutely loved the whole bizarre universe of it—but once everything becomes this tiny interrelated mess, ehhh.)

Robin McKinley is also hit and miss for me. I remember feeling profoundly cheated by "Spindle's End," but "Beauty" and "The Blue Sword," omg. I suspect with that, it's... I'm all for complicating fairy tales, but the point at which the basic framework of the fairy-tale gets broken apart and rebuilt is when I get lost. In a weird way, it's like the better sort of romance novels that explore the default troubled, rakish, aristocratic alpha male hero with a bit more realism. I'm all for that, but at the end of the day both leads need to be fundamentally heroic and sympathetic, and if they're not, you lose me.

(One of my favourite authors of that sort is Sherry Thomas, and 85% of the time I love her, but there are a couple where it's just FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE because bridge too far, etc.)

Date: 2016-06-15 11:43 pm (UTC)
anghraine: obi-wan in anh, frightening the sand people; text: damn you kids! get off my lawn! (obi-wan [off my lawn])
From: [personal profile] anghraine
So much that was readable and even charming, so much O_o is definitely Piers Anthony in a nutshell!

I'm completely with you on Rose Daughter as well. It's an overused term, but it felt very tryhard to me, like she had to make up for the pleasantness of Beauty or something.

Sherry Thomas is my favourite romance author—I don't know if you read much of that? Probably my favourite of hers is the horribly titled Ravishing the Heiress, which plunks you down in a contented arranged marriage several years in and gradually reveals the past and future of the couple. The format can be frustrating, but also engaging, and it's pretty much her trademark. I also liked Not Quite a Husband, also late Victorian, about an angsty separated couple—he's a dazzlingly attractive younger son/mathematician, she's a driven, intense doctor. Not a combination I've ever seen before! It also goes for plopping you in the middle of the drama and gradually revealing what happened.

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