.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Winter of Discontent

For the discriminating fiction reader, it has been a long, arid winter. A tedious, Christmas-less winter. Right down to the last disappointment from Dean Koontz, the underwhelming Forever Odd, the thriller/suspense addict has been left wanting in recent years.

That’s not to say there haven’t been sunny thaws. Stephen King maintained his reputation with the final 2 books of the Gunslinger Series, (laboring over these while likely forced by publishers to dig the unreadable From a Buick 8 out of the basement, this writer’s secret shared in his covertly autobiographical Bag of Bones) satiating his faithful readers’ thirst for his unique mix of pure writing genius, complex characters and a writhing, intricate plot. That the grand finale was neither grand nor final was easily overlooked given the loftier reading experience.

Michael Crichton produced a bright spot in 2004 with the too-close-for-Hollywood-comfort eco-thriller State of Fear.

And the masters of formula fiction, Michael Connelly, Jonathon Kellerman, et al, have produced their reliable 2-night-reads.

Beyond these infrequent pleasures, the 100-books-plus-per-year reader has been forced into 2nd or 3rd tier formula writers or worse, or back to authors previously rejected. Wit my current literary misery by Carl Hiaasen, Lucky You, complete with right wing bumbling militia villains and an environmental activist heroine. Only Hiaasen's sly, dry humor makes him tolerable.

With so little this year into which the volume reader can sink teeth, it’s surprising more of us don’t turn to less wholesome pursuits: politics, celebrity gossip, or even flirtation with secret societies.

Blogger Air Marshall said...

It used to be "so many books, so little time". It is the reverse now. I don't share your taste for King, and the "Lucky You" you describe would have been thrown across the room. I have retreated to reading almost exclusivly new non-fic. or re-reading old favorites. I have been reading the new war novels of James Brady with some interest but that is about all. The culture just does not produce fiction for the conservative (secret society) mind.

9:22 PM, December 23, 2005  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

King has produced quite a bit of junk, such as It. But who can argue that The Stand (unabridged) wasn't fabulous?

Much as I hate to abandon a novel once begun, I've done it with Hiassen before and now have again as I just picked up Ludlum's newest. Ludlum rarely disappoints.

Just wish the greats would be a bit quicker with the pen.

8:36 PM, December 25, 2005  
Blogger Air Marshall said...

Can't compare notes with you on King as I have never made it through one of his books.. Nor one of Hiassen's. Still, I would really like to see more readable fiction, particularly mystery. Oh for Rex Stout reincarnate!

10:35 PM, December 25, 2005  
Blogger Scribbler de Stebbing said...

AM, you'd like Robert Ludlum. Military espioniage and government intrigue. Much better than Clancy, who probably hasn't written a word of his own in quite some time. Try the Bourne trilogy (The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Legacy).

And DO read Michael Crichton's State of Fear. It's a novelized exposé of the evironmentalist wackos' hyperbolic tactics.

8:37 AM, December 26, 2005  

Post a Comment