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Treemaster

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  • Birthday 02/13/1978

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  1. Ah, Strunk and White. I had a copy of that once, and it repaid my investment many times over. Extremely persuasive and even common sense. Eminently reasonable. A common standard, perhaps. But objective? What about its controversial points, are they also objective? How much disagreement must there be for a point to be deemed controversial, and who deems it so? I realise that I'm quibbling here, but I have a bee(hive? farm?) in my bonnet about subjectivity. On the subject of "polish", if we could agree that "a reasonable person would find this prose unpolished" rather than "this prose is objectively unpolished", then I'd be quite happy (not that I'm expecting anyone to agree with me just to make me happy, I hasten to add). No, I completely agree with you. You could say Suttree and I reasonably agree that Sanderson's prose in AMOL is not polished.
  2. This book sets forth mostly non-controversial points about prose. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/elements-of-style-william-strunk-jr/1100084919?ean=9781781393635
  3. Were we supposed to know who "Shaisam" was or recognize the name when we first encountered him? My biggest thought on reading that scene was how did I miss any reasons to Shaisam before then. Were there any? Fain himself I never found to be interesting. Just too much of a crackling stereotypical crazy bad guy for me. Shaisam, now, might have been more interested if he (it?) had been developed more. I was stunned by how little he played into the ending but not disappointed per se as I never cared for him much anyway.
  4. The concept of Androl was fine, but he was given way too much to do. He all but singlehandedly brings down the Black Tower AND is responsible for the breaking of the seals? I did not like having such important events carried out by a character that did not appear until Sanderson (I can't remember if he first appears in The Gathering Storm of Towers of Midnight.)
  5. Oh, I'm not suggesting RJ's work stands up outside of genre as someone like Peake's does. When you start talking about great writers such as McCarthy, Pynchon or DeLillo they are just on a different level. To be clear if I hadn't come to these books at such an early age I doubt they would have had the same impact. Now when I see authors like Bakker it really shows what is possible in terms of fantasy writing that can hold up to the type of scrutiny usually reserved for "literary texts". Suttree: While I agree with you that Sanderson's prose is not good, I don't agree with your argument that the quality of prose can be evaluted 100% objectively. Certain aspects of it undoubtedly can be -- such as, for example, grammar, overruse of passive voice, and so on. But other parts of it are subjective. You listed three authors you believe are "great" and on a different "level," but I don't like the prose written by any of them. I tried to read McCarthy's Road several times, and found the prose to be so bad that I was unable to continue. On the first page (as far as I got), he overuses the device of fragments. Now, a fragment can be an effective way to convey sudden unexpected events, or particularly strong emotions. But when nearly every sentence is a fragment, the device loses its effect and just becomes annoying. I've also tried to read Pynchon and DeLillo, and have never be able to get into their prose, or "style" as another poster put it. Atonement is another modern book that I was unable to finish because I thought the prose was too pretentious and trying too hard to be "literary." In contrast, among more modern writers I think that Saul Bellow has amazingly good prose. I'm not trying to say I am right McCarthy and you are wrong, only that we have different opinions, and both opinions are reasonable. Jordan in general had quite strong prose, I believe, and unlike you I'd place him near the top of the fantasy authors I've read. (Disclaimer: I have not read the Gene Wolfe or other work you cite, but would like to.) The only fantasy author I've read with better prose is Rothfuss, but I like Jordan's story more, and so Jordan outranks Rothfuss on my list of fantasy authors. Whether a more "straightforward" or "flowery" style works best may depend on what the author is trying to convey. If it is supposed to be epic and awe-inspiring, I tend to think the "flowery" style that Jordan used works better. If the writing is meant to be persuasive (such as in a lawyer's brief) the more straightforward the prose the better. There is no one style that is best for all situations. When Jordan wrote at his best, in parts of the Eye of the World, the ending to The Great Hunt, large portions of A Shadow Rising, the conclusion to Lord of Chaos, and the conclusion to A Winter's Heart, I also felt that important stuff was happening. and was blown away by the power of the language. A more straightforward tone would not have had the same affect, at least on me. I am apparently the only person that thinks the quality of the writing is better in Crossroads of Twilight than in A Knife of Dreams, though, so keep that in mind. :) I completely agree that fantasy is capable of being great fiction. People use too narrow a definition of "fantasy" when evaluating it. If "fantasy" means a story that contains fantastic elements, fantasy has been around for as long as humans have been telling stories. Look at the Illiad and Odyssey. Or Faust. Or Shakespeare's Macbeth or A Midsummer Night's Dream. Every time someone claims that Tolkien created the fantasy genre I sigh. Tolkien undoubtedly inspired a lot of the modern fantasy stories that we read, but the genre in no way began with him. Hopefully this post won't be chastised by the moderator as off-topic. It relates to a number of points made by a number of posters, even if it doesn't directly discuss AMOL. (I agree with the majority viewpoint on this topic that the book wasn't up to par.) (Not that it's relevant or should matter, but if anyone cares I majored in English, and as a lawyer I write for living.)
  6. I don't know if this third comment is aimed at me, but it feels like it. If so -- wow, just wow. I don't post often, but when I do I put a lot of thought into it. I did precisely that for my post. Further, I directly addressed the issue that you have unilaterally decided that this thread must be about -- whether Cadsuane's scene with Tam qualifies as "childish writing" on Brandon's part. The original poster did not make the topic nearly so narrow, and nothing other than your power as moderator gives you the right to decide what must be discussed in threads. Apparently you simply disagree with me. That's fine, but to act as though I didn't follow your directives is simply wrong. Worse yet, you failed to follow Mr Ares advice: "f you wish to put forward a justification of your dislike don't be surprised if people poke holes in it. That's the problem - people are putting forward reasons which don't match with the text." You did not even attempt to respond to anything I said with respect to Cadsuane, Brandon's writing, or Egwene. In fact, all you say about Egwene is that I got the facts about what Sanderson said in an interview wrong. Probably true. Even then, I would say that no one can no for certain who wrote what. Regardless, you don't say anything about the merits of my argument -- that Egwene's arc has been implausible for a long time. As you are the moderator but evidently intolerant of any dissenting views, I don't see the need to come back to these forums. I have plenty of other ways to waste my time when I should be working. And there are plenty of other places to voice opinions about The Wheel of Time. Farewell.
  7. As usual with these type of spats, it seems like a middle ground is in order. A Crown of Swords was the last book I was able to read without waiting for the next book to be published. If my memory is accurate (questionable), I read it in 1998. I was in between my sophomore and junior years in college. My first reaction to her appearance was "come on" -- do we really need another character like this? I was reading the series for the first time, and for some reason thought that Moiraine had actually died at the end of Book 5. It seemed to me at the time that Cadsuane was coming in to be another Moiraine. I thought her character completely unnecessary and thought Robert Jordan had added her as an after-the-fact character. I had a very negative first impression of her, for largely the reasons stated by thisguy. 14 years later, I actually like Cadsuane. If we trust Jordan, and there is no reason not to, her character did not appear after the fact, and was planned from the beginning. And she does play a necessary role in the series, such as by organizing the defense at the cleansing. Do I think Cadsuane is generally a bully? Sure. Does bullying generally work better than attempting to carefully reason with people with logic? Sure. Do I think she approached Rand in the wrong way? Once again, yes, I do. One could ask: Do Cadsuane's ends justify her means? Do the ends in general justify the means? These are philosophical questions with no clear answers. Cadsuane a character in a story and has plenty of strengths and weaknesses, and I don’t think it is necessary to probe further. Those praising Cadsuane go a little too far, I think. Did she really carefully think through the entire situation before she first saw Rand? I doubt it. I don’t think she approaches Rand correctly; but then, it would have been hard to know how to approach him the right way. A possible answer – communication (sitting down with Rand and actually expressing her concerns) – is not generally followed either in the story or in real life. As for the actual question of whether Cadsuane acted out of character in The Gathering Storm scene with Tam? Possibly, but I could go either way with it. That scene didn't shout out to me as one that Brandon particularly bungled. It didn't read to me that Sanderson was belittling Cadsuane simply to make Tam awesome -- and, if he was, that's been a problem with the entire series, and not just that scene. Cadsuane in general seemed fine to me in The Gathering Storm. With regards to Egwene, her entire arc in the series starting around Book 6 is implausible. I don't think there was much difference between her behavior in Salidar and her behavior in Tar Valon. The Aes Sedai in general were far too dumbed down, in my opinion, by Book 6. The Aes Sedai began to recover around the time of the Black Ajah hunters, but they were still implausibly silly by the time Egwene came into picture. In addition, we know that Jordan is responsible for more of Egwene in The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight than he was for Rand in the same two books. If there is a problem with Egwene (and I believe there is) I blame Jordan, not Brandon. I do think we all have to accept that Brandon is not and never will be Jordan, and that while he is doing the best he can-- and in some ways, he is better than Jordan (he is generally better with female characters, in my opinion) -- the books will never be the same, and will never be as good, as if Jordan had written them. There are bound to be many moments like this one where a character seems off, and that the difference is probably attributable to Brandon, but 100% certainty is impossible without access to Jordan's notes. My own biggest complaint with Brandon is not his characterizations but his prose. The prose needed a lot more polishing in the last two books. Some of that is likely because they were rushed, and some of it may be that Brandon simply isn't as good at prose as Jordan. Those are my meandering thoughts on the topics in this thread.
  8. I wasn't overly thrilled with the Prologue, but the style and tone of the writing actually felt like Jordan and not Sanderson to me. The prose felt Jordian. There were no sentences begining with "however" that I remember or any other tell-tale signs of Sanderson's writing that I dislike. The fact that it was released this early also makes me think it is more likely to be written by Jordan. (Harriett is supposed to be doing an extensive read of Sanderson's completed draft.) Of course there's no way to confirm who is the author. The theme of the excerpt was consistent with that from the The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight Prologues, but it didn't hit me as hard emotionally. Perhaps because I was skimming it on a work computer. It would have been nice to have had some more directly relevant content in the excerpt, but I would have been stunned if Tor had released anything like that this far in advance of the publication. I was pleasantly surprised that the previous Prologue confirmed that Graendal had not died.
  9. There are plenty of reasons to like Egwene, and plenty of reasons to hate her. The thread points out a lot of examples on both sides. For those that dislike her (as I do), it comes down to this: The writing makes it seem as though we are supposed to think that everything she does it perfect. The other characters all have plenty of faults. Egwene has faults too. The difference is the way they are presented. Egwene just isn't a round enough character. Those that like Egwene undoubtedly feel differently, but that's where the hatred comes from, I believe. All that being said, I think we're being set up for something truly remarkable to happen with Egwene at the Fields of Merrilor. Her dreams in her Accepted test undoubtedly symbolize something important, along with her falling off a cliff, needing help from a Seanchan, and so forth. I'm really looking forward to that part of A Memory of Light.
  10. Portions of Sanderson's work in The Gathering Storm and Towers of Midnight are great. I like all of the Rand scenes in tGS. Perrin is very well done. And as I said above, I like what Sanderson has generally done with all of them female characters, though I still despise Egwene, and Elayne has generally declined from being pleasant -- if a bit cheer-leadery -- early in the series to nearly despicable in ToM. Otber parts I haven't enjoyed, including all of the Mat chapters. And I say that as someone who is generally less intersted in Mat than the other characters. In fairness, I didn't much care for the Tower of Ghenjei episode either, and this is mostly (I understand) Jordan's work. So, I think it is too harsh to say that Brandon is simply a "bad writer." Now, if it were me, I think the last three books should have been structured very differently, possibly including making them more chronological. I hate the fact that Tam is with Rand one moment in ToM, and then back with Perrin in the next. Veins of Gold was probably too important to use as the conclusion to the firstof the last three books. I would have preferred one book of 1500 pages, which could have been accomplished by deleting the Matt and Perrin chapters in The Gathering Storm, and some other unnecessary chapters (much less Gawyn and Elayne, for example). Unfortunately, I understand that it can be very difficult to convince a publisher to publish one book. But I think nearly all of our criticisms derive from splitting AMoL into three books, which has in turn required restructuring the plot in a less than desireable fashion, including by requiring chapters such as the Hinderstap episode. I don't think it's Brandon's fault that this has happened. But if Steve Erikson can publish 1200-page softcover books, it should have been possible to convince Tor to publish a 1500-1600 page hardback book too.
  11. The same kind of funny. Youthful, sarcastic wit. On Shallan it's perfectly understandable, and on Elend and Vin, Dennison and Siri as well, but not Breeze, nor Wax and Wayne. Ignoring the fact that it always feels the same, for all of these characters (which makes me think it's simply Brandon's own sort of funny), it's really not in line with RJ's style, as you say. And still, I don't mind the style differences as much as I do when someone actually does something that they shouldn't. I haven't read the books in which Breeze, Wax, and Wayne appear -- I'm not familiar with those characters. So we probably agree on this one too.
  12. I haven't read all of Sanderson's works, but I actually found Lightsong and Shallan to be funny. I didn't much like the Shallon sections in general, maybe because I was much more interested in the other characters, especially Dalinar, but she did have some witty comments. I don't think Sanderson's humour in the Wheel of Time works that well. His sense of humour is probably just too different from Jordan's.
  13. I actually quite liked that description. The Aes Sedai are almost farcical -- silly and petty -- by the time we get to The Gathering Storm. This description reminds us that there is a reason that the Aes Sedai are feared by the general populace, and helps bring back at least a little of the aura the Aes Sedai had in The Eye of the World. The Aes Sedai needed some propping up, and this scene was a subtle way to do that. Many times Jordan's descriptions are unneessary and pointless, but I didn't see this as one of them. With regard to Sanderson moments, I can't point out specific words because I don't have access to the books right now and my memory is not that good. But I would pick the following as the good and the bad: Good -- Sanderson makes all the female characters more round and less stereotypical. Bad -- the much-discussed Mat letter in the Towers of Midnight. I don't like the Hinderstap episode either, but while I agree that Brandon probably wrote all of it, I expect that he was asked to do so, to avoid fan outrage by including some Mat content in The Gathering Storm. (Brandon and Tor would have been better off ignoring the fans entirely, in my opinion, and to not include any Mat or Perrin content, but that's another topic for another day.)
  14. I can't believe this thread is still going. Seems to me there is nothing more to be said on the topic. That being said... Excellent summary of why the latest decisions and announcements were NOT made for marketing reasons. And I still agree with this: Jordan created the series we love. Sanderson has agreed to finish it. Tor is Jordan/Sanderson's publisher. Tor and Sanderson can take as long as they want to publish the book, and it makes no difference whether fans think they are being "handled" or otherwise. Tor has no obligation to provide detailed explanations behind its publication decisions. And the fans have no "right" to having the last book in the series published at all, much less at any specific date or time, much less a 100% accurate announcement as to when the publication will be made. The book is, hopefully, art, not merchandise like a pair of clothes or a car. Or an order of french fries.
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