Reading the prequels more than once

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Hunchback Jack
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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby Hunchback Jack » 19 Nov 2010 21:01

A bit off-topic, but it's definitely worth reading the review for KJA's Hidden Empire (Saggy Suns 1) and The Edge of the World (Terrible Incontinence 1) over on Amazon.co.uk.

These are SF and fantasy readers who have grown up reading Banks, Hamilton, MacLeod and Erikson (as well as the usual US suspects), and picked up these books based on initial good reviews. Their responses are classic.

HBJ
"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
- Carl Sagan

I'm still very proud of The Quarry but … let's face it; in the end the real best way to sign off would have been with a great big rollicking Culture novel.
- Iain Banks

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SandChigger
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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby SandChigger » 19 Nov 2010 21:27

Update on the stats stuff: I've still got about 15 Butlerian Jihad "chaps" to enter the data for.

Ch. 107 ends on page 583 in the book, but my spreadsheet shows only 479.8 pages of actual narrative text. I'm not counting the epigraphs, so keeping in mind that they will account for some percentage of the difference, that's over 100 pages of blank space and non-narrative text.

Some of the other emerging details are a bit unexpected...

(Off now to Amazon UK to see what's up. ;) )
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Freakzilla
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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby Freakzilla » 19 Nov 2010 21:34

SandChigger wrote:Update on the stats stuff: I've still got about 15 Butlerian Jihad "chaps" to enter the data for.

Ch. 107 ends on page 583 in the book, but my spreadsheet shows only 479.8 pages of actual narrative text. I'm not counting the epigraphs, so keeping in mind that they will account for some percentage of the difference, that's over 100 pages of blank space and non-narrative text.

Some of the other emerging details are a bit unexpected...

(Off now to Amazon UK to see what's up. ;) )


Is there was an easy way to quantify the repetition and modifiers? That'd whittle down a couple hundred more pages. :lol:
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SandChigger
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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby SandChigger » 19 Nov 2010 22:01

:lol:

I used a Jessica's Winds bookmark to go over and found a fresh new (only 10 or so hours old) one-star review waiting. It concludes:
I dont even know why I am bothering to review this at all. Most of the people who will pick this book up will be fans of the original and like me would have read it even if it was printed in sewage instead of ink, and every other page was scat porn, and the front cover was covered in flashing LEDs saying 'I am a Paedophile'. But seriously, do yourself a favour fellow fanboy, and please just dont bother. Just go back and read the whole original Frank Herbert written series again.

Also, I am sorry, but one other point - who the f*ck do they think they are? Do you think if it was in Frank Herbert's original vision to have books set immediately after Messiah that he would have written them himself? What a pair of arrogant pricks.

Back for the KJA-bashing now. :)

Hidden Empire stuff:

Russel wrote:I thought every budding author was taught to 'show not tell' yet each character is introduced with phrases like "Tall and handsome, Dirk Stereotype had the sort of eyes which revealed a healthy zest for life and ironic sense of humour. He never forgot a face, or an insult."

I'm also bored with intersteller empires and societes modelled on selected part of our classical, medieval, renaissance, etc. past. It's lazy.

Hidden Empires is sub-Star Wars. Every idea has been explored better elsewhere, by Asimov, Brin, Herbert, Simmons ... to take just the first couple of chapters.

Tifrap wrote:It is undeniable that the are some very profound concepts lurking within these books, but it is hard to find evidence that Kev noticed them at all, while he was knocking out his wordcount. He certainly managed to avoid anything bordering on the profound, even though he might well have.

Thang will especially enjoy this:
Mark Davis wrote:- We are given no idea of how the ildiran stardrive is meant to work, but it seems to be like a souped up version of a normal engine running on hydrogen that can just plain crank you around faster... accelerating and decelerating into star systems and hopping from planet to planet within a star system in minutes. No mention of relativity or how it's effects are circumvented

Going back now for the Terribla Incoherenta stuff.
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby Serkanner » 20 Nov 2010 07:21

It's a lot of fun reading this reviews of Hidden Empire. These reviewers are obviously not Dune fans from here yet they report the same about the hideous writing of The Hack as we do. Perhaps there actually is a ring of truth in the OH stance ... hmmm Conway, What do you think?

Examples:

Ronin wrote:The more I read this book (I'm around page 350) the more fascinating it is to me how awful the writing is.


jgrass39 wrote:It is without a doubt one of the worse sci-fi books I have read in a long time ... he introduces far too many characters to make the book seem more epic, and he gives the characters over the top personalities to differentiate them.


Isherwood wrote:Threw the book away, it's not even worth trying to sell to the used book store because then I would inflict this pain on someone else.


cloud-spear wrote:A great number of characters wind up being ridiculous cartoonish stereotypes. Unbelievable to a huge degree, and the writing is just awful. Anderson, you are an utter hack.


and it goes on and on ... :lol:
"... the mystery of life isn't a problem to solve but a reality to experience."

“There is no escape—we pay for the violence of our ancestors.”

Sandrider: "Keith went to Bobo's for a weekend of drinking, watched some DVDs,
and wrote a Dune Novel."

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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby Freakzilla » 20 Nov 2010 07:28

Serkanner wrote:
Isherwood wrote:Threw the book away, it's not even worth trying to sell to the used book store because then I would inflict this pain on someone else.


That guy's OH, he just may not know it. :wink:
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Re: Stats for The Butlerian Jihad

Postby SandChigger » 20 Nov 2010 08:58

OK, here are some stats for the first Legends book.

The final narrative-text-page count ended up at 552, versus 675 numbered pages. That means 123 pages (18.22%) are either blank space or epigraph text.

There are 126 "narrative units" (1 prologue + 125 "chapters").
The minimum length is 1.75 pages.
The maximum length is 8.5 pages. This gives a range of 6.75 pp.
The average length is 4.381 pp, but the median (which separates the data into two halves) is even lower at 4.125 pp. (Because there is an even number of data points, the median is the average of the two central values, which happen to be 4.0 and 4.25 pp.)
The mode is 3.75 pp, 15 chapters (11.90%) being of that length.

Here is the distribution for the number of chapters with a given page length:

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(Click pic for larger version)

The 63 chapters less than the median length somewhat unexpectedly account for only 202.25 pp (36.64%) of the book, with the remaining 349.75 pp (63.36%) made up by the other half. That should not, however, be taken as countering the general impression that the McDune books are composed of short chapters, because even in this book HALF of the chapters are less than half the length of the longest single chapter.

What's was really interesting to me is that only 65 of the 126 chapters (or 51.59%) are composed of a single, unbroken block of text. Of the remaining 61 chapters (48.41%), 40 (31.75%) are divided into 2 sections, 12 (9.52%) have 3 sections, and 9 (7.14%) are divided into four sections. Arranged in order by number of sections and number of pages, they look like this:

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Note the number of pages less than 4 pages in length that are divided into more than one section. The two 3.5-pp chapters divided into 4 sections are particularly obnoxious.

I'll post similar stats for the other two Legends, and eventually all the other McDunes, as soon as I work them up. (A comparison with the originals would probably be in order, too.)
I have heard of only one mistake that doesn’t have an explanation for a careful reader...with an open mind. (And, no, I’m not going to tell you what it is!) —KJA

I don't like every writer's style; for instance, I have never been able to get through Ursula LeGuin, China Mieville, or Iain Banks, all of whom are critical darlings. —KJA

I...had written a bunch of Star Wars and X-Files books...that proved not just that I'm a hack, but that I could write in somebody else's universe... —KJA

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dunaddict
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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby dunaddict » 20 Nov 2010 13:55

Pagecount is useless for comparing. It ignores number of lines, fontsize etc. It's useless! :Adolf:
We need wordcount. Average number of words per chapter. So....start counting those words mister. :lol:

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lotek
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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby lotek » 20 Nov 2010 17:06

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
...

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And that's gentlemen, is the only sane thing to do if you want to read mcdune...
I wish I hadn't :tissue2:
Spice is the worm's gonads.

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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby SandChigger » 20 Nov 2010 21:00

dunaddict wrote:Pagecount is useless for comparing. It ignores number of lines, fontsize etc. It's useless! :Adolf:
We need wordcount. Average number of words per chapter. So....start counting those words mister. :lol:

You want to count the words, be my guest. I would have done word count except that my files are full of added page numbers, notes, cross-references, etc., that would have been more of a pain to remove than it would be worth.

I counted the number of text-pages: the number of pages covered by narrative text. I ignored the epigraphs and there are no headings, so everything is of the same font size. The number of lines per page is standardized and should be constant throughout the book.

More importantly, when people read these books, I bet their impression of how short the chapters are isn't based on word count or font size or number of lines but upon number of pages turned.

And I imagine the actual word counts would be comparable to the text-page counts I used within an acceptable range of error.

Your points about font size and number of lines per page is more valid with respect to comparisons across books, but then again, people usually don't break out their calipers when reading, do they?

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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby Freakzilla » 20 Nov 2010 21:06

SandChigger wrote:Your points about font size and number of lines per page is more valid with respect to comparisons across books, but then again, people usually don't break out their calipers when reading, do they?


When reading KJA you use a dipstick.
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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby SandChigger » 20 Nov 2010 23:25

Well, there is that, of course. ;)

I made a copy of the first ten chapters (Prologue ~ Ch. 9) worth of TBJ and cleaned out all my added stuff. Here are the word counts I got, followed by the text-page counts I used above:

Ch 0 - 860 (2.75)
Ch 1 - 1186 (3.75)
Ch 2 - 1027 (3.00)
Ch 3 - 1594 (4.75)
Ch 4 - 1909 (6.00)
Ch 5 - 2320 (7.00)
Ch 6 - 2219 (7.00)
Ch 7 - 2030 (5.50)
Ch 8 - 1947 (5.75)
Ch 9 - 1253 (3.75)

If you normalize the text-pages to word counts (using the first pair of values and multiplying each text-page count by constant 860/2.75) and plot them, they look like this:

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Meh. Looks close enough for me. :)

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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby Lolronica » 22 Feb 2011 08:40

I've reread House Atreides once, on the second reading I really enjoyed the Baron Harkonnen/Mohiam paralysis/rape/Piter sneaking about scene--it's got a kind of Hammer horror feel up to the start of the Mohiam revenge bullsh. The rest of the book is pretty horrid. Maybe that's one of the places where Brian was off the leash. Wanted to throw the book out, but keeping it for now as a reference for posts here.
Last edited by Lolronica on 24 Feb 2011 07:40, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Reading the prequels more than once

Postby lotek » 22 Feb 2011 12:01

Baraka Bryan wrote: I'll never read or re-read their crap again in my life.


same here !

I just hid from the truth and believed the PR stunt about the notes at the beginning, even when I felt that someone was gouging my eyes with a spoon and feeding them to the suspension of disbelief monster...

So no, not again !
Spice is the worm's gonads.


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