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Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 31 Dec 2012 21:04
by Sandwurm88
I originally was going to name this topic "Overrated Science fiction books", because I had a few in mind, but feel free to complain about other stuff you think is overrated. I'm gonna focus on a few so-called SF classics:

1. Sorry, MIT-type, Hard-SF fans. I don't see what all the fuss is about RIngworld. I struggled to finish the thing. It was entertaining and clever in bits, but the scientific explanations and the long lists of the Ringworld's dimensions got a bit trying on my patience. Overall, when I finished it, I remembered thinking "okay, that wasn't bad". But I don't see why it makes all the top 10/20 lists of SF novels. I could name dozens of SF novels, classics or hidden gems that I liked better. I guess I can't appreciate the real-life science it brought to science fiction in the same way that actual science enthusiasts can, and how pioneering it was, blah blah blah. I'd take Dune over it any day. Or Canticle for Leibowitz for that matter.
2. Dhalgren. Confession time. I only got maybe 85-90 pages through it before I decided I was wasting my time. It just seemed like Delaney was trying too hard to be like James Joyce (I read Ulysses and loved it, btw), and it just came across as pretentious when you actually knew what the hell was going on. James Joyce at least had a comprehensible plot, and extremely clever wordplay, and a literal library full of stuff I didn't catch. This book is polarizing man. I was happy to see that Philip K. Dick apparently "threw it against a wall" after he was halfway through it --PKD is my favorite author, so that's good to hear. Maybe I should try it again..?
3. Honestly I'm still not sure what to make of Neil Stephenson's The Diamond Age. I finished it, like, six months ago. It took me a while to read, and I didn't really get it. I absolutely loved Snow Crash, but I felt Diamond Age took itself too seriously. Many large aspects of the plot were never explained, maybe someone here could explain to me the bizarre ten-year leave of absence that Hackworth takes with the Drummers, and why he takes it, and what does Dr. X have to do with it? It picked up steam toward the end, certainly, but definitely a hard book to follow.

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 01 Jan 2013 11:44
by Naïve mind
Hmm, with respect to Ringworld, I'm not sure it holds up as a paragon of 'hard' SF. Hard SF as a genre also predates Ringworld by quite a bit.

What Larry Niven did was, essentially, transplant a classic pulp SF space opera universe into the realm of plausibility. Known Space is quirky and fun without being contrived.

Compare a Salusan Bull from McDune to a Frumious Bandersnatch from Known Space. While the 'Salusan Bull' is not completely implausible in a SF universe, it's not obvious that the author thought about the beast as anything other than that as a plot element, requiring it to be intimidating and scary.

Bandersnatchi, however, don't exist in a vacuum. Niven thought about the environments that support them, how they came to be, even what kind of economy such creatures would have. And there's very little in his books that isn't thought out. Forget scientific accuracy—it's often skin deep with Niven. But it's a well-considered universe.

It's that mixture between pulp-SF accessibility and cleverness that continues to earn Ringworld so much support.

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 01 Jan 2013 19:37
by SadisticCynic
Your post inspires me; James Joyce's Ulysses was sooooooo boring. I'm sure loads of things went over my head, but I only managed about 300 pages before I completely gave up on it.

The only thing that comes to mind right away is Steven King. I've read the first two Dark Tower novels recently and I'm going to continue reading a few of them, as he claims he doesn't quite get going until at least the third. On the other hand the only other King I've read is The Green Mile, and I didn't think it was bad, but it didn't blow me away either.

I preferred The Diamond Age to Snow Crash personally. It feels like one of those books I wish I'd read when I was younger.

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 01 Jan 2013 20:16
by Freakzilla
I couldn't get into Ringworld, either. I might give it another try someday.

I think the only King novel I've ever read was Salem's Lot, it was pretty good but I'm just not into horror.

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 01 Jan 2013 20:56
by Robspierre
The SEC, as in American handegg, by far the most over rated conference in college.

SEC vs Pac 10/12 1998-2011 Regular Season
10 -12
SEC vs Pac10/12 Bowl Games
1-0
SEC VS BIG 12 REGULAR
6-10
SEC VS BIG 12 BOWL
21-8
SEC VS ACC REGULAR
42-36
SEC VS ACC BOWL
16-9
SEC VS BIG TEN REGULAR
7-4
SEC VS BIG TEN BOWL
19-19
SEC VS BIG EAST REGULAR
16-15
SEC VS BIG EAST BOWL
3-8

Overall, the SEC is just over .500, nowhere near as dominate as they talk. They even have losing records against the Pac 12 and Big 12 in regular season games.

I want to see the SEC play some bowl games in the northern part of the country and deal with the cold. See just how good they really are.

Rob

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 01 Jan 2013 22:29
by Jabecca
Diets and Sex!

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 02 Jan 2013 10:08
by lotek
Sex diets!

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 02 Jan 2013 13:12
by Sandwurm88
The SEC might be overrated, but Alabama is still going to win, I think. They're just too good.

And as for Ulysses, I think the reason I liked it is because I read several companions along with it, that definitely helped out with understanding the novel. It's definitely tough going, no denying that.

Any thoughts on Dhalgren? I've either heard rave reviews or that its utter trash. It is a confusing book...

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 02 Jan 2013 18:40
by BH
Jabecca wrote:Diets and Sex!


That'is because you have'not had a real man, porky.

Now come'here. I have a eclair I want to show you.

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 02 Jan 2013 18:42
by Omphalos
^^^Get a room, you two.

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 02 Jan 2013 21:26
by Freakzilla
And take pics.

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 02 Jan 2013 21:27
by Jabecca
Omphalos wrote:^^^Get a room, you two.


Honey, I got room for two !!

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 02 Jan 2013 22:20
by Nekhrun
Jabecca wrote:
Omphalos wrote:^^^Get a room, you two.


Honey, I got room for two !!

I call dibs on space for one!

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 02 Jan 2013 22:46
by Jabecca
Nekhrun wrote:
Jabecca wrote:
Omphalos wrote:^^^Get a room, you two.


Honey, I got room for two !!

I call dibs on space for one!


Come explore my folds as I fold space around you!

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 02 Jan 2013 23:14
by Robspierre
Freakzilla wrote:And take pics.



Just do a search online for slugs mating, they even have video.

Rob

Re: Things that Are Overrated

Posted: 03 Jan 2013 04:16
by Mr. Teg
Freakzilla wrote:And take pics.


Somebody say pics!
Hang on...
:D