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post #51 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 07:53 PM
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It doesn't even have to do with "development scenes". It's whether that character feels like a living, complex individual. That can be achieved via background information, mannerisms, their specific look, etc.

Those three "main" characters don't come off as "starring characters".

Let me put it this way. Imagine you're reading "The Three Musketeers". Can you imagine what kind of a book it would have been if D'Artagnan didn't have his ferocious Gascon pride, if Athos didn't combine his aristocratic airs with a veneer of mystery and tragedy (via his depression and alcoholism), if Porthos hadn't been a boisterous braggart who practically extorted married women for the finer things in life, or if Aramis hadn't been a pious would-be priest crippled by his love for women? Can you imagine that same book with four blank slates unburdened by any detail or depth other than their staunch loyalty and martial prowess? How boring that would have been!

And please, nobody tell me that Astartes characters can't - or shouldn't - be complex, deep characters. I will literally pray for the psychic manifestations of Abnett, Dembski-Bowden, etc., to beat you profusely with copies of novels that put the lie to that idea!

Cheers,
P.
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post #52 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 08:15 PM
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And please, nobody tell me that Astartes characters can't - or shouldn't - be complex, deep characters. I will literally pray for the psychic manifestations of Abnett, Dembski-Bowden, etc., to beat you profusely with copies of novels that put the lie to that idea!
I agree with you on that one. I'm not saying we should get flat characters, or anything. It's just that I'm willing to overlook the lack of depth and complexity if I can see other redeeming qualities somewhere in there (in this case, the destruction of Signus, the fight with Kha'banda, the utter horror of a daemon world, the Ultramarines connection, and that little thing with Erebus at the end). I'm even willing to accept that the occasional bland character in a good book is a refreshing change (although I'd have appreciated if the cast actually mentioned this casually every now and then). I did find Azkaellon and the Chaplains as being downright dislikable in their flatness (which I think was somewhat intended) but Raldoron really didn't strike me as that bad. See, I happened to like Loken in the first two books. I really did, but Galaxy in Flames somehow just rubbed me the wrong way - and even to this day I can't quite place my finger on it. So, I'm okay with a character not being as fleshed out if he plays his part right - I'll just use him as a reference point and move on.

So, anyway, I guess what I'm saying - and I can't believe I've typed these words - is that poor characters didn't really make this book a disaster, they just didn't boost it to what could have been. I guess that's just a case of the author not really making up his mind on who the star of the show was going to be and splitting his efforts, but then again, Abnett managed to fare a lot better with significantly more characters in Know No Fear...
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post #53 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 09:04 PM
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I agree with your last paragraph.

Beyond that:

Quote:
It's just that I'm willing to overlook the lack of depth and complexity if I can see other redeeming qualities somewhere in there ...
I can't!

No, seriously. I just don't think the things you mentioned and strong characters are (or should be) mutually exclusive. If I didn't believe in James Swallow as an author, I wouldn't have been disappointed*.

Cheers,
P.

* Which, again, is not to say that I didn't enjoy this book overall.
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post #54 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-27-12, 09:13 PM
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They shouldn't be mutually exclusive, and I agree wholeheartedly. But, just because one checkbox isn't ticked off doesn't automatically move it to the rubbish bin...

But I do see where you're coming from now. See, I only hold James Swallow in a mere opinion of mild sympathy. That makes it easier for me to see this book as an improvement over his previous works, especially since FotE has been loosing ground to some of the more recent books in my standings.

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post #55 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-28-12, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Phoebus View Post
And please, nobody tell me that Astartes characters can't - or shouldn't - be complex, deep characters. I will literally pray for the psychic manifestations of Abnett, Dembski-Bowden, etc., to beat you profusely with copies of novels that put the lie to that idea!

Cheers,
P.
Who the hell does claim that?! Talos Valcoran, Uzas, Grimaldus, Hyperion, Zachariah Kersh, Vaer Greyloc, Telach, Naim Morvox, Zek Tsu'gan and Alaric. Those are the names that put that theory to absolute lie.


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post #56 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-28-12, 12:31 PM
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I just felt cheated that such a pivotal event in the Heresy wasn't handled in the right manner.
Basically, this sums up everything anyone needs to know about this book. The book's idea is a pair of size 15 army boots, but it was given to an author who wears size 4 dancing plimsoles.

All of this has happened before.
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post #57 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-28-12, 12:34 PM
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Alaric? As in Ben Counters? Urgh.



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It's not a black and white question really, there are different shades of anal probing,
a rectum spectrum, if you will
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post #58 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-28-12, 01:13 PM
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Basically, this sums up everything anyone needs to know about this book. The book's idea is a pair of size 15 army boots, but it was given to an author who wears size 4 dancing plimsoles.
No. No. No. No it doesn't. It sums up an OPINION about the book. No different to the validity of my opinion that the book is great. It is an opinion and therefore belongs to the person who said it and others who agree with them, but others will disagree. There is NO concrete answer as to whether or not this is a bad book no matter how much you want there to be one Baltar.

No book is universally loved or hated. The First Heretic is loved by many including me, but i've seen opinions that say its crap and that Anthony Reynold's Word Bearers are far superior. And opinions that are the reverse of that. Fear to Tread is the same, its received a mixed response ranging from those who love it like me, those who are mixed about it like Phoebus or those who outright dislike it like you Baltar.


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post #59 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-28-12, 01:25 PM
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I hated Anthony Reynolds.

It's raining elysians.

As for Phoebus, LotN, he said he enjoyed the book, but that the characters felt, missing.

I enjoyed the book and the characters (Kano is annoying though). Raldoron, Meros, and the Angel were good characters, Kreed was well written (although I'm getting sick of seeing poorly thought out names, it smacks of Nick Kyme's Salamanders, it wouldn't have changed the story at all, but by changing Kreed to some other name would have made me not want to punt the book out of the window every time I saw it)...

I might have missed it as well; but In I think A Thousand Sons, when Ahriman goes to Nikaea, and sees Raldoron, he sees IIRC, a vision of a spider or something (been a time since I've read it). At the time, I thought that was an allusion to Raldoron being a traitor and becoming the Red Angel, but is there anything to actually add to that vision of Ahriman, or have I remembered incorrectly? Is it a plot point to be developed, or has it been forgotten?



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post #60 of 66 (permalink) Old 08-28-12, 03:48 PM
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No. No. No. No it doesn't. It sums up an OPINION about the book. No different to the validity of my opinion that the book is great. It is an opinion and therefore belongs to the person who said it and others who agree with them, but others will disagree. There is NO concrete answer as to whether or not this is a bad book no matter how much you want there to be one Baltar.

No book is universally loved or hated. The First Heretic is loved by many including me, but i've seen opinions that say its crap and that Anthony Reynold's Word Bearers are far superior. And opinions that are the reverse of that. Fear to Tread is the same, its received a mixed response ranging from those who love it like me, those who are mixed about it like Phoebus or those who outright dislike it like you Baltar.




LotN

That's not actually true. I won't claim my opinion is correct - but here's a fact many people don't know: Opinions are correct or incorrect. They are not subjective, even if people would believe they were (these days).

If I tell you it's my opinion that an orange is green, I'd be wrong. No two ways about it - I'd be wrong. If I told you the Nazi party were, in my opinion, fascists, I'd be totally correct.

Whether or not a book is 'good' book depends upon what your basis is for the word 'good'. According to one basis, my opinion could be correct. Occording to another, it isn't. It depends what criteria you use to determine whether or not a book is good. For me, my enjoyment of it (like with film or music) does not enter into it. I've enjoyed some pretty piss poor films in my life, but I acknowledged that they were not good film. 'good' and 'I like it' are two different things entirely. Since I'm not an expert in literature, I can't claim to know what criteria should be used to judge whether or not a book has any artistic merit. I don't have that particular education. I can however use my own set of criteria - be correct in my opinion according to that - and run the risk of having a pretty inaccurate opinion according to what really does make a book 'good'. Which is something I can live with.

All of this has happened before.
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