The weekly list: Top 5 SF books we never want to read againOctober 9, 2008
5. The “Foundation” trilogy by Isaac Asimov nominated by harrysaxon
“Okay, don’t shoot me for this. I have some intellectual understanding of the path Asimov was carving with the original trilogy, but still hated it. I’m a great lover of character – part of the reason I’ve always been such a Stephen King fan, he has a gift for creating deep and unique characters – and the book had none; even characters I may have found intriguing with time never got a chance to establish themselves.”
4. The “Gormenghast” trilogy by Mervyn Peake nominated by bloginhood
“This novel was so savagely depressing and slow I couldn’t get past the first hundred pages of the first book. That says a lot, because I pride myself on finishing a story, no matter how bad (usually), and it pained me to toss this heap aside in surrender. Of course, the portrait of utter inanimate despair of the book was probably the point: to put the reader into the mindset of the characters of this world, but it could have been done just as effectively in a quarter of the time/pages – or less – if Peake had had any skill. If the vast castle Gormenghast is a corpse and the intrigue of its inhabitants the rot within, best leave this body to lie in an undisturbed and unmarked grave.”
3. “The Chrysalids” by John Wyndham nominated by harrysaxon
“Of all the sci-fi books the public school system could choose to force me to read, why this forgettable and poorly plotted exercise gets picked is beyond me. The deus ex machina at the end is one of the more embarrassing in the history of so-called ‘classic’ fiction.”
2. “The Divorce of Buddy Figaro – A Taoist Comedy Novel” by David Silverberg nominated by bloginhood
“This novel is what happens when a terrible idea is shat forth upon the universe and the paper it gets wiped/written upon doesn’t get flushed. Terrible excuses for characterization, an idiotic plot, and endless repetition. This book is so completely bad that (and I have to thank reader witchblade37 for pointing this one out) although the author puts significant weight on the poem ‘The Tyger’ he credits it to Kipling. In fact, the poem was written by Blake 71 years before Kipling was born. This pathetic excuse for a yarn was so awful that I regret nominating it for this list simply because in doing so I am required to remember having read it in the first place.”
1. Almost anything written by Piers Anthony nominated by both
Anthony comes out on top in this lineup of the inept for proving that you can have negligible talent and yet still manage to publish tons of garbage year after year. While harrysaxon admits a soft spot for the “Incarnations of Immortality” and “Split Infinity” series, and bloginhood confesses to enjoying the first of the Incarnations books as a teen, we’re both united in saying that Anthony has committed unrelenting and unrepentant crimes against SF literature.
Now it’s your turn. What SF books – and let’s allow short stories too – do you never want to read again?