Monday, December 02, 2002

I started reading Peter David's Sir Apropos of Nothing the other day, and I don't think I'm going to be able to finish it. It's not that the book is that bad. It's much for the same reason that I can't read Xanth novels anymore, Terry Prachett just does it much better.

I've seen people in the talkback section of argue that Prachett is a hack, his books are unfunny and that he is a Douglas Adams wannabe. Now on the first two points, I don't know if he is a hack or not, but much like other much maligned hack Stephen King, he writes a good story. On the second point, I can honestly say that I rarely encounter novels that make me laugh out loud one time, much less many times. Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves made me laugh, but that was because a character told a joke I found particularly funny, but even "humorous" books like the Xanth novels don't make me laugh consistently, Prachett does.

On the third point, if you consider anyone who writes humorous fiction about zany characters a Douglas Adams clone, then yes Prachett is guilty.

The thing that I like the most in Prachett's books is what he doesn't tell you and the understatement of it all. Often times you will get the setup for an action piece and then cut to afterwards where the characters and situations relate what happened, letting the reader fill in the gaps. Also Pratchett will often use a dry and matter of fact tone to deliver the humor.

He is the straight man, your brain is the wacky-foreign neighbor played by Bronson Pinchot.

I also like that the magicians are basically Newtonian scientists on the way to becoming Quantum Physicists.

Seeing Apropos' cover just got me started thinking. Back to that book.

What I read of David's novel just seemed forced. Everything is over-explained. I get that Apropos is loquacious, but I would prefer if he would show the reader that he is a tremendous liar before he tells them that he is. Less damn dialogue, more action. As I said in the Scorpion King review, don't tell me something, show me and let me figure it out myself.

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