I know how you feel–have experienced the same before. The nice thing about fiction is that it is not mandatory reading–we read it for enjoyment, which means we can stop reading anytime we have had enough. Many people won’t read beyond the first 50 pages of a novel if the author has not captured their interest, or if the author has done something in the story to upset the reader. That happens all the time. As readers, we will lose some time and money if we choose to stop reading…but that is our choice.
It has only been in the last few years that I’ve had to toss nonfiction books into the trash.
One book was about a recent (1960s era) historical figure. Great dust jacket cover of the man, but as I read along, I had to skip over many useless sex scenes to get to the details. It turned my stomach that the author did not have the decency to remove such gratuitous ‘scenes.’
Another book on a subject of a more technological nature where the author attempted to be “edgy.” He dropped in words and phrases that put bad images in my head. I sent an email to the publisher where I told them they could print what they wanted but that they might take a closer look at their standards. To my surprise, I received an email from the author who told me this is how he, and others in his circle, expressed themselves. I have seen descriptions of other books this author has written and I won’t buy them.
Another technological book that was written with a clear bias in mind as opposed to simply exploring the subject matter.
Good for you for writing an email to the author. It’s sad that they think they HAVE to put scenes like this in books, particularly a non-fiction one and a technical one at that.
As a female though, I have an easier time with it, although I do skip over these things.
I am relying more and more on the classics and Catholic authors. Right now I’m reading a Michael O’Brien book, “The Father’s Tale”.
Another good non-fiction book is The Secret of Dreams by Pedro Meseguer, S.J.–it was written in the early 60’s, a Catholic book with even an imprimatur, but it is not light reading.
Ive read a few of this series.
I enjoyed them in general, Martin is a good writer and has created an interesting “other world” in which to base his series (even if fantasy & sci-fi does continually borrow heavily from one another and indeed actual History). What I liked about them in particular was that I felt his world had substance and - although containing fantasy elements - came across as credible. The intricate power struggles and battles reminded me of the War of the Roses and the Hundred Years War, for example, more than it did pure fantasy like Tolkien.
The only minor thing I didn’t like about the series is that I felt Martin is quite anti-religion, a point I feel he labours repeatedly in his books, although in a subtle fashion. Maybe there was no underlying message intended - maybe I am over sensitive. I think he is on record as saying he attended Catholic school in his youth, but “didn’t enjoy it”, so maybe that coloured my view (but why else mention it, if not to nail his colours to the mast?).
He was fair and portrayed people of faith and indeed clergy as being both good and bad, just like reality. But I felt he was attacking religion as being absurd at times. If that’s his opinion, then fair enough, but it was a recurring theme which became rather tiresome for me.
Anyway the books are pretty good overall - I got about half way through number four, before running out of steam. I just got a bit bored - I felt he had killed off many interesting characters and the newer ones were not as engaging. Or maybe I just overdosed on his work, as I read them one after the other.
I wouldn’t recommend the TV series - what little I did see of it seemed to concentrate heavily (quelle surprise) on graphic sex scenes etc, obviously to attract easily pleased, low-brow fans. I didn’t think HBO’s portrayal of his world was as credible as the books, and it at times seemed cringeworthy / ridiculous (or maybe it was just the acting!).
He hints at some characters being homosexual in his books - again a fair reflection of our own human society - but this was discrete in his books (just as it would have been in such a society/period), but this was (of course) made much more prominent in the few TV shows I saw.
Maybe I will go back to his books after a break.
Honestly, I’m surprised with the reactions here on the Ice and Fire series given that it’s well-known for it’s graphical AND realistic depiction of a fictional world based on our medieval history. Furthermore, why is their astonishment that the TV-series continues this trend? It’s generally what sets it apart from other fantasy series.
[quote=GWright]The only minor thing I didn’t like about the series is that I felt Martin is quite anti-religion, a point I feel he labours repeatedly in his books, although in a subtle fashion. Maybe there was no underlying message intended - maybe I am over sensitive. I think he is on record as saying he attended Catholic school in his youth, but “didn’t enjoy it”, so maybe that coloured my view (but why else mention it, if not to nail his colours to the mast?).
You’ll have to bring up a specific section (verbatim would be nice) as an example. I can’t say I found any anti-religious slant in his writing; it’s rather impartial if anything.
And @ edwest2
It amazes me that you even get out of bed in the morning. :rolleyes:
Yeh I was not meaning an overt attack on religion by the author, I just felt he portrays it as lacking credibility.
As I stated he was fair to religious people and their clergy - showing them to be human, capable of doing both good and wrong.
But when it came to religion itself, the only picture I found was one of casting doubt:
for examples the contrast between the “old gods” and “new gods” seemed to be suggesting religion is merely a human construct, subject to change
I recall another passage about another God which exists in his world, the Lord of Light (which seemed to rip off Jesus / Christianity for me). At one point a character (Jon Snow, If I recall), is contemplating this God, and how he is in an eternal struggle with an evil God (“the devil” if you will) for the souls of the people - and how this is confusing/absurd.
There is nothing vicious or derogatory there, but I just felt religion itself was portrayed in a very specific way - human construct / awlays changing / absurd - even though as said he was fair with his protrayal of religious people.
Maybe it was unintentional, or maybe I am reading into things which are not really there, but that was the vibe I got anyway.
Hmmmm, I think you might be misled on R’hllor, the so-called ‘Lord of Light’ being a surrogate for Jesus in Westeros. The impression I’ve received (having read all the books) is that he/it is somewhat sinister, based on the fact that his followers use (i) necromancy, (ii) perform dark rituals (shadow babies anybody?) and (iii) the religion requires human sacrifice. His counterpart is the Great Other, who brings winter, darkness and is the god of the Others…and that’s pretty much all we know. One is Fire and Light, the other is Ice and Darkness; part of the reason for the series name - but because they are polar opposites, it doesn’t not mean that they represent a force of good against a force of evil. I think the ‘Seven’ are supposed to be closer to our Abrahamic religions and may represent a force of good, but are not a direct parallel.
Just started the book–about 100 pages in. I will say that the writing seems sound, and the story keeps me going so far. On the negative side, the sexual content is not something I would want a younger person to read, and I am not certain what would drive Martin to write some of those passages. However, I will continue on, for now.
As a professional editor and published author, I am appalled at what passes for entertainment on TV. And I am appalled at some who yell censorship. Is that why when I happen to see the following on TV: A comedian is telling a joke that goes something like this: "So I tell the guy to go - bleep -. Or, “Then he says, go and - bleep - and get back to me on it.” that someone on that channel “gets” the idea that certain people don’t want to hear certain words, much less read them?