September 25th, 2007

llama drama

a thought-provoking essay

Based on a recommendation from Orson Scott Card, jcobleigh sent me this excellent essay by Dave Wolverton. This essay made sense of many years of vague dissatisfaction with literary prose, obtuse poetry, meaningless film, atonal music, and formless images. Although Wolverton's essay is excellent, the one novel of his that I read (The Courtship of Princess Leia, with gorgeous cover art by Drew Struzan) was most categorically not good. Perhaps like C.J. Cherryh, I happened across his worst work. (I abhor Cherryh's Lois & Clark novel.) Or perhaps like Kevin J. Anderson, he can't write characters and plot.1 Either way, a good essay.

I have gone from feeling like I didn't quite cut the mustard with respect to appreciating good creative works to having a button, nay, a granite soapbox upon which to secure myself and protest with rational observations. Wolverton very effectively explains how those in the "literary" genre of tales have progressively stripped themselves of everything that makes for a compelling story and are thus left writing pointless drivel.

I love what I love and am moved by what I am moved by, and that's what I'll laud. I don't have to buy into the impenetrable, unsatisfying snobberies, or feel vaguely like I'm missing something important. That's gnosticism, recycled for the umpteenth time.

1 jcobleigh informs me that Wolverton writes under the pseudonym "David Farland", and that we own four of his fantasy novels, which jcobleigh really enjoys. I have not yet read them, however, so I reserve judgement.
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