Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Ain't Got Time for That

I don't have time for dawggies or dumb****s (insert your favorite four-letter-word.) Oh, yes, I took a little time and banged heads, because I'm incorrigible in a conflict, whether I'm right (as I was this time) or not (see: Paula, Gekko, etc.) But it is waaaaay too easy to spend 145 minutes chasing down comments by ambisexual hypocrites who lack self-awareness and common sense. After about 45 minutes of that nonsense on a couple occasions, I realized that:

1.) You're not going to get through to some idiots who can rationalize their way around any nonsense they wish to believe.

2.) I'm not getting any younger.

3.) I'm the only sumbitch without some sort of regular feature on their blog. So here it is:

GPoW (pronounced Guh-Pow!) Looney's Guilty Pleasure of the Week!

Thank you, thank you.

Here's how it works. I post one guilty pleasure I indulge in regularly. It will be family friendly, so no deep-dark secrets about the skimpy dress and stockings... errr, damn...

Anyway, you are then required to 1.) Comment on my GPoW, and 2.) Admit one of your own, related or not, in said comment. Violators will be forced to wear Wilford Brimley's old truss for one week.

So, without further ado, here is GPoW #1

Terry Brooks

And by Terry Brooks, I mean primarily his Shannara series of books.

An amusing note: I was at a reading/signing he gave in Capitola a few years back where he clarified something I didn't know needed clarifying, the pronounciation of "Shannara." I and my fantasy reading friends of my youth had always pronounced it how I think it looks, Shan-NA-ra. He started right off saying SHAN-na-ra. I had to resist the temptation to correct him. He then followed up by saying he believes that, as an author, he serves the reader, and that once he's done writing, the book belongs to the readers, and if they pronounce it wrong, then wrong is right.

Anyway, Brooks is often looked down upon as a bit of a hack, and not without reason. His first book, The Sword of Shannara, is not just derivative of the Lord of the Rings. It has many outright parallels that speak to the undue influence he let the Trilogy have on his writing. To his credit, the sequels have absolutely no resemblence to anything Tolkien beyond the obvious elf/dwarf/man thing and other fantasy tropes.

The man also can't come up with a character name to save his life. I don't know what it is, but everytime he introduces a new character, the name sounds like it was drawn at random from a bag of Scrabble tiles. He has had characters named after a golf standard (Par), a stadium in New Jersey (Shea), a science fiction writer (Brin) and an alcohol recovery organization (Allanon.)

He's often too wordy and repeats descriptions unnecessarily throughout his stories. His characters are black and white. If they're good, they're very good. And if they struggle, they don't struggle for long, and they eventually do right, because that's the only reasonable path.

His system of magic is loose at best, with explanations that wouldn't endure even a little bit of probing. The geography of the Four Lands is worse than improbable. It borders on nonsensical.

So with all that, why would I ever read him? I have no idea. All I know is that I find it easy to slip into one of his books now and then, especially when I've finished a demanding read and need some dessert, so to speak. I find that sometimes I want to read about characters whose hearts are too good to end up doing bad. I like a good, familiar land to journey in, even if the mountains, lakes, trees, and rivers are all in the wrong place. I find I don't care if the magic really works, as long as he says it works.

For some reason there's that little sense of enchantment that he injects so well, despite his other shortcomings, that makes me want to see what's around the next bend. He is no James Joyce, or J.R.R. Tolkien, or George Martin, but he is my Guilty Pleasure of the Week.


It's about me, dummy!!!


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