Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Apologies instead of Epilogues....

While not all books are considered to be "great", it takes a special kind of horrible novel for the author himself to write an apology for what you've just read. I can think of two books that I've come across that were so overtly full of poop (or Gewoden) that their creators had to talk to their audience to ease their shame. Even worse, they're authors you've probably hear of: Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Both of them weaseled out of actually having to write "I'm sorry" but both of them felt the need to defend just how crappy their books were....as if they KNEW anyone reading them would feel violated after finishing them. Today I'm going to give you a mini-book report and paraphrase the author's apology. So what books did such esteemed authors feel they had to feel sorry about making you read? From a Buick 8 by Stephen King and Tick Tock by Dean Koontz are today's offenders.
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Stephen King's "From a Buick 8".
The Plot: Pennsylvania Police find a vintage car that ends up being some sort of alien portal/vehicle to some other dimension. The trunk opens up to a dark world of spooky death (with flesh-eating bats) and no one knows what to do with it so they store it in the police garage. Scary stuff seems to be going on but before anything actually happens the car implodes in on itself leaving the world a better place.
The Apology: Stephen King DOES NOT apologize for writing this book in the afterword. He does write the following (paraphrased):
"If you've read my "The Art of Writing", then you're aware that when you write a book you should let the piece write itself and the moral or message will come through without you having to force it. Looking back at "From a Buick 8" for a message we see that "you don't always know what's going one" and "you don't always get closure." "

Holy crap. Stephen King writes a book without thinking it through and the moral's "I don't have to explain any of this crap to my readers?" So because people are unhappy that the book ends without ANYONE knowing what's going on that's the book's point? Did no one tell Stevie that that sounds a hell of a lot like a cop-out for not knowing how to finish his book? It wouldn't have been a big deal if Stephen "I want to be the Alfred Hitchcock of the Toilet (see Dreamcatcher inteview)" King hadn't ranted and raved about how SURE he was that the story's message was pure and holy and true. If he was so sure about it why the hell did he have to write a couple of pages about how his book's message was that some books don't need messages or even a point or to make sense? :sigh: I'll have to remember Stephen King's advice (I paraphrase): "If you have trouble finishing a novel, maybe that's your moral....sometimes the story doesn't have an ending." Oh God, is that advice retarded.
Moving on we have:
Dean Koontz's Tick Tock.
Before I get into this whole-heartedly, let me explain my thoughts on Dean Koontz. The guy writes great suspense. Lightning, Servants of Twilight, and Intensity were great. However the guy is also a Trekkie at heart and can't help but write goofy goofy sci-fi stories whenever he gets the chance. Half of Koontz's stuff is kick ass suspense, the rest is his hit or miss goofy Science Fiction stories....or so I feel. Let's use Tick Tock as an example:
The PLOT: A Vietnamese-American runs afoul of a voodoo witch lady who unleashes an animated voodoo doll after him that slowly mutates into a man-sized dinosaur monster. He runs his love interest who has potentially one of the worst character names ever (Deliverance Payne) who also happens to hang out with a dog with magic powers who's really an alien. How's that for a goofy sounding plot?
The Apology: Dean Koontz starts his afterword by apologizing to his "hardcore fans" for this book not appearing in hardcover. It's no shorter than some of his other books yet this one went straight to paperback because he "didn't like how it looked in hardback". That's a bad sign. When a publisher doesn't think a name-brand author has made something that won't sell in hardback. He talks about how he originally wrote this book without the main character being an immigrant from Vietnam and he decided to throw that part in to complete the book. If you've read the book you'll notice that that's pretty obvious. There are these completely random "cultural dramas" that randomly show up throughout the book that have nothing to do with the plot. Basically he says the book was pretty terrible so he tried to fix it by making the main character ethnic. When authors start ranting about how they tried to fix their books and confess to just randomly throwing in huge aspects of the story at the last minute, I don't know what else to call it but an apology.

I know that people write afterwords like this to defend themselves but for the love of God the only reason I remember how terrible these books were is because the authors felt so strongly about defending them. Note to self: If I write a crappy-ass novel DO NOT, under any circumstances, write an apology for it. Stand by my crap and no one will be the wiser.


Blogger Smartie said...

well... i should be proud of myself, that is the most i have ever read on anyone's blog... i like the urinals, if i was a guy i would definitely want one! i also went onto your website, your drawings are frikken awesome. i'm inspired... i may just do my art homework now! oh well great blog, i need to remember it's name so i can check it out more often.

8:06 AM  

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