Monday, August 26, 2013

Elric of Melinbone by Michael Moorcock


This is the perfect example of what I do not like about sci-fi/fantasy books until quite recently.


Elric of Melnibone is a series of books that are short and to the point. Normally, I would say kudo's to the author for that. There is no time that is wasted on prose that are unnecessary and the story that is told is clear and concise. The problem here is that Moorcock seems to have cut everything out to the point where it's not enjoyable even in the slightest. The dialogue is fake and forced, the prose are bland and overall, the story is lacking any sort of captivating imagination.


Now, I'm not sure this is Moorcock's fault. Yes, he wrote the novel but it seems to me that up until recently, most sci-fi/fantasy novels just had this quality. There was something about the writing that always seems either very dry or over the top to the point where you can't become immersed because its so ridiculous. These aren't necessarily bad stories but they are stories that are best told orally as opposed to read.


While this book is a short read, it took me an inordinate amount of time to get into it. While the main character has the advantage of being morally gray, it is never a theme that seems to be fully explored. The world feels very two dimensional as well and the characters that are coming into contact with the main storyline fall into peril during one page and then are suddenly saved two pages later. This quick and choppy style detracts from what could be a good story. The author seems to just be rushing through a series of events while peppering his work with dialogue that could be written for daytime soaps.

Troy and this random puppet, in fact, has better dialogue than this book... and they're not even saying anything!




I realize too that there are a lot of readers out there that enjoy this style of writing. I know a lot of readers that enjoy this style of writing and the friend that recommended this book is definitely one of them. For me, however, there is nothing to this. There isn't talent or passion. There is simply a telling of a very linear story that you could find anywhere. Imagination is lacking here and it is instead something to just pass the time. These are the stories that I feel don't stick with you and they are not the kinds of stories I want to be spending my time on.

What I don't understand is the fact that this series is actually popular.  It's a movie, references to these characters are made in different novels, tv shows and comics... but I can barely read the 180 pages that are provided to me.  Is there something I'm missing? If you are seeing or reading something that I'm missing, please tell me because I'm confused by this popularity.



Overall, if you are a person that can't seem to get through larger novels and want to read something in the course of an afternoon, I would actually recommend this. If you are someone who likes to dive into your stories and wants something rich and full of life, skip this. It is not a story that is going to offer you much more than a coma induced state of boredom most of the time.

Don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Google +

Also, here's a look at what else I'm reading at the moment. Follow the links here http://papertales4u.blogspot.com/2013/08/august-book-reads.html

and here

http://papertales4u.blogspot.com/2013/07/july-book-reads.html
Enhanced by Zemanta

8 comments:

  1. I think people get too bored with a building story line. They want it done at break neck speed. No cliff hangars, no patience, nothing. Just a boring quick story to say they "read" a book. These are probably hits with kids who need to crank out some kind of book report. Or they're hoping that our own imaginations fill the void that's missing in these books. I've never been able to read sci/fi. The only ones I guess I've been able to read are The Hunger Games. Are those even Sci/Fi??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hunger Games fit into the sci/fi genera very loosely, I think. But yes, you're right. Most people don't have the patience for a story line and hence books like this are made. Which, if you think about it, a lot of the people who want to read but have the short attention span, tend to be of the male persuasion. Yes, I know that's probably a gross generalization but it does seem to be true. So technically, I guess books like this are simply writing to their market.

      Delete
    2. Hunger Games fit into the sci/fi genera very loosely, I think. But yes, you're right. Most people don't have the patience for a story line and hence books like this are made. Which, if you think about it, a lot of the people who want to read but have the short attention span, tend to be of the male persuasion. Yes, I know that's probably a gross generalization but it does seem to be true. So technically, I guess books like this are simply writing to their market.

      Delete
  2. I think you are highly misguided :"the people who want to read but have the short attention span, tend to be of the male persuasion" is not a very happy sentence, if not directly sexist. I'm a man, and I've read a lot, and in six different languages (two of them are dead now: Latin and ancient Greek), and I like sci fi and fantasy. In fact, I have a degree in Literature and Linguistics in the University of La Plata, and it's a six year course of studies, and I prefer these genres. You even say so: you don't manage the genre rules...
    I agree that the first of the novels, "Elric of Melniboné" is very short, and it's the worst of them. And it isn't the core of the genre (it's recognized for being very special). If you want endless descriptions, polished dialogs, and long stories, you can always go back to Tolkien (which is very enjoyable), George R. Martin, Ursula K. Le Guin, or Liliana Bodoc (if you can read in Spanish). Regarding Sci Fi, another genre which has been messed up with, you can always go to the classics: Bradbury, Wells, Welles, Cordwainer Smith, or (again) if you can read in Spanish, Carlos Gardini.
    I think that you are missing the point of these stories, so I recommend you to read this and don't you get cut off of two huge genres by reading one exceptional series of short stories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First, I'm sorry that I didn't see your comment before. It's been a hectic couple of months.

      As for my opinion on this book being highly misguided, I'd have to say that is an unfair assessment. At no point in time do I say that what I have written in this review is law. It is a matter of opinion. It's not wrong or right. It just is.

      As for being sexist, I'm sorry you feel that that was how the comment was intended. My view on this novel is that it is geared more towards a man and that it would work well for people who don't like long novels and who's attention span is better suited for something shorter. It was no meant as an insult, nor do I think that this is a bad thing. I think that this novel was directed towards a certain audience and I was not that audience.

      I never said either that I want endless descriptions. Endless descriptions are not enjoyable to me. Again, I must repeat that this is my opinion and that doesn't mean that it isn't good writing. It's just not for me.

      I am not cutting myself off from these genera's either. I have a Literature Major as well and a minor in Comparative Lit. I have done my fair share of reading and in fact, still read anything that is pretty much suggested to me, regardless of genera. If you look at my other reviews, I have a wide range of novels that I read. Sci Fi and Fantasy, being one of my favorites.

      Thank you for your input n this, and I'm glad to hear from someone who likes this novel but it just wasn't for me. But, like I said, I did enjoy the idea that the main character wasn't a good guy and I have to applaud the writer for that.

      I'd be happy to hear more from you in the future. It's always nice to hear differing opinions.

      Delete
  3. roflmfao.
    First, could you please link to the movie? I am unaware of any legally published movie of Elric.
    Second. If Hunger Games was more your type and enjoyable then Elric; therein is your problem.
    It's like... pouring you a glass of Robert Mondavi and a glass of Domaine de la Romanee Conti Grand Cru, without telling which is which. You wouldn't know the difference because you don't anything about wine. Just like you don't know anything about writing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Didn't he write that when he was sixteen in about three days or something? I'm pretty sure I remember that.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete