(urth) SRD on obscurity

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes danldo at gmail.com
Fri Jun 9 23:57:16 PDT 2006

On 6/9/06, pthwndxrclzp <aquastor at gmail.com> wrote:
> My assessment had very little to do with my liking or disliking the
> material. Whether you agree or not, I find his prose puerile, sloppy, and
> overwritten. You needn't agree, but getting so bent over the absence of an
> "I think" statement (which is actually implicit in almost anything anyone
> writes, neurolinguistically speaking) seems equally childish to me.

It seems to me (which I like to use instead of "I think" or "in my
opinion") that, while the "I think" statement is _factually_ implicit
in any utterance, failure to _explicitly_ mark opinions as over against
facts frequently denotes an inability to distinguish the two; the real
test, of course, is how "emotionally" people defend their opinions
against perceived attacks.

> As for the measure of Donaldson's respect as a writer, we'll just have to
> agree to disagree. I'm sure you know lots of folks who think he's terrific,
> just as all the readers I know find him an embarrassment to the genre.

"All?" Mighty big statement.

> And while I couldn't disagree more with your lack of appreciation for
> Bujold, I certainly respect your right to the opinion.

I didn't state an opinion on Bujold. I don't _have_ one; I have not
got the qualifications for one, which would involve finishing at least
one book. I stated the mere fact that I can't read her, carefully making
clear that I don't necessarily think the fault lies with her.

> I am curious about something. Is it your opinion that there exist no "bad
> writers," only writers about whose work opinions vary? Or just that yes,
> there are indeed bad writers, Donaldson (in your opinion) just not being one
> of them?

Oh, no. There are very definitely bad writers. Piers Anthony, post
1976. Anne McCaffrey, post-about-1970. Ed Earl Repp, ever.
John Saul. But if enough people I respect respect a writer that I
see no value in, I make the leap of faith that there's something in
that writer's work that I'm simply not equipped to see.

> 'Cause it is starting to seem like you are holding the view that
> there *are* no bad writers, just readers with insufficient appreciation, or
> something of that ilk....

Rather, we all have blind spots.

> I stand by what I originally wrote, or certainly intended to write: *I*
> THINK that Donaldson's "Lord Foul's Bane" is a literary  embarrassment.

I think you're missing some valuable material, even in LFB. His style
there is decidedly not up to snuff, but he was doing something, and
something valuable, that nobody had ever done in fantasy before.

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes, writer, trainer, bon vivant

"One o'th'flay-rods gone out o'skew on th'treadle."

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