Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Ooooooooh, an argument...

I never claimed that Mercedes Lackey's late novels weren't drivel. Nor that every novel Piers Anthony ever wrote wasn't drivel either.

I continue to read Lackey (in bookstores, these days, so I don't have to buy the new ones) in the (forlorn) hopes that someday she'll put some effort into her new novel and come up with another book or three of the caliber of the Last Herald Mage trilogy or By the Sword. Not that either of these were, shall we say, deep, but they're just so sweet!

I do not continue to read Anthony. The only one of his books I opened in the last four years was the last Mode book, because I remembered liking the suicidally depressed heroine when I was fifteen years old and angsty. I was quite irritated to realize that while I'd grown up in the interim, she hadn't..! In general, Anthony's is a universe of bad puns, half-naked (or entirely naked?) brainless women, and exceedingly shallow pretensions towards thought.

McCaffrey, on the other hand, hardly even provided me the entertainment of a good skewering. I didn't actually skewer her work in the last post. I think I shall do so now. My roommate left an early novel of hers in the bathroom one day a few months ago, and being bored and ready to procrastinate, I chose to read it.

Restoree is perhaps the stupidest book I have ever read in my twenty-two years on the planet Terra. Our heroine Sara is a fairly ugly spinster-librarian who is magically spirited away to an alien planet far away. Somewhere in the course of the spiriting, Sara gets a new beautiful face, and of course, she and the alien man who she finds herself tending fall wildly in love. There is no explanation for why the alien species appears completely humanoid and cross-fertile with homo sapiens. The plot is ... well, there are some evil non-humanoid aliens who are just evil and doing Bad Things hardly to be explained... and there are some political messes on the planet involving Sara's alien lover... and there are bunches of alien characters with very stereotypical alien names... and Sara is just dumb. She can wander around and be beautiful and say "Oh, I'm not ugly any more! Wow! And you're a handsome alien man and you're sleeping with me! Wow!"

Wait, late-breaking news... SFBookcase claims McCaffrey wrote the work "as a protest against the absurd and unrealistic portrayals of women in science-fiction novels in the 50s and early 60s". I feel relieved now... but that doesn't excuse To Ride Pegasus.

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