Fiction Books Discussion

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I read like 10 chapters of Lux. IMO it’s OK so far but only OK. I’m not sure how much I changed or Sanderson did, but I like original mistborn trilogy, warbreaker, elantris and stormlight the best. Mostly his older books.

I’m on Chapter 9. I like it okay as well.

Very high level impression re: Sanderson: in earlier works, there was a purer emphasis on heroism and taking on impossible situations. See Kelsier’s plot re: Lord Ruler or Prince Raodan dealing with situation in Elantris. (Kelsier also strikes me as having some of the Reality Distortion Field). Now Sanderson seems more interested in exploring people being broken or whatever. This is coming up a lot in Stormlight. It’s less good imho (though, specifically in the case of Dalinar, I thought it was well-handled because there was a good payoff/message in terms of moral responsibility).

Oh yeah, the big emphasis on brokenness is one of my least favorite parts of Stormlight.

Also, Stormlight got lots of planning in the past, so even the latest one doesn’t fully count as one of his newer books.

Part of my impression is that some of Sanderson’s writing and plots got more generic and mainstreamed after he got more popular, I guess after the Wheel of Time stuff.

His style seems less unique. Actually come to think of it, I know he did some of that on purpose. He tried to stop writing the “Brandon Avalanche” (he called it something like that, I forget exactly) where he’d have a long really high intensity ending sequence instead of spreading the climaxes out in the book more.

He also started doing more collaborations with other authors and Lux is one of those. That harms uniqueness and his personal style.

He stopped trying to do the Sanderson Avalanche? But those are fun :(

Yeah. My source might be from his podcast but I’m not sure. I remember him saying something about changing it.

Also he’s been in lefty high-status social circles too much for too long now and I think his Mormonism is fading (in some ways, not all).

I can’t really imagine Rand co-writing a novel with someone lol.

Sanderson is also overweight now. I don’t know if that’s new or not.

ya i noticed. he’s big enough that it looks like a serious health risk

I want more books to read that are like Heinlein’s early books. I don’t know where to get them though. I’ve tried some other authors that were recommended for being similar to Heinlein, but they weren’t very similar.

I liked reading Calumet “K” a few days ago. Rand recommended it in an old newsletter kinda thing. It was published in ~1902 and is about a guy sent to take over a delayed construction job and get it done on time.

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She shared some essay collection non-fiction books with other people. That turned out to be a bad idea.

Another thing about Sanderson is his best work was mostly done before he was published at all, not just before the Wheel of Time stuff and greater popularity.

One thing about his early years is I imagine he was influenced by editors a lot less, due to interacting with them a lot less. I don’t mean the editors made fewer edits then. I mean Sanderson personally knew less about how they think, what they’d change and why, etc. He’d learned less from them. After he got published I’m guessing he started dealing with editors more regularly and started picking up more of how they think about books. I’d expect that to push him more to the mainstream, the conventional, etc.

Also, he delegates more writing tasks than he used to. He’s got a guy who helps with some continuity and fact checking stuff. From what I vaguely recall, he’s got people who help with a lot of editing. Like the publisher has an editor but Sanderson also has a guy on his end to do some of his side of the editing process, too. IIRC that guy is or was an author himself and Sanderson trusts him to do a good job without a lot of oversight. I don’t think Sanderson’s people are screwing anything up in a big way but just writing stuff that is compatible with other people working on it means it has to be a bit more normal, and then each person who tweaks it is going to make it a bit more normal too. Partly because if Sanderson is a cool outlier … well the others working with him are less of outliers if at all. And second because they are trying to put in bland, non-risky stuff when they put stuff in. What else would they do? They aren’t going to put their own unique style into Sanderson’s book, even if they had one. It’s their job to suppress that and try to either make it normal or make it in Sanderson’s style (which they will never do as well as he does himself, so at best they’ll make it kinda like his style but a bit more towards standard.)

My writing got worse in college when I started getting praise/high grades for writing flowery pretentious crap.

Noticed a writing error in Lux. Chapter 22 (my rendition of the text since it’s audio only):

Dazed, Lifeforce’s powers fought to repair the damage I’d inflicted, but they weren’t fast enough.

Lifeforce’s powers weren’t dazed. Lifeforce was dazed.

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I finished reading Lux. Mediocre ending, especially how they didn’t fall for ~no reason after repeatedly taking actions they expected to cause a big fall while having no solution in mind.

The worst part of the book, IMO, was when one supervillain’s weakness was ppl not playing with her in childhood. In other words, being unpopular. So then the main character said mean, social insults to her, which triggered her weakness. Basically the main character did (verbal) bullying behavior and the book glorified and encouraged bullying. (The book is also full of things like punching and shooting, which it also glorifies to some extent, but it doesn’t stand out for glorifying those compared to many, many other books that contain violent fighting.)

The book never disowns or acknowledges the social bullying. The main character never says he was just acting. His love interest witnessed it and he never tried to deny being that kind of person to her, nor did she seem to mind at all.

The book tried to frame it differently as being about people playing her games, and seemed fully unaware that it was presented meanness and bullying.

Meanwhile, Sanderson has been drifting left and hanging out with PC people and making various PC statements. But as with most of them, I think it’s pretty superficial and more about social climbing than reforming society.

Re: Lux,
I anticipated the Brigand betrayal and Paige surviving.. I do get some enjoyment out of surprising-but-plausible twists, so the extent to which some big reveals were predictable was disappointing. I also didn’t find any of the characters particularly notable, and interesting characters are a big part of what I like about Brandon’s writing.