Another Literary Crime

Not to pick on “Abner Doubleday,” whose very successful series of fantasy novels I am now plodding through: but since I’ve given him the protection of a pseudonym, I suppose I can say what must be said. Like, if I don’t say it, my head will explode.

As I trudge into Book Two, I find Abner has drifted into the habit of constantly editorializing about his characters. It’s a very annoying habit.

Now, I think he’s writing this badly on purpose, creating as it were a comic book without pictures, pitched to an audience of mis-educated 10-year-olds. He writes like he’s afraid the reader won’t be able to tell the good guys from the bad guys. He already has his villains doing exceedingly cruel and villainous things, on page after page, and also bragging about how villainous they are. You’d think that would be enough, but no–he has to throw in adjectives like “diabolical,” “greedy,” “sadistic,” etc.

His good guys fare no better. If I were a fictional character, one of the heroes inhabiting a long story about grim events leading inexorably to total disaster, I would take strong exception to being described as “feisty,” “perky,” or even, Heaven help us, “spunky.” Abner would have to keep me stapled to the page; otherwise I would escape from the book and take up another line of work.

This stuff was stale a hundred years ago. This is the stuff that makes silent movies laughable today. When Snidely Whiplash ties Little Nell to the railroad tracks, and then leers and snickers at the camera, we think it’s hilarious.

Well, Abner’s novels aren’t meant to be hilarious. If his fantasy world had railroads in it, his villains would for sure be tying sweet, defenseless maidens to the tracks. In small doses, this would be amusing. In great big novel-sized doses, it’s more than flesh and blood can bear.

10 comments on “Another Literary Crime

  1. Sounds like ‘Abner’ is attempting to write a comic book with the help of a thesaurus. My sympathies to you.

  2. And so we continue last weeks exciting saga. We left Cholsi’bitain, our spunky heroine, dangling off a cliff as the villain, Dunsanda-rebichi, stood above her laughing sadistically as she slowly lost her grip …

    1. Mr. Duigon, do readers on your blog ever ask you to review a book on Chalcedon’s Faith for All Of Life Magazine? There are some books I would like to hear your opinion about.

    2. I do review books for FFAOL, but those assignments are handed down from the top. However, my editors usually accept my suggestions; so if you have any for me, I can always suggest them to the editors.

    3. Okay, Thanks. I suppose you’ll have to read the book, before doing a review? Anyway, I’ll send you a link. Here it is.
      This is a story written by a Christian theologian, Bryan M. Litfin (you can look him up) about the future, around 2400 AD, when the “modern” world’s technology was destroyed by a great war and a deadly virus. Christianity was also forgotten, for the most part. The story takes place in the Jungfrau Region of Switzerland, where there is a king and a land which worships three gods, and a High Priestess who manipulates the rulers of the land of Chiveis.
      The book has indications of sexuality, and may not be proper for young readers. Otherwise, if you were to rate it, as if it were a film, it would be PG-13.
      The first part of the story depicts a pagan kingdom and shows no signs of being a Christian book. But as the story goes on, The main characters, Captain Teofil of the Royal Guard in the Kingdom, and Anastasia, a farm girl from a village on the frontier, find a Bible in the chapel of a Cathedral.
      There are two books besides the Sword in this trilogy.

    4. Thanks, Jaroc, I’ll look into it. But I do have a lot of books I have to review just now, so I can’t promise anything.

    5. P.S.–Well, yeah, it’s customary to read a book before reviewing it. Sometimes I skip that step when it’s one of those garbage books being pitched to me by a publicist.

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