personal agendas disguised as fiction

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Guy_At_A_Keyboard » Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:46 pm UTC

Mandiful wrote:Terry Goodkind is the absolute worst for this.

He's the absolute worst for a lot of stuff. Also, he has a yeard (yeard=ponytail+beard).

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Pathway » Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:20 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:But as far as individual works go, you really can't call 1984 anything less than a "personal agenda" disguised as fiction. I am quite convinced that at some point in the process, Mr. Orwell said, "This is so boring no one will want to read it! I know, I'll throw in some sex!"

The most recent example I recall coming across is Orson Scott Card's rather incongruous "Hooray for Heterosexuality!" rant in Shadow Puppets.


The thing about 1984, though, is that it is moving and compelling. And it's more a statement about human nature in general rather than about politics in particular.
'You are ruling over us for our own good,' he said feebly. 'You believe that human beings are not fit to govern themselves, and therefore-'
He started and almost cried out. A pang of pain had shot through his body. O'Brien had pushed the lever of the dial up to thirty-five.
'That was stupid, Winston, stupid!' he said. 'You should know better than to say a thing like that.'
He pulled the lever back and continued:
'Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?'


No argument on Shadow Puppets, though.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Jorpho » Sun Feb 10, 2008 3:29 am UTC

Pathway wrote:The thing about 1984, though, is that it is moving and compelling. And it's more a statement about human nature in general rather than about politics in particular.


Perhaps. But that doesn't mean it can't also be a personal agenda disguised as fiction.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby no-genius » Mon Feb 11, 2008 10:31 am UTC

I'm a bit confused about this thread - surely the point of fiction is to get your ideas across (in an interesting way) ? Or why bother writing the damn thing...
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Belial » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:47 pm UTC

Ostensibly, the point of fiction is to tell a story. Anything *else* you do with it is gravy.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:30 pm UTC

Pretty much, yeah.. a story about a guy who goes to the park, finds a dead body, and gets wrapped up in a web of lies, deceit, and intrigue when all he wanted to do was sit on a bench and eat his damned sandwich doesn't necessarily have a greater point to get across than sometimes when you go to the park and find a dead body, you have to put off sandwich enjoyment for a while.

Which is an important lesson for us all.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:45 am UTC

no-genius wrote:I'm a bit confused about this thread - surely the point of fiction is to get your ideas across (in an interesting way) ? Or why bother writing the damn thing...



I think the problem is when it's barely disguised in the writing, but heavily disguised by the book jacket. 'Clan of the Cave Bear' bills itself as a gripping drama, not 'Look how insanely superior women are'. Or when the author lets their personal agenda get in the way of the story- like Ayn Rand did so often. A lot of her characters... like Cheryl in 'Atlas Shrugged'. Cheryl started out sounding like you would expect a somewhat uncultured girl to sound- then she became insanely erudite for long enough to spout her schpeil, then she returns to what she was before. Just not believable.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Akula » Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:35 am UTC

Heinlein definitely does. Although I suppose I'm of the type who enjoys a lot more of what he has to say.

Patrick Robinson... he's kind of a Tom Clancy writer... modern techno-thrillers of political and military intrigue. However, one of his books was essentially a diatribe against Bill Clinton.

Mark Twain, for sure. Again though, I tended to love most of what he was implying.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby no-genius » Mon Feb 18, 2008 12:41 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Ostensibly, the point of fiction is to tell a story. Anything *else* you do with it is gravy.

True, but then what is the point of telling the story?
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby thejdawg » Mon Feb 18, 2008 1:06 pm UTC

no-genius wrote:
Belial wrote:Ostensibly, the point of fiction is to tell a story. Anything *else* you do with it is gravy.

True, but then what is the point of telling the story?

According to one author I heard speak, she didn't know. She just sat down and wrote. Carol DeChellis Hill, for reference.


As for agendas, Walden Two by BF Skinner; The Aeneid by Vergil.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Belial » Mon Feb 18, 2008 2:52 pm UTC

no-genius wrote:
Belial wrote:Ostensibly, the point of fiction is to tell a story. Anything *else* you do with it is gravy.

True, but then what is the point of telling the story?


At its basest level? To entertain.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Mo0man » Thu Feb 21, 2008 4:15 am UTC

belial wrote:
no-genius wrote:
Belial wrote:Ostensibly, the point of fiction is to tell a story. Anything *else* you do with it is gravy.

True, but then what is the point of telling the story?


At its basest level? To entertain..


I mean, was K.A Applegate trying to push a personal agenda when she wrote Animorphs?
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby The Mighty Thesaurus » Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:47 am UTC

Yes

no-genius wrote:
The Mighty Thesaurus wrote:
Jorpho wrote:But as far as individual works go, you really can't call 1984 anything less than a "personal agenda" disguised as fiction. I am quite convinced that at some point in the process, Mr. Orwell said, "This is so boring no one will want to read it! I know, I'll throw in some sex!"


I found everything other than the political stuff boring. My favourite part of the book is when Winston is reading The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism.

I took the sex to be a form of rebellion? Just by disobeying Big Brother, it means it isn't all-powerful. Or something, its about 7 or 8 years since I read it. (Ah, was I ever so young?)


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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby no-genius » Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:33 am UTC

Mo0man wrote:I mean, was K.A Applegate trying to push a personal agenda when she wrote Animorphs?

Was Douglas Adams trying to push a personal agenda when he wrote Young Zaphod Plays it Safe ?
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Intercept » Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:52 am UTC

"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller was basically just a big Fuck You to McCarthyism.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby telkanuru » Mon Dec 01, 2008 9:09 pm UTC

Antimatter Spork wrote:I present to you Orson Scott Card's newest Enderverse book.

Ender teaches [never before mentioned character] the TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS! (Also, Battle School is run by those meany violent immoral athiests, doncha know)

(Disclaimer: I have not actually read this book, it could be better than it looks)


No, it really couldn't.

For further proof OSC has gone off the deep end, see his book Empire. What's the part from Hamlet? "O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!"


Oh, and to add to the list, "The Scarlet Letter" is just a couple hundred pages of barely disguised Biblical allegory.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Filius Nullius » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:27 am UTC

There's Asimov, I've always thought that you could compare Asimov directly with Rand (specifically "The Naked Sun" and Rands "Anthem") I'm sure there are other examples of Rand <-> Asimov comparison.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Ati » Tue Dec 02, 2008 4:35 pm UTC

Wow, I was just having this discussion with my grandmother a while back.

Here's my view on the matter:

On the one hand, I have no problem with an author exploring a theme with his writing. It can add a lot to the story, and give people something to think about. That said, you have to make sure that your theme is the same size as your story. If the answer to the question that you're asking can be summarized in a pat little sentence at the end of your narrative, then what the hell are you doing asking such a stupid question? If you're going to have themes in your books beyond the plot, they should be questions, not answers.

In my experience, it tends to happen a lot with authors who are incapable of understanding the perspective of anyone but themselves. They believe that if they just stomp hard enough, the people they're marketing their ideology too will eventually swallow it, since all their reasons are, naturally, silly, not worth considering. This inability to get out of their own heads explains why they're often such awful writers. In the meantime, the rest of us, whether we agree with the author or not, find ourselves gagging on a smug, masturbatory sermon disguised as a novel.

A last point is that you have to make sure that your story can stand on it's own without the background themes. If a story is boring (I'm looking at you, Ayn Rand) then it's a bad novel, and I don't care how clever it is at making the author's point.

(Note: apologies if this comes off a little bitter, this has been bugging me for a while)
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby wst » Tue Dec 02, 2008 10:57 pm UTC

G.P Taylor and the Shadowmancer series.
Basically it's mega-christian allegory all the way through.

'Bibles fell from the shelves like a rain of truth' was a notable line.

Despite this, it's a quite a good story.

Disclaimer: I know the author is a vicar. He's hardly going to write something which glorifies atheism eh?

Also, I dislike his aiming of the books as an attack on the Harry Potter books. Which he believes is a cause of moral degradation due to a lessened belief in his God. Hmm. Pity he's so anti-myview, he's a good author.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Surgery » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:20 am UTC

wst wrote:G.P Taylor and the Shadowmancer series.
Basically it's mega-christian allegory all the way through.


I don't think allegory is the same as pushing a personal agenda. For instance, I'm pretty sure a large portion of House of Leaves by Danielewski is an allegory for the Minotaur myth, but I don't think Danielewski advocates sending young men to be devoured by a half-bull half-man creature on an island in the Mediterranean.

Also, O' Brother Where Art Thou is an allegory for Homer's Odyssey, and the personal agenda is ... ?

Allegory != personal agenda

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Ati » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:26 am UTC

Surgery wrote:
wst wrote:G.P Taylor and the Shadowmancer series.
Basically it's mega-christian allegory all the way through.


I don't think allegory is the same as pushing a personal agenda. For instance, I'm pretty sure a large portion of House of Leaves by Danielewski is an allegory for the Minotaur myth, but I don't think Danielewski advocates sending young men to be devoured by a half-bull half-man creature on an island in the Mediterranean.

Also, O' Brother Where Art Thou is an allegory for Homer's Odyssey, and the personal agenda is ... ?

Allegory != personal agenda




Well, no, not necessarily, but if your allegory is to a book that has no real purpose BESIDES pushing an agenda (see: most holy books ever written), then it may be time to pause, and reflect.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Surgery » Wed Dec 03, 2008 2:10 am UTC

Ati wrote:Well, no, not necessarily, but if your allegory is to a book that has no real purpose BESIDES pushing an agenda (see: most holy books ever written), then it may be time to pause, and reflect.

I'll give you that. But sometimes (though very likely not in the case you mentioned) people write allegories to biblical stories simply because some of them are good (entertaining) stories or because it's an interesting way to connect your work to something larger than it. I know there are atheists who have written biblical allegories.

also, Upton Sinclaire's The Jungle? I knew nothing of the man when I started reading the book and before I was done I knew has was a strong communist from the book alone.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby the_stabbage » Wed Dec 03, 2008 4:01 am UTC

Maybe I'm strange, but I read fiction in order to get some sense of what the author/characters are trying to say. So I read it for the agenda, and the plot is completely unnecessary to me. I'm happier if I can get a book that makes me think a little rather than one with cool aliens that blow up things. Consequently I read into everything in a book - try to piece into eras like modernism, post-modernism, try to find the biases coming from the time it was written, etc.

This reminds me of the Jorge Luis Borges story where a man by the name of Pierre Menard tries to write Don Quixote - he lives as Cervantes did, and so on - but even if his words are the same, their effect is different:

Borges wrote:It is a revelation to compare Menard's Don Quixote with Cervantes'. The latter, for example, wrote (part one, chapter nine):

. . . truth, whose mother is history, rival of time,
depository of deeds, witness of the past, exemplar and
adviser to the present, and the future's counselor.

Written in the seventeeth century, written by the "lay genius" Cervantes, this enumeration is a mere rhetorical praise of history. Menard, on the other hand, writes:

. . . truth, whose mother is history, rival of time,
depository of deeds, witness of the past, exemplar and
adviser to the present, and the future's counselor.

History, the mother of truth: the idea is astounding. Menard, a contemporary of William James, does not define history as an inquiry into reality but as its origin. Historical truth, for him, is not what has happened; it is what we judge to have happened. The final phrases--exemplar and adviser to the present, and the future's counselor --are brazenly pragmatic.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby telkanuru » Wed Dec 03, 2008 6:14 am UTC

...I cordially dislike allegory in all its manifestations, and always have done so since I grew old and wary enough to detect its presence. I much prefer history, true or feigned, with its varied applicability to the thought and experience of readers. I think many confuse 'applicability' with 'allegory'; but the one resides in the freedom of the reader, and the other in the purposed domination of the author.

-JRR Tolkien, Forward to the 2nd Edition of LotR

I don't think I have much to add to that.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby thecommabandit » Wed Dec 03, 2008 10:02 pm UTC

Filius Nullius wrote:There's Asimov, I've always thought that you could compare Asimov directly with Rand (specifically "The Naked Sun" and Rands "Anthem") I'm sure there are other examples of Rand <-> Asimov comparison.

Umm, forgive me if I'm wrong but isn't that the point of Asimov? He wrote speculative fiction about how robotics and space travel would affect society. He's exploring the themes. It's not disguised as fiction; fiction is the vehicle for the exploration (exploring things is far harder if you're walking).
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Dream » Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:12 am UTC

I'm very surprised that no one has brought up Dickens yet. The famous works, like Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities are laden with enough agenda to put a dozen socially conscious modern authors to shame. The opening chapters of Oliver Twist are a perfect example, as a description of the improving effects of the harsh regime of workhouses, they are a masterclass in sustained, withering sarcasm. Were I a modern day politician, there would be not a single living author I wouldn't prefer to have as a critic before Dickens. And as fiction, they are almost unsurpassed. I think Dickens is the single best argument in favour of personal agendas in fiction. The fire of real, tangible belief burns through every theme and every idea in a way that is entirely admirable.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Kesho » Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:12 am UTC

Fossa wrote:Heinlein's For Us the Living was a painful example of this.

The main character would sit there quietly for a page and a half while being lectured by a futuristic expert on a given subject, say one small line of dialogue such as "Go on." and then sit there for another page of lecture from the expert before repeating the process. Heinlein basically used a paper-thin veil of fiction as an excuse for explaining, at length, his views of what a proper eutopia would be.

This book was the main reason I really stopped liking Heinlein's work.


Well, I guarantee that no utopian novel can ever try to force the author's ideas down your throat more than the genre's namesake. In the first book of Utopia, at least the narrator bothers to congratulate and question Raphael Hytholoday (whose very name is another instance of More saying "Oh look at me, aren't I clever?"), while Peter Giles asks the stupid and obvious questions, as well as providing a weak counter-point, but once you get to the second book, it's just Hytholoday on a continuous monologue. While I do believe that Thomas More drilled in some points that were quite important, I just hate the way the two books are structured. Of course, it might just be my fault; I approached the book thinking that it would be a sort of adventure, where Hytholoday wanders the provinces of Utopia while documenting the customs of the place, and has a grand old time, instead of a manual on how to operate a proto-communist paradise.

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Mandiful wrote:Terry Goodkind is the absolute worst for this.

He's the absolute worst for a lot of stuff. Also, he has a yeard (yeard=ponytail+beard).


I'd have to agree with this. Unless you are zombie-George Carlin, you are not allowed a yeard. :) But, really I just didn't enjoy the Sword of Truth when I was reading it. I felt like he was constantly trying to force a point, but I didn't even know what it was. My opinion of the book was not improved by the heavy use of fantasy cliches nor by the weird bondage scenes when I read it at summer camp with bunkmates who would constantly try to read over my shoulder.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Affableprechaun » Mon Dec 08, 2008 5:43 pm UTC

Intercept wrote:"The Crucible" by Arthur Miller was basically just a big Fuck You to McCarthyism.


Haha, yes indeed.

Surgery wrote:also, Upton Sinclaire's The Jungle? I knew nothing of the man when I started reading the book and before I was done I knew has was a strong communist from the book alone.


All of Sinclaire's work were pushing his agenda quite strongly. He was quite good at it. And while I disagree with the vast majority of his views, the Jungle being such a forceful and well written novel of agenda from him was for the betterment of all. Unless you like dead rats in your now poisoned meat.
(In which case, you hate Sinclaire with a passion. However, natural selection should take care of you quite quickly.)

Surgery wrote:Also, O' Brother Where Art Thou is an allegory for Homer's Odyssey, and the personal agenda is ... ?

Allegory != personal agenda


I'm glad you said this. And even when there is personal agenda somewhere back there, it might not being pushed on you as the main point of the novel, it simply exists as an element. And even if it is the whole point, it might not be a bad thing.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby scwizard » Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:34 pm UTC

I enjoy reading personal agendas in fictionalized form.
When the morality of the book is carefully outlined, it makes the good guys good and the bad guys bad. I don't really enjoy books like Lord of the Rings where the bad guy is some faceless evil that wants to dominate the world for no particular good reason.

I don't agree with Rand, but I very much enjoyed Atlas Shrugged.

Obviously a personal agenda isn't necessary, but it helps with some types of books.

JayDee wrote:Ursula Le Guin comes to mind. I'm not sure how much I'm reading into it, but reading The Dispossessed, and Lathe of Heaven seemed to contain a strong agenda / commentary. While I found that slightly repulsive, I enjoyed to books as novels, so I don't mind so much.

I don't remember a personal agenda in Lathe of Heaven, but I really enjoy Ursula Le Guin.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Ati » Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:06 pm UTC

scwizard wrote:I enjoy reading personal agendas in fictionalized form.
When the morality of the book is carefully outlined, it makes the good guys good and the bad guys bad.



Now, see, I don't like books with "good-guys" and "bad-guys". If the author thinks about it like that, then it means that they can't get inside the antagonist's head, since they don't view any of his/her actions as reasonable or justified. It tends to lead to both cardboard protagonists and antagonists. Each character in a story, assuming it has a purpose beyond parable or morality tale, should be well realized. They should be empathetic. It should be possible for the reader to understand why they do what they do, without thinking of them in cookie-cutter terms like "good", or "evil."

Certainly, absolute evil has it's place, but as a general thing, it's usually good to look beyond Superman and Lex Luther.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby EmptySet » Wed Dec 10, 2008 1:49 am UTC

scwizard wrote:
JayDee wrote:Ursula Le Guin comes to mind. I'm not sure how much I'm reading into it, but reading The Dispossessed, and Lathe of Heaven seemed to contain a strong agenda / commentary. While I found that slightly repulsive, I enjoyed to books as novels, so I don't mind so much.

I don't remember a personal agenda in Lathe of Heaven, but I really enjoy Ursula Le Guin.


What's this? We're talking about Ursula K. Le Guin and nobody has mentioned Tehanu? It was painful. Especially because I bought it as part of a four-book compilation with the original trilogy. Le Guin took up radical feminism between the aforementioned-trilogy and Tehanu, and, well... let's just say it kind of shows.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Jorpho » Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:25 am UTC

Are those from the same universe as "Old Music and the Slave Women" ? Because that was indeed, shall we say, lacking in subtlety.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby JayDee » Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:29 am UTC

EmptySet wrote:What's this? We're talking about Ursula K. Le Guin and nobody has mentioned Tehanu? It was painful. Especially because I bought it as part of a four-book compilation with the original trilogy. Le Guin took up radical feminism between the aforementioned-trilogy and Tehanu, and, well... let's just say it kind of shows.

I haven't read Tehanu since I was a kid, and I wouldn't have noticed then. I noticed the change (and didn't enjoy the book as much, but then the same was true of The Farthest Shore - I didn't like it as much as the first two) and the emphasis on girls, but it was only recently that the point about radical feminism was bought up to me. The lack of subtly is a shame, too, when the original Earthsea books were really good with the race thing.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby EmptySet » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:03 am UTC

Jorpho wrote:Are those from the same universe as "Old Music and the Slave Women" ? Because that was indeed, shall we say, lacking in subtlety.


Same author, different universe, I believe. I've not read Old Music and the Slave Women, so I can't really comment on how similar they are.

As a side note, I enjoyed Robin Hobb's Liveship Traders trilogy, which deals extensively with gender issues and the ramifications of sexual abuse (besides being a good story in its own right). If you're interested in such things, I recommend that over Tehanu. (Trigger warning, mind: as you might expect, it contains some rather confronting descriptions of less-than-savoury deeds.)

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Thadlerian » Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:08 pm UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:Heinlein has this irritating habit of setting up character x. When character x is talking, Heinlein is expressing an opinion. The Moral History or whatever teacher from Starship Troopers, Jubal Harshaw from Stranger in a Strange Land.

Sounds like Lord Vetinari, Sam Vimes or Moist von Lipvig commenting on the doings of people of Ankh-Morpork.

No, seriously, Prathcett is about to become a left-wing Heinlein. He's always had an agenda, but there used to be so much awesome storytelling in the bargain as well. Now it's... not so much. The characters are forced to say so much wise stuff they've hardly got the time to be characters.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Jorpho » Wed Dec 10, 2008 5:30 pm UTC

Thadlerian wrote:The characters are forced to say so much wise stuff they've hardly got the time to be characters.
I've always thought that to be the case with Pratchett. Rather, the characters aren't so much forced to say wise stuff as they are forced to engage in dreadfully witty wordplay.

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Xanthir » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:51 pm UTC

Kesho wrote:
Guy_At_A_Keyboard wrote:
Mandiful wrote:Terry Goodkind is the absolute worst for this.

He's the absolute worst for a lot of stuff. Also, he has a yeard (yeard=ponytail+beard).


I'd have to agree with this. Unless you are zombie-George Carlin, you are not allowed a yeard. :) But, really I just didn't enjoy the Sword of Truth when I was reading it. I felt like he was constantly trying to force a point, but I didn't even know what it was. My opinion of the book was not improved by the heavy use of fantasy cliches nor by the weird bondage scenes when I read it at summer camp with bunkmates who would constantly try to read over my shoulder.

The point is that communism is bad and democracy is good. That's it; that's the whole thing. It's really very unfortunate - I AGREE with him on this issue, and I still find his treatment of it disgustingly obnoxious. Guh.

I like his books anytime he isn't having Richard pontificate about how awesome it is to be free and not a socialist.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Jorpho » Sat Dec 13, 2008 12:22 am UTC

It occurs to me that John Norman is surely one of the masters of this kind of thing, in the sense that his books apparently keep getting published and seem to turn up with remarkable frequency in used bookstores. Any of you ever go near that stuff?

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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:59 am UTC

Belial wrote:Which is why it's such a crappy allegory. But my awareness that the author thinks it's an allegory is going to taint my perception of it from now on. I'm going to read plot twists, and I'm going to think "Wait. How does the author think this is about israel? Is this really what he's going for? How dumb is he?"

Fables is about Israel? Seriously? That sucks. If he was going to draw that parallel he could at least include a few Fables from Jewish folklore.

No, seriously, Pratchett is about to become a left-wing Heinlein. He's always had an agenda, but there used to be so much awesome storytelling in the bargain as well. Now it's... not so much. The characters are forced to say so much wise stuff they've hardly got the time to be characters.

When I read "Making Money" it really didn't seem much like that, but apparently Pratchett's opinion on the gold standard is that we should move to a gold standard, and then build all the gold into robots that will guard themselves so nobody needs to guard Fort Knox. That's not exactly a standard political position.
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Re: personal agendas disguised as fiction

Postby Aequitas » Mon Dec 15, 2008 5:54 pm UTC

I think the problem with a lot of authors who "cram" their message down our throats isn't that the attempt to get across a message or belief, it's just that they do it poorly. I love Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead, but the reason a lot of people criticize her (rightfully) is that she never shows believable villains that provide reasonable counters to her philosophy. If you want to put your beliefs in a book, make some characters who disagree with them for good reasons and who are at least respectable. This makes for very exciting conflict and a good read. I love reading books where two ideas are fighting it out. The Brothers Karamazov is a good example.


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