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About Vaughn

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  1. I just finished rereading 'Diamond Age'. The difference between Diamond Age and everything post Cryptonomicom is that in Diamond Age, he just states that there are matter compilers and nano tech and he assumes (correctly) that the reader can grasp the basic concept and go along for the narrative ride. In his books including and since the Baroque Cycle, he assumes the reader needs every. last. thing. explained in detail. His 2nd, 3rd and 4th books are all time favorites of mine. I've read Anathem, the Baroque books and his crap attempt at a Ludlum book once each with little interest in going back. To bring this back around to the main topic, I've read the Lynch's books a few times each as they are enjoyable to read. I would say the hints about mystery of what happened to the Eldren has been a little clunky but I think that's going to be a key detail in future books which will be fleshed out. Side note- I just realized both the Expanse Books and the GB series have the same undercurrent of 'what happened to the unknown entities that make this amazing thing' (protomolocule/stargate/glass towers).
  2. Yeah how well it's done matters and of course personal taste but I remember growing up that there were many fantasy/sci-fi series where you didn't get the endless info dumps and yet the worlds seemed rich enough to be engaging. Pern, stuff from Fritz Lieber, Zelazny, even YA stuff like "Taran" - those were all pretty efficient yet engrossing books. Similarly, people could write an epic story in say 5 mid-sized books vs. the bloated stuff that gets pumped out now.
  3. The best, best quote from that piece that I wish 90% of writers would follow is this: " The real question in worldbuilding is not how much can I dump on the page, but how much can I get away with not actually telling people? Because the alternative is to get this inelegant info-dumpy writing style, in which everyone who is meeting everyone else is taking extra time in their dialogue to explain what they’re doing." Neal Stephensen and GRRM are the kings of this. Great writers, fantastic imaginations and yet so liberated by their success that their writing is larded with too many details which pad out stories to unwieldily lengths. Tolkein wrote stories set in a deeply imagined world but he had the good graces to publish a lot of those backstories in other books. Nowadays authors seem to feel that if they've thought up a detail about just how some aspect of their world works, they are obligated to dump that onto the reader. And then to see top selling talents in the genre world publish these doorstops I think enables lesser writers to follow their lead and just info dump on the reader, to no-one's benefit. Read 'Nine Princes in Amber' or a Gibson book and deeply imagined worlds are being inhabited by the characters without having to detail every damn aspect. Oh, Amber trades with nearby shadows? Neat. I don't need to know more. GRRM or NS would probably take 50 pages to hash out every detail of the currency exchange or historical basis of the trade. Another example is Dune - a book of sweeping scope with copious details, but only as interludes or chapter headers to fill in key gaps in the readers knowledge. Tl:dr If Tolkein were alive today, I fear LoTR would actually be a 8 book series combing the Simarrilion, LoTR and all the other stuff. PSS - can't wait for the new Lynch whenever it arrives. Sweeping fantasy with a sense of fun and yet real stakes and loss is my jam.
  4. Camorr (if I was a rich noble), Rivendell and Gondolin.
  5. Agree on Umbridge. Voldemort was evil and monstrous sure, but he's almost a Macguffin. Umbridge was very real and human. That's true across a lot of books for me. For example, Sauron is just basically faceless evil but Saruman is the worst in a more specific way. From other genres, Lady Catherine de Bourgh of course... and Ledward and Wray from POB.
  6. New William Gibson in 2018
  7. How about the first five books of the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny? Magic, swords, world building (literally), humor and an epic saga of family, mystery, honor and swashbuckling. The second five books have their moments. Added bonus - quickly, tightly plotted books. Nothing against the GRRMs and Neil Stephensons of the world but let's be honest, their works would both be well served by a great editor.
  8. They're very different series of course, but this is one of the ideas behind 'the Magicians' trilogy. One character goes on a very different life path than her friend after failing to get into wizarding school. Harry Potter is weird like that in that the world is both so deeply realized and yet, like with most fantasy/sci-fi world building, there's aspects which seem to be weirdly limited given the stakes. See also Star Wars.
  9. The Fifteen Lives of Harry August. We'd never know if we are living in just one timeline in the life of a ourobourran.