Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Bakker L - Unholy Consultation and Collaboration (Now with TUC Spoilers!)

424 posts in this topic

On 9/22/2017 at 8:05 AM, Mark Erikson said:

Is there somewhere where those old theories are enumerated, so I could read them?

Personally, I'm of the opinion that Bakker's books are getting better.  I'm actually sort of baffled by the people who say that they've gotten worse over time.  That's just nuts.  He's a deeply flawed writer, IMO, but those flaws have been diminishing as the books continue.

I more or less agree that he's gotten better. TDTCB is great fantasy mileau, really good characters and absolutely inept structure and pace and in the main reason no one wants to read bakker after starting book one, this book is completely lacking minimal coherent narrative flow.

I think he improved with each book up to TJE, and because it is so compact, dense and propulsive with three new phenomenal characters who are very distinct from the first series main characters (Kelmomas, Sorweel, and Mimara), I think it is one of his best written books. In many ways he fixed many of the most obvious rookie mistakes as he went.

But inept structure and minimal coherent narrative flow bit him in the ass much harder in Aspect Emperor.  He wrote himself into a corner with White Luck Warrior in that it's designed as strictly a traveling book where all parties travel from their own point B to point C. I think it is still quite well paced in spite of its unfortunate structure (I mean he literally has a party of scalpers using fantasy cocaine to sprint across five thousand miles of terrain in order to not waste too much time traveling, and it still takes a whole damn book), and is much better executed to a high journeyman level, but it really can't overcome the fundamental unfortunate choices of structure and flow.

WLW especially compares poorly to the middle book of the first series, TWP, which ends on the single most crucial plot development in the entire series (and builds relentlessly to that point throughout the entire book), and it is so damn satisfying a read because of how well it plays.

I actually think that TTT suffers by comparison, as the book is fairly light on content and repetitive before the final battle. axe out the encyclopedia, and the book is only half the size of any other book. it has a nice ending, structure, pace and narrative flow are handled, not brilliantly, but are well done, this is no battle of the blackwater, but it's quite good none the less. 

The Great Ordeal is almost the best thing he's written, simply because Ishterebinth is the best thing he's written, but it's only two-thirds of a book and therefore suffers from fundamental structure and narrative flow problems of new kinds. It works, because cliffhangers dramatically work, but it's less than par.

For Unholy Consult, it's quite well executed, and like TGO some of his best writing craft work in many respects. As it is building to the TAE equivalent of the end of TWP it has the same dramatic satisfactions that book had (but to a much lesser extent, as it's not building through the entire combined book of TGO+TUC) and because of this, like TWP, it basically means the structural failings are more or less absent (though he did figure out a way to pepper in a flashback and holograms to make something straightforward take on faux-complexity because reasons). And TUC, because it's not a complete book, is a majority 'omniscient' narrator, rather than character narrated. The two hundred page battle, other than a handful of malowebi and Achamian POVs, is entirely omniscient narrator. The two hundred pages of corpse fucking are also nearly entirely omniscient narrator. This is a new, serious flaw, but I view it as entirely an artifact of splitting TGO and TUC, and thus more or less forgiveable, but one of the things that brings down the quality of the book.


Edited by lokisnow

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0