Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stories I Hate

To get in the mood to finish this short story up...

Stories with only male characters, stories with only female characters, senseless rambling while vaguely intimating that the Protagonist Is God On Earth (or not, in the case of Children of Dune, which I literally threw across the room, although I liked the first one okay), stories which don't make sense but try to call the nonsensicalness intellectual superiority, utterly any variation of the "Super Smart Scientists/Mathemetician/Intellectual With No Social Skills Who Suffers From All the Mediocre People Who Just Don't Get His Brilliance," any story at all that makes the protagonist Oh So Superior to Everyone Else, yet also protagonists whose faults make them despicable rather than human, stories that just don't go anywhere (books 7-10 of Wheel of Time), anything whose only theme is a commentary on the utter futility of caring about anything (Heard of Darkness, and too much of what is considered "literary" and also "intellectual"), books where all women are weak and "giggly" except for the one female protagonist who is masculine and continually described as an utter rarity (fantasy suffers so, from this, with the very notable exception of Wheel of Time), stories that portray all members of one gender as unworthy or useless end of discussion, stories that end in horror, despair and futility, stories with too much action and nothing else, stories with too much description and no movement...

That's all I can think of for now.

What do I like, then?

Stories with characters I can't help but care about making brave and difficult choices in the face of something that matters, or else learning something about themselves or the world in a way that relates strongly to a compelling and optimistic theme.  I can deal with pessimistic themes on occasion if they're thought-provoking (and NOT in an "oh it all sucks lets just go crawl in a hole and die" kind of a way), but I am at heart a romantic, a believer in right and wrong and the power of human decisions to make the world into a better place, even if it's just one character's struggle for his or her tiny piece of the world, even if "better" is fraught with imperfection.

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