Thursday, December 14, 2006

Empire and the Bad Book Bug

Even the best of authors can write bad stories.

Orson Scott Card is by far my favorite author, but Empire is bad. Card's writing is great. I have read more than twenty of his novels. I love Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, The Alvin Maker Series, Treasure Box, and Lost Boys. Most everything I have ever read from Card was engrossing and fulfilling.

But not Empire. It is mostly uninteresting. The first two hundred pages are readable, but after that it slows down.

Empire is a new near future work of Science Fiction that has America in the second civil war. After the President is assassinated, the Protagonist Reuben becomes the prime suspect. For good reason too, his assignment for the pentagon had him looking for possible ways to assassinate the President. He quickly realizes that the report he filled has been leaked, and now the leader of the US is dead, as is the Vice President.

The Speaker of the House takes over a president, and it soon becomes clear to him and Reuben that these plans were leaked to place the blame on the US military and Reuben. When Reuben and his new assistant, Cole, go to visit New York City, they find them selves under attack. The city has been overtaken by Mechs (see the Hoth battle in Empire Strikes Back).

It turns out that these attacks are being planed by the extremist liberals. The next civil war is between the red states and the blue states.

Usually, I find my self agreeing with most of OSC political views. I don't dislike this book because of Card's viewpoints, but for the same reason I dislike most of the Christian Fiction that has come out as of late. There is something other than a great story that is getting across here.

This book is based on an upcoming video game. Which should be the first hint that this book wasn't going to be up to the level of Card's previous works. The publishers of the game had certain things that needed to happen in the story. I think one of the things was the mechs. But being under that requirement, being in the box, must have effected his writing. I found myself skimming the last hundred pages. I NEVER SKIM. I like eating up every morsel that a story has to offer. But, I could not wait to get this one over with.

Which leads me to the bad book bug. Anytime I read a bad book, I over analyze why a book is bad. Then, when I start a new book, I start analyzing it. Reading works better for me when I just sit back relax and enjoy the story. It usually takes a couple of days for me to get over the bad book bug.

Last month, I read a book by John Scalzi called Old Man's War. It was fantastic, reminded me a lot of Ender's Game. Probably because it's military fiction. I started The Ghost Brigades, the sequel to Old Man's War. I am enjoying it, but I would be enjoying it a lot more if I could just get over this bug. Argg!

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