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Author Topic: Dialogue to rival Asimov!
Crotalus
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I'm currently reading Magic Street, and enjoying it immensely. I was reading a chunk of dialogue yesterday when I thought, 'Card's every bit as good as Asimov at writing dialogue.'
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Scott Ellsworth
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I happen to think Card's dialogue is much better than most of Asimov's. I read them both when I was a child, but Card has worn pretty well into adulthood, while Asimov's dialogue kinda started to grate.

Scott

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hiro1000
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I would put them on the same level, I read Card and Asimov at the same time, and many of times I thought one book was written by the other author. Meaning the writing and flow was pretty much the same.

I love both.

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EndertheJedi
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I never reall ythgought to copmpare Assimov to Card, but now that I think abot it the dialogue and the way he can describe a scene in which things happen with very little actual action are similar but cards style is unique and I personally find OSC's work more enjoyable as it connects to me on a slightly more personal level and allow me to relate to the characters better. but I think over all Assimov may have been a better writer as far as conveyign the ideas of his storiesd and from a mere entertaining stanpoint as when I read the Foundation sereies I was completley engrossed by them and readan dunderstod them faster and better athatn most other storeis of similar content. Card nad many other more current authors have the advantage to me htough of being able to enjoed in multple readings and are sometime better the second time where asimov books just got repetitive if you tried to read the same one twice. I dont know why that is but its cool to thik that card has something in common with an author that a lot of pepole view as one of the greatest ever
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dropofTapioca
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was the rhyming in the title deliberate?
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Crotalus
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Actually, no. But it's pretty cool now that you mention it.
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MrSquicky
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Am I alone in thinking that Asimov's dialogue and characterization are two of the weakest parts of his writing? I'd consider OSC to far outstrip Isaac here.
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Sean
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Yeah, I didn't read the thread title as a compliment.
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Joshua Newberry
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I have this feeling that Card, when/if he reads this, will be pleased that someone thinks he can equal the Grand Master at any aspect of speculative fiction.

That said, I agree, and can honestly say that, while my Asimov collection grew swiftly, my Card collection has been read more often.

Thanks a lot, Mr. Card, for becoming (willingly or not) the heir to Asimov's SF throne. May it be a day soon that all other readers can recognize this.

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xtownaga
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I always thought that Asimov was a bit better at the mechanical aspects of writing in that when I'm reading his stuff I really never notice the words, like it's written so well that you don't have to think at all about the wording, etc. only the story. Card comes close to this, probably one of if not the closest to Asimov, but he's not quite there (yet). Kind of like how when you're watching a movie or something and are really engrossed in it you just don't notice the surrounding area most of the time, but then someone walks in front of the screen or what have you and it's broken for a second.

That being said, in my oppinion OSC is at least tied with Asimov for the overall quality of his work, in that while the mechanical aspects may be slightly worse, the characters seem to be much more developed and the plots a bit more interesting (and it doesn't hurt OSC that some of Asimovs work hasn't aged as well as it could have).

A better way to put this is that with OSC, you know you're reading a (very) good book. With Asimov you can forget you're reading it and just experiance the story, even if that story isn't always quite as good.

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Zebulan
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Also, it depends on which Asimov you're reading. I've been reading The Early Asimov collections recently and there is a major improvement from that to his later stuff. I have a had a lot of trouble with some of his earlier stories precisely because i can't just engross myself in the story.

As for their books, though, I think Card has been well ahead of Asimov for some time. Especially when writing internal monologues. Ender's Shadow is a great example of this. As for dialogue, I've never really noticed much of a difference, though Asimov has an "unhealthy" obsession with puns that I haven't found in Card.

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Bean Counter
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I have always wished that I could find a woman that would converse on the level of an Asimov heroine, I am not knocking OSC, but Issac was an honest to God Scientist by training and inclination, so everbody in his stories tends to either be a highly refined trained and educated professional or the characture of a common man as seen through the eyes of a highly educated proffesional.

I love his dialoge because it harkens back to a time when Science Fiction took a higher road, setting a higher standard that made the Sci Fi reader a bit of a snob.

OSC is much more accessable to mass consumption, and that is both good and a little sad. Sci Fi has softened on science as its readers have become less educated and more mainstream.

BC

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ketchupqueen
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Okay, I read this thread title and thought of "Dialogue" the LDS journal, and couldn't figure out if it was going to start carrying sci-fi stories or what, and how on earth would that fit in with their current content? [ROFL]
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Bridger Blood
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I've read an awful lot of Asimov over the years, so its fairly clear I like his stuff. I can't honestly say however, that I thought his dialogue was the reason - to be honest I often thought it was kinda hokey.
On the other han, OSC's is pretty damn good IMO. I was particularly impressed recently with the comic exchanges in Heartfire, particularly those between Calvin & Honore.
My wife, NEVER reads SF/F, but recently on holiday, she had read all the books she'd brought, and dipped into my copy of Red Prophet, mainly out of boredom. Both of us are now avidly reading through the whole Alvin series so far, and she keeps whingeing at me for being too slow, as she is one book behind me and gets fed-up waiting for me to finish. Last night she was reading Heartfire and laughed aloud in several places. I knew which places, as they were exactly the same points where I'd chuckled myself silly. They were all dialogs involving either Calvin or Alvin.

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DPerry
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quote:
Originally posted by Bean Counter:
I am not knocking OSC, but Issac was an honest to God Scientist by training and inclination, so everbody in his stories tends to either be a highly refined trained and educated professional or the characture of a common man as seen through the eyes of a highly educated proffesional.
BC

I always saw it as a fault of Asimov's that every character in his stories talked exactly the way he did. He wasn't able to shift into different voices. His dialog always comes across to me as expository lumps, like he's just putting quotation marks around narration. Card is far more capable with dialog than Asimov was.
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tmservo
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I loved Asimov. Still do. I find he has a very purposeful writing style, and a storyline that really is involving.

But I always thought of dialog as being his weak suit; his characters occassionally sounded very stiff and forced.

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Occasional
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I would say the difference for me is that Asomov is technical and cold, while OSC is specific and emotional. To compare the two is, to me, night and day. Its the difference between a scientist and a poet. Both can be intriguing, but hardly the same.
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Will B
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"Better than Asimov's dialogue" is pretty faint praise. (And I did like Asimov.)
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Crotalus
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Once again, you guys just slay me. One thing you need to consider is WHEN Asimov came on the scene. Better than anyone, he steered us away from the 'as you know, professor x...' expository dump. He did this by utilizing dialogue effectively. To me it is still amazing to realize how much story Asimov was able to relay using dialogue, without the dialogue sounding like a scientific lecture/disguised info dump. Another thing to consider is that Asimov was primarily a writer of IDEA stories. Card is more character/relationship oriented. And in both cases, each author utilizes dialogue brilliantly in the development of those respective type stories.

Next time I'll try to make my comments more specific. [Razz]

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0range7Penguin
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I have always thought of Card as the master of characterization. While asimov is very good at writing diologue his characters all seem to come from the same cloth.
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Survivor
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I just want to say that I'm glad everyone seems to agree on this point. Card is very strong in characterization and dialog. Asimov is stronger at using idea to drive the story, sometimes to the detriment of complex characterization and realistic dialog.

Though I do have a weakness for Asimov's puns [Wink]

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Somnium
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Asimov is and will always be the scientist who became a writer, while OSC was a born writer [Razz] OSC wins hands up. Although, I love the detectivesqe aspect to alot of asmov's works, but at the same time its a detractor, because after you've read it once, its not NEARLY as good the next time through.

Take I,Robot for example, great set of short stories, but since they are practically all mystery stories, you can't really build any tension reading through them a second time. Unless you have the memory of a goldfish [Smile] To me a good author is one who's stories I can read again and again, and experience no less enjoyment each time.

I mean, if you can still make me get that, "Just one last page, then I'll sleep, well maybe one more" feeling at 3am on second, third, and onward readings, then you are a master in my honest opinion.

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trpollen
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To start, I love this topic! I am continuously making comparisons between the two.

Ender's Game was the first SF book that I ever read. In the introduction, Card mentioned Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, so once I was through with the Ender/Bean Series books that had been written up to that point, I picked up Prelude to Foundation. Now, fifteen or twenty books later (I started in the middle Robot/Empire/Foundation and read the chronologically earlier books after the later ones), I have an unbelievable fondness for the works of both authors.

quote:
Originally posted by DPerry:

I always saw it as a fault of Asimov's that every character in his stories talked exactly the way he did. He wasn't able to shift into different voices. His dialog always comes across to me as expository lumps, like he's just putting quotation marks around narration. Card is far more capable with dialog than Asimov was. [/QB]

I once read that Asimov considered Hari Seldon to be his alter-ego, which goes right along with his writing in one voice only. Card has so many voices, all equally thrilling and absorbing. For instance, I never met a book about religion that I enjoyed until Stone Tables.

Although I have yet to reread any of the SF books I've read because I'm always so eager for the next book, I can certainly see how Card books would be great to read multiple times.

By the way, I just finished Foundation's Friends, in which The Originist appears by Card. Check out some passages that were meaningful to me that I jotted down during the read. The Originist Quotes

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airmanfour
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The largest problem that i find with dialogue, period is that sometimes the words, no matter how beautifully written, don't fit the mouth of the speaker. As an example, i thought that Arkady, a preteen of the Foundation Series, spoke as i though a precocious adolescent would. my only problem with any of OSCs books is that sometimes the words coming out of these childrens mouths don't quite belong there. his adult dialogue is more than stellar, but Shadow Puppets, and some of the Shadows following left me with an unfortunately unreal taste in my mouth.
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Somnium
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You have to realize also, that those children were geniouses. [Smile] Plus other than bean, all the kids in Ender's jeesh by that time were around 14+(correct me if I am wrong), and I know from personal experience that immensely gifted kids at that age and older often talk more like mature adults than the majority of adults.
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BandoCommando
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quote:
Originally posted by 0range7Penguin:
I have always thought of Card as the master of characterization. While asimov is very good at writing diologue his characters all seem to come from the same cloth.

Absolutely. When I read different OSC characters, they seem like truly different people. REAL people. But go read the first "Foundation" novel, and all the early foundationers sound the same. The first time I read it, I hadn't noticed that I was reading about different characters for quite a while.

The Asimov:Ideas::Card:Characters analogy works well, except Card has come up with his share of original ideas as well - you just don't notice them because the story is centered on a human soul (even if it IS fictional).

As a summation, Card seems to use his ideas as the backdrops, props, lighting, and setting of plays that are about who people are and why they do things.

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