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Author Topic: Is 3PO making a comeback?
ChrisOwens
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I've noticed some books(Runelords and Wheel of Time) began omnisciently before zooming into 3PL. However, with Talon of Silver Hawk I noticed in one chapter, how Tal left the room and the scene kept going. And now, in 2 of the 4 books I'm currently reading, Olympus and Sons Of The Oak, I've encountered Omniscient passages.

With Sons Of The Oak, I feel jarred sometimes. With Olympus, Simmons actaully employs present tense in some sections, which might be fine, but it doesn't live up to Illium [as evidenced by a very unnecessary and disgusting X-rated scene between Zeus and Hera which almost made me throw the book out, but that's neither here nor there].

Is there some sort of movement to bring 3PO back? If so, why?

[This message has been edited by ChrisOwens (edited November 29, 2006).]


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Survivor
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3PO never left, it can hardly make a comeback.
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kings_falcon
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It could be that now you are noticing POV too.

I like Omni although not generally the" "If Bill only knew what was around the corner . . ." from of it. I like having an understanding of the important player's motivations which can be done in Omni.

It might be that in trying to make more credible antagonists more people are using 3PO to flesh those characters out.


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Robert Nowall
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Thought you were talking about one of the 'droids from Star Wars...
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ChrisOwens
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Perhaps I've misworded. It was my understanding that omniscient had fallen out of favor, was passť, not that it disappeared altogether.

Most times I've seen new aspiring writers attempt this, usually because they don't know what they're doing. Even in a novel by a good, published author such as David Farland/Wolverton, it still feels wrong.


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autumnmuse
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I'm re-reading Stephen King right now and noticing that he uses omniscient a fair amount. He dips in and out of the heads of tons of characters, but he does it in a pretty unobtrusive way. If I wasn't paying attention to POV, I'd probably not even notice. Guess that's why he makes the big bucks .
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Leigh
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ChrisOwens, Raymond E. Fiest does it in his lastest book as well, "Into A Dark Realm". He has Pug, central charactor throughout almost every book he has written, leave a building and walk away whilst changing the POV to a person watching Pug leave. I believe he also did it in the Serpent War saga as well.

I've read many books where the author has done this, and I believe I do it unintentionally, but if I realise it I rewrite that part of the story.


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ChrisOwens
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I must admit I haven't read anything from King since Wizard and Glass, and besides the Dark Series, only Insomia and the Stand. Basically anything non-horror. But, it is true, that was quite some time ago, before I aspired to write.

A friend recommended the Talon series by Fiest. I read it, but I found it quite shallow, and only later on he told me it was based on a RPG. And even later, that he used ghostwriters. Even if I have misremembered the facts, I still found it rather wanting. It couldn't compare to say, some of the short works, in Card's Maps In The Mirror, that I was reading last night. Some of those stories leave me in awe. Card was one of the greats in his day.


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Survivor
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Um...he hasn't stopped writing or anything, you know. I mean, it is still kinda his day, and this is even his site. Maybe you aren't trying to say that he's a has-been...

I know, I know. I just recently read a book by an author whose prior works I've really enjoyed. Got a good jolt of "wow, she's really let herself go, hasn't she?" So I'm not saying that it's never a valid comment about a writer who's still writing. But Card has yet to write anything that affects me in that way.

On the other hand, he did incorporate a completely unconfirmed report from a source that has previously proven very unreliable (and may not actually exist) as rather a major thread in his latest World Watch essay. That didn't say "he's letting himself go" so much as "ouch, do your research next time, buddy."


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ChrisOwens
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Yep, you got my drift. Then again, I'm nobody in comparison, so I have no authority to crit his work. Better a has-been than a never-was...

I guess I'm still reeling with disapointment over Shadow Of The Giant and Crystal City. I read the free opening chapters to Empire and found it even more of a disapointment (speaking of which, the opening is omniscient).

I read an article a while back that stated that politics tends to bypass thinking processes. This is the only way I can reconile the person who wrote wonder novels and the best short fiction I've ever read, not to mention the very insightful Characters and Viewpoint, with the person he is today.


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Robert Nowall
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Well, I gather Card has a new book coming out---should be out by now, if the ad on the top of the page is right, but I haven't seen it. I have been thinking of picking it up. If a very brief description I read the other day proves to be accurate, it's about a subject I'm very interested in---but my reaction to it would depend very much on how it's handled.
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Survivor
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So basically...you're saying that he can't be one of the greats is his politics are different from yours? I hate to break this to you, but Card's basic politics haven't changed much since he came back from his mission. In other words, if it's his politics that are the problem, then he's never been one of "the greats".

Leaving aside the ridiculous notion that you can't be great if your politics are "wrong".


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ChrisOwens
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Sorry for the misunderstanding, not quite what I meant. Usually I'm multitasking when I'm posting--and I can't multitask. Upon rereading I realized it sounded a bit arrogant on my part.

Nothing to do with political beliefs at all, it's just some of his latest works just don't seem to measure up to his earlier ones. Shadow of the Giant was too dialog heavy, incorportated too many POV characters I didn't care about, wasn't cohesive, didn't really focus on Bean whom I did care about. Crystal City, from what I remember, didn't really go anywhere, the same struggle I had with Jordan's Winter's Heart. The first chapters of Empire seemed dialog intensive also, reading like a political sermon disguised as a story, instead of a story that might deliver any insightful moral lessons.

Roger Zelazny said toward the end of his career that some of his later stories were not always up to par and he was aware that sometimes they sold just because of his name. Sadly, he died before his time. Hopefully, Card has a number of years left and its just a temporary blip that he'll recover from.

What I was saying about politics is that it is a belief system and no matter what a persons politics are, it can often short circuit a person's clear reasoning faculities, even in otherwise intelligent folks. Sometimes the emotion-based belief is blind, causing a person not to hear all sides, to sterotype, make broad generalizations, and to continue even contradictory views whatever the evidence is to the contrary.

Card understood that. In Characters and Viewpoint, he talked about getting to know all sides, not painting the antagonist overly simplistic strokes. For instance, he brought up the plot to Three Mile Island. Again, in his How To Write SF&F he brought up the example of analyzing why folks in a certain town followed an evil religious leader. I think this sort of analysis can extend not only in made up characters, but real ones as well. Characters and Viewpoint contains life lessons.

Sometimes I think of the Demosthenes and Locke identities of Peter Wiggin, writing articles from opposing points of view, and of course using it as a tool for world domination. Ever wonder if Card has another online alter-ego out there, where he writes columns with a completely different perspective?


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Robert Nowall
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I can abide political commentary masquerading as fiction. I can't abide utter nonsense masquerading as political commentary masquerading as fiction.

I intend to buy a copy when I see one. (I get to Books-a-Million most every week, and I usually get to Barnes & Noble every two weeks.) I liked Card's Alvin Maker series very much, along with a lot of his early short stories, but I haven't much liked what I've read of the Ender series. On that basis alone, it seems to be worth parting with some money to take a look at it.

But how much I read of it will depend on what happens in the first few chapters. That's true of nearly every book I pick up, and particularly of fiction these days.


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I think that the greater reliance on dialogue in Card's later works isn't likely to change. You have to understand that his earlier works were written at a period of time when he was intellectually isolated to a greater degree than he is now. Those works are friendlier to people hostile to his fundamental beliefs because he didn't believe that there were many people who weren't hostile to his basic ideas.

At the same time, Card has gained a lot of experience with finding and befriending the kind of people that can realistically engage in the kinds of conversations that he depicts in his later works. I actually find most of those conversations frustrating because they're below the intellectual level I demand in a conversation, even if I have to supply most of it myself

I can understand how you find the later works to be less accommodating, but it isn't because Card has lost his touch or anything. It's simply that he no longer cares to include you in his audience. He's said as much in a number of interviews, some of which are linked from this site if you care to peruse them.

I'm not in Card's core audience either. Never was. I'm pretty sure that he's still intensely uncomfortable with the thought that people like me exist...or would be if he ever contemplated the idea. But I enjoy his books nonetheless.


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Robert Nowall
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Fair is fair...I'm not even sure I'd want to read the novel I'm working on right now, but I'm still plugging away at it. So it's a tightrope to walk and a minefield to avoid, even for established professionals.

When I think of how much I enjoyed Card's Alvin Maker so much, I'd probably forgive a lot, though.


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Survivor
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I've never gotten into the Alvin Maker books as much. The writing is good and all, but Alvin seems so wussy about everything. The whole "can't serve the Unmaker" bent really sucks the fun out of everything.
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Robert Nowall
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I did pick up a copy of Empire yesterday...I'll put it on my pile of "books to read," but there are about ten more books waiting there for me, so it may be awhile before I get to it. (I got a really good discount deal on it with cards and coupons, but they may have put in the wrong price somewhere. I'll have to calculate it out.)
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