April 21st, 2014

green leaves

So I threw myself on the grenade....

....and it turned out to be more like a lumpy sofa cushion.

In other words, I read Opera Vita Aeterna by Vox Day. It is bad, but not especially evil. However, it's so bad that it makes me wonder about God. Surely, Someone who's so reliably good at sunsets could do better. He is not living up to His potential. He must like bad fiction even more than he likes beetles.

I would have said that it was not of commercial quality, but it was published by Marcher Lord Hinterlands, and for all I know, they pay royalties. Jeff Gerke, the editor, has some backstory about the publishing of Day's A Throne of Bones, and he seems to be literate. I get the impression that Day is much better than most of what he receives. I don't know how someone who can write normal sentences and paragraphs could stand OVA.

On the other hand, there are literate people who like Dan Brown, so there are types of mental flexibility I don't share.

The most obvious thing about OVA (aside from that it's D&D fic and enthusiastic about Catholicism) is the utter clumsiness of the expository details.
The cold autumn day was slowly drawing to a close. The pallid sun was descending, its ineffective rays no longer sufficient to hold it up in the sky or to penetrate the northern winds that gathered strength with the whispering promise of the incipient dark. The first of the two moons was already visible high above the mountains. Soon Arbhadis, Night’s Mistress, would unveil herself as well.

Aside from the unspeakably bad science about the sun's rays holding it up, how many times does he have to tell me it's cold? Why does he only give the name of the moon that isn't up yet? What does the moon that is up look like?

The amount of repetition and the poor choice of details.... the story could be improved by cutting about a quarter of it, I think, but that wouldn't improve it enough.

Actually, "story" is too strong a word, or at least I couldn't find a point to the end of it. After all that about souls, immortality is achieved through making a wonderful thing? In a world where (there's a long discussion about this) nothing lasts?

And I think there's a simple solution to the problem raised in that discussion, though I may be missing something. Couldn't you have incorruptible things in a corruptible world if the incorruptible things came in from somewhere else?

I count my blessings. I note that Vox Day is an awful person. The world would be a worse place if he were a good writer.

To keep this post from only being about something that sucks, would anyone care to recommend their favorite Catholic sf? Favorite D&D fiction?

I'll start off with The Interior Life by Dorothy Heydt. Past Master by R.A. Lafferty, and Descent into Hell by Charles Williams. I'm not counting LOTR because Catholicism is off-stage and the Catholic ideas are pretty subtle, and I'm not counting A Case of Conscience because I didn't get the impression the author especially liked Catholicism.

D&D: Paksennarion by Elizabeth Moon, Goblin Quest by Jim Hines, Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward.

I wish it were possible to vote for No Award several times so that OVA could be below all of them.

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