I'd seen a couple of people talking about this nomination, but I hadn't gone and seen why everyone dislikes him so much. So I went and checked around, and now I know. What a delightful fellow.
You say you read it -- so what did you actually think of the book? I mean, I can review a work of fiction which I think sucked for thematic or character-based reasons, and dissect it -- I did so with Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy in "An American Weenie" right on my LJ. Because, based on what you posted here, I have neither any idea what Opera Vita Aeterna was about, nor whether it was any good or bad.
I thought it was better than "Eye of Argon", that there have been worse works nominated for Hugos, that it didn't have many spelling errors, that it is absolutely overflowing with adjectives, and that Mr Foisy and/or Ms Burt would have probably given it a solid B, with notes for how to improve it.
I thought it needed a few more passes from critical readers, and could have been tightened up by about half. I thought the prose was clunky, and the story kind of simplistic. But it wasn't the worst thing I've ever read -- there are plenty of fanfics out there that are less competently written, and, indeed, I'd say that it's better than some of the things I've written.
So, I guess I'd rate it "not good."
What it's about is an elf who gets religion.
I disagree. Eye of Argon was at least fun to laugh at.
This is Vox's prose: "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."
Do people have to enter their OWN work for the Bulwer-Lytton contest?
That prose just hurt my feelings
Was it going to be a dark and stormy night?
Basically, Vox Day's writing is better than "Eye of Argon", but not as good as SHADOW WAR OF THE NIGHT DRAGONS, BOOK 1: THE DEAD CITY.
That is a most excellent essay.
"I eagerly await the publication of the author's last book."
Personally, I hope his last book was already released.
Alas, still no "like" button. :-( This comment deserves one too.
There is no "like" button :-( Because this comment really deserves it.
That made me smile, even though Beale does not
I read it. I read it twice, to give it a fair chance, even though I think VD is a terrible person. I teach in an undergraduate fiction program at a working class university in Arkansas, so I have seen some awful short stories. VD's is not the worst short story I have ever seen, but it's not very good. The biggest problem is that he isn't writing a story: he's writing a sermon. It's all about how wonderful Jesus is. Well, aside from a very select audience, who comes to fiction for that?
Because he's not writing a story, he doesn't bother to write characters or (really) scenes; he doesn't put in realistic dialogue; we don't have any sort of dramatic tension. No one (really) wants anything. (The elf "wants" Jesus, but not really: it's just an excuse for VD to shoehorn in his sermon.) And for pages and pages and pages nothing happens.
Also, VD commits what is to me the major crime of not telling me anything I didn't already know. He "writes" a medieval monastery which I could have made up myself without doing any research at all. No surprises, nothing new, nothing to learn here. And the same for every character and every line of dialogue. It's just tedious.
That's congruent with my take on it. I've read worse; heck, I've written worse. But I can't see that Correa had any reason to nominate it other than that Vox Day has a personality that pisses off liberals. The rest of the "Sad Puppy Slate" is full of people who are conservative and who also can, and do, write -- everything else on the slate is a reasonable nomination for a Hugo -- I don't know that I'd necessarily vote for them, but "Opera Vita Aeterna" is the only one that I've seen that I'd consider to rank below "No Award".
KJ, are you telling us that it's basically an SF costumed production of God's Not Dead? Sort of "Jack Chick with Elves?"
Heh. Chick Tracts at least have the virtue of being amusing. This bit of pretentious hammering on by VD was dull as when your ten year old cousin starts relating the plot of his latest video game session.
Yeah, Opera is pretty underwhelming as a story.
2014-04-30 06:10 am (UTC)
I'm about a quarter of the way through, but I'm dying to know: does anything happen in this book?
Spoiler alerts are fine.
Not 100% sure. I READ it, but I think I glazed out for much of the second half. I don't remember much. I think everybody dies of old age, except the elf.
No. Blah blah blah elf and priest talk theology blah blah blah a talking fox shows up blah blah blah elf and priest talk inks or something (who can remember?) blah blah blah we're out of
whine wine I'll go gets some says the elf blah blah blah bog standard descriptions of a walk to town blah blah blah return to monastery OH NOES everyone is dead HOW COULD YOU DO THIS GOD!!!1!
Then a dramatic (not) flashforward tat is supposed to be Meaningful but is just as dull as the rest of the story.
Oh, this is Hugo material ALL RIGHT.
The best novella of the YEAR. On MARS.
Naw, the best story of the year on Mars is THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir. But I don't think it's Hugo-eligible until NEXT year.