Friday, October 15, 2010

Ben hates trilogies

Just finished reading David Brin's "Brightness Reef." Still not sure what the title was about. Kind of hate trilogies.

Brightness Reef began my planting charges in my cerebellum, detonating them from a distance of astral units, and scattering my brain like so much chaff on the wind. Brin's sense of what-science-fiction-can-be is enormous and amazingly interesting.

It appears, however, he lacks the ability to give me the satisfaction I desire when it comes to stories-that-have-beginnings-middles-and-endings--very possibly on account of the fact that Brightness Reef is the first of a trilogy.

Brightness Reef is like the ladies at the grocery story who give you a little cup of wine, or a little mini-quiche, or a small piece of cake. You have to buy the rest of the product to get... satisfaction. On one of the last pages of the book, one of the main characters thinks: "We've been through so much, only to come right back where we started." My thoughts exactly. Brightness Reef is not a story; it is David Brin explaining to you that he has a great idea for a story.

Still, I'm not turned off of Brin-as-author. I'll never read the rest of the Uplift Trilogy, because I can't be bothered to invest time in the second tome which only might be worth reading (i.e., be-in-possession-of-a-conclusion). Nonetheless, sooner or later I hope to read one of his self-contained tales.

So, my friends, read some David Brin. Just don't... read Brightness Reef.


P.S. Which reminds me, how is the SF community so perverted that this book won both Nebula and Hugo awards? 1995 must have been a bad year...


  1. No, no: Startide Rising (the second book from the first trilogy) won both a Nebula and a Hugo for the simple reason that it was about dolphins...In Space! Without being too silly.

    Brightness Reef, on the other hand, was a silly mass of puns and won nothing aside from nominations.

  2. I hate trilogies too. Except for the ones I like. But it has become a bit too commonplace now, hasn't it? I can almost picture books these days gathering at a party, and the standalone novels getting all these weird looks. "Too good to extend yourself across two more books, hm? THE NERVE."

  3. I'm sick of trilogies myself. What's wrong with just a two book series? One that starts, one that finishes? Why do we have to have a stupid "sophomore" novel in the middle of a trilogy, one that usually just straight up sucks? I know this isn't always the case, but it seems quite frequent.
    It seems that, if you are going to write a "series," it damned well better be a three book trilogy. Even some of my favorite authors do this (Dashner, Wells, Sanderson). Herp derp.

  4. As for trilogies, I barely like sequels, much less double-sequels. And it goes without saying that a second trilogy is right out.

    On the other hand, if you write short books I'll be more forgiving of sequels because I know you'll probably not deliberately waste my time.

  5. I wondered about whether Brightness Reef had actually won. However, the cover definitely purports to convey "Winner." Bastard cover designers.

    Also, it may be worth noting that I might just have commitment issues. I read the Wheel of Time until book seven, at which point, somewhere near the middle, I threw it against the wall and screamed. I'd already purchased books eight and nine, too; they later collected a lot of dust.


  6. I bet they did that "from the winner of..." thing where they position the "from" text in a less-readable part of the cover image. I love that trick.

    I think getting through Book Six of The Wheel of Time disqualifies you for commitment issues. I still haven't got through Book One.

  7. If you want to read a great trilogy, try Brandon Sanderson's MISTBORN series. The best trilogy I've read in a long, long, long time.

    BTW -- I was unable to get through Bk 5 of the WHEEL OF TIME. I'm tempted to read plot summaries of Bks 6-11 just so I can read how Sanderson finishes them.

  8. I love trilogies. And series. :)

    I like waiting until a full trilogy is out to read it though, just in case the first two books cliffhang. I hate waiting for the next book :P

  9. Question: You *hate* trilogies, but you're reading Erikson???

  10. Hahaha.

    Jeff, Rule #1: No proactive thinking allowed on my blog!

    ...I can make exceptions for Erikson.