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From an old facebook post: rejected ideas for review serieses
james_nicoll
Failed Attempts to Emulate the Heinlein Juveniles

Least Believable Teenaged Girl Protagonist Written by a Man

Beloved Classics That Make Modern Readers Say "What the Helling Hell, Old Time SF Fans?"

SF Books She Wrote and He Took the Credit For

Hard SF Ain't Nothing But Nonsense Misspelled

Then, The Author Went Mad But Didn't Stop Writing

You Have To Understand, The Bar Was Lower Back Then

What the Helling Hell, Old Time SF Fans?

Books about Overpopulation That Are Kinda Racist

Books That Would Lead Any Neutral Observer to Conclude SF is White Power: the Genre

Mystery Writers Who Would Have Really Benefited from Zoloft

Dame Slapping: Private Detective Aerobics

Jesus Christ, Legal Procedural Authors, Could You At Least Check to See if Your DA's State Even Has the Death Penalty

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

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LiveJournal has likes now? Well, I just gave this my first one.

While I am not so cruel as to want James to actually write reviews for these series, it would be interesting to see lists of examples for each of these categories.

These days, there is a genre of mystery for basically any subgroup. And I'm in a knitting group, so, at our anniversary dinner, I usually give away a knitting/crochet/spinning-related mystery as a door prize.

Usually these are cozy mysteries, written with varying levels of competence, and with terrible puns in the title. But I came across one the where half the characters were diagnosed with cancer, or had PTSD from spousal abuse, or had experienced some other trauma.

That was a little grimmer than I was looking for, so I think I swapped it out for one from the series where the detective is a yarn shop owner who can see ghosts. (I've gotten a few of those: 'Spinning in Her Grave', 'Dyeing Wishes', and 'Plagued by Quilt'.)

I would buy popcorn for any of those review series.

Least Believable Teenaged Girl Protagonist Written by a Man

All of the many fictional virgins who, when faced with an apocalypse, prioritise having no-strings sex with an unprepossessing middle-aged man.

Books about Overpopulation That Are Kinda Racist

A depressingly extensive category, and even extendier if you include other types of eugenics.

Mystery Writers Who Would Have Really Benefited from Zoloft

I admit this piqued my curiosity, being mostly outside my genre preferences.

Doesn't quite fit, but I dearly love Rozan's Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series, but in just about every book, one of them ends up in the hospital and/or completely beaten up.

Anna Pigeon (Nevada Barr) spend the first several books depressed and an alcoholic. She finally pulled out. Then a more recent book told her "first adventure" which started out with her naked in a pit. Ugh. Oh, yeah, pretty much any new male colleague was the bad guy and a misogynist.

Donna Leon is also losing faith in Venice. Her books about Brunetti often pointed out some bureaucratic nonsense, but some hope or joie de vivre has been lost in the last several books to the point that I don't enjoy reading them anymore.


Possibly better...

Heinlein in Emulation. (Not limited to the juveniles, or complete failures.)

I Can Too Write Girls (Not limited to teenaged females. Special tags for Violence Makes Her a Heroine, Lesbians Are All Secretly Bi, and Best Friend is a Minority.)

Before the Brain Eater (last books before the shark is jumped, possibly contrasted with the next.)

Whodunnit? The Woman. (Books in which the first new female character is the secret antagonist.)


I Can Too Write Girls But Have Never Spoken To One.

Although now that you mention it, Before the Brain Eater sounds interesting. Does the book show signs of the tentacles sneaking in under the door, or did someone re-compile the author's kernel after the manuscript left for the publisher?

The brain eater is not the same as engineers' disease but the results are interesting when the same author is afflicted with both. "I'm a trained mechanical engineer; of course I can speak on fungal microbiology! This relates to my political views thusly..."

Those Darn Kids and their .

There's nothing wrong with society that a complete technological collapse wouldn't fix.

Foreigners and the appropriate adjective for each: from crafty to sullen

Oops. That's supposed to be "Those Darn Kids and Their *popculture item that became popular after the author was 25*"

I'd kind of like to see parallel series

What the Helling Hell, Old Time SF Fans? and What the Helling Hell, New Time SF Fans?

Re: I'd kind of like to see parallel series

Also the intersection of the two sets, otherwise known as "who let that puppy shit on the kitchen floor (and why is it foaming)?"

What book fits the most categories?

(For some reason, given the first couple of selections, Emergence by David R. Palmer popped into my brain)

Spider Robinson's Night of Power hits an awful lot of them, if only glancingly in some cases. Though I have not heard of that particular book being anyone's idea of a beloved classic, Robinson in general is a lot of people's old fave.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
"Then, The Author Went Mad But Didn't Stop Writing" is more fun in abstract than when you're in the middle of a story and slowly realize you've found an example.

Even More Attempts To Be Helpful

I Just Discovered My Kink! (and now my viewpoint characters are experimenting with it)

Libertopia In Space (because it won't happen here)

I Like Cats (stunt reviews which ignore everything in the book that doesn't happen to or with a cat or felinoid equivalent present)

Evil Never Prospers (stunt reviews which ignore everything in the book except scenes featuring or describing the antagonist)

This Book Blew My Mind (SF clearly written as a response to somebody else's book, e.g. Snow Crash and The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Extra points if the SF came with an intro, outro or bibliography.)

Let Me Try That (books set in other author's universes; semi-irrationally, I would include B5 novels arguing that JMS was the primary author but not Star Trek or Star Wars because authority is hazy)

One Shot, One Kill (Standalone books complete in one volume, no shared universes, duologies, trilogies, multivolume books, multi-author anthologies, series, short-story expansions...)

Re: Even More Attempts To Be Helpful

"I Just Discovered My Kink! (and now my viewpoint characters are experimenting with it)"

Special series award to Laurell K. Hamilton.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
Many of those double as nightmare fuel for an aspiring writer.

Works of the SFnal Avant-garde That Have Aged More Horribly Than Even Contemporary Analog Stories

Maybe wrap them all together for "Failure Mode Fridays" or something? You could include a brief explanation at the beginning about which category of fail the book is an exemplar of.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand

from the facebook conversation

From FB

Supposedly Feminist SF Novels That Perpetrate the Patriarchy

SF that makes you wonder if the author is a child molester

Heroines Who End Up In A Relationship With The Hunky Asshole They Didn't Get Along With In The First Book

Uteri in Spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace! Becos That's The Only Thing Females Can Do

Societies That Allow A Janitor to Fail Upward into Star Piloting Because Reasons (Penis)

"Hey, we got rid of [slavery analogue], so we can do what the hell we want."

Yet Another Retread of the American Revolution

Yet Another Retread of Zulu

Yet Another Retread of Hornblower

Yet Another Retread of Neuromancer

The return of the ghost of the bride of Belisarius

Skorzeny Meets Belisarius

This Fantasy Novel Is Really The SCA

This SF Novel Is Really The SCA

This Fantasy Novel is Really A Role-Playing Game Group

This Mundane Novel Is Really The SCA

The Future is 100% White.

The Future Is Multicultural But Still Looks 100% White

The Future Has Aliens But Only Token Nonwhite Humans Who Are Only Allowed to Date Within Their Race, or Aliens.

Series That Kevin Anderson Would Be Embarrassed To Continue

We Don't Discuss It With Outsiders - Retconning The Low Budget Alien

Post-Apocalyptic Dystopias: For Male Libertarians Only.

How Many Rapes Does It Take to Make Dragons Believable?

Horrifying Realizations I Had About Books I Read As A Child

Most Racist Book By a White Author Who Meant Well

Libertarian Authors Idealizing Dictatorships

Liberal Authors Idealizing Royalty

Female Character Development: Beyond Fridging, Rape, and Delivery of Heir and/or Spare.

Books By Authors Who Can Imagine Magic, Aliens, Dragons, and/or Sufficiently Advanced Technology, But Not Life Without Caffeine

Why Religious People are Stupidy Stupid Stupids: a Cunningly Disguised Metaphor

Books That Make You Wonder If The Author Will Be Serving A Lengthy Sentence Soon.

Books That Make You Wonder If The Author Can Write A Short Sentence

Books That Make You Wish The Author Hand't Ever Tried a Dialect.

Books by men that make you wonder if the author has ever met a woman

Authors Who Are Not At All Hiding Their Attraction To Underage Girls category

Books In Which The Author's Impending Divorce Was Clearly Foreshadowed.

Book in Which the Author's Recent Divorce Was Still the Dominant Factor in His Life

It's Been Almost Twenty Years But The Author Is Still Dissing His Ex

Thinly Veiled Metaphor For Current Political Issues ... IN SPAAAAAACCCCEEEEE!

Our Progressive Cast Still Has A Middle-Class White Person At The Center Because That's Just Natural.

plot twist so surprising the detective didn't see it coming, but the reader sure did.

YA Novels Written in the Absence of Zoloft.









Edited at 2016-11-02 01:37 am (UTC)

"SF that makes you wonder if the author is a child molester"

Does it count if the Author's Note makes you goddamn certain?

"Books By Authors Who Can Imagine Magic, Aliens, Dragons, and/or Sufficiently Advanced Technology, But Not Life Without Caffeine"

Ouch. That hits waaay too close to home 8-)

That was my reaction, too. (He says, while waiting for the morning coffee to kick in.)

The Future was a long time ago, in a different country.

"The Wench Is Still Alive - Futures Where Women Knew Their Place"

Edited at 2016-11-02 02:35 pm (UTC)

Dystopia that the author thought was a utopia

Misogynist feminist novels

Novels in which 1950's never ended.

Do canons like Fallout, where they're obviously deliberately playing up the 1950s vibe, count?

"Punkpunk - Idealized Novels About 1970s Subcultures"

"Oops, It Really Was A Racist Book"

"Who The Fuck Was William Proxmire? Continuing To Fight Forgotten Flamewars"

"Helium 3 Will Cure Cancer - Memes That Won't Die"

(I need to stop now.)



Edited at 2016-11-02 02:43 pm (UTC)

Who The Fuck Was William Proxmire would have very long legs, except now kids could google him and shrug.

I would read the helling hell out of just about all of these.

Book series that are still being written, despite history making the premise obsolete.

This was inspired by the Deathlands book series(none of which I've actually read), published by Gold Eagle until Harper-Collins decided to shutter the imprint last year. The first one appeared in 1986, and revolved around the survivors of a US-Soviet nuclear war in 2001. So it was sort of jossed by current events only a few years after it began. Yet Gold Eagle kept the series going into 2015.


"The sky was the color of television tuned to a channel showing the Cubs win the World Series, or, embarrassingly now-dated future jokes"

Edited at 2016-11-03 01:25 pm (UTC)

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