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Dav*d W*b*r

So I mentioned David Weber in the context of "writers who are trying for an effect, but fail to get that effect, in such a way that other writers can tell what effect they were trying to get," and shadesong asked if she should read him. (That was a comment over in her journal, but it's a long thread and I'm at work, so I can't actually visit LJ. Besides, it's always a good topic for a flamewar a group discussion...)

For those of us who are not familiar with him, David Weber primarily writes the Honor Harrington series, which is naval space opera with a strong female protagonist. If you do not care for any of the above, space opera, strong female protagonists where "strength" includes membership in a military and serious kicking of ass in said military, or the sorts of naval stories that involve Epic Battles and Ship Pr0n, this series is probably not for you. (It's really seriously heavy spaceship pr0n, and I tend to skim sometimes.) If you really like two of the three, but not the other, perhaps check out one book.

Weber is definitely not one of my buy-on-sight authors. There are some authors whose books I buy on sight, unread, hardback. He is not one. If there's a book I haven't read by him, I will read it if I see it at the library, or if a friend has a copy. If I like it, I might buy a used copy if I see one. He's not an author I seek out unless I am reminded to, despite the fact that he has characters who I like who are continually put into interesting and/or impossible situations. As theferrett put it, he's one of my methadone authors. The potential for awesomeness is very high, but his actual follow-through is not particularly good, and for some reason, I do keep reading his stuff.

Almost all of his characters have a lot of potential. Almost all of his situations and worlds have a lot of potential. He is great with characterization and world-building and plot. The trouble is, he is not such a great story-teller. The characters and plot are almost enough to carry the story along, but when you have the writer's eye, especially if you've edited enough of your own stuff to know when you were trying for an effect and failed miserably, or else almost got there but just not quite, you recognize the signs.

So, people. Thoughts?
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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