Too much of a good thing
Posted by aogMonday, 23 July 2007 at 09:36 TrackBack Ping URL

I read Building Harlequin’s Moon while traveling and I have to rate it as “eh”. Not bad, but not up to normal Niven standards. The backstory was clearly not thought out at all, but was simply a set of sometimes contradictory cliches to be used to provide dramatic tension or psychological motivation as needed. The main story suffered from having multiple obvious and better alternatives. Still, the writing was decent and it beat staring out the window at the endlessly fascinating mid-west scenery (not just corn fields, but soy bean fields as well!).

Then I read this article on the economics of magic by megan McArdle1 and I realized that my years of hanging out in the blogosphere has to a large extent ruined my ability to enjoy fiction. I do the same thing to books I read that McArdle does to Harry Potter. I don’t do it by conscious choice — my mind does the analysis in background and pops the results up for me as I read, just as I trained it to do while reading weblogs and comments. Just one of the sacrifices I have made to provide you all with quality content.

P.S. Andrea Harris weighs in as well.


1 A decent article, marred by her bizarre misreading of Tolkien. In Lord of the Rings, magic is restricted both by price and by rationing. This is a re-hash of what I’ve written previously on effectively the same subject.

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Andrea Harris Monday, 23 July 2007 at 20:51

I have more to say on the whole fantasy-fiction-reading thing, but I’ve been too tired to get around to writing it. Someday…

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