• GlitterInfection@lemmy.world
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    4 months ago

    I tried to read the books this is based on and felt like I was being punked.

    The writing in the first chapter, specifically around the dialogue of the man on the stage who is telling the story about his wife’s father was so incredibly stilted that I couldn’t get through it. It was unfathomably badly written dialogue that I can only imagine it’s something lost in translation that triggers every pet peeve I have about dialogue.

    And most people rave about the books. So this is probably a me problem more than anything. I just don’t understand it.

    So as long as they hired some writers to do a better job at the dialogue I might be one of those people who likes the show and not the books.

    edit: dialogue

      • NielsBohron@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        It’s a common problem with lots of classic sci-fi authors. Heinlein, Asimov, Philip K Dick, Larry Niven etc. are all terrible at writing believable dialogue and compelling characters. There are some exceptions, but most of their characters are cardboard cutouts so they have a way to move along a story or give exposition about the ideas.

        The Expanse did a pretty good job with characterization (in the books), and Kim Stanley Robinson is decent (but is still pretty “hit or miss,” IMHO), but in general, the weakest part of sci-fi writing is almost universally characterization and dialogue.

    • yesman@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      I always figured the dialogue was a lost in translation/ cultural disconnect thing. What I had a problem with was the way Liu writes women. The way Zhuang Yen comes into the story into the second book made me want to puke.

      • 6daemonbag@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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        4 months ago

        It was so tough getting through the first half of The Dark Forest because of the women. But damn the second half is incredible

        • ThoGot@lemm.ee
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          4 months ago

          It was so tough getting through the first half of The Dark Forest because of the women

          I felt the same way, but in general and not only because of the women.

          No Idea how he spent so much time writing about every ‘irrelevant’ detail and then rushing (what felt like) the most interesting part

    • Zyrxil@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      That’s because the book was not written in English. The translation preserves a lot of the cadence of the original Chinese writing. You may not be used to it, but that’s not uncommon for translated works in general.

    • Dasnap@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      I’m half way through The Dark Forest and while I’m really enjoying it, it’s certainly not because of the character writing. Could just be a translation issue but a native speaker would have to chime in on that. I’m still enjoying going through the trilogy though just for the concepts alone.

      • AustralianSimon@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        I’ve stopped reading this series so many times, only at Part 1 of The Dark Forest. Glad to know it gets better.

    • themadcodger@kbin.social
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      4 months ago

      You’re not alone. I tried reading them and the premise was something I could get behind but the way it was written drove me crazy. I agree that if they had a better translator to make it sound more native English, I probably would have been fine with it. Bit as it stands it sounded very Chinese still. I’m hoping the show will solve that problem for us.

      • GlitterInfection@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        I’m glad I’m not alone on this.

        I may be able to retry them knowing that they aren’t translated in a way that feels more western, but I had just come off of some cozy-fantasy and sci-fi books and it was shockingly jarring to even try to get through.

        I often feel like when most people love something and I don’t, I owe it to myself to figure out why.

    • ashok36@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      I agree. I got to the third act of the first book and just gave up. It had moments but I could just not stick with it.

    • ahal@lemmy.ca
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      4 months ago

      Yeah, the character development and dialogue is pretty bad. I rave about it for all the cool ideas it exposed me to. I value that more highly than pretty much anything else. To each their own :)

      • BradleyUffner@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        Not really… At least not for me. None of it was all that compelling and none of the actions taken by anyone really make any logical sense. The whole video game / MMO thing was horribly contrived and went on way too long.

        • intensely_human@lemm.ee
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          4 months ago

          Yes that’s the dry start I’m referring to. The video game thing established a sense of ultimate fuckedness, and gave a sense of just how though the Trisolarans are to have built a civilization in that level of fuckedness.

      • TempermentalAnomaly@lemmy.world
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        4 months ago

        I got about one third of the way through. I told some friends who’d finished it that the writing was driving me crazy and was hoping it would get better. Thry said it didn’t. I was deflated. Three months later, I got the audiobook version and I’m happy I did. Still not finished, but some of it inspired me to pick up the book again and review select passages.

    • learningduck@programming.dev
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      4 months ago

      Not only you. The writing style is very tedious. It’s even worse in the second book as it treats most characters as just plot devices.

      At least the climax felt awesome. These books are bloated and could’ve been thin down to like 30% and wouldn’t lose much.

    • Muffi@programming.dev
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      4 months ago

      Oh man, you are missing out by not getting to the last book. This is one of those Sci Fi series that start slow, and then increase in scope at an incredible pace. I had a rough time getting into the first book, but then suddenly it got SO GOOD so fast.

    • heavyboots@lemmy.ml
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      4 months ago

      So the first 100+ pages was an excruciating slog but after that he finally gets to the real story. Which was cool and fascinating but he completely effed it up in book 2 and I didn’t even make it 100 pages into book 3 before seeing it was more bogusness. Still, I would kinda recommend Book 1 if you can make it through the freaking Chinese revolution part at the start.

        • heavyboots@lemmy.ml
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          4 months ago

          Sort of? Almost? It provides a lot of motivation for one of the main characters IIRC. Honestly might be just as well off watching the NF show haha.

    • stoly@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      My mom is in two book clubs and basically owns a library. I got us each a copy and neither of us could read it.

    • ikidd@lemmy.world
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      4 months ago

      I’ve been reading SF since I could pretty much read, and I couldn’t stand the character development. And frankly, there was nothing revolutionary in the ideas in that book. And don’t get me started about the deus ex machina plot device later in the series that completely invalidates nearly everything else.

      I wished I had my money back at the end.