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i dunno...bit clunky maybe, but some of them ain't that bad?
"...his eyes went white, like a shark about to attack."
"Genius, she thought. My father . . . Dad. Dead."
He's a real life Garth Marenghi, isn't he?
"While running, I felt muscular and compact, like corned beef."
Maggots. Maggots. Maggots. Maggots. *Checks line* Maggots.
And bits of sick.
No. They weren't.
I never really doubted that his writing was much beyond an action movie script and this just confirms it. Glad I've never so much as looked at one of his books for more than three seconds.
"Only those with a keen eye would notice his 14-karat gold bishop's ring with purple amethyst, large diamonds, and hand-tooled mitre-crozier appliqué."
I mean, good god!
"Thank god she noticed the epaulets on my Norwegian Ice Fishing Vest."
i'm going to read it again in the Peterman voice!
"16. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: A voice spoke, chillingly close. "Do not move." On his hands and knees, the curator froze, turning his head slowly. Only fifteen feet away, outside the sealed gate, the mountainous silhouette of his attacker stared through the iron bars. He was broad and tall, with ghost-pale skin and thinning white hair. His irises were pink with dark red pupils.
A silhouette with white hair and pink irises stood chillingly close but 15 feet away. What’s wrong with this picture? "
It doesn't say that though. It said the voice was chillingly close.
1) Unless the guy can throw his voice, 15 feet is not a chilling distance for conversation. I concede, he might just have a voice that is so evil that speaking to you from that distance actually is chilling.
2) Describing a character's physical features immediately after establishing that he's standing in darkness is Fail any way you look at it.
3) Ordering someone not to move is not my idea of an attack.
nobody seems to mind Fleming banging on about Bond's Walther PPK.
And does Ian Fleming mention the specific model of Bond's gun, like some kind of semi-autistic spod? I don't think so.
I have no idea, no interest in guns or the genre - if it is shared by Fleming and Brown.
I personally like the walther P38 cos it looks more fusto.
I think flemings discussion of bonds gun is fine and doesnt grate.
The British army and civil and spooky services did use to do more revolver issuing than was popular with some who would have prefered autos, although many people were fine with their W&S revolvers.
Handgun asthetics were discussed by servicemen during/after WWII
a Luger being a very desirable thing to get hold of off Germans. P38's were also cool.
What does any of that have to do with why the reader of a Bond book needs to know what make of gun James carries?
this fucking Professor Pullman or whatever his name is....
for an English prof he's a bit fucking ignorant twat if he's just dismissed a common used device in hard boiled lit general and 80s post-modern lit in particular.
It's not bad English...it's stylistic device that you may or may not like.
I'm no fan of Dan Brown and I know that he has appropriated these styles from genres popular with his targeted audience
Context. I assume Fleming, as a competent writer, would have found an appropriate point - preferably relevant to the plot - at which to inform the reader that Bond's gun is a PPK.
Why the audience need to know some random character's firearms preference in the middle of what appears to be an action scene, is beyond me. "Yanking his revolver from his shoulder holster, the captain dashed out of the office." would have done fine.
Furthermore, excessive technical detail where it's not relevant or appropriate comes across like a swotty schoolkid, always trying to get the teacher's attention for his great work.
as in using brand names for every object..to reflect 80s hyper-materialism or whatever.
but you are right...Brown is only doing it because he's seen it done and is not aware/doesn't care of the context
I'd also say it violates the Show-Don't-Tell rule.
If another character had been there to say "Ah, an MR-93, I see! Very nice, Captain." it would have been alright.
Dan Brown hops from ''the mat in his flat was covered in cat'' to ''the MRXXX5 he was holding, the one with an 80 watt extension valve and 5 year warranty, was heavy in his hand...the hand with a Rolex Watch Submariner 5514 decorating his wrist''
Beretta but Bond didnt like that gun, it was something that slightly irked his superior (or those in administration) but it was indicative as to Bond's character i.e. that he had his own methods and liked to rely on his own judgement, rather than being told what was best for him to use
that Stewart Lee felt the need to make up a sentence in order to derive humour from his work. Silly Stewart Lee.
I love Stewart Lee.
DB is dross.
I know it might be ''fashionable'' and ''trendy'' to slag of Dan Brown...but there's is a genuine reason why this is the precedent.
"Why are there 21 quotes? Is this some sort of code that will lead me to the lost treasure of King Jesus?"
Stephanie Seymour is also another offender, and the bloggers rightly kick her illiterate Mormon ass.
his head bobbing rhythmically like a metronome made out of a head.
His finger pulsed like an angry worm as he pressed the mouse button, its unblinking fury radiating from the cuticle - a tough, but flexible, non-mineral outer covering that was somehow fused into the end of his digit.
It gleamed on the end of his finger as he thrust it into the sliding tray emanating from his PC computer. As he heard the whirs and clicks begin, a sure sign that the laser inside was reading the compact disk, he reflected upon the mirror nearby, wondering why he had not polished it today.
Too late did he realize the voice nearby, speaking in a low mutter which made his heart shiver inside his ribs, so coldly chillingly was it.
His mind, sharpened from sudoku puzzles - popular logic-based, combinatorial number-placement games - swiftly calculated that if he was one foot from the mirror, and the intruder appeared to be nine feet away, then he would surely be only seven feet away. Spinning around, he fixed the intruding man with all his focus. 'Sudoku' means 'single number', so he could be confident that there were no further invaders.
Instrusively, the newcomer stepped forward, his voice crescendoing as it increased in volume. The chanting was in some archaic language. "My French may be shoddy," he thought grimly, his muscular jaw set in surefire determination, "but at least my spoken Ancient Greece is A-ok!"
and commanded him to put his hands behind his head.
"Put your hands behind your head," he insisted.
Abruptly, the intruder slowly moved towards him, the only sound the harsh rapping of his feet on the deep shag-pile carpeting.
"What do you want?" the man angrily demanded.
"I mean you no harm, but I will kill you if you do not give me what I want," the intruder spoke with stark clarity in an ambiguous tone of voice.
"And what is that what you want?" the man tremblingly inquired.
"The codes to the Filitech 4000 Optimal Positioning Device," the intruder returned.
"I do not have them," the man shot back. It was becoming clear to him that this was to be a battle of wits. He licked nervous spittle from his flesh-coloured lips, so like his mother's, and met the intruder's eyes head on.
"You do not have them?" the intruder said.
"No, I do not have them."
"Then you shall die," the intruder offered.
"Wait, wait, surely we can talk about this?" the man said desperately. He scanned the room for any source of a weapon with which to use in defense, should the situation turn dangerous. Unfortunately, there were none. 'Darn,' thought the man, 'That's right. Sophia removed all sharp objects from the flat, I forgot.' Sophia was his girlfriend, the envy of the staff at work, so proficient was she in the fields of botany, peace activism, marine conservation and beauty pageantry.
"It is no use looking for a weapon," said the intruder, "for I hold all the aces. And a gun, you might say."
He could have sworn that he was the one holding the gun. Angrily conceding that perhaps some kind of personalisation of the characters would have made such discrimination easier, he entwined his fingers behind his head. Like flatworms burrowing into sand, they nestled softly into his flaxen hair, still thick and lustrous despite his slightly advanced years. Sophia had studied flatworms as part of her Masters thesis on evolutionary biology, challenging the "traditional" view that Platyhelminthes formed the sister group to all the other bilaterians, which include for example arthropods, molluscs, annelids and chordates.
"The codes," the intruder interjected, "I must have them!"
He brandished the gun wildly in a heavily tattooed hand that oozed ancient mystery. It was instantly recognisable as a Para Ordnance 1911 P18-9; a steel handgun with 18 rounds in the clip. At this range, a shot to the head would quite probably be fatal.
Suddenly, the computer monitor burst into life - the screen displaying a dialog box.
"Show Filitech 4000 Optimal Positioning Device codes Y/N?"
A bead of sweat ran perspiringly down the man's temple. He tried to train his eyes forward in case the intruder was an expert in body language. Maintaining eye contact, he repeated, "I do not have the codes."
All he could do now was wait.
"Well," intoned the intruder, "are you going to press Y on the keyboard?"
The man sighed breathlessly. "I can't press Y on the keyboard unless I have your word that you will not kill me."
The intruder sighed too, and wistfully gazed at the ceiling. "I can't promise you I won't kill you," he said, "but I give you my word, I will not kill you."
"They're not the same thing," said the man.
"No," protested the intruder, "they're not."
They gazed at each other for a few quiet, silence-filled moments. Mutual appreciation was now in full bloom between them, their respective personal charismas shining like freshly-polished copper.
"Press Y," the intruder declared.
"Okay," the man conceded bitterly. He turned, the whisper of his jumper brushing against his muscular lower back startling him badly for a moment. An interesting polyester/cotton blend, he had bought it in Kashmir for a buck fifty in Indian money, never knowing that it would see a night such as this.
A fan of ethnic clothing, he often espoused their virtues in plain sight - and defiance - of his superiors at the many lectures he gave around the world. Little had he also known that this firebrand spark, this loose cannon, straight-shooting mentality he had cultivated with the fertilizer of rebellion, may prove his downfall.
The man pushed Y with a practiced hand. No-one in the northern United States knew how to deal with computers better than him. The codes began to flash rapidly across the screen, their downward scroll enough to stoke the raging fires of shame sparking into life inside the man's toned gut.
He had always been slim, but he could stand to be slimmer.
The intruder slurped the codes greedily into his eyes, a small smile of ecstasy halving the bottom third of his face, in effect making this area of his face 1/2 of 1/3 nefarious delight.
The intruder simply laughed at his impertinence.
It was a thick, syrupy laugh that dripped menace down the walls of the apartment. It clung to the Baroque artwork, rendered in finest stucco, that decorated the high ceilings. It oozed down the paintings that had been brought back, at considerable expense, from his many trips around the globe - on both business and leisure. It trickled along the earthenware pottery that he had created in his own home-made kiln, and kept despite many intriguing offers from respected art collectors. It seeped betwixt the sanded floorboards that creaked imperceptibly beneath his sandaled feet. It filled the room, and he was drowning, drowning.
"Hahahaha," the intruder continued.
"Enough!" shouted the man. He was tired of these games. His eyes narrowed imperceptibly. The intruder noticed this, and smiled weakly.
"So, you wish to know my plan, eh? I shall never tell!"
What seemed an eternity then passed, both men shrugging off the shackles of time as their eyes locked horns, and battled for supremacy. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul; these adversaries' souls danced a merry dance of vicious athleticism and cutthroat finesse.
"Enough!" the intruder shouted. Such games, he found exasperating. The man relaxed, a single bead of sweat trickling from the corner of his battle-hardened iris. They eyed each other warily, circling one another, their bare feet silent on the threadbare carpet beneath them. Who knew how long this seemingly interminable war would go on for?
how much I love the pair of you.
"Sophia was his girlfriend, the envy of the staff at work, so proficient was she in the fields of botany, peace activism, marine conservation and beauty pageantry."
"They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul; these adversaries' souls danced a merry dance of vicious athleticism and cutthroat finesse."
you wouldn't have the same argument about say, Sting or Queen or anything else that really sucked
But there are tons of writers as bad as Dan Brown (he really is a lesson in how not to write) but they don't sell as much and so it's perfectly okay and amusing to have articles like this. If it wasn't such overblown stuff, then it wouldn't be as funny.
Saying that, people that RELISH slagging it off, are strange. There is so much good stuff out there to read - that's the downside, I suppose, that one author can get so much attention mostly for being shit.
I'll never top it. I dare not add more. This is like my 'OK Computer'.
but the critics would kick my ass, accuse me of being left-field for the sake of it.
Yeah, I was terrified that I was in shark-jumping territory with that last one...
you were always in complete control of the narrative with that one. *Tips hat*
"Angrily conceding that perhaps some kind of personalisation of the characters would have made such discrimination easier..."
Good work, both of you.
''I reckon most sentances would look stupid if you isolate them and put them under the spotlight''
what a fucking idiot.
like the "ionized essence" one.
A lot of these do read like a Garth Marenghi script, though. I remember laughing at that Captain Fache one when I read it the first time around. And that kaleidoscope analogy should just read "CLAAAAAANG".
David Foster Wallace is dead, and Dan Brown is still alive.
*pursed lips* 'Am I right in thinking that The Da Vinci Code is one of the most donated books to charity shops?'
Ummm, darling, since they sold about 70 bazillion copies of it, I would guess that, true enough, you might just have seen it in more used bookshops than Mrs Boogie's Arsecandle, that obscure 18th century tome you love so much
Wasn't Dan Brown the darling of literature critics across the world's press, including the Guardian, five or six years ago?
His prose is leaden, no doubt. But when you get as many people to read your books as he does, then you're doing something right and the style becomes less important.
I saw a whole bunch of people who would never normally read a novel polish off The Da Vinci Code, and I don't think that's a terrible thing, especially if even a small percentage of them carry on to other stuff.
and Dan Brown very much being a man of the moment. Can't really remember in what publications though.
I think he's a guy who comes up with decent ideas for stories and has a good grasp of how to pace them. He's not at all someone that I'd reckon has natural writing ability though.
he stole 5 and has been resusing them ever since - principally the 'best friend betrayal' twist. you can't be good at plot and be that forumaelic. as to pacing, ending chapters every three pages does not make for good pacing, that's just distracting your audience from the pile of tosh they're reading by never letting them settle.
if you can find some positive reveiews of DB from majopr publications i'd be very amused to read them.
I think his work is tired, boring and formulaic. I just think it's unabashedly tired, boring and formulaic so it's a tad redundant to criticise him on those levels.
even by the loveably low standards of that style of writing. it may be redundant to criticise him but it's more depressing to tolerate him. much better to laugh : )
It's the book that thickos read so they can brag that they've ''read a big book''
Your stance is such a jaded one.
The British general public is genuinely made up of thickos
you cover up the fact that it's mostly shit because every once and a while it looks like things could be picking up around the corner and questions may be answered......but 9 over 10 it's always a let down and you're left more confused than before
it intrigues you enough to keep you going in the beginning, but then, even when you've had enough and consider giving up, once you've got to a certain point you conceed that you might as well just keep going to the end, if not out of bloody minded principal as much as just wanting to see what happens in the end.
that's why it's a great book. says so much about the human condition without saying anything at all.
life or dan brown?
When I want to read In Search of Lost Time I'll reach for that; when I want to fill in a plane trip I'll happily pick up some pulpy Dan Brown book, and I'll enjoy it, much the same way that there are times when I'd rather watch Crank than The Third Man.
Being jaded means looking over your shoulder at all times to make sure whatever you're doing has some kind of critical consensus behind it, a faintly revolting trait that you can see first hand on the music-based part of this site from time to time...
Secondly...there's nothing wrong with that. Deciding to chew through a Brown or a Grisham because it makes for a featherweight jaunt through conspiracy theory and mass murder is completely acceptable. I swapped ''Ulysses'' for Frank Skinners autobiography. Traded ''Bacchae'' for ''Booky Wook''.
But dont pretend he's doing something right just because he's milked the cash cow. Alot of people watch ''My Family''. It's on it's 10th series.
He's not a victim of a backlash, he's always been awful.
Are you suggesting that Dan Brown (who I agree is an awful author) recieved no critical praise for his previous work?
but that is appalling, how come he is so successful?
PS re 14
14. Angels and Demons, chapter 100: "Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers glorified the four major rivers of the Old World - The Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio Plata."
the telegraph said
The Rio de la Plata. Between Argentina and Uruguay. One of the major rivers of the Old World. Apparently.
Ok this is the dumbest error ever if he actually thought that, but is he actually describing an alternative reality?
PS if this book is meant to be a sort of thing about Jesus and abraheimic religeons then surely the Euphrates and Tigris would be in there? and rather than the Ganges, the Indus
We're not all river men, creaky.
I'd say this was more stupid:
''16. The Da Vinci Code, chapter 4: A voice spoke, chillingly close. "Do not move." On his hands and knees, the curator froze, turning his head slowly. Only fifteen feet away, outside the sealed gate, the mountainous silhouette of his attacker stared through the iron bars. He was broad and tall, with ghost-pale skin and thinning white hair. His irises were pink with dark red pupils.''
I like that you recited the title ''river man'' back to me.
Either him of Paul Robeson.
I AM THE CHANNEL
'he knows it' the fact he has done this when he hasnt even bothered to find out does qualify it a a dumbest error ever.
Of course not everyone is into rivers and thats fine, no problem, you are not dumb, but if you werent into them and then spoke up, voluntarily saying 'these are the great rivers of the old world' and then just reel of the name of some rivers that you have heard of then you are very very dumb.
the fountain does represent the Nile, Danube, Ganges and Rio Plata, but they're "the four great rivers in the four continents recognized by the Renaissance geographers: the Nile in Africa, Ganges in Asia, Danube in Europe, and Río de la Plata in America." Having not read Angels and Demons, I couldn't tell you whether this would change its significance to the story. It's the kind of thing you really ought to check, though.
and it seems from what you say that it is meant temporaly.
But the renaissance - 'old world' .....hardly in the terms and subjects that he was referring to.....
Because i was wondering if he meant old world (in a temporal sense)
That is why i mentioned the rivers Tigris Euphrates and Indus, because in 'the old world' (say the time of jesus) these would have been better known as the 'great rivers' (along with the nile)
(and bizarrely the jordan)
These rivers were considered to be birthplaces of civilisation.
and were considered (by people who were into that thing) as being possibly what was referred to as 'gardens of eden'
by him using confusing terminology, why (when discussing events that spanned from two millenia ago) would he describe the renaissance as 'the old world' why not call it the frickin 'renaissance'
its used as dramatic ornament and sent me off down the wrong track (and the telegraph)
If he misuses language like that then he's gonna get criticised.
, Im not going to refer to his writing style cos others can take that apart well enough, and books should be for all tastes I suppose.
But if he is this unknowledgable then he is probably helping to create more subconcious 'un'knowledge in his readers
That a surprisingly large number of people will perceive his fiction as fact.
But again, I don't think that's something he should have to answer for, given asking him to do so would be holding him to an entirely different standard to any TV producer or film director - if you're too stupid or incurious to know or find out for yourself, then that would be the individual's shortcoming.
surely it doesn't just go from his head to the page....other people are implicit in this dross. if someone actually done their job in proof reading, the glaring errors might not have happened.
and thought i'd read it, i got 1/3 through and it just made me so angry i had to put it down, like an irritating cat.
the best thing about that book was that it inspired this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asti-Spumante-Code-Parody/dp/0751537683
hats off to orsonwelles and tomatron, vintage stuff