On Alan Dean Foster

It’s hard to see a writer that could be so good settle for so much less.

I recently revisited an author I followed in my teens, Alan Dean Foster, and picked up one of his more recent titles, Reunion.

My mini-review, as I posted it on Shelfari:

Sophomoric. I read a lot of Alan Dean Foster as a teen, enjoying it though realizing this was not anything approaching great literature.

The two most unfortunate things about Alan Dean Foster novels:

1) Gratuitous use of vocabulary
Didn’t an English teacher ever tell him to stop pulling out a thesaurus? Has he never read Orwell’s Politics and the English Language, or Strunk & White? Does he still think he’s 13 and impressing people with big words?

2) Poor editing
Has he had such boffo box office that he’s now immune to expert copy editing? Numerous head-scratching cases of oddly counterposed sentences jump out of the text. Example on page 8: ” … the elongated beach resort was one of the least crowded on the continent. It well suited the multitudes that thronged to its shores …” Huh? Is it uncrowded, or is it thronged? The beach can hardly be both.

In both these characteristics, Foster’s writing is definitely in the “baffle them with bullshit” category.

Annoying. He could be so much better.

 


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