David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

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David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

Postby PAstrychef » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:24 pm UTC

No, that the title of a new book.
In fact I'm here to rant away about his latest, Out of the Dark. In which he does a huge dis-service to several tropes in SF. I shall spoiler the rest because it contains entire plotlines and the ending. Read it before you read the book. Please.

Spoiler:
So this book is about how the aliens tried to invade Earth and got their asses handed to them on a platter. Question-is there one new thing about this story line to be found in this book? NO. Humanity stands tall, keeps shooting, finds a secret weapon and scares the aliens back to their galactic civilization. In fact, this book differs very little from John Ringo's series about the aliens who try to invade Earth and get their asses handed to them on a platter...That Weber and Ringo have collaborated a lot makes it even harder to tell them apart sometimes.
Question-is there one unconventional character in this book? NO. Not a single female in a non-traditional role (ala Harrington, who in her universe isn't really unconventional, just good at what she does), a single character from a non European culture, but in name only, and the aliens are indistinguishable except by species. (go see the stereotypes thread in Serious Business) They are also rather stupid, for a species that has been dealing with numerous other species for thousands of years.
Question-is this entire novel a series of tropes, propped by by cardboard characters and the stupidity of the "bad guys?" You betcha! Humanity is the baddest species ever discovered because we don't know how to submit (as a group) to displays of superior power. Humans (especially American humans) are such superior weaponsmiths that we kick alien ass with our .45 caliber handguns! Our F-22s can over power alien troop transports! Our ability to make IEDs is galactically unknown!
And then-just when we have done all of the fighting we can, but the aliens are about to create a bioweapon to kill us all-our secret weapon arrives. Vlad Dracula (yes, really) comes down out of the Romanian mountains, convinced that a threat to the entire species is enough reason to stop hiding. So he kills off enough of the alien command structure that he can take over their spaceships and send them off to kill the alien homeworlds. Yep, humanity gets saved by vampires at the last possible moment.
Why, Mr Weber, Why? Sprinkling your novels with hardware specs. has gotten boring. You didn't find ONE NEW THING to say about this story. You don't even have a recognizable authorial voice-instead sounding more like your collaborator than yourself. The ending just plain sucks-if vampirism is transmitted between humans and vampires, then vampires are not a different species, just a developmental stage of humanity. And here they act as a deus ex machina, not even being interesting as vampires.
Although I lost much of my respect for the plotting in the Harrington books once I realized that you had ripped off the French Revolution in toto, the characters made up for a lot. Can't say that here.
Time for a rest Mr. Weber-this is crap and I don't deserve having it presented as good writing by a good author.
Last edited by PAstrychef on Wed Jan 06, 2016 6:13 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

Postby mosc » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:09 pm UTC

I haven't read too much of David Weber. I'm currently slogging through the middle of Honor Harrington series and thoroughly enjoying it. I think he is just cashing it in these days. He's been a prolific writer for too long and is pretty drained. Also, I've never been a big fan of collaborative works in general, they seem to lack the deeper theme and direction of a single writer.
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Re: David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

Postby emceng » Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:29 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:No, that the title of a new book.
In fact I'm here to rant away about his latest, Out of the Dark. In which he does a huge dis-service to several tropes in SF. I shall spoiler the rest because it contains entire plotlines and the ending. Read it before you read the book. Please.

Spoiler:
So this book is about how the aliens tried to invade Earth and got their asses handed to them on a platter. Question-is there one new thing about this story line to be found in this book? NO. Humanity stands tall, keeps shooting, finds a secret weapon and scares the aliens back to their galactic civilization. In fact, this book differs very little from John Ringo's series about the aliens who try to invade Earth and get their asses handed to them on a platter...That Weber and Ringo have collaborated a lot makes it even harder to tell them apart sometimes.
Question-is there one unconventional character in this book? NO. Not a single female in a non-traditional role (ala Harrington, who in her universe isn't really unconventional, just good at what she does), a single character from a non European culture, but in name only, and the aliens are indistinguishable except by species. (go see the stereotypes thread in Serious Business) They are also rather stupid, for a species that has been dealing with numerous other species for thousands of years.
Question-is this entire novel a series of tropes, propped by by cardboard characters and the stupidity of the "bad guys?" You betcha! Humanity is the baddest species ever discovered because we don't know how to submit (as a group) to displays of superior power. Humans (especially American humans) are such superior weaponsmiths that we kick alien ass with our .45 caliber handguns! Our F-22s can over power alien troop transports! Our ability to make IEDs is galactically unknown!
And then-just when we have done all of the fighting we can, but the aliens are about to create a bioweapon to kill us all-our secret weapon arrives. Vlad Dracula (yes, really) comes down out of the Romanian mountains, convinced that a threat to the entire species is enough reason to stop hiding. So he kills off enough of the alien command structure that he can take over their spaceships and send them off to kill the alien homeworlds. Yep, humanity gets saved by vampires at the last possible moment.
Why, Mr Weber, Why? Sprinkling your novels with hardware specs. has gotten boring. You didn't find ONE NEW THING to say about this story. You don't even have a recognizable authorial voice-instead sounding more like your collaborator than yourself. The ending just plain sucks-if vampirism is transmitted between humans and vampires, then vampires are not a different species, just a developmental stage of humanity. And here they act as a deus ex machina, not even being interesting as vampires.
Although I lost much of my respect for the plotting in the Harrington books once I realized that you had ripped off the French Revolution [/i]in toto[/i], the characters made up for a lot. Can't say that here.
Time for a rest Mr. Weber-this is crap and I don't deserve having it presented as good writing by a good author.




Err wait. I am confused about the bolded part. Are you saying we should read your spoiler, then the book? My brother just gave this book to me. He said it was one of the most ridiculously stupid books he'd ever read, and only finished it because he read a spoiler, and was wondering how the crap the ending happened based on info in the spoiler.
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Re: David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

Postby PAstrychef » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:09 am UTC

I am hoping that reading the spoilers will save you from reading the book itself. It really is that bad.
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Re: David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

Postby rmsgrey » Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:49 pm UTC

In my view, it's a perfectly good by-the-numbers US vs the universe story with good ol' human grit and determination forcing would-be alien invaders to abandon their hopes of an easy conquest. Think Footfall with meaner aliens.

But then...
Spoiler:
with the author painted into a corner by the alien doomsday weapon, vampires pop-up to save the day. Okay, they're mentioned in the title and the blurb on the back cover, and they make a few subtle appearances earlier in the book (where they take out alien patrols just like the regular humans do, but offstage) but the story isn't about them at all until suddenly they pop up as the deus ex machina so we can have a happy ending after all despite the logic of the story pointing to tragedy or (at best) a pyrrhic victory.


It's a bit like if, in Lord of the Rings, when Frodo claims the Ring atop Mount Doom, Radagast wanders in, takes it off him and casually tosses it into the abyss, with no other changes to the text, but the title of the book was changed to Radagast Saves The Day...

It's not that the bulk of the story is particularly bad (though there's nothing particularly special about it either) - it's just not the story that leads to that ending, nor goes with that title. If the story actually lived up to its title, and was about the children of the night and their decision to step out of the shadowy corners of the world and rescue humanity from outsiders, or even about how a plucky band of humans, knowing the truth, try to persuade the monsters to join us, it would be one thing - that was the story I expected from the title and the blurb. Or if the story were continued to its logical conclusion rather than taking the sharp turn near the end. Anything rather than grafting the end of one story onto the body of another...

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Re: David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

Postby Adam H » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:49 pm UTC

I just want to chime in, as someone who's never heard of David Weber, and say that this book sounds FREAKING AWESOME. Seriously, you guys are going to have to do much much better than this to stop me from reading it.

Radagast Saves the Day also sounds awesome. :)

Edit: just noticed that this thread is old. Oh well. :)
-Adam

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Re: David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

Postby PAstrychef » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:30 am UTC

Hey, it's never too late to find a new book to enjoy! Read it and let us know what you think of it.
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Re: David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:30 pm UTC

PAstrychef wrote:Hey, it's never too late to find a new book to enjoy! Read it and let us know what you think of it.


Or read just about any of his other books, which are generally pretty good (the later Honor Harrington books drag a bit - from In Enemy Hands on, the series suffers from an excess of interwoven plot strands and significant characters - though not to Wheel of Time standards).

In Fury Born has a Greek Fury pair up with a future super-soldier. Together they fight crime!

The Apocalypse Troll has contemporary marines taking on an alien invader with help from a super-human.

The Safehold series picks up where Out of the Dark might have left off if humanity had gone interstellar and hadn't had vampires-to-the-rescue! - humanity is all but wiped out, and a stealth-colony is planted on a remote planet, with the colonists brainwashed to worship the mission-planners as gods, with a divine edict against advanced tech to avoid attracting the evil aliens' attention. A potentially immortal robot avatar of one of the mission-planners' contemporary critics is left to activate centuries later and bring down the plan before the evil aliens get around to discovering the helpless colony anyway. That's just background to play with an alternate-history Industrial Revolution and Reformation combined in a setting where the Church has scope and authority medieval Popes only dreamed of...

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Re: David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

Postby PAstrychef » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:40 am UTC

I have read just about all of Weber's stuff, that's why this one was such a disappointment.
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Re: David Weber: how the mighty are fallen

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Dec 04, 2012 11:35 am UTC

PAstrychef wrote:I have read just about all of Weber's stuff, that's why this one was such a disappointment.


Same here, and same here...


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