I compromised on my principles a week or so ago, and went to see a movie made from a book that I hadn’t read.
These principles are compromised fairly regularly, but it is never usually a conscious effort on my part. Usually, I just don’t realise the movie came from a book in the first place. I mean, who calls their character Gimli, son of Glóin? Honestly. And who would write a book with dwarves and elves in it? It’s been done so many times!
Anyway, when it came to Eragon, I didn’t feel particularly bad about seeing the movie without reading the book. I didn’t feel I was missing anything. The second book, Eldest, is meant to be a good deal better. Unfortunately, I think I’m over the whole idea before I even began.
There was a lot of hype about the book so I was automatically resistant to reading it. Plus, it was written by, like, a teenager, and that pisses me off. Indignation at the cheapening of a genre for the purposes of a publicity stunt, combined with base academic snobbery, combined with a solid dose of good old-fashioned sour grapes, I freely admit. I can’t comment all that much about the book, since I haven’t read it and that wouldn’t be fair, but I read a few exerpts of the book on the shelf at the bookstore, and what I saw was atrociously written. And who could expect anything else, from a teenage kid? Even a home-schooled brilliant one?
That was what this seemed to be about – the fact that the author was home-schooled. The book was originally self-published, which indicates to me that no real publisher would touch a piece of writing so foetal. Until, that is, the circus took over and the hype swept all good sense away.
And yes, I said foetal, not foecal. The author just needed some time to let his storytelling talent catch up with his imagination.
Lots of home-schooling lobbyists made a big deal of it, and then the fact that he was so young added to the snowball. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of nice ideas in the story and no end of creativity (well … I’ll get to the end of creativity when I talk about the movie), and the second book is apparently much better. Doesn’t this prove that some things just take time? I think about how much better this guy’s creation could have been if they’d just let him wait a while, and hone his skill, and it pisses me off. He’s never going to get another chance, and at this stage he’s probably only going to be remembered as a gimmick.
I guess he’s not complaining, though. Ka-ching.