Amartya Sen, it seems, is bent upon writing his books the way he might write a paper or teach a really boring class. I know I’m often criticized for writing with long sentences with too many commas embedded in them, but Sen sometimes does away with the commas. Result: instead of a high density of ideas in a sentence, its one idea in a really big sentence. He’s smart and that’s why I want to read about what he’s writing, and The Idea Of Justice promises good content. Let’s see.
Terry Pratchett‘s Discworld series is 37 books of humor so well-written that he’s probably the only other author who makes you laugh out loud while reading them (apart from Wodehouse). I like books that aren’t tomes – ironical as that may seem since I’m a die-hard LOTR fan – and I like them more when they fully contain a story as good as one that might’ve spanned a 1,000 pages. All of Pratchett’s books qualify that way. That’s brilliant consistency that is indicative of genius.
Peter F. Hamilton‘s books are big, voluble, and are each an Irish stew of fictitious inventions and possibilities. More than anything, I believe he ought to be called a writer of speculative fiction. One other thorn that gets in the way of his books being really fully appreciated is that his stories are highly predictable even though the actors therein may be impossibly quirky. Apart from all of that, his books are like the occasional chick flick you’d want to see after having combed through the Kurosawas and the Hitchcocks.
Believe it or not, JRR Tolkien can get boring, and having LOVED his Silmarillion and LOTR, The Legend of Sigurd And Gudrun read like a tragic ballad. The at-times gritty and at-times mushy romanticization that delivered a quite memorable Hobbit sits obtusely on the plot in this case. Then again, it was mostly Christopher Tolkien at work, but something tells me his father did not “write” write, but chose only to put down in words the greatest child of his imagination.
As far as the idea’s concerned, Kurt Vonnegut‘s Ice-9 is brilliant and not too far-fetched as to stumble into one of Hamilton’s worlds, and going by the first few pages of The Sirens Of Titan, the writing is simpler than what I’d expect from a writer of his repute. However, having read about a 100 pages, it seems too simple. If it weren’t for the fact that his imagination and his satire more than make up for that dearth of pace, I’d have thought it was Murakami on a trip.