Before I got a Kindle account, I only used to buy e-books from a Russian provider LitRes. They are a great shop if you read Russian (although they don’t carry every book I find to be among the best examples of Russian-language SF/F); but naturally their English selection is limited.
They carry a lot of translated books, though. I generally don’t read translations anymore: these tend to be horrid. But out of curiosity, I clicked on the free sample for Terry Goodkind’s Pillars of Creation translated first novel.
I shouldn’t have done it.
I know I am incompatible with Goodkind. His series about rules of magic or something (never read them in the original) are among the most boring and nonsensical things I have ever tried reading. Nonsensical in the sense (sorry) of why the [VEHK] the author ever decided to write a story like that.
And this, this was Goodkind goes GRRM. And I am incompatible with GRRM because he is a technically brilliant writer (I did try borrowing an original book from a friend) who writes about horrible things. Being made the more graphically horrible by his amazing use of the English language.
I don’t mind violence in literature. I actually enjoy it. But there is violence that serves to advance the story, and there is horror-story violence that does little outside of feeling tacked on and gratuitious.
I don’t know how good Goodkind (sorry again) is, technique-wise. The translation was quite readable, which generally means the original is nothing to write home about, but it’s not a hard’n’fast rule. The samples are long on LitRes, and I kept on reading if only to find whether the plot goes somewhere meaningful or not. Didn’t seem to be the case, eventually. I am sure nothing will surprise me when I finally read the synopsis on wikipedia. But due to my silly keeping on reading, I got to live through some totally unwanted imagery, including a psycho homicidal maniac POV. Tell you what, I don’t need an external source for that.
That sort of ‘journey through a sick and twisted mind’ thing is what appals me when it comes to contemporary Russian ‘art literature’ (the ‘highbrow’ stuff that gets fancy reviews in literary analysis journals). It seems that the only way to get noticed as a ‘real’, ‘non-genre’ writer, and not just a commercial fictioneer, is to stack upon layers upon layers of the most terrifying things to be found within a sentient being’s psyche.
I’d rather have members of ‘intelligentsia’ laugh at me for my ‘cheap’ preference for ‘meaningless and escapist’ SF/F and crime mysteries than force myself onto the verge of psychosis by reading that stuff.
If they only knew how much of that same [SEHT] is to be found in SF/F outside Russia…