Terry Goodkind is (still) a Jackass

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For those of you who don't know him, Terry Goodkind writes a series of fantasy novels that go by the name of "The Sword of Truth" I believe. His first book "Wizards First Rule" was solid but since then the books have gone steadily downhill. I think I gave up after the fourth one.

Below are a few quotes from interviews he's done. One is on USA Today.com and the other is right on the front page of his official site.

Orem Utah: What do you think distinguishes your books from all of the other fantasy books out there, and why should readers choose to read your series?

Terry Goodkind: There are several things. First of all, I don't write fantasy. I write stories that have important human themes. They have elements of romance, history, adventure, mystery and philosophy. Most fantasy is one-dimensional. It's either about magic or a world-building. I don't do either.

And in most fantasy magic is a mystical element. In my books fantasy is a metaphysical reality that behaves according to its own laws of identity.

Because most fantasy is about world-building and magic, a lot of it is plotless and has no story. My primary interest is in telling stories that are fun to read and make people think. That puts my books in a genre all their own.

So I guess readers who are interested in story rather than world-building and details of magic would have a good time reading my books.

No, you write fantasy. Not only that, it's derivative.

What I have done with my work has irrevocably changed the face of fantasy. In so doing I've raised the standards. I have not only injected thought into a tired empty genre, but, more importantly, I've transcended it showing what more it can be-and is so doing spread my readship to completely new groups who dont like and wont ready typical fantasy. Agents and editors are screaming for more books like mine

So you don't write fantasy, but you changed the face of the genre none the less. Amazing.

Haddonfield, NJ: Second Question - I've noticed similarities between your Sword of Truth series and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series...(Black Sisterhood vs. Black Ajah; The Order vs. The Seanchan; Richard vs. Rand both discovering their powers, both have Nameless evil Gods...etc.) I've often voiced my suspicion that these two series might be occurring on the same world...how crazy am I?

Terry Goodkind: If you notice a similarity, then you probably aren't old enough to read my books.

Riiiiiight.

Kansas City, KS: What made you choose to leave out other common races(dwarves, elves, etc) from your books?

Terry Goodkind: Please refer to the previous answer, in which I explain that I'm not writing fantasy ... My purpose is not weirdo cultural diversity. I repeat: I am writing stories about important human beings.

Question: Lately I've found myself in many arguments defending your books against 'fans' who say they used to like your books but no longer do to the extent that they used to. Would you mind settling some debates by answering the question: What, if anything do you have to say to the people that voice the opinion that you're latest four books haven't been as good as the previous four and call them "too preachy"?

Answer: Don't be fooled. The assertion made by these detractors is a note wrapped around a brick thrown through the window. These people are not fans. There are hundreds if not thousands of fantasy books that fulfill their professed taste in books. Why would they continue to read books they claim are bad? Because they hate that my novels exists. Values arouse hatred in these people. Their goal is not to enjoy life, but to destroy

I pulled this from the Gone Gold forums and I couldn't agree with the sentiment there more. What a tool.

Never read any of his books, but he seems to think highly enough of himself not to need my appreciation.

Kansas City, KS: What made you choose to leave out other common races(dwarves, elves, etc) from your books?

If I were writing a fantasy book I would probably leave these out as well. I think of them as ""living scenery"" or ""a character who acts like a human but is short/has pointy ears"".

Because most fantasy is about world-building and magic, a lot of it is plotless and has no story.

This is pretty much the same drivel L. Ron Hubbard said in his declining years (which began at birth). Should we expect Dianetics 2 by Terry Goodkind in the not too distant future?

Was it a joke interview?

I can''t imagine anyone being so arrogant and pompous.

I find the books to be a lot like robert Jordan.... they get worse as they go along. And they likly will never end. Just keep turning them out because they sell.
Hell some of the scenes in them are like soft porn. I couldn''t believe reading book 6 I think and it had a scence like a romace novel. Didn''t do anything for the book either.
You''re a pretty crappy writter if you cannot finish a story in 3 or 4 thousand pages.

I''ve read the first 3 or 4 of his books. The Jordan ripoff occurs most noticably in the second book, IMO. The things that turned me off of Goodkind far worse than his Jordan imitations were his predilection for incredibly trite prose (i.e.""true as toasted toads"") and his fascination with incredible torture for his protagonists. Every book it seemed like he needed to find a worse way to beat the heck out of them. I haven''t picked up anything by him in several years and haven''t missed it.

I read his first couple of books as well, and thought they were pretty good. But they go downhill in a hurry. The guy''s opinion of himself is sure as hell a lot more inflated than it should be.

I like how Jackass is capitalized.

I''ve read all of them to date... mainly because I read so damn fast, I am constantly running out of fantasy reads.

I would agree that the quality has degraded significantly since the original book. Book 6 (faith of the fallen) is one giant diatribe about how COMMUNISM IS EVIL. [rolls eyes] He''s got a big hammer with the words This Is An Allegory inscribed on it, and he proceeds to BEAT the reader with it for roughly 600 pages. It''s kind of irritating. And yet,I continue to read them. Perhaps I''m just a masochist.

Damn, I might have to actually read one of his books just to find out how bad they are. I''m more of a Gibson/Stephenson reader, but I used to read a pile of fantasy.

And yet,I continue to read them. Perhaps I''m just a masochist.

Don''t feel bad man, I''m still reading Jordan even though I no longer enjoy the story. I''ve put so much time into it I want some kind of resolution, damnit!

Since you''re a fan of fantasy Tyrian, allow me to make a recommendation. R.Scott Bakker''s The Darkness that Comes Before is a fantastic entry into the fantasy genre. This is the second Canadian author I''ve discovered this year along with Steven Erickson. I don''t if it''s something in the water up there, but these two guys account for some of the best new fantasy I''ve read in years. Give them a try if you haven''t already.

I used to read a pile of fantasy

That description certainly fits Goodkind''s work.

You know, I love fantasy the most of all the genres out there. I don''t know why; I just do. Tolkien, Eddings, Salvatore, Ursula LeGuin, Tad Williams, Terry Brooks, Weis & Hickman, and many, many more have all written stories that I have enjoyed thoroughly time and again.

I don''t even bother defending my love of the fantasy genre: why the need to defend something for which the love of is entirely subjective?

Terry Goodkind is an author I haven''t had the opportunity to read yet, and given his attitude, I likely never will. Sure, some of my favorite authors have attitudes that could be construed as elitist; for example, David Eddings has said he would never allow his books to be made into movies, as he finds books to be superior.

Hey, he''s an author, that''s his prerogative.

But for someone like Goodkind (ironic last name, eh?) to completely rip apart everyone else in his genre and to spout such elitist and arrogant nonsense as ""if you see a similarity, you''re not old enough to be reading my books"" is simply put, unwarranted.

I won''t read his books now. Period. I''ll go and read everyone else''s instead.

Eddings is right though. I love his books, but they''d make terrible movies.

Drunkagain wrote:

R.Scott Bakker''s The Darkness that Comes Before is a fantastic entry into the fantasy genre. This is the second Canadian author I''ve discovered this year along with Steven Erickson.

Thanks for the suggestions, I''ll check em out.

Farscry wrote:

You know, I love fantasy the most of all the genres out there. I don''t know why; I just do. Tolkien, Eddings, Salvatore, Ursula LeGuin, Tad Williams, Terry Brooks, Weis & Hickman, and many, many more have all written stories that I have enjoyed thoroughly time and again.

I don''t even bother defending my love of the fantasy genre: why the need to defend something for which the love of is entirely subjective?

Yeah, I know what you mean. I have read books by all of the authors you mentioned (often, more than once), and you''re right, there isn''t much point in defending the like of fantasy... It is kind of a guilty pleasure, isn''t it?

My problem is that I get spoiled. I can read anything, which is how I end up reading Goodkind or Eddings later work... (no flames, please - to each their own) But every once in a while - say after reading the latest from George R. R. Martin - I start up an author and just can''t take the crap level - trite dialog, no plot, etc. - so I put it down.

Yeah, after reading a really good fantasy novel/series I usually have to shift gears and read something other than fantasy or I realise how bad some of it can be. But the same can be said for any genre. You will always have to wade through a ton of mediocre writers to find the occasional gem. But for the most part I enjoy the wading too so I can''t complain.

I think I stopped on the 4th or 5th book. About the time when the main character is captured YET AGAIN, and his love starts whining and pining for him for 600 pages.

Thats pretty much the plot of all the books, guy gets captured, laments for a long time, cut to his lady love, she whines, then he escapes. Cue next book and next capture.

Its garbage, total and utter garbage.

I got a little ways into the third Goodkind book and put it down, probably the first book I chose to start and did not finish in a decade or more. He needs to stop rewriting the same book.

I am all with Ral on this one, if you''re going to read a fantasy series, you could do a lot worse than George R. R. Martin''s ''A Song of Ice and Fire''.

Oh and Ral have you ever read any Jack Vance? Specifically the Lyonesse series, it''s pretty good too IMO. Kinda hard to find but worth checking out.

My problem is that I get spoiled. I can read anything, which is how I end up reading Goodkind or Eddings later work...

Eddings is a bloody genius. He''s written the same story not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR FREAKING TIMES. On top of that, I believe every book has been a bestseller. Simply fantastic.

You wanna know what''s even better? He and his wife just put out another book. It''s the beginning of a new series, and it''s the same basic story. AGAIN. . Actually, strike that. The story is slightly different, but the characters are rehashes. Lessee... take one part Polgara, two parts Aphrael, and one part Ce''Nedra... Character Number 1! .... and so on.

Eddings is a bloody genius. He''s written the same story not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR FREAKING TIMES . On top of that, I believe every book has been a bestseller. Simply fantastic.

I have always felt that by the time the Mallorean was written every character in the series was the same character. They just plugged in interchangable banter to fill in the pages between actual plot points. I was glad to find out that his wife was helping him write the books because I hated to think he was so confused he mixed up the names of Chaldan and Chamdar in his own mind. They are used interchangably throughout the Mallorean despite the fact that they are vastly different characters.

I hope I haven''t just brutalized someone''s favorite author. I just hate to see such sloppiness.

Sorry if I just jumped on

"Tyrian" wrote:

The story is slightly different, but the characters are rehashes. Lessee... take one part Polgara, two parts Aphrael, and one part Ce''Nedra... Character Number 1! .... and so on. :)

I feel suddenly joyous at having never read Goodkind or Eddings, but Tad Williams also pulled this trick with Otherland. I really liked Memory, Sorrow and Thorne too. Makes me glad LeGuin''s got more books on the shelves lately.

As for you masochists out there, release your inner sadist and read Jaqueline Carey. Okay, it''s one part s&m and one part classic/cheesy forbidden love, but the rest is quite good.

Oh, and Robert Rankin. He''s more a twisted version of Douglas Adams than anything, but anyone who can write a book called Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse deserves to be read.

In a strange coincidence, I started reading Goodkind''s latest literally 5 minutes before seeing this thread. Freaky!

I was hoping that he''d have reformed his ways and returned to the quality of the first four books or so, which were actually quite fun. Too bad it doesn''t look liike that''s happened. He needs to remember that people are reading his books to be ENTERTAINED, not slammed over the head with ''serious'' themes that he doesn''t appear to be able to handle well. Glad I got it free from the library!

Continuing the theme of recommending great fantasy authors: China Mieville (""Perdido Street Station"", ""The Scar""). The world is very original and very, very dark. Definitely far from your typical fantasy.

As for you masochists out there, release your inner sadist and read Jaqueline Carey. Okay, it''s one part s&m and one part classic/cheesy forbidden love, but the rest is quite good.

I highly agree, excellent series of books. Hoochie loves them.

Continuing the theme of recommending great fantasy authors: China Mieville (""Perdido Street Station"", ""The Scar""). The world is very original and very, very dark. Definitely far from your typical fantasy.

I tried to read Perdido Street Station after Hoochie finished mauling it (she reads FAST) but I just couldn''t get into it. Too many metaphors I think.

Hey, shouldn''t there be a must read fantasy/sci-fi thread somewhere?

He''s got a big hammer with the words This Is An Allegory inscribed on it, and he proceeds to BEAT the reader with it for roughly 600 pages.

Funny, that''s damn near what I wrote about Brian Herbert''s Dune prequels in the comments of someone''s blog: ""I simply couldn''t stomach the prequels. I read House Atreides cover to cover and came away with a big ''meh''. Frank was obtuse, almost to the point of distraction. Brian is a bludgeoning tool, pounding the reader over the head to make sure he ''gets it''.""

I am all with Ral on this one, if you''re going to read a fantasy series, you could do a lot worse than George R. R. Martin''s ''A Song of Ice and Fire''.

Yes! Yes! Yes! [email protected]*k Terry Goodkind and Robert Jordan in the goat ass, read Martin!

Ahem. Seriously though, that''s my favorite fantasy series. Never read Goodkind and -- similar to what some of you have said -- probably never will with these recommendation and his asshattery, but I have read 8 books of Jordan before tiring of the series (weellll... I tired of it before then, but figured he had to go somewhere with the later works. Hah.) Martin''s work far surpasses these shallow twits'' drivel.

Hey, shouldn''t there be a must read fantasy/sci-fi thread somewhere?

THERE SHOULD BE

I think I stopped at Goodkind''s ... 4th, I think. I honestly can''t remember; he''s the worst author I''ve ever read from a recycling point of view. Many authors reuse pieces of other books; many authors reuse pieces of their own books. Nobody reuses pieces of his own books that are blatant ripoffs of other books more than Goodkind...

What really surprises me is that he takes his work seriously. It''s pulp fantasy with hints of real writing - I never figured he considered them ""serious"".

In terms of series'' that I like at the moment, I''d go with Orson Scott Card''s ""Alvin Maker"" series and (for guiltier pleasures) Lauren Hamilton''s Anita Blake books - although these have a bit of the ""take stock plot, add small new character spice"", but it''s not too bad. Oh, and Jordan''s 10th WoT book is surprisingly entertaining, but I think that''s at least partially because I''ve stopped reading for plot wrap-up and am just enjoying the characters and the style.

Oh, and Jordan''s 10th WoT book is surprisingly entertaining, but I think that''s at least partially because I''ve stopped reading for plot wrap-up and am just enjoying the characters and the style.

I highly recommend Robert Jordan''s Conan books. I believe a hard cover compilation of them was released a few years ago. They make me wish he would take a break from Wheel of Time series and write a smaller, self-contained story again.

He wrote more than one? I only knew of one Conan book and yes, it was pretty enjoyable.

And in most fantasy magic is a mystical element. In my books fantasy is a metaphysical reality that behaves according to its own laws of identity.

I was trying to stay out of this (my hatred for Goodkind is legendary in this household) but I just can''t. I am both a fantasy reader and writer, and that statement is just so RIFE with intrinsic stupidity that I almost can''t form a response.

I said almost.

The only laws of identity that his ""magic"" follows is that he neglects to give it any laws at all. This serves two functions. 1) It becomes a convienient deus ex machina to extricate Kahlan and Richard (you are a rare person, Richard Rahl!) from whatever sticky situation their horomones have led them into this time. (You can''t have sex! Because then Richard would lose his mind/you''d have to kill the baby/some witch woman would kill you/everyone thinks Kahlan is dead/Mommy said no/unresolved sexual tension sells more books)

2) He doesn''t have to reveal how crappy his worldbuilding skills are. Worldbuilding, which he so snootily disdains, is the backbone of fantasy. You can have dwarves, and elves, and floating buildings made of tapioca, as long as the internal laws of the world are consistent and well defined. Both qualities which he seems to believe would cheapen his ""work."" Poor worldbuilding is occasionally excusable if characterisation and plotting are both strong, but Goodkind has a tin ear for dialogue, plot seems to consist of twists solely designed to keep the two main characters from Doing It (twists that a daytime soap would be ashamed of - c''mon, they''re magically forced to marry other people?), and Richard and Kahlan have turned into caricatures of the people they were in the first book. And they weren''t that interesting to begin with.

I tell ya, for someone who has become rich off of fantasy, he sure seems to hate the genre. Oh wait, he doesn''t write fantasy, he writes about ""important human beings."" I never knew ""important"" meant two dimensional, non-evolving, walking cliches.

You don''t want to be a fantasy writer, Mr. Goodkind? Well at least we agree on something. I don''t want you to be one, either.

P.S. Your dragon is a total rip-off of the one in Terry Brooks''s Landover series.

Go Hoochie, go Hoochie, go Hoochie!

unresolved sexual tension sells more books

It worked for The X-Files too.

You don''t want to be a fantasy writer, Mr. Goodkind? Well at least we agree on something. I don''t want you to be one, either.

Lovely. This should be front page somewhere.

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