Since we’ve been talking about a book that really pissed me off last week, I thought I’d do a “readers meme” of things an author does that you as a reader deem Unforgivable. What makes you throw a book against a wall and scream “Never again?”
- The Imhotep Syndrome: The hero does something unheroic live action in the book, like leaving the love interest behind to die. This is what made the recent book unforgivable for me personally and earned the Imhotep reference. Yeah, Anck Su Namun does leave him to die at the end of The Mummy Returns, and she receives an appropriate recompense. Unless you’re going to kill the hero for payment of such cowardly behavior, this is unforgivable in my book.
- The “Who Shot JR” Syndrome: Ever since the last episode of the season for House, M.D. (season 2 or 3?) was a dream sequence, only revealed at the end, I’ve refused to watch it. I love musicals but despise Oklahoma! Again, because of that retarded dream sequence. Now if I *know* it’s a dream and the dream ends up crucial to the story, that’s different. But as a reader or viewer, I despise being tricked. (For those of you too young to remember Dallas, the evening sitcom very popular in the 80s, a very large mystery involving “Who Shot JR” was later revealed to be a dream. At least that’s my foggy memory of the show, and if that’s an invalid reference, let’s call this the #$*@ Dream Syndrome.)
- The “I See Dead People” Lie: I loved Sixth Sense. I loved watching it the first time, completely unawares, and then watching it again and catching the little clues. I get goosebumps when stuff like that works. As a reader, I relish those little crumb trails and follow it eagerly to the Gingerbread House in the center of the woods. I want the Witch there ready to eat the little children. If it’s all just random garbage thrown in there to trick or confuse me, and those little crumbs lead absolutely nowhere? That’s unforgivable with a potty word flying from my mouth as your book hits the wall.
- The Dr. Who Are you Again?: I don’t actually watch Dr. Who (I’d love to but That Man is too busy watching Matlock and MASH), but one of the kisses of death for me as a reader is when it’s just not memorable. When I’ve been reading the book, put it down to cook dinner, and then have a free half hour to spare between monster baths, dishes, bedtime stories, etc. I look at the book, and I can’t remember the characters’ names. Oops. Why should I pick up that book again? Definitely unforgivable.
- The Death-By-Chocolate-Caramel-Butterscotch-Banana-Split-Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink Soup: Oooh, paranormal is hawt! Lots of sex is hawt! Menage scenes are selling like hotcakes! I’ll throw it all together and make a killer dessert! Who cares if none of it actually makes sense….
- The Perfect Record Seatbelt Law: We should always follow the speed limit and wear our seatbelts because readers don’t like us to take risks. It’s too shocking and not very politically correct either. Safety first! Meanwhile I’ve smeared ink on my forehead because I fell asleep on the book.