so i was highly anticipating this book thinking: o my. after his book of short stories, which was so inventive i was never bored. after that beautiful language. after that heartbreaking novella. after years of waiting. finally.
and i bought it as an audiobook. and there i was at work, listening, because sometimes my work is so boring it would cause a bacterium to invent the self just so it could pioneer suicide. and somehow my ears are transmitting no literary delight to my brain–just… horrible, tedious, utterly unimaginative boilerplate dross.
so i’m thinking, no, he wouldn’t do this to me, not after the long wait, he wouldn’t, it must be about to transmogrify into something weird and wonderful, he’s just playing with tropes he must be must be must be.
because it’s every fantasy trope in the book: the Chosen One, the women who are just objects, the blah blah blah you can fill in all those blanks from every craptastic fantasy you’ve ever consigned to the flames, even in summer when the fireplace is supposed to contain only a potted plant, but no, you actually go to the trouble of clearing the plant out and lighting a fire just to burn that crappy book.
and i get to a line about balloonists having discovered a mystery gas that will, for hours, “keep an airship aloft in the air” and i shriek. because i just realized. i’ve got the wrong writer.
i was waiting for the long-anticipated novel from Ted Chiang, not this ken liu person, whoever the eff he is.
so i offer this warning: he, sir, is no ted chiang.