Monday, March 14, 2011

My Irrational Hatred of Kevin J. Anderson

The first time I was introduced to the work of Kevin J. Anderson was also the first time I read a lengthy novel, which was ALSO the first time I ventured into the extended Star Wars universe.  The book was Dark Apprentice, the second book of the Jedi Academy trilogy (I think I picked the second book because of the cover).  At the time I think I enjoyed the book, but mostly because it was a book about the Star Wars universe that I so loved growing up.  I should point out that I was fairly young when I read this book.

Since reading that book, I eventually acquired a taste for what I liked in books, movies, anything with a plot, etc.  I later read Anderson's next Star Wars book, Darksabre.  It was that book that really gave me the whole "I hate Kevin J. Anderson" point of view; I really didn't like the story in that book, nor what he did with the characters.  Going back to Dark Apprentice, I realized I didn't like what happened there, either, especially when compared to a fantastic trilogy like Thrawn trilogy Timothy Zahn put out earlier (which I must re-read).

I've always said - "I hate Kevin J. Anderson.  I don't like his stories."  I now realize that I'm being completely unfair to the man.  I've only read two of his major novels, and a small handful of his Young Adult Star Wars books (which are actually pretty good for kids books).  I've never read anything else by him.  Who's to say that he's not actually a good writer outside of the Star Wars universe?

I recently both read and heard him state how hard he works as an author.  He did the math, and figured that the average writer might take 1 full year to complete a novel.  He is able to do that in 5 weeks (and I believe him - do you know how many novels he's written??).  It's given me a new respect for Kevin J. Anderson.

Mind you, that doesn't mean I'm going to rush out and buy his stuff.  But I am more likely to consider reading his books now that I don't irrationally hate him.


  1. Friend, I had the same debut as you regarding Kevin J Anderson writing. However, I quickly understood how low level this writing was.
    Later on, I became an insane fan of Frank Herbert's Dune, and after reading fanatically what he wrote, I had to put an eye in the prequel that where made by his son, Bryan Herbert, and Kevin J Anderson. It was the moment where my dislike for Kevin J Anderson grew to radiant hate. Dune is, in my opinion, an intellectual monument, filled with a plot so deep and well built that it takes 7 books to get to know what the fuck is REALLY going on, brilliant character design, bad guys you hate for their cleverness and intelligence and the creation of a whole new world that largely inspired the starwar universe. Kevin J Anderson took that, and turned it into shit by lowering the level of writing, by making all those complicated characters into stupid and shallow elements that actually could be caught in a poor development, by adding robots to the story, by adding out-of-context sex scenes, by having serious continuity problems that made those new Dunes feel more like bad fan fiction than real new elements to the universe. Of course, it drew new blood into the ranks of Dunes fans, but the brilliant gourmet writing of Frank Herbert was turned into fastfood, and not even a good tasting fastfood.
    My hatred is rational. I read the books because I really wanted to know more about the universe and I though Bryan Herbert may have had the comprehension on how his father made Dune, but for a starter, he chose the shittiest writer ever. For instance, on 1600 pages, Kevin J Anderson have at least 600 pages of insipid and worthless details that just kill the brilliance that may shine in that ocean of shit.
    Alas, I would recommend to read the original books for Herbert, and then compare with the House trilogy, from Bryan Herbert and Kevin J Anderson, you'll pretty much understand what I mean.

  2. You have to admit, as good as the Dune books are - they can be really dry at times. I don't think I ever got through the third book. I'm pretty satisfied to just re-read Dune, really.

    What I'm getting at is that clearly KJA and BH are writing to a mainstream audience. I think the idea IS to sell to a different niche and then get them interested in the original novels.

    That does not excuse poor writing, but I haven't read them to know one way or another.

  3. I googled "hate Kevin J. Anderson" and yours was the first result. IMO, being able to write a "novel" in 5 weeks just means he's a hack.