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Can anyone explain the appeal of Gregory Benford?

Old 01-31-05, 09:28 PM
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Can anyone explain the appeal of Gregory Benford?

Seems that this guy is considered in the upper class of current SF writers, and I'll be damned if I understand why. Awhile back, I read Artifact and it was miserable. Bad characters, inane science-as-mythology, almost non-existant suspense. Just dreadful. Swore him off after that one.

So I was in the library, looking for something to read. Was in a SF mood and not finding anything. Beyond Infinity was sitting there, the jacket looked interesting, so I figured "what the hell?" After all, people seem to like him. Maybe Artifact was just an off-year for him.

Nope. Same problems. Horrible characterization (why does he insist on writing female protagonists? They're NOT CONVINCING at all, Greg!). The prose is so convoluted and poorly crafted that just tracking the narrative is labor. The "hard SF" isn't anything beyond what I can read in Discover magazine, so he doesn't even have that going.

What am I missing here? Any Benford fans out there who can defend him? I'm through two of his books now and both were just abysmal wastes of paper and time.
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