Sunday 28 September 2008

Christopher Paolini talks about bollocks

It's becoming increasingly popular for authors to release promotional videos for their upcoming novels. The success of these depends largely on the personality of the author. Subsequently, some are good and worth watching, such as Scott Lynch's video for The Lies of Locke Lamora. Others - like Karen Miller's woeful offering - are a complete waste of time (Miller's video actually made me not want to read her novel, and is probably one of the dullest videos I've ever watched in my life). 

Still, there are no shortage of authors willing to sit before a camera lens and talk crap if it helps to sell their book. Christopher Paolini, author of the depressingly successful but much-maligned Inheritance trilogy (well, it was a trilogy but now that it's making him plenty of money, it's magically become a quartet), delivers one of the most pointless videos yet. Let's just take a look at some of the really interesting things he reveals in it. 

"I enjoyed writing Brisingr a great deal, and once it's done I'm just going to sorta launch it off into the world..."

Really? Groundbreaking stuff. I mean, that's only what every contracted author does once they've written a book. 

"It was very difficult to name the third book in the Inheritance cycle. I considered many, many different names..." 

Firstly, who gives a shit? Secondly, despite clearly having plenty of names to choose from, Paolini still managed to pick a crap one. Though the apparent sub-title is even worse: The Seven Promises of Eragon Shadeslayer and Saphira Bjartskular. Medic!

"I'm not going to tell you why I named the third book Brisingr..."

That's a shame, because no doubt there's a fascinating story behind that. 

"Brisingr itself is a word from old Norse, and the word means 'fire.' 

Then again, maybe not. 

"Actually, I've heard that - at least a few years ago - in Norway they still call bonfires brisingr. Which is kind of cool."

Those crazy Norwegians, eh? Fancy that - they still use an old Norse word. Hardly surprising given their modern language derives from old Norse.

"I was just looking at my file of names and places...and I've got fifteen pages of character names."

That doesn't make your penis any bigger. Are all the names as shit as 'Galbatorix', by any chance?

"Brisingr ended up much, much larger...I still have a large chunk of the story to finish...and that's why, of course, the trilogy is now four books."

Shut up, boy. I can see the dollar signs in your eyes. SEE THEM OMG

"There's a couple of characters who die...but I'm not going to say who...there's some things that pop up...but of course I can't tell you what they are."

Well, you could do and save everyone the trouble of actually having to read your book and stomach crap writing such as this: 

"Behind the priests trudged a double line of young men swathed in gold cloth. Each carried a rectangular metal frame subdivided by twelve horizontal crossbars from which hung iron bells the size of winter rutabagas. Half of the young men gave their frames a vigorous shake when they stepped forward with their right foot, producing a dolorous cacophony of notes, while the other half shook their frames when they advanced upon the left foot, causing iron tongues to crash against iron throats and emit a mournful clamor that echoed over the hills. The acolytes accompanied the throbbing of the bells with their own cries, groaning and shouting in an ecstasy of passion."

It never ceases to amaze me that so many of the most popular fantasy authors can't even string a decent sentence together. Or a meaningful promotional video where they actually talk about something interesting. Still, you could argue that the very fact that I'm talking about this crap video means Paolini's achieved what he set out to do. Damn. 

If for some sadistic reason you want to watch Paolini talk crap for three whole minutes, check the video out here
. Alternatively you may wish to spend that time cleaning your bathroom, which would be far more exciting.


Gabriele Campbell said...

That guy should stop using Wikipedia and that Viking Answer Lady site for research. Brisingr is not an Old Norse word for 'fire'.

There is brisingamen, a golden necklace of dwarf-make the goddess Freya wears, but it has nothing to do with some fire festival. :)

James said...

Sounds like his research is as half-arsed as his writing and plotting.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, I've read better sentences from fanfiction.

I admire his passion to write but his story is not worth the attention it's getting. I just don't understand how this is having more success than more deserving books in this field. I wonder if this is a problem that the industry should take charge of. :S

James said...

I agree Chris. The trouble is, most of the popular novels these days seem to be the bubblegum/popcorn fantasies that are poorly written and make no effort at any sort of innovation. For as long as people buy them, the publishers will keep publishing them.