This rant echoes what I’ve said before – many books are just way too long. I’ve always maintained that Battelfield Earth was a passable book up until the midway point when the main bad guy died and shark bankers took over. Ack! Another title I remember as being longwinded: Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. There are lots of others. Writers (and the editors) should just tell the story and cut the fluff. Yeah, yeah…we know you are a great “literary master”, but get on with the story already!
I look at a 200-pager by Theodore Sturgeon and wish more books were the “right” length for the story they tell. Other short (and excellent) works: The Genocides by Thomas M. Disch, Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney and The Man Who Fell To Earth by Walter Tevis. Notice anything? They are all older books. Its as if the publishers want an excuse to charge $26 bucks for a hardback that should rightfully clock in under 300 pages. Books, and the pricetag, should be lighter.
And while I’m ranting, no more of this splitting up nonsense. Scott Westerfeld’s short (and excellent) novel The Risen Empire was originally the first part of a single, longer book that could easily be a single manageable book. Instead we get two smaller books with larger type. Nice way to squeeze more money out of the public. Not.