05 September 2010

Ah, Who Are You Again?

Do you ever start reading a book and wonder who the characters are? And why they are where they are and for what reason? When I read Sea Glass (Maria V Snyder), the sequel to Storm Glass, last month I couldn't for the life of me remember who all the characters were. It didn't help that two of the characters had swapped bodies...and after finishing the book I still wasn't completely sure why they swapped...

I'm not a fan of information dumps, especially the 'in the previous book' kind. But...I'm coming to think that they are not all that bad. *shock horror* If there is a huge delay between the publication or reading of books in a series, then 'info dumps' surely fill in the gaps. And if the plot is incredibly convoluted it's nice to have a brief run through of all that has gone before, especially when the plot is all in the detail *grin* Right? But where is the line between just enough and too much? And do you prefer your information in snippets or a downpour?

Edited to add: Am still hanging in there - thank you all for your support. Am sure I will feel more myself once I get some sleep...which I'm working on :) And thank you for all your enquires WRT the Christchurch earthquake. Watching such a disaster on TV and knowing it happened...in a way just down the road...really brings home how vulnerable we are...


  1. I don't like information dumps either, but I can imagine that they could be useful when there's a lot of time between two book releases. Still, since I hardly read a book from a series immediately when it's released I don't prefer a downpour.
    Glad you're on your way up again. :) Wishing you a lot of good nights of sleep!

  2. Definitely wishing you lots of sleep!!

    For a complicated series, I'm thinking I need to not read any of the books until they're all available...

  3. Janna - thank you :) I think I spoke to soon...why is sleep such an elusive thing? Info dumps are useful, but...I think that they are (unfortunately) often included in a heavy handed way.

    Chris - thank you! Went and saw the doctor today about lack of sleep. I was so tired this morning I turned the shower on instead of off and scalded myself. Luckily no harm done, except emotionally! And that's a good idea, waiting until the whole series is out. At least that way you don't get too invested only to find out the series won't be completed...but that's a whole other post :)

  4. Ack! Poor you! That sounds very painful. Did the doctor have anything useful to tell you?

    Seriously, I completely lost the ability to fall asleep about 10 years ago and had to start taking drugs. I was driving through red lights and such. Plus lack of sleep is a huge migraine trigger for me, so it got ugly fast.

  5. Orannia - Glad to hear you weren't in the area with the earthquakes. Hope you get some sleep soon! There's not much worse than sleep deprivation.

    I hate infodumps, too. Like you mentioned, there are times when there has been a long gap between books that I've needed a refresher on what happened and was a little relieved to get one. But I'd really prefer it if those books just have a summary at the front containing relevant information about previous books like I've seen a couple of times. That way if you need a reminder of what's going on you can read it without awkwardly interrupting the story, and if you don't need it, you can skip it.

  6. Chris - unfortunately the doctor wasn't massively helpful. Just wanted to chat about how people are a product of genetics...which I sure hope isn't the case or I'm doomed! The doctor has given me some drugs, but I only asked for six - I just want to get back onto a more even keel (if possible :)

    Kristen - thank you! It's so scary watching it on the news and knowing it's in my country. Oh, and I like the summary idea. I was completely lost when reading Sarah Monette's Corambis, but instead of info dumps there were snippets of information, which worked well IMHO :)

  7. I hate that. I just thought it was me and my getting-older-by-the-minute mind. lol I have to say - and I won't mention the series - but I've read 5 books in a particular series and for the life of me have to sit and think about who the characters are when a new book comes out. I like the series so is it me or are the characters really that forgettable? Makes me wonder.

  8. How's that Kim Dare book going? Interesting cover. ;)

    I don't mind info dumps. If you already remember everything, you can just skim over it.

  9. Tracy - it's definitely not you *grin* Oh, and now I'm dying to know what series you are referring too :) And that's a good point...if the characters are memorable, we wouldn't need info dumps would we? *thinks*

    heidenkind - I just finished the Kim Dare book. It was a lovely story! No external stalkers - YAH! My 'thoughts' are up on GoodReads :) I do hope there is a sequel...I just hope a different editor is used.