Booking Through Thursday asks:
- 1. Do YOU like books with complicated plots and unexpected endings?
Yes, I do, with some provisions. I don’t mind a complicated plot. Go ahead and write the most convoluted time-travel
murder mystery ever written. I’ll read it. On the other hand, I do mind having to memorize a lot of characters. If I open a novel and find a “Who’s Who” of more than two facing pages, that’s a bad sign. An illustrated family tree is also a bad sign. Several trees in one book is a really bad sign. (Unless it’s being done as a Hitch Hiker’s Guide sort of aside that’s there as more of an interlude than a fact to be digested.)
Unexpected endings are fine, as long as they’re satisfactory in that they make sense and they resolve any dangling threads. In fact, I’d much rather find a (good) unexpected ending than a (good) predictable ending. On the other hand, I have seen some very bad unexpected endings. But I’m not sure which of these three is worst: 1) an unexpected ending that makes me sorry that I ever wasted the time reading the book, 2) an unexpected ending that creates more questions than answers (perhaps as an obvious sequel lead-in) or 3) an endlessly foreshadowed, belabored, and utterly predictable ending.
- 2. What book with a surprise ending is your favorite? Or your least favorite?
My least favorite was Iron Council. I suppose I can’t really explain why without giving the ending away, now, can I? My favorite was probably the short story “Impostor” by Philip K. Dick. It’s an old story, and so you might be able to guess the ending, even if you haven’t read it already or seen the movie (and for some reason, I thought Jeff Goldblum was in that movie.)