Julian May

1909c2b4f47083b8fadc12b809900ae6Soms lijkt het alsof ik alleen maar in het verleden leef, maar hey, qua blast from the past: ja, inderdaad, waarom spreekt niemand meer over Julian May?

Ze is gestorven in 2017, maar als ik haar bibliografie lees, heb ik blijkbaar al de boeken gelezen die ze tussen 1981 en 1991 geschreven heeft: de Pliocene Exile-trilogie (mensen uit de toekomst keren terug naar een paar miljoen jaar geleden), de twee eerste boeken van de Galactic Milieu-serie (de prequel van de vorige), en Black Trillium (het eerste deel van de Trillium-trilogie).

Wat bijzonder vreemd. Echt elk boek gelezen (enfin ja, zes boeken dus), en dan nooit meer een boek, en nooit meer van gehoord.

De theorie op Reddit, daar is iets van aan, denk ik:

I’ve actually pondered this, specifically because it seems to me that she gets mentioned much less often than she deserves, but when she is mentioned, pretty much everyone who registers an opinion agrees that both the Pliocene Exile and the Galactic Milieu are quality series. Then she goes back to generally not being mentioned.

My theory is that the “problem” is that she’s a solid writer all around.

Most of the most noteworthy writers are such because they’re stunning 10/10s in some aspect of writing and/or because they created some stunning 10/10 book. One reads them and just can’t help but note the extraordinary quality of their prose or their plotting or their characterizations or their worldbuilding or whatever, because it stands out so much above the crowd. And actually, it’s often the case that they might only be mediocre at some other aspect of writing, but that’s sort of noted and forgiven, just because they’re so incredible at whatever they’re so incredible at.

The “problem” with May, IMO, is that it’s more as if she’s a solid 7/10 across the board. And that’s both the reason that she’s rarely mentioned and the reason that the opinions are almost exclusively positive when she is. She has no really noteworthy flaws in her writing, but she has no really noteworthy strengths either. It’s just quality, all across the board. And the same goes for her books. There’s no specific one people can point to and say, “Oh my god – that’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever read.” Instead, just like her writing in general, they’re just consistent quality across the board. And that means that pretty much everything people have to say about her writing is positive, but it’s (unfortunately and undeservedly) rare for anyone to go out of their way to say it.

That’s my Julian May theory.

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