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Old 10-25-2013, 09:01 AM   #1
Lyain
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WORST Indy novel?

I have something of a collection of Indiana Jones novels -- mostly the stuff by Max McCoy and Rob MacGregor, but I also have Sky Pirates and White Witch both by Martin Caidin, and lastly Army of the Dead by Steve Perry. I haven't read MOST of them; Sky Pirates, Secret of the Sphinx, and Seven Veils are all about the ones I've managed so far. I really had to drop Sky Pirates because it was so dry and non-Indyesque. Although, it did have a FEW kinda-good lines from what I remember from reading it a bajillion years ago -- well, besides something about Indy's glasses making him look like a mongoose, I don't remember anything else about it, but neither can I say it didn't have ANY redeeming qualities whatsoever. Never read White Witch because of that, and I didn't touch any of the others because I just haven't had time! But there are tons more Indy books out there. I'd really like to know which ones you guys think are the worst.

Obviously, in my opinion, it's Sky Pirates! But I've got a limited knowledge -- I'm sure there's an Indy novel out there that's worse!
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:42 PM   #2
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Army of the Dead is hands-down the worst Indy novel I have EVER read. I was really excited when it was announced, because we'd been without new IJ literature for over a decade, and I optimistically predicted that it would launch a whole new series of Indy books. Anyway, I picked up the book the day it hit the stores, but shelved it for a long airplane flight I was taking a few months later. Well, thanks to Steve Perry's complete lack of research, the flight turned out a lot longer than it seemed. I literally had to force myself to finish the story because of how awful it was. Don't get me wrong, Perry is a decent writer in the Star Wars universe, but completely out of his element in the world of Indiana Jones. I will almost guarantee that he didn't bother reading at least one book in the original series to get a feel for the material. There were a few Indy-esque moments, but it was a monotonously tortuous slog to the finale, which I greeted more with relief than suspense. Needless to say, I immediately disposed of the novel at a used bookstore the week I returned from my trip. So, by all means, steer clear of this one!
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:39 PM   #3
Attila the Professor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whipwarrior
Army of the Dead is hands-down the worst Indy novel I have EVER read.

Oh, without question. The Caidins at least had some interesting character work here and there, and were informed by the author's expertise in what is a legitimately prominent pulp element. White Witch dealt with a major artifact and gave us time on the Graf Zeppelin, and Sky Pirates had a team of commandos, one of whom was killed by a stuffed bear.

But Army of the Dead was, as whipwarrior says, a "monotonously torturous slog" offering few interesting diversions and even fewer action set pieces. I read Perry's book much more recently than the MacGregor, Caidin, and McCoy entries (each of which I've read twice, if memory serves), and could tell you of only three incidents within the thing, one of which I only remember because I checked my prior post on the subject first. Indy dealing with zombies in the Caribbean is a good idea. The German and Japanese commanders having their own portions could have been interesting, but just contributed to the sense of the adventure as a whole being rather slight and brief, since many moments in time were recounted 3 or 4 times. Truly disappointing.
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Old 10-26-2013, 12:45 PM   #4
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I need to drag them all out and finish reading them. I've read quite a few, but not all yet. When we moved, I packed them away with my other books and never got them back out.
The worse so far in my opinion, was Genesis Deluge. It was boring. I dread reading Sky Pirates and White Witch.
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Old 10-26-2013, 05:23 PM   #5
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Caidin's books are okay if you're in the right frame of mind and have more than a passing interest in aviation, but Army of the Dead hasn't one redeeming quality whatsoever.
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:16 PM   #6
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Caiden's books definately are the weakest that I've read, but I haven't read Army of the Dead yet. From the comments in the thread, I think I'll extend that 'yet' to 'ever'.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:17 PM   #7
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"You have chosen... wisely." Believe me, that book was 6 hours of my life that I'll never get back.
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Old 10-27-2013, 10:49 PM   #8
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I haven't read many of the novels, but IMHO Army of the Dead wasn't the worst. Unlike the other novels which I have read, I could imagine watching the core story of Army on screen. As others have pointed out there is far too much padding and narrative for the secondary characters - much like the movie novelizations will break from the action seen on screen and dive into inner monologues.

I guess that's my criteria for a good Indy story - I'd like something I could imagine filmed. Since screenplays are far shorter than novels, some padding needs to take place. The alternative is wedging Indy - a pulp film character - into a more traditional novel structure... which I find dilutes the character.

Let's see, I've read:
  • Peril at Delphi
  • Seven Veils
  • Unicorn's Legacy
  • Sky Pirates
  • Dinosaur Eggs
  • Army of the Dead

Honestly, they were all terribly forgettable. Delphi tried too hard to be an origin story. Veils spent too much time building up a world and secondary characters in MacGregor's arc. Unicorn was a boring slog. Sky Pirates was a completely different genre and was Indy even in it? And so forth.
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Old 05-01-2018, 12:26 PM   #9
deepermagic
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I purchased all the Bantam novels over time at half price books and (unfortunately) the last two I've read were written by Martin Caidin.

So I had to revive this thread because I just finished up with Sky Pirates and man was that a stinker!

Should've been called Gale Parker and the Airplane Instruction Manual. Indy is a shoehorned James Bond who is outshined by his eclectic team mates. The only thing that doesn't outshine Dr. Jones is the 200 pages dedicated to the author telling us how much minutia he knows about flying airplanes.

I'm currently in the middle of Gale Parker and the White Witch which is just slightly better because only the first chapter (as far as I'm aware) has been dedicated to the trivial details of how to fly a plane. And Caidin has a way of sucking the mystery and wonder right out of a tale with dry scientific explanations almost from the outset. He makes Indy sound more like Bill Nye the Science Guy than an archaeologist.
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Old 05-02-2018, 09:41 AM   #10
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I need to go back and re-read Army of the Dead again. I don't remember it being great but I thought it was okay, though I haven't read it since 2009. Sky Pirates still stands as the weakest for me.
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Old 05-03-2018, 11:51 AM   #11
deepermagic
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Just finished up Gale Parker and the White Witch and yeah, that was pretty sucky too.

Both Caidin books were awful. Just awful.
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Old 05-04-2018, 10:00 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deepermagic
He makes Indy sound more like Bill Nye the Science Guy than an archaeologist.
Without commenting on what Indy should sound like, I must note that this is what most archaeologists really sound like.
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Old 05-04-2018, 11:47 AM   #13
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Without commenting on what Indy should sound like, I must note that this is what most archaeologists really sound like.

True. And I'm sure his descriptions of how to fly a plane are accurate as well.

Still boring as hell.
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Old 05-07-2018, 08:58 PM   #14
punisher5150
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Favorite Indy novels

To be honest, as a HUGE fan, the only ones I was not dissapointed in were the first three Max McCoy ones. I really felt MacGregor's were just OK. And McCoy's last one: Secret of the Sphinx, had a lot of potential but had some weirdness going on with Indy having random memory problems. I understand there was a time-travel element that was edited out after the draft was submitted to Lucasfilm and McCoy didn't get a chance to go back and refine the story without that subplot.
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:24 AM   #15
deepermagic
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Originally Posted by punisher5150
To be honest, as a HUGE fan, the only ones I was not dissapointed in were the first three Max McCoy ones. I really felt MacGregor's were just OK. And McCoy's last one: Secret of the Sphinx, had a lot of potential but had some weirdness going on with Indy having random memory problems. I understand there was a time-travel element that was edited out after the draft was submitted to Lucasfilm and McCoy didn't get a chance to go back and refine the story without that subplot.

Interesting. I didn't know about that bit of background
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