February 23, 2004

When I was a kid, our local paper occasionally ran stories a kid a few years older than myself. He was attending college at 14 because his father believed he was a genius. It seems strange that it was news. We get all excited about teenagers who have stepped outside the cookie cutter conveyor belt of youth culture and public school.

The bookstores are making a big deal right now about a book called Eragon, prominently displaying it in large stacks at the front of the store. The reason for the fuss appears to be that the author is nineteen. And certainly, a several hundred page hardback novel is an accomplishment, at 19 or any other age. But I think I will give this author 10 years to mature before I read anything else of his. Eragon has an ambitious story, if derivative, but the prose is wildly, vividly purple. The action and drama bog down so the scenery can be described. The author relies overmuch on -ly words and his thesaurus, submerging the power of his story in excess verbage.

There is potential here. This young man will be good, given time, experience, and an editor who will do more than correct his use of commas.

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