Giving up

How long before you give up on a writer that you once loved? Or a TV series you adored? Or film director? Or actor? Or band you loved? How many dud books, TV eps, movies or songs before you say, “That is it. I’m never spending money on you again?”

Or do you never give up and keep hoping against hope that they’ll regain form?

I’d tell you who this was apropos of, but then I’d have to kill you.


  1. Rick O on #

    Loyalty, like trust, is earned and can be abused and revoked.

    Specifically, I’m a two-chance kind of guy. The first bomb gets two chances for redemption, given that the second bomb could also be a fluke. But three bombs?

    Even more specifically, a writer by the initials of OSC, who was once most revered, has since abused my loyalty, which has since been revoked.

    It’s very American to say, but there are too many other fish in the sea to waste my time pining with the memories for just the one.

  2. Ted Lemon on #

    It took me a _long_ time to give up on Keith Laumer. Sigh. He never wrote the same kind of stuff after his stroke, but I kept hoping.

    Generally speaking, if an author has hosed you with a bad book, I’d suggest not buying the next one, but checking it out of the library. If the first couple of chapters indicate a shift in the wind, then go out and buy the book. That way you give them the best possible feedback – if the book is good, they get a sale, and if it sucks, they don’t. Maybe enough people will do that to convince them they need to step back and take stock.

  3. ebear on #

    I give up on people all the time. I am incredibly fickle.

    On the other hand, I’m also easy to lure back. Unless my trust has been abused, in which case I hold a grudge FOREVER.

  4. David Moles on #

    Depends. One bad book I can let slide. When that bad book also goes to great lengths to undermine all the pleasure I took in the good books….

  5. claire on #

    ursula tried me sorely with the second half of the earthsea sextuplets, but i remain true. she cannot undo “the dispossessed” or ” the left hand of darkness”. or any of the good ones, really.

    on the other hand, as much as i love naveen andrews, i gave up on lost halfway through the season two premiere. i shut that damned episode off ten times before i gave up on it. *yawn*. boringness is unforgiveable.

  6. Hannah Bowen on #

    There are very very few writers who are auto-buys for me to start. But I don’t think I’ve ever taken a stand: “that’s it! no more books by you!” The closest I’ve come was deLint, and that was more a case of getting bored; I might try him again if I took a look at a book and it looked like I might enjoy.

  7. Jenny Davidson on #

    when it’s an author i really love, i pretty much never give up: even the faint shadows of the original intense reading experience seem worthwhile. (nb patricia cornwell? and you know, i have read i think *all* of the rather awful recent pern books because i loved anne mccaffrey so much when i was a kid! or i will always read a mercedes lackey novel even though they really can’t be said to be very good at all.) in the case of an author i like rather than love, it’s more likely that i’ll stop bothering to get hold of the books–but i think it’s a question of having moderate expectations, if you don’t expect too much you are much less likely to feel ripped off.

    of course next time i see you i am totally going to interrogate you until you reveal all!

  8. G. Jules on #

    Three books. Enough books that if they start getting better again, or at least “better” as determined by my taste, I’ll know about it; but not too very many books to suffer through.

    It takes a lot for me to put someone in that category, though.

    I am much more fickle about music and television.

  9. Barry on #

    i think it depends on *how* bad the new book is, honestly. there are some writers whose tales have trickled off in quality over the years, but there was never a precipitous enough drop that i threw down the book in disgust. as a result, it took several books for me to stop reading them.

    in one instance, though, i can think of a writer whose latest effort was so abysmal that halfway through the new book, i stopped reading and haven’t picked up one of his since.

    as long as i’m still wringing some enjoyment out of the books, i’ll keep reading. the author may fall on the priority list (both the reading list and the buying list), but he/she won’t drop off entirely.

    but once the reading becomes anything resembling a chore…gone.

  10. veejane on #

    There comes a time in my reading of an author where I discover I can say, “Oh author, I know what your hangups are.” This happens for every author. The authors I drop are the authors who never seem aware what their hangups are, or are too busy spanking same to tell me a worthwhile story.

    A certain amount of hangup-spanking can be quite fun, especially on the first try, but then a second novel, full of more spanking of the same hangup? I quit.

    Yes, Thomas Hardy, this means you.

    (I quit a TV show when I discover that the writers desperately need me on staff, just to smack them around until [situation, character, plot] makes sense.)

  11. robinwasserman on #

    I give up after three. After two, I start publicly mocking (cf John Irving, David E. Kelley), but I can’t stop myself from trying again. But third time’s a charm. After that, we break up.

    If only it were so easy with people.

  12. Diana on #

    I don’t think I have a set standard, and naturally, it’s different for every medium. I do however, know that feeling where occasionally the new bad stuff leaches some of the love from the old good stuff. this is especially true of series. I loved the 6th sense. did not love any others, but still love the 6th sense. however, i had been, for a long time, avoiding watching the original star wars again, afriad of what I’d think now.

    thankfully, I did not lose any of the love. they are still three damn fine films.

  13. cecil on #

    I don’t think it’s a giving up so much as a “moving on” or a “settling into a day to day life” or “the honeymoon is over”.

    And good work is still good work. I loved The Matrix. I don’t know what happened in 2 & 3 because they went south as far as I’m concerned. But I own The Matrix DVD and will watch it over and over.

    Same with books, I love Logan’s Run. But Logan’s Search? Logan’s Star? Best if they were forgotten.

    And Star Wars… well… I can’t quit you Star Wars. For me it’s only A New Hope and Empire that are worth my worship. I cannot even speak of the other films, but those first films helped me define me, so they stay. (like the stupid Queen Amidala tattoo I have. That shit don’t wear off)

    A long winded way to say that I think it’s ok to give someone who has done something that has sung to you a chance, but when the glitter has been removed from the eyes, it’s OK to just shrug and say *meh, not for me*

  14. Chris S. on #

    When it comes to books, I’ll go until my disgust with the story outweighs my loyalty to the writer. That could take ten books, or five lines. But I’m not immoveable: i’ve been brought back to the fold of several writers after years of given them the cold shoulder.

    As for TV, I have a short attention span. I can only concentrate on one show at a time. Right now, it’s Doctor Who. Ten! Glasses! Squee!

  15. A.R.Yngve on #

    If you look at the STAR WARS movies as an example of audience loyalty, it’s very obvious that writers should “Hook’em While They’re Young”…

    The earlier in life a person gets “hooked” on the stories of a particular writer/director, the more likely he/she is to stick with this favorite for life. (It’s force of habit, nostalgia, the comfort of familiarity, etc.)

    I’ve never been very loyal. And as I get older, I get even more fickle. The “gotta see the whole saga” instinct weakens. It’s just a movie, you know? I told myself “You can wait until Episode III is shown on TV.”

    As for literature, it’s the same. My “reader loyalty” is very faint. The one writer I’ve stuck to is Philip K. Dick, and he’s dead.

    And the rapidly evolving media landscape lessens the sense of “urgency” in reader loyalty. You no longer have to worry that if you miss the final episode of a TV series, it will be lost forever. You no longer have to worry that if you don’t buy the latest book in a series NOW, it’ll be sold out.

    Relax; there’s always YouTube. Or I’ll catch up on my old favorites when I retire. Why hurry?

  16. jennifer on #

    I quit when I am bored of the new works, to the point where I can’t even be arsed to pick them up in paperback any more.

  17. Rebecca on #

    there aren’t a whole lot of authors out there that have ever managed to hold my attention for very long. i’m the same way with music. coldplay is the only band that never put out an album i didn’t like. ditto books, and i can pretty well tell from reading the back and a couple of chapters whether I’m going to buy it or not. right now i can only think of two authors I’ve been loyal to for every single book, and so far, they haven’t put out anything that’s disappointed me. 🙂

  18. Rebecca on #

    “a writer by the initials of OSC, who was once most revered, has since abused my loyalty”

    I have a sneaking suspicion I know who you’re talking about. Hmm.

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