Chad, over at [Uncertain Principles](http://scienceblogs.com/principles/2006/10/cranky_book_meme_voted_off_the.php) found an interesting meme, which I thought would be fun to take a stab at:
>What authors have you given up on for good? And why?
Darn good question, that is. I’m often fascinated by comparing an authors earliest stories/books to their later ones, to see how they changed. And there are definitely a few authors who’s work I really enjoyed at one time, but who have deteriorated to the point where I’ll never read them again. I’ll tell you about three of mine – feel free to add your own in the comments.
### Steven King
The thing about Steven King is that he comes up with some really great ideas. But he’s not a good enough writer to be able to carry out those ideas. In the early days, when he actually had *editors* helping him cut his books down to a reasonable size, it was frustrating seeing him not make an idea work the way it should, but the books were generally enjoyable enough, if a bit on the wordy side.
But then he got famous. Famous enough to tell the publishers “No edits, or I’ll take my books elsewhere”. That’s when his novels went from being a little bit wordy to gigantic rambling monstrosities. Not only that, but without editors keeping a tab on him, his tendency to screw up great ideas got *much* worse – with no ability on his own to recognize the difference between the good stuff and the bad stuff, and a refusal to accept criticism that pointed out the bad stuff, his books just went to hell.
I gave up on King after “Needful Things”. It’s typical of how King can come up with a fantastic idea, and turn it into utter trash. The idea is simple but wonderful. In a small town in New England, a man moves into town, and opens a store. If you walk into that store, he has *the* one thing that you want most in the world. And he won’t sell it to you. But he’ll *give* it to you in exchange for a promise to do him a single favor whenever he asks.
Just imagine what a good author could do with that setup.
King starts off OK, but he ends up with the shopowner handing out Uzis.
What a waste.
### Orson Scott Card
Card used to write wonderfully imaginative and creative novels, with compelling characters – often characters with deep flaws, but always portrayed with a great
empathy. Stories like “Hart’s Hope”, or “Songmaster” were very unusual, excellent books. Even Ender’s Game, which is very overhyped, was a great read.
Then his Mormonism started to assert itself, and he gave up on writing about
interesting, compelling characters. Instead, he started to do endless crappy rewrites of Mormon theology, and to rewrite earlier novels in order to try to
change the events of the novels to fit better with his newly assertive loony politics.
### Laurell Hamilton
I really liked the early Anita Blake novels. They were trashy, but fun. Hamilton set up a world *almost* like our own, except that vampires and other supernatural creatures were real, and had recently achieved legal recognition as citizens in the US. The early novels were fairly hard-boiled mystery thrillers written in the first person of view of a seriously bad-ass woman vampire executioner. They definitely had sexual content, but it was mostly in the background, and more often implied than exhibited.
Over time, they’ve degenerated into bad porn with barely even an *attempt* to connect the dreadful sex scenes by a skeleton of a plot. The problem isn’t that
the books went from having implied sexual content to very explicit sexual content. That would be fine. But, as the sexual content increased, the *plot* decreased. The last one of her novels that I started reading had, quite literally, approximately 6-7 pages of plot in the first **200** pages of the book. All of the rest of it was porn. And she’s not even a *good* sex writer. It’s *bad* porn.