TL;DR I'm going to talk about the book Atlas Shrugged and why it sucks at great length. This is gonna be long and autistic. Don't read if you don't care what a random faggot thinks. Kthxbye Introduction and Disclosure So I’m opening this can of worms. Atlas Shrugged is a polarizing book, but it’s not an even polarization by any means, with the lion’s share of people hating it. But like so many other things in this series of tubes, it has a rabid following of faggots that keeps it alive, a following which like so many others could be accused of autism and compared to cancer (whether this is fair or accurate or not doesn’t matter, the point is a few rabid people keep it relevant). I personally do fall into the “It’s bad” camp, however most of the objections I have seen to the book actually are off the mark as to why it’s a poor book. I do not wish to debate the political ideas per se, but rather discuss it as a book because that’s where I think Atlas Shrugged fundamentally fails. I will have to mention some of those ideas to make my point, but I will not argue pro or con here. Also I'll probably talk about the philosophy itself later, because it's part of the reason the book sucks. And for the record and disclosure purposes, I don’t want to go into all of my personal ideas and why I think what I do because then this will stop being about the book and more about me and it will just turn into a debate about politics which is not what I’m trying for here, but I do think it’s important to say that on paper, I sound like one of those autistic cancer faggots who should love Atlas Shrugged. It's fair to call me very libertarian in outlook. Again, not arguing pro or con here, just understand that's where my personal bias is and where I'm coming from when I criticize this book. Perhaps because I am an autistic cancer faggot is exactly why I have a problem with this book. To draw a parallel, I have seen over the years various homosexual, transgender and autistic people express a great deal of unhappiness that CWC, because of his internet notoriety, is something of an anti-mascot for these groups and they lament that their group is seen a certain way because people like him get all the attention and become the standard reference for many, who form their opinions thinking all “X” are like CWC or other internet lolcows. That’s kind of how I feel about Atlas Shrugged: it’s a bad but popular example of the ideologies it gets attached to (whether it actually represents those ideologies is something I could write a book on but it doesn’t matter here) and that’s frustrating. Despite all this, I do have some good things to say about the book I'll pepper in. This is a long book and I have a lot of things to say about it, so I'll try to add different parts in pieces so it's not so much. Point the First: Brevity, or, Write a Book Not a Manifesto Yes the book is too long. The edition I read was I think 888 pages or so, and really I felt like after I was done that it could have been 350 pages, possibly 300, and it would have been much better for it. This is hardly an original criticism, however I’m going to try to elaborate on it just a bit. The common criticism usually stops here, the book is just too damn long. The length and girth of the book however is in and of itself not really the problem. Other works are as long or longer and are considered great masterpieces, so what’s the real problem? The thing about a book, as Alan Moore has pointed out though I’m loosely paraphrasing here, is that it divorces notions of time and sequence from the length of its content. In other words, it can be read, reread, parts of it reread, you can skip back and re-read parts without having finished it completely, etc. This is important because this is the reason, imho, great works of literature are eventually recognized as such: subsequent re-readings reveal an artistry and coherence in the way the book is written, showing that the theme, the plot, and the characterization are a harmonious and cohesive whole. A truly well written book makes its points in the texture of the book, hiding the ideas of the story or the didactic rants of the author in symbolism, story, descriptions, and incidentals. The point of fiction is to tease out what should happen in a world where certain things are true (in this case, what would happen in a world with some minor science fiction elements where the most economically productive people all stopped working). I do think Atlas Shrugged has these elements, however the problem is when you have both the elements of a book and then triply redundant rants and 80 page long speeches by characters which are really just your political essays (which themselves repeat the same point twenty times), you just absolutely destroy all the art of the thing. Rosencratz and Guildenstern don’t make speeches and write newspaper columns about how the universe is indifferent to human suffering; the world around them makes that point in a deeper way than just saying it does. Even the wordy Dickens left it at “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.” He made his point by letting the character’s in universe experiences convey the consequences of his mishandling of his personal finances; Dickens didn’t take the next 300 pages to insert a personal finance book and rant about how it's stupid to borrow money you cannot afford to repay. If you want to write a rant or an essay, write a rant or an essay. If you want to write fiction, write fiction. You shouldn’t prepare the former and present it as the latter. When your characters just rant all the time as your personal stand in mouthpieces, it just makes anything you want to say watered down, weak and too transparent for the reader to suspend disbelief. Rand does create a somewhat interesting science fiction world in the book. However all that work is wasted because between the story/world building parts are shoved in non-fiction elements trying to dupe the reader into thinking they’re germane parts of this world. These parts are the only reason the book is so long. Atlas Shrugged would be a much more memorable book if it just told its story and was short and pithy (and its core story really is short and pithy), leaving all the ideas the story is trying to convey as the unstated rules of this fictional universe, rather than stating these ideas explicitly to such excess. The length itself is not the issue so much as the length is the byproduct of bad writing.