Here’s a post at Kill Zone Blog: Doublespeak: A Look at Voice
The post begins this way:
I recall reading my first book by a best-selling author. A male character discovered a young girl, about 5 years old, who had been left to die in the woods. He brings her to his cabin and finds she cannot or will not speak. I was impressed with the way the character spoke to the child—it seemed exactly how someone should deal with that situation. However, as more characters entered the story, I discovered that he spoke that way to all of them. Not only that, almost every character in the book spoke with that same “Talking to a Child” voice. Obviously, it doesn’t bother the millions who buy her books, but it bugged the heck out of me. And it’s consistent with all her books in that series. It wasn’t just a one-time deal.
This made me pause, because it reminds me so strongly of a specific very popular author. I read a lot of his books a long time ago. Eventually it dawned on me that all his protagonists, male or female, any age, any species, all sounded exactly alike. They phrased things the same way and also looked at things the same way, with the same reactions and the same values. Once I noticed it, this bugged the heck out of me. I gave away all the books I owned by this author and never looked at another book he wrote.
Anybody got a guess about who that is? This is someone who started writing in the late sixties and was still bringing out new books as recently as a couple of years ago. One extremely long series plus a whooooole lot of other work. Fantasy and SF.
Anyway, that’s not quite what the linked post is about. That post is actually about making sure characters sound different from each other within one story, and on the phenomenon of recognizing an author’s work via their consistent stylistic choices. Both of those are interesting, but still, now I’m interested in the above phenomenon of an author who gives all their characters or all their protagonists the same voice. Have any of you noticed that? Did it bug you when you did?