Hard-working words

I saw in Smiths last night that Stephen Donaldson had written one last Thomas Covenant book. Imagine my delight! Not at the existence of the book, you understand – more tedious leprosy shenanigans I expect – but at Donaldson’s dusting off an all-time classic of the pull-quoter’s art –

“Comparable to Tolkien at his best”

This used to be on every Covenant paperback. It worked, too – as a Lord Of The Rings fan I borrowed one of them from the library. Too late I learned just how much work the word “comparable” was doing. Oh yes indeed you could compare them. Compare them all you like, in fact – the result will be the same. As a reader I was disgusted. As a marketer I doff a belated cap.