Monday, February 13, 2006


Bodhisattva (Jay Tomio) has an excellent post here about reviewers and reviewing. I agree with just about everything he says, having been both a reviewer and a writer.

Matt Cheney has another great article/essay at Strange Horizons, which I also agree with completely. The fact is, SF/F has generally been a reactionary field and I think lately reviewers and readers have begun to take for granted the wonderful cross-genre diversity you can currently find in the field. People don't seem to realize that the field even just a few years ago wasn't nearly as inclusive or as diverse. Thus, we have posts about writers being self-indulgent or not catering to the reader enough. The natural result of the experimentation and the mixing of genres that has occurred of late is that some things are going to push the envelope in ways that don't appeal to every reader....but Matt makes the argument more convincingly than I ever could, so I'll shut up now.



At 12:33 PM, Blogger Granfalloon said...

Thanks for the link Jeff. It was an interesting article, although as I said over there, I wonder if you could make the same argument for poor writing in general.. should the reader be expected to bridge the gap, to challenge their expectations of, say, good characterisation or intelligent world-building?

I guess my point is that if you're asking readers to challenge themselves you're asking them to have faith that the challenge will have some reward, that it will be "worth it". Otherwise, you're just saying "read what I write, whether you enjoy it or not. if you don't like it, it's your fault".

Some books are definitely worth persevering with. Others are definitely not:)

imho, anyway.


Ben Payne

At 12:52 PM, Blogger JeffV said...

The vast majority of novels do not aim to do anything different. The vast majority are flawed structurally or character-wise, etc. So the problem is rarely that an author was self-indulgent, but that he or she wasn't self-indulgent enough, if you get my drift.

Don't put words in my mouth re what I meant by "self-indulgent". I didn't mean to put the onus on the reader. I think you missed the point completely.


At 12:35 AM, Blogger Granfalloon said...

Well, sorry if I missed the point. I was responding as much to Matt's arguments as to your own. And well, it wouldn't be the first time I've missed the point, so...

Anyway, interesting discussion.

At 1:48 AM, Anonymous Daylon said...

When authors write books, they seem to JUST write books. They don't look at the format, the size, the materials used, the way the (commercial) "product"...

They (almost) all work with safe methods. Nobody (we only see few experimental projects... But no one try to put progress in a larger public hands) try. Fear. Or a tinier size of the writer's "window".

A book is a message in its ENTIRE physical expression. Not just words nor sentences. Not just characters nor settlements.
We can reject the fault on publishers' shoulders, but authors are equally ("more", even; to my mind) responsible for this.

If codes are clues to readers' pratice, the other extreme (gimmik flooding) isn't so much appealing.

At 7:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ben--No worries. I don't think I expressed myself that well, or read your post quickly. The only thing I object to is reducing the argument to black-and-white and puting words in my mouth in your second paragraph. No offense intended.

Daylon--I don't grok your meaning. Something has been lost in translation. Sorry.


At 2:59 AM, Blogger Granfalloon said...

None taken, Jeff. I should have written more clearly. The "you" in my second para was intended as a generalised all-encompassing "you" rather than directed at you.

Anyway, it's all good.

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