Thursday, 3 December 2009

I'm full of contradictions and know nothing about the genre!

So says a mysterious figure known only by the ominous name of 'Michael', who posted this amusing semi-rant in the comments section of my last post on the Jim Butcher cover.
 
"James your full of contradictions.On a recent post you praised the cover to Mark Newtons pb cover which had a static figure onfront doing not much with a background that could have been picked from anywhere then in this post you slag off those sorts of covers.This is typical of these online "critics" lots of talk and not much consistency.I have read many a crits blog and have to say lost and lost of words ..verbose to the point where you all are biting your own tails .It is quite funny to read the comments on covers you come up with.To have a section entitled "crap covers" just shows you havent anything to offer that is positive and so shows you to be very uneducated in the genre you are reviewing.But you along with a handful of other self proclaimed judges( online book critics) of what looks good and bad will alwayz give me a giggle.Please keep it going."

Michael

I thought I'd just raise a few points in response to this rather odd (and flawed) post (partly because it amused me, and partly because I've got nothing better to write about at this moment in time).
 
1) "On a recent post you praised the cover to Mark Newtons pb cover" - no I didn't. Rule number one - if you're going to argue a point, get your facts right first. I did not 'praise' the new cover for Nights of Villjamur. I said, and I quote myself here, that I "quite like this cover" but that "the hardback version is far superior." Now, that's hardly praising it, is it?
 
2) "This is typical of these online "critics" lots of talk and not much consistency." This is such a pointlessly vague statement that I can't even respond to it properly - what sort of consistency are you talking about? With regards to what? Which critics are you referring to?

3) "I have read many a crits blog and have to say lost and lost of words..." This makes no sense - you could at least have the decency to read over your post before posting it, to save your crap grammar and spelling from giving me a headache. I take it you actually mean 'lots and lots of words'? If English isn't your first language, then fair enough. If it is, you need to go back to school.

5) "It is quite funny to read the comments on covers you come up with." That's the idea, Michael - they're meant to entertain people. Oh, silly me - you're being sarcastic! Well, if you don't find them funny, don't read 'em! Plenty of folk do find them entertaining (not least the chap who runs the Guardian books blog, who linked to one of my features in one of his articles).

6) "To have a section entitled "crap covers" just shows you havent anything to offer that is positive..." Yeah, you're right - I offer absolutely nothing positive to the genre whatsoever. I mean, I only spend hours of my spare time writing features and reviews, in order to help readers discover new books and authors - nothing positive there, is there? And since you've clearly missed the point with the crap covers feature, Michael, let me make it clear to you: IT'S ONLY A BIT OF FUN. Us Brits love to take the piss out of things, it's part of our culture - and most of the time it's meant in good humour, as these features (mostly) are. And the ones that I tear a strip off without any humour involved, quite frankly deserve it because they're shit and reflect badly on the genre.
 
7)  "...and so shows you to be very uneducated in the genre you are reviewing." If I didn't know anything about fantasy, then I wouldn't have been able to create and run this blog successfully for two years, accruing over 100k hits in the process. If I didn't know anything abut fantasy, people would quickly notice and ignore this blog. If I didn't know anything about fantasy, publishers and editors wouldn't send me free books to review. If I didn't know anything about fantasy, I wouldn't have been invited to the Gollancz party a few months ago. Shall I go on, or have I made my point? I don't claim to be seriously well-read in the genre (I'm not) but I do know what I'm talking about (or maybe I just imagined all those emails I've received from readers, thanking me for helping them discover new books). 

8) "But you along with a handful of other self proclaimed judges( online book critics)..." Self-proclaimed judges?! I've never said anything of the sort, and I don't recall any of my blogging comrades saying anything like that either. We're just fans that read books and write reviews - period. Anyone that views me otherwise is seriously missing the point - I don't take myself anywhere near seriously enough to think of myself as a 'self-proclaimed judge.' Any blogger that does has clearly lost control of their ego.

9) "...will alwayz give me a giggle.Please keep it going." Oh, I'll keep it going alright - no worries on that count. Speculative Horizons is only just getting started. And I'm glad I entertain you, one way or another - that's the point of the blog. For what it's worth, your post seriously entertained me as well, so cheers. :)

On a more serious note, Michael, I don't at all understand your reasoning. If you think all us bloggers are pompous asses that endlessly chew our own tails (and contribute nothing positive to the genre), why bother reading our blogs? No one's forcing you

Still, no pleasing everyone I guess! ;)

10 comments:

Aidan Moher said...

Well. I can't imagine what he must think of my blog, then!

Keep up the good work, James.

Book Chick City said...

Hi James, I've only just found your blog and think it's great. Unfortunately by putting yourself out there in the world, you will attract cretins. I've had a few unsavory comments since I started blogging five months ago. At first it hurt my feelings but now I try and ignore them, or like you pick them up on a point or two! Love it! :D

Hagelrat said...

Not only are we not judges (although I am enjoying the idea of dressing up like judge dredd and ending all my posts with "I am the law") I wouldn't even say a lot of us are critics. Many of us are as you say fans, just reading our books and sharing our views. I welcome disagreement and discussion, but that was an oddly vague comment.
Anyway,
i thoroughly enjoy your work here.

Lee said...

Ummm... isn't he - by posting an online criticism of your blog - guilty of the same judicial infractions he's accusing you of?

Just sayin'...

Chris M said...

Meh, there's always people like that looking for attention. Keep up the good work!

Love the picture btw lol. :)

Phil said...

I don't think he can answer anything after that. You totally nailed it with that last paragraph.

Good work James!

James said...

Aidan - I expect he thinks your blog is shit. I also expect that you couldn't care less. :)

Book Chick - Thank you, glad you like the blog! Don't let the negative comments get to you, you'll always them now and again. It's fun to tear them apart. :)

Hagelrat: I might steal that idea - putting "I AM the law!" at the end of each review! Like it. And I agree - I am all for debate and discussion, and have no problem with negative criticism, as long as it's constructive criticism and not just someone saying "I think your blog sucks" without offering any supporting explanation/opinion.

Lee - Well, he's accused me of being negative...when he's the one who is being negative about this blog and its value to the genre. So it does seem that he's contradicting himself.

Chris - Thank you, and I like the pic too!

Phil - Ta very much.

Val said...

I think this Michael is secretly in love with you ;)

Harry Markov said...

Now James, just because you say you are not a judge, that doesn't mean the rest of us aren't ones. For the record me and Hagelrat dress as judges regularly and hit around wooden tables with that small hammer all the time...

As for the reply. Yup, we are fans and not even critics in the professional sense, since we do not get money out of the whole thing. We just like books and yes, we like to make fun of the books some times.

PS: I guess he is unfamiliar with your British humor.

Anonymous said...

This was done in good form, reasonable and without too much counter-bashing. Nice. No need to get personal, I say.