Well, this little lot has been building up for a while. For various reasons – being busy, being unmotivated, not feeling in love with reading, illness – I’ve not posted Friday Five for a while. I could keep them for the next one this week but there’s such a build up that I’ve decided to post what I’ve got now and do another one on Friday. There’ll also be a wee rant at the end. Let’s crack on.
1) The coolest thing I saw over the month was a list of SFF stories written by women from Beth Tabler at Before We Go. It was broken up into three lists by date and was a hundred strong. Here’s the links to the three articles – go have a look and fatten your TBR
2) There were a bunch of cool reviews too, some of which I’ve only glanced at because I’m intending to have a read of the book later myself (so maybe this will persuade others to read them too). Here’s the ones I’ve got marked down
3) Now for some articles! An event now long passed but still worth checking out was the Dragonlance week at Witty and Sarcastic Bookclub. Below are two articles, one a staring point to all the Dragonlance books on Krynn and another set of character profiles that I particularly enjoyed. There was also a pretty cool
4) Now time for some author articles about writing. One’s an author and bookseller talking about where sales seem to come from. Another’s someone talking about launching her debut novel, and that’s one I’ve meant to have reviewed already so oops will try and get on top of that. And finally, an author talking about their trans identity and their books.
5) Finally, story time! Here’s a short story and a story excerpt for you.
6) You still reading? Good grief, why?
Well, here comes the rant.
About a month ago, an author – and that’s as far as I’ll identify for them for reasons that will become apparent, although I imagine plenty know – posted a tweet complaining about four star reviews. Then the online book community exploded and after two days of it being everywhere in ever different forms, I just found myself completely uncomprehending the need for this drama and really disgruntled at it.
Not everything we find disagreeable needs, or deserves, our public response. It is not like the view expressed was a particularly widespread or corrosive one that had to be challenged at all costs. The author is well followed on Twitter but isn’t a mega-icon whose views will change that of massive number of people. It wasn’t part of a campaign. It’s just one eccentric view that would have slid away if not mentioned. There’s no shortage of eccentric views out there; I do not see what can be gained from blowing them up to cause drama. The main effect just seems to be to sour everybody’s mood.
If you disagree with me about there needing to be a response then fair enough, but do please consider the nature of the response. If the idea was to promote the validity of four star reviews, then tying it into the drama obscures the issue. If the idea was to somehow punish or deter the author, then that would appear appear to have backfired, as far more people knew about the author than before and they’ve gained book sales as a result of backlash to the backlash. The sight of a hundred people arguing with one is never a pretty one for whatever reason. And for all we know, it wasn’t pretty for the author either for all it did not appear to be the case at the time..
The book community will always seek to protect its own but not every form protects everyone. Not everyone enjoys the drama thrown out over the smallest things. This isn’t a call for silence, it’s a hope for discretion.