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bear by san

March 2017



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rengeek kit icarus

if there's no one you can pray to, does that mean you can't be saved?

Via james_nicolla Vector discussion of the Readercon panel on online reviewing.

Personally, I think we should start a peer-reviewed journal to review the reviewers.

Especially the really thickheaded ones, and the ones who ride their personal hobbyhorses into the ground.

(N.B.: Yes, I write book reviews too. No, I don't take them seriously. But I do find critical arrogation of privilege--both academic and in the lay press--more than faintly ridiculous. Trust me, sweetie, I do in fact know more about what my book is about than you do, no matter how desperately you would like to excise the author from the process entirely.)

avocadovpx breaks down the Hugo and Nebula winners since 1991, by source.

In other news, I am awfully tired of fighting entropy today. Will somebody do my chores for me?


>Personally, I think we should start a >peer-reviewed journal to review the reviewers.

I'm in...
Alas, I'm rather busy avoiding my own pile of Real Work (tm) to handle any more procrastination.... try me again in a couple of days.
Trust me, sweetie, I do in fact know more about what my book is about than you do, no matter how desperately you would like to excise the author from the process entirely.)

That attitude is one of the reasons I ended up leaving art history; too many of my fellows were (IMO) creating fictions out of the works of artists and calling it research.
I'd be happy to help with chores...except I'm not quite nearby.

And, a peer-reviewed journal sounds like a great idea!
I think I'd be too scared to actually read reviews of my reviews. I know I've written a few that completely missed the point (Jacqueline Carey's anti-LOTR series comes to mind, for one *wince*), but I console myself that even my worst reviews are still better than Harriet Klausner's. It's a cold comfort.
*g* We all blow it *occasionally.*
Forget reviewing the reviewers. I say we run with a long-running idea of mine, where we start a foundation that tracks down bad book critics, movie critics, music critics, "humor" columnists, science "journalists", and all of the editors who keep them off welfare, and pay them just enough to assist them in drinking themselves to death. If I win the lottery tomorrow, I'm putting $1 million toward that goal, and I'll even pay for lobbying to legalize heroin so as to speed them on their way. (Me, filled with self-loathing for my old writing days? Naaaaah.)
I dunno if I buy the idea that the author always understands their book better than the reader does. This seems like a theory that would be true in a world in which writers were miraculously free of the defects in self-knowledge that commonly plague all other varieties of human being. In this world, not so much.

Mind you, I'm entirely open to the idea that matociquala understands her book better than you do. Different category of assertion, that.
Oh, I'm not claiming that my knowledge of same is without defect. And certainly readers point out things that I didn't know all the time.

But I will admit that a critic, editor, or reviewer knows my book better than I do as soon at that critic, editor, or reviewer is willing to spend--I'll be gracious--say eighteen months working on the text? And at least six of those months working on it to the exclusion of all else.

That seems fair.
Certainly, there's always stuff in a text that one's subconscious provides.

But considering how the number of blatantly obvious things the average reviewer makes in the average review, I stand by my statement. Or, as I told Patrick above, when a reviewer spends say, half as much time with a novel as I do, I will defer to his knowledge.

Basically, the writer has no control over what the reader projects onto the text, and the story that emerges in the intersection bears tool marks from both people. But that doesn't mean I'm not well-aware of much more of what my text is doing/attempting/failing than the average reader.

I am the one walking around with the bruises from every one of those failures.
Makes me think of the bit in "Waiting For Godot" where they're trading insults and the final, untrumpable, insult is "Critic!"
Must remember, "reviewer" does not equal "critic."
I'm sure there was a long thread about exactly the same idea on Lucius Shepard's Nightshade board a couple of months ago, but I'm damned if I can find it now.

Personally, 1) I'm entirely happy to have any review I write scrutinised for logic, fairness, etc, but 2) I'm with pnh on the idea that no-one has perfect objectivity on what a book is about. Which is the question begged by the idea of this journal as peer-reviewed: who decides if your peer reviewers are objective? It's turtles all the way down.
I'm not claiming perfect objectivity. I'm claiming superior knowledge.

Different claim. *g*

Also, I wasn't looking at peer reviewing so much as a bastion of objectivity, as "It seems only fair that the critics should get reviewed as well."

I bet he swiped it eyes wide open. I would have.
LOL! You are mad.

I am amused.
*High-pitched Mike Tysonish voice*

But that Entropy, he punches so HARD!