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bear by san

March 2017

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bear by san

leaning on my shovel for a moment

T.M. Wagner review of Hammered at SF Reviews.net. He has mixed emotions:

Then something remarkable happens. Before you know it, Bear has rolled up her "Yes I'm derivative and proud of it!" banner, stowed it away, and gotten down to the business of putting her own talents on display.

--but seems to have liked it overall. And he (she? drat these pronouns, anyway) would like Valens to be more villainous. Alas, Valens isn't particularly villainous. Ruthless, yes.Quite possibly evil. But not particularly villainous. Just ask him.

coffeeandink was less impressed.

***

One thing I have learned from reading reviews is that you can't write the book that everybody expects to read. Or, more precisely, you can write the book you think you're writing--but it's going to be a different book depending on who reads it, and what they're looking for when they go in.

And the book they read, whether they like it or not, is just as valid as the book you wrote. The fact that it's a different book (the reader's 50%) doesn't enter into it.

I can't wait to see the reviews on A Companion to Wolves, assuming we sell it. Maybe I should just institute a policy of not reading my own press when that one comes out.

It doesn't matter; whatever you put out there is going to be the very best book you can possibly write. And no matter what you do, it's not going to work for more than half of the people who read it. Which is a pretty terrifying statistic, but there you go.

It's why, in the end analysis, you have to write for yourself, rather than an audience. (Well, you don't have to, but I find it helps.)

Which means that right now, I have to write this stupid feminist/postfeminist queer/postqueer antidystopiastablishmentarian sociological hard SF spy thriller, and keep it from turning into any of: The Golden Witchbreed, Voorloper, "When it Changed," The Snow Queen, or And Brightness Falls From The Air.

Yeah, it's one of those books. And I need a Carnival icon.

*gets the shovel*

Comments

It's much easier to resolve to be honest in reviews when you don't think anyone's reading them. I've been putting this off for a couple of months, not because I thought you'd react badly--of all the writers I know, you seem like the one most likely to shrug and move on--but because I don't like hurting people's feelings. I continue to feel that the author's feelings aren't the point of reviews, though, and that at least this way my friends know when I compliment a book, I really mean it.
*nod*

Sure. And my feelings aren't hurt--you have, absolutely, every right to your opinion. I mean, I would love to be loved by everybody, and it seemed obvious from your comments that the aspects of the book that interested you most were the ones that I was intentionally glossing over, so I really didn't write the book you wanted to read.

I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable, though, and hope I didn't.
You didn't make me uncomfortable at all. (And even if you had, the logic of saying I can write whatever I want about your books but you can't write whatever you want about my reviews escapes me. ;)
You're so very... sane. *g* I like that in a person.
d00d, I was the kid nobody liked. I learned pretty early to use indifference as a blunt intrument when I want to. *g* (Not, of course, that I would ever do that to a friend.) But yeah, it takes a fair amount to get under my skin.

ObIconDigression

"BPAL Athens"?

---L.
You should make sure it turns into all of them instead. That would work.

---L.
It kind of is. My problem may be that I've read too much SF, so every time I think of something, I wind up going "Oh, but that's a bit like this book--"
Sounds like you're set then.

---L.
One thing I have learned from reading reviews is that you can't write the book that everybody expects to read. Or, more precisely, you can write the book you think you're writing--but it's going to be a different book depending on who reads it, and what they're looking for when they go in.


*nods* This comes up for me in critiquing and copyediting fairly often -- there's the Mythical Reader for whom one must consider and/or be an advocate (which is how I see my role when I wear my editor's chapeau), which is the person who will wander into the bookstore or library two or ten years from now not quite knowing what they are going to buy or borrow, not knowing much (if anything) about me or mine or the author or why tarty pop singers were so into Kabbalah in the early oughts. But then there's the Actual Readers, which start with my main critiquing partner (a straight middle-aged Scottish librarian specializing in prose poetry -- it's safe to say that we generally don't play to the same markets, but I adore trading work with her because I can rely on her to query stuff that seemed Perfectly Obvious to me) and range to ex-lovers and business associates and -- well, I wouldn't invite them all to the same dinner party, so there's no reason to expect that the same poem/story/book would please them all.
*g* My problem is tha tI probably would invite them all to the same dinner party.

It's a very bad habit of mine...
Nah -- there's something to be said for fireworks. ;-) My problem is that I'm inherently lazy -- laundering bloodstains out of the linen is just too much freaking work to contemplate.
And he (she? drat these pronouns1, anyway) would like Valens to be more villainous. Alas, Valens isn't particularly villainous. Ruthless, yes.Quite possibly evil. But not particularly villainous. Just ask him.

That's actually why I like Valens as a character. He's ruthless (and flawed), but in his mind he's the hero. He believes in what he's doing, in spite of the consequences.

I'm almost positive that I wouldn't like him as a person, but as a character, I think he's excellent.



1 I'm definitely with you there. English really needs gender-neutral pronouns.
*g* I like him as a funhouse mirror of Jenny. They have so very much in common....

Anyway, he gets some fun screen time in book two. I'm quite pleased about that.
I can't wait to read it!

Well, I figure, I can't control it, and the best result of thrashing would be to make myself look like certain well-known horror-writers who are notorious for thrashing in public forums, not that I would have anybody particular in mind.

And what can I say? Sigourney St. and Albany Ave is a *really* bad neighborhood. *g* How "Alien" relates to "Bladerunner," also, I'm not quite sure.
but damn I want your "Yes I'm derivative and proud of it!" banner if you're just going to roll it up and stow it away somewhere....

Me too. You should hand them out at cons.
"Or, more precisely, you can write the book you think you're writing--but it's going to be a different book depending on who reads it, and what they're looking for when they go in."

Keep that thought. It holds great power for surviving book reviews.
Thanks, James. *g* Good advice, I think...
I am looking forward vicariously to the first review that, y'know, really slams ACCELERANDO.

(Betcha it's Harriet Klausner :)
Harriet has a policy of not saying anything if she can't say something nice. *g* Or so I've heard.

What amazes me is that apparently she actually does read that fast; her reviews do, in fact, reflect some comprehension of plot arcs. It's just stunning. I wonder when she sleeps.

Maybe there's two of her.
I used to be a speed-reader before my left retina nearly fell off. Now I'm just fast.

I guess I was commenting because my experience of reviewers -- especially on Amazon and in smaller mags -- is somewhat dismal. Subjectivity rules, points whiz past heads and bury themselves in trees, and wild sweeping generalizations ("there is no space-ship in this book! It can't be science fiction, therefore it's crap!") are the norm. And ACCELERANDO is going to set a few heads on fire, if only for the sex-with-superglue scene in the first chapter. (Someone's bound to review it for a high school magazine ...)
Well, having read the short story in question, I *liked* the sex-with-superglue scene. A lot.

It made me go "Hey! Now that's logical!" in a hideous sort of way. *g*
*g* or I can have the horrible sinking sensation that it's way tooo late to fix....

And nobody slams Watership Down around me without suffering my anguished meeping. I love that book.

You're safe with me. *g*
If you replace the anguished meeping with the blood-curdling shriek of an actual rabbit in fear of its life (by which I mean mimicry, not rabbit-threatening), they'll be haunted forever.