PDA

View Full Version : Alternative BFS Awards


Julian Karswell
06-07-2009, 07:18 PM
The short-list for the British Fantasy Awards has just been announced. Contrabulastic fibrulations to all nominated:

BEST FANTASY BLOG:
* Mark Samuels - 'Six Months In South America But I Forgot My Typewriter'
* Joe King - 'Chalking Off Is Cool'
* Gary MacMahon - 'The Awards Nominations Are Only One Year Away'
* Thomas Ligotti - 'Silence'
* Token Girl - 'Hey, I'm Not Just A Pretty Face'

BEST INDIVIDUAL POST IN A DEDICATED HORROR FORUM:
* 'Albie' - '#### All Of You, I'm Going To Eat My Own Face'
* Ramsey Campbell - 'Shaun Hutson & Other Metaphysical Gothic Poets'
* Christopher Roden - 'Put That Light Out, There's A War On!'
* Gary Fry - 'Have You Seen What The Devil Is Saying In Another Forum Ooh I Nearly Dropped My Knitting'

BEST SELF MARKETING
* Gary MacMahon - 'Screw The Local Elections, Make Sure You Vote For Someone Nudge Nudge Wink Wink In The Forthcoming BFS Awards'
* Gary Fry, PHD, Dr Litt, KCMG, Bt. - 'Look How Much Longer My Links And Sig Are Than My Post'
* Ramsey Campbell, Sunshine Desserts Inc - 'I Didn't Get Where I Am Today Without Being The President Of The British Custardy Society, did I, Mrs CJ?'

BEST LOW KEY SELF MARKETING
* Thomas Ligotti - [no examples of self promotion]
* Reggie Oliver - [no examples of self promotion]
* Joel Lane - [no examples of self promotion]
* Simon Stranzas - [no examples of self promotion]
* Mark Samuels - [no examples of self promotion]

BEST PISS ARTIST
* Mark Samuels - 'Around The World In Eighty Real Ales' [Twitter Press]
* Barbara Roden - 'Michael Dirda And Asda Malt Make Me Go All Blackwoody' [Nebuly Press]
* Gary Fry - 'Let's Get Smashed On Cheap Lager & Hit The Curry House' [Gray Friar Press]
* Willie Meikle - 'A Bucket Of Booze Helps Me Write Novels About Giant Crabs Vs Killer Zombie Vampire Whores' [Guy Herbert Press]

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
* Stephen Jones and Ramsey Campbell (for services to their careers and the careers of their friends)

GUEST OF HONOUR
* Garth Marenghi
[J K Rowling, Terry Pratchett and Alan Moore all ignored our requests. We mean, pulled out at the last moment owing to other commitments i.e. shopping, flossing.]

The winners will be pulled out at random from a spinning a big round spinny thing at an Alan Partridge style hotel somewhere in the Midlands by the Lifetime Honorary Winner. We mean, the Lifetime Honorary President.

PS. No offence intended, MS!

nomis
06-07-2009, 07:40 PM
In fairness, Chris, I'm as guilty of self-marketing as the next fellow. Perhaps I produces so slowly it doesn't seem that way. Self-marketing seems to be the only way to get noticed nowadays, at least, if you're interested in getting your work read. The signal to noise ratio is too great

With only three spots on your ballot for "Best Self Marketing", you probably ought to move me into that category. It's an honour just to be nominated.

Julian Karswell
06-07-2009, 08:43 PM
In fairness, Chris, I'm as guilty of self-marketing as the next fellow. Perhaps I produces so slowly it doesn't seem that way. Self-marketing seems to be the only way to get noticed nowadays, at least, if you're interested in getting your work read. The signal to noise ratio is too great

With only three spots on your ballot for "Best Self Marketing", you probably ought to move into that category. It's an honour just to be nominated.

Simon:

I seriously contemplated an UTTER BASTARD category listing myself as the only contender. On reflection, that would have been egocentric of me, playing to the stereotype.

I'll be completely honest with you [and I'm genuinely not seeking to elicit sympathy here], but I find my life so tough on an emotional level that I'm well past caring what other people think about me. Believe me, no one has a lower opinion of myself than I do. So I'm not fishing for medals here - there are millions of people around the world who have disabled children to care for and raise - but it has made me somewhat cynical about life in general. Or rather, about the mediocre and trivial concerns of the self-obsessed whose greatest concern might be whether they'll lose their job or hair first.

[Ambrose Bierce could have been my mentor.]

Having said that, I do acknowledge that we all experience pain and euphoria equally, and that it is both arrogant and ignorant to disregard the feelings and anxieties of others from the lofty position of being a parent. Robert Aickman never had children and his work echoes with painfully felt lonely discontent.

I apologise if my original post came across as waspish rather than humorous but given the oppresive, close-knit nature of "our" genre to do otherwise might be impossible. An amusing comment levelled at Mr Obama may appeal to all board members but one similarly directed towards (for example) Barbara Roden may grate with those who know her. All I can say in mitigation is that I've been mimicking others and cracking risque jokes since I first learned to reason, and in real life situations, it's definitely one of my social strengths.

Five years ago I would have agreed wholeheartedly with you on the self-marketing front (and no, I do not believe that you aggressively self-promote yourself; I think you promote yourself with restraint and dignity). Indeed, I would often disagree with Reggie Oliver, hotheadedly arguing that his work deserved recognotion, ergo, should be aggressively marketed. But RO's view was always that awards were unimportant trinkets - that true talent would always out - and in hindsight, I have to concede that I was wrong, and that he was right, right with a wisdom that in my mid thirties "youth" [if that be not a contradiction in terms] that I had yet to learn.

I've read very good stories by Ramsey Campbell and Joe King - award winners both - but to my mind Reggie Oliver, Mark Samuels and Joel Lane are better writers. Bearing in mind that M R James, H R Wakefield and William Hope Hodgson never won a single award between them for their horror stories, it begs the question, what are Societies for, to celebrate the horror genre, or to reward it's shrewder servants?

But that's an irrevelance / irreverence. They key issue is that Quality Will Always Out, and my original post was intended purely as an antidote to the current awards-scurrying that is occuring elsewhere.

nomis
06-07-2009, 09:19 PM
Chris,

I don't recall exactly where my opinions lay when you and I first "met" on the internet, but if I didn't then I sure to now concede that awards are virtually meaningless. They are nice trinkets to wave around when received, but in the long run they don't signify much (and I think most people in our positions recognise that). That said, I think it's a bit naive to believe that "talent would out". I don't mean that pejoratively, mind, so don't take offence. What I mean is that there is just so much out there that even the best of talents risk being buried by the sheer volume. I think you know as well as I do that sometimes in the field talent isn't all that's necessary to make it. A lot of it is luck, and writers who don't try and make their own luck don't tend to receive it.

Let me give you an example (one, I hope, the example doesn't mind me using). Simon Bestwick is an author I think very highly of. His first collection, "A Hazy Shade of Winter", runs rings around the work of many I've read since it's release. And yet his not nearly as celebrated as I think it ought to be. Why? I don't know, but I'll mention that until recently I've not seen much of him online, not seen much of him mentioning his work. Is it enough to just write well and hope the world notices? I don't think it is. Too much noise to contend with.

I received some positive responses here for my first collection. Would those who read it have known about it had I not come here to "pimp" it (for lack of a better term)? I don't know. My suspicion is no, and that it took self-promotion to make it happen.

Lastly, even if we are to assume that the initial post is just meant to be humorous, you're aware of how it will be taken. And, even ignoring that, you must realise having been on the TLO for a short amount of time, that this really isn't the place where your disagreements with the genre need to be aired. The folks here, after all, aren't the "Ash Tree cronies" you rebel against. Their concerns are foreign to the politics you find so abhorrent. Really, coming here to discuss your issues with the genre is akin to walking into a church and screaming your complaints about the cost of petrol. You may or may not have a point, but the crowd has nothing invested in the argument. At best, you'll be ignored, at worst you'll drag the TLO into a ugly war it didn't ask for and doesn't deserve. If you must post this sort of thing, the TLO really isn't the place for it.

But thoughtful commentary? The TLO loves that sort of thing. It eats intellectual discussion on art of all kinds for breakfast. You ought to feed it. Like a dog, give it that and it will love you forever.

Evans
06-07-2009, 09:49 PM
I seriously contemplated an UTTER BASTARD category listing myself as the only contender. On reflection, that would have been egocentric of me, playing to the stereotype.

I'll be completely honest with you [and I'm genuinely not seeking to elicit sympathy here], but I find my life so tough on an emotional level that I'm well past caring what other people think about me. Believe me, no one has a lower opinion of myself than I do. So I'm not fishing for medals here - there are millions of people around the world who have disabled children to care for and raise - but it has made me somewhat cynical about life in general. Or rather, about the mediocre and trivial concerns of the self-obsessed whose greatest concern might be whether they'll lose their job or hair first.

To be fair you seem a pretty reasonable guy whose knows a bit about his subject most of the time. Its only when Ramsey Campbell, Ash Tree Press or the BFS is mentioned that you seem to get really up tight and paranoid.


Bearing in mind that M R James, H R Wakefield and William Hope Hodgson never won a single award between them for their horror stories, it begs the question, what are Societies for, to celebrate the horror genre, or to reward it's shrewder servants?


Yes but they weren't around at the time when such awards were avaible were they? (Though I'm not so sure about Wakefield)


BEST LOW KEY SELF MARKETING
* Reggie Oliver - [no examples of self promotion]


That problem can be some what remedied by getting a few stonemasons to tidy up The Black Cathedral.

Julian Karswell
06-07-2009, 10:27 PM
I seriously contemplated an UTTER BASTARD category listing myself as the only contender. On reflection, that would have been egocentric of me, playing to the stereotype.

I'll be completely honest with you [and I'm genuinely not seeking to elicit sympathy here], but I find my life so tough on an emotional level that I'm well past caring what other people think about me. Believe me, no one has a lower opinion of myself than I do. So I'm not fishing for medals here - there are millions of people around the world who have disabled children to care for and raise - but it has made me somewhat cynical about life in general. Or rather, about the mediocre and trivial concerns of the self-obsessed whose greatest concern might be whether they'll lose their job or hair first.

To be fair you seem a pretty reasonable guy whose knows a bit about his subject most of the time. Its only when Ramsey Campbell, Ash Tree Press or the BFS is mentioned that you seem to get really up tight and paranoid.

You mean, 'The Establishment'.

You're right.


Bearing in mind that M R James, H R Wakefield and William Hope Hodgson never won a single award between them for their horror stories, it begs the question, what are Societies for, to celebrate the horror genre, or to reward it's shrewder servants?


Yes but they weren't around at the time when such awards were avaible were they? (Though I'm not so sure about Wakefield)

My point is that awards matter little in the scheme of things. Walter de la Mare and M R James own no awards for their ghost stories, but that doesn't mean that Ramsey Campbell is a better writer of same just because he's won zillions of them.

NB. I think it's pretty decent of PS Publishing to withdraw from awards consideration whereas RC........[fill in the blanks for yourself].


BEST LOW KEY SELF MARKETING
* Reggie Oliver - [no examples of self promotion]


That problem can be some what remedied by getting a few stonemasons to tidy up The Black Cathedral.

I agree; my web-designing skills are pitiable, or worse. RO deserves better. I'd happily assist anyone wishing to improve on the clumsy foundations I have attempted to create.

mark_samuels
06-08-2009, 05:56 PM
Well, I thought Chris's alternative awards were quite funny (and acerbic, yes).

This thread, on the other hand, is just plain tragic:

2009 BFS Awards Short List (http://s256537080.websitehome.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=27;topic=1973.20#msg12713)

Still, maybe I'm in a minority of one.

Mark S.

mark_samuels
06-08-2009, 06:01 PM
How can anyone vote for themselves? I mean, it's just plain WRONG. (Politicians aside, who have no shame).

Mark S.

Evans
06-08-2009, 06:15 PM
BEST LOW KEY SELF MARKETING
* Reggie Oliver - [no examples of self promotion]



That problem can be some what remedied by getting a few stonemasons to tidy up The Black Cathedral.


I agree; my web-designing skills are pitiable, or worse. RO deserves better. I'd happily assist anyone wishing to improve on the clumsy foundations I have attempted to create.

Credit where credit's due there is nothing much wrong with the website visually. It could do with links to his two audio readings for the Ghost Story Society, a link to your Symphonies website and some stuff about his Ex Occidente Press collection.

starrysothoth
06-08-2009, 08:19 PM
I like the general feel and look of the Reggie Oliver website. The sounds are very haunting, and in my opinion, the best part so far. I only wish it had more content, maybe a story or two up for free in PDF format or something, if Oliver would give permission for this. It would make a good sample of his work to the curious.

Evans
06-08-2009, 08:54 PM
I like the general feel and look of the Reggie Oliver website. The sounds are very haunting, and in my opinion, the best part so far. I only wish it had more content, maybe a story or two up for free in PDF format or something, if Oliver would give permission for this. It would make a good sample of his work to the curious.

You've probably seen this but there is a free Oliver story up for sample on the Symphonies website. If Oliver felt like it he could release Puss-Cat and A Donkey at the Mysteries as .PDFs since there already online in audio format.


@Karswell. Sorry for the unexpected change of conversation towards the Oliver site.

Julian Karswell
06-09-2009, 07:43 AM
Well, I thought Chris's alternative awards were quite funny (and acerbic, yes).

This thread, on the other hand, is just plain tragic:

2009 BFS Awards Short List (http://s256537080.websitehome.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=27;topic=1973.20#msg12713)

Still, maybe I'm in a minority of one.

Mark S.

Nope, I'm with you on that one.

Most of the 'Please Vote For Me' threads doing the rounds at the moment veer between desperate & needy and downright cheesy. It makes for car-crash viewing.

One of the few decent things to emerge from within the genre in the last couple of years has been Peter Crowther's withdrawal of PS Publishing for awards consideration, in addition to his funding of a prize for new up and coming publishers. In contrast, the BFS President, along with certain other (coughs discretely) persistent anthologists seems eager to cream off everything going.

The vast majority of votes cast in tiny tinpot organisations like the BFS go to friends, cronies and well-known names rather than deserving works. Elsewhere, juried panels meet in secret, arrive at their decisions in secret, and refuse to publish justifications for having arrived at those decisions. And, by a curious coincidence, most of the awards end up in the hands of their friends, cronies or past judges / servants of the organisation concerned.

Little wonder that some are prepared to prostitute themselves to win an award. Personally, I find both systems deeply flawed. It would be incredibly easy to remedy these flaws - just as it would be incredibly easy to instigate online voting systems which could select leaders of organisations such as the BFS and the Ghost Story Society - but for rather obvious reasons of control-freakery and career self-aggrandisement, the people who currently hold power are reluctant to relinquish it.

Given the huge popularity of writers such as J K Rowling, Stephanie Myers and Terry Pratchett, I think there must be a reason why societies like the BFS and the GSS have such tiny membership bases (each has less than 500 members). In my opinion, it comes down to poor leadership, poor management and murky, inefficient awards and election processes. So long as a small handful of people at the top of the pyramid scratch a reasonable living they don't give a damn about the health of the genre.

Having said that, I'm past caring about it all, and am certainly not interested in arguing my case with the relevant parties anymore. People get the government they settle for, and although it's a shame that fantasy and horror fans don't have more highly respected lobby groups, then they only have themselves to blame. No disrespect to Susan Hill or Kim Newman - whose work and achievements I openly admire - but every Christmas the media casts about for somebody authoritative to comment on the ghost story, and they always turn to SH and KN, rather than approach any 'official' genre organisation. Not only is the British Fantasy Society badly named (what with it's Life President being a horror writer), but it has such a low profile and an unprofessional reputation that it is little wonder that mainstream critics poke fun at a genre which has a very fine literary pedigree stretching all the way back to Horace Walpole and Mary Shelley.

JK

nomis
06-09-2009, 08:08 AM
Given the huge popularity of writers such as J K Rowling, Stephanie Myers and Terry Pratchett, I think there must be a reason why societies like the BFS and the GSS have such tiny membership bases (each has less than 500 members).

Ignoring the rest of the post because I've read your arguments on the topic before, I'll instead focus on this section.

Personally, I don't find this the least bit surprising. Enjoying a book from a genre, or even series of books, does not make you devoted enough to the cause to join a society. I'm a fan of hard-boiled detective fiction, but my name would not appear in the ranks of "The Black Mask Society" (or whatever it's called). As much as we love supernatural fiction, we have to be aware that not everyone will like it as much as we do, not to the extent that they will join an organisation that, in reality, does little beyond allow the joiner to say "Hey, I'm part of an organisation!"

I also believe that those who publish and market books are crawling over themselves trying to follow the Myers, Prachetts, and Rowlings of the world with more of the same. It's in their best interests, after all. Yet that hasn't worked. The closest we came was the horror boom in the 80's on the back of Stephen King et al. and it lasted on a few years. I think we have to conclude that our sub-genre shall always remain as such. People may visit, but very few are willing to set up shop.

Nemonymous
06-09-2009, 08:09 AM
Well, I thought Chris's alternative awards were quite funny (and acerbic, yes).

This thread, on the other hand, is just plain tragic:

2009 BFS Awards Short List (http://s256537080.websitehome.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=27;topic=1973.20#msg12713)

Still, maybe I'm in a minority of one.

Mark S.


I don't understand the word 'tragic' in this context. Please explain. I started the thread to ask some genuine questions about the short list.

Julian Karswell
06-09-2009, 08:37 AM
Well, I thought Chris's alternative awards were quite funny (and acerbic, yes).

This thread, on the other hand, is just plain tragic:

2009 BFS Awards Short List (http://s256537080.websitehome.co.uk/forum/index.php?board=27;topic=1973.20#msg12713)

Still, maybe I'm in a minority of one.

Mark S.


I don't understand the word 'tragic' in this context. Please explain. I started the thread to ask some genuine questions about the short list.

Try playing the lion for once rather than always being the christian, old bean.

I can't speak for Mark but I doubt he'd take offence if you deduced what he meant and then either ruefully agreed with him or fought back to defend your own corner.

Just make it interesting.....please!

Joel
06-09-2009, 09:08 AM
I don't think people should be allowed to vote for their own work, though I do understand the argument that if they can't, they are faced with a choice between voting against themselves and not voting at all. This is especially tough for the editor and/or publisher of a book they have not written, as they want to see the author(s) recognised. Likewise for the editor of a magazine.

Given the chance, I wouldn't vote for myself but I can't promise that I would vote in a category where I had been nominated. It would depend on how enthusiastic I was about the other nominated works. I wouldn't refuse to vote for a story that had really impressed me in case it won.

It's also worth remembering, in relation to awards as well as reviews, that informed taste and judgement in literature is diverse. There is no 'objective' standard whereby real quality can be identified, though there are relatively objective criteria whereby very bad writing can be nailed. For example, Ligotti is on record as saying he doesn't rate Aickman's work. Does that make Ligotti objectively wrong or make Aickman objectively bad? No, in both cases. These are complex matters where personal judgement will vary. I think Joe Hill is an excellent writer. Other people don't. So it goes.

Incidentally, my own work has recently been very forcefully attacked in a review by a leading genre critic. I say this not to protest, and certainly not to get sympathy, but to illustrate that one has to be prepared to take on board a range of opinion. I'm not assuming that critic X is correct and I am rubbish, or that X is an idiot and I am good. My reaction can be summed up by the most eloquent word in the English language: Whatever.

Nemonymous
06-09-2009, 09:39 AM
I don't think people should be allowed to vote for their own work, though I do understand the argument that if they can't, they are faced with a choice between voting against themselves and not voting at all.

I agree with the thrust of that and the embodied dilemma.
At least with my question elsewhere and its answer, I hope there can be no doubt about what the position is. I certainly was in some doubt.

PS: I presume a connected question: if you merely have one story in an anthology, would you avoid voting for the whole anthology?

mark_samuels
06-09-2009, 10:38 AM
The tragic aspect of that thread, Des, is that it adds weight to the view that not only are people quite willing to vote for their own work, but it's regarded as acceptable behaviour (and not only in the BFS but in the Stokers too). I've had it said to me before that no-one should think twice about voting for themselves, since a single vote is often the difference between winning an award and not doing so. The line is really that narrow. And anyway, everyone does it.

Even so. It's wrong. It demeans the process.

Mark S.

Nemonymous
06-09-2009, 10:49 AM
Yes, in many ways I agree, Mark. Best to know the position, though, than not know it. The whole process is, in any event, fraught with imperfections, like all Award systems.

The reason for my extra question to Joel above: what about anthologies? Would you vote for an anthology where you have just one story included, if you felt it was the best anthology?

Also, do I owe it to the many authors in 'Cone Zero' (whose stories I obviously love) to vote for it even though I published/edited it? I've more or less made up my mind, but it would be good to get feedback.

Julian Karswell
06-09-2009, 10:53 AM
I don't think people should vote for themselves, nor do I think they should vote for work they haven't read. In fact, if you haven't read all of the entries in any given category, how can you say what's best?

That's why people end up voting for their mates and the big names they've heard of; and that's why, in my less than humble opinion, the BFS awards are a farce.

JK

Joel
06-09-2009, 10:53 AM
I might vote for an anthology or magazine in which my work had appeared, yes. But maybe not if I had edited it. But in such a case, I recognise, the dilemma is genuine.

mark_samuels
06-09-2009, 11:02 AM
Personally, it doesn't seem ethical to me for an editor to vote for his/her own anthology, but I don't see why the contributors shouldn't vote for it (assuming they like all the other stuff).

Mark S.

Nemonymous
06-09-2009, 11:10 AM
Personally, it doesn't seem ethical to me for an editor to vote for his/her own anthology, but I don't see why the contributors shouldn't vote for it (assuming they like all the other stuff).

Mark S.

Most of me agrees with that.
But 'ethical'? Isn't there a danger here of perceived high-mindedness? Do you see no room whatsoever, then, within the Arts for pragmatic approaches if the rules allow?

Evans
06-09-2009, 11:19 AM
It's also worth remembering, in relation to awards as well as reviews, that informed taste and judgement in literature is diverse. There is no 'objective' standard whereby real quality can be identified, though there are relatively objective criteria whereby very bad writing can be nailed. For example, Ligotti is on record as saying he doesn't rate Aickman's work. Does that make Ligotti objectively wrong or make Aickman objectively bad? No, in both cases. These are complex matters where personal judgement will vary. I think Joe Hill is an excellent writer. Other people don't. So it goes.

I would agree with philosophy to some extent. Critical deconstruction and awards can go so far but at the end of day its up to the reader to decide whether they like it or not.

Julian Karswell
06-09-2009, 11:56 AM
Personally, it doesn't seem ethical to me for an editor to vote for his/her own anthology, but I don't see why the contributors shouldn't vote for it (assuming they like all the other stuff).

Mark S.

Most of me agrees with that.
But 'ethical'? Isn't there a danger here of perceived high-mindedness? Do you see no room whatsoever, then, within the Arts for pragmatic approaches if the rules allow?

Just out of interest.....have you voted for yourself or for a book you've been involved in?

Nemonymous
06-09-2009, 12:00 PM
Just out of interest.....have you voted for yourself or for a book you've been involved in?

No, never, Chris. But I'm currently wrestling with 'Cone Zero' because of a few conscientious dilemmas about doing so. At this moment in time, I shall probably not do so.

MadsPLP
06-09-2009, 12:26 PM
Incidentally, my own work has recently been very forcefully attacked in a review by a leading genre critic. I say this not to protest, and certainly not to get sympathy, but to illustrate that one has to be prepared to take on board a range of opinion. I'm not assuming that critic X is correct and I am rubbish, or that X is an idiot and I am good. My reaction can be summed up by the most eloquent word in the English language: Whatever.

While I'm not very interested in neither mainstream nor genre awards (I lost all interest some 12 years ago when the Danish Grammy for best heavy metal performance went to a pop band instead of a metal band - what a wake up call!), I'm quite interested in reading criticism on writers I like. I've always found the complete opposite of my own viewpoints interesting (to a certain degree, naturally).

You don't happen to have a link to said review? (I realise you may not be too interested in giving it too much publicity, but...I'm curious.)

Edit: While I don't care much for awards myself (after all - who should give ME an award for anything at all), I know they can boost sales, and I'm consequently very happy for you who got nominated, make no mistake about that. Congratulations.

Joel
06-09-2009, 01:22 PM
MadsPLP, the review did not appear online. It was an honest to goodness PUBLISHED review in a respected critical journal. I'm resisting giving details because that would look like whining, and I only mentioned it to make a wider point about critical reputations rarely being consistent and that being something writers get used to.

Joel
06-09-2009, 01:37 PM
To conclude any discussion on the review in question, it was in the peer-reviewed journal Foundation. See
http://www.sf-foundation.org/publications/foundation/issue102.html
if you want to buy the relevant issue. Content is not available online. One of my first ever publications was an article in Foundation on Ramsey Campbell's early novels, published in 1987 I think.

Nemonymous
06-09-2009, 02:01 PM
MadsPLP, the review did not appear online. It was an honest to goodness PUBLISHED review in a respected critical journal.

I love such journals. But are you suggesting that Reviews can only be published in such organs? Aren't other outlets 'honest to goodness' and, if so, who decides?

Also Cf. THE NIGHTMARE NETWORK - View Single Post - Ex Occidente Press (http://www.ligotti.net/showpost.php?p=22423&postcount=106)

MadsPLP
06-09-2009, 03:48 PM
MadsPLP, the review did not appear online. It was an honest to goodness PUBLISHED review in a respected critical journal. I'm resisting giving details because that would look like whining, and I only mentioned it to make a wider point about critical reputations rarely being consistent and that being something writers get used to.
Oh my, does reviews still get published on paper?

Thank you very much for the link.


I certainly - I doubt you thought that, but still... - wasn't implying that you were whining. I agree with your sentiments.
Part of being an author is receiving criticism - negative or positive, well founded or the opposite. As soon as one is published, one way or another, people are allowed to have an opinion on it. Sometimes, it probably feels the same way as when having complete strangers slagging your kid off in publing, but that's part of the joys of being a writer, I guess.

The reason I am interested, in general, is because reading negative criticism of an artist whose work I like helps me to pinpoint what it is exactly I like about said artist. For me, personally, negative criticism is an important corrective to my own taste, a necessary reassesment, as well as a way of letting me get to know an artist better. And, admiring The Lost District is the reason I'm interested in it in particular.

Julian Karswell
06-09-2009, 05:05 PM
MadsPLP, the review did not appear online. It was an honest to goodness PUBLISHED review in a respected critical journal. I'm resisting giving details because that would look like whining, and I only mentioned it to make a wider point about critical reputations rarely being consistent and that being something writers get used to.
Oh my, does reviews still get published on paper?

Thank you very much for the link.


I certainly - I doubt you thought that, but still... - wasn't implying that you were whining. I agree with your sentiments.
Part of being an author is receiving criticism - negative or positive, well founded or the opposite. As soon as one is published, one way or another, people are allowed to have an opinion on it. Sometimes, it probably feels the same way as when having complete strangers slagging your kid off in publing, but that's part of the joys of being a writer, I guess.

The reason I am interested, in general, is because reading negative criticism of an artist whose work I like helps me to pinpoint what it is exactly I like about said artist. For me, personally, negative criticism is an important corrective to my own taste, a necessary reassesment, as well as a way of letting me get to know an artist better. And, admiring The Lost District is the reason I'm interested in it in particular.

Au contraire, having to tolerate criticism is NOT part of "being an author". Writers write, that's all they are required to do. The notion that they are also obligated to sit back like submissive liberals and listen to what other people think of their work is both naive and presumptious.

History is littered with writers (and indeed) artists who either ferociously disliked or just plain ignored criticism. In fact it's well-known that many writers (and actors and singers etc etc) pointedly refuse to read their own press.

Sure, some writers might engage with their critics, but it's rare. Writers are dogs and critics are cats and the two don't always agree.

There are a very small handful of respected critics in every artistic genre. They've earned the respect of the artists they pass judgement on by being knowledgable, positive and consistently astute. The notion that any reader who can cobble a plebian view together deserves to be accorded similar status is preposterous. This delusion is an internet mirage.

There's an old cliche that people who can't write become critics (similar to the one that says "those that can, do; those that can't, teach"). I think this is unfair. I think that there are a handful of excellent critics in every genre. However, there are rules of engagement, and one of them is that just as a writer has earned the right to get published, a critic needs to earn the right to critique, and having his or her reviews published in a respected journal is one step towards that.

JK

Joe Pulver
06-09-2009, 05:16 PM
MadsPLP, the review did not appear online. It was an honest to goodness PUBLISHED review in a respected critical journal. I'm resisting giving details because that would look like whining, and I only mentioned it to make a wider point about critical reputations rarely being consistent and that being something writers get used to.
Oh my, does reviews still get published on paper?

Thank you very much for the link.


I certainly - I doubt you thought that, but still... - wasn't implying that you were whining. I agree with your sentiments.
Part of being an author is receiving criticism - negative or positive, well founded or the opposite. As soon as one is published, one way or another, people are allowed to have an opinion on it. Sometimes, it probably feels the same way as when having complete strangers slagging your kid off in publing, but that's part of the joys of being a writer, I guess.

The reason I am interested, in general, is because reading negative criticism of an artist whose work I like helps me to pinpoint what it is exactly I like about said artist. For me, personally, negative criticism is an important corrective to my own taste, a necessary reassesment, as well as a way of letting me get to know an artist better. And, admiring The Lost District is the reason I'm interested in it in particular.

Au contraire, having to tolerate criticism is NOT part of "being an author". Writers write, that's all they are required to do. The notion that they are also obligated to sit back like submissive liberals and listen to what other people think of their work is both naive and presumptious.

History is littered with writers (and indeed) artists who either ferociously disliked or just plain ignored criticism. In fact it's well-known that many writers (and actors and singers etc etc) pointedly refuse to read their own press.

Sure, some writers might engage with their critics, but it's rare. Writers are dogs and critics are cats and the two don't always agree.

There are a very small handful of respected critics in every artistic genre. They've earned the respect of the artists they pass judgement on by being knowledgable, positive and consistently astute. The notion that any reader who can cobble a plebian view together deserves to be accorded similar status is preposterous. This delusion is an internet mirage.

There's an old cliche that people who can't write become critics (similar to the one that says "those that can, do; those that can't, teach"). I think this is unfair. I think that there are a handful of excellent critics in every genre. However, there are rules of engagement, and one of them is that just as a writer has earned the right to get published, a critic needs to earn the right to critique, and having his or her reviews published in a respected journal is one step towards that.

JK

"Au contraire, having to tolerate criticism is NOT part of "being an author". Writers write, that's all they are required to do. The notion that they are also obligated to sit back like submissive liberals and listen to what other people think of their work is both naive and presumptious. "

True, the way I see it. Thanks for sticking up for us.

nomis
06-09-2009, 06:14 PM
"Au contraire, having to tolerate criticism is NOT part of "being an author". Writers write, that's all they are required to do. The notion that they are also obligated to sit back like submissive liberals and listen to what other people think of their work is both naive and presumptious. "

True, the way I see it. Thanks for sticking up for us.

Actually, it misses Joel's point entirely.

Evans
06-09-2009, 06:26 PM
Au contraire, having to tolerate criticism is NOT part of "being an author". Writers write, that's all they are required to do. The notion that they are also obligated to sit back like submissive liberals and listen to what other people think of their work is both naive and presumptious.

Sure, some writers might engage with their critics, but it's rare. Writers are dogs and critics are cats and the two don't always agree.


I feel that writers, artists or singers have a right to challange critics if they feel said person hasn't explained their reasons fully or missed a fundamental point.


MadsPLP, the review did not appear online. It was an honest to goodness PUBLISHED review in a respected critical journal. I'm resisting giving details because that would look like whining, and I only mentioned it to make a wider point about critical reputations rarely being consistent and that being something writers get used to.

I'm sorry for prying but I know your opinions on magazines and things so I have to ask. How do people actuely get into reviewing and writing articles for small scale publications. I know it sounds like a silly question but I'm curios to know.

Julian Karswell
06-09-2009, 08:31 PM
"Au contraire, having to tolerate criticism is NOT part of "being an author". Writers write, that's all they are required to do. The notion that they are also obligated to sit back like submissive liberals and listen to what other people think of their work is both naive and presumptious. "

True, the way I see it. Thanks for sticking up for us.

Actually, it misses Joel's point entirely.

I wasn't commenting on Joel's point, rather the issue in a broader context.

People who tailor their writing to secure the approval of critics are compromising. People should write about what they know and like, and they should strive to do it as well as they can. If they can then place it with a sympathetic readership then all well and good, but I think it's quite easy to sniff out the fraudsters who crave and chase popularity and success.

Most of the enduring art from history was created by visionaries; sure, many took lucrative commissions to pay the bills, but left to their own devices, most artists (and writers) go off on a personal tangent and produce something that is profoundly important to them.

Pinter, Orwell and Joyce didn't chase sales by penning populist Barbara Cartland or Jeffrey Archer style novels.

MadsPLP
06-10-2009, 06:01 AM
MadsPLP, the review did not appear online. It was an honest to goodness PUBLISHED review in a respected critical journal. I'm resisting giving details because that would look like whining, and I only mentioned it to make a wider point about critical reputations rarely being consistent and that being something writers get used to.
Oh my, does reviews still get published on paper?

Thank you very much for the link.


I certainly - I doubt you thought that, but still... - wasn't implying that you were whining. I agree with your sentiments.
Part of being an author is receiving criticism - negative or positive, well founded or the opposite. As soon as one is published, one way or another, people are allowed to have an opinion on it. Sometimes, it probably feels the same way as when having complete strangers slagging your kid off in publing, but that's part of the joys of being a writer, I guess.

The reason I am interested, in general, is because reading negative criticism of an artist whose work I like helps me to pinpoint what it is exactly I like about said artist. For me, personally, negative criticism is an important corrective to my own taste, a necessary reassesment, as well as a way of letting me get to know an artist better. And, admiring The Lost District is the reason I'm interested in it in particular.

Au contraire, having to tolerate criticism is NOT part of "being an author". Writers write, that's all they are required to do. The notion that they are also obligated to sit back like submissive liberals and listen to what other people think of their work is both naive and presumptious.

History is littered with writers (and indeed) artists who either ferociously disliked or just plain ignored criticism. In fact it's well-known that many writers (and actors and singers etc etc) pointedly refuse to read their own press.


I fail to see what makes this different to what I just wrote?
I probably should've made this more explicit, instead of just implying it, but what I meant was that a writer should really just let criticism go (unless it's by someone whose judgement the writer trusts).