The OF Blog: Strangers

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Ever since I began my current job back in September 2010 and gave up actively seeking review copies in October, I have lost a bit of contact with most of the blogosphere currents I used to follow during my times of underemployment.  Sometimes, there really isn't much to say when you are reading different things than what are being built up as being "the_____ of _____" (not to mention the vast majority of these books are never really discussed six months after their initial release date) on other, more genre-oriented blogs.  But there's something else I'm noticing and it's not all that positive.

Although you will find very few genre-oriented blogs listed in my blogroll now, that does not mean that I do not try to keep at least occasional tabs on those sites that used to be listed there (the main reason I removed them is due to the format change at this blog last year).  What I've noticed is a dearth of actual cross discussions between blogs.  I did notice the past month's back and forth on Mike Glyer's File 770 in response to Aidan Moher's questioning of the validity of the Hugo Best Fanzine/Best Fan Writer categories, but outside of that I would be hard pressed to find more examples of viewpoint exchanges between bloggers/reviewers that exist outside of the ephemeral Twitter.

Perhaps Twitter is the culprit.  I certainly have seen the outline of several interesting discussions (including one this morning on the uselessness of "non-spoiler reviews" in actually discussing the works read), but it is a poor medium for fleshing out ideas.  So few essays of any sort these days, personal or in reaction to another's thoughts. Beyond that, there just haven't been all that many links to other interesting points of view.  I know I've slacked on that myself, or otherwise I would have already linked to this nice review of Téa Obreht's The Tiger's Wife, which I think is one of the best novels released in 2011, if not the best.  Perhaps I should have responded much sooner to this post which mentions me in passing, although I'm afraid my basic reaction then (and now) was along the lines of "Why should anyone care whether or not you 'adore' the author in question in noting you couldn't interact with his story?"  Such is not enough to generate anything more than the most superficial of discussions, that of like/dislike.

Maybe another culprit is the self-centered nature of blogs themselves.  After all, isn't my blog the bestest out there?  Shouldn't more people be reading me because I cover more interesting books and debates and do so in a fashion that doesn't play down to the LCD factor?  Such an attitude can be poisonous to actual discussions between bloggers/reviewers.  Maybe I should try to gush over others' "exclusive excerpts" or cover ar...err, no.  There are some limits that it is best not to transgress.  Perhaps it is just natural entropy as blogs become more "established" that the "echo chamber" becomes smaller and smaller until there is little real interaction between people.  Maybe we are fated to be strangers in a weird electronic sea, passing by each other through the e-nights, barely recognizing the other across the way.

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites