The OF Blog: A couple of Friday morning links

Friday, January 27, 2012

A couple of Friday morning links

Black Gate article on authors fading due to age.

Beyond the possible attempt to bait fans of George R.R. Martin, I found this article to be very flawed.  One could argue that in the case of authors who write primarily multi-volume epic fantasies is that after a stage, it is increasingly difficult to balance creativity (after all, the main exposition occurs early in such tales) and continuity.  And when one goes outside that narrow field, the premise becomes even more ridiculous.  After all, I'm typing this with a copy of Umberto Eco's Confessions of a Young Novelist, Cormac McCarthy's The Road, and several of Jorge Luis Borges' collections on shelves around me.

Worst part about articles such as this is that they show the provincialism that seems to infect so many bloggers who want to sound as though they are making a profound point.  Rather than even entertaining the possibility that it might be fossilized narratives and nearly-as-ancient "fan" expectations, simple, flawed arguments such as this piece are written.

Requires Only That You Hate takes on Pat's Fantasy Hotlist

Nothing really to say but those quotes really are damning, aren't they?


Ben Godby said...

I found the Black Gate article interesting more or less because I'd never heard anyone say anything like that before. Sure, it's a biological truism, and perhaps I'm merely a young'un without the years beneath my belt to recognize it for whatever brand of perniciousness lies beneath its surface, and obviously there's no shortage of OTHER explanations - we're talking arts and letters, here, not hard sciences, and everyone always has another answer with as much Truth, but just as little Correctness, as any other.

Hooray, Humanities!


Onwards, to the Eternalium Serum!

Bill said...

I saw that rant targeted against Pat - and then I went to the "about" page and saw the author rant some more against someone's comments/questions.

I know Pat isn't everyone's favorite, but those quotes are ... what they are ... pretty sure any American male going to Thailand is going to make similar, if not foolish, observations.

(Although the quote about wearing pants into a temple... that was funny.)

The author was just too angry to take seriously - and probably starving for attention for their angry blog.

If I do an angry blog post about someone who is more popular than me - will that get me some more clicks and traffic? Then what? Still gotta be entertaining, informative and not cuss out everyone who leaves a comment, right?

Or maybe that works. Andrew 'Dice' Clay for blogging - just keep being angry, people will love you. Rawr.

Or... *yawn* (but morbidly fascinating).

Do you think Pat will respond? Now THAT could be funny.

Liviu said...

As I agree that cheap attacks are now du jour in hoping to get some page views, I am just curious if you read The Platform (2001) by Michel Houellebeck (French, famous Prix Goncourt winner..)

Liviu said...

oops it's Platform without the article; highly recommended btw like The Elementary Particles, while I still did not get yet to Map and Territory or Possibility of an island

Larry Nolen said...

The ageism in that Black Gate piece is amusing, but I really don't have much more to say than I thought it was an interesting link.

As for the second piece, I rarely subscribe to tone arguments, as that detracts from the actual argument at hand. Those quotes are pretty bad in any context.


No, I haven't read any Houllebecq, but the recent New Yorker piece on his latest (Map and Territory?) was a decided mixed review. Maybe in the near future, once this backlog of reading/scheduled reviews eases up in a month or so.

Bibliotropic said...

I stopped reading Pat's blog ages ago. Sometimes there was some good content, but he said too many things that pissed me off for me to consider it worth it to continue reading. The Elizabeth Moon Islam debacle was the final straw for me, I recall, since his idiotic commentary came hot on the heels of me writing a take-down of Moon's so-called persuasive arguments. I just wasn't in the mood to deal with more bullshit.

Anubis said...

That's exactly how I felt when I read his piece on Elizabeth Moon. I kicked Pat's Fantasy Hotlist out of my regular blog reading list after this one.

Michal said...

RE: The Black Gate article. It is alarmingly ageist, isn't it? Gene Wolfe is 80 years strong and I enjoy him as much as ever. The highlight, though, was Theodore Beale showing up in the comments to say A Dance with Dragons was a "steaming turd" before plugging his Eternal Warriors series...oh good lord...

RE: Pat's Fantasy Hotlist

Wasn't he the guy who said The Last Wish was a YA novel?

Seeing his comments on The Privilege of the Sword only cements my complete non-desire to follow his blog.

Anubis said...

Is that Sapkowski’s The Last Wish? Which is a short story collection, and not a novel at all?

Michal said...

See for yourself:

(This was the first review I ever read on Pat's Fantasy Hot list, back in the day. It was also the last.)

Larry Nolen said...

Theodore Beale, huh? I knew that name sounded vaguely familiar, then I saw he and Scott Bakker had a series of running blog posts a year or two ago against each other. If he comes out against Martin (and plugs his own works, which by description seem to be just the sort of thing that I do not want to read), then it makes it easier to dismiss those arguments out of hand.

Ah, yes, that Last Wish review. I commented second there, more polite than I'd be today, noting the errors in that assessment. And to think that since then he's regressed in many ways as a reviewer. Scary, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Looks like your links riled up some feathers:

"Yes, I know that Larry has helped disseminate this personal attack against me. Funny that he didn't take the time to read the related posts and see that the better part of acrackedmoon's post is stuff taken out of context. Considering that Larry can read like 4 novels in a day, he could probably have read all my Southeast-Asian posts in about 5.2 seconds. Many of you thought that Larry and I were friends. So did I. . ."

Larry Nolen said...

Eh. Problem was, I had read them and was surprised she didn't quote the Romania one about the government and potential lawsuit about the then-typoed "errand dogs." That's about all I'll have to say on the issue, as I have deadlines tonight and tomorrow to meet.

James said...

Damn those errand dogs, so unreliable! Always running about biting tourists instead of keeping on task. Tsk. This is why I am against employing animals for jobs best done by humans. Sure, you have to pay them, but they don't bite... as often... and you don't have to worry about them shitting on your carpet.

wotmania member said...

Honestly, Larry, if you read Pat's blog regularly, the tongue-in-cheek tone is obvious and regular. The damning quotes were entirely taken out of context and quoted as though Pat were being 100% serious.

I know Pat's fallen out of favor with you in recent years, but I enjoy both of your blogs. I was surprised how quick you were to join such an angry, hate-filled post in condemning Pat.

Roland said...

I'm sorry too, to see you supporting that angry, hateful blogpost.
Even if you happen to agree with some of the content, the way he/she expresses him/herself and the way he/she writes about wanting to kill Pat, it really shouldn't be encouraged.
The quality of Pat's blog (or lack of) can be discussed in a more civilized way than resorting to swearwords, death-threats and the equivalent to juvenile screaming.

Larry Nolen said...

Sorry, but the excuse "tongue-in-cheek" does not apply in most of those quotes, particularly the ones on Islam. If you think that was tongue-in-cheek, then I'd hate to see the serious comments on the issue.

Why do so many people get up in arms about a rant post on a blog that uses rant rhetoric to make rather sharp comments about social issues within genre literature and media? I don't agree with everything she's written (and I've been reading her blog for close to a year now, before she changed her handle name and the blog layout), but I don't get huffy and offensive. I consider her points because she has some interesting things to say that have made me re-evaluate a few things (she put in crystal clear focus the things that made me uneasy when I read Paolo Bacigalupi's The Wind-Up Girl a few years ago), plus she has written much more than just screeds about the "neckbeards." But since there are so many who want to lash out and take offense, who wouldn't follow up on that?

If you want, read her reviews. Some of them are very judicious in how she balances out praise and criticism for what the authors accomplish. That's what should be read if you start to think that blog is one-note just because of the occasional link to a controversial post.

As for the comments in that particular post, who hasn't vented and said "Oooh! I could just kill him/her right about now!"? That's how I took it, especially since I was there on Twitter when it was originally said.

Anonymous said...

Having a point doesn't make the anger any more palatable. It's cheap theatrics, it's dishonest with the intent of finding page reviews, and it's frankly very boring. Your distaste for more mainstream fantasy is well known, and supporting this sort of crap only discredits any notion of balance that might have once held. Not that you care, obviously.

Larry Nolen said...

Again, read more than just the linked threads. When she reviews works, she often does a very good job at breaking things down, better than I do on occasion. Take for example her review of Nicole Kornher-Stace's Desideria. That's better than what I would have written when I read it three years ago.

Luke said...

There's nothing essentially 'wrong' about an inflammatory rhetoric. It's straight-up ignorant to use it as an excuse to ignore an argument.

I've noticed all the reactions are (a)she's angry so ignore her (b) but Pat is just being FUNNY lol or (c)the quotes are "out of context". (Sure, why not ignore her argument completely.)

So. Pat can be racist/ignorant, but it doesn't matter because he's "being funny". Meanwhile somebody calls him out on it, but her argument doesn't count because "it's angry".


Anonymous said...

I've read some of her other posts. I'd rather read her than Pat to be honest with you, but that doesn't mean i want to dive through piles of hate to get to the point.

Hate is boring, or empty hate and grandstanding, because it detracts from the argument. More people will be against her than for her, and any hope she has of carrying the argument further like a rational adult will fail. Her screaming from the roof top is little different than evangelicals screaming about gays. Simply put, adults don't do it.

Luke said...

@Anon I'd say that hate, implemented rhetorically, isn't utterly worthless--it's not something inherently *bad*; it can be used to effectively communicate serious ideas 'in disguise' to certain audiences.

That said, I don't have much of an opinion on how well she implements hate-rhetoric, or whether its the right choice. Your point is, of course, perfectly valid: the annoying part is the people who use her style as a way of discrediting her arguments against Pat.

Arguments are true/false independent of who proposes them. Not many people seem to have an actual defense for Pat which, like the quotes, is pretty damning.

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