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Barth
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 08:49 am:   

Via Gwenda Bond: A new blog called The Latest Dark Cabal.

http://darkcabal.blogspot.com/2005/06/next-generation.html

The above post is largely about "the next wave" or "the next generation" or all the "young" "kids" (the writer does acknowledge that some are now forty). It's well worth reading, especially because "Onyx," the reviewer, praises Nick Mamatas', David Moles', and David Lomax's stories in Rapid Transit Numero Dos. Clearly a person of refinement and taste.

Then there's this:

"I want to push a lot of these young writers--not towards sf per say, but to something more. Do something with your fiction--narrator, science fiction, strangeness, unsettling truths, humor. Push a little harder."

This reminds me of a critique I got at Clarion, by the great Elad Haber: "I want these characters to shut up and go do something cool."

Which was good advice for that particular story (honest, Elad!), but does it work for a whole "generation" of writers? What's Onyx saying here? I wanted to ask for elaboration, but the blog doesn't allow anonymous posts. In the comments section, Onyx does allow that the infernokrusher thang might bring "energy" to the next generation's writing.

But is that it? Is that all we need? Energy? Push hard? Be better? Be funnier? Shut up and do something cool?
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 09:27 am:   

Barth: Was sent to this site by a friend today because it has a review of my story. All well and good, and I appreciate them taking the time to read it and construct a thoughtful review. I'm going to link to it on my own message board where I've collected some reviews of that story. And then I looked the site over and read the other stuff and had a few thoughts about it. What am I to think of the anonimity of the reviewers of the site? They're all about the Truth, but they don't give their names. Hypocitres? Chicken Shit?
Or the only real way to accomplish their goal? Their big bugaboo is that other people are nominating their friends' works for awards. How can the reader be sure they are not promoting their own friends and themselves? We have to take it on faith; a faith they are unable to extend to others. This bespeaks a kind of smarmy self-righteousness. And then this thing of pushing a younger generation of writers, which means pushing them in a direction whatever one that might be. Why not just sit back and see how things blossom? The results of newer generations of writers (if left to their own devices) will most likely appear decidedly different than anything the older generations will dream of and often be something they will most likely in their hearts not approve of. Isn't that the way it works? Isn't that the beauty of it?
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 02:39 pm:   

The "next generation" of what?

The point of that post seems to be that, after reading a number of magazines and chapbooks, the reviewer found a few excellent stories, some good stories, and some mediocre stories. Just like pretty much any other bunch of stories ever published.

Between that and the fact that my story rocks, I'm still hungry to hear something I don't know.
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Deborah
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 03:56 pm:   

Jeff, Smarmy Self Righteousness is the new Critical Theory, isn't it?
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jeff ford
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 04:07 pm:   

Deb: No, that one's been around for a long time. Reviews are reviews, like Nick said, ..ok, and? What gets me is we're supposed to trust them, even though they don't trust us. Because their smart enough, seasoned enough, and will definitely be honest. And they have the answers to making people stop voting for their friends' work, cleaning up awards, directing a younger generations of writers, and generally revamping the shebang. All by witholding their names. I think we're in Jimmy Swaggart country here.
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Deborah
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 04:26 pm:   

Heh, yeah, you're right.

The idea that awards need to be cleaned up is kind of comical. I may not agree with the results in every case, but unless there's actual ballot-stuffing (i.e. more than one vote per voting entity) or bribery or intimidation or something going on, who really cares why people vote the way they do on these things?
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Tim Pratt
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 05:09 pm:   

I guess in theory I like the idea that they can write reviews without worrying about egos or interpersonal crap or getting glared at when they go to conventions. But I dunno. I write reviews under my own byline (though my boss won't publish rip-jobs, so they're never really nasty reviews), and I don't get much crap about it. I do wonder if some of their irritation about the awards process comes from not seeing their *own* stories appear on award ballots, but maybe that's just my generally dark view of human nature talking. :-)

I do think it's a bit early to be passing any kind of judgement on writers who just started publishing a year or three ago. C'mon, give us a little time, here. And I think talking about "the new generation" as if they're a single somewhat homogenous group is pretty weird, because I don't think they are (a possible shared joy for InfernoKrushing aside)...
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Jonathan
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 05:17 pm:   

I've got to say, I've got no time at all for anonymous reviews. I was asked to be part of a similar 'unbylined' online project and refused. Why? I think it's chickenshit. If you don't want to put your name to your opinion, keep your mouth shut. Oh, and I know that the PW reviews are unsigned, but that IS different. They are all bylined PW, and PW has to wear the wrap for them.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Monday, June 13, 2005 - 05:39 pm:   

There's a dubious implication amongst both the Cabal and the pleading respondents in the comments section that the "new generation" needs guidance and interaction with critics in order to "get better" -- where presumably they one day will follow the same arc of development as their forebears.

This, of course, is crazy nonsense. Tons of writers get worse as they go along for a variety of reasons (ability to coast on rep, fannish demands for "more of the same", just sucking in the first place), and those that do improve do so at different rates and for highly individual reasons. Anonymous critics saying "C'mon, be better" is likely never one of those reasons.

At the same time, reading is reading. It's a little unseemly to beg for special treatment based on being newly published. Publication is the act of making public, and if you don't want your stuff judged by the public, don't make it public. This is as true as one's first story as it is of one's 100th.
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StephenB
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 03:08 am:   

I don't think it's so one-sided.

One thing I notice about some of the reviewers and critics, is they seem to take pride in finding negative things to say about a story. When a story's really good, why try and pick out faults? Why not just appreciate it, and instead, try to understand the story and the techniques used? Part of what makes a story successful, is if the author succeeds at whatever they're trying to accomplish. A good critic should have an eye for that. Good criticism isn't just about deciding whether a story's good or not. It's about recognizing what the author is trying to do with the story and the methods used in achieving that and whether it worked or not.

But to say that criticism doesn't play a part in the evolution of writing isn't accurate. In SF, look back to the golden age and how writers like James Blish and Damon Knight, who were both highly critical of other writers in their time, helped push the genre forward. It's just like in anything. By being critical of society we can see how things can be better. Otherwise you have complacency.

Personally I'm more interested in writing my own stuff. And I know how personal writing is, so I don't want to go around running people down. But I like to discuss things I read with others. How it made me feel and think. I can learn a lot about writing, by trying to understand what other writers do. Although, if it pays well, reviewing and criticism, can be a good way for a writer to make some extra money through writing.

I may not agree with the results in every case, but unless there's actual ballot-stuffing (i.e. more than one vote per voting entity) or bribery or intimidation or something going on, who really cares why people vote the way they do on these things?

I think the point Deborah, is that these awards shouldn't be a popularity contest. It should be about giving recognition to Some of the best fiction. Say if writer A doesn't get along with writer C, but is good buddies with writer B, and votes for writer B even though writer C clearly wrote the better story, then it becomes partly about who you're friends with. The writer who is really nice to everyone and is warm and gracious to fans and writers, may then win certain awards over the writer who's sometimes a bit of a dick. I'm not saying that's how it works because I'm not close enough to the process to know either way. But certainly there is a certain degree of politics involved. Just like with most awards. A writer who votes for a story by someone who they may not neccissarily like that much, over a story written by a friend because they honestly felt that story was better, is doing the right thing, even though they may not always feel that way.
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Barth
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 05:46 am:   

Nick: There's a dubious implication amongst both the Cabal and the pleading respondents in the comments section that the "new generation" needs guidance and interaction with critics in order to "get better" -- where presumably they one day will follow the same arc of development as their forebears.

Exactly. Which led me to the momentary thought while reading Onyx's post: Jesus, is this David Truesdale?? Same self-righteousness (right word, Jeff) and the same over-generalization about "new writers." Same vagueness and inability to criticize effectively. All we need is an off-hand comment about politically correct bisexuals, and it's a match!

And I guess that's part of my brow-furrowing over this blog. Truesdale made this same argument years ago, when these writers actually *were* "new," which makes the blog seem soooo 2002. Even though the reviewer admits coming to these works late, which is not a crime, the point of view seems frozen in time to me. All these writers are *still* new, and therefore, they should be lumped into one category. But Rosenbaum and Rowe, Matamas and Moles (now there's a law firm you can trust!) are vastly different writers - and vastly different from science fiction writers who came before them. Patting them on the heads for a few paragraphs and then blurring them all together with the vague "now try harder" is sloppy reviewing because it stops far short of what's really happening in the "next generation" - and that's this: a diverse menagerie of critters is coming up. The old genre labeling system of "New _____ " and "______ -punk" to describe movements and new writers won't work anymore. You'll have to slow down and look more closely if you're going to place them in proper context. For example, what "literary" (that means non genre, I guess) writers gave birth to these kids? Did the same writers (Borges? really?) who influenced Rosenbaum also influence Rowe? Does it matter?

I guess not, ultimately.

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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 05:59 am:   

I think we need a new generation of critics. Critics who are adept at analyzing and critiquing stories and can be succinct and clear about their views. One of the things I've always felt the genre lacked are smart reviewers(besides a few very good critics that are out there, Jonathan Strahan, Gary Wolfe, just for example). Who is the Michiko Kakutani of spec fic, for example? Why don't I ever quake in my boots for fear that the Michiko Kakutani of spec fic is going to be reviewing one of my stories? Because in general most reviews just recount the plot of a story and then either give it a "I liked this quite a bit" or "This didn't work for me" sort of statement. That's not really criticism, though. The best new critic we've got lately is Matt Cheney. We need more critics like him.
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jeff ford
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 06:38 am:   

I've always found the differences between writers far more interesting than the likenesses. That's what I find to be the big groan with movements, labels, etc. I've seen my name linked with those of Kelly Link, Jeff VanderMeer and China Mieville, as far as representing the New Weird. I don't see that many similarities between what we each do, although I can't wait to read the next piece of fiction by each of the others. These labels have a way of corralling the literature of the fantastic and imposing false boundaries.
Barth: I don't think you're close with the writer on the Cabal site being Truesdale. Eventhough I disagree with Dave almost all the time about fiction, I do know him a little, and I really doubt Dave would ever go incognito. His ideas may be out there, but he's definitely willing to take responsibility for them. He's not hiding.
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bluejack
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 09:55 am:   

I'm usually pretty impressed by the way Nick Gevers manages to keep his short fiction reviews concise, analytic, and insightful in Locus.

RE: Anonymous reviewers, from the point of view of a reader and reviewer myself, I don't really care whether "Onyx" is Joe Blow from Missouri, or Gardner Dozois... I'll read the review on its own terms. I am interested in the ideas, the reactions, and the reader's reading of the story -- not the identity of the author, except insofar as I can build up a sense of where Onyx is coming from. But I do that over a series of reviews, not because it happens to be someone I know.

Admittedly, when it comes to awards nominations, etc., there is some room for abuse.

Furthermore, as someone who started posting reviews before I was particularly good at it, I can understand the *desire* to "practice" reviewing, and get better at it. However, the science-fiction world is a pretty small one: I think people are a lot more forgiving of a newcomer who's not very polished than they are of a recognized name who's hiding behind anonymity.

Mind you, I go by "bluejack" when reviewing, so you could argue I *am* hiding behind anonymity. But I pretty much use that name interchanably with my given name (Blunt Jackson) so I don't feel I'm trying to be secretive. It's just always been my internet handle, back from the days when a handle was vaguely useful...

In short: (yeah, Christopher, I wish I were more adept at being concise, too!) I don't particularly care if someone reviews anonymously, but for their own sakes, I wouldn't advise it.

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bluejack
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 10:03 am:   

RE: The "reviews" themselves...

"I want to push a lot of these young writers--not towards sf per say, but to something more. Do something with your fiction--narrator, science fiction, strangeness, unsettling truths, humor. Push a little harder." -- Onyx

I don't think authors *or* readers care for preaching in reviews. If it weren't anonymous, it would still be tiresome. The fact that it is both anonymous and *trite* makes it considerably more tiresome.
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Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 11:52 am:   

My own initial reaction to the whole things teeters on the phrase "young writers". Why the **** do people always have to drool over "young" writers and artists? These same poor bastards are going to be greying and balding and sagging one day just like everyone else (God give them the chance) and I find it really annoying to have to hear about the wonders of the young. What the hell is the history of young writers anyhow? Suicide, homosexual binges. What about writers in their 40's, 50's and 60's -- who are often far more innovative than those young tender sapplings. Or better yet, leave age out of it. The hip young elite can go....

You get the idea.

I am 34.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 12:15 pm:   

The anonymous gimmick doesn't bother me overmuch, except that:

a. their nicknames are retarded
b. they don't allow people without blogger IDs to comment
c. they're really overstating the amount to which they'll be marketed to. My li'l blog has more readers that most semi-pro magazines and nobody sends me shit.


Btw, how exactly did Blish and Knight as critics encourage the evolution of the genre, and if it has evolved, why is it that I can walk to B&N, slap my hands over my eyes, grab a title at random, and likely end up with a book about how a peaceful planet is invaded by inexplicably hostile aliens and why this requires the suppression of civil authority and the rise of an individualistic martial hero?
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 12:22 pm:   

God, I should never type anything before 1PM.


(That's what my agent tells me too.)
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bluejack
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 12:35 pm:   

Brendan, "Young Writers" is really pretty much a code for "Writers who have been publishing for less than ten years, and have not yet published a bestselling book, and have published fewer than three novels."

Many "Young Writers" are in their thirties and forties. Probably some are in their fifties.

There are a number of grizzled old guys quite amused to be considered a "Hot Young Writer" -- when they have been submitting stories to magazines for five or ten years, maybe have a collection or two out in a small press, maybe have a novel or two already out of print. Once the buzz gets going, you're a "Hot Young Writer" no matter what! Just ask Charlie Stross, Jim Kelly, or James Van Pelt.
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Brendan
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 12:39 pm:   

Bluejack. Thanks for the tip. So, then, I am not even young yet. Cool. Can't wait to be . . . ;)
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2005 - 03:45 pm:   

Brendan says: "What the hell is the history of young writers anyhow? Suicide, homosexual binges. What about writers in their 40's, 50's and 60's?"

Same thing. Suicide, homosexual binges. It never stops really.

;)

And Blue Jack, you do manage to be concise really.
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Barth
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 05:37 am:   

A comment of mine failed to post yesterday. Dang. It was really insightful and witty, too.

Not really. I was just saying to Jeff Ford that I wasn't serious about the Truesdale comment. Tongue in cheek.

I also said right on to Barzak about critics. We also need reviewers who don't merely read "in genre." That's what's so great about Matt Cheney - he can nimbly jump in and out of genre-brain in the course of a single review, quote obscure and popular writers, etc. And with the wide array of emerging styles, that seems essential.

Clone Cheney and release his multitudes into the wild!

(Also, critics who are solely critics. That seems more pertinent to me than anonymous reviewing.)

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Dave Schwartz
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 08:08 am:   

Clone Cheney and release his multitudes into the wild!

Amen. I was talking about this at WisCon with a couple of people. It's not just that he's erudite and thoughtful and all that; it's also that he's online and accessible. I'd like to see, for example, Horton and Gevers blog like he does, so a real critical conversation could be happening online. They can still get paid, but I'm sure they're not committing all of their thoughts to Locus.

While I agree that critics who are solely critics is the ideal, folks like Cheney and Clute have done well on both sides of the fence, so more power to them.
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Christopher
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 09:57 am:   

Rich Horton maintains what is, for all intents and purposes, a blog in his sff.net newsgroup, here:

http://webnews.sff.net/read?cmd=xover&group=sff.people.richard-horton

He reviews more material there than what you see in Locus. He does year in wrap-ups, comments on awards ballots and has been doing one interesting series of reviews of older, somewhat obscure sf magazines and another of the Ace Doubles. He also posts novel reviews and chatty personal news type notes.
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Dave Schwartz
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 10:21 am:   

I've seen that, Christopher. It resembles a blog, but it doesn't archive beyond a certain point, and the interface (even the "blog view" option) is rather unwieldy. Not that I don't appreciate the fact that he has a web presence, but I'd like to see something better.
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Daniel Abraham
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 09:24 pm:   

Just a couple cents on the issue of critics. The problem I find with the process of criticism is that these poor bastards work under deadline. Ideally, every critic would spend their column inches pointing out really great stuff that I would otherwise have missed or examining why some piece of work is interesting in a way that makes it deeper and more interesting for me as a reader. (As to the mediocre stuff, really silence is damning enough.)

But if you're a critic and you want to do a complete rundown for folks (or if you just didn't hit very much that month that tickled you), what are you going to do?

It's not a job I'd take, and that's God's truth.
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Daniel Abraham
Posted on Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 09:25 pm:   

And "young writers" seems to me to mean anyone who hasn't been doing it for 30 years yet. :-)
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Barth
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 05:05 am:   

The "complete rundown" is the problem, not deadlines. Rundowns aren't criticism, they're barely "reviews," and ultimately, they're written for the collector mentality, not the reader who, as you say, may want their reading experience heightened.

Only the blessed freak can be complete and insightful. Horton, for example, reads everything, astonishingly, *and* he critiques with real ideas and opinions. Dude deserves a medal (or a week's paid vacation in a sanitarium - his choice).
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Charlie Finlay
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 10:44 am:   

Re: the cabal nicknames. It made me think of Pokecritics.

"Onyx... I choose you! Fight Analog writers with... flame power! Go!"

If you claim to be a writer and you're prosyletizing a particular aesthetic, you have to lead by example. Put your name out there so people can judge your own work by the standards you've set for everyone else. "Ah, I see what they're saying. I see how that can work. I'll give it a try in my next story." If the Dark Cabal reposted all the comments in their blog with their own names attached, I'd be more likely to take them seriously. Too many unrequested stories showing up in the email? Hit delete. That's easy.

Until then, I'm inclined to assume that, for example, the other Nebula voters do vote their conscience, for what they perceive as quality. I thought "Sergeant Chip" was far and away the best novella I read last year. The difficult voice was note perfect, the story was smooth and readable (and it's hard to make something look that easy), and I responded strongly to the themes. But it didn't even make the final Nebula ballot. What?? My tastes aren't validated by the majority of voters?!?! Oh my god, the world crumbles in consequence. Other writers have different tastes. How insecure would I have to be for that fact to keep me awake at night?

Finally, as a writer, I have to tell stories and make choices in those stories that feel right, intuitiviely and artistically, to me. If I do that -- and that's hard enough to do by itself -- then I've succeeded whether the stories get good reviews, or get recced for the Nebs or not. Plus, some of the stories I most enjoy reading aren't anything like what I would have written -- consequently, I don't have to tell every other writer to write the same way I write, or make the same decisions I would have made, for me to feel like I've made the right storytelling choices. The whole notion strikes me as opposed to the process by which resonant and meaningful literature is created.

"Yay, Onyx! You fogged up his transparent prose! Now we'll earn the Nebula City trainer ribbon!"

It doesn't work that way. If you want to actively change the way I write, sign your name to your criticisms and show me by example that your ways work better to achieve what I'm trying to achieve in my stories. Then I'll pay attention.
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bluejack
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 11:18 am:   

FWIW: I liked "Sergeant Chip" too. It was definitely on *my* short list of awards candidates.

Q: "My tastes aren't validated by the majority of voters?!?!"

A: Majority of voters, as they keep proving, are mentally deficient. I voted for baseball's all star team last night (twice!). I don't have high hopes.
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Barth
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 01:46 pm:   

"How insecure would I have to be for that fact to keep me awake at night? "

And to defend your poor ol' self-esteem, logically, you would then....start a blog that employs American Gladiator nicknames?

Can we call you Sergeant Chip, Charlie?
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Brendan
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 03:12 pm:   

I don't know. Onyx has a sort of sexy ring to it. Black mask, leather whip, whip-cream white flesh.
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Susan Marie Groppi
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 03:46 pm:   

I'm sorry, I've gotten entirely stuck on Charlie's Pokecritics concept that I may not get anything else done this afternoon. So perfect!
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Steven Francis Murphy
Posted on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 05:24 pm:   

At the risk of using a phrase that will irk some concerning Charlie's comment, I say, "Ditto!"

Pokecritics. There is a story right there.

I would add that it seems to me that in addition to providing a personal example (I can't claim that, as I've not sold any fiction to the pro-markets, yet) one might point out positive examples of what they like, especially in science fiction.

On that front, I can point to something.

http://www.strangehorizons.com/2003/20030616/chasm.shtml

I prefer to write positive reviews. Even bad press is good for a writer and if I don't like their material, why should I bash on them too much?

Best just to say nothing at all.

Respects,
S. F. Murphy
http://sfmurphy.journalspace.com
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 02:17 am:   

I think positive reviews are a good idea, but I also think that there can be criticism of stories that is not bashing but inciteful nonetheless. This is the thing that seems to pervade most genre criticism. It all has to be positive, most of the time. But there are ways to criticize a story that have nothing to do with praise or bashing, and that is the sort of criticism that is sorely lacking. The sort of criticism that elucidates a story, that reviews not just its plot, but its mechanics and how it fits into the scope of writing at large, or within the genre itself. Too often criticism is understood as "bashing" and not in the sense that it's trying to make sense of an aesthetic artifact someone has made. How does it work, why does it work, what is this piece trying to do or say, is it effectively exploring its themes and does the technique employed by the writer work to further these aims etc. It's a hard job, critiquing, but it can be as inciteful as a story itself when it's done right.
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rick bowes
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 05:56 am:   

Nice, lightweight, standard genre bitching thus far. "Cookies For Dinner" could be their subtitle. They have, however, achieved the first objective of any nascent movement. People have paid attention. Now it's up to them to become the SF Eye of this decade. Anonymous reviewers too have to prove themselves. "Sue Denim" eventually turned out to be Bruce Sterling.
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Ellen Datlow
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 07:23 am:   

Wasn't that Lew Shiner?
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Christopher
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 07:31 am:   

Yeah, Lew was Sue. Bruce Sterling was Vincent Omniaveritas, John Kessel was Hunilla de Chollo.

Actually, the best thing that's come out of all this is that people are going back and re-reading the Cheap Truths. Comparing the stuff on the Dark Cabal website to that rag, and the writing in it, turns out to really not be all that fair, or helpful.
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rickbowes
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 07:33 am:   

I don't think so. I remember Sterling in the denim mini-skirt.
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Christopher
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 07:39 am:   

Thanks a lot, Rick. Now I have to sing eighties pop songs all day to get that image out of my head. "Material Girl," indeed.
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rick bowes
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 08:01 am:   

I stand corrected: it was Shiner. You know the way our fantasies overcome our memories.

Not fair or helpful to whom?
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 08:48 am:   

Bowes is good for reminding us of Madonna when it's necessary. Thank you, Bowes, indeed.

Not fair to Madonna, I think, not helpful to Madonna either, I should think.
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rick bowes
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 10:54 am:   

Get your mind out of the karaoke bar. I was asking Christopher what he mean by:

Actually, the best thing that's come out of all this is that people are going back and re-reading the Cheap Truths.Comparing the stuff on the Dark Cabal website to that rag, and the writing in it, turns out to really not be all that fair, or helpful.

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Christopher
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 11:41 am:   

And he never did answer. Look! He's still not answering!

No seriously, if I must spell it out, the Dark Cabal Kidz aren't really possessed--in these particular web posts anyway--of the wit and energy and etc that the Cheap Truth gang had and has.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 12:49 pm:   

Sure, but that's a fair comparison and a helpful one, as it keeps readers looking for the next Cheap Truth from being disappointed when click on the Dark Cabal blog.
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rick bowes
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 12:57 pm:   

I agree. Especially the energy. And in the case of Cheap Truth, possessed is surely the word.
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JV
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 01:04 pm:   

Cheap Truth beats Dark Banal any day.

jeffv
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JV
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 03:37 pm:   

Although that's not fair--the posts have been of varying quality. But I'm just not going to waste another minute on conjecture or on even reading the posts until I know who it is is posting what. The whole thing smacks of either a power/control move or of a very annoying joke.

JeffV
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JV
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 03:46 pm:   

Oh crap. I posted to their blog anyway. Damn them! Damn the Dark Cabal!

JeffV
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Jonathan
Posted on Friday, June 17, 2005 - 04:15 pm:   

And their evil dark ways! The thing is, if the writers were half as perceptive as Sterling, Kessel and Shiner, it'd be worth reading. But you'd need to get Stross, Doctorow and Mieville writing for it instead, rather than whoever they are. It's all very lacklustre, whereas Cheap Truth was smart, savvy, and very well written.
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 12:49 am:   

What happened to the Madonna thread? What kind of message board is this ANYWAY?!?!?
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rick bowes
Posted on Saturday, June 18, 2005 - 02:00 pm:   

Has it ever happened before that a group of critics setting up to critique the genre, have instead been taken over the coals by a bunch of writers?
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chance
Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2005 - 06:00 am:   

There was only a Madonna thread in your head, m'dear. Get yer ass back from Japan already.
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~b.
Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2005 - 07:01 am:   

It's not just in his head. His Japanese name means "Ray of Light."
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Christopher Barzak
Posted on Sunday, June 19, 2005 - 10:26 am:   

It's true. So sad, but true.

I should probably be back next March. I think I'll be ready by then to come home. Just hope I'll have something (work-wise) to come home to. Family and friends I've, quite luckily, got in spades.

:-)

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