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Iain Rowan
Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 07:21 am:   

Anne Rice posts to the Amazon review page for her latest book, in which she goes completely and utterly barmy about the reviews there.

Scroll down the page to the entry from ĎAnne Obrien Riceí. Itís the monolithic block of text. I wonder if her editor would let her do that in a novel.

Uh-oh.

"And no, I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut, or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself. I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance"

Still, she may be beyond editing, but at least she loves her readers, right?

"And you have strained my Dickensean principles to the max. Iím justifiably proud of being read by intellectual giants and waitresses in trailer parks,in fact, I love it, but who in the world are you?"

"You are interrogating this text from the wrong perspective. Indeed, you arenít even reading it. You are projecting your own limitations on it."

OK, so she can patronise with the best of them, but surely she still retains her modesty, no?

"Getting really close to the subject matter is the achievement of only great art."

"If you canít see that, you arenít reading my work."

and best of allÖ

"But I leave it to readers to discover how this complex and intricate novel establishes itself within a unique, if not unrivalled series of book"

Um, yes, ok.

(Originally spotted on Metafilter).
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JV
Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 07:24 am:   

LOL! That's awesome!

Jeff
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Chris Roberson
Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 07:56 am:   

Wow. Just... Wow.
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Iain Rowan
Posted on Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - 08:02 am:   

It's a piece of work, isn't it?

I'm taken by the idea of 'waitresses in trailer parks'. Do they move from trailer to trailer, knocking on the little windows, carrying little trays of cheese-based snacks and some nice bread?

If so, that's a very civilised concept.

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Brendan
Posted on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 03:38 am:   

You know you are in trouble when you have to tell people how good your writing is.
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 09:13 am:   

Iain: "I'm taken by the idea of 'waitresses in trailer parks'. Do they move from trailer to trailer, knocking on the little windows, carrying little trays of cheese-based snacks and some nice bread?"

Yes, waitress, I'll have the Beenie-weenies in ketchup sauce over ramen noodles, and a bottle of your finest Schlitz Malt Liquor. Appetizer? How about this Easy Cheese on Triscuit. Oh, and how fresh is the Spam?
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Dave G.
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 02:20 pm:   

Waaaah! I can't find it. I'm guessing AR or her publisher suddenly realised the surest way to make yourself look foolish is to respond to your critics and demanded Amazon take it down.

Might anyone have saved a copy? It sounds very entertaining...
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Kage Baker
Posted on Thursday, September 23, 2004 - 05:55 pm:   

It's on the dead cities 3.0 forum, reached from gabe chouinard's S1ngularity site. Under the "Promotion" topic, I believe.

I think it's sad. The poor old thing sounds as though she's suffering from dementia. I'll grant you, I haven't read a book of hers since I threw VIOLIN across the room in disgust, but...

I wouldn't want her life. Not even with all that lovely money attached.
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al duncan
Posted on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 05:33 am:   

I just have this image of a trailer park inhabited by freak show giants, in leotards perhaps, gentle men with a certain sadness in their souls, each of whom, coincidentally, one day, some time in their past, found their true love working in a diner on the long and dusty road of their travels across the Mid-West. That very day the giant got down on his knees, looked her straight in the eye and proposed to her. She blushed, hand rising to her face, and, yes, she said, yes, I will, yes.

And so the giant married that girl with the coffee and the cherry pie and, being something of a fan of French philosphy and modern literary theory, he took her off with him to the Trailer Park Of Intellectual Giants And Waitresses, where they could sit together on their plastic chairs, a Derrida text lain abandoned on the table to one side, as they hold each others' hands and gaze out into the sunset.

I can see it now, a whole trailer park of such strange but somehow touching unions, a city of Airstreams and Winnebagos hidden out in the desert somewhere, in a place where no-one scoffs at a giant with a penchant for existentialist deconstructions of the National Enquirer, or at the waitress who one day, one day, came up to him to ask "Say, what're ya reading, honey?"

As for Rice herself... "Interview With A Vampire" was enough of an indicator, as far as I'm concerned, of how self-aware she is in her writing - i.e. not very. It's fantasy in the worst sense - puerile wish-fulfilment. I'd call it a hand-job, given the whole soft-porn threeway approach to characterisation (three people in a room giving each other sultry looks... ooh, what's gonna happen next?), but it seems to be targeted at adolescent girls, so maybe handjob is the wrong term. Brite's "Lost Souls" left me cold in the same way. I can understand that there would be a sort of inverse of that lesbian porn designed for frat boys to get off on - that adolescent girls might really get hot over the idea of two men snogging - but I really wish these vampire chick-lit writers would either piss or get off the pot, either go the whole hog and give us faggots some proper one-handed fiction or - and here's a radical idea - actually portray a male-male relationship with a bit of sodding integrity rather than for their cheap, voyeuristic thrills.
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Dave G.
Posted on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 06:15 am:   

Kage, thanks much.

Wow. Just wow.

That was the best possible illustration of Burroughs' advice to writers: never, ever acknowledge your critics.

I was kind of stumped by a couple of things though. Wouldn't a virtuoso writer know that "breakthrough" is one word? Or that written statements are libel, not "slander"?
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AliceB
Posted on Friday, September 24, 2004 - 06:24 am:   

The link: dead cities ver3.0 forum
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gary gibson
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 05:31 am:   

I followed that link to 'dead cities' and noted a reference to:

"sending an email to a critic who has obviously messed up bigtime while reviewing your book (as in when Iain M Banks sent the letter to Cheryl Morgan) I can applaud, but why amazon?"

I'm sort of curious about this Banks/Morgan thing. Anyone know anything about it? I googled it, but no obvious results.

I'm cautious about particularly making any comment on the whole Rice thing since, as people say, anyone can post on Amazon, and I found myself wondering if the person who posted it was, indeed, Anne Rice herself and not some potential impostor. Also, if it is indeed her, I've come to understand (since having a book published myself) why many writers are extremely sensitive to reviews. That's not to say bad reviews are necessarily unfair, it's just that reading those astonishingly negative reviews gave me a kind of pavlovian sympathetic reaction, regardless of how deserved or otherwise criticism of her book might be.

Besides, to quote the same guy on that dead cities link as above:
"Anyone with an internet connection can post reviews there. You don't need to have even read the bloody thing. I remember finding a review of Clerks where some kid said it was just people talking and where was the dog semen?"

(I remember you mentioning the Anne Rice thing to me the other night, Al, but I'd forgotten about it until I came here).
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Mastadge
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 07:34 am:   

Anne Rice confirms that it was her:

http://www.annerice.com/msg092204.htm
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Kage Baker
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 10:04 am:   

Ohhhh, dear.

Okay, the lady has a few jars off the shelf. What could have possessed her to make that offer of refund on her books, and then post an address where she no longer gets mail?

I myself have been known to wish privately that certain professional reviewers were dead and buried in cowshit, but if they really have read the book and don't like it, it's their JOB to say so, and why. Hell, I even applauded for Cheryl Morgan when she won a Hugo. In fact, I smiled broadly.

But poor old Anne is ill, and needs a PR handler, badly.

And an editor, but we knew that.
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Iain R
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 01:51 pm:   

I think what's struck people most about this one isn't the dismissal of a bunch of perhaps shallow reviews - which is perhaps understandable, if not necessarily wise - but rather the hubris which seems to suggest that the enormity and perfection of her talent is not questionable, not just by some half-baked Amazon reviews, but by *anyone*.

I was tickled though, by the link that Mastadge posted, and in particular the line: "There are reports of some one on the web impersonating Lestat, convincing readers that he is the character. There is no Lestat on the web."

Um, so what, he just hasn't got internet access yet?

(And Al, I love your trailer park).
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Carole C
Posted on Saturday, September 25, 2004 - 02:17 pm:   

I thought it was quite interesting that a lot of the people who gave poor reviews stated that the books were OK up to 'The Queen of the Damned' - when on her website Anne Rice says that it was only after that book that she was not edited (although she was quite happy with her editor).
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Anna T
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 06:05 am:   

Al:
I love your trailer park, too. And Iain,I like your title. The Rice piece will probably become immortal. I'm certainly putting it in the next"Irresistibles" and who knows how many other people are picking it up now as a treasure? I wonder if she would have said it in the days of snail mail. Does the web lead those with a fit of insanity, to make that fit permanent?
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Iain Rowan
Posted on Sunday, September 26, 2004 - 01:41 pm:   

The internet is an unforgiving place for quicker anger. It means you can get royally pissed off, dash off a message which spells out in excruciating detail every last angry thought in your head, every single bitter gripe that you'd normally only ever play over on the cinema screen inside your head...and then do a simple little click which means that every single last bit of it is instantly available to tens of millions of people, irretrevably in the public domain, mirrored on countless servers and picked up and chortled over on a hundred thousand message boards. While you cool down and think, uh, hmmm. Ah. Oh. Hmmmmmmmmm.
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Dave G.
Posted on Monday, September 27, 2004 - 11:28 am:   

"The Lestat impersonator is having a bad effect on people..."

Oh my...
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Jo
Posted on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 09:52 am:   

It is quite the Spectacle.
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Iain Rowan
Posted on Tuesday, October 12, 2004 - 05:15 am:   

New York Times article on the whole sorry thing. Albeit a little after the event.
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The Brat Princess
Posted on Sunday, July 10, 2005 - 05:41 pm:   

Anne Rice's book are fabulous! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I suppose. And as for the Lestat impersonator. I see nothing wrong with it at all. Everyone can day dream, but to take that day dream to the extent, and actually believe that such characters are in fact real are the own faults of the person him or herself.

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