Let me start by saying this authors vs. reviewers crap doesn't benefit anyone. There are no 'sides.' Or at least, there shouldn't be. Most writers staLet me start by saying this authors vs. reviewers crap doesn't benefit anyone. There are no 'sides.' Or at least, there shouldn't be. Most writers start out as readers -- at least, I did -- and I know that some books that work for me don't work for others (and vice versa). We're all in the same boat...except some of us happen to write books.
(Honestly, if you're a writer and hate reading or don't want to make the time to read, you probably shouldn't be writing in the first place.)
And yeah, maybe the whole writing-books thing makes the relationship unequal from the start, because authors have a lot of influence that most reviewers don't have. (Although there are reviewers and authors of all levels of fame and popularity, so this really depends.)
I started blogging on this site seven years ago, way before Goodreads achieved its present day claim to fame. I remember when it was just a handful of users and I'd see the same faces on every book page. I'm ollllllld school.
And then a few years after that I started publishing and kept on reviewing, because that was how I'd made my friends on this site and it seemed disingenuous to no longer review and share books with my friends just because I'd happened to write some.
But because people do take this whole 'sides' business to heart, even if they say they don't or wish they didn't, a small but vocal population started getting pretty angry with me once I started becoming popular enough to matter.
They would say things like, "It's kind of strange seeing one author bash another author's books. Don't you have any empathy?" Or, "It's kind of tacky to attack other authors, don't you think?" Or, "I bet you don't even read half those books you're reviewing. No way you have time to read and write."
Because as an author, I'm only supposed to say nice things about other people's books and if I don't like something, I'm not supposed to say anything at all. That's how it is apparently supposed to work, apparently, and if you break the rules, a lot of people won't have anything to do with you. Because there are authors and there are reviewers, and we are supposed to stick this out together, don'tcha know?
I've had people I considered friends remove and block me because they didn't like my conduct as an author (for various reasons). And while this is fine, I'm not going to pretend that this doesn't make me sad, or that it didn't take me a while to be as okay with it as I am now. I mean, there's my reviewer persona and there's my author persona and there's my everyday persona and they are not all the same or equal. I may be vitriolic in my reviews at times, but that doesn't mean I do the same with people.
Authors aren't their books, and it's important to recognize that because I think that is where so much of this drama comes from: authors (and sometimes fans) taking reviews as personal attacks when they are just basically a list of reasons about why that book did not work for that particular reader.
Reading is something I feel very passionate about. Books take more time to get through than movies, and I think because of that, the relationship between a book and reader is so much more personal, so much more fraught with emotion. It's like a relationship (gah, I sound so corny, but it's true)- both sides have to put in effort to make it work. And like relationship, not every pairing is guaranteed for success...and sometimes one party is more at fault than the other (baby, it's not you, it's me).
So yeah, this 'sides' thing really doesn't help anything. It alienates readers from authors -- it makes it more difficult for readers to approach authors about their books or to feel safe offering criticism that (let's be honest) really would benefit all parties if it came to light. It makes it difficult for authors to GET people to read their books because readers can never really be sure whether you're going to be one of those author crazies that will throw a rage tantrum when they get anything less than three stars. And it makes it difficult for author reviewers like myself, because we straddle the fence and end up getting people from BOTH camps mad at us, because who the hell do we think we are, thinking we're too good/speshul to choose a side?
I used to blog about this pretty often, but I stopped because I was starting to feel like a broken record, and because reviewing and writing take so much out of me that I don't really have as much time as I'd like to bitch (I'm really, really good at bitching). I think most people get it, anyway. But for the small and obdurate portion of the 'net that don't, here's a clue:
Life is too short to get hung up over things like, "Waaah this meanie gave my book two stars!" or "Waaah this person said mean things about me on the internet! I'M GOING TO GET THE DIRT ON THEM NOW." Rather than focusing on 'sides', you should be focusing on your passions and finding good books to read and meeting people you actually like, who make you think about the world in new and exciting ways.
I don't always agree with what my friends say -- whether it's about a book I wrote or a book that I just really, really like -- but that doesn't in anyway detract from their right to say it, or its overall subjective truthfulness.
I know there's a number of people here who think of me as a big fat hypocrite and in some ways, yeah, you're probably right. We're all hypocrites. But I also put up with a lot of stuff. I get negative reviews. I get people who stalk me from website to website under various sock accounts & talk shit. I've had authors more famous and popular than me write nasty things about me. I get blocked all the time. And I deal with it. I don't whine (much) about it, or send my readers and fans to attack them (not that they would, anyway -- they're good people, and if I tried that crap, I'm sure they'd give me a good talking to: it's why I love them), or write long, butthurt treatises about why being an author is so hard. (Actually, this review probably comes pretty close to that -- but hey, I already admitted I was a hypocrite, so Mulligan.) But I try my best to be professional, and I really respect and admire and love the people on here who do the same: who feel that same passion about the written word and want to share it with others.
That's why I became a writer in the first place, yo.
Growing up, the one night I was allowed to stay up past my usual bedtime was Wednesday Night. Because that was the night that Star Trek was on. I'm not going to lie; I watched it pretty much every week with my dad for several years. Voyager was my favorite (female captain!!!), but DS9 and TNG followed pretty closely behind. Maybe Warp 4 to Voyager's awesome Warp 5.
Star Trek is amazing because, in addition to being one of the few imaginative, kick-ass, sci-fi based shows out there, it has so many different emotional tones. There were episodes that made me laugh, episodes that made me cry, and episodes that scared the shit out of me. You never knew what you were going to get.
When I saw THE Q GAMBIT on Netgalley, I was excited because Q is probably one of my favorite characters of all time from the show. I love morally ambiguous characters and Q, as an extra-dimensional being whose powers make him almost like a god, takes the cake. It's not that he's evil, necessarily; he operates in a way that transcends normal human morality because it's so inconsequential when it comes to the Big Picture. Pretty cool, huh?
The book starts out with Jean-Luc Picard mourning Spock's death and sacrifice as he drinks his Earl Grey. Of course, Q pops up to tell him that Spock actually isn't dead -- when he got sucked into the worm hole, it spat him out 100 years in the past in an alternate timeline. And while his sacrifice saved this universe, it might have just doomed the other. Picard says he doesn't want to know, because alternate timelines should remain disparate, less they be fucked up by Q-ish meddling. (Ooh, burn.)
But since meddling is pretty much Q's middle name, the story then flashes to the crew of the Enterprise as they appeared in that new movie that just came out, all baby-faced and young. Q mocks Kirk and does a bunch of mean-spirited tricks to prove his superior powers, including bringing Kirk outside the spaceship, saying, "I'm the only thing keeping you from being a block of ice with boots." Nice, Q. Real nice. After all this, Q then tells Kirk he is going to show him the ultimate no-win game.
After showing Kirk an image of his own death -- the game you can't beat -- Q takes the crew to another timeline in which the Federation has fallen. Parts of the universe are ruled by the Klingons (Earth) and most are ruled by the Cardassians. Captain Sisko (SQUEE!) is the leader of a resistance movement which Kirk and co. end up joining. All the while, Q watches and mocks their efforts, but it soon becomes clear that he, too, has something at stake...
My inner fangirl was pretty much screaming internally throughout this crossover. It was so cool (SO COOL, DAMMIT) to see all my favorite characters cropping up in one volume. Yes, the storyline was a little cheesy, but no more so than some of the episodes from the actual TV series, and I could see this being an actual episode...even if it was fan service. It was good fan service and had a compelling storyline and a really good twist at the end. (But I'm not telling you what it is, obv.)
My one complaint is that Janeway didn't get a cameo. For some reason, many people consider Voyager to be one of the worst incarnations of Star Trek and it doesn't really have a big following. I'm not quite sure why; it explored so many great topics, and had such a wonderful cast. Plus, I don't know if I said this already but--IT HAS A FEMALE CAPTAIN! (Maybe that's why people don't like it. As much as I wish otherwise, science-fiction has a lot of hidden and not-so-hidden misogyny.) If Janeway had appeared, I would have given this book 5 stars just because of that. But as it stands, THE Q GAMBIT was pretty decent. I do love Q.
Hey, GR librarians? I think someone attributed this book to the wrong Christopher Rice. Anne Rice's son has a GR author account, right? It looks likeHey, GR librarians? I think someone attributed this book to the wrong Christopher Rice. Anne Rice's son has a GR author account, right? It looks like this guy is a children's author or something, and there are several other of the AR Christopher's books on this profile at well....more