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Scifi / Fantasy News > The Feeling of Entitlement

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message 1: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Weis | 126 comments I'm not sure if this is the right board because it's not technically "news" but instead a topic that has been brought up many a time recently in discussions here on Goodreads, Amazon, etc and around the internet on blogs, fb, etc.

And that's the feeling of entitlement that readers have when it comes to several things. The books they love or hate, the authors they similarly love or hate, reviews, blogs, etc.

I have noticed a truly disgusting amount of what I can only define as entitlement in the book world lately and it really bothers me.

I've seen it in the reviews that people leave for books. I understand not liking a book, I understand hating a book, and I appreciate people who take the time to write lengthy reviews but what I do not understand is the need that people have to belittle authors for writing something that we as readers dislike. I mean I'll be the first to stand up and say I really really disliked Twilight and 50 Shades... But it bothers me when I see people verbally attack the authors and become emotionally abusive. Recently the posts people were writing about Charlaine Harris and how she ended the Sookie Stackhouse books... People were physically threatening her for not ending the series in the way they wanted!? (You can read some of the crazy and nasty reviews at the link below)
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15...

Authors have come under a lot of flak recently (past year or so) for responding to reviews. In the VF group the husband of the author of this month's book responded to a negative review and it became a flame war between he and the reviewer. He was out of line in many of the things that he said and that has prompted blog posts and other reviews and people avoiding the book because of the way that the authors husband responded to reviews. NOTHING TO DO with the book itself. I'm not sure how to feel about this. The authors hubs was WAY out of line. Is it the authors job to apologize for him? Should he apologize himself or would that just bring up the flames again? This author is in a crap situation now because her hubs felt like he had to "Protect her" from her reviewers. What is it about some of these reviews that makes people feel like they need Protection? (Personally I didn't see anything in this particular review that was in any way nasty- but the authors hubs certainly did). http://www.amazon.com/review/R3DPB7EI...

Wool author Hugh Howey came under fire for posting a story about a Convention he attended. Fans were up in arms because they didn't like the verbage he used to describe a very rude and condescending woman. (He said bitch I think?) You can find a super duper long thread right here in S&L

Anne Rice received a ton of negative press because she posted a negative review of one of her books on her facebook page. She asked for her fans to respond (on her facebook page- to her) and the original poster got huffy saying she was attacked by Anne's fans and that was Anne's fault. (FYI- Anne posts both negative and positive reviews of her books all the time to engage in discussion). http://www.themarysue.com/anne-rice-p...

And recently I responded to a post where a Goodreads author posted a review of his book and invited Goodreads members to read it with a link to Amazon. A Goodreads member responded in what I saw as a pretty rude fashion. He seemed to think that since the author was posting on Goodreads that meant the author should be giving away books instead of selling them for the free reviews.
http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...

So I suppose the question/discussion I pose is this:

When (and why) did we as readers get this sense of entitlement? When did it become okay to attack authors for their opinions/books we don't like/personal feelings that they write on facebook or blogs?

I understand that people feel like they can say/do whatever they want on the internet and maybe I'm just naive but... I thought we were better than that as a community and it leaves a really bad taste in my mouth when I see the way people talk to authors. The authors themselves can in several cases respond with the same (or even more) nastiness and it becomes a viscous circle).

Feel free to disagree with me but let's keep it polite, eh?

(PS- I am not an author myself, completely talent-less in this area. Not related to an author, Not engaged/married to/dating an author/etc.)


message 2: by Gene (last edited May 31, 2013 01:13PM) (new)

Gene A short note: if you think the entitlement you describe is a recent thing, you are wrong. The best example I could think right out of the top of my head is the following.

When Arthur Conan Doyle killed Sherlock Holmes in the famous standoff with Professor Moriarty, he received quite a few death threats.

So it has always been so.


message 3: by Wilmar (new)

Wilmar Luna (wilmarluna) | 241 comments This is not something that is exclusive to just books.

As an avid video gamer, gamers too share this feeling of entitlement. All you have to say is the acronym EA and you'll immediately unleash a flurry of angry gamers.

Did you know that "EA" is so hated by gamers, that it was voted the worst company in America? Instead of you know, banks stealing people's money, or BP oil spill, no, a VIDEO GAME company gets voted worst in America.

I think this age of entitlement came from the internet really. As soon as the veil of obscurity blanketed the world, people who are having a bad day feel that they could say whatever they want. That if the person didn't want to get abused or harassed they never should have written a book, made a movie, or become an actor/actress.

If we were still in the days where we needed to look a person in the eyes, these issues would become less and less common.

What I think needs to happen in society, is that children who are being born in the digital age need to be taught to respect one another. We need to stop preventing our kids from failing and remind them that there's a person who is writing your favorite book, creating your favorite movie, playing your favorite music.

But considering how prevalent entitlement has become, unfortunately I think we're going to be stuck with some rude connoisseurs for quite some time.


message 4: by Wilmar (new)

Wilmar Luna (wilmarluna) | 241 comments Evgeny wrote: "A short note: if you think the entitlement you describe is a recent thing, you are wrong. The best example I could think right out of the top of my head is the following.

When Arthur Conan Doyle ..."


Yes, it's been around since the beginning of time probably. But the internet has exacerbated the issue beyond what is acceptable.


message 5: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 25 comments Thanks for bringing up this topic. I'm not sure I would call verbally attacking an author "entitlement". I'd call it the fallacy of ad hominem. It's nothing short of bad behavior and poor critical thinking.


message 6: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Weis | 126 comments Wilmar wrote: "This is not something that is exclusive to just books.

As an avid video gamer, gamers too share this feeling of entitlement. All you have to say is the acronym EA and you'll immediately unleash a ..."


There's a political background that's keeping companies like BP and Monsanto and the "Too Big to Fail" bankers off that list. :-P

But I understand your point. It just... bothers me so much. It's cyberbullying plain and simple. I feel as if we, as the nerds and geeks, and those who were bullied in school because we had our noses in books, or MTG or DnD, etc... we should be better than that because in many cases we know what it was like to be bullied.


message 7: by Kathryn (new)

Kathryn Weis | 126 comments Lisa wrote: "Thanks for bringing up this topic. I'm not sure I would call verbally attacking an author "entitlement". I'd call it the fallacy of ad hominem. It's nothing short of bad behavior and poor critical ..."

When I say entitlement I mean that they/we as readers feel as if they own the characters/the books. They're attacking authors for "ruining" a story. News flash, it's the author's story to do with as they please. So not only are reviewers acting as if they are the owners of the story and the characters they also have the feeling of entitlement to be as rude, and crass as they like with no regard to the consequence of their words. I couldn't imagine how an author must feel to have someone rip apart their baby, their work of art to shreds in the ways people do now. It's one thing to have constructive criticism, but what people say now online (because it's so easy and they're hidden behind a computer/tablet/phone/whatever) is downright abusive.


message 8: by Amaleen (new)

Amaleen Gonzalez | 3 comments I agree that authors should not be attacked for something a reader didn't like about a book. With series in particular, and especially long series, though, I understand what it feels like to have invested a lot of time and then be disappointed in the end result. The only sense of "entitlement" I can see justified is when a certain expectation is established.

Someone mentioned EA and video games. With Mass Effect 3 I was heartbroken. I played both of the previous games at least five times each. I grew attached to certain characters. Mass Effect 3, and especially the end, just left me so disappointed and confused. The only explanation the writers of the game gave was that the ending they gave was the one they had envisioned all along. So while I can't understand how they could possibly want to end Mass Effect the way they did, I have to accept that it's not exactly going to change. But I will say that now I don't know if I'm going to buy from Bioware again.

The same goes for books. If the author's ending disappoints me, then I have to think about if I'm going to invest more into their work. Death threats and plain rudeness is never okay to me.


message 9: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Short answer: People are arseholes.


message 10: by Darren (last edited Jun 01, 2013 12:21AM) (new)

Darren I think it was ultimately unfortunate for authors to have to start using social media to market their works. By putting themselves in the realms of mainstream celebrity, they will inevitably be treated in the same way as "celebrities". A word I do not think is a compliment. The days of "Ugh. Look at what {author} is wearing in that photo" are not coming, they are already here.


message 11: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 701 comments 1. I absolutely hate the way a large subsection of readers get condescending, demanding or just outright vile when talking about authors and their work. This ranges from people being assholes to Martin and Rothfuss for not writing fast enough to condescending idiots talking down to authors and their entire readerships for not being as highbrow as they think they themselves are.
/rant

2. However for authors to respond to these sort of comments, or really any sort of review, with anything more than just a thanks for reviewing or maybe politely asking for the reviewer to explain his pov more so you can learn is just a really bad idea. You can't win. The ensuing internet pile-on can really damage your career, deservedly or not.

3. EA deserves all the flack they get. Since the 90's they have done nothing but destroy fan favorite development studios and franchises and largely due to them the mainstream game development culture has become a soulless money machine with less integrity than Hollywood.


message 12: by Serendi (new)

Serendi | 848 comments George RR Martin is not our bitch! (With thanks to Neil Gaiman.)

The reviews that bug me the most are the ones that say "You wrote a different book than the one I wanted you to write. It's AWFUL!" Uh, look at the book they *did* write, please. Review that, not how it differs from the one in your head.


message 13: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Kathryn wrote: "When (and why) did we as readers get this sense of entitlement? When did it become okay to attack authors for their opinions/books we don't like/personal feelings that they write "

1865.

Seriously, you should read some early reviews of novels. Heck, check out some reviews by authors of other authors and the back-and-forth they engaged in through the newspaper. Awesome stuff.

People are people and this is what we do. Facebook and the like just make the whole thing faster, is all.


message 14: by Nathan (new)

Nathan (tenebrous) | 377 comments I generally think people have treated Stephanie Meyer pretty badly. You might not like her books (I did like the Host as a book, not so much as a movie). Most things I have seen about her paint her as a pretty decent person.


message 15: by Rich (last edited Jun 06, 2013 04:07PM) (new)

Rich (justanothergringo) | 98 comments It'd be pretty boring if every book I read ended in the way I expected to end. It happens too much as it is.

People tend to get very personal about the characters they like, and sometimes they go overboard. Is it irrational? Yes, but nobody ever said the people were completely rational. Just look at all the freaking out that occurs every time a character gets offed in Game o' Thrones. (That bloody-handed butcher, GRRM had better leave Tyrion the hell alone!)

In the end, if someone wants every book to end in the way that they'd want them to end, they should write their own books.


message 16: by Michele (new)

Michele | 1154 comments I think tye attachment people get to characters/stories and their anger over disappointments is not a new thing at all, it's just that nowadays with the internet more people can be vocal about it in a public forum and we are instantly aware.

People may have hated Dickens or Conan Doyle, but their only outlet was to write a letter to an editor and hope it got published. Now we can post on twitter, facebook, etc instantly (see recent response to the Red Wedding episode of GoT). Also of course the anonymity of the web allows people to let loose in a completely vicious way without fear of reprisals. And though authors have always received hate mail, now they can be completely buried in nastiness and can also respond just as quickly.

But just watch Kathy Bates in Misery and you'll see authors have been aware of the existance of true fanaticism for a long time, and fear it.

If I were a writer today I'd be very tempted to use a pen name and hide my true identity as much as possible.


message 17: by Zach (new)

Zach | 16 comments I'm not sure about the fans being entitled to anything creatively. But, it is disappointing to spend a lot of your time following a long-running story and characters, only to be left unsatisfied by the ending. Stories that pop into my head when I think about this are Lost, Battlestar Galactica, The Dark Tower. Without giving too much away, it seems to me like the authors didn't put the same effort into the ending as they did in the crafting of the rest of the story. It is very disappointing when all these captivating clues are being given to a larger mystery over a period of years, sometimes decades. And then the author decides in the end that the mystery wasn't important enough to explain.

Am I entitled to the ending of my choosing? Not unless I rewrite it myself :)

But as a critical reader and viewer I am entitled to politely disagree with how an author handles the story. And I am even entitled to be a bit frustrated if an author does not come through with the answers to the questions that were raised by them as I was following their story.


message 18: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 701 comments Zach wrote: "I'm not sure about the fans being entitled to anything creatively. But, it is disappointing to spend a lot of your time following a long-running story and characters, only to be left unsatisfied..."

There's nothing wrong with being disappointed in the ending of something. Or even voicing your frustration publicly. A heck of a lot of people take it far beyond that though. You don't have the right to get abusive or even threatening to an author.


message 19: by Thane (last edited Jun 07, 2013 11:34AM) (new)

Thane | 476 comments KevinB wrote: "You don't have the right to get abusive or even threatening to an author.

Or imagine you could do better, cause if ya coulda, ya woulda.


message 20: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (darthval) | 96 comments I have to agree with Zach. There is not excuse for abusive or threatening comments, that is not a legitimate review.

A review IS supposed to be an honest critique of the author's work, which includes writing style. If the author has been inconsistent in their plot and/or story crafting, I argue that this SHOULD be included in the review.

Zach, what you mention is one of my pet peeves. Have you ever seen J.J. Abrams TED talk about the mystery box? It appears that he thinks the mystery itself is more important than what is inside the box. As a fan, I disagree.


message 21: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Relevant from my quotelog:

“If you find a book distasteful, write another one. Achebe took on Conrad, but never censored him. THE ANSWER TO BAD ART IS MORE ART.” – Daniel Nayeri, Twitter, 5:39 PM - Mar 9, 2013


message 22: by Rick (new)

Rick | 2877 comments I can't agree entirely with that tweet. It's perfectly fine to say "I dont like this book" or "I find X about this book distasteful/poorly done/whatever." What it's NOT ok to do are the over the top things like ad hominem attacks on the author or threats on the author or the ever fun "Author owes us..."

Criticism of the work, especially when couched in a reasonable tone? Fine. Threats, personal attacks and entitled claims about what the author should do? Not OK.


message 23: by Zach (new)

Zach | 16 comments It seems so obvious to me (and I think to most parties in this discussion) that being abusive and threatening is wrong, that it isn't really worth discussing too much. Of course no one should behave that way!

To me, the much more interesting component of this discussion is the entitlement part. To put the question another way, to whom does the story belong?

Does it belong to the author? What if there are multiple authors? What if it is a movie or play, does it belong to the director, screenwriter, actors, producers? Does it partly belong to the fans?

Star Trek is a great example of this. What would Star Trek be without the fans?

When you read a book, how much of what you experience comes from your own mind, as opposed to the written words?

Valerie, I will have to check out that TED talk, thanks.


message 24: by Michele (new)

Michele | 1154 comments The story belongs to the author. The author has no responsibility to the readers to turn a story in their desired direction. And if the story fails to please then he/she won't make money because poeple shouldn't buy it or watch it or whatever. I'm not saying we cant complain about stories, but don't expect an author to cater to such things.

Debate is one thing, but demands are something else.Would you go back and tell Van Gogh his paintings need more red? Shakespeare that Romeo and Juliet shouldn't die in the end? Hitchcock there are just not enough birds in that scene? Its the author's vision, their art. If you don't like it, fine, but don't expect changes just because of your opinion.

You know what happens when an artist caters to some public opinion? Han Solo doesn't shoot first. Ridiculous.


message 25: by Zach (new)

Zach | 16 comments I don't remember Lucas asking for public opinion about Han Solo shooting first. From I can tell the fans are *not* happy about that decision :)

Lucas seems to have made plenty of money despite the the many criticisms from fans.


message 26: by Rick (last edited Jun 10, 2013 02:09PM) (new)

Rick | 2877 comments The story belongs to the creator but they do have a responsibility to the fans. Not to cater to what the fans want to see, but to produce the best work they can. We've all read books where the author obviously decided that Character X needs to be in this situation so they abruptly change things so that the situation happens even though it makes no sense at all instead of rewriting the previous work so that the protagonist naturally fell into that situation.

Hell, I once tossed a book across the room because all of a sudden the protagonist, a partner in a law firm with no inkling of any military background shown in the previous 150 pages, started fieldstripping a gun like a pro. The author had decided that she needed to be able to fight back (bad guys were after her) but instead of even a passing nod to a background as, say, a spy or something all we had was this high powered attorney acting like a total studette who could take out bad guys like Jason Bourne.

Likewise, if an author has teased us along promising resolution to The Big Mystery and then just leaves us hanging or if they do some variation of the "and then she woke up to find it was all a dream."

So, yes, the story is the author's but that doesn't exempt them from criticism for telling it poorly, abusing the trust of the reader or other problems. Our responsibility is to make those criticism civilly. Not in an obsequious manner, but civilly. We're partners in the interaction between the teller of the story and the reader of the story.


message 27: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (darthval) | 96 comments Here, here, Rick!


message 28: by Alan (new)

Alan | 534 comments I firmly agree with Rick and Zach and I think that there is way more agreement than disagreement about what's ok and what's not.

I am "entitled" to say that I hated a book, or that it squandered a good premise, or that other readers will probably regret buying it - for example:

Out of the Dark
(view spoiler)

but none of that is a personal attack on the author or the people who did like the book.

I don't want creators to be paralyzed by fear of fan response like that character in The Guild but fans should get to voice opinions about the work or else you shouldn't be able to profit from their devotion.

Hey, sometimes their/our protest even improves the work - (1) convincing Spielberg to undo his edits to ET; (2) convincing Friday Night Lights' creators to ditch the second season story lines; and (3) convincing Lucas to downplay Jar Jar in the sequels and encase him in carbonite at Skywalker Ranch.


message 29: by Zach (new)

Zach | 16 comments Michele wrote: "...And if the story fails to please then he/she won't make money because po..."

In the case of TV shows, Money is in the mystery. They make the most money when they keep you captivated and coming back to watch week after week. Which is great, I love a captivating story. But there is not much financial incentive to provide a proper ending to the story arcs. They've already made their ad money off the viewers. And then it is down to what the screenwriters and producers want to leave behind, if they even get a chance before being cancelled. You can often tell how much the show writers care about their work and fans by watching the last episodes.

I'm glad most novels don't have ads in them like TV shows do!

Though with a long series of novels they also have incentive to string you along and try and make you want to buy the next book. Which is fine with me, as long as they can manage to keep up the quality all they way to the ending.


message 30: by Rik (new)

Rik | 777 comments I do believe that the writers who are putting their work out their to be bought have an obligation to their customers. They have an obligation to not giving a big **** *** to the customers by never ending a series or taking an infinite amount of time off between books in a series *cough* George RR Martin *cough*. They are not writing just for writings sake, they are trying to make a living off of readers aka customers. Therefore they do owe us some decent customer service meaning timely writing.


message 31: by Rick (last edited Jun 12, 2013 02:36PM) (new)

Rick | 2877 comments Timely writing is sometimes hard, though. It's not like a commodity that you can just turn out if you have raw materials and I get that sometimes a writer will not know how they want to proceed for the next book or what they write will be crap and they don't like it. It's one reason I don't do long series that are one big arc unless they are finished.


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Alan wrote: "I don't want creators to be paralyzed by fear of fan response like that character in The Guild but fans should get to voice opinions about the work or else you shouldn't be able to profit from their devotion. "

Floyd Petrovski... ah, you gotta love that show :D


message 33: by Micah (new)

Micah (onemorebaker) | 1071 comments Rik wrote: "I do believe that the writers who are putting their work out their to be bought have an obligation to their customers. They have an obligation to not giving a big **** *** to the customers by nev..."

I have to disagree with your premise. If a writer puts out a novel or short story I think that publication is where an obligation to "customers" begins and ends. Even if the book is part of a series the writer has no direct obligation to his "customers" to continue it. In my opinion if an author gets fed up with a story than they are free to end it, even if it may be in the middle of a series. writing is such a creative process that requires so much more than simply making a product and shipping it out.

I don't view an author's readers as "Customers." And I say this as somebody who had to wait for Robert Jordan's W.O.T. Books to be published one by one since book 5. And I am now waiting for the next ASOIAF and The King Killer Chronicles. I don't think any of those authors was/is indebted to me when i buy and enjoy their work. It is up to them how long their next work takes and I will be more than happy to read it the day it comes out. Whether that be in 2013 or 2031. If I am still around in that case.


message 34: by Rick (last edited Jun 12, 2013 06:02PM) (new)

Rick | 2877 comments See I'm between Micah and RIk. The author IS taking on an obligation to complete a series when they start it. Of course, they can drop it, but they come in for rightful criticism for doing that.

The issue I have with Micah's viewpoint (which a lot of writers took in defense of GRRM when that situation blew up) is that it relegate readers to nonentities. The argument has a 'f*** you, we'll do what we want and you should consider yourselves lucky to get whatever we deign to give you' feel to it which, to me, is just the inverse of reader entitlement.

The thing is that a story - short, novel or series - is an interchange between writer and reader. Neither is complete without the other and both parties need to respect the other. The reader isn't entitled to a new book every year or to a book that does what they feel it should. The writer needs to realize that they've created expectations if they do a series and that they have a responsibility to write well and not turn out a shoddy story. Readers can fairly criticize a book, but should never make it personal. Writers can drop a series or turn out a novel with flaws but need to realize that in doing so they're letting down readers.

It is, in short, a symbiotic relationship albeit an intellectual symbiosis and not a biological one.


message 35: by Sean Lookielook (new)

Sean Lookielook Sandulak (seansandulak) | 432 comments It is not surprising that after spending so much time, literally days in some cases, getting to know and love (or hate) certain characters that readers would become emotionally invested in what happens to those imaginary people. It is similar to the false intimacy we feel towards celebrities. Fictional characters are not real people, but when writers are doing their jobs right, what happens to those characters matters in the same way as if they were real. Whenever you hear people complaining that they were upset by what happened to their favourites, they are really complementing the artistry of the author, even when they are being nasty about it. It is a simple fact that if the story wasn't written well, you wouldn't care. That some people are arrogant, ignorant, or mean when they complain is just a part of life.

Writers owes the readers nothing, except to tell the best story they can.


message 36: by Valerie (new)

Valerie (darthval) | 96 comments Rick, very well stated.

I have to disagree a bit with Micah on whether or not readers are customers.

If an author is publishing their work for free, writing only for the pleasure of doing so, I would more likely agree. HOWEVER, I believe this general thread is referring to the more common scenario, where authors typically publish their works in exchange for compensation.

Once the author begins to monetize their art, they may still want to write for their own enjoyment, but they are now producing a product. This product is then sold to consumers (readers).

Just like any other product in the marketplace, the producer has the right to producer inferior goods, but they are ultimately at the mercy of consumers to continue to purchase their wares and provide recommendations.

Let's say that someone goes to a local farmers market. At Farmer Joe's stall they get the ripest, juiciest tomatoes. They go back to Joe's week after week, month after month, year after year. They cannot wait for the start of tomato season. Today, after paying the same price for what were advertised as the same tomatoes, this person discovers that they taste like cardboard. Last week's tomatoes were fine. It is the peak of tomato season. Would you argue that this person did not have right to expect quality tomatoes? That if they complain, they are feeling and unjustified sense of entitlement in expecting good tomatoes?


message 37: by Louise (new)

Louise (louiseh87) But, to continue the analogy, would it be right for Farmer Joe's customer to start telling Joe *how* to grow his tomatoes and send him daily messages demanding he go and check the tomatoes? They might go to the stall and say "there's something wrong with these tomatoes", but if nothing improved then they'd probably just go buy tomatoes elsewhere.

The problem doesn't seem to be quality though, but that stories aren't being personalised to the expectations of individual readers, who then rant and rave about plot decisions.

I suppose it would be like Joe deciding to grow a slightly different variety due to changing conditions and the customer sending him death threats unless he continues with the same old variety.


message 38: by Rick (last edited Jun 13, 2013 01:22PM) (new)

Rick | 2877 comments Louise,

I think we're all agreed that both of those things are beyond the pale. That doesn't seem to have been controversial here at least. I only posted initially because I feel there's a very distinct but important difference between the over the line feelings of entitlement and valid, civilly stated negative criticism.

For example, fans were very much entitled to wonder what the heck was up with the next GoT book (this is before, of course, the last one), that GRRM was taking a long time and I think they were even within bounds to say "hey, are you actually planning to finish this series?" What was overboard were things like telling him he shouldn't work on other things until the next GoT book was done, the threats, the "you'd better finish this before doing other things" demands, etc. In other words, civilly wondering WTF was up is fine. Demanding he live his life to their pleasure? Not fine.


message 39: by Louise (new)

Louise (louiseh87) People these days do seem to want to be weirdly involved in things a lot more. It feels very similar to the kind of trail-by-media we're seeing over here, where people get extremely involved in expressing their opinions on things like jail sentences for individuals who happen to be in the public sphere.

It's like a bizarre god-like "I must control everything" sentiment, turned into rage when it becomes clear they've got no control over whatever it is at all.


message 40: by Rik (last edited Jun 13, 2013 09:56AM) (new)

Rik | 777 comments Micah wrote:I don't view an author's readers as "Customers." And I say this as somebody who had to wait for Robert Jordan's W.O.T. Books to be published one by one since book 5. And I am now waiting for the next ASOIAF and The King Killer Chronicles. I don't think any of those authors was/is indebted to me when i buy and enjoy their work. It is up to them how long their next work takes and I will be more than happy to read it the day it comes out. Whether that be in 2013 or 2031. If I am still around in that case.

If the author is merely writing for art's sake then I agree but if they are writing to make a living then they do owe the fans more if they are writing a series. Fans don't deserve to be left hanging forever because a writer decides he doesn't want to finish a series. Take for instance Joel Roseberg who wrote the Guardians of the Flame series. He decided in the mid 90's that he was pretty much done with that series even though he never actually wrapped anything up. I felt that was a huge disservice to those of us who had faithfully read his series from the beginning. Rosenberg passed away a few years ago so it will clearly never be finished now.

I'm starting to feel the same way about George RR Martin. I LOVE his Song of Ice and Fire series but I also no longer feel he'll live long enough to finish it . . . maybe I'm just being cynical because of Robert Jordan and Joel Rosenberg but at the same time Martin is older than either of them were when they died and Martin does not exactly appear to be the picture of good living and health. I've yet to read Dance with Dragons and don't really intend to at this point unless a day comes sometime in the 2020's when book seven actually comes out. We as fans got extremely lucky with Jordan because he was given advance notice of his death which allowed him to create notes and an outline for Brandon Sanderson but Rosenberg's death was a heart attack out of nowhere and there was no such warning.

This is one reason I appreciate Stephen King so much. He was one of those authors that I used to complain about a lot for his never ending Dark Tower series. I think he like many authors falsely assumed he'd be around forever and that he'd get to it someday. Then he got a taste of his own mortality when he was nearly killed in a car accident and he realized he had an obligation to finish the series which he did rather quickly after that. If you haven't read the series he in a way that is kind of complex and hard to explain wrote himself and his accident into the series and discussed how he had been treating the fans poorly by blowing them off.


message 41: by Alan (last edited Jun 13, 2013 10:30AM) (new)

Alan | 534 comments I think Valerie's tomatoes analogy is pretty on-point. If the tomatoes start tasting terrible, I can complain about the last batch I bought AND stop buying them. I don't have to pick one over the other. Am I "owed" good tomatoes? Maybe, maybe not. But, I'll surely complain about getting lousy ones.

With respect to book series there is an additional issue. When I buy several books in a series, I am doing so in part because I am interested in how the series progresses and concludes. If I knew beforehand that the series would not finish, there are many that I would never touch. To be honest, Song of Ice and Fire is one of those to me. I liked the first book very much but some of the later ones I didn't enjoy as much and would not have been interested in reading them if I didn't think they were leading somewhere.

Martin doesn't owe me any particular release date for any of his books and if he chooses not to finish the series, c'est la vie. But, yes, I will retroactively regret some of the time I've spent in that world if he just abandons the project.


message 42: by Zach (new)

Zach | 16 comments Alan wrote: "I think Valerie's tomatoes analogy is pretty on-point. If the tomatoes start tasting terrible, I can complain about the last batch I bought AND stop buying them. I don't have to pick one over the ..."

Yup, what if the farmer has been teasing you for years with clues foreshadowing the revelations of mysterious fresh uber-tomatoes in the final years of the farm's operation. It's almost like false advertising (or at least a broken promise) if they don't eventually come through with the mysterious tomatoes at that point. I think we are *entitled* to complain politely in that case.


message 43: by Kevin (new)

Kevin | 701 comments Zach wrote: "Alan wrote: "I think Valerie's tomatoes analogy is pretty on-point. If the tomatoes start tasting terrible, I can complain about the last batch I bought AND stop buying them. I don't have to pick ..."

Except that there's very little polite complaining on the internet and a lot entitled whining and/or childish flipping out.

For example: Every single time Patrick Rothfuss posts something he thinks is cool on his facebook page, there's at least one person who posts something to the effect of: "How about you finish book 3 instead?"
Really, what the f does that accomplish?


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