We interrupt this Vector blog to bring you a brief post about Strange Horizons. For anyone who hasn’t been following Lamoragate, here’s a recap:
1. A review
2. A response
5. A rant
8. A meta-response (possibly)
I think that’s the lot. Let me know if I’ve missed any.
A couple of comments on the original EmCit thread aside, I’ve been holding off making any kind of a public statement about this, since I’m the guy that accepted and edited the original review. But I figure there are a few points worth noting.
One: there was no intent to cause controversy by publishing the review, and no intent to criticise specific individuals.
Two: Perhaps I have an unusually thick skin, but it simply never occurred to me that anyone would read the statement in this review about lies and bribes as anything other than hyperbole. Because whatever grains of truth there are underlying it, to me it’s clearly an exaggeration to the point of absurdity. I don’t think it’s just blind optimism to believe that these days, most sf reviewers are working to their own version of the protocol of excessive candour; or to think that in general sf criticism, online and off, formal and informal, is as healthy as it’s ever been; nor to be sceptical of the idea that there are widespread assumptions to the contrary that this review is going to reinforce.
Three: For reviewers it can certainly be challenging to do what Clute’s called “swab the decks”; to bring an independent, honest perspective to–or to not be a little suspicious of–a book that has been actively hyped, or even just widely praised. I know the feeling, whether reviewing a high-profile title, or a book edited by a friend. But it’s something that we have to do, as part of earning the reader’s trust, so I think it’s a subject worth talking about.
And four: ironically, I’m currently reading The Lies of Locke Lamora myself, and quite enjoying it.