Evidence of Links in a Case of Abandonment

(There will be content soon, honest. Probably starting with something about the M. Rickert story whose title I have corrupted for the title of this post.)

12 thoughts on “Evidence of Links in a Case of Abandonment

  1. I’ve been following the Nussbaum / Shepard…tiff, and I’m with Abigail, too. I didn’t read her comments as attacking Mr. Shepard personally or calling him mean spirited. She seemed perfectly reasonable.

    And, at risk of being decked if I come within a two state radius of Mr. Shepard, he came across in his response as a bit cranky and petty.

    Hell of a writer, though.

  2. I’m good friends with the writer whose fanwork Abigail posted in her response on Lucius’ final rant. I find it really very amusing.

    Also, I think he’s missing the point: even if a work isn’t deep or complex, the fact that it’s popular means there’s something there anyway; it’s speaking to us and about us, and it’s worth examining what it’s saying (overtly or not) and what we’re hearing.

    But it’s much easier to be dismissive.

  3. “Jonathan McCalmont on Greg Egan (taking some issue with Adam Roberts’ review …”

    ‘Taking some issue with’ as in, er, ‘coming to largely the same conclusions as’?

  4. The Shepard – Nussbaum thing… it strikes me these sorts of things are getting all too common. It’s the nature of the medium, I suppose. Misinterpreted writing styles. Americans misunderstanding British English, and vice versa. And all those other dialects too. Plus the fact that people often post first and think later. Or that any kind of criticism or disagreement is immediately seen as either of-course-wrong-headed or the deliberate tipping of sacred cows.

    Back in ye olde dayes of printe, you knew someone else had read and considered a piece of criticism – or it wouldn’t have been published. Those who disagreed weren’t just facing some anonymous individual, but an entire magazine and its editorial staff. It made them think a bit more carefully about what they were going to say.

  5. Cofax:

    Yes, that’s something I wish I’d talked about in my response to Shepard, and one of the reasons I linked to “The Kids Aren’t All Right,” which does such a good job of taking a long hard look at a work of popular culture that’s easy to dismiss, and pointing out the things that work says to an audience which may not even realize it’s being spoken at. It’s not the only reason I write about pop culture, but it’s certainly an important one.

  6. Thanks Niall: that makes more sense.

    I wouldn’t, obviously, want to argue with Jonathan’s feeling that my review is unfair and wrongheaded, which I daresay it is: but I’d say I agreed pretty much wholly with his sfsite review — an excellent account of the book — which means I can flatter myself that my judgment isn’t too far from his. (He attacks critics who denigrate the book on grounds of weak characterisation, suggesting that applying the criteria of say Middlemarch to a hard sf novel is missing the point. I agree with that, as it goes: my SH review doesn’t talk about characterisation. It does talk about infodumping, which seems to me as bad in hard sf as it would be anywhere, but that’s a separate issue I’d say).

    But this is a side-issue. More to the point: I too side with Abigail.

  7. Re: Abigail/Lucius

    I’m with Abigail as well. Here’s the thing I find surprising. I’ve been following Lucius’s group blog for over a year now, and I’ve never seen him respond to a review/critique of his *fiction,* but when Abigail wrote a less-than-positive review of his non-fiction, he went off like a rocket.

    Most fiction authors know better than to respond to/argue with reviews–perhaps some forget to also apply that principle to their other writings?

  8. Lucius Shepard on Abigail Nussbaum (circa September 2006): “I don’t find her views terribly out of place or poorly mounted.” How is that for a ringing endorsement?

    I remember that comment because it is part of a classic thread where Shepard and Spencer Pate propose setting up a reviews watchdog. Silly buggers.

    It is also notable for Shepard saying:

    “You notice all these idiots are concerned with something called the blogosphere. The internet is the proving ground for the self-esteem of idiots… ”

    This is not only posted on the internet but is just prior to him setting up a group blog.

  9. The above mentioned Nightshade thread springs off an earlier thread in which Shepard says about a reviewer “Rich Horton is a notorious firp, i.e. a guy who bites his fart bubbles in the bath tub and then takes himself way too seriously.” He later apologizes, but it indicates that he sometimes responds to criticism less than graciously.

  10. The parasitic creatures who live inside Griaule in Shepard’s ‘The Scalehunter’s Beautiful Daughter’ are called ‘Feelys.’ This was Shepard’s measure response to criticism from Gregory Feeley. IIRC it had something to do with Feeley being critical of the anonymous publication of a piece later attributed to Shepard. Feeley wasn’t critical of the piece so much as of the hiding behind anonymity.
    This must have been around 1988 so Shepard has been responding badly to criticism for quite a while now.

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