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Items: reader contract, Rice, Marquis, Clarke, Sim


Today's loose theme: authors and the reader contract.

  • Sherwood Smith posted a couple weeks ago about the reader contract; good food for thought.
  • Most of you probably know already about the recent to-do over Anne Rice. For those who don't: last year, she posted a note on her website that, among other things, talked with pride about the fact that her editor no longer gets to edit her work. Then last week, she reiterated that fact, among other comments, in a long single-paragraph rant on Amazon in response to some negative reader reviews, all about how the readers don't recognize her true brilliance. (Assuming that Amazon's "real name" stamp really does mean that the post was written by her.) This is a good example of why authors shouldn't generally respond to reviews. The Toronto Star has the story; the fandom_wank LJ community provides snarkier comments, as does Metafilter in a posting titled "I vant to... buy you an enter key."
  • On a more cheerful note, I happened across a Don Marquis website recently. Marquis, of course, was the author of the excellent archy and mehitabel columns; archy being allegedly a cockroach who's the reincarnation of a free-verse poet, who pounds out columns by leaping from key to key of Marquis's typewriter.
  • Karina Sumner-Smith mocks a review of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norell that starts out with a paraphrase of the opening to Pride and Prejudice.
  • Grady Hendrix writes in the Village Voice about the end of an aardvark: "Dave Sim's postmodern comic-book epic, Cerebus, ends after 26 years and 6,000 pages." A fairly good overview of the Sim/Cerebus situation. When I stopped by Million Year Picnic in Harvard Square the other week (at least I think that's where I saw this), I skimmed an interview with Gerhard, Sim's longtime collaborator; some pretty cool stuff there. Cerebus went rapidly from one of my very favorite comic books ("Jaka's Story" is probably among my top five favorite comics stories) to pretty much unreadable to me many years ago, but a friend recently told me that if you can ignore Sim's bizarre and extreme misogyny in his editorials and such, the comic itself continued to be worth reading all the way to the end. I may give it a try sometime, though I remain dubious.


Thanks for the link to the reader contract thing. Now I have some good vocab to explain what annoys me so much about certain works of fiction ::grin::. (The example that immediately springs to mind is Donna Tartt's "The Little Friend", which sets itself up as a mystery and then decides it's just an "observational novel" or whatever and never answers the question. Grrrr.)

Also, Michelle Sargara West has done a deconstruction of the First Novel Contract she had (her opinion, very unofficial as she stresses) on her LJ: here [Edited by Jed to make the link clickable.]

That's the start, you'll have to scan through to find the rest.

My favorite take on the Anne Rice Amazon thing was in a strip of Something Positive: http://www.somethingpositive.net/sp09212004.shtml

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