Agony Column

Discussion in 'Fantasy / Horror' started by juzzza, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

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  2. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    No. I was unaware of his review site until now. It seems that he wanted to dislike James on principle but just couldn't. I had a book reviewed by someone a few years ago who began his review with the disclaimer, "I am not a fan of Epic Fantasy." When it was published and I started to read it, all I could think of was why in hell did he review me then? The review was actually not bad. He called it a 'fine piece of Epic Fantasy', and then he spent most of the review talking about why he disliked the genre in general.

    My point above was that I wonder if this reviewer has a similar bug up his ass?
     
  3. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

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    Looks like it, although the particular 'bug' is elves... could be interesting. :D
     
  4. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    Would you send a cd to a reviewer of classical music or punk rock?
     
  5. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

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    If I saw that said reviewer had just reviewed Damien Rice... even if they started it with 'usually I hate acoustic singer/songwriter crap...'

    Isn't Tommy a pop/punk drummer!?!
     
  6. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    Yes and no. We share music just about every other day - i send him names and vice/versa. His tastes are as eclectic as mine with regard to what he listens to. What he plays? It's alot like what one reads and what one writes, isn't it? I read so much, but I write Epic Fantasy and children's books!

    I understand, BTW, that the studio is booked.
     
  7. juzzza

    juzzza Loveable Rogue

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    Sure, but that's my point in a way. Most people can have eclectic taste, despite their area of expertise or preference.

    Although, I understand your hesitance, considering the cost of sending your trilogy to someone who potentially is biased against it before turning a page.

    I just seem to have this sick desire to test my own material in the most hostile of markets... or at least those that seem that way.

    Studio...

    Really!!! That is exciting man!!! What about the restaurant? :D me and food.
     
  8. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    I'm making the reservations now. What are you into? Cool or low key? Big, small, hip? French, American, Japanese, bistro? This is NYC.

    I was thinking of Hearth. Look it up on Zagat on the internet. Or Balthazar. Take a look at that one too.

    I have books out for review at so many places right now, I think I might just wait for some to post.

    I know what you mean though. I asked that same reviewer to review The Awakening, ironically. I like to test those things as well, or else I am just a masochist.
     
  9. Rob B

    Rob B \m/ BEER \m/ Staff Member

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    I've been reading Kleffel's column for a while now and he does have some interesting things to say.

    I don't think he dislikes Epic Fantasy, in fact, he has said he enjoys it.
     
  10. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    It might be a good idea then. I am going to send the information to my publisher and have them contact him. So if he rips my books apart, Justin and Rob, then I know who to blame. That takes the burden off of me, right? I'll be able to rationalize the whole thing.
     
  11. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    There's enjoying epic fantasy and there's enjoying epic fantasy. You get a lot of pundits who claim they enjoy epic fantasy stories, but what they actually mean is that they enjoy epic fantasies as long as they are written exactly the way the pundit believes they should be. These tend to be the people who not only want to see more variety and literary styles in epic fantasy but want to purge the sub-genre and restrict and censor what is published in it. And those are the good reviewers who know something about what they're talking about.

    Most reviewers have no experience with sf and fantasy at all, even non-genre sff, which has been a major obstacle for genre publishers to market works and get mainstream attention, reviews and sales. With more sff genre titles being put out in hardcover first, and with the volume of web sites, genre titles are getting reviewed much more often than they used to be, frequently by people who have very limited knowledge of the genres. This guy seems to know a bit, but has film critics disease. So maybe don't send it to him.
     
  12. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    Uh oh. Confusion. What to do.

    Maybe we could get this guy to log on to sffworld and help me out here? Anyone know him?
     
  13. KatG

    KatG Effulgent Staff Member

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    Now, confusion can be a friend. I watched "I Love Huckabees" recently, and could not but help think of your forum, Gary. :)
     
  14. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    I saw that movie too KatG. Dustin Hoffman is much much shorter than I am. But I do resemble Jude Law.....
     
  15. Jay_T

    Jay_T New Member

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    My apologies this is a older thread, but it caught my eye.

    Rick is one of the most respected reviewers in the online speculative fiction community period. The Agony Column is widely read, and there aren't many people deemed as credible then Kleffel. He will be fair. I have never read any criticism from him that I felt was too out of proportion.

    He definitely is well read in all genres, and I really don't see what the beef is with reviewers who judge books by their personal merits, that would seem the point - otherwise it really wouldn't matter whose review you read.


    A negative review doesn't have to reflect a less knowledgable reviewer, or unread reviewer, and a reviewer doesn't need to know the history of the genre. All he/she has to do is be able to read, and tell us what they think about what they read.

    If a book gets a bad review it just may be a sub-par book, there are certainly more of those than the opposite.

    I'm not saying you should or shouldn't send him a book Gary , I'm just saying his reputation is beyond question.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2005
  16. Gary Wassner

    Gary Wassner GemQuest

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    I think you are right Jay. There is no point in having your books reviewed if the reviewers are not credible, and he certainly is. But I still wonder if it makes sense sometimes to ask for problems. If he hates Epic Fantasy and is tired of elves and ogres, then why prime his pump with another book that he might initialy have proclivities against? Judging a book by its personal merits is what I would always hope a reviewer would do. Of course, we all see them differently, those merits, and we all read differently - we see things that others miss and we miss things that others see. If I was selling millions of copies already, then I wouldn't be so worried about testing the limits by asking a tough critic to review a book utilizing tropes that he has proclaimed he does not support.

    Now, I may be wrong entirely about him. I am going by what others have told me. It's an uphill battle with many reviewers today when they read the synopses of my books. Not one has walked away spurning them in the end though, so i admire the perserverence and objectivity in the industry. But I still worry.

    If you tell me that he is fair minded and open-minded, then I will trust you on that. I don't know him or his reviews. If you tell me he will read me without prejudice, then I believe you.
     
  17. Brys

    Brys Registered User

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    I'm losing respect for Rick Kleffel - he has not given a negative review. When he's reviewing books that are genuinely good, he writes decent reviews. But then he ruins it by not having a single negative review - and he reviewed Crossroads of Twilight by Robert Jordan, and the review still made it out to be competent epic fantasy.

    I've just never read any criticism by him. That's a problem - his reviews are Harriet Klausner style but with a bit more depth (ie he seems to actually have read the books, but despite that he feels he can't say anything bad about them). I know he has a lot of respect, but quite frankly, I don't see why. His reviews don't seem particularly credible to me - the only differentials in books he has are those which are outstanding and those which are good. It doesn't help you to decide.