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Thread: Agony Column

  1. #1
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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    Agony Column

    Gary, have you sent a set of your books to Rick Kleffel?

    http://www.trashotron.com/agony/index.htm

    Check out the archives for NOM's reviews.

  2. #2
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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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. #3
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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    Looks like it, although the particular 'bug' is elves... could be interesting.

  4. #4
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Would you send a cd to a reviewer of classical music or punk rock?

  5. #5
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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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. #6
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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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. #7
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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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? me and food.

  8. #8
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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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. #9
    \m/ BEER \m/ Moderator Rob B's Avatar
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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. #10
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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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. #11
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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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. #12
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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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. #13
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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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. #14
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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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. #15
    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 by Ainulindale; July 19th, 2005 at 11:27 AM.

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