Science fiction and fantasy                                            



A Shout-Out For The Good Guys





   

Musings and rants

Nine Political Books That Change The Conversation
Following news that Simon and Schuster plan to publish an inflammatory commentator, here are nine political books that deserve more attention.

Penguin Random House Withdraws Union Recognition
Penguin Random House have decided not to recognise Unite and the NUJ as a result of staff negotiations, leaving the publisher with a stain on its reputation as an employer.

Authors Support Stop Funding Hate
Some authors have had enough of divisive and xenophobic elements in the British press, and are willing to make an ethical stand.

Women In SFF: Indie Edition
A list of indie and self-published women writing in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative fiction genres.

Amazon Finally Makes KU Appealing For Novelists
The new per-page payout for the Kindle Unlimited subscription service makes it a much better deal for authors of longer novels.

Thoughts On The Sieghart Report On Libraries
The Sieghart report on libraries missed its mark by miles. Yet the real cause of the decline of the UK library network is depressingly obvious.

Critique Circle: Shaping Fabulous Stories
The appeal of a certain writing critique website. Or, why I have neglected this blog.

Where Shall I Point This Pitchfork?
Some thoughts on Jonathan Ross, Loncon, and the twitchfork mob.

Reading Is Not A Race
Why I will be abandoning annual reading challenges in 2014.

What Book Discovery Is Missing
The current state of book discovery is narrowing our reading choices and squeezing out midlist writers. How can it be fixed?

An Explosion Of Discovery Tools
New book discovery engines are popping up all over the web. But which ones will come out on top?

Blog Tours From Both Sides
Blog tours are the lastest marketing fad. But what are the pros and cons of this kind of publicity?

It's Not Your Story Any More
When a book is published, authors lose control over how the story should be read. They should let go the reins and enjoy the ride.

Same Old, Same Old
Are current methods of book discovery pushing us further away from original literature?

Female Protagonists In Genre Fiction
A list of recommended SFF books for adults which feature a female as the main character.

Is This The End Of Sweeping Vistas?
Do recent trends in fantasy art styles and the constraints of online book discovery mark the decline of landscape cover art?

A Rising Tide Floats All Boats
Authors: stop thinking of other writers as your rivals. They're not the enemy.

Reviews Are Useless Without Context
With so many review blogs, quick ways of understanding their authors are more important than ever.

Great Scriptwriters: Sometimes Overlooked, Always Vital
Sometimes it seems like the only way to get known as a scriptwriter is to do something else entirely.

The Going Rate For Fake Reviews
Now you can buy your way to critical success, at least until you get caught.


24th October 2014

The science fiction and fantasy and book reviewing blogosphere has been toxic lately. One author laid into Vine reviewers extensively for their negative reviews of her work by writing an article slamming them, and continuing to do so in the comments, in spite of the well-worn advice not to comment on negative reviews. Another author admitted to stalking a reviewer, visiting that reviewer at home and obtaining information under false pretences, and adding insult to injury by posting an account on the website of a prominent British newspaper without protecting the identity of the reviewer in question. All that over a single negative review.

Thirdly, someone revealed the identity of a particularly vitriolic reviewer, who had been active in the genre community and whose online attacks crossed the line into bullying and death threats. This person turned out to be an apparently mild-mannered genre author.

For authors and book bloggers alike it's been a disturbing October. You may notice that I haven't named anyone involved in these dramas. Obviously I don't want to give any of the bad actors involved more publicity, although if you want to know who I'm talking about it's not hard to find out. However, I have a suspicion that at least some of this controversy has been engineered to gain publicity. Yes, there are a lot of people who condemn the people involved, but there are always some who will see things differently and support the authors no matter what. So in the end, people who have acted badly get more publicity, and therefore sell more books, and as a community we're inadvertently supporting exactly the kind of behaviour most people would deplore.

I'd much rather reward people who treat everyone else with respect and kindness. I don't write negative reviews any more, but I have done so in the past. Most authors didn't flip out in any way, so I'm going to highlight them, because these are the kinds of writers bloggers should be able to deal with without having to move house if they post something snarky.

The ones listed below are those who have behaved well in response to a review of mine that hasn't been altogether glowing. By well, I mean they've either not responded at all, or they have left comments or sent emails that were polite and which left me feeling comfortable. Some have even come back and made changes as a result of my reviews, or have asked for me to review subsequent books, and they get extra kudos. And just because I didn't like a book doesn't mean that it won't work for you, or that their subsequent stories won't be extremely worthwhile.

It's not a comprehensive list, of course, since it only reflects my experience. I'm not including deceased authors, and I'm focusing on those who sent review copies because there's more chance that they actually read the review in question. So non-inclusion doesn't imply anything.

It's time for the nice guys to finish first.

Grace under fire

  • A. M. Veillon

  • Charles Covington

  • Eralides E. Cabrera

  • Gabrielle Staples

  • Geoffrey Bonn

  • Gina Jenkins

  • Graham Hancock

  • Johan Pihl

  • Kim Lakin-Smith

  • M. A. Keesee

  • Mark H. Walker

  • Paul J. Newell

  • Raphael Vasconceles

  • Rhiannon Paille

  • Rod Glenn

  • Scott Marcano

  • Sean Beech

  • Simone Brightstein

  • Todd McCaffrey

  • William P. Burch

Grace under mild sunburn

I didn't pan the works of these authors, but sometimes a three-star review is all it takes to trigger a meltdown, so I'm including them for completeness. These are authors who have behaved impeccably in the face of my three-star critiques:

  • Alex Alice

  • Chris Marie Green

  • Christian R. Bonawandt

  • Christopher Farnsworth

  • David Litwack

  • Deborah Harkness

  • G. L. Twynham

  • Gregory Maguire

  • Heather Killough-Walden

  • Jason Starr

  • Jaye Wells

  • John Lenahan

  • Kaaron Warren

  • Kfir Luzzatto

  • Laurell K. Hamilton

  • Lavie Tidhar

  • Lee Stephen

  • Lynn Flewelling

  • Nina Allan

  • Robyn and Tony DiTocco

  • Sydney Jordan

  • Sylvia Day

  • Whitley Strieber

  • Willie Patterson

Other lists

There's a partial list at the bottom of this page on Fangs For The Fantasy of well-behaved authors. If any other bloggers want to post similar lists, I'll be using the #authorsbehavingwell hashtag and I'll try to link to those I find.