Science fiction and fantasy

A Shout-Out For The Good Guys

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

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:

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.


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