RARA-AVIS: Re: Slapstick-Silly Noir

From: davezeltserman (davezelt@rcn.com)
Date: 16 Jun 2009

  • Next message: Mark Sullivan: "RE: RARA-AVIS: Hello from new member Jonathan Maberry"

    --- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, Kevin Burton Smith <kvnsmith@...> wrote:

    > Or what? You'll pose with a pool cue?
    Another unprovoked shot, huh, Kevin?

    To set the record straight, that wasn't a pose. I needed a picture for Point Blank Press, and the ones my wife were taking weren't coming out well, so she had me shoot a game of pool and took pictures while I shot, so no posing was involved. But you want to know something? A lot of writers pose for their photos, some pay a lot of money for studio shots, and some big name writers even pose to look tough (or whatever image they're trying to project)--I've seen plenty of tough guy Robert Parker shots over the years and while he seemed like a nice guy the few times I've seen him at Kate's, he doesn't appear all that particularly tough in real life. Just in his posed shots. But wait a minute, is it taking potshots if I dare mention a populist writer, especially one you idolize?? Btw. I'd rather have my pool shot on display than your goateed wrinkled turtle head shot that for whatever reason you're using.

    Now Kevin, I know you're a paragon of truth, virtue and pedestrian populist writing, but let's quit the bullshit. You had no interest in talking about humor noir (whatever the fuck that is) when you started posting about brown-nosing circle-jerkers, and then accusing me of providing a blurb without reading the book. You started all this because you smelled blood, and wanted to accuse either me and/or Allan Guthrie in lacking integrity for providing blurbs for a book that you, as the paragon for truth, virtue and pedestrian populist writing, found lacking. That's pretty clear from your earlier posts, but when the book gathered support from other sources you had to change your tactics. Now I know you're going to come back with a lot of bluster and misdirection and accusations, and I know some of your apologists are going to come out defending you, as what happens on every list when you start your bullying ways. But let's quit the bullshit, okay?

    Now other issues, I didn't believe Flexer had any intention of writing a comedy with Disassembled Man, same with Jim Thompson when writing Pop. 1280. Humor frequently pops up in crime fiction--even in Derek Raymond's savage and very grim factory books. In Flexer's case, humor might have been used, especially absurdest humor, but to me I took his intentions of showing his protagonist in a full psychotic breakdown, and that its intention was to be a serious work, although no argument for me that he was at times is trying too hard.

    Now your take on blurbs I found particularly bizarre. A writer giving another writer a blurb is not the same as writing a review. They're not stressing all the strengths and weaknesses of a work. If given honestly it's an endorsement, but it's also the equivalent of a sound bite. What was my blurb for "The Disassembled Man"? Something like it's a shotgun blast of a novel where Jim Thompson's psychotic noir meets Bruce Jay Friedman's absurdest humor? By giving the blurb I'm clearly endorsing the book, which I'm comfortable with, and I believe my short description gives an accurate representation, which again I'm comfortable with. But I'm sorry, if you expect me to write a blurb such as "The book has excesses and indulgences, but the writer shows real talent, and the book is worth reading if you like Jim Thompson and Bruce Jay Friedman, even though it might be a bit rough", you're nuts. We can take a look at some of the blurbs that bestselling writers give, and we can see how honest those are.

    About your question dealing with what writers should expect from reviews, I can tell you most writers I know would answer this the same way--honest reviews. When the reviewer starts making it personal (as you did with The Disassembled Man), that's when they're off base, and I'd bet you just about any writer at any level feels that way. Btw. A writer puts a book out there, its fair game for review, but I did find it interesting that you would hammer away at a first time writer who is probably at the absolute bottom of the totem pole with the vitriol that you did.

    About writing reviews for books that haven't been read all the way through--I agree. But guess?? Here on rara avis we're not writing reviews, but engaging in discussions, and anything is fair game, even the bullshit that you keep bringing up.


    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 16 Jun 2009 EDT