April 23rd, 2008


Howard Hughes and the Dreadful Slog

Yes, I am disappointed by the results of the Pennsylvania primary. I don't think that either Clinton or Obama have much of a chance of winning the presidency, and I'm not one of those who sees Obama as some sort of panacea for the ills of this country, but, still. I've been trying to hope.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,125 words on a new piece for Sirenia Digest #30. It has no title, and I'm really not sure, yet, how to describe it.

While I'm thinking of it, here's that list again, those of my books in print, the ones that need to sell, the editions that need to sell (new, not used copies), etc.:

Daughter of Hounds



Low Red Moon

Murder of Angels

Tales of Pain and Wonder

Not much else to say for yesterday. I read a bit of Justine by the Marquis DeSade before I started writing. Last night, I watched two episodes of Deadliest Catch (despite the Bon Jovi theme song), a series I have a peculiar fondness for. My thing about the sea, I suppose. Hauling things up from the sea. The bleak beauty of the Bering Strait.

I think I need intravenous Red Bull this morning... (and it's not even really morning now, as of seventeen minutes ago).

Safety Valve

I have tried, the last year or so, to ignore "reviews" on Amazon.com, as well as those posted to blogs and suchlike. I am aware that in the eyes of some, it appears unseemly when an author replies to her critics (and I'm being rather generous here with the word "critic"). However, myself, I have always felt that it is only reasonable that the author be permitted an equal opportunity to reply, especially when the criticism in question is demonstrably wrong or wrong-headed and may, in theory, adversely affect book sales. Anyway. Yes. I have been good. But this morning I saw a "review" of Low Red Moon on Amazon.com, posted maybe a month back, and it annoyed me, and then I had a hard day, and so I am allowing myself to fall off the wagon (for one day only). The "review," posted by Kathryn Daugherty ("tropo9"), reads as follows:

In this sequel to Threshold, Deacon and Chance are married and Chance is pregnant. Sadie is Deacon's friend, but neither remember their affair after Chance left Deacon. Even Chance doesn't remember turning back time in the water tunnel to save Elisa, but instead is again freaked out by her psychic premonitions of raining blood.

This story is really about Narcissa Snow, a part goblin child raised by an insane father on the coast of Rhode Island. She is convinced that if she gives the goblins a changeling child, then she will finally be accepted into the goblin community. The child she wishes to give them is Chance's. She travels to Birmingham, committing mutilations and murders along the way. Deacon is caught up in her schemes when Narcissa kills one of Deacon's old friends and the police ask Deacon for his psychic assistance.

The best part of the novel is that the author has cleaned up her language. The narrative is strong and sure. The worst part of the novel is that not for one second can you believe that Deacon loves Chance or that Chance loves Deacon. Why did they get married? Why is Deacon sober? Chance seems to hate Deacon and is always convinced that he is about to fall off the wagon. Deacon feels weak and useless. If you have no sympathy for the main characters and no understanding of their situation, then the author has done a very poor job. It is rather depressing that such a good writer has no understanding of human motivations.

Now...to start with, I must assume that Miss Daugherty means "ghoul" when she says "goblin," as the word "goblin" appears only twice in the novel, and only once, jokingly, as a reference to the ghouls. Secondly, who the hell of "Elisa"? I will assume, from context, that she means Elise. Third, Narcissa was raised in the North Shore region of Massachusetts, north of Cape Ann, not "on the coast of Rhode Island." Okay. So that three factual errors in the first paragraph, when, I assume, Miss Daugherty must have written this review fairly soon after having read the novel. Do I question reading comprehension here or retention of what has been read?

Regardless, what really stuns me is that final paragraph, where we are told that "not for one second can you believe that Deacon loves Chance or that Chance loves Deacon," and her calling into question the possibility that they would have married. This is so idiotic that I'm not even going into all the instances by which I could prove that, while Chance and Deacon are hardly one of those mythic ideal couples you see beaming from Match.com commercials, there is ample evidence in this book that they do love each other quite a lot. And never mind the fact that the "reviewer" seems to be labouring under the assumption that all marriages are successful, or that all married people love each other, or that all married people appear to love each other, and so forth. She's joking, right? Please note, I am not objecting to the fact that she didn't like the book, but to the fact that she cannot be bothered to write an informed review. And as for the line, "The best part of the novel is that the author has cleaned up her language," well, I'm not even going to presume to know what she means by that.

Idiot. Anyway, yeah, you can read (and rate) the "review" here.