Want to know the most frustrating thing in the whole frelling world? Well, one of the top ten, anyway. The most frustrating thing in the whole frelling world is knowing that there's a review of Murder of Angels in the new Kirkus, but all I currently have access to is a line and a half of it. That bit reads:
"Kiernan (Threshold, 2001) can write like a banshee, with high-flying, incendiary prose that few authors, even fewer if we're talking strictly about fantasy and horror scribes, could hope to emulate—and that's both the best and worst thing about this..."
Jesus. Someday, this sort of thing's going to kill me. I kid you not. The first part sounds very good: "Kiernan (Threshold, 2001) can write like a banshee, with high-flying, incendiary prose that few authors, even fewer if we're talking strictly about fantasy and horror scribes, could hope to emulate..." That's a blurb waiting to happen. But then we proceed to: "—and that's both the best and worst thing about this..." So, clearly this is going to be a mixed review. Half the night, I tried to imagine what the reviewer might mean by "best and worst." My prose is great, but what makes it good also makes it inaccessible to the more casual reader? Or, my prose is brilliant but oftentimes overshadows the characters? And how does that line end? Simply, "—and that's both the best and worst thing about this novel?" Maybe its "—and that's both the best and worst thing about this triumphant sequel to Silk"? Or "—and that's both the best and worst thing about this disappointing new novel from a writer who once showed so much promise"? See, I can go on like this for hours. Mostly, I just need to read the damn review. But I can't yet read the new Kirkus via any of the university accounts I have access to, nor is it on the shelves at Emory yet (and I've never seen a bookstore that carried Kirkus). It's on page 665 of the July 15, 2004 issue. That much I know. If anyone out there has access to the full review and would be so extraordinarily kind as to e-mail it to me, I will send you a Special Gift.
The thing about Kirkus, no one really cares if the reviews are good or bad. No one actually reads such a publication, at least not the book-buying public. But just getting a Kirkus review, good or bad, drives your library sales up, which is a good thing. For some reason that no one's been able to explain, Low Red Moon didn't get a Kirkus review.
I'm so sick of popularity contests. I've said that.
I write these books for me. I tell these stories for myself. To myself. And maybe to Spooky, and Jennifer, and a handful of close friends and family and a few fans of whom I've grown fond. But I don't write them for reviewers or for any perceived audience or demographic. I don't want to have to worry about what someone I've never met, and shall likely never meet, thinks of my abilities as an author.
I do this for me (see the preface to The Five of Cups).
That said, I desperately need Murder of Angels to sell like gangbusters. So, these damned reviews are important, even if no one actually reads Kirkus. They're still important.
And though I may not care what all those fekiks think of my work, bad reviews hurt like hell.
On such paradoxes is the entire universe hung.
We watched the final two eps of Season Two of Six Feet Under last night. I keep hearing bad things about the direction the series has taken, but I was very impressed with Season Two. Sure, it was different from Season One. The emphasis shifted from dead bodies to the living characters, but it seems like a natural shift, and I've grown to care so much for these characters (except Brenda, the ho) that I don't mind at all. Is it a "soap opera"? Yes. But the same could be said for any serial fiction involving relationships between human beings (or dolphins, or chimps, or aliens, for that matter). I give Season Two two thumbs up. Now, though, we are without access to Season Three. Anyone out there have it on VHS? Feel like courting favour?
Last night, I also watched a documentary on the VLT (Very Large Telescope), and we played a little bit of Kya: Dark Lineage (the train leading to the amber mine).
setsuled (known on Nebari Prime as Leh'agvoi) just sent me new manga pages, which I'll try to get up on Nebari.net sometime before midnight. There's more sex, then a Sudden Interruption.
I hear Spooky cleaning the sticky kitchen. I should go help her...