A Test

Say you write a genre novel, possibly about the last werewolf in existence and it’s really good until the end when SURPRISE you’re setting people up for a sequel. So, yeah, you really need them to read that sequel, which will presumably also be a genre novel, since it is, sorry for the redundancy, the sequel to your werewolf book.

Do you

a. Embrace genre fans?

b. insult porn stars?

c. make it seem like genre fans are too stupid to really get the genius of your book because it’s too literary?

d. say some more smarmy things about porn stars that makes a gal think you should probably not try to get around porn stars in real life?

e. kind of be smarmy towards the dude you’re trying to compliment with your review?

Answer here.

So… that’s a weird strategy. Maybe this is a reason more writers should blog. Then you’d learn that there are idiots all over and that people, no matter what you write, are going to misunderstand it or give you shit just to be assholes. It’s not confined to genre fans, certainly. Hell, if Duncan ever writes a non-genre book, he may find that out.

14 thoughts on “A Test

  1. It seems to me that Duncan’s jealous. His review sounds like a lot of the reviews thriller writers did of Chabon’s _Yiddish Policemen’s Union_. Full of “Y’all have picked on us and now you’re trying to poach our audience” subtext.

  2. Ah, Coble, I took it the opposite way–that he was saying that he already knew the stupidity this poor author was going to face because he, like him, wrote a literary genre book and was beset by idiots.

    Cinnabari, I thought THE LAST WEREWOLF was really good up until the “I’m setting up a sequel!” part.

    “Tries to trick you into reading a sequel” should be a genre at this point. And I like series. Man, I mean, I am enjoying the hell of of the Sandman Slim books (for all their issues). But I will say that one thing that… um… dude whose name I can’t remember… the Sandman Slim writer does very well is make each book stand alone. You could read the second one without reading the first and just feel like you were missing interesting back story not crucial plot points. You can read any of them and know that those characters are going to go off and have more adventures and then there’s another book and look! They are.

    Sandman Slim dude could really teach a master class on how to write books that are but don’t have to be in a series. And I’ve read enough of the “I’m spending my last thirty pages setting you up for the next book” books written by these supposed great writers that it’s obvious that such a class is needed.

  3. Aw, shit. I feel responsible for you stumbling into this travesty, B. You have my repeated apologies for recommending dude’s Magnum Opus to you. At least you had a background for reading that weird review.

    Which, I should add, was a desperate man’s attempt to show that he belonged in the same club as Whitehead.

    About the actual novel, Zone One, I will just say that after reading the excerpt on NPR books, I was gobsmacked by the misogyny on display. In about five pages, Whitehead has his narrator dreamily remember his uncle’s fungible “bosomy buddies” who longed hopelessly for marriage, and fight skeletonized zombie HR women who have skinnied out of their skirts with starvation, but are wearing THE SAME TYPE OF THONG as his ex-girlfriend. Gosh! Memories….

    There were no live women in the excerpt, other than a mention of a sweeper team leader with a female name. I was repulsed and disgusted, and not by the zombie guts. I understand he’s a writer of decent reputation, but I will avoid him like the (zombie) plague. I haven’t ranted about this anywhere else, so sorry for the length.

    So maybe Duncan was just trying to match Whitehead in the lady-hating department with the “work in the phrase ‘porn star’ as many times as possible” review.

  4. Yeah, I suppose that could be the case. I just wasn’t really following the review as enthusiastically as I should, simply because I’m tired of reading and hearing about Zone One in mainstream media.

    There are dozens of good books out there. (Dozens…maybe 36! ;) ) but this current publishing gimmick of throwing all your marketing efforts into one book a quarter are making me nuts. This quarter’s flavour seems to be Zone One. (Like Jess I found the excerpt I read via Kindle to be both highly misogynist and extremely pedantic.)

    And really, you know, now that I think about it, when was the last time that a Book Of The Quarter actually lived up to its hype in my experience? Maybe Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. 5 years ago.

    I think it’s hurting publishing, that the books folks who only read sporadically are being roped into turn out so mediocre. Viz. The Passage; The Lonely Polygamist; Swamplandia; Miss Peregrine; Night Circus…

  5. Thank you for that, Coble. I honestly hadn’t noticed that trend, somehow, even though I seem to be right in their target audience for this stuff.

    I didn’t care for The Passage at all. I thought it was really lame, and suffered horribly from B’s pet peeve, Let’s-set-up-for-a-sequel. I really wanted and expected the damn book to, you know, have an ending! I either threw it across the room, or merely wanted to, as I finished it.

    Swamplandia! was better than that. Still not ooh, awesome, but better.

  6. Pingback: A Series Vs. An Unfinished Novel « Just Another Pretty Farce

  7. Oh my god! The guy who took the porn-star-ish photos that are in that post–Richard Kadrey? That’s the Sandman Sim writer who should teach a clinic! I feel like that post is somehow the apotheosis of this discussion.

    Anyway, Jess, please don’t apologize. I really did like THE LAST WEREWOLF up until the last 30 pages. If he’d just died, I would have thought that was one of the best books I’d read this year.

  8. Ugh. I should clarify that upon rereading my own hastily-contrived post this line:

    Last night Aunt B. posted an interesting take on Zone One (kind of).

    means NOT that your post was uninteresting, but the linked review was sort of annoying. I need to clean that up. It sounds awful.

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