Friday, March 17, 2006

Geek-fu (or enough about me)

Yesterday I stumbled across Andrew Wheeler's blog in which I learned that there has been a minor flame war concerning my NYTBR review on March 5. Flame war may be too strong a term for what transpired, but here are some links to judge for yourself. Link , Link 2 , Link 3 , Link 4 , Link 5 , Link 6 , Link 7.

You will note that there were a lot of hot heads and that much vitriol was spilled. Remarkably, my book, the purported object of the review, was largely ignored. That's because the fracas wasn't about my book. It was mostly a rant against the Time's reviewer, Dave Itzkoff, and his fitness or lack thereof, to represent Science Fiction in the pages of the NYT.

My role in all this, I think, is to remain a stunned by-stander. Of course, I'm tempted to weigh in on my book's behalf. To refute some of the malicious lies written about it. To chastise the number of self-appointed pundits who, admitting they haven't even read the book, nevertheless adopt the reviewer's opinions without challenge and dismiss it as unworthy of taking up so much valuable space in the NYT.

But alas, I have already cut COUNTING HEADS loose. I gave it as good a launch as my publicist at Tor and I could muster. We gave it a loving shove into an indifferent world. My debut novel is on its own now, and if it wants to mix it up in the NYT, there's nothing I can do about it except chew my nails and wish it well. Keep your dukes up, little book.


Beth Adele said...

I'm so entranced by the vision of a spunky little book putting its dukes up against indifferent reviewers that I'm going to go out in search of Counting Heads this week (which I've been meaning to do for some time). Maybe I'll take it out for a beer after I've read it and let it talk about the trials of the past month....

Paul Levinson said...

For what it's worth, David - I think by far the most important thing about the NYTBR of Counting Heads is that your novel was indeed reviewed in this new science fiction section. Period. In other words: nothing is more important than the plain fact that the book was reviewed. The specifics of the review pale in comparison to this towering fact. Your first novel got a full-page review in the Sunday New York Times Book Review.

Enjoy it. Bask in it. You and your novel deserve it.

All best,

Gregory Feeley said...

My only quarrel is with the term "self-appointed pundit." Deploying "self-appointed" as a pejorative -- usually to dis someone whose judgment you disagree with -- is an old sci-fi mainstay. "Self-appointed experts" (or "critics") are regularly lambasted, and there is always a good dollop of anti-intellectualism present. A "self-appointed pundit" is just a blogger, and in replying to a blog with a blog of one's own, one does what one condemns.

To belittle someone's credentials for being "self-appointed" is, inescapably, to claim that credentials are bestowed by outside agencies, and that the value of one's judgments should be first measured by them. Does anybody really believe this? Let's give "self-appointed" a rest.

David Marusek said...

My gosh, do we have rules for blogs now? And self-appointed blog cops?

Sherry said...

I nice little verbal war is ... well, publicity. Any kind of publicity will help sell your book. I saw some of the blather about the NYT reviewer not being qualified to judge sf, but never got into the discussion far enough to find the catalyst. Congratulations! And good luck with your book.

Pat Cadigan said...


Yes, stay out of it. Very smart move. Cool reserve is never wrong.:)