Monday, February 25

In response to the question "Michael" left on my last post: I don't really read much fiction any more. I recommended Scott Lynch because his publisher very considerately floated me an ARC of The Lies of Locke Lamora, which I thought was the best fantasy adventure I'd read in maybe ten years. It was, however, entirely painful for me to admit this, as Scotty is a friend of mine (as well as some fifteen years my junior) and I think he's already better at this shit than I am.

This is why I rarely read new SFF authors: professional jealousy. My reaction to a book by a new writer usually falls into one of two clearly-defined categories:

1) How Did This Pile of Dogshit Get Into Print -- and Why Is It Out-Selling My Books Ten-to-One?

or

2) This Is How I Would Have Written My Own Books, if I Weren't a Complete Fucking Loser.

You can see how this unfortunate quirk of psychology makes reading my peers kind of painful.

So I mostly read non-fiction, and classics. If I'm going to feel inferior anyway, I prefer to feel inferior to Hemingway, Chandler or Conrad, y'know?

18 comments:

Shane said...

Eh, money isn't everything.

MWS said...

You're welcome to explain that to my wife.

Before you do, though, it's important that we answer one question --

Are you an organ donor?

Tim said...

Do you ever reread your old books and cringe? Or do you not look at them anymore, for fear of how awful (or awesome (if you're going to feel inferior, why not feel inferior to yourself?)) they may seem to you now?

Shane said...

Eh, I imagine more than one person out there can claim that you're to them what Heinlein was to you. And I'm not trying to take anything away from Scott, because I think he has enviable talent, but it seems to me that he set out to write a piece of intelligent entertainment, and completely succeeded in that respect. But nobody else has ever given me the life-changing experience that reading Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle had. Not with a work of fiction, anyway.

There's more to talent than flowery adjectives and vivid imagery, or whatever it is you think you're lacking in comparison to some of the more successful cats out there.

James said...

eh, wow, you need to tell me all these people you feel inferior too, because, ya' know, haven't yet found any author I personally liked better than you. Reading Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle had the unexpected side-effect of making the next couple fantasy books I've tried to read seem like crap

Aaron said...

Sample....


I want a sample.

Aaron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aaron said...

P.S. -

Your writing has changed lives and perspectives. It has challenged readers in a mixture of genres that modern authors rarely dare tread.

Trust that I do not say this lightly; after reading over 1,000 works of fantasy, your works, even the light-weight star wars stuff, are my favorites.

You might sell yourself short, you might even avoid reading other similar works to avoid envy (or arrogance) - but never forget that you have made a difference.

Because in doing so, you are selling those fans of yours who, like me were (and are) touched by how you say it as much as what you say, short.

MWS said...

Nay.

Check the extended post to follow, (which will follow as soon as time & energy permit).

But thanks for (what I take to be) the sentiment underlying your comment. Fear not: I have nothing but admiration for my readers' taste.

I only wish there were more of you.

Justin said...

Jesus H Christ, a black president AND a new Caine novel...

Fuck you, enemies of progress.

jT~x

Shane said...

What does the H stand for, anyway?

Justin said...

It means you ain't being blasphemous - as we all know Jesus H Christ works in the coffee shop down the road - rather than the son of God, whose name I would clearly never use in vain!

Bret said...

You ruined Star Wars novels for me. After reading Traitor, no other Star Wars book has been able to keep my attention. (Except Revenge of the Sith and Shatterpoint)

As much as I'd like to be mad, I can't blame you for being better than everyone else.

Is there any plan for a book tour along with Shadows of Mindor or Caine Black Knife? I don't really know how these things work, but it'd be awesome to meet my favorite author in person.

tim said...

>>shane
The H stands for Howard.

As in... Howard Be Thy Name.

heathcliff said...

I'm reading The Lies of Locke Lamora right now - and it is as you say a great book. The nonlinear storytelling builds and releases tension effectively but I've seen most of the plot twists coming a mile away.

MWS said...

Pardon the fit of pedantic assholery to follow:

The measure of a really good novel, Heathcliff, comes only when you read it again . . . if it's still good when you know what happens next, that's the mark of quality. When you see stuff coming the first time, it may be that this particular stuff was never meant to be a surprise, y'know?

And even if it was, well . . .

Unexpected "plot twists" are the single most overrated feature of genre fiction. Of any fiction.

Period.

Just happens to be one of my particular hobby horses, that I haven't taken out of the stable for a spin in a while.

heathcliff said...

This particular book is about cons and con artists so I read with that in mind and analyze each scene to spot the cons before they happen or are revealed. In other words I think like a gentleman bastard. And I'm having fun doing it.

MWS said...

Now, that's what I like to hear. Er, read.

Forget what I said before. Er, wrote.

You know what I mean.