PDA

View Full Version : Neil Gaiman: Entitlement issues ...



unicornjam
05-14-2009, 12:02 AM
Neil Gaiman has a LiveJournal feed. A fan, mentioning how he joined George R.R. Martin's journal, asks Gaiman about how entitled readers are to progress updates:


Hi Neil,

I've recently subscribed to George RR Martin's blog (http://grrm.livejournal.com/) in the hopes of getting some inside information regarding when the next "Song of Ice and Fire" book is due to be released. I love the series but since subscribing to the blog I've become increasingly frustrated with Martin's lack of communication on the next novel's publication date. In fact, it's almost as though he is doing everything in his power to avoid working on his latest novel. Which poses a few questions:

1. With blogs and twitter and other forms of social media do you think the audience has too much input when it comes to scrutinising the actions of an artist? If you had announced a new book two years ago and were yet to deliver do you think avoiding the topic on your blog would lead readers to believe you were being "slack"? By blogging about your work and life do you have more of a responsibility to deliver on your commitments?

2. When writing a series of books, like Martin is with "A Song of Ice and Fire" what responsibility does he have to finish the story? Is it unrealistic to think that by not writing the next chapter Martin is letting me down, even though if and when the book gets written is completely up to him?

Would be very interested in your insight.

Cheers
GarethGaiman's response? "No" to the first, "yes, it's unrealistic" to the second. In fact ...


George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.Got it? Good. The rest is here: http://syndicated.livejournal.com/officialgaiman/525510.html

Some of the comments are pure gold. And despite the length, the entry is worth the read.

Kitty Pryde
05-14-2009, 12:10 AM
yeah, the telling gaiman quote here is:


You're complaining about George doing other things than writing the books you want to read as if your buying the first book in the series was a contract with him: that you would pay over your ten dollars, and George for his part would spend every waking hour until the series was done, writing the rest of the books for you.

and this has all been hashed out UNTO DEATH over in lj-land, but yeah. It's not even like GRRM took anybody's money and ran. All the hapless suckers who pre-ordered his latest can even cancel their orders. A zillion new fantasy books come out every year. Moaning about how much you (not YOU, unicornjam, but the general you, Whiny GRRM Fan) MUST HAVE this one and how wronged you are by the author just makes me think, get out of mom's basement and get some fresh air and sunshine FFS.

geardrops
05-14-2009, 12:16 AM
/signed

Bubastes
05-14-2009, 12:16 AM
"Implied contract" to finish the book?? OMGWTFBBQ? Wow, some people seriously need to get a life.

AZ_Dawn
05-14-2009, 02:32 AM
When I finally get my stuff written and published, and I get a professional website with my own domain name, I need to paraphrase that for a disclaimer:
I am not your *****, but if you antagonize me enough, I'll act like one. :poke:

These types make me afraid of fame.

Wayne K
05-14-2009, 02:45 AM
George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.

erf.

Wayne K
05-14-2009, 02:50 AM
George R. R. Martin is not working for you.

oof

veinglory
05-14-2009, 03:07 AM
George R R Martin is a scholar and a gentleman and an all around nice guy. I say that with complete sincerity. Fans who think they have any kind of ownership over artists need to get a life.

Wayne K
05-14-2009, 03:29 AM
George R R Martin is a scholar and a gentleman and an all around nice guy. I say that with complete sincerity. Fans who think they have any kind of ownership over artists need to get a life.

umph.

MacAllister
05-14-2009, 05:04 AM
Errr...no. Neil is a brilliant guy, genuinely one of the nicest and most accessible Big Name Authors around, and Neil is agreeing with you, Wayne. He was quoting a note from a fan. You really need to read the cited links before taking such an unequivocal stance.

veinglory
05-14-2009, 05:06 AM
Gaiman is pretty nice to. Both of them go to small conventions and make themselves available to readers. In fact both of them have gone all the way to New Zealand for cons, which is pretty rare.

Wayne K
05-14-2009, 05:23 AM
The people below are quoting him as saying it. I've read this thing three times and I don't get who is saying what now.

It's not that important.

CheshireCat
05-14-2009, 05:26 AM
George R R Martin is a scholar and a gentleman and an all around nice guy. I say that with complete sincerity. Fans who think they have any kind of ownership over artists need to get a life.


QFT.

Mr. Anonymous
05-14-2009, 05:38 AM
Neverwhere just moved up to number one on my to-be-read pile.

Parametric
05-14-2009, 05:51 AM
The Brotherhood without Banners fan group tell awesome stories about GRRM hanging out with them at 3am and setting them weird and hilarious challenges to get knighted. I'd surely like to be there myself some day. :)

backslashbaby
05-14-2009, 05:52 AM
American Gods, ftw :)

BenPanced
05-14-2009, 07:19 AM
I could understand if he said "give me your money and I promise I'll have the book finished by X date". However. Two favorite authors of mine went 10 years between books and when I found out something had hit the shelves, you wouldn't believe the squeeing and dancing. Give him time; he's got other commitments, I'm sure.

Or if you're that desperate, take a page from Lady Potatohead's playbook...*OW!* WHO THREW THAT SHOE?!

jfreedan
05-14-2009, 10:18 PM
Neil Gaiman: "George R.R. Martin is not your bitch."

Soon to be the catchphrase of 2009!

Etola
05-14-2009, 11:00 PM
500 points for House Gaiman!

Seriously, I love that guy. He's incredibly articulate when it comes to the writing life.

Phaeal
05-14-2009, 11:52 PM
Well, I suppose Martin is under some obligation to the publisher for the next/last book of the series. If so, it's up to him and the publisher to work out any delay or even a cancellation.

Martin is under no legal or moral obligation to his readers to finish the series. Not sure what you'd call his obligation, perhaps an artistic one, more specifically a storyteller's one? If you start a series -- a very long story -- I think you do make an implied promise that you'll bring the whole thing to a satisfying close. Many people (if you're lucky) will be following your series, investing time and interest (and money) in it, perhaps for years. If after all that you don't deliver, the readers are absolutely within their rights to express their displeasure with their wallets and refuse to buy any of your subsequent efforts. They're also within their rights to bellyache about the matter ad infinitum, bellyaching being a sacred right of humankind, especially the subspecies fanus.

Martin's obligation doesn't extend to keeping the fans apprised of his progress. Nor does it extend to hurrying his writing along to please them, though he and other series writers face the danger that a loooooong time between drinks may leave previously intoxicated followers too sober or too intoxicated with new drinks to care about the tardy next round.

Strikes me as amusing that writers who (I assume) would like to gather a loyal fan base should ever castigate fans for asking for more please, ASAP. I should only be so harried some day. ;)

Perks
05-14-2009, 11:59 PM
Neil Gaiman just rose in my esteem. That the person even felt comfortable asking that question blows my mind.

Unbelievable.

scarletpeaches
05-15-2009, 01:06 AM
So I'm the only person who thought this was a rude reply to an enthusiast's question, then?

Perks
05-15-2009, 01:08 AM
It was certainly a rude answer, but the way I see it, it looks like rude was the coin that guy (or gal) was spending.

scarletpeaches
05-15-2009, 01:09 AM
If I were published I'd take such eager expectation of my next book as a compliment.

Mr. Anonymous
05-15-2009, 01:55 AM
Scarlet, I see what you mean but I'm not sure I'd call it rude. Perhaps blunt (you could, of course, argue semantics.)

Sure, the eager expectation could be seen as a compliment. But I feel there's a line that's being crossed. I am eagerly anticipating DANCE as well. But I'm not going around whining that G.R.R.M. is daring to have a life when he should be writing writing writing.

Seriously, what right do fans have to tell a writer what he should or should not be doing with his life, what projects he should or should not be engaged in, what conventions he should or should not be attending? Some of these people rag on Martin for watching and posting about football on his blog, because apparently, he should be working on DANCE 24/7. Some of these people post complaints on his blog every time he talks about a project other than DANCE. It's just ridiculous, IMO.

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 01:56 AM
So I'm the only person who thought this was a rude reply to an enthusiast's question, then

I thought it was rude, it's just that I have no idea who said it. I gave up after two guesses.

Toothpaste
05-15-2009, 02:13 AM
I thought it was rude, it's just that I have no idea who said it. I gave up after two guesses.

Did you actually read the blog entry cited? It's pretty darn clear in context.

Anyway, Neil Gaiman said it in response to some random person asking him about Martin.

bettielee
05-15-2009, 02:31 AM
I thought that was weird... that the guy would post that on Gaiman's blog. What does he think? Gaiman and Martin hang out, and after the shrimp cocktail, Gaiman was going to turn to him and go... "You know, George..."

I'd complain that there hadn't been a follow up to Stardust. (her!)

Perks
05-15-2009, 02:32 AM
If I were published I'd take such eager expectation of my next book as a compliment.I don't know, SP. It's sort of over the top in the same way that possessiveness in a relationship doesn't mean the guy's love for you is immeasurable.

scarletpeaches
05-15-2009, 02:42 AM
Well I've read the livejournal page and I still don't see it as this fan being overly demanding. It still reads like enthusiasm and yes, if someone acted like that about my books I would take it as a compliment.

I might react impatiently if I was having a bad day but really, treating this guy like a bunny boiler is going over the top I think.

This fan wasn't telling anyone how to live their life. He was asking a question. Hell, I wonder when my favourite authors have new books coming out. Does that make me a psycho? No, it makes me a fan.

No, I've never emailed them but I've googled them and read blogs. You enjoy a book, you want more from that author. It seems to me that this guy was just asking about the unwritten contract between author and reader to tell a good tale. Martin's is unfinished, so curiosity as to when it will be is only natural.

Sarashay
05-15-2009, 02:58 AM
Martin's is unfinished, so curiosity as to when it will be is only natural.

Curiosity is perfectly natural. Bitching and moaning that the writer has the audacity to be doing other things with his life besides finishing said story is something else entirely, and that's what Neil is venting his frustration over. (I'm sure you're not guilty of such behavior, but quite a few of Martin's readers apparently are.)

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 02:59 AM
Did you actually read the blog entry cited? It's pretty darn clear in context.

Anyway, Neil Gaiman said it in response to some random person asking him about Martin.

Yes I did and it's rude.

It's also condescending.

ETA: I don't see anyone bitching or moaning either.

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 03:10 AM
More than anything it seems like something that's easy to throw up on a message board.

Make whoever this is a hero if he says this to the persons face. All this cyber tough guy talk is cowardly in my opinion.

Toothpaste
05-15-2009, 03:26 AM
Okay, so you were just trying to be coy when you said you couldn't tell who was saying what?

ETA: Ah, you're saying you don't know who Neil Gaiman is? Was that your point? For the record Neil Gaiman is a very prolific, award winning fantasy author (just recently won the Newbery for The Graveyard Book), he is very famous for having penned the Sandman comic series, and several of his novels have been turned into films (Coraline being the most recent, Stardust came out a few years ago). He's also extremely generous with his time and his fans, speaks at many engagements, and has a very active blog with which he interacts with fans on a regular basis (this same blog which now is causing some issues here it would seem). For more info on him, here's the wiki entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Gaiman

As far as him posting this email on his live journal, you do know that Gaiman gets hundreds of emails and answers them on his blog right? It's standard practice, and anyone sending an email to him if they expect an answer knows that this is how he's going to respond. And I think both you and Scarlet are giving the emailer too much credit (sorry Scarlet, still love you!). When I read his letter I see thinly veiled contempt at Martin for not doing his "job". The questions ooze with self righteous indignation, and they are hardly sincere. To me they are very very rhetorical. Gaiman answering them at all is not so much thinking this guy actually wanted an answer, but to talk about the broader issue of what a writer "owes" his fans.

The response is a bit blunt, but it is hardly rude. He isn't telling the emailer that he is a bitch, just that the emailer can't expect to treat Martin as one.

MacAllister
05-15-2009, 03:26 AM
Martin has written about (http://grrm.livejournal.com/75053.html) getting nasty phonecalls, letters, emails, and blog comments demanding he "stop wasting time watching football games, writing other stuff, blogging, visiting family and friends, etc., etc., etc., and write THIS book, right now, dammit!"


I have to admit, the rising tide of venom about the lateness of A DANCE WITH DRAGONS has gotten pretty discouraging. Emails, message boards, blogs, LJ comments, everywhere I look (and lots of places where I don't), people seem to be attacking me, defending me, using me as a bad example of something or other, whatever.

That's what the problem with fan entitlement is really about. And guess how much this crap helps with the creative process of writing a big, complicated book?

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 03:29 AM
Okay, so you were just trying to be coy when you said you couldn't tell who was saying what?

No, I read it last night when I was tired and didn't understand who it was that was saying what.

I'm not coy. Coy is for passive aggressive assholes. I'm anything but.

Are you messing with me? I can't tell that either.

veinglory
05-15-2009, 03:30 AM
I think it discourages writers from making themselves accessible if it results on, gee you spent the afternoon playing with your grandkid, why weren't you finished the damn sequel etc.

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 03:30 AM
Martin has written about (http://grrm.livejournal.com/75053.html) getting nasty phonecalls, letters, emails, and blog comments demanding he "stop wasting time watching football games, writing other stuff, blogging, visiting family and friends, etc., etc., etc., and write THIS book, right now, dammit!"



That's what the problem with fan entitlement is really about. And guess how much this crap helps with the creative process of writing a big, complicated book?

It would have made things much clearer if this preceded the OP.

scarletpeaches
05-15-2009, 03:40 AM
Martin has written about (http://grrm.livejournal.com/75053.html) getting nasty phonecalls, letters, emails, and blog comments demanding he "stop wasting time watching football games, writing other stuff, blogging, visiting family and friends, etc., etc., etc., and write THIS book, right now, dammit!"



That's what the problem with fan entitlement is really about. And guess how much this crap helps with the creative process of writing a big, complicated book?

This I didn't know, as I'm not a Martin reader and know next to nothing about him. I was only going by the OP and appreciate the heads up.

Toothpaste
05-15-2009, 03:41 AM
I thought it was rude, it's just that I have no idea who said it. I gave up after two guesses.

You said this at 5pm (at least my time), which makes it about 2 hours ago, not last night. It seemed to me like you were still insisting you had no idea who was saying what, and then you say actually you did know who was saying what, so I was a bit confused, and I thought you were trying to make some coy subversive statement. I didn't like the attitude. Especially as what does that point have to do with anything?

ETA: And no I'm not trying to mess with you, I don't do that.

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 03:42 AM
It was yesterday and I deleted it and admitted that I didn't get who was saying what, but hey just jump in and call me a jerk without reading the thread.

geardrops
05-15-2009, 03:46 AM
I thought it was rude, it's just that I have no idea who said it. I gave up after two guesses.

I believe this is what Toothpaste is referencing. I'm seeing this timestamp: Today, 02:56 PM. I'm Pacific time.

It's always best to click-through and read a referenced blog post, and not just excerpts. It's too easy to develop a full opinion on half a statement.

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 03:47 AM
The people below are quoting him as saying it. I've read this thing three times and I don't get who is saying what now.

It's not that important.
In case ya think I'm being coy.

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 03:48 AM
I believe this is what Toothpaste is referencing. I'm seeing this timestamp: Today, 02:56 PM. I'm Pacific time.

It's always best to click-through and read a referenced blog post, and not just excerpts. It's too easy to develop a full opinion on half a statement.


Originally Posted by Wayne K
I thought it was rude, it's just that I have no idea who said it. I gave up after two guesses. Okay I meant had typos never happen right?
It helps to read a thread before calling someone a jerk too.

scarletpeaches
05-15-2009, 03:49 AM
I would like to invite Wayne back to mine for a cold shower and a colder beer.

Please to be no getting into fights and troubles thank you. :(

geardrops
05-15-2009, 03:49 AM
It helps to read a thread before calling someone a jerk too.

That's true. Good thing I did read the thread and didn't call anyone a jerk.

Toothpaste
05-15-2009, 03:49 AM
It was yesterday and I deleted it and admitted that I didn't get who was saying what, but hey just jump in and call me a jerk without reading the thread.

Hon you need to read the thread closely yourself. And I am sorry I said that I thought you were behaving jerky (not being a jerk, mind you) you'll note I deleted that statement almost right away, it was wrong. But you still said two hours ago "I have no idea who said it", which implies to me that as of two hours ago you had no idea who said it. I therefore answered the question. You then tell me, "I know" as if I should have known you'd figured it out in the meantime. When I then asked you well then why did you ask, were you then just playing a game, ie being coy, you get mad at me. I'm sorry. I truly was just trying to figure out what the heck you were thinking.

I guess it also never occurred to me you wouldn't know who Neil Gaiman was, which was something that therefore added to my confusion.

Olive branch?

ad_lucem
05-15-2009, 03:52 AM
George R.R. Martin is not your bitch.

Even if merely quoted from elsewhere...I don't care who you are. That's freaking funny.

geardrops
05-15-2009, 03:54 AM
Also, to your added edit:


Okay I meant had typos never happen right?

Typos do happen. Which is why I was quoting for you the post I believed Toothpaste was referencing. All I was doing was pointing out what I saw as a lapse in communication.

WendyNYC
05-15-2009, 03:55 AM
Even if merely quoted from elsewhere...I don't care who you are. That's freaking funny.

I thought it was funny, too. I'd probably even laugh if he had said that to me.

Maybe I'll use that in my own life. "Hey, PTA! I am not your bake sale bitch!"

Toothpaste
05-15-2009, 04:01 AM
Ah it lacked a "had". Amazing what one tiny word can start. I apologise Wayne for doubting you, but hon, I hope you can see that you yourself also took it a bit far.

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 04:07 AM
I did, but I didn't know these people were nuts and I didn't know he was sick (thanks Mac for both) I apologise too.

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 04:07 AM
How about them Mets?

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 04:09 AM
I would like to invite Wayne back to mine for a cold shower and a colder beer. :(

I'll need both if I drop by your place.

scarletpeaches
05-15-2009, 04:10 AM
It's a date! :D

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 04:13 AM
Can I still hide in your cupboard?

scarletpeaches
05-15-2009, 04:14 AM
That's where all the cool people gather at parties.

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 04:27 AM
Deal.

MacAllister
05-15-2009, 04:30 AM
There's a difference, I think, between "OMG I loved your last book, and can't WAIT to find out what happens next!" which is flattering and kind and sweet and encouraging

and

"I'm totally invested in this story now, and how fucking DARE you disappoint me by A. not writing fast enough, B. not writing what I WANTED you to write, C. Doing anything but what *I* want you to do--because you OWE me, and I OWN your ass until you friggin' die, because I spent 8.99 on your last book."

It very much brings to mind the mind-boggling entitlement over the Russet Nooner thing: You didn't write what *I* wanted you to, so *I'M* going to do it myself. The fact that you didn't honor your unwritten, unspoken, unsigned CONTRACT with me as your reader that only exists in my delusional and tiny little brain makes it TOTES okay for me to blow off copyright and IP law, because intuitively I know what should happen with these characters and this story and you dropped the ball!"

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 04:44 AM
I thought of Thomas Harris when I read this. 11 years between Silence of the Lambs and hannibal. That was a little (lot for me) frustrating

but StephenKing was a friend of his and said he drove himself nuts trying to write it.

Without that fact I thought the guy was a dick, but when you know the truth it's easier to understand.

Maybe he should do a press release of some kind explaining that he's not well--not because he owes it to anyone, but because if they love his books that much it would keep their interest.

Or am I missing something there too?
ETA: why do I get the feeling that the answer to that is "yes"

Perks
05-15-2009, 05:03 AM
"I'm totally invested in this story now, and how fucking DARE you disappoint me by A. not writing fast enough, B. not writing what I WANTED you to write, C. Doing anything but what *I* want you to do--because you OWE me, and I OWN your ass until you friggin' die, because I spent 8.99 on your last book."



I am your number one fan. There is nothing to worry about. You are going to be just fine. I am your number one fan.

*gets axe*

God I love you.

Delhomeboy
05-15-2009, 05:16 AM
Misery, anyone?

MacAllister
05-15-2009, 05:20 AM
Heh. Exactly. King gets this because he's been dealing with it on the large scale for a really long time.

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 06:10 AM
I won't mind crazed fans if I become good enough but there's a strict dress code they won't like.

scarletpeaches
05-15-2009, 06:12 AM
Strict dress code = no clothes?

Gotcha.

And with that, I am off to bed. Night all! :D

Wayne K
05-15-2009, 06:20 AM
Strict dress code = no clothes?

Gotcha.

And with that, I am off to bed. Night all! :D

I sense the beginning of a fan base here.

Night SP.

geardrops
05-16-2009, 02:26 AM
Interesting continuation of the original: http://arcaedia.livejournal.com/200142.html


This is why Neil's comment about GRRM resonated and sent my thoughts in this direction:

Fact: The author desires feedback.
Fiction: The author is entitled to feedback.

Paichka
05-16-2009, 05:54 PM
My husband and I are rabid GRRM fans. We've spent way too much time discussing such various subjects as Jon's parentage, whether Tyrion is going to be the third head of the dragon, that sort of thing. We're emotionally invested in the outcome, which is the mark of a good author, if you ask me.

I'm impatient for the next book, I really am. However, the way I see it, GRRM is doing me a favor. He's created a world that I couldn't create myself, and he's telling me a lovely, intricate, morally ambiguous tale full of amazing characters that I've grown to love. I hope the next one comes out soon, but I don't want him to rush it. I want him to take as long as he needs for it to be perfect.

Authors don't owe us anything, except maybe their best effort. Maybe not even that. People acting the fool on teh interwebz over what a grown man does with his time is a little silly to me.

willietheshakes
05-16-2009, 08:54 PM
I think that some of the confusion over the tone of Neil's blog post has to do with a couple of factors:

First, he knows that he's writing for a knowledgeable readership, as far as issues like the Martin situation are concerned. The Martin-entitlement-fans issue has been a bubbling cauldron in fantasy circles for month, and it's common knowledge in those circles (ie, the majority of Gaiman's blog readership). Scalzi examined the situation in his blog a few months ago, I think Cory Doctorow had a kick at it... As far as Neil's blog goes, this, therefore, wasn't a pissy answer to a simple question; the question was VERY loaded, and comes with the weight of months of crosstalk, pissing and moaning. If you lack this background knowledge (which the vast, vast majority of Neil's blog readers DON'T), you're jumping into a fray of which you're not aware.

Second is the matter of tone itself. The reason "George RR Martin is not your bitch" made me launch coffee out of my sinuses is because it's so surprising coming from Neil. In person, and on-line, Neil is the sweetest guy. He answers tons of fan emails on his blog and is never less than diplomatic and kind, even to the stupidest of questions. He's one of the good ones, so a line like "George RR Martin is not your bitch" is very deliberate, and deliberately out of character. It calls attention to itself, by design. Again, if you're not aware of that, it might seem like he's a quick-to-anger asshole; this is demonstrably not the case...

Phaeal
05-16-2009, 09:04 PM
Authors don't owe us anything, except maybe their best effort. Maybe not even that. People acting the fool on teh interwebz over what a grown man does with his time is a little silly to me.

Authors owe us our money's worth, like everyone else with something to sell. Luckily for authors, the subjectivity of the reader's decision renders successful lawsuits highly unlikely.*

* Or at least I don't know of any successful suits for redress of sucky writing and subsequent waste of time. Who knows, though, in this litigious world? ;)

SJAB
05-16-2009, 09:11 PM
In person, and on-line, Neil is the sweetest guy. He answers tons of fan emails on his blog and is never less than diplomatic and kind, even to the stupidest of questions. .

That I can vouch for. Last year at Eastercon at Heathrow, my daughter approached him on the last evening of a four day event, asking for an autograph on the back of a small poster, for her sister and boyfriend (both big fans) as a small engagement present. Now it was late in the evening, I told her he might refuse, as the event was over. But he didn't. Not only did he sign it, he turned the poster over and sketched her a special picture . He spent a good 20 minutes talking to her, while he did so. It made her weekend.

unicornjam
05-16-2009, 09:48 PM
I think that some of the confusion over the tone of Neil's blog post has to do with a couple of factors:

First, he knows that he's writing for a knowledgeable readership, as far as issues like the Martin situation are concerned. The Martin-entitlement-fans issue has been a bubbling cauldron in fantasy circles for month, and it's common knowledge in those circles (ie, the majority of Gaiman's blog readership). Scalzi examined the situation in his blog a few months ago, I think Cory Doctorow had a kick at it... As far as Neil's blog goes, this, therefore, wasn't a pissy answer to a simple question; the question was VERY loaded, and comes with the weight of months of crosstalk, pissing and moaning. If you lack this background knowledge (which the vast, vast majority of Neil's blog readers DON'T), you're jumping into a fray of which you're not aware.

Second is the matter of tone itself. The reason "George RR Martin is not your bitch" made me launch coffee out of my sinuses is because it's so surprising coming from Neil. In person, and on-line, Neil is the sweetest guy. He answers tons of fan emails on his blog and is never less than diplomatic and kind, even to the stupidest of questions. He's one of the good ones, so a line like "George RR Martin is not your bitch" is very deliberate, and deliberately out of character. It calls attention to itself, by design. Again, if you're not aware of that, it might seem like he's a quick-to-anger asshole; this is demonstrably not the case...

When I revisted this thread, I was a little surprised at the backlash. I'm not a Neil Gaiman fan -- though I read one <i>Sandman</i> book when I was a kid for the illustrations. I didn't even know he had a LJ feed until the day I posted this. And I'd never heard of George R.R. Martin because I don't read fantasy/sci-fi. All I did was skim through the comments to figure out that he wasn't snarking the individual so much as just ... putting all of his accumulated fan entitlement-generated frustrations and weariness into one vent.

I don't pity the fan who was on the receiving end, though. All that nonsense about the author "letting him down" and "avoiding the topic"? Please.

Bubastes
05-16-2009, 10:03 PM
Here's John Scalzi's take, along with a huge string of comments. Yep, there are fans out there who think there's a "social contract" for GRRM to finish books on their timetable:
http://whatever.scalzi.com/2009/02/23/pissy-fans/