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Anne Lyle
08-04-2011, 01:19 PM
Just came across this on Twitter - read the review, then scroll down to the comments:

Review: Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/08/qpeople-who-like-this-sort-of-thing-q-being-a-review-of-mark-lawrences-prince-of-thorns)

gothicangel
08-04-2011, 01:25 PM
I could understand a 'green' writer responding to a negative review, but an experienced editor? Sheesh!

Anne Lyle
08-04-2011, 01:29 PM
Exactly. I think the word "misogyny" is just such a red flag these days that the very mention of it causes people to lose all caution. And to be a female editor accused of publishing a misogynistic book...

seun
08-04-2011, 01:32 PM
Wow.

In fact, double wow.

fireluxlou
08-04-2011, 01:38 PM
That book wouldn't be something I read anyway. I try to avoid misogynist literature best I can because it doesn't lead to happy reading for me, but that editor wow. Surely she should know to not talk like that especially on a review.

Guardian
08-04-2011, 01:39 PM
But the review seems balanced, even though the reviewer didn't like the book too much. They didn't bash it, they just told the readers what to expect, what they didn't like, and what they did like. And I think I'd actually read that book, despite the misogyny (which makes me upset). If she had reviewed it as "Beautiful and uplifting" like the editor did, I'd be all, "Ugh, no thanks. Bye." Some people LIKE the dark. Honesty is a virtue.

Anne Lyle
08-04-2011, 01:46 PM
It's telling that while the reviewer qualifies her opinions with "I found..." "In my experience..." "From where I'm standing...", the editor talks in absolutes - "This is.." "..it emerges..".

Purple Rose
08-04-2011, 01:47 PM
Good grief! Major lapse in judgement!! What was she thinking/drinking/smoking??? Makes me wonder about the hundreds of manuscripts that are rejected by such an editor (even those pushed by a first-rate agent).

Anne Lyle
08-04-2011, 01:50 PM
Yeah. And I wonder how Ginjer Buchanan feels about being dragged into this...

shaldna
08-04-2011, 01:56 PM
That won't load, i'm getting 'page not found' and the cached version only has one comment. :(

Anne Lyle
08-04-2011, 01:59 PM
It's probably getting hammered right now!


Liz is of course entitled to her own opinion, but I did find this rather a bizarrely skewed review, until I realized that it's appearing on the website of a rival publisher who failed to win the book at auction. Funnily enough, all of Mark Lawrence's editorial team in the UK and US are women, and none of us (hope you don't mind my speaking for you, Ginjer?) found the book misogynistic. Yes, it's grim and nihilistic in places, but also beautiful, uplifting and laugh-out-loud funny; and in the end Jorg emerges as - at the very least - an anti-hero (and develops further in the second novel, as the onion layers of his persona are peeled back one by one). He's a damaged boy, and for very good reason. This is dense, clever, beautifully written and highly rewarding fantasy for readers with a strong stomach, a love of language and the desire to read something a bit more challenging in the genre. But don't take my - or Liz's - word for it: read it for yourself and see what you think.

(I hope it's OK to quote this response in full - it was posted on a public website, after all.)

shaldna
08-04-2011, 02:02 PM
Oooh. That made me smile. I think that's quite a good point to make - that there's an element of sour grapes in there. Still, it's never a good idea to respond to negative reviews, it just gives more fuel to the fire

Ari Meermans
08-04-2011, 02:05 PM
I can just see it now: The next time we try to explain that responding to reviews is never a good idea, we'll get the response, "But why is it okay for an editor but not an author?"

It's not. This behavior is unprofessional and reflects poorly on the author, the agent and the publisher.

ETA: I loved Lisa's comment.

Anne Lyle
08-04-2011, 02:07 PM
The thing is, the editor is wrong. She is conflating Tor the publishers with their community website Tor.com. The reviewer doesn't work for Tor, and the site regularly reviews books from other publishers. Naturally those reviews are varied, just as the ones are for Tor's own books.

Terie
08-04-2011, 02:32 PM
Oooh. That made me smile. I think that's quite a good point to make - that there's an element of sour grapes in there. Still, it's never a good idea to respond to negative reviews, it just gives more fuel to the fire

When you manage to load the page and read the review, I think you'll notice a distinct absence of sour grapes. It's a fair and balanced review by someone who didn't like the book but didn't trash it, either. The accusation of sour grapes is just, well....to paraphrase a line from the latest Harry Dresden book, 'my gast is flabbered'.

Satsya
08-04-2011, 02:45 PM
That's a great review, too. The reviewer gave myself and other like-minded folk ample warning of what subject matter and controversial topics to expect. But if misogyny didn't bug me and I were into bloody violence and dark fantasy warfare, the reviewer would have totally sold me on the story.

I agree about the use of absolutes. Absolutes in arguments make me treat the user with a mental ten-foot-pole.

AmsterdamAssassin
08-04-2011, 03:51 PM
I can't open the link in the OP.

shaldna
08-04-2011, 03:54 PM
When you manage to load the page and read the review, I think you'll notice a distinct absence of sour grapes. It's a fair and balanced review by someone who didn't like the book but didn't trash it, either. The accusation of sour grapes is just, well....to paraphrase a line from the latest Harry Dresden book, 'my gast is flabbered'.

I read the review and didn't think it was all that negative at all.

The sour grapes comment was made based on the comment


that it's appearing on the website of a rival publisher who failed to win the book at auction.

but that was before it was pointed out that the review is independant.

Anne Lyle
08-04-2011, 03:54 PM
Hmm, link works for me, on multiple devices.

Phaeal
08-04-2011, 06:37 PM
Heh, and I was worried about the violence level in the novel I just sent to my agent. Guess I can rest easy about THAT much. ;)

On the other hand, I might need to worry that my MC isn't a murdering, sociopathic rapist. Which would make him "stale," according to some of the comments.

Oh well.

I thought the reviewer bent over backwards to find good things to say about a book she found abhorrent. Couldn't have been an easy write.

Whether heartfelt or calculated, the editor's response has already gotten her author's novel extra publicity, right here in River City.

AlwaysJuly
08-04-2011, 07:47 PM
What a crazy comment to make. Not just unprofessional, but I thought that was a very good, balanced review to begin with. Not worth so much ire!

SPMiller
08-04-2011, 08:00 PM
People forget that systems of misogyny (among other systems) were much more deeply entrenched in pre-modern cultures. So many fantasy novels intentionally overlook this nasty truth. Nearly all of them, I'd say. When a writer actually dares confront the matter in a semi-realistic way, this is what we get.

I have a more important question: If we don't want to read about rape and looting and slaughter and such, then why do we keep writing/buying books infused with said content?

Also, rape is far from extinct in modern cultures.

crunchyblanket
08-04-2011, 08:01 PM
I thought it was a very fair, balanced review. I'd struggle to think of nice things to say if a book rubbed me up the wrong way like that.

Cyia
08-04-2011, 08:11 PM
Just curious - what makes you so sure that the person posting under her name is actually the editor herself and not someone trolling? Anyone can put in another name in the submit box, can't they?

Medievalist
08-04-2011, 08:22 PM
Just curious - what makes you so sure that the person posting under her name is actually the editor herself and not someone trolling? Anyone can put in another name in the submit box, can't they?

She's got a history on the site—and, frankly, a history of flaming reviewers.

Moreover, the reference to the auction is telling.

Cyia
08-04-2011, 08:31 PM
She's got a history on the siteóand, frankly, a history of flaming reviewers.

Yikes. I'm surprised she's still an editor.

fireluxlou
08-04-2011, 09:27 PM
I'm surprised she is unable to back off then does she really think her actions are appropriate? This can't be doing her clients much good.

Anne Lyle
08-04-2011, 09:34 PM
Just curious - what makes you so sure that the person posting under her name is actually the editor herself and not someone trolling? Anyone can put in another name in the submit box, can't they?

True - but that comment has been there for two days. I'm sure if someone were impersonating the real editor, Tor.com would have deleted it by now.

Mharvey
08-04-2011, 09:40 PM
Just came across this on Twitter - read the review, then scroll down to the comments:

Review: Prince of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/08/qpeople-who-like-this-sort-of-thing-q-being-a-review-of-mark-lawrences-prince-of-thorns)

Y'know, it's nice to see this actually...

If an experienced editor occasionally gets "thin skin" syndrome, then I feel a bit less like an alien when I wanna kick an orphan after getting a scorching critique on something I was proud of!

In all seriousness though, wow. Way to totally validate the review. My take on that if there was no shred of truth to it, it wouldn't have stung so much. And, in truth, I guess that's why scorching negative critiques make me feel that way too... it's just a good thing for me to see. :)

Nexus
08-04-2011, 10:56 PM
This is really bad show by her. It was not the most horribly written, worst tastfully written; but damned if its not inappropriate.

The part about winning at auction is what makes me immediately unhappy with Voyager as a whole. Everything else is inappropriate at worst.

backslashbaby
08-04-2011, 11:12 PM
Really, really bad form.


I like the writing style in the excerpt very much (did y'all?). I won't buy the book because of the editor's behavior, though.



People forget that systems of misogyny (among other systems) were much more deeply entrenched in pre-modern cultures. So many fantasy novels intentionally overlook this nasty truth. Nearly all of them, I'd say. When a writer actually dares confront the matter in a semi-realistic way, this is what we get.

I have a more important question: If we don't want to read about rape and looting and slaughter and such, then why do we keep writing/buying books infused with said content?

Also, rape is far from extinct in modern cultures.

I don't know if people forget it, or if most women just don't like to spend a lot of time in a POV that celebrates it the whole time. One of my favorite novels is Beloved, even with the hideous subject matter, but it wasn't exactly a rape, yay! slavery, yay! kind of treatment of the issues, you know?

Jcomp
08-04-2011, 11:24 PM
I like the writing style in the excerpt very much (did y'all?). I won't buy the book because of the editor's behavior, though.



I've seen a lot of responses such as this. Doesn't that punish the author far more than the editor?

backslashbaby
08-04-2011, 11:38 PM
I've seen a lot of responses such as this. Doesn't that punish the author far more than the editor?

That is probably true, but I see business relationships as a team thing. I will check and see if the author has tweeted or blogged some clever distancing maneuver. I could get behind that, yeah.

defcon6000
08-04-2011, 11:57 PM
Tut, tut. Shameful, unprofessional behavior. Does no one realize when you post stuff on the internet that it's there for the whole world to see?

A little foresight goes a loooooong way. And I feel sorry for the author since their book sales are going to suffer.

bearilou
08-05-2011, 12:33 AM
And I feel sorry for the author since their book sales are going to suffer.

At first, I felt the same way. Then I realized that many folks will still buy the book, regardless of the editor's behavior. Many will buy it now due to the review getting notice because of the editor's behavior.

I know that it will in all probability get a sale from me, money willing.

I would be curious to know if it would have lost sales if it had been the author responding.

AmsterdamAssassin
08-05-2011, 12:41 AM
I think the book gets some extra publicity. I rarely read YA, but this sounds like an interesting title.

Alessandra Kelley
08-05-2011, 01:01 AM
Wow. :eek: Jane Johnson, the grousing editor, showed a real lack of judgement here. I thought Liz Bourke's review was fabulous, and I would like to read more of her reviews. It sounds like the book is not to my taste, to say the least, but it reads like an honest review. I think Bourke did a good job, and Johnson reacted badly.

Monkey
08-05-2011, 01:34 AM
While I didn’t like Prince of Thorns very much at all, that doesn’t necessarily make it a bad book. Problematic, but not necessarily bad. If you like bleak, bloody, and gruesome novels about cold-blooded unprincipled sociopaths who achieve their murderous dreams, then this book will be perfect for you. I wish you joy of it, because for all its flaws, Prince of Thorns has some damn good writing.

Honestly I'd be thrilled with a review like this.

Sure, she points out what she sees as drawbacks to the book...but she's hitting on plot and characterization, and realizes that some people will like--or at least not have a problem--with those. She's saying, "This is a story with a lot of x, and I don't like x, but some people do."

But she's also saying that the book is well-written and engaging. That despite its drawbacks, she kept reading.

A very balanced review.

defcon6000
08-05-2011, 01:38 AM
At first, I felt the same way. Then I realized that many folks will still buy the book, regardless of the editor's behavior. Many will buy it now due to the review getting notice because of the editor's behavior.

I know that it will in all probability get a sale from me, money willing.

I would be curious to know if it would have lost sales if it had been the author responding.


I think the book gets some extra publicity. I rarely read YA, but this sounds like an interesting title.

Hmm, that makes me wonder if this is a publicity stunt to stir the pot. Because you'd expect the author, not the editor, to defend the book. The editor doesn't have as much to lose by putting herself out there, considering they didn't remove her comment.

Stacia Kane
08-05-2011, 01:46 AM
That is probably true, but I see business relationships as a team thing.


In this case, they are absolutely not. There's every chance in the world the author had no idea his editor did that until someone sent him a link. For all you know, he doesn't particularly like his editor or enjoy working with her; for all you know he's cringing and wanting to hide because of this, but there's not a single thing he can do.

To punish him because of which person paid the most for his book is really...obtuse. Sorry, but it is.

Of course the possibility exists that he was/is 100% behind her comment, but until you know that for sure, claiming he deserves to be punished because a person completely independent of him chose to post an inappropriate comment in public is really, really unfair.

Anne Lyle
08-05-2011, 01:46 AM
I have heard that for a debut author, there is no such thing as a bad review, because anything that gets you noticed is good for sales. It's only when you're doing rather better that a poor review will impact on sales, because then your fans will start to turn away.

Anne Lyle
08-05-2011, 01:49 AM
From what little I know of him, Mark (the author) is a nice guy - he had to bow out of a planned signing at the SFF night here in Cambridge to look after his handicapped daughter. I very much doubt he had anything to do with his editor's comments, and whilst I'm sure he intentionally made Jorg an unsympathetic character (as attested by the even-handed review), he may just be too much in love with his creation to have any idea how someone more sensitive to such issues might see it - and anyway, where do you as the artist draw the line?

We all have hot buttons and blind spots...if you never offend anyone, your work is probably too bland.

Medievalist
08-05-2011, 07:10 AM
She isn't the editor of the book; she's the friggin' publisher. The entire Voyager line is, bottom line, her responsibility. She reports directly to upper management at Harper Collins.

She is the equivalent of Tom Doherty at Tor.

This is stupid, bone-headed, and unprofessional in every way.

And she's also a children's book author under a different name.

Toothpaste
08-05-2011, 07:15 AM
People forget that systems of misogyny (among other systems) were much more deeply entrenched in pre-modern cultures. So many fantasy novels intentionally overlook this nasty truth. Nearly all of them, I'd say. When a writer actually dares confront the matter in a semi-realistic way, this is what we get.



While I agree with this, and while I also agree that there is place for unpleasant topics to be addressed from unique perspectives, I did want to point out that the reviewer says the book is actually dystopian post-apocalyptic - which usually signals a future society, not a past one.

mccardey
08-05-2011, 07:16 AM
When I get a negative review, I'm going to post it on AW. And I'll expect all of you to respond - en masse! :evil

backslashbaby
08-05-2011, 08:38 AM
In this case, they are absolutely not. There's every chance in the world the author had no idea his editor did that until someone sent him a link. For all you know, he doesn't particularly like his editor or enjoy working with her; for all you know he's cringing and wanting to hide because of this, but there's not a single thing he can do.

To punish him because of which person paid the most for his book is really...obtuse. Sorry, but it is.

Of course the possibility exists that he was/is 100% behind her comment, but until you know that for sure, claiming he deserves to be punished because a person completely independent of him chose to post an inappropriate comment in public is really, really unfair.

Fair enough, but I'm not claiming that he deserves to be punished. My take on how I handle these things is not meant as advice ;) There are a lot of books to read next out there, and I don't know the author from Adam. It really sucks if he's a good guy, but that's a big reason professionals don't pull stunts like this. She's hurting him, too, yeah.

HapiSofi
08-05-2011, 08:46 AM
The thing is, the editor is wrong. She is conflating Tor the publishers with their community website Tor.com. The reviewer doesn't work for Tor, and the site regularly reviews books from other publishers. Naturally those reviews are varied, just as the ones are for Tor's own books.
Yup. Tor.com and Tor Books are both Macmillan operations, but they're separate. Tor.com is more like a magazine than anything else, and they review everything. For example, they've given a huge amount of coverage to Dr. Who, A Song of Ice and Fire, and the Harry Potter books and movies, none of which have anything to do with Tor Books. They've also given plenty of good reviews to books published by Voyager, which is the company Jane Johnson works for.

A few comments past Jane Johnson's screed, you can find the reviewer herself ("Hawkwing") saying:

Happy as I am that Tor.com occasionally publishes my reviews, my opinions are my own. I have never received any editorial direction urging me to change or slant my opinions for a book review.Good thing they didn't do that, because it would be a genuine impropriety for Tor.com to ask such a thing. If they were in the habit of doing so, we'd have heard about it long ago, because it would have been cried up and down the publishing world by their affronted ex-reviewers.

So what's really going on? My guess is that it's nothing complicated. I think Jane Johnson lost her temper and slung the first sh*t that came to hand.

Just curious - what makes you so sure that the person posting under her name is actually the editor herself and not someone trolling? Anyone can put in another name in the submit box, can't they?
Because if that comment wasn't from the real Jane Johnson, she'd have heard about it within a few hours, and there'd be a huge kerfluffle going on about it right now. To be blunt, posting that comment was way over the line. She couldn't possibly ignore it if it were a fake posted under her name.

You know what else anyone can claim? That another publisher was the losing bidder in an auction, and is consequently pursuing a vendetta. So far, that's a story we've only heard from Jane Johnson. I don't buy it. If every publishing company that lost an auction swore eternal revenge, the industry wouldn't have time to pursue any other projects.

In this case, they are absolutely not. There's every chance in the world the author had no idea his editor did that until someone sent him a link. For all you know, he doesn't particularly like his editor or enjoy working with her; for all you know he's cringing and wanting to hide because of this, but there's not a single thing he can do.
I know. Weird, eh? Usually it's the author who embarrasses the editor or publisher, not the other way around.

Medievalist
08-05-2011, 09:09 AM
I note that the reviewer is an advanced grad student in the Classics dept. at Trinity College Dublin, and way smart.

I have forgiven her for choosing Latin and Greek over Old Irish, but it was difficult.

In other words, she's a good reader, a smart reader, and a bona fide textual scholar, as well as a very well-read fan.

She's the kind of reviewer most authors are delighted to have.

kuwisdelu
08-05-2011, 09:52 AM
People forget that systems of misogyny (among other systems) were much more deeply entrenched in pre-modern cultures. So many fantasy novels intentionally overlook this nasty truth. Nearly all of them, I'd say. When a writer actually dares confront the matter in a semi-realistic way, this is what we get.

I have a more important question: If we don't want to read about rape and looting and slaughter and such, then why do we keep writing/buying books infused with said content?

Also, rape is far from extinct in modern cultures.

I think the review speaks to that as well:


Iím not going to stand here and insist on high feminist standards in every work of fiction I read (much as Iíd appreciate it if more books had them). I donít have very high expectations to start with. But a certain indication that the author sees women as people, and doesnít leave me trying hard not to throw up because I canít see very much in his book that undermines his protagonistís view of the world ó from where Iím standing, that indication is a minimum requirement.

gothicangel
08-05-2011, 11:37 AM
I note that the reviewer is an advanced grad student in the Classics dept. at Trinity College Dublin, and way smart.

I have forgiven her for choosing Latin and Greek over Old Irish, but it was difficult.


Probably not the best time to tell you, I've chosen Latin for the Classics degree I'm starting in the autumn?

:scared:

Anne Lyle
08-05-2011, 12:57 PM
People forget that systems of misogyny (among other systems) were much more deeply entrenched in pre-modern cultures. So many fantasy novels intentionally overlook this nasty truth. Nearly all of them, I'd say. When a writer actually dares confront the matter in a semi-realistic way, this is what we get..

You can confront the matter in a realistic way without grinding it in the readers' faces, or making it seem like you condone such attitudes. I mention in my book that if my cross-dressing heroine were found out, she could be flogged through the streets of London and thrown into Bridewell Prison, just for wearing men's clothes - but not every character in the book is misogynistic enough to agree with the law.



I have a more important question: If we don't want to read about rape and looting and slaughter and such, then why do we keep writing/buying books infused with said content?

Are the two "we"s in that sentence the same? I think not. Some readers like all that stuff, some readers don't. If there are enough in the former camp, publishers will keep publishing it. The value of reviews like the one quoted is that they can guide readers away from content that they would find unpleasant, as well as attracting readers who like that sort of thing.

Mr Flibble
08-05-2011, 01:56 PM
She's the kind of reviewer most authors are delighted to have.


If I had to choose a reviewer who didn't like my book, she'd be the one - she lets you know exactly why she didn't like it (so if you do like that...), notes it basically just wasn't her cuppa but also that if you like that sort of thing, you'll like this. I note several people in the comments have said that they'll buy it because they like precisely what she didn't - dark, gritty, unlikeable protag.

Ofc I'd be pretty embarrassed if anyone said any of my books were misogynistic!

AmsterdamAssassin
08-05-2011, 04:08 PM
I think the main character is misogynistic, not the author.

Mr Flibble
08-05-2011, 04:41 PM
I think the main character is misogynistic, not the author.


Yes, indeed, but also I was referring to this:


because I canít see very much in his book that undermines his protagonistís view of the world ó from where Iím standing, that indication is a minimum requirement.

I'll read about misogynists, but it's always nice to know the entire world isn't that way*. Because that would not be to my taste either.

Still, she did say it was a good book for people who like that sort of book, that the book was well written just not to her tastes and explains why. Fits the purpose of a review perfectly, to me. It tells me whether this is the sort of book I might like to read.


*I'd maybe still read even if the whole world was, but the story had better be damn fine, or have a damn good reason for it, because it gets boring. Oh look, women as scenery. *yawn* If the story is about the misogyny - as may be the case here - it's one thing. Sometimes though it just comes across as...I am probably explaining this badly, but there are subtle differences that just niggle at times. Let me have more tea, and may be I'll be able to explain myself properly.

AmsterdamAssassin
08-05-2011, 04:51 PM
I've downloaded a sample on my Kindle - yes, the women are indeed treated like cattle, and they don't like it. But the author doesn't make a case for misogyny, the world the main character lives in is mostly misogynistic. The MC also thinks war is beautiful, as long as you're on the winning side. From what I know, even if you're on the winning side, war is never 'beautiful'. So the story is definately the MC's POV. And he's a misogynist, although he probably wouldn't label his view of women at all.

Phaeal
08-05-2011, 08:26 PM
From what I know, an eleven-year-old boy* falling in with brigands would probably learn about rape from both sides of the act. The brigands I hang out with are more interested in exercising personal power than in ceding it, especially to noobs. ;)


* without special powers/qualifications, which may factor in here, I suppose.

DreamWeaver
08-05-2011, 08:47 PM
I don't intend to read the book, but as an observation here are two of the many possibilities: the author writes with a misogynistic world view because that's what the work requires, or the author writes with a misogynistic world view because that's what the author likes (not saying this one does!).

Example: I read a popular book put out by a major commercial publisher in a popular and critically lauded series. In it were several torture scenes which were necessary to the storyline. However, as each scene unfolded, I as a reader started to get the impression that the author was enjoying the torture scenes, and that ruined it for me. Writing a torture scene because the work requires it = fine. Writing a torture scene because one gets a vicarious thrill of enjoyment from it = not fine. Same with misogyny, IMO. If the work requires it, fine. If it's there because the author gets a vicarious thrill of enjoyment from it, not fine.



ETA: I see and apologize for the Department of Redundancy Department phrase. But since it's already been quoted, I'm just going to leave it. ;)

Mr Flibble
08-05-2011, 08:55 PM
I don't intend to read the book, but as an observation here are two of the many possibilities: the author writes with a misogynistic world view because that's what the work requires, or the author writes with a misogynistic world view because that's what the author likes (not saying this one does!).

Example: I read a popular book put out by a major commercial publisher in a popular and critically lauded series. In it were several torture scenes which were necessary to the storyline. However, as each scene unfolded, I as a reader started to get the impression that the author was enjoying the torture scenes, and that ruined it for me. Writing a torture scene because the work requires it = fine. Writing a torture scene because one gets a vicarious thrill of enjoyment from it = not fine. Same with misogyny, IMO. If the work requires it, fine. If it's there because the author gets a vicarious thrill of enjoyment from it, not fine.


That's what I was trying to say I think. And sometimes it does become obvious (sometimes over the course of several books, because with just one, maybe the story DOES require it. If it's ongoing, or OTT, I just start getting this niggle, you know? Like maybe it's me...and then again maybe it's not...)

Anyway, not read the book in question, but it was that part of the review that made me think the reviewer had maybe had that same niggle.

Anne Lyle
08-05-2011, 10:44 PM
From what I know, an eleven-year-old boy* falling in with brigands would probably learn about rape from both sides of the act.

He's not just any eleven-year-old boy, though, he's the son of the king. What I find less believable is that he becomes their leader at that age in anything other than name. But without reading the book it's impossible to say if he's another adolescent Gary Stu* like Kvothe in The Name of the Wind, or more like a twisted version of a young Henry V. Medieval princes were taken onto the battlefield from an early age, and the job of those too young to fight was to finish off downed enemies with a dagger. Nice.

* The male equivalent of a Mary Sue

AP7
08-07-2011, 09:56 PM
However, as each scene unfolded, I as a reader started to get the impression that the author was enjoying the torture scenes, and that ruined it for me. Writing a torture scene because the work requires it = fine. Writing a torture scene because one gets a vicarious thrill of enjoyment from it = not fine.



That doesnt make a lot of sense to me. You can't possibly know what the author was thinking or feeling at the time of writing the work. And if the author isnt committed to writing the scene, then it will fall flat. If it seemed the author was getting a vicarious thrill, that would make me believe the scene worked.

AmsterdamAssassin
08-07-2011, 11:30 PM
So what if the author enjoys writing torture scenes? I enjoy giving a fictional assassin fictional assignments killing fictional characters in interesting ways. I'm not masturbating behind my desk, but I am enjoying myself tremendously. If I wasn't enjoying myself, why would I write this stuff?

And if someone would say, well, it seems that AA enjoys writing about characters getting killed in gruesome ways, they'd be right.

Guess what, most readers enjoy my fictional kills, so I guess it's a win-win situation...

IceCreamEmpress
08-08-2011, 01:37 AM
So the story is definately the MC's POV. And he's a misogynist, although he probably wouldn't label his view of women at all.

Which is why it doesn't appeal to me as a reader. My own experience of reading a book from the unproblematized* point of view of a misogynist or a racist or a homophobe is like, for me, being trapped in an elevator with someone who shares those beliefs.

I'm done with that at this point in my life--when I was in grad school, I read Cťline and de Montherlant (among other misogynist pillars of the canon) and buckets of racist and colonialist stuff considered "classics" and that was plenty. When I'm reading for fun, I prefer not to be immersed in a bigoted world view.

(*See, to me, what makes Lolita, frex, work so well is that the book is structured in subtle ways to illuminate what a creep Humbert Humbert is.)

Mr Flibble
08-08-2011, 02:23 AM
That doesnt make a lot of sense to me. You can't possibly know what the author was thinking or feeling at the time of writing the work. And if the author isnt committed to writing the scene, then it will fall flat. If it seemed the author was getting a vicarious thrill, that would make me believe the scene worked.

No, but as ICE says, books can be structured in subtle ways to show frex what a misogynist this guy is without glorifying it. And if there's a lot of needless/gratuitous stuff (sadistic sex torture for ex, or every woman character is horribly tortured or whatever, and it just comes across as glorifying it) in every one of their books...

At some point it is going to look like the author just really likes that. Or really thinks (an example I have in mind) that all women who get raped will throw themselves at the first man who comes along afterwards, never mind that they've still got injuries....

Patterns emerge. There are patterns in my writing that probably reflect how I really feel about stuff. It leaks through.

And some stuff, well, frankly, after a while readers start to wonder.

AP7
08-08-2011, 04:15 AM
At some point it is going to look like the author just really likes that.

And some stuff, well, frankly, after a while readers start to wonder.

I'm okay with you not liking the book, but I dont think it's fair to psychoanalyze the author based on the content.

Satsya
08-08-2011, 05:57 AM
I'm okay with you not liking the book, but I dont think it's fair to psychoanalyze the author based on the content.

"Fair"? She isn't putting him on trial.

And if you're a writer putting your work in the public eye, you've got to be prepared to be psychoanalyzed. Writing is a profession about taking thoughts and imagination and smashing it onto paper in a coherent format. Of course our inner selves show through in our work. The same holds true even in non-fiction, or for journalists.

ETA: I'm not saying the author is a misogynist. I haven't read the book; I haven't met the author. As others have stated, authors often write about subjects they personally find distasteful. I'm writing a story about a murderer, myself, and I don't particularly find myself prone to murderous tendencies. My statement is directed towards writing in general, not Mr. Lawrence.

jamiehall
08-08-2011, 05:58 AM
It's telling that while the reviewer qualifies her opinions with "I found..." "In my experience..." "From where I'm standing...", the editor talks in absolutes - "This is.." "..it emerges..".

That's exactly the impression I had. The reviewer was trying to be fair and to look for the things that some readers would like.

The editor was only intent on dishing out one version of reality as if it were the absolute truth.

Anne Lyle
08-08-2011, 09:48 AM
And if you're a writer putting your work in the public eye, you've got to be prepared to be psychoanalyzed. Writing is a profession about taking thoughts and imagination and smashing it onto paper in a coherent format. Of course our inner selves show through in our work.

Exactly. A writer may not intend to be misogynistic, or racist or homophobic or whatever, in his/her work, but putting one's thoughts on paper often reveals deep-seated, unexamined attitudes. A single book that appears to address a distasteful topic in an ambiguous manner may be considered misinterpretation of the writer's intent - when that topic arises in many (if not all) of a writer's works, I think the conclusion is inescapable.

Again, talking here about writing in general, not this review or author in particular.

HapiSofi
08-08-2011, 10:33 AM
I'm okay with you not liking the book, but I dont think it's fair to psychoanalyze the author based on the content.
Sure it is. Readers and reviewers have always done that, they show no sign of stopping, and it would be inappropriate if they did. When you write, you open a window of communication to your readers. They frequently see more of you than you intend.

AmsterdamAssassin
08-08-2011, 10:44 AM
I know I have deep-seated urges to kill and I channel them into fiction. :)

backslashbaby
08-08-2011, 10:53 AM
I like that smiley there, AA :ROFL:

AmsterdamAssassin
08-08-2011, 11:09 AM
Well, I wouldn't want everyone to run away... that makes the chase so tiring... ;)

pdblake
08-08-2011, 01:03 PM
I thought it quite a balanced review. Sounds like a good read to be honest.

Mr Flibble
08-08-2011, 01:21 PM
I'm okay with you not liking the book, but I dont think it's fair to psychoanalyze the author based on the content.



"Fair"? She isn't putting him on trial.

Nope. I haven't read the book that the OP is talking about so I can't comment on that one but even if you're writing about things you personally find distasteful, there are ways and ways. I've read books that feature lots of graphic violence or rampant misogynists without getting the feeling the author is glorifying it or wallowing in it. And I've read books that have. It's not the writing about it, it's the glorifying, or excusing, or whathaveyou. The execution is what matters.




And if you're a writer putting your work in the public eye, you've got to be prepared to be psychoanalyzed. Writing is a profession about taking thoughts and imagination and smashing it onto paper in a coherent format. Of course our inner selves show through in our work. The same holds true even in non-fiction, or for journalists.

My statement is directed towards writing in general, not Mr. Lawrence. This too


Exactly. A writer may not intend to be misogynistic, or racist or homophobic or whatever, in his/her work, but putting one's thoughts on paper often reveals deep-seated, unexamined attitudes. A single book that appears to address a distasteful topic in an ambiguous manner may be considered misinterpretation of the writer's intent - when that topic arises in many (if not all) of a writer's works, I think the conclusion is inescapable.



Exactly. It's not apparent with all authors, or even many, but for some authors it really sticks out, and then you have to wonder...because we write about what we're interested in.

A lot of it is unconscious. Like I say, I know things leak through in my writing. May be some writers are more compartmentalised. Perhaps.

Maybe it doesn't leak for all writers, but the tone and direction can be the thing. Not that a writer has written about say spousal abuse, but how they have. I've written about some nasty things/people, but I think (hope!) that even though I haven't outright said it, I have no sympathy with the perpetrator. Maybe that's the key - where the writer is trying to elicit sympathy? Maybe, sometimes...


This may be a topic for another thread but...

Actually it IS a thread for another topic. One that will take me a lot of cogitation.

For the briefest and simplest of examples:

Anyone who reads all my romances will be able to tell, I should think, that as far as I’m concerned it’s a man’s brain I fall for. Physical perfection is unnecessary to be hellaciously hot. You'd probably be able to tell I'm a sucker for brooding heroes and snarky, less law abiding types too. I never meant to put that in, but it's there, in spades. Because when I write a hero I want readers to fall for, I give him qualities that I would fall for. Because to me they are attractive.




When I've cogitated enough, I may start a thread. With diagrams.

Torgo
08-08-2011, 01:50 PM
She isn't the editor of the book; she's the friggin' publisher. The entire Voyager line is, bottom line, her responsibility. She reports directly to upper management at Harper Collins.

Oh my, really? Oh dear. I don't think I've ever seen that before.

kuwisdelu
08-08-2011, 02:32 PM
Which is why it doesn't appeal to me as a reader. My own experience of reading a book from the unproblematized* point of view of a misogynist or a racist or a homophobe is like, for me, being trapped in an elevator with someone who shares those beliefs.
...
(*See, to me, what makes Lolita, frex, work so well is that the book is structured in subtle ways to illuminate what a creep Humbert Humbert is.)

I was going to question your original point based on your parenthetical thoughts, but since you didn't define "unproblematized" in context, I figured I simply misunderstood your original point. My dictionary has no definition for "uncproblematized." Can you elaborate? From the context of your parenthetical thoughts, it seems to me it has to do with the objective, suggested-between-the-lines world of the narrative subverting the narrator's own viewpoint. Would that be close?


No, but as ICE says, books can be structured in subtle ways to show frex what a misogynist this guy is without glorifying it. And if there's a lot of needless/gratuitous stuff (sadistic sex torture for ex, or every woman character is horribly tortured or whatever, and it just comes across as glorifying it) in every one of their books...

Okay, now I just have to wonder. Is "frex" a Britishism or something? It doesn't show up in my dictionary. The closest internet hit I get is "FrontRange Express commuter bus," so I'm kind of lost...

Torgo
08-08-2011, 02:34 PM
Is "frex" a Britishism or something? It doesn't show up in my dictionary. The closest internet hit I get is "FrontRange Express commuter bus," so I'm kind of lost...

For example.

Mr Flibble
08-08-2011, 02:37 PM
I it seems to me it has to do with the objective, suggested-between-the-lines world of the narrative subverting the narrator's own viewpoint. Would that be close?

Can't answer for ICE but that was how I took it (possibly because that's how I think of it. Some masterly writing comes from stating one thing while subtly implying another - ie that you could show a misogynist at work with a subtle background of 'ewww' lol )




Okay, now I just have to wonder. Is "frex" a Britishism or something? It doesn't show up in my dictionary. The closest internet hit I get is "FrontRange Express commuter bus," so I'm kind of lost...I do beg your pardon, I shouldn't use shorthand as much as I do. Frex = For Example.

ETA: Bah, Torgo ninja'd me.

AP7
08-08-2011, 06:00 PM
Sure it is. Readers and reviewers have always done that, they show no sign of stopping, and it would be inappropriate if they did. When you write, you open a window of communication to your readers. They frequently see more of you than you intend.

I expect psychoanalysis from my mother, and random strangers, but not fellow writers and people familiar with the creative process. It's true that there is a little piece of the creator in the work, but if the writing is effective, the readers will see exactly as much of the author as intended.

Anne Lyle
08-08-2011, 06:25 PM
Writing is a conversation between author and reader, not something to be handed down from on high. You have no way of knowing how someone is going to react to your work, intended or not - if you think otherwise, you're kidding yourself.

Torgo
08-08-2011, 06:44 PM
I expect psychoanalysis from my mother, and random strangers, but not fellow writers and people familiar with the creative process. It's true that there is a little piece of the creator in the work, but if the writing is effective, the readers will see exactly as much of the author as intended.

The reviewer didn't do much psychoanalysing: the nearest she got was -


Iím not going to stand here and insist on high feminist standards in every work of fiction I read (much as Iíd appreciate it if more books had them). I donít have very high expectations to start with. But a certain indication that the author sees women as people, and doesnít leave me trying hard not to throw up because I canít see very much in his book that undermines his protagonistís view of the world ó from where Iím standing, that indication is a minimum requirement.

I agree with that. It's a sin of omission, really. If you read a story told from the point of view of a rapist, you'd expect that POV to be misogynistic and creepy. But you'd also expect the author to show us some kind of distance between him/her and the protagonist - whether in classical, plot terms (the rapist comes to a bad end) or by using some kind of irony, or by including some other character with whom the reader is supposed to identify and who provides a critical commentary. If you fail at that as an author you will inevitably come across as identifying with the character.

Mr Flibble
08-08-2011, 09:59 PM
I agree with that. It's a sin of omission, really. If you read a story told from the point of view of a rapist, you'd expect that POV to be misogynistic and creepy. But you'd also expect the author to show us some kind of distance between him/her and the protagonist - whether in classical, plot terms (the rapist comes to a bad end) or by using some kind of irony, or by including some other character with whom the reader is supposed to identify and who provides a critical commentary. If you fail at that as an author you will inevitably come across as identifying with the character.


Precisely.

Whether this author failed or not I couldn't say (not read the book) but I HAVE read books where that failure was apparent*, and those are the authors I'm talking about. Not all, maybe not many, but some. And I noticed these things even before I started writing, so it's not that only a writer might notice. And plenty of writers can and do write about nasty people doing nasty things without this failure, with a sense that they know this character is nasty.



*not nesc. that the author identifies with the character as such. Maybe sympathises, or approves, maybe something else. It can be quiet subtle. Still cogitating my other thread. It will be a long post. If I do it.

jamiehall
08-09-2011, 12:32 AM
I expect psychoanalysis from my mother, and random strangers, but not fellow writers and people familiar with the creative process. It's true that there is a little piece of the creator in the work, but if the writing is effective, the readers will see exactly as much of the author as intended.

And if the writing isn't effective, readers will begin to wonder (correctly or incorrectly) whether the author endorses particular viewpoints.

It's much the same as wondering why certain authors write book after book with pre-pubescent girls undressing, getting into sexual situations and thinking heavily sexualized thoughts.

For an author who does it well, there's a subtle background of authorial disapproval even when the point-of-view character is a pedophile. Then readers think of it as an unpleasant topic that is handled well, perhaps with an unreliable narrator aspect. Then it's just like an ordinary murder mystery. You don't wonder if the author is a murderer.

For an author who does it badly, readers are left thinking that the author finds pedophilia titillating and cute, not just the pedophile character.

(Pedophilia is just an example topic, as I seem to see that topic done badly more often).

shaldna
08-09-2011, 01:16 PM
Readers DO psychoanalyse writers, whether they realise that they do it or not. How often have you read a book and thought 'what WAS this author thinking?'

I'm loathe to drag the Sparkly Book Of Doom into the conversation, but it's a good example to use in this conversation. The themes of male dominance, female weakness etc etc certainly made me wonder what sort of background the author had to make her think that stalking and domestic abuse is somehow sexy and desirable.

I think this is the case with any book and any author. Readers do make judements on writers based on what they write, whether the writer wants to admit it or not.

lauralam
08-13-2011, 01:28 PM
Heh, heh. Sparkly book of Doom. I agree completely--not only is abuse and control considered desirable, a lot of readers claim they wish they could find someone just like Eddypuss, even though he doesn't actually have much a personality in the books, when you get right down to it. I'll stop there, though.

I read the review and the comments and pretty much everything has already been said. I read the review on my Google reader, but didn't click through to read the comments. Really blatant misogyny turns me off books, so I wasn't planning on buying it. It was only after the later Twitter storm that I went back. My opinion on the book and the author hasn't changed, but my opinion of the publisher has. I would not want my book published by them, now.

James D. Macdonald
08-13-2011, 06:29 PM
I expect psychoanalysis from my mother, and random strangers, but not fellow writers and people familiar with the creative process. It's true that there is a little piece of the creator in the work, but if the writing is effective, the readers will see exactly as much of the author as intended.

Anyone who thinks they can tell anything at all about the author from the fiction is deluded. They're reading between the lines, and what's between the lines is blank white space.

The "subtext" they find tells us far more about the finder than the author.

icerose
08-13-2011, 06:33 PM
I'm okay with you not liking the book, but I dont think it's fair to psychoanalyze the author based on the content.

It's called human nature. When themes and patterns emerge we look deeper for the source. In the case of books the source will always be the author.

As others have pointed out it's a matter of skill. Some authors are able to separate themselves from their material so you'd never stop to even think it, but other authors are not as skillful.

I'll use James Bond as an example. The author has admitted to not connecting well to women. They are momentary pleasure not lasting partners. That part of his personality bled into his work and his main character.

Dan Brown with his main character as well. I'm sure there are many many other examples. They are dressed up Mary Janes where the author is skilled enough to not make them appear as a Mary Jane on first blush, but they hold many key traits of a Mary Jane. They are an amplified and perfected or projected personification of the author.

Writers aren't the only ones that battle to keep themselves out of their work. DaVinchi addressed this himself telling his students not to paint themselves into their work. According to the last computer analysis of the Mona Lisa even a master like DaVinchi still found himself creeping into his work.

ETA: Term could be Mary Sue and not Mary Jane.

Mr Flibble
08-13-2011, 06:44 PM
Anyone who thinks they can tell anything at all about the author from the fiction is deluded. They're reading between the lines, and what's between the lines is blank white space.

The "subtext" they find tells us far more about the finder than the author.


I can tell whether they're a good author or not (subjective I know, but still)

I can tell if there is a predominant theme over a series of books.

I can tell how they handle that theme.

If they insist on writing every single 'insert subset of humans' as 'insert stupid stereotype' I can tell, at the least, they haven't got much imagination and/or are pretty bad at observing human nature.

etc etc

Yes, often subtext is as much about the reader as the writer, but it isn't always divorced from the writer. As Icerose says, a good writer can separate themselves from who/what they write. A bad writer cannot.

And readers can often tell the difference.

icerose
08-13-2011, 06:47 PM
Anyone who thinks they can tell anything at all about the author from the fiction is deluded. They're reading between the lines, and what's between the lines is blank white space.

The "subtext" they find tells us far more about the finder than the author.

I have to disagree. Otherwise Tor wouldn't have the list of reasons why a book is rejected. One being (paraphrasing) "I'm glad you're seeking therapy for your problems but a published book isn't the place for it."

Giant Baby
01-15-2012, 02:34 AM
Ugh. Author returns to the review (http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/08/qpeople-who-like-this-sort-of-thing-q-being-a-review-of-mark-lawrences-prince-of-thorns) after 5 months to claim increased sales off its back, while simultaneously holding it responsible for "bad-mouthing and bad ratings." Also, a bit of a post-flounce ramble at the reviewer in his comment #2.

Nothing of the train-wreck quality his UK publisher's comment displayed, but ABM, nonetheless, and unprofessional under the best of circumstances. WTF? I mean, seriously... Why?

The Lonely One
01-15-2012, 02:57 AM
The editor's comment aside, the conversation seems to be pretty intelligent and fair back-and-forth with insight and reference, seasoned with opinion. (Don't think I got to the part where the author comments.)

Is it okay for a reviewer to respond to comments on the review? This reviewer does so quite frequently, almost to every post. I don't think it's necessary to defend your opinion that is already clearly stated and balanced. But is this also poor form? I haven't really heard much about this aspect of the "don't respond" discussion.

The Lonely One
01-15-2012, 03:10 AM
Readers DO psychoanalyse writers, whether they realise that they do it or not. How often have you read a book and thought 'what WAS this author thinking?'

I'm loathe to drag the Sparkly Book Of Doom into the conversation, but it's a good example to use in this conversation. The themes of male dominance, female weakness etc etc certainly made me wonder what sort of background the author had to make her think that stalking and domestic abuse is somehow sexy and desirable.

I think this is the case with any book and any author. Readers do make judements on writers based on what they write, whether the writer wants to admit it or not.

But often they shouldn't. Or at least not on the vague and very, very broad and misleading subset of "what's in the book."

A writer writes what they observe. It's biased on their experience and interpretation, yes. But judging the writer is a crappy reason to read a book. Judge the characters if you must. Choose not to follow the characters. But leave the writer out of moral discussion, IMO (unless it's a writing or plotting issue). I prefer to discuss a book autonomously. Besides, any of us has that "dark side" we can go to. Just not all of us are comfortable with it. If we're discussing human nature in its entirety, there are parts of it that don't fit into all moral systems.

James D. Macdonald
01-15-2012, 04:49 AM
I have to disagree. Otherwise Tor wouldn't have the list of reasons why a book is rejected. One being (paraphrasing) "I'm glad you're seeking therapy for your problems but a published book isn't the place for it."


Tor doesn't have that list, Teresa (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html) does. The line is, "Itís nice that the author is working on his/her problems, but the process would be better served by seeing a shrink than by writing novels."

And, in as far as Teresa may believe in the real existence of subtext, she is deluded.

CrastersBabies
01-15-2012, 06:20 AM
But often they shouldn't. Or at least not on the vague and very, very broad and misleading subset of "what's in the book."

A writer writes what they observe. It's biased on their experience and interpretation, yes. But judging the writer is a crappy reason to read a book. Judge the characters if you must. Choose not to follow the characters. But leave the writer out of moral discussion, IMO (unless it's a writing or plotting issue). I prefer to discuss a book autonomously. Besides, any of us has that "dark side" we can go to. Just not all of us are comfortable with it. If we're discussing human nature in its entirety, there are parts of it that don't fit into all moral systems.

After reading the review, I thought to myself, "I'm glad I know this. I might have bought the book and been sorely disappointed." Not because of an author's treatment of women, but because of the fact that the main character has no humanity. Characters who are too super-good or over-the-top evil are very one-note. A main character who is utterly irredeemable? Not for me. Not in the least. But, I imagine that appeals to someone. I'm not quite sure who.

The excerpts I read in the review seemed well-written (at the craft level).

As for feminist issues with the piece. Women will have them. Men will have them. There's no pleasing everyone.

On the other hand, I think an artist has a right to build a world (however dark) and use that world to show character. But, poor execution and poor characterization are absolutely on the "free for all" list when it comes to reviews.

This reviewer seemed too eager to grandstand for my taste. What I found the most helpful about the review was the comment on the writer's inability to create a "round" character. The "sausagefest" type comments were really unnecessary.

The posted comments were pretty eye-opening as well. Why the hairy-legged feminist comments? The editor and writer commenting? All in very poor taste.

Anne Lyle
01-15-2012, 08:46 AM
A writer writes what they observe. It's biased on their experience and interpretation, yes. But judging the writer is a crappy reason to read a book. Judge the characters if you must. Choose not to follow the characters. But leave the writer out of moral discussion, IMO (unless it's a writing or plotting issue).

Very true. I know Mark online and he's a sweet guy. The main reason I haven't met him yet is that he is the parent of a severely handicapped daughter and can't get away to signings and conferences as much as other folks. About the only judgement I can make is that he probably uses fiction as an outlet for his darker side so that he can be ultra-nice in real life :)

That said, I have no intention of reading the book because its protagonist's misogyny would grate on my nerves after a while.

Also, if you think the review of Prince of Thorns was vicious, you should see what she has to say about Michael J Sullivan's Theft of Swords over on Strange Horizons *boggles*

http://www.strangehorizons.com/reviews/2012/01/theft_of_swords.shtml

gothicangel
01-15-2012, 02:08 PM
Is it okay for a reviewer to respond to comments on the review? This reviewer does so quite frequently, almost to every post. I don't think it's necessary to defend your opinion that is already clearly stated and balanced. But is this also poor form? I haven't really heard much about this aspect of the "don't respond" discussion.

I have a strict policy of not responding to comments. I only tend to review history books or historicals. If I see inaccuracies, I say it. Most of the comments of my reviews are to tell me I'm wrong - despite having one BA in Scottish literature, another in Classical Studies and applying for an MA in Roman Studies! I don't get in a slanging match. I think there are a lot of armchair historians out there, who think they know the history, but they don't really.

robjvargas
01-15-2012, 03:29 PM
I have a strict policy of not responding to comments. I only tend to review history books or historicals. If I see inaccuracies, I say it. Most of the comments of my reviews are to tell me I'm wrong - despite having one BA in Scottish literature, another in Classical Studies and applying for an MA in Roman Studies! I don't get in a slanging match. I think there are a lot of armchair historians out there, who think they know the history, but they don't really.

Your credentials lend you some authority. Then again, Albert Einstein rejected the idea of Quantum Mechanics.

Credentials are not proof against being wrong.

gothicangel
01-15-2012, 04:52 PM
Your credentials lend you some authority. Then again, Albert Einstein rejected the idea of Quantum Mechanics.

Credentials are not proof against being wrong.

You mean like my recent attempt to convince explain to people on IMDB that the Picts where an oral tradition and therefore illiterate?

Quantum mechanics are scientific hypothesise, and are frequently rejected and proven false. Historical facts proven by a mountain of evidence is another matter!

Miguelito
01-15-2012, 07:28 PM
You mean like my recent attempt to convince explain to people on IMDB that the Picts where an oral tradition and therefore illiterate?

Quantum mechanics are scientific hypothesise, and are frequently rejected and proven false. Historical facts proven by a mountain of evidence is another matter!

Well, quantum mechanics is a scientific theory, which is normally backed by a quite a bit of evidence and difficult to overturn (the more evidence, the more difficult, and some theories are so well backed by evidence that the odds of them being overturned are effectively nil). Quantum mechanics was even a theory back in Einstein's day, though didn't have nearly as much evidence going for it as it does now. And yes, this theory was first rejected, though ultimately accepted, by Einstein.

But, you're right, scientific hypotheses, which are kind of the initial guesswork when trying to put together some evidence to form a theory, are overturned alot, especially when there's already a well developed scientific theory to explain what's going on in that part of the scientific field.

Credentials absolutely do matter in any historical or scientific argument, more than ever given the complexity and long history of many topics, but people with credentials can still be wrong.

gothicangel
01-15-2012, 07:36 PM
but people with credentials can still be wrong.

Of course they can, I will quite happily sit and debate dates for the withdrawal from the Antonine Wall. But that's Historian/Archeologist territory.

What I'm referring to is simple, fact checking [i.e google the subject and read a few books territory.] It does annoy me, when I go to the effort of spending hours researching Pictish History/Society, or visiting sites and talking to 'people in the know' [like I did today - paid a visit to Corbridge.]

What really irks me, is when someone posts a comment like 'but wikipedia says . . .' :rant:

Miguelito
01-15-2012, 08:29 PM
Of course they can, I will quite happily sit and debate dates for the withdrawal from the Antonine Wall. But that's Historian/Archeologist territory.

What I'm referring to is simple, fact checking [i.e google the subject and read a few books territory.] It does annoy me, when I go to the effort of spending hours researching Pictish History/Society, or visiting sites and talking to 'people in the know' [like I did today - paid a visit to Corbridge.]

What really irks me, is when someone posts a comment like 'but wikipedia says . . .' :rant:

Armchair experts often annoy me. They glean stuff off the web, but almost always lack context in how that knowledge was developed and how it fits in the bigger picture. As such, they have no idea whether they've been duped into believing crankery or not.

CrastersBabies
01-15-2012, 08:37 PM
Wow, this thread suddenly took an unfortunate turn. Ugh.

gothicangel
01-15-2012, 09:05 PM
Wow, this thread suddenly took an unfortunate turn. Ugh.

Are you refering to my little derail? It's the Romanist in me. Blatant inaccuracies are like a bee to honey with me. :evil

robjvargas
01-15-2012, 10:10 PM
Armchair experts often annoy me. They glean stuff off the web, but almost always lack context in how that knowledge was developed and how it fits in the bigger picture. As such, they have no idea whether they've been duped into believing crankery or not.

Agreed. And I've been guilty of that more than once (although I personally refuse to use Wikipedia as my quoted resource).

But citing credentials back to me isn't going to prove me wrong, or you right. The Einstein example I gave is particular apropos here. His calculations of general relativity even predicted (to a degree) that quantum mechanics exists, and he spent years trying to fight that.

None of this means that credentials should be ignored or even minimized. Just on the opposite point, that these credentials do not confer automatic correctness.

CrastersBabies
01-15-2012, 10:28 PM
Are you refering to my little derail? It's the Romanist in me. Blatant inaccuracies are like a bee to honey with me. :evil

Guilty! :)