Tag Archives: Richard Morgan

Gary Gibson – the state of the debate

Richard Morgan‘s recently-posted essay about the bitchiness and infighting of the sf/f fiction scene caused a flurry of reactions, some sympathetic, others less so.

Gary Gibson‘s response chimes best with my own feelings on the matter, though:

“To me, I’d say all the bitchiness is a sign that things aren’t nearly so moribund within the genre as some have claimed. I’m not saying the arguments and fighting are always healthy, or necessarily mature; but I am saying it feels more alive than some genteel, mannered alternative. At least the way things are, it feels like people give a damn.”

Indeed. I mean, sure, sf people can get pretty entrenched in things, and rather more emotionally attached or opposed to certain words and definitions than really makes much sense (cough *mundane-sf* cough).

But if I’d stumbled into fandom as I did and found it to be an echo chamber … well, I’d probably be more focused on writing about music, I guess. The ability to debate the merits of a piece of art without resorting to fists, name-calling and hissy-fits is rare enough in my daily life that I’d rather not lose it.

That said – live and let live, eh? Maybe it’s just my nature as supreme wishy-washy diplomat of compromise, but I’ve always found the best way to get anyone to respect my opinion (even if they don’t agree with it) is to respect theirs. As my mother used to remind me at the end of every school sports day – it’s not the winning, it’s the taking-part.

[Disclosure- Richard Morgan is one of my clients.]

Good winnings, bad endings, bad reviews and bad business

Good winnings:

Paul Raven and Claire weaver at the Arthur C Clarke Award ceremony 2008As the entire intarwubz have already reported, Richard Morgan’s Black Man scooped the Clarke Award last night. I hadn’t read the whole shortlist, so I can’t pass comment on its comparative worthiness, but I have read Black Man (reviewed it for Vector, too) and thought it was an excellent book, so no complaints from me.

The fact that Morgan is not just a very decent and interesting fellow but one of my new clients is also rather pleasing. Congratulations, Richard!

The ceremony was a lot of fun, and the Apollo Cinema was done up all sf-nal complete with gratuitous Star Wars extras; it was great to see lots of people I usually only interact with online, and an unusual experience to be plied with free booze and nibbles.

Although, judging by Niall’s picture of me stood next to the gorgeous Claire Weaver, I should probably be avoiding nibbles for a few months, or possibly even forever.

Bad endings:

The SF Signal gang roped me into another of their Mind Meld posts to talk about the best and worst endings in genre novels.

Unsurprisingly, I was far from being the only person to declare Peter F Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy to have the worst ending ever … there’s lots of other interesting opinions from names and faces old and new, so go take a read. You’ll get some good recommendations from it, I reckon.

Bad reviews:

Andrew Wheeler calls it how he sees it, which is why he’s one of the genre bloggers I most respect. His justification for writing negative reviews is chuntering out of my printer as we speak, so as to be pinned to my wall:

“On the one side, a reviewer always wants to be honest. If I liked a book, I want to say that — more, I want to explain what I liked about it, and, as best I can, how, I liked it. And I want to avoid soft pedaling a book I didn’t like.

But I’ve also gotten to a point in my life when I like to think of myself as an adult. And adults don’t cause offense inadvertently (as someone once said about gentlemen).

I’ll still probably say some critical things about the book in question […] but, if I can manage it, none of it will be gratuitous (unlike SF Eye), and all of it will be for a purpose.

So that’s the point: I complain because I love. Really.”

Selah, brother.

Bad business:

Right, it’s off to the day-job for me … *sigh*