Thursday, May 05, 2011

A Few Links, Comments and Commentary

Yesterday Representative Matt Dean, the Republican House Majority Leader in Minnesota learned a hard lesson – petty insults (pencil-necked little weasel) and misrepresentation of facts (lying) regarding Neil Gaiman are a big mistake. He had the gall to say in a speech on the floor that he hated Neil Gaiman and then called him a thief for taking a speaking fee at a Minnesota library (that came from a voter-approved fun in part to support the arts). Gaiman’s intelligent, slightly understated, and always creative reactions to it all have only made Representative Dean look like a complete idiot. Minnesota Republicans – do you really want that guy representing you? Links of relevance: Neil Gaiman’s blog about it, an interesting interview with Gaiman, and Representative Dean’s sorry excuse of an apology that only makes him look like more an idiot.

Naill Alexander, aka The Speculative Scotsman, wrote an interesting post about George RR Martin with quite a bit of it dedicated to discussion of the long delay between books and the fans that are very unhappy with it. Really, the post or the comments don’t add anything new to the debate – it’s all the usual talk complete with Adam of The Wertzone stepping into defend Martin. The exception of course is Hal Duncan’s comment – which is absolutely brilliant. I really wonder what Martin thinks of it.


Adam Whitehead said...

I actually thought Niall was moving into an interesting discussion area not necessarily about GRRM, though bringing him up was a bad move as it led to the standard devolution of the thread into the usual suspects (bar Hal's spectacularly angry post).

But I think the point raised about whether it's possible for *any* author today to take a break from a long-running series to write something else without enraging fans is one worth exploring elsewhere. It used to be more the norm with people like Moorcock and Vance going back and forth between multiple series and stand-alones, sometimes leaving cliffhangers unresolved for years until they felt inspired to get back and resolve them.

But as we've seen with Martin, Lynch, Rothfuss and to some extent Jordan, even the hint that you are doing something else is enough to enrage large numbers of people, even if that something else is a prequel or short story set in the same universe or a short online serialised story or a kids' book. What would the current generation made of being left to stew for 20 years between Books 2 and 3 of THE DYING EARTH and seeing the author writing dozens of short stories and novels in the interim?

Neth said...

Yeah, I agree - but bringing up Martin was a big mistake. I think centering the discussion around Brandon Sanderson would have been a bit more productive and (maybe) would have avoided the regression into the usual stuff.

But then we would have never gotten Hal's brilliant response.

Justin said...

Brandon's going to be an interesting test case, no? The Stormlight books are going to be seriously delayed until WOT is done. He's also got his hands in the Mistborn franchise, his YA Librarian books, and he talks a lot about side projects as well. Not to mention the thought of Harriet signing off on some future Randland books that Brandon would be under tremendous pressure to be involved in I imagine.

Now, he's somewhat insulated because he churns out so much copy, but how long can he keep that up? I definitely think side projects is healthy for authors and Martin, Jordan, and Rothfuss may have found their work on their primary series easier if they were under less popular demand to work on it exclusively.

Neth said...

@Justin - Sanderson's output will go down, there is no doubt about it. First, he has said that the 12-14 hour days he pulls writing the WOT books are not sustainable and he plans to drop that down to much more reasonable when he finsishes. But, he's also benefited a lot by scheduling - the Mistborn books were actually bought several years before their release, that gave him a lot of time to polish them up and work on other projects. The benefit of that 'extra' time is pretty much gone now, so it's very unlikely that he'll continue to churn out 2-3 books a year. I expect he'll back off to 1 per year in the next couple of years (not that 1 per year is slow or anything).

Cody said...

Not to derail back to Martin too much, but I thought Duncan was just rude and unnecessarily nasty. I'm glad to have George take as long as needed to keep the quality up, but you can't promise something for years and years and expect people to not get at least a bit impatient.

To Adam's question about taking breaks, I suspect the norm has come about today due to marketing efforts being geared to series rather than authors, not to mention the echo chamber of the 'net itself. I doubt that The Dying Earth was released amidst a flurry of interviews and the like, during which Vance himself declared it to be the first of four books. If that HAD happened, I suspect the 20 year gap would then have engendered some peevishness.

Neth said...

@Cody - I think that Duncan was rude and nasty to make a point. People who are angry over the delays have been very rude, nasty and disrespectful to Martin and other authros (like Jordan when they say 'don't pull a Jordan). Duncan just went to the another extreme to make his point.


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