Thursday, March 29, 2012

Priest Disembowels Award

I've been trapped in my office yesterday and today where Twitter is blocked. So, I missed the initial uproar and reaction to Christopher Priest's candid look at the recently-announced Clarke Award shortlist.

I wish I could have seen that reaction.

First, if you haven't already, read Priest's article yet, read it. I'll wait - it's long, but you need to read it all.

Done? Alright, good - no hellagood!

I'm not a big fan of awards, and I don't have the time or inclination to go into detail here. But I love Priest's reaction to the shortlist. I wish we had more of these - but only if they are of the same high quality as Priest's writing. It doesn't matter if you agree with him, think he was taking cheap shots and beating up puppies. It doesn't matter if the article invoked rage, sorrow, joyfull glee, or a reminder that you're behind on TPS reports again. It's good, balanced, writing, if rather sharp-edged. I very nearly laughed outload at times due to the harsh audacity through which Priest channels hs rage. And some of the quotes in this - priceless!

Miéville has already won the Clarke Award three times – which is not his fault...

For fuck’s sake, it is a quest saga and it has a talking horse.

Anyway, as you'd expect, reactions are stacking up around the intranets like lies on a political campaign (or comprises in a panel of judges?). [this is where I turn and look embarrassingly at the camera, or is that just insanely bad blogging fit for no award?]. I've gathered up a few of those reactions here, but I'm certian to be missing a few (EDIT: I'll be updating the list below as I find other reactions that interest me).


Bob (Beauty in Ruins) said...

Yeah, I posted about this earlier this morning. I thought Priest's rant was embarrassing, and completely without class. Just atrocious.

Neth said...

Wow, my reaction is pretty much the polar opposite of yours. I think Priest's writing was a brilliant piece of critical writing (for the books and the award). There were attacks, but they weren't personal - just honest and blunt in way that let us know what Priest was really thinking. No sugar-coating. There really should be more of this sort of thing.

It's the sort of critique that could actually make future judges think harder about the award.

As for the content - well, these are obviously Priest's opinions and his taste and thoughts on what is or isn't an award-worthy book differs. He gets a bit extreme with the whole judtes being fired and cancelling the award bit, but let's face it, in this world it's extreme positions that cause movement.

I would love to see more authors use their writing craft to let the world know they really think. And then it's up to us to figure out how to react.

Bryce L. said...

I would love to see more authors use their writing craft to let the world know they really think. And then it's up to us to figure out how to react.

That's it, right there.

Mihai A. said...

I liked Christopher Priest's article. Is an excellent piece of criticism and it makes you think about the Clarke Awards shortlist. Yes, it is a bit harsh, but if criticism sounds pleasant to the criticised it might not be criticism at all. I am not comfortable when I am criticised, but if it is said in Priest's manner I might learn something from it. And Priest has a point, the award should be about exceptional or very good works and the shortlist and winners should reflect the best.


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