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My own personal ngram
james_nicoll
I joke: I don't get cited in books.

Lifted from yendi

British genre author Christopher Priest is not entirely pleased with the short list for the Clarke Award. Anyone who thinks my comments on the Clarke short list were cranky should check this link to see what true cane-shakery looks like. I am mildly surprised he did not work his way to demanding the entire jury be shot (which for the record I think would be an over-reaction).

He is inexplicably a fan of the idiotic The Testament of Jessie Lamb, which is the sort of Life Boat Rules novel where the characters eventually decide to take the daring step of addressing a leaky life raft by drilling a large hole in the bottom of the boat for the water to flow out. I understand there's a great sympathy in SF for people making hard decisions in bad situations; I just wish the situations did not tend to be contrived and the solutions ludicrous.

Anyway, you can tell he matters far more than I do because while I got comments on More Words, Deeper, he gets replies across the web.

Damien Walter tries the The sour grapes gambit; Priest is displeased because he desired accolades. No attempt is made to deal with Priest's complaints because to do so would be to give credence to them.

Claiming that Priest is motivated by award-jealousy is a jolly daring gambit, given that (as Dan Geiser pointed out), Priest is no stranger to the doleful burden of nominations and wins:

BSFA: 3 Wins, 3 Nominations
Clarke: 1 Win, 2 Nominations
Dimar: 1 Win
Hugo: 1 Nomination
World Fantasy Award: 1 Win



It's also fairly hard to come up with a come back to
heri S. Tepper’s The Waters Rising (Gollancz) – how can one describe it? For fuck’s sake, it is a quest saga and it has a talking horse. There are puns on the word ‘neigh’.

I am bit sad Priest didn't manage to work in a dig at Tepper's apparent fondness for eugenics.

John Scalzi on the other hand goes for more disappointed than angry. He also suggests sticking Priest on next year's jury for the Clarke, out of what I am going to assume is an abiding dislike for the four other jury members.

Mea Culpa: I missed Charles Stross' response. Or rather, I saw it before I saw the context.

I also failed to note that this had made fandomwank.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

We'll get to your response, but first... Stay. Stayyyyy. Sit. Sit. Who's a Good Author, Who's a Good Author. Roll Over.

We'll get Best in Show for you yet!

What I learned is that Priest doesn't know how first-person narratives work, which is pretty embarrassing. Embassytown is pretty clearly memoiristic, and that is why Avice the protag-narrator doesn't stop her story in its tracks to describe every friggin' room she enters.

Amusing, since The Prestige is first-person.

(Not trying to say he does know. I don't remember the book much, having read it and thought the movie was a lot better.)

Edited at 2012-03-29 02:51 pm (UTC)

I joke: I don't cited in books.

You accidentally a word? ;-)

Re: Stross ... Internet puppy, big eyes and all -- great response to Priest's character assassination. Inspired, even.

Re: Priest ... Many, nay, most of his criticisms are every bit as valid as his mathematics (see Point 3 of his -- yes, he really said it -- "a modest proposal"). Admittedly, he does have a point about Tepper's quest tale, which was fun enough but really might have played more comfortably as YA. But did anyone else notice how he derides Mieville for creating insufficient sense of place, then Stross for the opposite? (I enjoyed both of these very different books.) Apparently, both failed to use the Priestly template.

As for the tone if his comments -- forget a lynching, which I would not be surprised to hear he is considering, I'm surprised he didn't work his way up to a stroke.

What's odd to me is that he seems to be claiming that Miéville's writing in general lacks sense of place, in the sense of character behavior and attitudes being affected by setting, and this is just weird. I can to some degree understand criticizing Embassytown on those grounds, but to say it about the Bas-Lag books is baffling, and is there anything more central to The City & the City?

Regarding the mathematics, at current rates of inflation and interest, £2,012 of 2012 money will probably not get you more than £2,000 pounds of 2013 money. He may be a little optimistic in estimating the net loss at only 0.6% however...

Wow. Wow. I can just stare in awe at the excerpts in the Fandom Wank post. Wow.

Also, can't decide what is the most amazing bit---the amazing audacity of "Internet puppy" [1], the amazing, amazing audacity of calling Mieville an underachiever, or about Greg Bear's book, "The paragraphs are short, to suit the expected attention-span of the reader. The important words are in italics. Have we lived and fought in vain?"

I don't know. My last sentence is only three words long because I used an abbreviation. Have we lived and fought in vain?


[1] Pixel-stained technopeasant, anyone?

I read Scalzi's post and the comments that followed, and I have seen a wonder: a one-line JvP comment without any namedropping.

No! Surely not! ::goes to see for herself::

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
Don't worry, he goes for the gold in his next comment.

ETA: beaten to the punch!

Edited at 2012-03-29 05:32 pm (UTC)

His good friend Carl Reiner must have written that.

Christopher Priest's cane shaking would be far more interesting if he would do it with a top hat, tuxedo and jazz band.

He also suggests sticking Priest on next year's jury for the Clarke, out of what I am going to assume is an abiding dislike for the four other jury members.

I suggest Priest, Tepper, Stross, Mieville and, of course, Harlan Ellison.

-- Paul Clarke

Are no women suitable for inclusion in such august company?

Re: Iron Critic (Anonymous) Expand
Much as Priest's post is problematic, I stopped reading Damien Walter's analysis and threw it behind me when I read the words "hissy fit". That's right; that's what we need. Ad hominem via gendered infantilization. Nice. (Priest himself might be guilty of ad hominem nastiness in his own screed, but heck, two wrongs don't make a right.)

How is "hissy fit" gendered? Honest question. It's a phrase I use with some frequency, and a quick search shows I have used it exclusively on males on my blog, and now I'm worried I've been being a sexist on accident. Wouldn't be the first time, honestly.

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
I enjoyed Priest's rant, until his call for solutions. At least he knows how to express himself.

Shamefully, I haven't read any of the books yet, so I can't really comment--except that Melville, much as I enjoy his books, has a kind of super-productive density to his prose that could be a kind of laziness. Kraken would have been a very fun minor work at 170 pages, but it read as though it was just too much trouble not to keep on writing once he was in the groove.

I just noticed the tags on this entry. Could we arrange a Tiptree judges-Clarke judges face-off? Would Priest be the referee or the ball?

Last year was rich in exceptionally good Tiptree-relevant books, so I don't know that it's fair to compare the Tiptree with the Clarke. It's like an Iron Chef where one side gets a fine cut of pork loin to work with and the other side gets a crayon sketch of a duck: differences in outcome may not be the fault of the cooks.

Also, I meant the *other* Tiptree judges rocked.



Edited at 2012-03-29 05:57 pm (UTC)

(no subject) (Anonymous) Expand
I think my favorite moment was when he said that an award for science fiction books, which are by and large aimed at, you know, science fiction readers, ought not to be shortlisting a book that uses lots of science-fictional invented words because that's something that only science fiction readers like. I kind of stared at that bit in bemusement for several seconds.

I see what he did there. He implied that SF is in an infantalized "not real literature" ghetto by having an industry award's purpose be to attempt to trumpet how books in the genre are worthy of being considered real literature by reaching beyond their usual "limited" readership.

Nice back-hander there.

Well, HE certainly puts the ... codger ... in Scunthorpe.

commodorified

2012-03-29 06:32 pm (UTC)

I was somewhat more distracted from his actual words than I ought to have been because in my head the entire thing was being read aloud by Gielgud as John of Gaunt.

"... this pathetic plot, this dearth, these wasted reams, this shortlist"

There is also a post from Nina Allen, here:

http://www.ninaallan.co.uk/?p=381

(Although she does confuse the Gregs Bear and Egan.)

Stephen Shevlin