Avoidance of Confusion

It has been suggested to me that my previous post on reviewing might be taken as attacking Jeff VanderMeer’s post and thereby encouraging people to do all of the things he tells reviewers not to do. Please, don’t take it that way. Jeff’s advice is very good. It is particularly good if you want to sell your reviews, because most commercial review venues prefer to avoid controversy and want you to be polite and reasoned. Sure the world includes people like Dale Peck who have made a career out of snark, but they are rare breeds and few venues want to hire someone like that.

If I’m irritable, and it sounds like I probably was, then it is because whenever I see an article like Jeff’s (and seeing three articles about reviewing in one day clearly got my goat) I have this sinking feeling that sooner or later someone is going to rip into a review they disagreed with, taking Jeff’s name in vain as an excuse. Nobody likes exactly the same books, and nobody likes exactly the same style of reviewing. The chances are that somewhere out there you can find someone who writes the sort of reviews you like, and likes the same sort of books that you do. That person will be good for you, but at the same time the existence of that person doesn’t mean that every other reviewer is wrong. They may just be serving different markets.