First off, a few random bits. If you've never heard Johnny Hollow or the
Kimberly Trip (their website is down, this is the best link I could
get), give them a listen. Simply amazing. Also, if you live in the
Boston area, there's apparently going to be an S*P
reader gathering this Saturday. I've been told I'm showing up since
the organizer is my roommate.
Now, today's comic.
In case you didn't know, Anne Rice's newest book, the last of her
Vampire Chronicles, is out and has been getting mixed reviews on
Amazon.com. Some of the negative reviews are pretty... er... insulting,
to say the least. This is nothing new, though. I never pay attention
to Amazon.com reviews. I trust people I know better than faceless
But what IS interesting is Anne
Rice herself apparently replied to the criticism in a very blunt
manner. And I do mean blunt. She picked apart the criticism, made a
few statements of her own and posted her email and snail mail address so
people could complain or SEND HER THE BOOK FOR A REFUND!
I've got some mixed views on this thing (but not mixed enough I can't
make fun of someone). In honesty, I've never read any of her writings,
despite urgings from friends, so I can't real talk about the validity or
her claims or those of her displeased readers. But I think I'm
conflicted on her actually responding to the reviews.
Now, I will be the first to admit, I've responding in some moronically
enraged fashions to people bitching me out on forums, the S*P LJ, my
personal LiveJournal or in email - going off in a fashion that makes
Bobby Knight look calm and collected. But I never respond to reviews.
I don't post links to them, either - whether they're good or bad. If
the review is good, I feel like I'm being arrogant if I do. If it's
bad, I'd worry about some of the more diehard readers going ballistic at
the reviewer, which isn't right either (and I've seen a few
webcartoonists do the latter for the express reason of "sicking" their
readers on someone who dared to have a contrary opinion). I read the
review and take what I can get. If it's obviously the guy's just
flaming me for the sake of feeling superior, I shrug, look at my stats
and smile at the six digits of readers I have. If the review is
negative but actually backs its opinions up with some logic, I take what
I can and walk away with it. But I don't really address the reviewer
unless they email me or, as in one case, decided to start posting in the
S*P LJ to promote their negative review (yeah, you won my heart over).
I just don't think it's a good idea to go off on people for reviewing
you. No matter what you say, you'll look wrong. Countless people were
telling me, "Anne Rice went batshit at her readers!" But when I read
it, I didn't get that vibe, but people are going to say it automatically
because she had the audacity to address her critics. It's easier to
write her off as overreacting without really looking at what she's
But I can also understand why she felt the need to address these
opinions. There's nothing worse than reading reviews from people who
start off, "I don't get it," or, "OMG this character totally would say
that." Er, we're the authors - we decide that. Back in December of
2003, after I did the Gaming Night story where Davan and Branwen are
trying to run games for Mike, I had a reader email and inform me that
Davan was acting out of character since Branwen's introduction - that he
was being too cruel. He promptly gave me a plot synopsis of how I could
"save" S*P by having Branwen dump Davan for no reason and Davan and Mike
build a strong friendship.
And, y'know, I get stuff like that a lot.
And it's frustrating to watch people completely misinterpret what's
going on sometimes. Or to tell you that you're writing your character
wrong. So, I can sort of see why Mrs. Rice chose to address it. I just
don't know that I'd have done it and I'm wondering if it'll do any good
or just further "justify" her naysayers. Either way, putting up her
email and mailing address was ballsy on its own - but offering refunds?!
I don't know where I'm going with this. I'm just sort of rambling as
I'm prone to doing. I guess the point of it all is: buy S*P
Hey! Fuck you! It's my website and the moral of the story can be
whatever I want. -R