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Fans, Can’t Live With ‘em and… June 1, 2010

Posted by bobv451 in fantasy, hobby, VIPub, writing.

…a writer certainly cannot live without them. It might be the nature of the beast but it seems the Internet nurtures an especially nasty segment of commenters. I’ve sampled a couple sites where God of War fans dumped on the book and yet admitted not reading it. One that rather amused me was a comment that if anyone could make GoW come alive, it was Matt Stover–as long as his coauthor didn’t screw things up too badly. But had any of these people actually read the book? Nope.

And why should they? Playing a nifty game like GoW is an entirely different experience than reading a book. That the book is meant to flesh out rather than find new territory, gamers aren’t likely to see anything new or (to them) even interesting. Been there, done that. In a sense, I’m not sure who the book is aimed at. Completest? Possibly. But there is no way I (or anyone) could enhance the experience of actually playing the game.

The book is materially different from my Star Trek books. Those were new stories set in the same universe. GoW is the same story written rather than played. Someone unfamiliar with the game would likely enjoy the book far more than a dedicated gamer who has completed GoW3.

But why are the game fans so nasty about not liking the book? They could never be satisfied, so why not accept this and not waste time venting? There’s got to be something inherent in the gratuitous nastiness that feeds them. I came across a surprising instance on the Tom Swift newsgroup a while back. Came out of left field and singled me out (but he needs practice in the putdown–matching Don Pfiel’s reject of me “personally destroying the short story as an art form” will be the work of years and far more imagination than most flamers have.)

Only a writer can appreciate the odd flow that it takes to get a tie-in book into print–and how many people have “final say” who aren’t the author. Deadlines are always hurry up and wait. (GoW2 is going to be fun to do–cannot start until the synopsis is approved but best on that would be the beginning of July and the deadline for the completed novel is August 1–that’ll be 100K final book in a month to keep on the publication schedule). Not all suggestions that have to be followed will fit seamlessly. And books by committee are always a revelation as to what the final product is like compared to what it was like at the start.

I don’t read reviews because I disagree with the bad ones and think the good ones aren’t good enough. But fans. Got to love ‘em. They are, after all, why I’m a writer.

One recently sent me about the greatest thing ever. Dan H. up in Fargo sent a water geode. A geode with water still inside–but he had shaved off one end and polished a “window” in the interior so the water sloshing around was visible. Utterly fabulous.

It’s a tightrope to walk. Ignoring the fans who enjoy the putdown (or flame or whatever the new phrase is) and yet finding the great folks out there is part of the fun of being a writer.



1. Martha Skye Martin - June 1, 2010

Having only read one of your books, and never even hearing of GoW the game, I feel less than adequate to comment.

But I did enjoy “personally destroying the short story as an art form” as something I can aspire to! I’m sure, should The Last Resort ever make it to print, someone will say something along the lines of, “A hideous redo of the tired old youth vs old plot.”

(Can’t say too much, don’t want to give it away!)

2. bobv451 - June 2, 2010

Another favorite of mine is “not as bad as it could have been.” Fainting with damned praise, yeah.

You *are* sending me a copy when The Last Resort is published, right?

3. Martha Skye Martin - June 2, 2010

You betcha! Signed and everything! Guess I should do some writing. Will send private email…

Oops. Forgot to hit “say it!”

4. Nathan - June 4, 2010

Well, there are those of us who have read the book and put some time and thought into our reviews — and let me tell you, as a sometime reviewer, in these days when the internet has put me in touch with some of the authors whose work I read, attempting to be both honest and fair, to take off my fanboy hat and put on my reviewer hat, can be difficult. Just as internet anonymity makes some people far nastier than they may otherwise be, so internet community also pushes some of us to be more thoughtful than we might otherwise have been.

Anyway. For what it’s worth, I’m leaving a link to my review of God of War. Read it or not as you desire.

Good day.

5. Bob Vardeman - June 4, 2010

Hey, Nathan–can’t ask for more than being thoughtful in a review. Tie-ins are strange work since there is so very little wiggle room for adding or changing material. the difference between a game like God of War and the book, though the plot is the same, has to be like night and day. I suspect fans of the game wouldn’t be of the book. The hard part would be to do an enjoyable book for someone who hasn’t played the game (and I’m not sure why this reader would pick up the tie-in. A very convoluted catch-22)

My objections are the fans who hate the book without reading it (and if they took the time to read it, they’d probably be right–it isn’t and can’t be the game). In some ways this is like saying because you don’t like cucumbers, you won’t like pickles. But not every book is for everyone.

And as mentioned in the blog, I tend not to read reviews. OTOH, I commend your review to the others reading my blog. (I write the books but the books are only a small part of who I am, so…)

Back to the synopsis on God of War 2. The folks at Sony recommended a different YouTube play through than the one I’d used and this one is not only better shot but has some rather funny observations along the way (the guy sounds Aussie).

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