31 March 2004

Reviewing the Situation

Sometimes after I have written about a story, poem, or book here, someone will ask, "But ... did you like it?"

That's a hard question to answer. "Yes," is the simplest, because I seldom write here about anything I didn't, not because there isn't anything I don't like, but because there's so much -- so much that bores me, so much that I find unimaginative and repetitive and silly, so much that causes me to wish the English language had never been allowed near the pens and keyboards of blithering idiots, so much, so much -- that writing about it just to say, "This is awful, don't bother," would keep me far busier than I can afford to be. (Although, there's value in having a few people do that -- John Leonard once said of Brett Easton Ellis and other bratpackers, "I read this stuff so you don't have to." And I haven't.)

Thus, unless I say, "This is drivel, but there's something worth noticing," I probably did enjoy the work in question, or at least some part of it. I don't want to have to write thumbs-up/thumbs-down reviews, because, though it would save me time, I find it more interesting to explore what a work has to offer and the possibilities inherent within it. If you're looking to find out what new books are worth reading, there are many good sites with quick, astute reviews. I don't read in large enough quantities to be able to offer a comprehensive view of anything, and so I offer a particular one. (If you want a more comprehensive view, read Emerald City -- Cheryl Morgan and I have similar, though hardly exact, taste, and she reads more SF in a year than I will in a lifetime.)

I shouldn't spend a lot of words on a simple topic, and so let me end by summing up: Assume that if I write about something, I consider the work in question worth the time it takes to read it. If I don't, it will be extremely clear.

(But don't assume if I don't write about something, that it isn't worth reading. I just haven't gotten to it yet.)