12 May 2005

Surprise of the Week: Dale Peck Doesn't Like Something

Dale Peck, previously notorious for his reviews of contemporary writers and for being slapped, proclaimed some time back that he would no longer write nasty reviews of books. Instead, apparently, he will write nasty reviews of extremely popular movies. Witness what he has to say about Star Wars.

I actually happen to pretty much agree with his negative assessment of the whole Star Wars franchise, having been immune to the cult from the early days, but ... why bother? Is Peck so desperate for attention that all he can do is try to anger some hapless Star Wars fan? Giving any more notice to a mass phenomenon like Star Wars if you're not a fan of it seems pointless to me. (At least when David Brin did it he had a variety of insights to offer.)

I'm not a Peck hater, but I've certainly lost the patience I once had for his writing. When I was 17 or so, his first novel, Martin & John, was a revelation to me, and I thought it was one of the best novels ever written. I carried it around for a month or two after reading it, keeping it near as a kind of talisman of all that was possible in art and life, or, rather, what I conceived art and life to be when I was 17 (ugh, those were embarrassing days). I've not reread the book since then, though, for fear of ruining the memory of what it was. I even liked a few of Peck's book reviews. But he seems to have become the sort of person who is habitually annoyed by other people's enthusiasms -- the kind of person who goes to birthday parties and loudly reminds everyone about the inevitability of death.