Part Four of the CONTROVERSIES thread which continues from  Part One HERE, Part Two HERE and Part Three HERE.

Further discussion will hopefully be made in the comment stream below. Everyone is welcome to contribute on any aspect of book reviewing controversies and related matters.

39 thoughts on “*

  1. Lovecraft.
    Our community taking sides on this is like fighting over the course history already took, here a literary history of which we are all part – when we know it can’t be changed. That’s not me sitting on the fence but just sayin’.
    Time to move on, yes, to a new iconic symbol for an award, but not by destroying a past icon whose mind none of us really know.

  2. A couple of days ago, I ran a temporary Facebook post quoting from Laird Barron’s statement about me (that I originally quoted HERE by a contemporaneous copy and paste earIy in October this year). Feeling physically better in recent weeks, and more chilled out about this controversy, I now felt able to address it publicly. A few people reported that they had also fallen out with Laird or been ‘unfriended and blocked’ by him and many sympathised with my feelings. Thanks for their support.
    One person, however, wrote to me privately as a result of the sometimes aberrantly diffuse discussions on Facebook. He said that Laird might have meant to say “YOUR ACTIONS WERE deficient, full stop.” rather than “YOU ARE deficient, full stop.” as he did say. Although I would disagree with the facts of the former version, I can see it would not have been a personal attack. So I give Laird the benefit of the doubt.
    I give my due respect to all those touched by this controversy. Meanwhile, the Anthology book in question will no doubt be a great treasure for posterity.

  3. I paid £21 to Spectral Press last July for the hardback Leytonstone so that I could read and hopefully review it. Not received it to date. It is now in the post to me, they have recently told me again. I have always needed to ask them for info, because they never volunteered info to me. That’s all I know about Spectral Press and otherwise I have rarely bought their books. I hope they recover from their current financial problems.

    • Sounds from the comments like they introduced a positive-comments only policy. I can see why she stepped down. I stopped reading the Believer once I heard they had the same rule.

    • I’m surprised I didn’t get more blowback over this. Sorry by the way for not including this very site in my list of interesting community projects – it slipped my mind when writing that you had begun to have additional contributors, like we do.

      • A personal extract from the above Facebook link:

        Des Lewis I find good quality weird literature these days at Undertow Publns, Ex Occidente Press and various other bespoke places.
        Like · Reply · 2 · March 8 at 4:44pm

        Jeff VanderMeer I would just add the caveat that Ex Occidente has a long history of taking people’s money for orders and then never sending books.
        Like · Reply · March 8 at 11:41pm

        Des Lewis It certainly has that reputation but in my experience a false one. I have bought about 90 different books from them with no trouble. That’s the only thing I can safely go on. I think there was some issue at one stage on the postal system between Romania and USA.
        Like · Reply · March 9 at 7:21am · Edited

        Des Lewis PS: I should also have added The Third Alternative and Black Static as a steady stream of good quality Weird Liteature over the decades.
        Like · Reply · March 9 at 7:17am · Edited

  4. I am sometimes asked how I choose certain books to review and why I get involved or interested in certain literary controversies.

    I hope this does not sound pretentious, but my choice of books to buy stems from what I claim is a preternatural knack of knowing what books to enjoy, hoping by this to keep a catholic and eclectic taste in hyper-imaginative books afloat in an uncertain world, to my benefit and to their benefit. I also enjoy the process itself of real-time reviewing and feel that it can expose aspects of and connections between books, thoughts and things that are positive.

    Meanwhile, I feel I have no axe to grind as I am not active in getting my own stuff published. In the last 16 years, I think I have only submitted a handful of my own works to publishers, ones that have been solicited from me.

    As to actual or potential controversies, I admit that there is a certain ‘rubber-necking’ tendency in myself, but I also feel that these lines of controversy should be known as far as possible in the hope they will eventually be transcended or at least cauterised one by one.

    I trust the works themselves are what posterity will remember and make judgements by.

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