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

35 thoughts on “*

  1. Mysterious disappearance of Cynothoglys from Thomas Ligotti Online, where he has deleted all his posts. He has been a significantly brilliant poster on that site, with his real-time reviews of TL fiction and acute contributions to the general debates. My theory is that he became particularly upset by the audit trail of the ‘Mark Samuels Tribute Book Thread’ on TLO (as I did, too). But it seems also relevant to mention his recently published ‘fiction’ work was entitled PURGE STATUS attached to the (appropriate?) by-line of Shawn Mann. I trust he is well. All the best to him.

    • The Dunhams Manor Press publisher has just told me on Facebook –

      “The author is working on a book analyzing each story in SONGS OF A DEAD DREAMER. It will be out in hardcover later this year.”

      So that eases any worry about him. And I am glad his reviews will be coming out as planned.

  2. hwiHuman


    Anonymous (pseudonymous)
    Nemonymous (aanonymous?)

    This is a very complex issue, but all those who feel themselves to be political and/or non-anonymous will have strong opinions about politics, opinions that they themselves will be convinced about, as I do.

    Those involved with creating and appreciating fiction might tend to radiate towards the a-prefix words above, when IN that pure fiction mode — unless that fiction becomes didactic literature or philosophy?

    Gender, race, harassment, religion, orientation – all of these and other controversies need to be triangulated from all real-time points of view. Facebook now does this for many.

    There is a balance to be sought because only a balance is possible — a gestalt of gaia, the cracks in our Earth, the tectonic plates, the metaphorical Azathoth at its core — a balance between Social Justice campaigns and the imperfection of us humans, between pessimistic anti-natalism and the joy of living, between truth and fiction….an integrity of opposites.

    ‘Imperfectibility’ perceived to be humanity’s goal as we would not be able to experience life’s inherent roller-coaster without it? Horror Without Victims, but also Victims without Horror? The nature of Horror Literature itself? All Hyper-Literature, in fact.

    Still just beginning my thoughts on all this.

  3. There seems much about some of these controversies to take to a proper legal or other official process, rather than to the Kangaroo or Kiwi Court of the Internet.
    Today is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death as well as being St George’s Day. With regard to the former, Ian McKellen on Radio 4 this morning drew out the nub of his plays, that all humanity is made up of actors on a stage (using example quotes from As you Like it, Macbeth and the Tempest). Very telling.
    And if the cap of the St George legend fits, wear it.

  4. I have this morning accepted a FB Friend Request from Allyson Bird, despite her having let stand an interchange with Laird Barron on her FB page from last year (reported above on this list of controversies), an interchange that instigated my then falling out as a FB friend (but not falling out as a real friend).
    Time heals, I hope. As it has done with one or two others with whom I have crossed swords in the past.

  5. This (FB friends only) is a five years ago ‘memory’ brought to my attention today by FB itself. This ‘No Blame’ post was my then tentative take on a literary incident that – with its ‘Weirdtongue palaver’ (my name for it) as aftermath – has had much bearing on my artistic-personal development since then. A tidal ebb and flow of negativity and positivity, with now the latter thankfully being more to the fore.

  6. A thread on S.j. Bagley’s FB (if you can reach it HERE) where Nick Mamatas gives an astonishing lecture to Philip Fracassi about the Small Press.
    And he implies that reviewing low print run publications is pointless, and criticises Dunhams Manor – and I wonder what he thinks about the great number of books published by Ex Occidente Press over the years? And Ligotti’s Small Press work republished as Penguin Classics?

    • Scott Nicolay interestingly said on his FB recently: “Lovecraft is the fossil fuel industry of Weird Fiction.” Maybe Lovecraft is Azathoth still lurking at the Earth’s Core, I wonder.

  7. http://www.britishfantasysociety.org/forum/index.php?topic=4009.msg32158#msg32158
    Stephen Theaker’s proposal to change BFS Awards from next year, i.e. broadly to remove named short list juries and revert to members’ votes throughout (as I understand it).
    Why list this matter here? Because I feel it is a controversy that Stephen does not seem to know what happened at the last AGM about this matter, a fact that seems to indicate there are no Minutes of that meeting for him to check.

      • You’re very sharp, Des. I’ve now seen the draft minutes, so I have some of the answers I was after. And thank you for your thanks!

  8. I repeat something I wrote earlier on this thread:

    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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