These Des Lewis Gestalt Real-Time Reviews were founded in 2008.
‘What’s the loveliest word in the English language, officer? In the sound it makes in your mouth, in the shape it makes on the page? What do you think? Well now, I’ll tell you: E-L-B-O-W. Elbow.’ — THE SINGING DETECTIVE
“How shall a man find his way unless he lose it?” — Walter de la Mare
Your single story in my ‘Dessemination’ project HERE
MY NEW AI WORLD IN 2023 HERE
I prefer human touchable art to AI art, I prefer human art like my son’s and other artists’ paintings old and new, and art gallery art, and my own photos. AI art with all its constructive truncations and weirdities is simply another art form that readily coheres with weird literature I love, a phenomenon to appreciate when added to human created art, making an even richer mind world for me in my ailing age. Whether provided by aliens or angels and other ingredients of the unfathomable gestalt. Deal with it. Show how invaluable you are and indispensable to this great plan. (I can appreciate our potential fear of Ai, but perhaps we need to pray for mutual synergy with it so that we can counter currently insurmountable global warming effects? Can Ai exist without us and the place where we live? Their potential survival instincts mean we survive, too?)
From Robert Aickman’s lengthy SOME NOTES ON DELIUS article, unpublished until recently :
“As there is no intrinsic virtue in denigration, the critic who resorts to it, should be required to pass a test of qualification and sensitivity, at least twice as stringent as that imposed upon a critic who loves. Normally, love is not blind but clairvoyant.” – Robert Aickman
For ‘clairvoyant’ there, perhaps read ‘preternatural’?
‘I suppose it would be better if one were aggressive, contentious and so on. But there’s rarely any occasion to be savage.’
Most of this seems reasonable: http://theakersquarterly.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/avoiding-author-meltdowns-twelve-tips.html – except no. 9, if a reviewer gains a reputation of only buying good books to review to encourage reading.
And not every author’s complaint about a review is a ‘meltdown’.
The earlier ‘interview’ with me by Theaker’s here, which may be relevant to above articles (I amicably left that ‘interview’ when the total number of comments had reached 49): http://theakersquarterly.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/fifteen-things-to-consider-when-tempted.html
And later I wrote this, inter alia, as a balance to one of the articles above: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/avoiding-reviewer-meltdowns-three-tips-for-authors/
This thread you are now reading was originally entitled ‘Mark Kermode / Frank Kermode’, and changed to ‘Reviewing Issues’ today.
I intend to post any future thoughts of mine about all aspects of Book Reviewing in this comment stream alone…
Yesterday, I salted away a more specific post containing a statement upon the long-term issue between myself and Theaker’s, an issue connected to this reviewing subject. As far as I can tell, there have been no further public attacks on me by them for the last month or so, although there remain in public their unjustified personal comments about me from a few years ago, comments which I shall continue to request should be deleted.
Not necessarily connected to the “Theaker’s issue”, here are some recent and past posts of mine on this Book Reviewing subject:
And many of my book-specific real-time reviews since 2008 extrapolate and debate, from many angles, the subject of fiction reviewing, as well as the nature of literature, philosophical aesthetics and the physical book etc.
My previous reviews of TQF publications: Real-Time Review of TQF #37 & Real-Time Review of TQF #39 & Real-Time Review of TQF #40 & Real-Time Review of TQF #41 & Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #43 & Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #44 & THE MERCURY ANNUAL / PILGRIMS AT THE WHITE HORIZON by Michael Wyndham Thomas & Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction #45.
Strictly as a reviewing issue, I presume that Mr Theaker was also starting a (perhaps necessary) critical debate upon my gestalt (connective) real-time reviewing and lifelong ‘intentional fallacy’ techniques / beliefs when he made this comment yesterday at 4.11 pm.
A new TQF RTR just completed where I find cause to broadly mention the above subject-matter: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/theakers-quarterly-fiction-46/
The tentative start of my GRTR of ‘Finnegans Wake’, an extreme case with which many may find issue regarding the techniques needed to review it and the book itself?
Here: Dreamcaptchas: I Only Review Books I Am Likely To Enjoy. A statement that confirms what has always been the case with my Gestalt Real-Time Reviews since 2008.
Pleased that it seems TQF follows this dictum, too: at least sometimes:
An extract from a couple of days ago in my still on-going daily review of Rhys Hughes’ ‘Flash in the Pantheon’:
Last night I wrote this about RH’s ‘The Rook and the Jackdaw’ in my real-tale review of his Rhysop’s Fables. Serendipitously, I read the next flash fiction this morning, the one entitled The Moon and the Well. Exquisite and definitely my favourite so far.
When I started what turned out to be my dreamcatcher real-time reviews in 2008, I had no idea that they would serve me as well as I hope they serve the authors and readers of the books that I trawl for dreams and haunting memories. And, instead of novels and stories slipping in and out of my ageing mind as they used to do (however good they were), they are now caught in some net forever, I feel. I know ‘forever’ is a long time, but this flash fiction read this morning makes me feel somehow that ‘forever’ is at last attainable
Brainstorming dreamcatchers: http://www.ligotti.net/showthread.php?t=3189&page=2
A Weirdtongue palaver related comment today: http://weirdtongue.wordpress.com/howard-phillips-aka-stephen-theaker/#comment-292
Congratulations to Stephen Theaker regarding this announcement: http://theakersquarterly.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/interzone-252-coming-soon-featuring.html
As an aside, I find the second sentence of his first paragraph thought-provoking with regard to the nature of book reviewing and literary criticism. Generally speaking, I think one can indeed adapt one’s review or critique or analysis to suit the publication where it is appearing, but no doubt keeping in mind that the book being reviewed is set in stone and thus one’s views about it would also naturally be set in stone, even if expressed differently from publication venue to publication venue. But then I think about one’s own changing taste from time to time? Yes, thought-provoking indeed.
Yesterday, I had an email from someone asking my permission to attribute the real-time reviewing method to me as he proposed to use the same method (in a different field from fiction). I feel it would be an honour to be thus attributed but there would be no need to attribute it to me.
Further to my much earlier The Hothouse and the Heuristic article and its appendix, I decided today to see if there were any more discussions about negative book reviewing and found:
But then I gave up looking!
As an additional, separate, inevitably theoretical point, I’d say any problems regarding Negativity, Gender, Political Correctness, Personality, Nepotism, Personal Grievances, Self-Promotion etc would be potentially eased if all writers as a matter of course had their work published initially in the old Nemonymous way, with late-labelling of their by-lines following the reviews and any awards etc.
[Yesterday, you see, I had cause to think about that ‘old Nemonymous way’.]
This ‘Reviewing Issues’ thread now becomes ‘*’ and linked from here: https://dflewisreviews.wordpress.com/i-only-buy-books-i-know-i-will-like/ and will remain as my record of any potentially disputatious matters connected with any reviews or the reviewing philosophy.
Regarding the Weirdtongue Palaver, I today made one of my infrequent checks on the ‘comments’ mentioned in the post above of 5/12/13 11.32 a.m. (comments that are often referred to by me as the “66 comments”) and I note they are still extant.
Christopher Priest’s review of a novel entitled BARRICADE reminds me that I am only concerned with the hothouse and as this novel is published by Gollancz I say let them fight it out beyond our hothouse barricades – big author against big publisher. Having said that, though, if I had been the reviewer, I would not have wanted to write a public review of it. My usually dependable instinct would have indeed been not to read it at all.
I don’t know what could possibly impel a professional reviewer and writing educator to issue a blog inciting cruelty and nastiness in this or any other context: http://damiengwalter.com/2014/06/21/genre-needs-a-lot-more-cruel-and-nasty-reviews/
I agree, though, that the Priest review is not cruel or nasty, not even mocking or tendentious (arguably).
It is a highly negative review, however, one I personally would not have chosen to make public or would have aborted any reading of the book once I knew that I was not enjoying it. Luckily or skilfully, the books I choose to review are 99% as I expect them to be, give or take their in-built surprises!
My views on any potentially controversial aspects of book reviewing will now continue in the comment stream HERE as and when I have anything to say.