If anyone has the time to read down to the end of the comments section of my last post, they'll see among the really terrific and thoughtful reader comments (you commenters make this blog worth doing) that Scott Snyder, author of Voodoo Heart and "The 13th Egg," one of the famous VQR Six, shows up to talk about some of the decisions he made in writing the story. Ack, I feel terrible when I criticize someone and they read about it on the blog, but what am I, stupid? Of course they do. And Snyder is really nice about it, too, which makes me feel worse.
But he provides an important piece of information: that the story was commissioned for an anthology of superhero stories written by writers who don't generally write that kind of thing. Which explains a lot, including the crazy ending. I stand by my point -- that it's not a "character" story -- but the context explains why it's not a character story.
Another piece of significant info: my own spouse and co-bloggist JRL was also solicited for that same anthology. Dammit, now we are in the awkward position of having apparently insulted the editors JR was working with.
It's not that big a world. If I say I didn't like a book, there's a small chance that the author and I have the same agent, or that the author had previously said very nice things about my husband, or that if I ever finish and publish another novel, that author will bring out the big knives for me.
There's also a philosophical hurdle, which I consider very carefully before I leap over it: the idea that writers should support other writers, period. That if they can't say anything nice, they should just shut up. Some writer friends only open their traps to kindly blurb other writers or to write positive reviews, and there is something to be said for this position.
Yet here I keep blathering on, as if the world is graduate school and everything I say will be considered in a dry academic context. Of course it's not school; the world is actually a complicated web of connections, histories, and obligations. Oh yeah, and there's Google. Still. I feel like the discussion of literature and writing shouldn't be left just to critics. Critics have less at stake. This stuff is important to me, and I think it needs to be discussed, and I hope if my own work is ever publically thrashed on a blog I'll have the equanimity to take it with as much grace as Snyder.