Sunday, January 30, 2011


2020 Visions has been out a while, and the reviews are coming in. Some writer's dread this. I look forward to it like a bullfighter urging the bull to charge. After all, isn't this all about the paso doble with the dangerous universe?

Yeah, I know, sometimes reviewers, or “critics,” (it depends on their pretensions) do things besides declare how brilliant you are -- but remember, no matter what they say, they are providing publicity. Any press is good press, as they said in the low-tech past. As long as they spell your name right and give the information that will help the reader buy your work, they are doing you a favor.

Besides, as a self-promoting writer, it is your right, and in fact your duty, to exploit them.

I've been doing it ever since I used the fact that someone had put down my first published story as an excuse to disrupt an interview with Norman Spinrad on KPFK's Hour 25. It's easy. It's fun.'s Josh Vogt did me a disservice by not mentioning Radiation is Groovy, Kill the Pigs in his review of 2020 Visions. Maybe he's one of those “If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all” guys. Guess I'l have to try to be more offensive in the future.

Josh did day some good things about my wife's story, “If the Sun's at Five O'Clock, It Must be Yellow Daisies.” He did feel the need to warn that is was, “Not for the squeamish, or anyone who gets nervous around insects.” A great quote! Em, honey, ya gotta use that!

I remember the days when science fiction was all about getting upclose and personal with things like Bug Eyed Monsters. What happened? When did the wimps infiltrate the nerds?

Harry Markov in Rise Reviews also praised Em's story – he also devoted a paragraph to Radiation is Groovy, which he enjoyed even though he found it flawed. He's obviously used to following stories at a safe distance rather than hopping on and hanging on for dear life through the wild ride. I will make use of his “It crossed boundaries, went down the rabbit hole and provoked an emotional reaction.” Also: “. . . an insane pacing, and insane plot . . .”

An “emily” via goodreads didn't like Radiation is Groovy at all. It “. . . almost made me give up on the book . . . Yikes.”

I posted the quotes about my story on Facebook right away. Interestingly enough, it was “emily's” putdown that got a reaction: Jetse de Vries, editor of the Shine anthology, and DayBreak Magazine said, “That kind of comment makes me want to read your story!”

Face it, these days anybody can set themselves up as reviewer, or even a “critic.” Use them, abuse them, distort the meaning of their words. They are just another piece of equipment in your writer's toolbox.


  1. *waves hello* Heya, Ernesto. It was fun to read the collection. Quite the variety of stories. Didn't mean any disservice, of course. Some things just aren't to my taste, but I can certainly respect your pursuit of the memorable and controversial!

    All the best!

  2. I figured as such, Josh. For writers, it's all about struggling to get noticed, if one reviewer chooses to concentrate on other stories (like my wife's), we have to work harder to get noticed next time. Besides, publicity for the anthology is good for all the contributors. Keep reviewing our books. We need you.