seawasp (seawasp) wrote,

And the reviews keep coming...

... and amusing the hell out of me. For Boundary, that is. According to Eric, the pattern of reviews we're seeing is not only common, it's a GOOD one. "You don't want all good reviews; makes it look like a bunch of sycophants are stuffing the ballot box. You don't want weak reviews. You want both good and bad reviews, and both of them really energetic."

And it's certainly funny for me to read them, because not only are they clearly dipolar -- generally people love it or hate it, no real lukewarm feelings here -- but even the things that are loved or hated are often dipolar. People think Boundary has wonderful characters... except those who think they're "not even cardboard, more like tissue paper". The information and action are well integrated, except when they're huge infodumps. And so on.

I suppose what I love most about these things is that it demonstrates one of my most basic writing beliefs: that aside from totally incompetent writers -- as in, people who really have trouble stringing coherent thoughts together -- it's not really POSSIBLE to arrive at an objective definition of some of the most critical components of "good writing" -- like "good characters". If the same exact words, read by different people, simultaneously project "well rounded, likeable character" and "thin as tissue paper", well, I think that whether a character is perceived as "well rounded" is probably much more a matter of what the reader WANTS from a character than whether the writer wrote the character "well". The writer probably KNOWS the character very well. But you may not find the person believable, and so therefore he's cardboard... even if he turns out to be a fictionalized real person, with all the details a real person might have.

(the other really nice thing about the Boundary reviews is that so far I haven't really gotten any of the ones that I DON'T like -- the ones which appear to get annoyed that the book wasn't something that it wasn't even TRYING to be. I got a couple of those for DK.)

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