‘I Stand Rebuked’ (2016)

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I post this every now and then to illustrate the kind of trouble you can get into if you try to review books honestly.

I Stand Rebuked

I couldn’t read the whole series: just couldn’t take it. I bailed out when Gilgamesh’s mother, a pagan goddess, called him “Gilgy.” This story lasted 5,000 years for that?

It’s just a fact of life that not everybody can write both fiction and non-fiction. You can be good at one and awful at the other.

And it’s also a fact of life that awful fiction sometimes sells like mad. It takes more lifetimes than I’ll get, to come to terms with that.

‘How to Ruin a Fantasy’ (2014)

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Just as merely destroying the dining room can ruin a do-it-yourself magic trick, there are just as simple ways to ruin a fantasy.

How to Ruin a Fantasy

Among many effective methods is the trick of repeatedly dragging the fantasy story back into the drearier aspects of what we generally think of as the “real world.” In the very worst example of that that I ever saw, the Elf turns to the Dwarf and says, “We must learn to respect a diversity of lifestyles.” I happen to know the author who wrote that. He’s a good guy. Otherwise he’d have to be put to sleep or something.

Having the characters in your fancy talk like modern teens’ text messages is guaranteed to ruin your fantasy. You’d be better off writing it in Rongo-Rongo script. Then at least we could maintain the untestable possibility that it might be good.