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You know that advice about never replying to reviews? - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
You know that advice about never replying to reviews?
Generally, an author is best advised to ignore reviews, regardless of how bad or misguided they are. Responding to critics can end up making an author into a laughing stock and/or end up in a flame war on the net.

Just occasionally, however, a reply is exactly the right thing to do. Here is Scott Lynch's response to someone who said that he'd only put a 42-year-old black single mother into his book as a pirate in order to be "politically correct". Well, dear aggrieved reader, I'm sorry if Scott's book didn't float your boat, but it may come as a surprise to you that writers are not necessarily pandering to your particular needs and tastes. There are in fact many readers with many different requirements. All books don't have to be liked by all people, and I'm sure there's still plenty of stuff out there that still supplies the narrow-minded world view that you espouse.

There's also an excellent blog post here on what does and doesn't constitute realism (with regard to gender roles) in SF and fantasy. "Your default narrative settings are not apolitical".

Apologies to those of my friends who have seen these already, but I wanted to link here for my own reference.

[Cross-posted from Dreamwidth by way of a backup http://heleninwales.dreamwidth.org/75150.html. If you want to leave a comment, please use whichever site you find most convenient. Comments so far: comment count unavailable.]

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7 comments or Leave a comment
inamac From: inamac Date: December 10th, 2012 10:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I love Scott Lynch's response - not least because he refrains from the easy response - there were women pirates, (Ann Bonny and Mary Read in the West Indies and 'Mrs Cheng' in China the best documented - there were others) who appear to have had no problems in 'controlling real sea pirates.

But people who have prejudices rarely listen to facts - they just confuse them.
peadarog From: peadarog Date: December 10th, 2012 12:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ditto. I could also add that Indian bandit queen from a few years ago and Ireland's Grace O'Malley and many others.

His response was, as you say, brilliant.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: December 10th, 2012 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Indeed there were women pirates, and women soldiers and sailors and cowboys, but as you say, some people don't like facts getting in the way of their preconceptions.
asakiyume From: asakiyume Date: December 10th, 2012 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Very, very much enjoyed *both* those posts--thanks very much for the links.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: December 10th, 2012 04:04 pm (UTC) (Link)
I usually assume that by the time I've seen something, it's old news to everyone else, but I thought I'd pass these on anyway. I'm glad they were of interest.
readthisandweep From: readthisandweep Date: December 10th, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Excellent - I even commented on his site. (Although the original post is old - 2005.)

Why would you take a writing critique seriously when the person can't spell?
From: cmcmck Date: December 10th, 2012 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love the story told about Anne Bonny. When they were finally captured, she berated her lover, Calico Jack Rackham with the words-'If you had fought like a man, you had not have been hanged like a dog!'

What a woman! :o)
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