When Fandom goes bad.

I have to admit, when I found out one of my new favourite authors was on Twitter (hello @TansyRR) I did briefly consider tweeting her and asking if the publishing schedule for the third book in the Creature Court series was still on track to be published this year, as book 2 of the Creature Court – Shattered City was only published in April 2011 and not in December 2010 as originally planned. Because I, like, really really want to read it. I have not tweeted because although I do really really want to read the book it somehow seemed really really rude to just ask something like that. I am not after all, you will be surprised to hear, the most important person in the world.

Then, thanks to @cityoftongues, I read this article on Game of Thrones author George R Martin and his dedicated and not so dedicated followers. Well I guess the latter are dedicated, just not in a way you’d want them to be. Game of Thrones is in the news because HBO have just released (in the US) a series based on the novels. From Twitter talk it is good in the way that only HBO can be. As I don’t download TV I just have to wait for it to be released on DVD in the Australian market. Which I hope it will be. Kinda like TrueBlood it’s not something that you are likely to get on free to air TV here.

Anyway back to the fans. George R Martin has taken the terrible step of taking, according to some fans, far too long to complete the next book in the series. His detractors have even set up blogs to speculate about what is taking so long, who might finish the series if George dies before it is complete [George says no one, it dies with him] and even tracking what they think he spends his time on rather than writing the book they are waiting on. So while they denigrate him, they are also willing him to give them what they want. Strange way to go about it I think. But read the article, it is very instructive on how not to behave as a fan [warning it is 6 pages long].

So I’m glad that I didn’t send that tweet. However, I am not above writing a blog post which might come up should an author or someone close to the author google their name [tongue firmly in cheek]. So if say, Ben Aaronovitch is around and would like to mention whether there are plans for any more books after Midnight Riot and Moon over Soho [the Book of the Week in the SMH recently (reviewed by my fav reviewer Pavlov’s Cat)] that would be great. [A bit later after using my orsum google fu] Or you know I could find his blog and discover that there is another book which I MUST HAVE, [ETA: then have a lovely person in comments tell you that it is the same book with a different title] another one in the series being published in January 2012 and maybe follow him on twitter. But seriously if you want to read some really good books – you could do a lot worse than get yourself a copy of Power and Majesty, Shattered City [Tansy Rayner Roberts] or Midnight Riot (Rivers of London in UK) and Moon over Soho, and although I haven’t read it yet I’m going to say Rivers of London [Ben Aaronovitch].

Feel free to put your reading recommendations in comments, any bad fan behaviour you have witnessed or even enacted yourself, and general booky stuff. If you are an author and want to dish the dirt on your fans that would also be awesome.

Categories: arts & entertainment, fun & hobbies


9 replies

  1. So glad you found the author’s blog. I find that sometimes that helps. Other times I want to write comments that amount to “stop blogging and write. Write the book. Write. The. Book. Now!”
    So I read people like Charlie Stross (antipope.org) who are both funny and attract enough comments that I can be amused without thinking every two seconds about when the next book will arrive.

  2. Sorry to disappoint, but Rivers of London and Midnight Riot are the same book, as far as I know! Rivers of London is the UK title.

  3. Thank you Aishwarya you are indeed correct. I will fix the post.

  4. Woohoo! Someone else who likes the Ben Aaronovich books. I would recommend Kraken by China Mieville for another view of London’s supernatural underworld.
    As for bad fan behaviour, I once had the misfortune to spend a night in the San Francisco fog outside a gig venue just so as my friend could give the singer of her favourite band a bracelet. I was not impressed.

  5. Yepyep. Some of the treatment of authors is really appalling. The idea that people have a responsibility to write, even if and when they don’t want to, or are struggling to, or have, y’know, a life beyond their writing, is really kinda yuck. Being a bit of a fantasy reader myself, I know the frustration of waiting on the next book, I really do. But that frustration is mine. It’s really got nothing to do with an author… an author to whom I ought to be grateful for having created such a rivetting story. I remember waiting on the third book of the Tamir Triad from Lynn Flewelling very impatiently, for example. But having worked in a bookshop where I had tried to chase down the next book in a fantasy series for someone and had to give them the horrendous news that the author was not, in fact, going to release the final book, I guess I had an extra bit of motivation to hope for, but not expect, the next book…
    Robin Hobb wrote a rant a while ago now (2008) about the importance of people not blogging if they’re writing books (which was then turned against GRRM – because he blogs, omg! – with some comment, if I recall correctly, from Neil Gaiman as well). The rant has disappeared now (with a blog in its place ;-)), but she posted a comment elsewhere which manages to both talk about priorities and argue that writing requires training-work – you have to be disciplined about doing it, or it won’t get done. What’s interesting to me, though, is that in amongst her new blog are the occasional references to days of writing which are excruciatingly painful (both physically and otherwise). Writing takes more than merely sitting down in front of a computer, and so some days, weeks, months, years, will be harder than others. It feels so wrong to me, then, to demand that authors just up and publish; a real misunderstanding of how unpredictable, and hard, that writing process can be.

  6. I find the complaints baffling. I mean I am extremely lucky atm as all my current fave authors are putting out one (or two!!) excellent book(s) per year, on schedule.

    Whereas, Garth Nix wrote Sabriel and then we all sat on our hands for ten years wondering if it was actually going to be a standalone book, before he wrote Lirael, then Abhorsen.

    I read a lot of Author blogs, so when the book is delayed because a thousand terrible things have happened (the river is flooding, beloved pets have randomly died, etc), I know, and I find myself caring more that the Author gets themselves back together personally than that they quickly turn over a book that might not be as awesome as it might have been had they sorted themselves out first and then finished the book.

  7. the Author gets themselves back together personally [rather] than that they quickly turn over a book that might not be as awesome as it might have been had they sorted themselves out first and then finished the book.

    I hadn’t thought of it in these terms before, but yes, this.

  8. Here is the famous “George RR Martin is not your bitch” post from Neil Gaiman (not that I think anyone is anyone’s “bitch”, but that’s how he put it!)

  9. Still frustrated that there’s no final Obernewtyn book from Isobel Carmody still, though, much as I do intellectually realise she’s not actually, you know, working for me (as Neil Gaiman put it).

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