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Sunday, January 14, 2007


Rants and aminals (deliberate typo, guys, I'm trying to be cute)

If anyone's been following the Laurell K. Hamilton dispute and hasn't been reading John Scalzi's Whatever on the subject (which seems unlikely, but hey), he points here to an interesting rant from another writer, Hal Duncan, on the subject. Hal Duncan's post is worth a look - funny, smart and really pretty sweary.

Anyway, if you do read Scalzi's blog you'll know this already, but if not, have a look because it's interesting, and Duncan makes a good point: while a lot of people have remarked on the defensiveness of Hamilton's arguments, (which she probably should have foregone for her own sake), she does have a reasonable point in there as well. Much to be said on both sides, says Kit 'Trying to Follow an Interesting Dispute Without Pissing Anybody Off' Whitfield, and while I've seen a lot of people flock to the let's-point-and-laugh side over the past week, which is easy to do, it's missing the whole picture to just point and laugh. Hal Duncan makes a nicely ranting case for the other side.

Right, cribbing from Scalzi aside, here's something much more important because it involves happy happy happiness rather than arguing. I've just been to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum, and if you're in England and it's at all possible, you should go as well. I went last year, I went this year, I'm going next year, it kicks booty. Basically, a large room in the architecturally inspired Natural History Museum in London is set aside to display the winners of this international competition, which are displayed on lightboxes on the walls, with some nice ambient music. It's just fantastic.

Purely in terms of value for money it's great: the exhibition is pretty large, the entrance fee is pretty reasonable, and in terms of quality, it's amazing. But it's also just the kind of thing that makes me skip and point and go 'Look, look! Aminals! Pictures! Pretty!'

You can see small low-res versions of the pictures on the link, for those of you who aren't in England, but if you are, believe me, seeing the actual thing is really something special. Make sure you go.

An aside, re: the previously-raised question of authors either winning or alienating fans via the miracle of the intarweb:

I read the Hal Duncan piece you linked to and thought to myself 'Heh, this bloke's got his head screwed on...hmm...Velum?...oh yeah, I saw that in Waterstones, nice cover...might be worth reading.'

And, since you linked to Mr Scalzi's (well-written, well-designed) blog I've gone and read half a dozen bits and pieces he's written there, and found myself thinking 'Hmm, even if this bloke writes really good fiction, I would still rather not give him any of my money'.

This is, of course, fairly irrational. I've read and enjoyed any number of books by authors whose views and opinions on any number of subjects might not have been agreeable to me...if I'd known about them.

Rational or not, until very recently the odds of my buying a Hal Duncan book vs. a John Scalzi book would have been equal. Now the odds favour Mr Duncan. If neither of them had weblogs, the odds would still be equal.
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