Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve bought and read a lot of books.
Reading the About the Author blurb at the end of each of them was until recently, the sole extent of my peeking through that crack in the fourth wall of the literary world. I was happy to read about Paarfi of Roundwood and worship him from afar, I didn’t need to meet him.
A handful of months ago, I signed up to Twitter but only to talk about football. I don’t know why I didn’t think about joining in on other topics, but there you go. Sometimes I can get a little focused.
And as a football fan and a lifelong fan of the fantasy/science fiction genre, I already knew at this point that GRRM also enjoyed football, at least enough to include some not so nice Patriot trolling in his books.
“The galley was also where the ship’s books were kept… the fourth and final volume of The Life of the Triarch Belicho, a famous Volantene patriot whose unbroken succession of conquests and triumphs ended rather abruptly when he was eaten by giants.” – George RR Martin in A Dance of Dragons
Having remembered this, and being one of those Patriot fans he was trying to to tweak the nose of I wasn’t going to forget a slight. I wanted to know what the Killer of Our Favorite Characters had to say after the Super Bowl. This was it.
“Life is meaningless and full of pain” – George RR Martin
Its a phrase he uses a lot, but admittedly no less delicious for that, It was in reading them that two of my worlds collided. Authors have blogs. Some of them even talk about football. Why aren’t I reading them? And wait, if they have blogs then surely they have Twitter accounts too. I’m pretty savvy this way. So sure, I am passionate about football among other things more much nerdy, but all of those are second rate passions compared to books. If, for example, some cliche wielding Nazi was cruel enough to force me into the Sophie’s Choice of getting to save either Tom Brady or Steven Brust, I’d have to go with the drummer wearing the broad-brimmed hat. As painful as the choosing might be, in the end it wouldn’t be that much of a contest. I’d do the same for Mr Martin… though I doubt he’d want much to do with me at this point. Jet fans hold such grudge that way.
So there I was, not so long ago, with a naive heart and new found glee. I started Following beloved author after beloved author. In doing so, it would be only a matter of time until I infiltrated their outer circle and had them chuckling at my clever observations and humorous witticisms delivered to them at an economical 140 characters or less.
While I certainly have succeeded in scaling the fourth wall, so far, only part of my expectations have come true. Sure, the authors, they’re real enough. They do seem to love chatting back and forth with each other as their audience listens on (having fans must be so awesome). However as yet, they’ve all been alarmingly stubborn about recognizing me as kindred spirit… or even recognizing me at all. Probably because they are surrounded by kindred spirits all day long. Perhaps I’m like that proverbial smart kid from a small school that finds himself in Harvard. Suddenly he isnt the wittiest or the funniest person in the room.
As GRRM likes to say – pfui.
But their shortsightedness to the awesomeness of being my friend aside, what I’m disappointed in the most is, the vitriol I’ve been reading from the writing community over the two self-named Puppy factions trying to rig the Huge awards with their own nominations.
I chose a really bad time to pull back the curtain.
Not that I blame them. Its all very understandable once you start to scratch the surface a little. It’s just a little… disappointing all the same. Puppies, like kittens, shouldn’t be abused, even in name. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not pretending to be better than anyone, because from what I know of the situation, I too would be hard pressed to repress my own inner snark. I don’t suffer fools gladly either especially the ones that go around ruining everyone else’s fun just because book came in 6th out of 5 nominations.
I’m just thrilled that none of my favorite authors identify themselves as member of this Theodore Beale / Vox Day / Rabid Puppy faction. Sure, a couple of authors I greatly enjoy are much more conservative than I’m comfortable with, but I was expecting something like that anyway. I’ve read my fair share of the How Super No Nonsense Gun-Toting American Joe Survived the Breakdown of All Civilization genre. How liberal did I expect guys who write them to be? In the end I’m just glad that none of my favorite authors ended up being Nazi’s.
I only know Torgensen and Correia as names on a shelf. I’ve never read anything of theirs. I won’t go out of my way to boycott their books, and unless one falls down from the scaffolding and hits me on the head, I don’t see being close enough to one to read it any time soon. Maybe that’s my loss, I don’t know.
As for Theodore Beale, well, I respect him for having accomplished what I’ve always wanted to do my entire life, be an author.
But I think as a human being living in the 21st century, he has a little catching up to do with the rest of us.