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Finally: A Negative Review for 26lies.

It took a year. It seriously took me a year:

Peek is a bit too clever, a bit too cute, for his own good. Sometimes his book reads like the literary equivalent of an actor repeatedly turning to the camera and winking at the audience. At other times, he most resembles the guy who sits next to you at the bar and spends the next three hours deconstructing the world from his own narrow perspective. Peek does it very eloquently and with fewer slurs, but the reader is sometimes left with the same weary wish that he'd just shut up. The second entry in this book is "Autobiography." Under it, Peek writes, "How much can you trust authors who write their own history?" Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth has a point to make, and, by God, the book will bang on about it until the damn thing is blunt.


In 1879, Henry James wrote a biography of Nathaniel Hawthorne, a writer perhaps now most famous for writing The Scarlet Letter. In his introduction, James expressed surprise that Hawthorne had lived so uneventful a life—"few men of equal genius and equal eminence could have led, on the whole, a simpler life," he wrote. This line has always struck me as odd, since it seems no more necessary—and no more likely—for a writer to live an exciting life than it does for a street cleaner to do so. Ben Peek has subtitled his book "The Autobiography of a Man Who Has Been Nowhere, Done Nothing and Met Nobody." And then he has made a lot of it up anyhow.

I love when people accuse me of being too clever, since it naturally means that someone was too stupid.

Personally, I've never quite figured out how being too clever is a complaint. "I don't like it when you try things. Try less. Be a little more mediocre." There's got to be better things to accuse me off. But, anyhow, on top of being too clever, I'm too cute. In fact, I'm cute and clever. Clearly you should want a date with me. Email me, hey? I only reply to people with photos.

Anyhow, what can you say? When I wrote 26lies I thought there would be more negative opinions to it, and it's nice to see someone not liking the book, though Hartland in his review still notes some nice things about the writing, so in truth we're probably doing 40/60 or something like that. In the end, his problems with the book are simply those of someone who didn't like it, and maybe wanted it to be something else--and what can you say about that at the end of the day?

Shame he didn't mention Anna, though.

At any rate, if you haven't bought 26lies, you should. You can buy it from Amazon, Wheatland Press, and Agog.


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Oct. 1st, 2007 11:04 am (UTC)
"Personally, I've never quite figured out how being too clever a complaint?"

Oh, come on. Yes you have!
Oct. 1st, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)

Oct. 1st, 2007 12:33 pm (UTC)
Do the photos have to be typewritten?
Oct. 1st, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC)
just andy's genitals, if he's sending me those again.
Oct. 1st, 2007 01:40 pm (UTC)
Come on, honestly it's not that bad a review either! He didn't think it was an unmitigated success - well ok, it was probably more negative than that, but he has some pretty good things to say about it too.
Oct. 1st, 2007 01:43 pm (UTC)
yeah, it's all cool. i just like the too clever part--that makes me laugh that, especially when he goes onto the next paragraph about a werewolf meeting an academic. heh.
Oct. 1st, 2007 01:46 pm (UTC)
I think anyone who uses the phrase "too clever" should immediately be under suspicion...
Oct. 1st, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC)
incidently, do you really think he meant i was too cute? cause i don't want to buy this new dress if my ass looks too big in it.
Oct. 1st, 2007 01:55 pm (UTC)
Don't go changin' a thing, babe.
Oct. 1st, 2007 01:58 pm (UTC)
Oct. 1st, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
Too clever
I get that too. It's too revealing of the person concerned, that they're actually scared you are brighter than they are. Imagine the fun you can have when you go to World Fantasy or whenever, and actually meet them. They get hideously embarrassed. Lucy Sussex
Oct. 2nd, 2007 02:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Too clever
heh. that'd be worth seeing that would :)
Oct. 1st, 2007 01:47 pm (UTC)
"I don't like it when you try things. Try less. Be a little more mediocre."
This really bugs me, too, which is why I try to be a little more analytical than "I didn't like it 'cos I'm too dumb" when discussing such things.

Half the negative reviews of Hal Duncan's work come down to this, incidentally.
Oct. 1st, 2007 01:54 pm (UTC)
Re: "I don't like it when you try things. Try less. Be a little more mediocre."
well, people, you know? everyone's got a thing to be overcome.

i crashed out on VELLUM, half way through. i put the book down for a week and a bit cause of Life (tm), and when i went back to it, the rythm was gone for me. i'm planning to hit it again soon enough.
Oct. 1st, 2007 01:56 pm (UTC)
Re: "I don't like it when you try things. Try less. Be a little more mediocre."
The other half come from the fact that it's just so fucken painful to read.
Oct. 1st, 2007 02:00 pm (UTC)
Re: "I don't like it when you try things. Try less. Be a little more mediocre."
Only if it's too clever for you!

Oct. 1st, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
Re: "I don't like it when you try things. Try less. Be a little more mediocre."
That is of course my point. It's a tad bit wanky to say that anyone (ok, half the people) who doesn't like Duncan's work must just be too stoopid ;)

I should say, I haven't given Vellum/Ink a really good chance, but I have tried hard with his related short fiction, made it through some, stopped bothering with some, and I think in the long run I just couldn't give a shit. My unread books pile is too large as it is. Anyone who thinks it's awesome is entitled to their opinion and probably right, but most of the reviews (including the good ones) tend to confirm that it's not for me.
Oct. 1st, 2007 05:12 pm (UTC)
That reviews tries too hard to be clever and cute, don't you think? I mean, really, mentioning Henry James? Is that like Google-bait or something?

wink wink...kidding...kidding...
Oct. 1st, 2007 10:56 pm (UTC)

i did wonder about the reference ;)
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