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The Past | The Previous

26Lies Reviewed (believe it or not)

Three years after it was published, Russell B Farr at Ticonderoga Online reviews 26Lies--

Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth - Ben Peek

Wheatland Press, 2006

152 pages

RRP: US$14.95

ISBN 0-9755903-8-3

Reviewed by Russell B. Farr

This book bills itself as an “autobiography of a man who has been nowhere, done nothing and met nobody”, and with such a low peak to aspire to, accomplishes this. It consists of a number of short pieces, sometimes arbitrarily grouped around the alphabet, that overall form several plot lines. Thrown into the mix are examples of literary fraud.

The strength of the work lies in using the structure to create little moments of suspense while telling essentially uninteresting tales. This ends up being a bit like being fed day-old white bread a piece at a time when you’re not sure if you feel hungry or not.

Twenty six lies/one truth didn’t set my imagination racing, nor force me to get my brain out of first gear. It’s a competent book by a competent writer, but I get the impression it has been written entirely for the author’s own enjoyment.

Wheatland Press have a number of excellent, essential titles in their catalogue, but this isn’t one of them.


--though I suppose calling it a review might be a little kind.

Years ago, if I remember right, Ben Payne told me of a conversation he had with Farr, deep in the days when the Australian Spec Fic Scene used to get in an uproar every time I said anything slightly critical about their work, or their awards, or perhaps even the socks they wore. Anyhow, Payne said that Farr planned to write a scathing review of 26Lies, to let loose on it--it's been a while, so I'm not real sure on the details now, but at any rate, here it is, that piece of venom building in the back of Russell B. Farr's throat since 2006.

*Gently pats Russell on the head*

There, there.

Link.

(crossposted)

Comments

benpeek
Jan. 18th, 2009 05:01 am (UTC)
yeah, yeah, yeah.

it's funny, man, how your version of professionalism is code for 'don't stay anything, just be quiet and hidden and keep your opinions to yourself.' thanks, man. well appreicated. however, i'm just going to keep living how i like, saying what i want, and if in the end that means that people get a little annoyed, so be it. out of us here, you seem more pissed than me--that might be worth giving some thought too. me, i just took a bad review and had a laugh by making a joke.

but then he's your friend, innit he? maybe strahan, too, but that was just a side shot. at any rate, i wouldn't want to suggest that this public like dressing down on me--you're doing well, btw, i'm working on being professional, i think i might buy a tie--is influenced by that now, would i?
angriest
Jan. 18th, 2009 09:07 am (UTC)
I wasn't suggesting you keep your opinions to yourself, I was suggesting you keep your opinions to yourself about reviews of your work. I just really don't think it looks good in any circumstances. But I have said my piece about that above, and obviously it's your blog and you're very welcome to write what you like here.

Have opinions about anything you like, for sure, and nine times out of ten I really value what you write on this blog and read it regularly, but in this case it overstepped the mark and hit a nerve in me that people seem to be hitting a lot lately. I wound up blogging about the issue separately straight afterwards, because it seems to be something that's happening more and more.

And to be fair and honest, yes I am a friend of both Russell and Jonathan. But my above comments still stand whether Russell's my friend or not.
benpeek
Jan. 18th, 2009 10:03 am (UTC)
that's fair enough, man. i know what it's like to get the nerve hit, so it's cool.

i link all reviews on the blog, good and bad that come by me. but on this, we'll have to differ, for while i usually don't say much about bad reviews--honestly, they don't bother me--my opinion of this is that it isn't a review at all, but three paragraphs of some weak assed out of date whatever. at which case, i reckon i'm free to do as i please.

but not everyone's going to follow that, so it's cool. just differing opinions on this.

however, i'll stop and pause for one thing, possibly because i got the door for it and i figure why not? but the strahan thing for savannah was a tough call, cause i knew it'd piss folk off and do me no favours. but contextually, it was what worked for the comic: we'd done cock boy, cas' ex-girlfriend, him sending snake to the hospital, dj's drug issues, dee's family thing, and more. there was a lot of pieces in which people were taken on in some form or another, cock boy being the most popular. within the context of the comic, it was a perfect fit, which is why it got picked up. my friends and i, we're somewhat antagonist, and we kick back on anyone no matter the slight. i tried to work it so the parts revealed the way all this shit affects me, thus giving it a second part outside the usual gag aspect; in hindsight, i reckon i went on one too many weeks for it for it to of worked as well as it should have, but i stil stand behind the fact that contextually it fit within the comic. a lot of people might think i picked it for the easy mark it offered and sure, it didn't hurt, but it wasn't the reason.

anyhow, either way, no real hassle. guess on this little post we'll go our seperate ways on things, but otherwise, no harm, no foul, and probably won't be the last time.
robinpen
Jan. 18th, 2009 10:27 am (UTC)
I respected and enjoyed your lj, but I very much thought the Jonathan thing was uncool.
benpeek
Jan. 18th, 2009 12:01 pm (UTC)
that's okay. figured many people would think that.
angriest
Jan. 18th, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
One of the things I genuinely respect about you is that I feel completely comfortable posting blunt and forthright opinions on your LJ, and can get blunt and forthright opinions in return, and I can come away pretty much unharmed and relaxed - on my part, anyway. I really hope (and suspect) it's the same for you.

I should admit that I don't think Russell's review was particularly insightful or stimulating, but to me that's a different issue to what i wrote about earlier.

The Jonathan Strahan thing? I absolutely get what you're saying, and respect the creative choice you made, but personally it's not one I would have made. There's a real person at the other end of the jibes and had I been in Jonathan's shoes I'd have been pretty hurt and offended.
benpeek
Jan. 18th, 2009 12:04 pm (UTC)
yeah, but way i figure, if i'd worried bout strahan, i should've been worried about the cock boy. i gave his real phone number out to as many people as there are that read this. also, his real name. so... my opinion, you do that, you don't cut slack cause one dude's mates are in easier reach.

anyhow, i don't mind the way this blog rolls usually. i do try to keep it civil here, which maybe comes thru or not, and you're always that, so no hassle.

(i did ban one dude in here, though. someone who was just trolling jon.)