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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.




Jan. 18th, 2009 07:10 am (UTC)
Yeah, I forgive you your years-long building-your-edgy-online-identity-into-your-art exercise, don't worry.
Jan. 18th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)
many thanks :)
Jan. 20th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
Heh, yeah. You know, I have far too much time to blog, and to comment on blogs, at the moment. Anything I say, or any surprisingly moderate yet tenacious goading of people who are irritating me should be taken with a grain of salt (although you'll note I only point that out here, on your old post on this topic!).

(Should hear about the job I'm probably getting offered this afternoon apparently.)

To review the situation from a great height, I think the spat between you and Russell is among many similar outgrowths of the nature of the small press industry -- poorly rewarded work, lots of ego invested, and lots of reliance on personal connections. Yes it's about the people involved as individuals on one level, but the group as a whole predictably turns up these combinations of individuals to exhibit these behaviours.

It's sort of similar to the world of blogging apart from the bit where people regard it as a career of sorts, or there's the possibility, however remote, of becoming one of the magnanimous few who earn pots of cash, respect from fans, or even a decent living from it. Which means, you know, hopes are pinned on the darnedest things.