I just read through all the reviews of my books on the Goodreads website – and a lot of the negative ones are premised on the retarded assumption that realism is the only valid form for ‘fiction’. I’ll begin with some examples of this from Goodreads ‘reviews’ of my anti-novel 69 Things To Do With A Dead Princess:
J.C. Moylan: “stewart home needs to learn how women think if he’s going to make his protaganist (sic) a woman.”
What a plonker – and dig the lower case spelling of my name, although I doubt this is an e. e. cummings fan.
Likewise, C. Vance: “very few men can write from a woman’s point of view. very few men can write from a woman’s point of view this poorly – especially the first-person recollections of sex. after the narration of her ‘meat curtains’ and his ‘fuck stick’ i was done. inane nonsense with regurgitated lit theory to try to make it seem like legitimate fiction instead of another smut book.”
Which leads us on to the same error made from the opposite perspective by Tess (no surname give) on her Goodreads ‘review’ of Dead Princess: “too many references to pulp fiction get in the way of this book actually BEING pulp fiction, which is what I percieve (sic) as the author’s intentions.”
What I’m actually trying to do is render all genre boundaries meaningless – and not just those between pulp and literature, but also fiction and non-fiction – none of which are actually real, but they are nonetheless perceived as ‘real’ by those in thrall to them. It should go without saying that genres evolve over time, and that what is included in any particular genre also shifts historically. Given that I’m going beyond literature, I’ve no interest in the straight production or reproduction of other genres either. Literature is in part created by its division from pulp, these two categories both conjure up and buttress each other – what I want to do is overflow canalisation of this type. While those who berate me for failing to write realist literature tend to be way more obnoxious when giving vent to their ridiculous opinions, anyone who tries to understand my anti-novels as pulp has also failed to grasp what it is I’m doing (and is therefore unable to pass worthwhile judgements on my books).
Returning to Dead Princess but moving onto another common misunderstanding when it comes to my writing (and, indeed, the work of all those who have grasped that literature is dead), we get this from Alberta (no surname given):
“disappointing… the writing seemed too rote… like he was anxious to get everything down but he didn’t care how he said it. ”
Which echoes but is less explicit than a comment I noticed on a Goodreads review of Steve Beard’s Meat Puppet Cabaret:
Becca “… i think that a book which strays so far from conventional narrative, it should have more exciting language.”
The complaint that I suspect is being made here is that the language isn’t literary – unfortunately many ‘reviews’ on Goodreads are so short and/or poorly expressed that it is often difficult to understand very precisely what the poster is trying to say. That said, I have been told numerous times that I can’t write because I don’t use flowery literary language. Those who make this claim simply don’t understand I want my words to flow so I make my sentences as simple as possible to achieve the effect and ‘meaning’ (or in many cases disillusion of ‘meaning’) I’m aiming at. Mostly complexity in my books comes from a piling up of concepts, not from individual sentences. That said my prose is worked at – you don’t get smooth and rhythmic sentences from a first draft – and obviously I am not aiming for literary effect (since that would mitigate against what I set out to achieve – the supersession of literature among other things).
The problem with Goodreads – and Amazon ‘reviews’ too for that matter – is that many of those who presume to pass judgement on my writing lack the skill and knowledge to do so. A ‘good’ proportion of these would-be ‘critics’ have been brainwashed into thinking that all books should be judged by conventional and hackneyed nineteenth-century literary standards. While I don’t doubt that readers of this type dislike what I write, were they able to understand my books I might yet groove them – but even if after gaining a little relevant knowledge they still loathed my prose, it would be better if they were able to express an opinion about my writing without making complete fools of themselves. Those who’ve never encountered tripped out post-fiction in all its (un)originality – and haven’t yet understood the nature of modernism’s break with realist tropes – aren’t so much reversing into the future as plunging headlong into the past!
Of course I wouldn’t stop these ill-informed bozos from adding their reactionary inanities to Goodreads – after all their failed attempts at putting down my books simply add to my credibility. The question is to what extent we should bother to engage with small ‘c’ conservatives who base their criticisms of 21st century post-fiction on the conventions of nineteenth-century realist prose? They might learn something from us but should they fail to do so, then having anything to do with these imbeciles is just a complete waste of time.
Just in case you want to see it here is my author profile at Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/29676.Stewart_Home.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!