April 19, 2013

Weird Way to Get a Free Book? Insult the Author!

So there's this dude who wrote a science fiction book and decided to self-publish and sell it mostly on Amazon.  He's done very well for himself and sold about a jillion copies and is a big promoter of being a self-published author. (I'll let you figure it out for yourself if you care.  It's not hard.)

In the last week or so he wrote  blog post about an encounter with an apparently annoying woman at a book convention who was all into the more traditional route of publishing.  This woman obviously chapped our science fiction writer and he just went off on her in a blog post.  I think he may have meant it to be funny but it was pretty rude and he ends his rant with "Suck it!"  It became controversial to say the least. He has since removed it from his site and put and apology in its place.

Subsequently (and not because of the above) an online science fiction book club I follow decided to choose this book for their May read.  It was mostly unfortunate timing I think because this book had been in the running to be a pick for some time.  But of course there was a minor bit of controversy over this.

I decided to add my two cents on Twitter and joked that I would only read it if I could get it from my public library and ended the tweet with the his infamous phrase, "Suck it," and added the authors twitter handle.

Now if I were an author who said/wrote something dumb and knew I would get inundated with cads like myself making goofy comments I'd probably either avoid Twitter for a while or block their nasty and nutty comments.

Not this guy.  He tweeted me back, offering me a free copy of his book by way of apology.

So I took him up on it.

As Neil Gaiman once said:

"If I were only allowed to read or enjoy art or listen to music made by people whose opinions and beliefs were the same as mine, I think the world would be a pretty dismal sort of a place. I love the work of many creators who self-avowedly believe or believed things that I consider to be "fairly wretched", not to mention wrong-headed, lunatic, irresponsible or simply wrong. Worse yet: there are artists, actors, songwriters, authors, whose work I love, like or admire and who, biographers or historians tell us, actually did things that were utterly reprehensible. And worse even than that, there are all those things by Anonymous, who could have been or thought or done, well,anything, and we'll never know...

Ezra Pound was a fascist, an antisemite on a level that makes the Aryan Nation seem wishy washy, a traitor (or at best, a collaborator), and I'm very glad I got to read his poetry, and appreciate it and learn from it. I could list dozens more without breaking a sweat. Most, probably all, human beings get to do awful things and believe things that other human beings think they should be burned for believing, and they get to do and believe wonderful things too, and artists, writers, musicians, creators, actors, are nothing if not human beings.

The art isn't the artist, the poem isn't the poet; trust the tale, not the teller."

So I'll give the guy a break and read the book.  Well, for free of course.  But I'll give it a fair reading and know that we're all just people and let the work stand up in it's own.

Pretty different way to get a free book though, no?