Christopher Priest is an author whose work I like. While I can’t claim to have read any of his recent works, The Inverted World and especially A Dream of Wessex are on my all-time favourites list. They say you should never meet your heroes, but perhaps in the modern era that aphorism should be revised to state that you should probably avoid reading their blog, also. I say this having read Priest’s now notorious post of two days ago giving his thoughts about the recently released Clarke Award shortlist.
I won’t labour the point, but I think there is a fine line between blunt comment and honest opinion on one hand, and egotistical arrogance and plain damn rudeness on the other, and I think that in saying things such as this:
It is indefensible that a novel like Charles Stross’s Rule 34 (Orbit) should be given apparent credibility by an appearance in the Clarke shortlist. Stross writes like an internet puppy: energetically, egotistically, sometimes amusingly, sometimes affectingly, but always irritatingly, and goes on being energetic and egotistical and amusing for far too long. You wait nervously for the unattractive exhaustion which will lead to a piss-soaked carpet. Stross’s narrative depends on vernacular casualness, with humorous asides, knowing discursiveness, and the occasional appeal of big soft eyes. He has PC Plod characters and he writes och-aye dialogue! To think for even one moment that this appalling and incapable piece of juvenile work might actually be chosen as winner brings on a cold sweat of fear.
…he has well and truly crossed that line.
You can read more about this affair at the Guardian.