Let’s note up front that you might not like a book regardless of the social issues presented in it. Okay? Okay. Because we are not talking about those people here.
I posted my review of Chuck Wendig’s book Aftermath yesterday on Amazon, as well as a version of it here on my blog. (It was removed without notice or notification, which is interesting.)
But here’s the interesting thing: my review got several responses before someone abused the “report” button.
W. Smith said:
…are you the person Wendig goes to for his silly descriptions of
scenes. The book was bad. If the characters were all straight it
wouldn’t matter…the book would still be bad.
Another “you are all homophobes review”
And I probably deserve that. I went out of my way to be provocative. But as you can see here, there’s a perception that any positive reviews are sockpuppet campaigns for Wendig (which isn’t something normal for just disliking a writing style):
Which is ironic, since W. Smith (seen above slamming me) and others has been putting negative comments on positive reviews:
And that’s what I want to address here. As I mentioned in the first review, there’s not exactly a plethora of gayness in this book. There’s lots of action, fun, and generally a good time… something that was missing from the prequels. But yet folks like this guy:
literally CANNOT tolerate any mention, no matter how oblique, in a Star Wars story.
Let’s look at this one in particular for a moment.
Kevin can’t “escape” unless all the characters are like him.
This reminds me of the reasons why Dr. King convinced Nichelle Nichols to stay on Star Trek.
Because yes, I’m a straight, white, cisgendered male.
And I know I’m not the only type of person out there.
I’m not bothered by characters who are different than me. I don’t need all my protagonists to be Mary Sues for me.
I know there will always be a character out there who has the same race, orientation, and value set as I do. Always.
But bigoted assholes like the ones above, the ones who are not only trying to destroy the ratings of Aftermath but to harass those who enjoyed the book, are trying to make sure that no other point of view is represented but theirs.
Here’s the thing with the so-called “culture wars”. One side wants everyone to do their thing and be included. Another side wants ONLY their side represented, mentioned, or allowed.
Which as Mr. Wendig quite cogently pointed out, is kind of the Empire’s gig.
Screw that. I’m with the New Republic. As is Aftermath.
“This is democracy,” she says. “It is strange. And it is messy. It’s not about getting it right. It’s about trying to get it right. Yes, it’s a bit chaotic. Certainly we will get some things wrong. The Empire? They cared nothing for democracy. They valued order above everything else. They wanted to be right so badly that anybody who even hinted at getting it wrong or doing it differently was branded the enemy and thrown in a dark prison somewhere. They destroyed other voices so that only their own remained. That is not us. We will not always get it right. We will never have it perfect. But we will listen. To the countless voices crying out across the galaxy, we have opened our ears, and we will always listen. That is how democracy survives. That is how it thrives.”
Nicely put. It is amazing how often people can be so sure they are the heroes when their actions are far more similar to the villains.
I'm only halfway through and am loving the book. Listening to Marc Thompson on the audiobook, actually. I don't think I've listened to Marc Thompson before but oh my god that guy has range!! Either that or he snuck in a dozen or more additional actors to help him out. Wow! Not sure if Audible or anyone has a sample, but his performance is so amazing it's worth checking out even if you have already read the book. (Just to attest to that, the 1 star reviews at Audible are all "Overall: 1 star, Story: 1 star, Performance: 5 stars – The story was stoopid but narrator was incredible!")
I will be sure to write a review when I'm done with it, because so far I'm quite liking it. There is a somewhat different vibe to me than Star Wars that I'm still trying to put my finger on. Not terrible or anything, but just more, I don't know, a great story in the Star Wars universe rather than a great Star Wars story. Maybe it's the amount of flashbacks and dream sequences that may be standard for SFF but a little out of place in Star Wars, or not using Lucas's standard 3 location structure (that's not a bad thing, of course, but the movies all have a very set structure that we are now familiar with), I don't know.
But it's a great book so far, and I'm enjoying it either way.
Oh, and with the review disappearing – it might be someone getting report happy, or it might have run afoul of Amazon's "authors can't review other authors they know" algorithms? Have you two tweeted back and forth at all lately or anything? *shrug* Just a thought that it might be that lame-policy/overly-aggressive-algorithm and not necessarily malicious, but I also wouldn't put it past some of these people either.
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