Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Wolf Gift chapter 6 and WTF IS THIS AMAZON

Okay. We'll get to the review in a minute, but just in case you don't already know...


And my loyalties are divided.

On the one hand, I'm kind of like "Well...DUH. This was going to happen eventually." And on the other hand, I'm suddenly every fic ever showcased by Topless Robot, and now have the sudden violent urge to go huddle over in a corner. And on the third hand...(It's an octopus) somebody who has very much written fanfic and then filed the serial numbers off...uh, wouldn't that be like, incredibly boring after a while? Having to stick to that cast of characters and keep them all in Thank you. I get enough headaches.

Thoughts, my lovelies?

Now. For the book.

I sat down and I asked myself if there was anything Ruben could do to make me hate him more. I mean, I already will have the image of a werewolf taking selfies with his iPhone in my brain for all eternity. Really, he can't be more of an ass than he already--

REUBEN DROVE THE PORSCHE too fast on the way to work. The car was always a chained lion in the city.
Oh, right. He's a twenty-three year old entitled author's fantasy, and the author gave him a Porsche.

Ruben needs to go die.

AND, of course, the city has forgotten all about the kidnapping of forty-two children, and is now squarely focused on Ruben's wolfy escapades. Which consisted of a lot of roof hopping and the murder of a single rapist. Because the murder of a rapist is much more interesting than missing kids.

And OF COURSE the woman he rescued has come to him for an interview.

At least Peter Parker had to take his own fucking pictures. The universe didn't drop a camera full of film in his lap.

And while there are lots and lots of articles about how he rescued this chick--all of them tongue in cheek--none of them mention werewolves. One of them mentions Lon Chaney, but at this point I'm getting irritated with how specialy special Anne Rice wants her werewolf story to be. HE IS A FUCKING WEREWOLF. USE YOUR WORDS. 

 Ruben tries to back out of doing the coverage on the excuse that, hello, he just survived a murder/wolf attack and he doesn't want to do another one. His boss says "You're doing it anyway" and walks out of the room.

Everybody in this book is an asshole.

And just in case you think I'm overdoing the superhero comic comparisons:

Reuben went speechless. The blood was pounding in his face. Where the hell are Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen?
Yeah. Anne? If you're going to rip off the most popularized tropes in comic books and try to pass it off as something unique and literary, at least pretend not to be intimately familiar with what you're yanking. I swear to god if there is an actual Spiderman reference I'm going to...there's gonna be one isn't there?

Before he filed the story, he Googled the words “man wolf.” Just as he suspected, the name had been used— for a minor character in the Spider-Man comics, and for another minor character in the manga-anime series Dragon Ball. But he also noted a book called The Man-Wolf and Other Tales by Émile Erckmann and Louis-Alexandre Chatrian, first translated into English in 1876. Good enough. It was in the public domain as far as he was concerned.
TRANSLATION: Anne Rice googled "man-wolf" found the following, decided that it was public domain, somehow also decided that it didn't sound absolutely freaking stupid, and then decided that writing about this search process was the absolute best thing possible. I mean, it worked for Stephenie Meyer. All the hot kids are googling their paranormal afflictions. 

Literally. I just googled it for the fun, and the first result is JJ Jamison's kid, twice, and then a bunch of...uh, gee I hope that's not porn, and then yet more links to Marvel wikis, and Dragonball is the seventh result. That book mentioned is the first result on the second page, hosted via project Gutenberg.

She did, however, leave out all the skatebording links. Because apparently Man-Wolfs are a trademark brand of skating shoes.


And she did all this because "werewolf", a term that is very much public domain, that requires no explination, and that would be the first fucking word anybody would apply to this thing, is not special enough for specialy special Ruben.

There's also a bizzare disconnect between the pop culture references and, you know, reality:

He’d also checked out the YouTubes of reporters in North Beach describing the “back-alley beast.”

Maybe it's just me, but I have never heard youtube videos being called "Youtubes", like they're apples or something. I get that Rice is seventy, and half this stuff wouldn't be in her lexicon, but she shouldn't try to force it so damn hard. It's much more noticable to be using pop culture references wrong than it is to not use them at all.

In short: Ruben writes the story, mails it off, freaks out a little, but not so much that he can't write about his own paranormal escapades, and then goes home. End of chapter.

This has gone all the way through suck and come back around to entertaining. I now want Ruben and Edward Cullen to sit down for blood tea.


  1. These posts sum up most of my thoughts on Amazon's fanfic idea:

    I'd also like to point out that if Amazon and it's partners don't do some quality control on this material - Line editing, typesetting, etc - No one will buy it. Why pay $1.99 for a story only to find that it has bad spelling, worse grammar, and story continuity errors? You can walk away from free fanfic like that at no loss, but it's really annoying to pay for a media tie-in novelization and discover that it's unprofessionally produced.

  2. Well, I'd say 75% of what goes through KDP is "unprofessionally produced" including my books. People buy them anyway. Cleolinda brought up Fifty Shades, and by implication, the fact that people will spend millions of dollars on a book with two or three porn scenes and a twenty page e-mail exchange between the main characters, one half of which was "you hang up" "No. You hang up first".

    Given that they're licencing worlds, there probably will be a threshold writers have to get by...but given that KDP is turning a profit for them, they probably won't be doing much more than saying "No, but thanks for playing". Line edits would definately be out. No way would Amazon contribute that much effort to the cause.

    Also, the no porn rule kind of indicates utter cluelessness.

  3. You edit your work, and you have your work copy edited. The writer of 50 shades did the same before she tried to sell 50 Shades. Amazon's partners will need to do at least this much.

    And I think Cleolinda (Or one of her commenters) already pointed out that the vast majority of self-published writers don't get anywhere near the kind of attention or sales that Amazon's partners are hoping for. They clearly think they can use this to catch the next 50 Shades, without understanding how that particular writer worked her way up through the fanfic field to create something that could have the serial numbers filed off and then be sold. They're ignoring the community interest that gave her the initial marketing boost she needed to make it big.

    And again, if this is supposed to be 'officially licenced material that you the reader have to pay for', the licence holders will need to do line edits. They'll have to go through and pick out any licenced characters they don't own, any intellectual properties they're not licenced to use, and they'll have to check that the fic is actually compatible with the basic tenets of the core property. Otherwise they'll be pissing off fans who have paid their money only to get a third of the way into the book to discover that in this writer's headcanon Potter killed Voldemort in book one and Snape is Harry's real father (Or whatever). "Don't like, don't read" won't cut it for licenced material.

    Overall I agree with Scalzi. If the owners of these properties can score a few cheap tie-in books out of this, they'll consider that to be gravy above and beyond their real goal of reducing the fees paid to professional writers.

    Although that line between professional/nonprofessional was getting real thin even before this came along...

  4. My thoughts on fanfic: I used to write it and then I realized that my ideas were better put to use in my original fiction. For me fanfic was a training ground just like NaNoWriMo, that I no longer need as I mature in my craft.