Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

A Date With Dragons

Over on The Speculative Scotsman, Niall Alexander posts about the whole thing with George R. R. Martin's delays, the fan backlash thereof, and the deal with the devil involved in suchlike projects. Me, I think Neil Gaiman said it pretty succinctly, but sadly, people still don't seem to get the whole "not your bitch" thing. So the first response, from Martin Lewis, drives me to try... turning that metaphor around. To quote:

Niall Alexander: I believe authors should be able to write what they want when they want rather than writing to a timetable dictated by the whims of what a particular sphere of readers are seen and indeed heard to want.

Martin Lewis: That is absolutely right up until the moment they start writing an open-ended serial with the deliberate aim of making more money. In which case you become a business and your subscribers are perfectly entitled to ask where the hell there product is. Martin didn't invent the commercialisation of fantasy but he certainly played along with it so artisitic freedom goes out the window.

There's a whole lot of wrong in that second quote, as I see it, so I may post a more detailed response on how profoundly harmful I think that mindset is for a marketing category that's been commercial since its inception in the pulps, but for now I'm just going to unleash the snark.

So, yeah... my response over on Niall's blog:

I'm totally applying this whole "subscriber / business" attitude from now on with all the male escorts I don't use. I mean, I'm not a consumer in that corner of the entertainment industry, but if I *was*, I'd totally adopt this ethos.

Yeah, I'd pay for four dates in which I take this pretty rent boy out for dinner and he makes like he's my boyfriend, then he gives me an awesome blowjob at the end of the evening. I wouldn't call him a rent boy to his face, of course... not at first. I'd call him an "escort," no matter if I *thought* of him as my fucking bitch-slut of a boy-whore. I'd be paying him for that whole "relationship" thing, see, an ongoing affair.

OK, sure, I'd be paying him for each individual date, not giving him a weekly retainer to come at my beck and call, but think of the *investment* I've put in! The time and effort involved in developing that ersatz relationship! I'll be so looking forward to the eighth and final date with its angry sex bust-up! Shit, the better he is at blowjobs and faux-boyfriendery, the more I'll be chomping at the bit for each next date! Not that I'll treat him with more respect for it. Hell, no!

No, I'm gonna have those four dates and be *totally* impatient for the fifth. When he says he can't make it this week, I'm not gonna give a shit about why, yanno, whether he has shit going on in his life he doesn't want to talk about with me, whether he's planning something spectacular for that date and taking time to get it right. No, I'm just going to brood about it petulantly, bitch about having to delay gratification. When he keeps me waiting for two, three, four weeks, I'm gonna start getting downright fucking surly.

I'm gonna start calling him up then, saying, where's my fucking fifth date, bitch? We've got a fucking deal. I'm a regular john, a fucking *subscriber*. You got into bed with me in the first place, motherfucker, so you're my boy-whore now. I'll go round to his door, irate at being kept waiting. I'm horny and you're a fucking slut, I'll say, so get your fucking coat on cause you owe me my fifth date. Now. No date-raping stalker boorishness will be too low for me in my contempt.

I'll take no fucking protests. Bitch went into the whole ersatz relationship thing with the deliberate aim of making money. So I'm fucking entitled to ask where the hell my date is... no matter if I only paid for each date as and when it happened. It's that "investment" thing, remember. I mean, I'll have been *investing* all this time and energy. I'll *still* be investing all this *interest*, all this *care*, all this desire for fulfilment. My *demand* for satiation is my *right* to it, motherfucker.

I mean, let's face it. That bitch-slut of a boy-whore didn't invent prostitution, but he certainly went along with it, so fuck his freedom not to get on his knees before me and suck my mighty cock. I have every right to harangue and heckle him until that fucking whore gives me the service he's unofficially contracted to.

Yeah, I'm gonna be a fucking contemptuous and contemptible cunt of a human being, and a self-righteous prick about it to boot.

And then I'm going to apply that attitude to every fucking art-whore.

Now, gimme my fucking pony, motherfucker!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beauty! Thank you

7:49 pm  
Blogger NM said...


8:18 pm  
Anonymous Martin said...

I'll confess that you've lost me in the convolutions of your analogy. Partly this is to do with the term "escort" which I take to be synonymous with "prostitute", I'm not getting the gradations. Am I (in the analogy) paying George RR Martin for sex or do I want him to be my boyfriend? I would say the former and if I'm paying for sex, you better believe that I want to orgasm.

Somewhere in your analogy is an accusation of the classic "I bought you dinner and flowers therefore you owe me sex" sense of entitlement which I guess translates equally between hetro and homo culture. I hope I am not guilt of this even by analogy. But I don't think it is wrong (or even controversial) to suggest the relationship the between artist and consumer is far more transactional than that between potential sexual partners. If I bought your book, didn't like it and then wrote up a bad review on the internet then that would just be par for the course. If I fucked you, thought you were crap and then wrote that up on the internet I would indeed be a contemptible cunt of a human being. So I think we only differ on how transactional that relationship is. For me, A Song Of Ice And Fire is not a series of novels but rather a single novel served in individual chunks so I don't see that the analogy of a series of dinner dates holds (in the same way that it might for, say, Iain M Banks's Culture series). Martin has offered a multi-course tasting menu (because a) he thinks this is more attractive and b) because he can charge more for it) and is taking a bloody long time between courses.

As it happens, George RR Martin isn't my bitch since I've never bought any of his work. I do like the sound of A Song Of Ice And Fire and will buy it one day but I'm not going to start reading it until it is finished. What can I say, I don't like cockteases.

9:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know who this Martin Lewis guy is (or care) but he seems to like to make a lot of assumptions.

"Martin has offered a multi-course tasting menu (because a) he thinks this is more attractive and b) because he can charge more for it)"

What is he basing this on? Apparently he thinks it's possible for someone to a)publish one 7000 page novel, and b)work on one novel of 7000 page length for a couple decades without any income to pay for the time spent working on said novel. In fact, it is so clearly obvious to Mr. Lewis that if GRRM is splitting the novel up into 7 segments, it means that he's doing it for more money. He just doesn't see how any other conclusion is possible.

The real question is why do we care about the opinion of someone whose thought process is so flawed?

2:45 am  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...


I've posted a response on the blog itself cause it was, as ever, crazylong.

3:44 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hoo-rah for crazylong responses!

I might just have to make me one of those, at that...

5:21 pm  

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