Friday, August 08, 2008

Get in, get out

It's shocking but true. Or is it?

Entertainment Weekly gives grades. In their reviews. Like the author is still in college. Thomas Disch, who never finished college, at least got an A- for The Word of God.

Narrowing an entire book (movie, etc.) to a grade and a capsule review is dangerously reductive. The reviewer inevitably oversimplifies a complex work (like say the third Mummy film). But is simplicity a bad thing in the hands of a clever reviewer? As a busy, impatient reader (OK, an impatient person), I've found EW's reviews of Tachyon books to be succinct in a really good way.

If you want to know what what really turns off review readers, take a peek at the recent debate on Jeff VanderMeer's blog.

I'm also partial to the San Francisco Chronicle's resident arts critic, the cute little guy in the chair. He may be sleeping, attentive, applauding, jumping out of his chair, or MIA, having stalked out of the theater in disgust, his tiny Poirot-esque bowler hat indignantly discarded. J'accuse, Brendan Fraser!

Do you really finish reading lengthy reviews? Or even this post? Hey, where'd you go?


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