Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Author bites back

When I read brendan_moody's review of the recent Big Finish Companion Chrionicle starring Katy Manning as both Jo Grant and Irish Wildthyme, I thought of posting a comment on his livejournal saying that I felt he had shared, in considerable and spoiler-free detail, my own reasons for feeling that this could have been a better story - in particular, his first description of it as "a rambling, intermittently charming story" sums up my reaction to it completely.

Paul Magrs was upset by this review when he read it, and said so on Twitter, describing it as "shitty" and "miserable". brendan_moody, who is probably not used to getting this from authors, has posted a dignified apology for any offence caused and presumably hopes to leave it there. I've never met or indeed interacted with brendan_moody but for what it's worth, while I agree with his review in this case, I also agree with his praise of some of Magrs' other work: I particularly liked his Big Finish audio The Wormery, and also recommend The Stones of Venice, Excelis Dawns, The Boy That Time Forgot, and The Zygon Who Fell To Earth. But as often as not I don't quite click with Magrs' work, and Find and Replace was one of those times; and I suspect that brendan_moody, like me, was actually more disappointed than he let on because Magrs writing Jo and Iris together seemed on the face of it like a sure winner.

Magrs may just have been in a bad mood on Friday night, or he may also feel at some level that Find and Replace is not among his best work and was upset by the review because he fears that it may be right. I think he was unwise to react as he did in what is effectively a public space (though not as unwise as, say, Rob Schneider). I suspect also that he possibly hasn't thought through his own coping strategy for negative reviews, because one of his more embittered comments reads:
Am I alone in thinking we shouldn't pay as much attention to reviewers who've never written anything themselves?
To which none other than Mark Clapham, whose work I frankly have not enjoyed as much as I have Magrs', responded:
@paulmagrs er, yes? Some reviews are shitty, but they should still be from the readers' perspective, not an authorial love-in.
And I think Clapham nails it. One does not need to be a carpenter to judge whether a chair is well made; one does not have to be a TV executive to decide whether or not one likes a television show; one does not need to be a writer to make informed judgements about a book. And if I think something sucks, I will normally say so, even if I risk spoiling the author's weekend.
Tags: doctor who, writer: paul magrs
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