one of the things that i do around here to come up with updates is to re-tread ground we’ve walked on quite a few times before. this is why there is a constantly stream of bear-related updates coming out of this website. and in that vein, i’d like to make today’s update about something i have hinted at my disdain for before: Anne Rice.
Stephenie Meyer: creating books featuring vampires Anne Rice does not approve of since 2005
okay, so let’s get this right out in the open: i hate Anne Rice and i hate Stephenie Meyer, and also, i hate their books as well. it’s important that we address this before i begin, because i don’t want any of what i am about to say being mistaken for hidden hatred of them and/or their work. this might not avoid the inevitable argument of “you’re just JEALOUS,” but whatever, let’s get into the mockery.
unnecessary back story: Anne Rice wrote some terrible vampire books that sold tons of copies and had a couple of movies made based on them that had varying degrees of success; she has since slipped from those heights of success, although she has many remaining fans for some reason. Stephenie Meyer has then come along to write some other terrible vampire books that have sold tons of copies and are in the process of “inspiring” some terrible movies. then Anne Rice decided to be catty about this on her Facebook page’s wall:
“Lestat and Louie feel sorry for vampires that sparkle in the sun. They would never hurt immortals who choose to spend eternity going to high school over and over again in a small town â€” anymore than they would hurt the physically disabled or the mentally challenged. My vampires possess gravitas. They can afford to be merciful.”
and as you can probably predict, this has caused a lot of drama on the INTERNET, and as a denizen of that lovely place, i feel compelled to comment on this, despite that above part where i mentioned how i hate both of these writers. did i mention that i hate them? okay, the comments:
01. first off, is this the way authors feud now? on Facebook pages? i understand that this is a modern world in which we live, but it’s a little depressing; i like to imagine an era where writers got drunk and insulted each other to their faces like men. or women, whatever, this is not supposed to be a sexist thing. it’s just hard for me to imagine Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker burning on people over the internet, i guess. this is one of those perils of higher education.
02. fundamentally, this is a pointless commentary by Anne Rice, because it’s not constructive, as she’s clearly not saying anything beyond “be more like me,” and as a result, and it smacks of being about Rice’s bitterness at Meyer’s current success. look, i might be bitter at BOTH women’s success, but at least i exhibit some self-awareness. the fact that Rice makes Meyer’s shortcomings about paling in comparison to her work, as opposed to being about their general terribleness, is the difference: criticism shouldn’t be so self-promoting. unless you’re a critic, i guess.
03. why are we talking about these vampires like they’re actual people? they’re fictional characters from a fictional book. they don’t feel sorry or any other kind of way toward other fictional characters who exist in completely separate books.
04. but since we’re talking about vampires, here’s the thing: BOTH Rice and Meyer are working to make books about incredibly lame vampires acceptable. yes, fine, Rice’s vampires are more masculine and evil than Meyer’s, but i’m pretty sure that they’re all still infinitely more pathetic than, say, Stoker’s Dracula. if there’s anything we can learn from all this mess, it’s that people should just skip both of these authors and read goddamn Dracula.
however, since we’re talking about Anne Rice, perhaps i can get into a major reason why i don’t care for this woman…
Anne Rice: being fucking insane since … well, 1941, i guess
you see, back in 2003, Rice released this book Blood Canticle (a book that apparently starts with one of her precious vampires bitching at the reader for complaining about books by Rice) which apparently disappointed a batch of her fans, who proceeded to post negative reviews of it on Amazon.com. now, okay, these fans are probably not the world’s finest literary critics, and perhaps some of their criticisms are misguided. i don’t know; i’m not reading Blood Canticle to find out.
still… they’re her FANS. they add remarks like “I have been waiting for it for so long” and “I have read almost every one of Anne Rice’s novels” to their complaints! so you know their complaints are well-intentional. every time i’ve bashed a work by an author i generally like (let’s say Stephen King), it’s always with the best of intentions. and i can’t help but imagine that a popular author like Rice has heard negative reviews of her books before. she’s not writing Moby-Dick or anything here.
“Ms. Rice decided to do something about it. She posted a blistering 1,200-word defense of her book on the site, laying in to those critics who, she said, were “interrogating this text from the wrong perspective.” … “Your stupid, arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander,” she wrote. “You have used the site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies.””
so right off the bat, you’re attacking YOUR FANS and implying that ‘slander’ and ‘lies’ are the correct words to describe someone’s opinion. look, let’s say a guy says her book is “seriously lacking in creative writing, sense of continuity and character development.” these are OPINIONS. he’s entitled to have them. he might even be able to support them. and while i’m sure everyone gets defensive when their work is attacked, i would think i writer could do so without using the word “slander” to describe it.
and then we come to this point:
“”Anne, you really should have an editor, or at least someone that would read your book before you send it off to print,” one reviewer wrote. No way, Ms. Rice replied. “I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself,” she wrote. “I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me.””
…which indicates to me that Anne Rice is too stupid to understand what an editor does. how can that be? well…
“People who find fault and problems with my books tend to say, ‘She needs an editor,’ ” Ms. Rice said. “When a person writes with such care and goes over and over a manuscript and wants every word to be perfect, it’s very frustrating.” She added: “When you take home a CD of Pavarotti or Marilyn Horne, you don’t want to hear another voice blended in. I feel the same way about Hemingway. If I read it, I don’t want to read a new edited version.”
let me first dismiss the music comparison, because it’s not the same thing, especially when Pavarotti is performing work he didn’t write. you’re appreciating his voice on that front. but Hemingway? he had guys like Maxwell Perkins working as his editor. now, i don’t know the specifics of what Perkins did or did not do to Hemingway’s manuscripts, but it’s not as if the man lacked an editor.
and “new edited version?” this is all a discussion about an editor being involved BEFORE THE BOOK’S PUBLICATION. no one is demanding Interview With A Vampire be re-edited now. they’re asking that you have editors look at your newer books before you release them.
look, i can appreciate that an author like Rice takes pride in being so successful that they’re not subject to the same editorial demands of the average author. and i can appreciate that they think they’re personally ‘editing and re-editing’ their own work… but they’re not. the editor’s giving you an outside perspective. he’s pointing out things about your work that, as enamored with it as you are, you may be too blind to see. frankly, if you’re that awesome of a writer, i would think an editor wouldn’t have much to say about your finished product.
anyway, i’m still mad about this something like eight years later, so, in summation, to hell with Anne Rice. and Stephenie Meyer too, why not; while it’s not like she was a voice in this debacle, i’m still pretty confident that she’ll say something stupid before it’s resolved. so it goes.