Ezine Strange Horizons is a notable publication, so I was glad to get this review of Crash there by Anne Charnock, a journalist like myself, only, looking at her biography, of much higher pedigree. Not unalloyed praise (the kind we writers like the best), but positive nonetheless.
A note to make here. It’s been said of a couple of my novels by readers, like Anne here, that they’d have liked more of this or of that. What they want varies, but the sentiment comes up from time to time. I myself feel a little frustrated occasionally, for there are parts of my stories I would linger on. However, at this stage of my career I am very much constrained by the length of my books. Longer books cost more to produce, transport, and warehouse, for the simple reason that they are bulkier. Therefore, for relatively new writers like me, the word count is tightly enforced, of around 100,000 words or so. This limit led to Reality 36 being two books, when it really is one story, and has likewise forced me to make hard choices as to which parts of a story I can dwell on in other novels. I’m in a similar position to a film editor in that, I reckon.
But I will not pretend that my books would be much longer, given the choice; only a little. As a reader, I am not overly fond of stories that give every detail or recount every thought of the characters (this is my personal preference. We all want different things from our entertainment). Furthermore, I am a fan of stories that are somewhat ambiguous. A book is a joint exercise in storytelling between reader and writer, and I like, when I write, to give the reader plenty of room. There are no “real” endings in history – I think my books probably fall under the “future history” umbrella in spirit – only the actors bow out to make way for the new.
Anyhow, I’m not writing this in order to plea for different opinions, or to answer reviews – a fool’s errand if ever there was one, although I will say I am grateful for each and every one – but as reviews make me reflect on my work, I figured you might be interested in the resultant thoughts. Each review, positive or negative, has a small effect on what I write. The individual impact is negligible, but the aggregate, I suspect, will have no small influence. This doesn’t bother me; I like to be responsive. Some writers don’t read reviews because they want to remain free of this influence, others simply don’t read reviews because they fear what they may read. Personally, I like to know, so thanks to everyone who puts hands to keyboard.