META: Reviews (Re: SW10: Summer of Discontent #3a: The Agents)

Scott Eiler seiler at
Tue Sep 27 19:07:38 PDT 2011

On 9/27/2011 3:42 AM, Andrew Perron wrote:
> On Tue, 27 Sep 2011 01:12:57 +0000 (UTC), Scott Eiler wrote:
>>> Interesting.  I've read some Lucifer, and it's pretty tight; Books of
>>> Magic probably suffers in that respect from not being written by the
>>> original creator.
>> Depends what you call "original creator".  The guy who wrote the Books
>> of Magic ongoing series #1 made it through #50, which is short time when
>> compared with the others.
> Well, I meant more the original Neil Gaiman miniseries.
> Andrew "NO .SIG MAN" "Juan" Perron, not saying the series isn't good, just
> that probably doesn't help with the consistency.

I'm going to pursue this discussion because it gives us lessons for our 
own writing...  me most of all.

Neil Gaiman spent most of his writing time tossing off ideas and barely 
caring what happened to them.  The original Books of Magic miniseries 
was one such.  But he had the luxury of writers who *wanted* to write 
his ideas.  (Kind of like a Vertigo LNH, I suppose.)  Series about the 
Dreaming, the Books of Magic, and Lucifer all came out.  Writers of 
those series started on equal terms with each other.

The Lucifer series took its concept and came up with a cohesive plot, 
which led to another war in Heaven.  The Books of Magic took its own 
concept and wrote... a travelog.  As the author of Wyatt Ferguson's 
adventures, I can respect that - but I have to question how the story 
got there.  This kid is the most powerful mage in his universe - and 
everyone who knows magic just leaves him alone to fumble around with his 

There were some problems with execution too.  Letter columns often 
complained about that.  Twice I learned things about the story, just 
from reading the letter column.  (1) The woman who acted like Mary 
Poppins in one episode, had been a street tart in an earlier story; I 
thought she'd just been found in a magic vacant lot.  (2) A villain's 
hat in one story could teleport; that explains one hero's interest in 
the hat.

This is the kind of thing that comes out during review.  Here, we have 
peer review.  There, they have editors.  I admit I slip stuff into print 
that needs review, but then I take great advantage of it.  There, the 
review is supposed to come first, and I think it was missing.

Is it worthwhile for *us* to seek review first?  Would we all turn on 
our Kid Review signal watches?  Or shall we just accept our review 
process the way it is, and enjoy all this fine amateur fiction?

(signed) Scott "As Is" Eiler  8{D> ---- ----

Turns out I'm an anally-fixated oedipal paranoid with 
south-of-the-border schizophrenic delusions...  But never mind, I've 
found me the ideal job.  I'm going to run for President!

- Major Honey, scripted by Grant Morrison, Doom Patrol #46, August 1991.

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