April 7th, 2006

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Dealing With Criticism

As writers know, no work of fiction is liked by everyone. Even a novel that sells a billion copies will have its detractors. And no matter who you are, criticism can sting.

So how do people deal with criticism? Personally, I try to emulate the great playwright George Bernard Shaw.

As the story goes, after the opening performance of "Arms and the Man," George Bernard Shaw went onto the stage to take a bow. And in the middle of all the applause and cheers, one man silenced the crowd completely by shouting, "Shaw, your play stinks!"

In the hushed silence, everyone looked to see how Shaw would react. He turned directly toward the critic, and said, "My friend, I agree with you completely. But who are you and I against so many?"

And with that, the applause and cheers continued.

So, to those who find flaws and fault with my work: I agree with you completely. But who are you and I against so many?
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The April 2006 Message From Dan Simmons

Just starting to make its way around the blogosphere is April 2006 Message From Dan by Dan Simmons. It's a sobering time travel story that I highly recommend, although be warned that it's somewhat political, a little bit frightening, and might keep you up nights.

Apparently, Simmons posts a message each month for his readers, and this time has chosen to post a cautionary tale about what he sees happening in our near future. (Unless, of course, he was really visited by a time traveler. Nah...) Without giving too much away, I'll just tell you that the traveler goes back in time to New Year's Eve 2006 to warn Simmons about the upcoming Century War and the consequences of living under radical Islam.

Despite the fact that the piece is a polemic, it does work well as a piece of science fiction. I must admit that I wonder why he presumably chose to essentially give the piece away for free, when I imagine he could have found a paying market for it somewhere.