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When Authors Attack II

Michael Crichton’s new book Next is about the hazards of biotechnology. And while it might not be hard science fiction it does appear to hit hard against somebody. The book contains a character named Mick Crowley, a Washington political columnist, who rapes a young child. Certainly a mature subject, but it also seems to be a literary attack on a critic of Crichton named Michael Crowley, also a Washington political columnist (who, as far as we know, hasn’t committed any felonies.) You can read what Crowley has to say about it on The New Republic’s web site. (Warning: registration required at TNR, and the article and passage from the book are quite graphic.)

Now, I can understand being unhappy with a critic, but is this kind of attack warranted? Is it better or worse than Caitlin Kiernan’s attack on John she posted to her blog? And I have to agree completely with Crowley’s sentiments: “If someone offers substantive critcism of an author and the author responds by hitting below the belt, as it were, then he’s conceding that the critic has won.”

Note to all authors – responding to critics simply isn’t worth it. You best you can do is come off as defensive, and the worst you can do is very bad indeed.

5 Comments on When Authors Attack II

  1. Speaking of bad reviews and books that are thinly veiled, check out this one of Orson Scott Card’s Empire

  2. Jim Shannon // December 15, 2006 at 2:43 pm //

    I’m not a pro author yet

    and I’ve a long ways to go

    but thanks for the great


  3. Thats an extremely immature move by Crichton. My respect for him goes way down.

  4. What a colossal prick Michael Crichton has become since writing State of Fear. I mean really, the guy is a one hit Jurassic Park wonder. The rest of his writing is utter crap. Sorry I ever read anything by the man

  5. joshua corning // December 16, 2006 at 11:19 pm //

    Yeah I can care less how or when or how well a writer responds to a critic…I guess it all depends on how well the the book is without considering the back story behind it.

    One thing i do like about Crichton (and it is certainly not his books…i have hated his writing before it was cool to hate it) is that he did take on the environmental movement..and i am surprised more sci-fi writters haven’t taking this on…I mean the kafka like dystopia futures one could come up just by looking at the precautionary principle alone could fill a library.

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