I think I may have some sort of Jonathan McCalmont allergy. I haven’t had a look at his ill-named SF Diplomat blog since the fantasy-is-authoritarian kerflufflet last summer. But today, in a desperate attempt to stave off useful labor, I followed a link from a friend’s page to his entry ripping Neil Gaiman’s praise of the Kindle. Personally I’d be interested in an e-reader that seemed like it was worth the trouble and money, but as the Kindle seems like an ugly inconvenient box that costs too much money and is packed with DRM technology and ways to go on siphoning cash from your pocket even after you’ve bought the thing, I was perfectly prepared to see someone put a verbal stake through its heart.
Lots of people have been commenting upon the launch of Amazon’s new Kindle. Personally, it strikes me as an overpriced, crippled piece of junk put together in order to service an eBook market that no major publisher has any faith in.
Go, team. He goes on to talk about Gaiman’s overblown praise of the thing, and I didn’t expect this to bug me. Gaiman’s a talented writer, doubtless without a doubt, but I have sometimes felt that the buzz-to-honey ratio runs a little high.
After mocking Gaiman’s blow-quotes for the Kindle (which are eminently mockable), McCalmont goes on to dredge up Gaiman’s praise for Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell: “Unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years”–a sentiment many would question, even if they liked the book, as I did.
Then McCalmont amuses himself and his dwindling audience by inventing blow-quotes for a series of apparently disreputable things and putting Gaiman’s name on them. Dumb, and slimy, even if the quotes were funny (which they’re not). If you can’t nail somebody with their ipsissima verba, maybe they don’t deserve nailing.
While at the site, I read his review of the Zemeckified Beowulf, a movie I’m probably going to have to see. McCalmont’s mixed feelings oddly echo my own premonitions, but I found myself annoyed with the pseudolearning about Old English and medieval literature he deployed in the service of his usual fantasy-is-bad-ick-put-it-down rant.
So I think I’m going to have to find more productive ways to avoid work. Is what I guess I’m saying.