Egg-face Itzkoff

At least, if he has even one nonzombie-devoured brain cell left, I’m guessing he’s a little embarrassed by the general consensus about that infamous review. Some notable reactions, which give me the joy of seeing people stick up for YA and children’s literature in general:

5 thoughts on “Egg-face Itzkoff”

  1. Neil Gaiman also weighed in on the review himself:
    “I think that rule number one for book reviewers should probably be Don’t Spend The First Paragraph Slagging Off The Genre. Just don’t. Don’t start a review of romance books by saying that all romance books are rubbish but these are good (or just as bad as the rest). Don’t start a review of SF by saying that you hate all off-planet tales or things set in the future and you don’t like way SF writers do characters. Don’t start a review of a University Adultery novel by explaining that mostly books about English professors having panicky academic sex bore you to tears but. Just don’t. Any more than a restaurant reviewer would spend a paragraph explaining that she didn’t normally like or eat — or understand why other people would like or eat — Chinese food, or French, or barbeque. It just makes people think you’re not a very good reviewer.”
    Then again, a fair number of people are thinking that about Itzkoff already…

  2. No kidding, Fred! I figured everybody already seen that one, since it’s been linked here and yon, but thanks for pointing the way. Itzkoff has just been a disaster.

  3. I too was rather horrified by Itzkoff’s remarks. As a very public lover of the SF genre, I have been posting blogs on pre-teen and teen reads in SF/Fantasy. Although there is more fantasy over SF than I would wish (I am mostly a SF type), the kids love it, and anything that gets and keeps them reading is a huge plus. And J.K. Rowling, despite what you think of her books (I like them!), got a generation of kids to be unafraid to read a 700-800 page book, and that, having worked with kids and reading, is no mean feat. I have been bemoaning the lack of top-notch authors writing in the field, but Gaiman, LeGuin, and even James Patterson are all contributing to it’s success, and adding that indescribale “magic” to the genre. I applaud their efforts, and only wish more would follow, because the kids are out there devouring this stuff – the sheer amount of it is staggering, and to me, fantastic. Kids are reading! – stuff that the previous generation would have struggled with. My 14 yr old is working on The Book Thief. Last year, before reading the Potter canon, she couldn’t have begun to make it through such a book; now she and her English teacher are both reading it for pleasure. And she continues to amaze me with her dislike of formulaic fiction, and instead her instinctive reach for quality. So Gaiman and others – stand up and give yourself a pat on the back – this SF mom would if she could.

  4. My understanding is that this reviewer has also complained about SF being too geeky and technical as well in the course of giving a sort of positive review to a work. So it seems to be his thing. But it is indicative of the sort of reaction that adult SFF has also indured — the belief that SFF so often has little worth because it is geeky and juvenile, that it inherently has problems that must be overcome before it can be a form of literature with any worth. And you have to wonder, why, in assigning a reviewer to SFF in the belief that there might be something there worth reviewing, would they pick a person who is not just critical — which would be welcome — but believes in the artificial stereotype of the genres?

  5. You know how genre fans have been complaining (forever, it seems) that the cultural elite treats genre fiction with prejudiced disdain?
    Some time back, I realized that this complaint is pointless. The elite isn’t an elite. It doesn’t exist.
    Again: The “cultural elite” does not exist.
    (Maybe it did once, but something happened — the Internet, perhaps, or the point where a single individual could no longer keep up with the growing output of books.)

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