Monday, January 17, 2011

At the Strange Horizons Blog: What to Review

In the second post in my series about reviewing at the Strange Horizons blog, I discuss the question that occurs long before the editor gets down to editing: which books (and films and TV shows) to commission reviews of?
As seems to happen quite often in discussions of genre or reviewing, the question of what to review boils down to a choice between prescriptive and descriptive. Is a reviews department a paper of record, reporting on the state of the genre and on the important names at its core, or is it a partisan platform, evangelizing for little-known writers and works and reflecting an inevitable editorial bias? Is its purpose to report on tastes, or to make them?
Follow the link and add your thoughts.

1 comment:

Porky said...

"Is its purpose to report on tastes, or to make them?"

It will always do both, whether we like it or not, because the reviewer has a place in the world as a person. In that sense a review really must have both as its purpose.

Having written that, it can perhaps avoid the worst of each by opening up at the edges, and taking in the wider vistas of art, culture and our nature, getting more to a point where the tools of description are eluded and prescription has less leverage.

I don't think I've ever commented here before, so I'll take the chance to thank you for the contribution you've made over many months to my thinking and understanding of the world. And for the introduction to Strange Horizons of course!

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