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The Literary Rants!!! Amazon, Game of Thrones, and Playboy

October 26, 2015
No literary rant is complete without mentioning James Patterson, so here he is! (image via wikimedia)

Even though this is a literary rant, this is one of the few times that I am NOT griping about James Patterson! (image via wikimedia)

You have to be careful when you rant.  If you get carried away during a rant, everybody thinks you’re crazy, and then you end up on the internet looking idiotic, and everybody laughs at you, and the whole point of ranting is lost.  I can’t rant in public because I don’t want a video of me acting crazy, so I have to write my rants.  It’s tough to show passion with the written word unless YOU ALL CAP EVERYTHING!!!!!  But again, if you do that, everybody will think you’re crazy

BAD WORKING CONDITIONS AT AMAZON

Now on sale for less than a dollar on Amazon!!

Now on sale for less than a dollar on Amazon!!

I like Amazon because it’s convenient and cheap, but not everybody agrees with me.  A couple months ago the New York Times  reported on bad working conditions at Amazon and then last week a guy from Amazon wrote a response.  I have to admit, my biases lean toward Amazon.

In its original article, The New York Times stunned its readers by  claiming that Amazon employees cried at their desks a lot.  The Times implied that something must be wrong at Amazon if employees cry at their desk.  I wondered why Amazon hires so many people who cry at work.

Maybe I should get a job with Amazon.  Sometimes I like to test my pain threshold.  Sometimes I hold my hand in ice water and time myself while the pain becomes unbearable .  My brothers and I used to smash each other’s heads against the wall to see who would get the first concussion.  I’m too old for that kind of thing now (I get headaches a lot), but I’d like to see how long I could work for Amazon before I cry.  At least I’d be getting paid a little.  I never got paid for getting my head smashed against the wall.

AMAZON SUES FAKE REVIEWERS

This is my ebook, but none of the reviews were written by me.

This is my ebook, but none of the reviews were written by me.

Amazon also made news by threatening to sue  people/companies who write fake book reviews on the Amazon website.  I’ve thought about writing fake reviews for my own books on Amazon, but I’m glad I didn’t because I don’t want to be sued.

I also thought about writing fake book reviews on my blog.  Amazon couldn’t sue me for that.  But writing fake reviews for my own books would put me in an awkward position.  Anybody reading my blog would wonder why all the positive reviews for my books were written in the exact same style as my books and my blog posts.  I’d rather have no reviews than have fake reviews that made people wonder if my reviews were fake.

I know having reviews for  books on Amazon looks a lot better than having no reviews for your books on Amazon.  I understand the urge to do anything to get a competitive edge on book sales.  To me, it’s like an athlete taking steroids (except maybe without the physical side effects).

I’d like to see the Amazon lawsuit happen (to somebody else) just to see what the verdicts and penalties would be.  I wouldn’t want to sit through the proceedings, though.  I’m not THAT interested.

NO NAKED WOMEN IN PLAYBOY

This is considered tasteful because she's reading a book. (image via wikimedia)

This is considered tasteful because she’s reading a book. (image via wikimedia)

Playboy has announced that it’s no longer putting pictures of naked women in its magazines.  With the internet, nudie magazines have become irrelevant.  That’s okay.  The internet has destroyed a lot of businesses.  A few years ago, Encyclopedia Brittanica announced it was discontinuing its books and was going completely online.  I thought, without books, what’s the point of an encyclopedia?  The whole internet is an encyclopedia, but most of it is not appropriate for kids.  The whole internet is also a Playboy magazine, but the internet is not as pretentious.

It’s not good when the former trend-setter has to start following somebody else’s trends.  Playboy had a pretty good run, though.  Very few people (or magazines) ever get to be trend-setters.  The only thing I’m going to miss are the naked granny cartoons.  They were funny.  And I must be getting older because now I think the naked granny is kind of hot.

Once when I was taking a writing class, my instructor began discussing Catch-22 and the way the author constructed his sentences, and I almost blurted out that the author Joseph Heller had just published his latest piece of fiction in Playboy.  There were a lot of women in that class, so I decided not to say anything.  Maybe I was being selfish by not telling the class about Heller’s latest work.  I let my own porn-shame hold me back.   Back in the 1980s, there was a lot of porn shaming.  If Joseph Heller publishes a short story in Playboy next year, male writing students in literature classes will be able to speak up.

NEW GAME OF THRONES BOOK

Even the dragon is getting tired of waiting for the next volume.

Even the dragon is getting tired of waiting for the next volume.

George R. R. Martin is publishing a new Game of Thrones book this month, but it’s not The Winds of Winter, which fans have been waiting for.  Instead, it’s a collection of related novellas from various science fiction/fantasy anthologies.  If I were reading Game of Thrones, I’d be pissed.  As far as I’d be concerned, George R. R. Martin has one mission in life: finish A Song of Fire and Ice.  Forget the novellas.

And book publicists shouldn’t announce novellas by proclaiming there’s a new Game of Thrones book coming out.  It’s irresponsible, and it’s not clever, and it just makes a cranky guy like me not want to read anything related to Game of Thrones.  To be fair, I’m not going to read A Song of Ice and Fire anyway, but book publicists should still be more considerate.

I don’t read a story if it goes over three books anymore.  The Godfather was one book.  The Lord of the Rings was three books.  No stories should take longer to tell than The Godfather or The Lord of The Rings.  That’s my standard.

*****

What do you think?  What literary topic would you like to rant about?   If working conditions make employees cry, do you blame the employees or the employer?  If an author is writing a really long series, should that author waste time with related novellas?  Is a literary rant any good if James Patterson isn’t the topic?

19 Comments
  1. As long as the rants are as funny as yours, they can be about anything, Patterson not required 🙂

  2. Maybe it’s time for Martin to start farming out his work like James Patterson does. Because James Patterson probably publishes more books in a year than Martin writes chapters.
    Also, a fun fact – now that there will be no nudity in Playboy, Game of Thrones will be less suitable for work than Playboy.

    • That’s a great idea. James Patterson could probably have the last two books in the series finished by January, 2016.

      One problem: whose name would be first on the cover?

  3. I reckon Martin needs a break from GoT – the guys been writing those books since … The period they’re set in, probably. If I were him, I’d be fed up to the back teeth with White Walkers and the Watch and the pigging Starks (what’s left of them) and sodding Lannisters … Lor, it makes me frustrated just writing about it. Mind you, he brought it on himself. What sane person writes books that long with so many books in the series – he’s clearly crazy. Or possessed by a medieval knight.
    I get ranty about ‘celebrities’ who publish fiction which sells a billion copies just because they’re famous for exposing parts of their body or being photographed a lot. Especially if that book is ghost written. Grrrrrrrrr ………..

    • Books by celebrities, especially fiction, is worth a rant or two. On the other hand, it’s comforting to know that if I really want to sell a lot of books, all I have to do is become a celebrity.

      • Haha! Is that all? Or you could become a ghost writer. Seriously, that’s the only thing that comforts me about the celebrity book market – that out there is an army of ‘real’ (if nameless) writers make a living from writing this stuff. They don’t get the kudos, but at least they get to eat.

  4. Dina permalink

    You had me laughing with the employees crying at Amazon. Great post.

  5. Remember Bob Dylan: “Times, they are achanging…”

  6. “The whole internet is an encyclopedia, but most of it is not appropriate for kids. The whole internet is also a Playboy magazine, but the internet is not as pretentious.” Brilliant.

  7. The Playboy thing has me baffled. What’s going to be in the magazine now? How is it any different from the DOZENS of other magazines out there? Playboy was unique because they specialized in tasteful nudity. Now there will be a need for tasteful nudity on the internet. Hmm…maybe the workers from Amazon might want to consider a career change…

  8. “I wondered why Amazon hires so many people who cry at work.” Good question.

  9. You should check out “The Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan. Even though it’s 14 (big!) books long, it’s really interesting and makes you want to keep reading to the next book. One of my favorite book series to read (and re-read).

    • I’ve heard about The Wheel of Time books, but 14 is a lot of books.

      Can you tell the difference in the last few books in The Wheel of Time? One of the reasons I won’t begin the series is because the original author didn’t finish it, but maybe that doesn’t matter. But 14 books? That matters to me.

      • LOL! Yes 14 books does sound daunting but it’s a great story never the less. The original author had a lot of very detailed notes on the last books that when Brandon Sanderson picked up finishing the series it was very seamless (the last 3 books were actually supposed to be only 1, but because there was so many notes and a lot of things happening to close out the series, Brandon and Jordan’s wife decided to split it into 3 books instead). His writing style is also very similar so I hardly noticed much difference. The books are big and can get a bit boring at some parts (first and maybe the second books) but then it becomes interesting as you really get into the story and all the adventures. Also, there is a lot of character development, not just for one or two main characters, but a lot of them as well, especially later on in the series when they each go their separate ways and you follow how they progress from simple village folks to being worldly and wise.

        If you do decide to take a go at it, I’d love to read your review and thoughts on it (even if you didn’t like it!). I have not met anyone that have read the full series, so I’d love to hear others’ perspectives and thoughts on the books.

        Thanks!!! 🙂

  10. Amazon employees crying at their desks? There might be a good story there: are they perhaps crying with laughter at some brilliantly written comic novel? Has some well known and much loved person just died a tragic death? Perhaps a rival firm has sabotaged the Amazon office by pumping it full of tear gas. Maybe they’ve just been sacked – if so, why are they still at their desks? See you can find a storyline anywhere.

  11. Thank goodness I’m not the only one that hates James Patterson. And I hate celebrity authors so please don’t become a celebrity just so your blog and books become famous. I’m loving your blog!

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