Mumpsimus has a revealing post here about the perils of bad (or bland) reviewing. Broadening it out from his specific points, I’ve actually been thinking about how rigor-or lack thereof-relates to blogs, and the formal constraints of the blog, whether specifically in regards to a “criticism” blog or no. Specificity matters, but the blog-perhaps because of its dailiness?-also lends itself to the off-handed, the ephemeral, and the aphoristic. What’s still an open book (so to speak) is the myriad ways that the diary aspects intersect with more conventional criticism. Gold-standard blogs like Pseudopodium or Hotel Point have created their own aesthetics-aesthetic choices which are directly tied to the personalities behind them. At the same time, they have the contextual chops as well to back it all up. It’s always a balancing act. The blog at its best, can be both a critical receptacle and link repository, pointing outward and inward at the same time. And, speaking for myself, I need to remind myself that when I’m on the verge of sloppy thinking, to feel free to pass the baton to someone else on a particular subject. What matters is both writing and linking what you’re passionate about; and, at the same time (and this is where Matt’s critique rightly comes into play), pushing the language so it’s more than goldfish floating around in a bowl of codeine.
The good news, at least when it comes to science fiction, is that because of the sheer laziness of many of its “critics,” there is a ton of unexplored territory, i.e., the complicated relationships between fandom, real science, “popular mechanics” science, turn-of-the-century romanticism, modernism. You know, the small stuff-especially as it impinges (if at all?) on particular stories.
And, I have to say, I’m very very passionate about using my “blockquote” tag on my blog, because my template makes those really elegant quotation marks. I’m addicted to them! -Alan DeNiro