Okay, apparently, the event in question already happened a couple weeks ago in December, but I read about it just today (thanks, oh mighty Klopfer, for your post on this remarkably (un)funny topic).
So, we have this author, John Asht [doesn't seem to be important enough for a Wikipedia page, and he blogs only in German, so I can't provide a link for my English speaking readers, sorry]. He seems to write fantasy, although he doesn’t admit it’s fantasy, it’s a “fantastic adventure” and by his standards “a work of fiction not meant for those who don’t understand real literature” (no direct quote, but roughly what he wrote). Whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean.
Oh, by the way, no, I haven’t read any of his books, and this post is by no means a qualified literary critique, so take a break, Asht, and keep your lawyer on his leash. Also, I like cookies. You will understand both when you go on reading.
As I said, Mr. Asht writes books. Books are great, and it’s wonderful that there are so many of them. But that makes it hard to decide what to read, which is why we consult blogs and newspapers and whatnot to find reviews telling us a bit about books we are interested in, so we can decide whether to buy them or not. Fair game.
Unless you write something bad about a book you didn’t read until the end because, yeah, you thought it was bad. And specifically tell us that you didn’t finish it. And also tell us precisely what you thought was bad about the part you actually read. In that case, it’s illegal to tell other people what you think.
Yes, that’s right. But let’s start from the beginning. Blogger Myriel [again, only German, sorry] got hold of a copy of Asht’s “Twin-Pryx”. She tried twice, but failed to read more than 90 pages. I read an excerpt and totally understand why. Apparently, the author doesn’t. You see, Myriel described pretty detailed why she didn’t read on, picked some examples of plot holes and the like, and generally stated that she didn’t like the book at all. Again, which is why she didn’t finish it, and she tells us so!
Now it looks like Mr. Asht browses the net for reviews of his works, as is understandable. What is not is the fact that he seems to enjoy trolling blogs that publish negative reviews on his books and then starts threatening the authors of said reviews because he doesn’t like being criticised by “cheap scandalmongers” (oh, I can’t tell you how I enjoyed that bit of his blog post :D ). By this meaning everyone who didn’t study literary criticism (I didn’t even know that’s a thing…). So, apparently, I am now a scandalmonger, too? Oh, what the heck, I don’t care… anyway. How does he threaten? Yeah, right, you got it: lawsuit! Hooray!
Yep, that’s right. He (and his publisher) threatened to sue Myriel for economic crimes and defamation. Again, I have to emphasise that Myriel just wrote a review on his book, saying that she didn’t like it. Nothing like “That dude is a nutjob who thinks he’s an author!”, nothing like “wtflol asht you stink man!!!111″. It was a review. That’s it.
I have to remark here that Mr. Asht really did a great job at making himself look like a fool. He single-handedly brands himself as a really immature person who can’t handle criticism. He was the first one to comment on the post, and how did he do that? Like this [again, no quote, I have to translate here]: “What else could I expect from a 23-year-old fantasy reader who can’t handle sophisticated literature than an unqualified pseudo-review. Girl, remember: “fantastic literature” is not “fantasy”. Do us all a favour and stick to your elves and dwarves – you’re not skilled enough for anything else.” Oh, I laughed so hard… furthermore, he announces to ask his lawyer to take a look at Myriel’s blog, suspecting her of getting paid for negative reviews. Yeah. Right. Isn’t that the reason why we all blog?
So, to cut it short: Asht whines about how bad reviews are unfair, that someone who just reads can’t possibly give a qualified statement about a book, and that he will sue everyone who blogged about his book saying they didn’t like it (often specifically based on the free excerpt on his publisher’s website). Mind you, in the very same blog post he comments on how more than 700 people criticised his book, while not nearly as many people bought it. Feel free to draw your own conclusion here, I don’t want to get sued by Mr. Asht :P
And now for the grande finale: This little drama here seems to be proof to Mr. Asht that free speech on the net will come to an end, because of… uhh… how do I put this… people who speak freely on the internet? No shit, that’s what he says. He states that such “wannabee critics” are the reason that, one day soon, anonymity on the net will be history, and censorship will rule. May I at this point remind you of the SOPA/PIPA protest of the past days, leading to the draw-back of SOPA and the imminent downfall of PIPA. With this in mind, enjoy the following: ”Governments around the world prepare to take down the free internet as we know it – but no-one heeds the warning!” Yeah. Right. It’s not like we protested and signed petitions and stuff and actually got results…
Seriously: How can that man expect to be taken seriously? He acts like a whiny, emotional teenager trying to convince everyone that he, and he alone, is right, and everybody else is wrong. If his arguments (or what he sees as such) remain unheard, he runs to his mom and snitches. Or, as in Mr. Asht’s case, he calls his lawyer.
Wait, what? The cookie thing? Oh, right… you see, Mr. Asht’s rants are just like cookies: I take one out, eat it, enjoy it – and then forget about it. Equals here: I read his comments, laugh a little, write a blog entry, and don’t bother thinking about him any more. Until he starts anew :)
And with that said, I conclude with a salute to every “lay critic” out there who was trolled by John Asht: Guys, never mind him and keep going – avid readers like me depend on you! ;)
[German translation to follow, but first -> dinner!]