Friday, June 3, 2022

A Dish Best Served Dead


By Abir


 Authors are told never to respond to bad reviews. Have you ever been tempted? How do you deal with negative comments? Pick a few irksome ones (anonymous of course) and let us know how you really feel … no judgment.


When it comes to responding to negative comments, one star reviews and hatchet jobs, there are basically two schools of thought. The first, advocated by my esteemed colleagues, which I’ll term ‘the high road’, involves never engaging, or seeking to justify yourself, or even bothering with negative reviews. Bad reviews are, advocates of the high road say, part and parcel of the life of an author and should be treated with disdain. As the Indian saying goes, the dogs may bark, but the caravan moves on. This is all very high minded and lovely and frankly bloody lazy. Advocates of this approach make me sick.


And then there is the other approach, my approach. Let’s call it ‘the correct road’. This entails exacting revenge on each and every person who has the temerity to criticise my work in any way, from a negative review to a mildly unenamoured look when I’m talking at festivals. This approach – actually it’s a philosophy – maintains that anyone who doesn’t appreciate my genius to the full is a delusional heretic and must be re-educated or have vengeance wreaked upon them. This approach has two major benefits over the lackadaisical approach adopted by my colleagues: Firstly it’s far more satisfying than turning the other cheek; and secondly, the plotting of my revenge keeps me busy on a Sunday night.


Several of my fiercest critics have disappeared; others have suffered unfortunate accidents. The fun is coming up with ways of murder which can't be traced back to me. The best is when I manage to completely erase a person from the public consciousness, making them unpersons who essentially never existed. Remember Quintin Fortescue? No? Exactly.


This may seem excessive to you, but I’d argue it’s only fair. Some arse-head who gives me a one-star review because they ordered the wrong bloody book frankly needs to be removed from the gene pool. Seriously, you wouldn’t trust such a person to drive a bus or look after your kids. If you think about it, their destruction is in all our interests.


That’s not to say people haven’t criticised my approach to bad reviews - they have – and those critics too are now all dead, sleeping happily with the fishes, and I’m sure that in the afterlife, wherever they are, they are now regretting their mild mannered contradiction of me.


While the reviewers have gone, the reviews alas, still exist. In our 21st century, interconnected world, it seems it’s easier to disappear people than it is to get information off the internet (but I’m working on that. It's because of me that Elon Musk backed off his Twitter acquisition). In the meantime, here are some of the misguided reviews I’ve received, cos I know that's what you are really here for. 




So to sum up. Choose life. Don’t leave me bad reviews. 


Brenda Chapman said...

Not advocating your approach but I can see it would be a deterrent for even the most die-hard (get it?) critics. Good bit of satire, Abir!

Susan C Shea said...

I want you on my team! In fact, I'll be terrified if you're not.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

So glad we're on the same side, Abir.

Abir said...

Thanks Brenda!
You secretly do advocate my approach though!

Abir said...

Susan - I'm always on your team!

Abir said...

Cheers Dietrich! Keep saying nice things to me and I'm sure everything will continue to go swimmingly!

James W. Ziskin said...

Love this! Hilarious. Five stars. (Am I safe now?)


Abir said...

For the moment, Jim. For the moment...