Monday 18 January 2010

The Trouble With Hot Toddy

It's been a great month for The Speculative Scotsman. There's been at least one article published every day since the blog launched on January 1st, running the gamut from commentary to reviews and from news round-ups to more original content, the likes of which proved such a resounding success yesterday. There's already a great deal on TSS that I'm proud of, not to mention several write-ups that have resonated in one way or another with readers old and new.

Hot Toddy, I'm afraid, has not yet fallen into either category. Bestsellers, it seems, are a curious business. To say they're deathly predictable here in the UK is a dramatic understatement; if it's not Stephanie Meyer or Charlaine Harris, the book-buying masses don't seem to give a damn. Neither does Amazon's variety of hourly-updated charts seem an appropriate nor an accurate measure of what's hot and what's not in fiction, film and video-games.

You might not think it, but cobbling together some snark each week to fill out the star-studded Top 25s can be a beast of an amount of work, and when it's done, I don't feel as if I've added anything new to the great conversation. Above all else, that's what I want The Speculative Scotsman to represent, and though I don't admit defeat easily, after starting on this week's Hot Toddy only to see how similar the latest charts were to last week's, which were in their turn near-enough identical to the week before's, I think it might be for the best to nip this one in the bud

So. There won't be a new Hot Toddy this week, and perhaps not next week, either. I'm going to take some time to think about how to present the charts properly, retool the foundations of this recurring write-up some and bring it back, when it's done, in a better form.

But fear not, Monday morning readers. You'll hardly notice it's gone. In place of this week's edition, in fact, I'm bringing forward a book review that's been waiting patiently in the wings since I read The Angel's Game over the New Year. Keep 'em peeled, and do, above all, enjoy. That's what TSS is here for, at the end of the day.

Yes, I mean you.


  1. Hey at least when you posted the bestsellers you wrote some interesting commentary. You could have just posted them and acted like it was the best thing since Scalzi.

    Amazon's bestsellers are typically a terrible place to go for recommendations. It's Harry Potter, Twilight, Charlaine Harris, and movie novelizations interspersed with a few books that everyone already knows about. Book bloggers like us need to be at the front of the recommendation chain, not at the back end. Once something is a amazon or NYT bestseller there isn't a whole lot we can do.

  2. @ Patrick

    I really am learning as I go, and you're right: in retrospect, the mean-as-can-be commentary in Hot Toddy was just about the only redemptive thing about the whole derivative idea. Amazon was a daft place to look for anything resembling a representative list of bestselling books and movies and video games.

    I do mean to bring Hot Toddy back, or something slightly resembling it, perhaps next month. Till then, I have to get looking for a better source of bestsellers in the UK to be all snarky about.