Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Guest Post | Bryce of Only the Best SF&F Considers... Pretty Much Everything?

Ladies and gentlemen: welcome once again to The Speculative Scotsman!

You may or may not know that I’m in America at the moment – if not, yes, it’s true... in fact I’m as far AFK as I’ve ever been before – but never ye fear! For in my absence, a few good men and women have volunteered to make the site their own, albeit only momentarily. They’re bloggers, by and large, but also friends; fine folks one and all that I’ve met on the internet (and occasionally off) in the course of keeping this shared space set aside for burbling about speculative fiction of all shapes and sizes.

They all have blogs of their own, of course, and I’d urge you to seek them out. I care a lot about what goes on here on The Speculative Scotsman, so let me stress this thing before I get to giving over the floor: the fact that I’m hosting the work of each of these excellent writers here speaks to my admiration and my respect for every last one among them.

If you enjoy some or all of these terrific reviews and opinion pieces, do the decent thing and click through the links in the intro and outro of each. Follow a few of my favourite internet critics. :)

Speaking of which: Bryce Lee, of Only the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy. Bryce was one of the first folks I met when I started doing this thing in early 2010, and even today, nearly three years later, I look forward to those all too rare occasions when our paths cross, because he's honestly one of the warmest, friendliest, most generous people I know -- not to mention one of the very best bloggers I currently keep up with.

Today, for your pleasure and mine, Bryce has set his inimitable sights on... well, it's not so simple as that, actually. In fact, I'm going to let the nice man tell you himself.


I’m really honored to be here today. I’ve been keeping up with The Speculative Scotsman since its infancy and it continues to be one of my favorite blogs even without all that cute baby fat. [You see what I mean? :) - Niall]

One of the main reasons for that is Niall’s way with words, so I apologize in advance for not being nearly as erudite or eloquent in this post. Ah look at that, I’ve already exhausted my vocabulary.

My initial plan was to post about one single subject, but I had a hard time sticking with one idea, so my solution – shotgun effect - write about all of it. You’re welcome in advance. I’ll go from subjects such as Self-Published books to ratings to navel-gazing... oh my!
  • Blogging and Self-Pubs --- When I started blogging, I had this idea that I needed to read a bunch of Self-Published books to sort of earn my way in the scene. What was I thinking? Don’t worry, I was really bad at it.
  • Independent and Self-Published Books --- I have a love-hate relationship with Indie and Self-Pubbed books. Admittedly, I’ve read some amazing books that were not published by one of the Big 6, but then again I’ve read some of the worst books of my life because of them. Anymore, I’ll wait until they’ve been reviewed elsewhere and read ones others have enjoyed. But that’s not fair is it? I think Justin has a pretty good solution.  
  • Two and a Half Men --- I don’t only wonder how it’s still on the air, but how is it the number 1 comedy? “That girl is soooobangable” “I’m no good with women” *pushes glasses up nose* I just wrote 5 episodes. Now Community is a show to watch and it just barely scrapes by.
  • In Defense of Ratings --- Lots of people don’t use ratings such as said Scotsman (luckily he’s out of the country at the moment so he’ll never see this) and I understand their reasons, but for me it’s the perfect punchline to the review. I can’t always read the full review, like what if it’s a sequel to a book I haven’t read? But I can still see how a trusted reviewer felt. Sometimes you don’t really have anything bad to say about a book, but it still wasn’t a perfect book. Tack on a rating to keep it in check.
  • Speaking of Ratings --- I propose a new rating system in addition to “out of 5” or “out of 10.” I admit the number system is a bit flawed. How do you compare the complexity of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen to let’s say, The Dresden Files. I love them all but in different ways. So, new categories are “Long in the Wind (not a fart joke…okay it is),” “Fast and Furious,” “Complex as a Cat [or insert alliteration or complex animal here],” “Fun and Funny.” Then you can give the book a number rating. I’m only half joking on this one, I do think ratings need a bit of a push, but at least need to be read in conjunction with the review. Incidentally and while I write this, Patrick (the YetiStomper) just changed up his rating system.
  • Ever enter the freeway and think, “You always told me to stay off the freeway…” “Then let us hope…that I was wrong.” (the “…” was my Morpheus impression)
  • Publishers Not Finishing Series --- There are few things I hate more than getting into a series only to find out the final volume won’t be released because of low sales of the first book(s). This has happened to a few authors recently and it drives me up the wall! LianeMerciel, Harry Connolly, and David Anthony Durham are a few off the top of my head. I get publishers’ reasons, but I don’t think publishers are thinking long term. You’re teaching readers not to trust new authors, thus opting to wait until series are complete. In the long run, this is a bad call. 
  • The Walking Dead TV Show --- I am a HUGE fan of this series and I can’t wait for more, especially after that last scene in season two, you know, the one with guy who … But there’s something I gotta know: what’s the deal with their surprise zombie attacks? Lots of zombie films get this right by having someone in the house, usually at the beginning of the movie before it’s well-known that there are zombies everywhere. But The Walking Dead keeps doing surprise attacks out in the middle of nowhere. The human turns around and suddenly – zombiefied! And then afterward the zombie is moaning and stumbling along just like every. other. zombie. Wha? How did the character possibly not hear that?

These were my thoughts, it’s now time to wake up. Thanks again to The Speculative Scotsman for the chance to grace a great blog. At least take heart in the fact that Niall will be back in no time! 


The man tells it true. Alas, we're already in our final week of great guest blogs... I'll be home before it's even over, and come Monday, the blog will be back to boring old me, and me alone, mostly. So sad. :(

But let's keep our chins up. It's easy enough, really, particularly given how happy I am that Bryce was good enough to go on record on all of the above subjects for TSS. You should know this by now, but he blogs away his days over at Only the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, and trust me when I tell you you really need to be along for the ride. Thanks again, Bryce!

Tomorrow: the last guest blog you'll be seeing on The Speculative Scotsman for some time, given that this holiday of a lifetime I've been on is almost at an end. And of course I've saved some of the best for last, haven't I?

Stay tuned, in short, for Stefan the Second! :)


  1. I knew about Liane Merciel (such a shame), but David Anthony Durham is a surprise - I thought his trilogy was complete?

  2. It was in the US, but in the UK there was talks about the final volume not being published. I think it actually was now that I look into it more.

  3. Oddly enough, all of those phrases could be fart jokes....

  4. Wow, random and hilarious. Nicely done sir.

  5. @Logan - I DO love a good fart joke. :D

    @Ryan - Thanks a bunch man. I had lots of fun.

    @Niall - Thanks again for having me, sadly I've proven you'll never have me back!

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