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I was reading the comments over at the SB’s site, when I came across a link that lead me to a snarky take of Anne Rice’s Amazon Meltdown.

I didn’t know anything about it, so reading it was a real treat.

This is definitely how NOT to respond to a review:

“Seldom do I really answer those who criticize my work. In fact, the entire development of my career has been fueled by my ability to ignore denigrating and trivializing criticism as I realize my dreams and my goals. However there is something compelling about Amazon’s willingness to publish just about anything, and the sheer outrageous stupidity of many things you’ve said here that actually touches my proletarian and Democratic soul.

Also I use and enjoy Amazon and I do read the reviews of other people’s books in many fields. In sum, I believe in what happens here. And so, I speak. First off, let me say that this is addressed only to some of you, who have posted outrageously negative comments here, and not to all. You are interrogating this text from the wrong perspective. Indeed, you aren’t even reading it. You are projecting your own limitations on it. And you are giving a whole new meaning to the words “wide readership.” And you have strained my Dickensean principles to the max.

I’m justifiably proud of being read by intellectual giants and waitresses in trailer parks,in fact, I love it, but who in the world are you? Now to the book. Allow me to point out: nowhere in this text are you told that this is the last of the chronicles, nowhere are you promised curtain calls or a finale, nowhere are you told there will be a wrap-up of all the earlier material.

The text tells you exactly what to expect. And it warns you specifically that if you did not enjoy Memnoch the Devil, you may not enjoy this book. This book is by and about a hero whom many of you have already rejected. And he tells you that you are likely to reject him again. And this book is most certainly written — every word of it — by me. If and when I can’t write a book on my own, you’ll know about it. And no, I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut, or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself.

I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance. It is not a collaborative art. Back to the novel itself: the character who tells the tale is my Lestat. I was with him more closely than I have ever been in this novel; his voice was as powerful for me as I’ve ever heard it. I experienced break through after break through as I walked with him, moved with him, saw through his eyes. What I ask of Lestat, Lestat unfailingly gives.

For me, three hunting scenes, two which take place in hotels — the lone woman waiting for the hit man, the slaughter at the pimp’s party — and the late night foray into the slums –stand with any similar scenes in all of the chronicles. They can be read aloud without a single hitch. Every word is in perfect place. The short chapter in which Lestat describes his love for Rowan Mayfair was for me a totally realized poem. There are other such scenes in this book. You don’t get all this? Fine. But I experienced an intimacy with the character in those scenes that shattered all prior restraints, and when one is writing one does have to continuously and courageously fight a destructive tendency to inhibition and restraint. Getting really close to the subject matter is the achievement of only great art.

Now, if it doesn’t appeal to you, fine. You don’t enjoy it? Read somebody else. But your stupid arrogant assumptions about me and what I am doing are slander. And you have used this site as if it were a public urinal to publish falsehood and lies. I’ll never challenge your democratic freedom to do so, and yes, I’m answering you, but for what it’s worth, be assured of the utter contempt I feel for you, especially those of you who post anonymously (and perhaps repeatedly?) and how glad I am that this book is the last one in a series that has invited your hateful and ugly responses.

Now, to return to the narrative in question: Lestat’s wanting to be a saint is a vision larded through and through with his characteristic vanity. It connects perfectly with his earlier ambitions to be an actor in Paris, a rock star in the modern age. If you can’t see that, you aren’t reading my work. In his conversation with the Pope he makes observations on the times which are in continuity with his observations on the late twentieth century in The Vampire Lestat, and in continuity with Marius’ observations in that book and later in Queen of the Damned.

The state of the world has always been an important theme in the chronicles. Lestat’s comments matter. Every word he speaks is part of the achievement of this book. That Lestat renounced this saintly ambition within a matter of pages is plain enough for you to see. That he reverts to his old self is obvious, and that he intends to complete the tale of Blackwood Farm is also quite clear.

There are many other themes and patterns in this work that I might mention — the interplay between St.Juan Diago and Lestat, the invisible creature who doesn’t “exist” in the eyes of the world is a case in point. There is also the theme of the snare of Blackwood Farm, the place where a human existence becomes so beguiling that Lestat relinquishes his power as if to a spell. The entire relationship between Lestat and Uncle Julien is carefully worked out. But I leave it to readers to discover how this complex and intricate novel establishes itself within a unique, if not unrivalled series of book. There are things to be said. And there is pleasure to be had. And readers will say wonderful things about Blood Canticle and they already are.

There are readers out there and plenty of them who cherish the individuality of each of the chronicles which you so flippantly condemn. They can and do talk circles around you. And I am warmed by their response. Their letters, the papers they write in school, our face to face exchanges on the road — these things sustain me when I read the utter trash that you post. But I feel I have said enough.

If this reaches one reader who is curious about my work and shocked by the ugly reviews here, I’ve served my goals. And Yo, you dude, the slang police! Lestat talks like I do. He always has and he always will. You really wouldn’t much like being around either one of us. And you don’t have to be. If any of you want to say anything about all this by all means Email me at Anneobrienrice@mac.com. And if you want your money back for the book, send it to 1239 First Street, New Orleans, La, 70130. I’m not a coward about my real name or where I live. And yes, the Chronicles are no more! Thank God!”

Classic. I wish I’d been around when she went batshit crazy. I would have had a field day reading the ten million blogs that would have taken the piss out of her.

Talk about Abilify withdrawal.

Ahhh, the good old days, they sure don’t make authors like they used to. Oh wait, LKH is still carrying the flag isn’t she, so all is right with the world.


  • Romance Tart
    May 18
    2:54 pm

    I was a fan of the vampire chronicles. I adored the first 6 or 7 books. But, holy shit, by the time she wrote this review I was agreeing with her, The Chronicles are no more? Thank God! Have you found her ‘editors are for pussies’ rant yet?


  • Romance Tart
    May 18
    2:57 pm

    Rant. It was a rant. Not a review. Damn it! I drank a cup of stupid this morning.


  • Jackie
    May 18
    3:15 pm

    Wasn’t this it?

    I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance. It is not a collaborative art.

    You mean there’s another one?


  • Romanc Tart
    May 18
    3:19 pm

    Did I mention that I drank a cup of stupid this morning? ‘Cause that would be it.


  • Ann Bruce
    May 18
    4:59 pm

    I believe Ms. Linda Berdoll has also taken up the mantle and has been replying to the 1-star reviews of her books on Amazon.com.

    (sigh) Someone else giving authors a bad name.


  • katieM
    May 18
    10:11 pm

    Yep, that was crazy alright, but LKH’s “my books are too intellectually challenging for you!” rant has Ms. Rice beat hands down.


  • Nicolette
    May 19
    12:53 am

    The worst thing that can happen to a writer is the combination of feeling they don’t need an editor and being successful enough that they get their wish.


  • ramil gulle
    March 23
    10:39 am

    I’m glad to have read Anne Rice’s now infamous “rant” on Amazon.com

    To be honest, though, I find that my sympathies like squarely with her. She does have the right to answer her critics.

    And unlike her critics, she DID write about 21 books, quite a number of which were best-sellers and she DID achieve some literary status at the time when her Vampire Chronicles were very popular.

    Have any of her critics–those she had “ranted” against–achieved something similar?

    When she says:

    “I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance. It is not a collaborative art.”

    It doesn’t sound stupid to me. It may seem egomaniacal and narcissistic, but she’s an author. To be the author of anything requires the presumed capacity that you know what to do with the work you author better than anyone else. Could someone else have painted a better Mona Lisa? Maybe–but that someone else didn’t do it. It was Leonardo Da Vinci and he alone deserves the credit.

    When does an author get the status to overrule her editors? Never? Wouldn’t that be putting too much faith in editors? After all, if editors knew better than novelists, why are they editing and not writing the novels themselves?

    When she says writing a novel is a virtuoso performance, I think she’s quite right. Only a virtuoso, that is someone who exercises a “virtue” or talent or skill to an exceptional degree, can create a successful novel, a successful musical performance, etc. And Anne Rice did succeed with her novels.

    I think her point was simply this, “I wrote the novels. I put in the hard work required to bring these books into existence. Therefore, I know things about the novels that no one else could know. And people who believe they know better than me have to make very good arguments about it, have to prove they have the intellectual resources and the intellectual integrity to support their belief.”

    I just think that readers have to know the basis for their comments. If they’re just voicing out their opinions, then it’s fine… after all, aren’t opinions the second-cheapest intellectual currency? The cheapest being hindsight.

    But what Rice was making a stand against–as I understand her “rant”–was the presumption of some “critics” who really did not do any clear or proper thinking before they made their comment; the presumption that they know better than the author. Such remarks hurt her because, well, she is the author of those novels and she understandably feels a sense of ownership towards them. And can you really blame her for believing she knew best what to do with her stories and characters?

    If you still blame her, then maybe you should try writing your own novel.

    I just think that the way some people dismiss certain books and certain authors–or the reactions of authors about criticism for their work–betray not only a lack of respect towards artists in general but have a naive, uninformed notion about what an artist or author actually does.

    Anne Rice’s reaction to the Amazon.com comments may seem unjustfied, as unjustified as Christian Bale’s rant at the set of his latest movie (A Terminator film, I believe)after a member of the crew, the cinematographer, distracted him during a scene.

    But I think both Bale and Rice were justified in their response. Most people may think they have no right to go “batshit” because they’re rich and famous but then, most people are not authors and not actors, and have no idea what being one or the other is like–and therefore are ignorant about what Bale and Rice went through during those incidents.

    And being rich and famous does not take away their right to respond. You may not like their response, but they have the right to make it.


  • Lapin
    August 2
    7:30 am

    This is why I regret majoring in English to become an editor. So many authors are unprofessional divas that can’t take criticism. I got two internships where I edited books and articles, and I have received so much verbal abuse, it’s unbelievable. I’m tactful, and I’m just doing my job, but I still get chewed out because they are “too good” for an editor. This is why I’m looking into getting another degree. I don’t want to be verbally abused and have all my hard work not only be unappreciated, but scorned for the rest of my life.


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