It’s Friday, which means we are over at Kirkus! Today we are mixing things up a bit! Both Thea and I read The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher, and we both had COMPLETELY different interpretations and reactions to the book.

The Six Gun Tarot

So, to give a dual perspective, I reviewed the book over at Kirkus’ Science Fiction & Fantasy blog, while Thea posted her take here.

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10 Responses to Over at Kirkus: The Six-Gun Tarot by R. S. Belcher

  1. russell1200 says:

    I am curious as to what guidelines Kirkus gives to its reviewers. Your rather particularist feminist views seem fine at your own site, but when you start complaining about female warrior types because they don’t fit your ideas of the feminine ideal, it might raise some eyebrows at what is presumably a broader intended audience.

  2. Russell1200, I think you wrote ‘broader intended’ when you meant ‘mysoginistic.’

  3. kmont says:

    I suspect Kirkus looked their review over before publishing it and didn’t quail an iota at anything, feminist or otherwise. The idea their views should be kept to their own playground is laughable.

  4. Ana says:

    So basically you come to my website to tell me to keep my ideas to myself?

    But OK, I will play.

    I do not think you got the point I made in my review. I do not have “ideas of feminine ideal”. Quite the contrary, which is EXACTLY the point I made in my review – the book, the story has a feminine ideal (nurturing, protective), which is quite limiting.

    We have a column at Kirkus because they value, understand and appreciate our “feminist views.” Like most intelligent human beings.

  5. Tracy Hurley says:

    I’m not sure I understand russel’s point. I do hope the person realizes that women constitute a large portion of the reading audience and I hope he or she is not seriously trying to frame a discussion of how female characters are presented as being “not the norm.”

  6. russell1200 says:

    Ana, we are at your website. Obviously you may say what you like. But Kirkus is a commercial website. There business model is as best I gather very similar to Standard and Poor’s o,r Moody’s, or Fitch’s.

    That you go to great length to take exception to the portrayal of the ideal woman as nurturing and protective does not surprise me. But Kirkus is not generally thought of as a place for political discourse. Could you not see where the author or publisher might be a little annoyed with a review of a book that is after all called “Six Gun Tarot” has more to do with your own personal beliefs than whatever slim entertainment merits it may have? Unless I am mistaken, they are the ones paying Kirkus’ bills.

    This can be taken as more a criticism of Kirkus’ business model than your own beliefs. But since you are now “working” for Kirkus, their business model does not seem to be off bounds.

  7. Thea says:

    russell1200 – First of all, discussing the treatment and portrayal of female characters is not a “political” stance.

    Second of all, your understanding of what constitutes a business model is completely wrong. The S&P is not a business model, it is a company that publishes research and provides indices of companies which are then used as a benchmark for stock performance. The S&P, Moody’s and Fitch are also all credit rating agencies. They are not “business models.” Kirkus’ business model (that is, the way Kirkus makes money – which would be a combination of subscription and advertising revenue, as well as income from editing and marketing services) is completely irrelevant to this conversation. For the record, publishers do not pay for Kirkus’ bills, or ANY publication’s bills. You don’t pay a publication to run a favorable review (that’s not just unethical and contrary to journalistic standards, but, in cases if not disclosed, illegal).

    Finally, just so this is completely clear: our responsibility as reviewers is not to please or pander to publishers and authors. Our responsibility is always to the reader, to honestly and thoroughly review the work in question for the readers’ benefit.

    Questioning the portrayal of female characters in a book falls directly within that purview.

  8. RS Belcher says:

    Hi Ana,
    I wanted to thank you and Thea for the reviews of my book! I found your review to be very thought provoking and I enjoyed it.
    I would love to discuss your take on my book sometime, if you would like; maybe do an interview on Book Smuggler or here on Kirkus.
    For the record, in regards to the appropriateness of your review here, I think you have every right, and a duty as a reviewer, to post how my book made you feel, good or bad, in any venue that you want. Books are mediums of ideas and ideas provoke our core inner concepts and beliefs. If you read something and it contradicts or challenges those beliefs, then that is what you came away from the book with and that is completely valid to discuss in a review. I’m very glad my book got you and Thea discussing and debating. I’d rather be told my book was thought-provoking, and not loved by everyone, than produce a bland work that you forget ten minutes after you put it down.
    I knew when I wrote Six-Gun, there would be parts that provoked discussion and even controversy. I didn’t set out to do that- Honest! I just was writing my dark-ity, dark, dark horror-western, but when you step into the arena of ideas for things like religion, politics, sexuality and gender roles, you are not going to please everyone– if you do then you wrote meaningless crap (see the above-mentioned popcorn).
    For the record, I am not a Christian, I’m not sure what I am exactly, but I do enjoy discussing spirituality and having my ideas and concepts challenged and tested, especially in as intelligent and civil a way as you did in your review.
    Again, Thank you, and Thea for taking the time to read my book. I hope, if I’m lucky enough to have more books published, that you will review them as well and give me your honest opinion. It keeps me honest! Take care, Rod (RS Belcher)

  9. Superbwg says:

    @RS Belcher- an author who understands that not every reader is going to have the same reaction to the book that they have written is refreshing and awesome, I appreciate your support of open and honest reviews. I was on the fence about reading this book, but will now probably pick it up and read it just becuase of your obvious and wonderful prefrence to have a thought provoking book vs a forgettable book.

    @ Ana and Thea- I love that you both had such different reactions to this book, I love that you two can remain civil and well written regardless of your feelings of the books and I love that I have both reviews to read about this seemingly complex book.

    @russell1200- The whole point of a book review is to a) read the book b) think about the book c) attempt to write out a coherent, readable review of why the review may or may not have liked the book. A review is a persons opionion and nothing more, that reviewer is entitled to feel however he/she may feel about the book, and the reviewer is supposed to put down reasons he/she liked/did not like parts of the book. If it is a so called political reason, religious reason, personal experiance reason, or a just not my style reason, that dosen’t matter as long as the reviewer tries to be clear about it…regardless of the site the review is on.

    Ok diatribe over, yeah for literary discussion I love it!

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