Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Comparison

I was reading The New York Times Book Review this morning, and I came across this "Crime" column by Marilyn Stasio, in which she reviews four books.

And that got me thinking.

Now, this is completely unfair -- I admit that freely -- but Stasio has had two columns (the other was in the March 11th issue) since Dave Itzkoff's last "Across the Universe" column (also in the March 11th issue). And Stasio (each column half the length of that epic Itzkoff exploration into SETI) has managed to thoughtfully review 11 books in roughly the same space as Itzkoff took to review...well, none.

So, here's my question: is there any chance we can trade? I have no reason to believe Ms. Stasio knows anything about SF, but that doesn't seem to be a NYTBR requirement to begin with. And she certainly knows how to review books, which would be a nice change.


Anonymous said...

You know, you and others like you just might have enough professional clout to do something about this. I suspect you know a couple of hundred people with un-dismissable credentials in SF.
If you could persuade say a hundred of them to send a coordinated wave of letters to Itzkoff's boss, it should get his attention. And if they were obvious serious letters, coming from folks in the industry, I suspect they would get read.

Andrew Wheeler said...

Johan: Well, I may be a cynic and a pessimist, but...

1) I have no real reason for believing the Times would get someone better to replace Itzkoff; they'd be more likely to ditch the whole idea of a SF column as a bad idea if he were to jump or be pushed.

2) You might notice I'm the main person picking on Itzkoff. (There have been some minor grumblings elsewhere -- the lurkers support me in e-mail, he mumbled -- but, generally, no one else makes a big deal about him.) I do this in part because I find it amusing, but I can do it because I'm in a position where I don't care about the Times. If I wrote books that the Times might review, or if I edited those books, or published those books, then it would be a different story. The Times swings a big bat in the media world, and you don't want to piss them off unnecessarily. So I very much doubt anyone could get those couple of hundred people to sign a letter saying, "Yes, please, New York Times, don't ever review any of my books again."

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