Bad Reviews, Bullying, and How Not to Stick Your Foot in It (An Entirely Subjective Guide)


Quick quiz: which of the following counts as bullying?

  1. A critical review.
  2. An extremely snarky critical review loaded with GIFs.
  3. A reviewer telling the author of the book that she is uncomfortable with him commenting on her review.
  4. A post on a second blog by a second book blogger detailing why a reviewer might be uncomfortable with an author commenting on the review.
  5. The same author being shut down by commenters on the second blog after he attempts to air his grievances there as well.
  6. The author of the second blog being harassed on Twitter by (male) fans of the (male) author and (male) bloggers who disagree with her post, including name-calling and accusations of bullying, misogynistic slurs, and a rape threat.


  1. No.
  2. Despite what Nathan Bransford may think, no.
  3. Still no.
  4. Still no.
  5. Also a no.
  6. The blogger won’t admit it as such, but in my view – yes, absolutely.

By this point the Twitter shitshow has dissolved in platitudinous (but still wise) advice by John Scalzi on communication issues, profanity-laden (but also wise) advice by Chuck Wendig on not responding to critical reviews, and conversations within the SF/F industry on the dividing line between fans and creators, if such a line exists at all.

What’s not being discussed in the strong undercurrent of misogyny that’s belied this recent debate. And that’s a shame.

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