One of fantasys most popular authors, Piers Anthony is also one of the fields most fascinating and controversial personalities. His first volume of memoirs, Bio of an Ogre (1988), chronicled Anthonys first fifty years. Now Piers Anthony continues his remarkable life story. Focusing on the past 15 years of his career, the book also includes revealing episodes from Anthonys early years, scathing commentaries on the bottom line publishing mentality, and uncompromising views on human nature.
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In this autobiographical sequel to 1988's Bio of an Ogre, Anthony tacitly and emphatically acknowledges that his readers mean more to him than critics, publishers or editors. Anthony, a renowned fantasy writer, creator of the Xanth series, dedicates a chapter called "The Early Part of Dying" to his fans and their sometimes highly personal correspondence, sharing their "inner agonies" (often he spends two full days a week answering letters). Some controversial segments focusing on the intricacies of the publishing industry might be applauded if they weren't so terribly black-and-white. Seemingly defensive, Anthony accuses the review industry of housing unqualified, subjective reviewers: "In a general way, many reviewers have a bias against success, so they try to bring down the most successful fiction while promoting the least successful." Discussing his novelizations of movies (e.g., Total Recall), he opines, "Novelizations are sneered at by critics, but of course it seems that everything that's interesting is panned by critics." His vitriol isn't reserved for the publishing biz: he hates Dallas, for instance, because JFK was assassinated there; based on that long-ago event, he's decided that Dallas's entire police force is still incompetent. His thoughts on his craft, not his focus on sales figures, make for the most interesting passages. "A writer who waits for inspiration may wait forever" is far more illuminating than "Do you ever wonder why the latest Stephen King novel is in every store?... To [publishers], books are just a product, and King sells better than Brand X." (Sept.)Forecast: Anthony has a ready-made audience. With print advertising in sci-fi and fantasy publications, this will have no trouble reaching them.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.From Booklist:
The creator of Xanth has many firmly held opinions. One is that all his other opinions are of some interest to readers in general, to students of modern fantasy and sf, and to those curious about the strange and sinister ways of the publishing industry. After briefly summarizing his earlier years (already covered in Bio of an Ogre, 1988) and his career through 1996, Anthony turns thematic. He covers sex (including the opposite one), fans and fan mail, collaborations great and small, his various causes (many of them worthy), and, as always, his conflicts with what sometimes seems half of creation. Some of those war stories are unfortunately too plausible; about others one would like to hear other opinions. One ends up suspecting that Anthony emerged from a troubled Quaker upbringing with a commitment to do good works and has done them well, even if often in bad temper. As ogres go, he is somewhat reminiscent of the protagonist of the movie Shrek: fearful to contemplate, less so when his deeds are measured. Roland Green
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