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Gambler / 2009.08.25


A new website calls for an introduction. Some sort of pretentious manifesto would be nice. Unfortunately, I couldn't come up with the one I could read without mentally cringing. Maybe that skill of mine was lost throughout the years, or maybe this just isn't the right place and time for it.

An introduction usually describes reasons behind the project (if there are any, which nowadays is increasingly rare) and where the whole thing is headed. Reasons are the hardest, because people expect them to be a certain way. Optimistic, assertive and overall nice, like some verbalized motivational poster. People want a pretty lie.

Here is a pinch of reality instead. I like to read and I read a lot. Sometimes I want to find a new interesting book, but I don't know a single website with useful reviews. Sometimes I want to write an article about a book, but there is nowhere to publish it. I'm sure there are others who are in the same position. It simply makes sense to open a proper website about literature.

The good thing about such explanation is that it isn't a lie. The bad thing about it is that there are a lot of omissions. It doesn't say anything about the need for reviews due to overwhelming quantities of complete and utter garbage on the shelves of bookstores. It doesn't say anything about the state of modern criticism, which isn't just dead, but long decomposed and overgrown with weeds. It doesn't say anything about the weeds either. Perhaps it's not the best place to speak about such things, but they are all part of the forces that conjured up this website into existence.

Its name is deliberately ambiguous. Literary Review was too pretentious, while Literature Review sounded like a phrase made up by outdated translation software. The abbreviation combined the essence of the two, avoiding the problems of either one. The website isn't going to have just reviews, however. There will be other article types too, from analytics to the ones I'm not sure about myself at this point. The important thing to keep in mind is the focus on meaningful fiction (meaningful being the kind that actually communicates and expresses something). The rest will emerge.

Now for some administrative details. The website operates on an open basis. This does not preclude editorial control or having standards - the Internet has too many information garbage dumps as it is. However, anyone is free to submit materials here, and all the articles that are relevant, meaningful and have sufficient quality will be published. Again, it would be nice to say that I'm expecting an army of professional-grade authors to garrison here any minute. It would be another pretty lie, since I don't expect anything in particular. The only guarantees are that the website will work regardless of its current popularity, and that it will have some interesting things to read.

Stay tuned.


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