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Spoiler etiquette - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal
Mar. 9th, 2007
10:27 pm -
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March 11th, 2007 06:24 pm (UTC)
That's a fair point; there are certainly books that I have read several times. I can't comment on the details of this particular issue, because I haven't read it yet, but I have been impressed by the writer's previous issues (I've read the paperback collections twice).
I think I see it more as a sliding scale than an "all or nothing" thing. In other words, a good story can be even better if there's something that surprises you the first time around, and I think it's a shame to deprive people of that opportunity. I think there are some stories which actively benefit from a second reading, since you can then see the foreshadowing for what you know is coming, and interpret words/actions in a different light.
Having said all that, I also think there are some stories which are only intended to be read/seen once, and that's ok. I'm thinking about murder mysteries in particular, although not all of them will fall into this category. In a story like that, the payoff is the ending where the murderer is revealed, but the rest of the story isn't just filler - it's guiding you to that point.
An analogy might be a sporting event such as a football match, although since I'm not a sports fan this may be a flawed analogy :) I think there are some moments that can be appreciated on their own merits (e.g. a goal scored from the opposite end of the pitch), but it mostly comes down to a case of rooting for your team. I gather that this is why match results are normally preceded by "If you don't want to know the result, look away now" - that way, if you've recorded the game and haven't watched it yet, you don't get the ending spoilt for you.