In its June 18 podcast, the website SF Signal talked about the moratorium on book spoilers by asking the question: “At what point is it ok to talk about the ending of a book?”
Now, some things were said that just seemed crazy, and make me glad I’m not a reviewer and don’t have to deal with it. One comment I particularly don’t get concerned “conceptual spoilers” where if you reveal a particular concept that the plot deals with instead of actual details. The panel for this podcast was made up of various authors and reviewers, and besides dealing with the etiquette of books, it came up that procedural and mystery fans are terrible to hang out with.
Now I come from a SF/F background as well, so I feel them. The problem, as they point out, is that mystery fans see the twist long before anyone else. You sit down to watch a great movie or interesting TV show, and the mystery fan will have the villain picked out as soon as they slither into view, all smiles and handshakes. Evil twin? No problem, the mystery fan has their number.
The panel goes on to say that the art of a great twist has been lost for the most part in mainstream genre, but is alive and well in short fiction. You can listen to it in detail, but I’m curious about your thoughts. Do you think mystery fans can spot a villain, no matter the medium, before anyone else? Is the art of the plot twist lost? And what about book spoilers, how soon is too soon?