Friday, May 6, 2016

Shutting Down the Haters

It seems every other day there's an article in my Facebook feed about JK Rowling "shutting down haters" on Twitter.  Seems like there's a double standard there as the hugely famous author gets lauded for responding to critics while the rest of us are told to STFU.  Not that I ever follow that advice because I really don't give a shit.

Recently someone on Smashwords "reviewed" Chance of a Lifetime and it really bugged me.  Not just because of the 1-star rating.  Mostly because of the many, many factual errors.  If you're going to hate on a book, at least get your goddamned facts straight!  Some of the things he said were so outlandishly untrue that it really, really pisses me off Smashwords doesn't let you respond to reviews or that I can't email this jackass to tell him all the shit he got wrong.
Okay, in reading Fiction there is an an agreement to accept the paradigms on which the author does base the plot While in "Escaping Earth" from the same author (the title has been changed to "Sea Sheperd" in the meantime) there are a provocative lot of nonsense like, the backside of the moon is always dark and there is no gravity on the moon, only on the planets, it's okay for me that in "Chance of a lifetime" one injection of DNA can change a dead, mid-aged policeman into a very lively girlie of 18, even though I always believed DNA will form the next generation, not the actual specimen.
The implementation at first resulted in a sweet story. You can not help grinning when the girl, Ex-Policeman, frequently is on the brink of breaking out in tears, develops a strong urge to purchase shoes and always worries about her weight.
But to keep the interest of the reader and the suspense, the author takes refuge to lots of sex scenes, which I think are not needed to form a picture of the characters (who somehow are all alike anyhow. the policemen reborn as 18yo girl; the daughter of the policeman; the daughter of the other policeman; the gangsters who differ from each other mostly by the time of their demise etc.). and, worse, to ever more violence.
Still worse, the book ends in mid-action, as was the case with "Escaping Earth". There the last page was that the cruel space monsters were under way to kill all beings on Earth, in "Chance of a lifetime" the scientists find a way to reconvert the hero from a young girl to an adult man and then the story stops. I have downloaded a lot of books from smashwords and purchased some follow-ups from the good authors and interesting series but all of them were faire enough to write a completed novel, not leaving all open ends so the reader should spend the money to find out how the story ends.
Yeah, so here's all the stuff wrong:
  • Escaping Earth was just a working title.  It was changed to STAR Shepherd.  Because it takes place in space, not underwater.  Duh.
  • The stuff injected into Steve Fischer isn't just DNA.  That would make no sense.  It's described as "a combination of hormone treatments, gene therapy, and stem cells to reverse the aging process."  Just some vaguely scientific stuff.  If I wanted to get more scientific I could throw in a "retrovirus."  Because yes an injection of DNA wouldn't do shit.  Which is why it's not.
  • A lot of sex scenes?  I think there are three at most.
  • "the daughter of the other policeman" is dead.  That's mentioned a number of times.  There are whole paragraphs about how it's affected the other policeman and his wife.  Duh.

The one I take the most umbrage with is this whole "ends in mid-action" and "the scientists find a way to reconvert the hero from a young girl to an adult man and then the story stops."  That isn't even remotely true.  This is the end of the book:


.  I hurry outside, to stand opposite a couple of smokers by the front doors.  “Does this mean you have good news?”
“Not as good as I’d like,” Dr. Palmer says.  “I’ve looked over the formula Luther gave us and Dr. Nath’s notes.”
“They’re good?”
“The formula matches what we took from your blood.  It’s definitely FY-1978.”
“That’s a good thing, isn’t it?”
“It is.  And Dr. Nath’s notes seem to be legitimate.”
“Are they helpful?”
“They should be.  Gita was nothing if not thorough.  A lot of what she did, she documented in these files.”  Dr. Palmer sighs.  “Maybe she knew they were coming after her.”
“Maybe,” I say.  “Maybe she’s just thorough, like you said.”
The doctor sighs again.  “Anyway, I think we’ll have our first batch ready to test in a couple of months.”
“That’s great.  Isn’t it?”  When it comes to this biology stuff I still don’t understand most of what Dr. Palmer says.  I figure I’ll take a couple of college classes in that area.
“Yes.  But there’s still a long way to go before we can try it on humans.  Years of testing on animals.”
It’s my turn to sigh.  Though I’ve been a woman for a month now, I still check the mirror every morning to make sure there’s no change.  I’ll have to do that for years to come.  “I guess we already knew that, didn’t we?”
“Right, but look on the bright side:  it shouldn’t take us as long now.”
“Fifteen years instead of twenty?”
“Maybe.  Don’t lose hope, Stacey.  We can beat this thing.”
“I know.”  I smile a little and think of how many times the doctors said that to Jenny.  She did beat it for three years, but eventually the disease won.  Maybe that’s how this will be.  Maybe by the time Dr. Palmer finds a cure there won’t be anything left to cure.
Then I look inside.  Through the doors of the mall I can see Maddy and Grace at our table.  Maddy sees me and waves.  I wave back to her.  Things could be a lot worse.  This isn’t the end for me; it’s a new beginning.  Like Dr. Palmer said, it’s a chance to start over again.  Maybe this time I’ll get it right.
“Thanks for letting me know, Doctor,” I say.  “And good luck.”
“You too.”
I hang up the phone.  Then I go inside to rejoin my friends.
I don't know what the dude is on to think that stops the story "in mid-action" or that the scientists have found a cure.  It says right there it would take YEARS of testing on animals and 15 years instead of 20.  I'm not sure how much clearer that can be. I'm not sure how it's not a "completed novel" just because every single thing isn't wrapped up.  Jeez they didn't destroy Darth Vader and the Empire in the first Star Wars.  That's how you have a series.

After this "review" I'm not sure how many books this guy has read, but I bet they had a lot of pictures.

While I'm shutting down haters, someone wrote this "review" of my book Army of the Damned:
Remake of the Wingman series with zombies
Well, yes, that's the core concept.  Why do you think the cover is designed to look like a book of that series?  Why do you think the main character's name is a reversal of the main character of the Wingman books?  Even the "Sky Ghost" is a reference to the last few Wingman books.  Yeesh, how much more obvious could I make it?
Someone did this same kind of thing with my Girl Power book, whining that the main characters are like Superman, Batman, the Flash, and Aquaman.  And it's like, yes, that's the core concept.  Congratulations on figuring out the obvious!  I mean the book starts in the Batcave with a rich guy and his butler.  The super strong character works at a newspaper with a female reporter.  The aquatic guy is king of an underwater kingdom.  I mean, could I make it more obvious?  Yeesh.
But if you want to actually "review" something, you need to do more than just identify the concept.  You need to actually express why that's a good thing or bad thing. Though since the same person gave the book just 2 stars on Goodreads, I suppose he couldn't think of anything intelligent to say, though on Amazon you don't need to use words; you can just write 10/10 or 1/10 like someone in England did with a couple of my books.  That's peak laziness right there; it's the least you can do besides nothing.  Though in those case nothing would be better.

2 comments:

  1. This is the problem with this whole "review culture" that's out there. You get the people who didn't really read it but feel compelled to write something, even if it is wrong, you get the people with an axe to grind (you're familiar with that), you get the industry plants who talk up a book because they're paid to do so, the people like that guy who figured out the concept and thinks that's a review, and a few people who really do read it and write a good review. All the chaff can make it hard to find the real and honest reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That is such an odd review that I gotta wonder if perhaps it's from someone who just doesn't like you.

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