ADDENDUM: Charlie Stross gets in on the act.
God do I love Scalzi's posts sometimes. Before I get into details, I should point out the origin of this meme in the actions of one asshat extrordinaire, Deborah MacGillivray who engaged in gaming the Amazon.com review system, mobilizing internet stormtroopers to vote down and report negative reviews as abuse and, in the height of insanity, precipitated a pile-on victimizing a single poor reviewer who complained about her tactics, to the tune of collecting personal information, making threats and generally behaving like a stalker a few pages short of a copy of Catcher in the Rye. Punchline? The reviewer so abused had dared to post a three-star review.
Scalzi's response to this insanity seemed highly appropriate and psychologically healthy. He posted a selection of his own one-star reviews, and provided the following challenge:
[...] [T]o other authors with blogs, LiveJournals and etc: Post your one-star (or otherwise negative) Amazon reviews, if you have them, and you probably do. Oh, go on. Own your one-star reviews, man. And then, you know. Get past them. If you’re lucky, some of them might actually be fun to read.
So, in solidarity with all sane authors who don't hire a PI or a hitman when someone trashes their baby, I hereby present— free of hand-wringing, teeth gnashing or snarky commentary— a selection of my less than stellar Amazon reviews:
Dragons of the Cuyahoga
It's a mystery with any real conclusions. It moves from accusations of one group to accusations of another. The conclusion of the book is not supported by any facts in the story. It was merely conclusions that could have been taken any number of ways.
The authors writing left something to be desired. The use of big words added nothing to the story and did nothing but slow me down. It was as if the author was trying to show off his intelligence.
The use of profanity was unnecessary. The use of profanity by characters added nothing to the character development. There was no point to having it in the book.
Finally the book has very little to do with dragons. The first dragon dies in the prologue and the only other dragon in the story adds nothing to the story line. The title of the book is misleading.
Forests of the Night
It's sad to be excited about a book beacause of all the good reviews here on Amazon, and then to find it is filled with racial stereotypes. I suppose this book is fine for people of European descent, but people of color like myself might be put off by the use racial slurs like "Japs" and "wetbacks" which are used by the main character. Am I supposed to like this character? The dipiction of black people also left me saddened. This book wasn't written in the 50's, was it? And here I thought he was going to be using the concept of the moreau as a critique of rasicism as opposed to more of the same old, same old.
This book is not a new concept. Stephen King and Dean Koontz have written about telekinesis and evil organizations attempting to control and experiment upon those with telekinesis before. It's not a crime not to start out with an original concept: authors do it all the time. But what Krane failed to do was to provide an original slant and original characters. I couldn't look at any of the characters and think of someone they reminded me of or that one of them might be someone I'd like to meet. They weren't believable. Especially not Chuck. What teenager talks like that? He was full of annoying anachronisms.
This is one of the worst books I've ever read. Very difficult for the reader to keep track of the twenty-odd characters in "The Game." The characterizations are poor and no reason is given for the reader to care about these people. The plot is so tenuous and obscure that it is an effort to maintain interest. By the time you find out what has been happening and why - you just don't give a d---. This writer knows very little about writing - at least in this genre - and I will not read anything else he writes. Save your time and money. If I could have rated it lower than one star, I would have.