As my fiction starts to appear in pro-rate magazines, it’s also starting to gather reviews. I’ve had a few stories reviewed by some of the larger speculative fiction publications, like Locus and Tangent. They’ve been mixed, which I don’t think is particularly surprising, given the type of things I write. No one can expect great reviews from everyone, and frankly, that’s not the point of writing or reviewing, in my opinion. I write what I like; reviewers praise what they like. Everyone’s tastes vary.
That doesn’t mean a bad review doesn’t sting. It does…which made this post by M. Edward McNally the perfect balm for that review sting.
Mr. McNally takes a bite out of 1-star reviews by posting reader reviews of beloved classics. He says these are actual “reviews” found on popular site (a little sleuthing traced them back to Goodreads, where in my story “Thief of Futures” actually got a good review!). While many of the reviews sound like they were written by teens forced to read the books, it just goes to show that even the classics are not above a little savaging. Some of my favorites highlighted by Mr. McNally:
The Iliad by Homer: “I know there’s a good story in there somewhere but it gets lost in unending, ridiculous, irrelevant dialogue.”
The Lord of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: “What is seriously lacking in Tolkien’s world is any original idea or just imagination in general.”
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov: “Blah blah I hate America blah blah I’m smart blah blah I’m from Europe blah blah.”
So the next time I get a bad review, I just need to remember I’m in good company. I know I’ll re-read Mr. McNally’s post periodically to reset my perspective.