Reader, Reviewers, and Reviews
by Ernest Lilley
SFRevu.com Editorial ISBN/ITEM#: ED_July06
Date: July 2006
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There are some brilliant critics out there, and I really admire their knowledge of writing, literature and genre. In fact, I'm in awe of the best of them, and the best of them may be John Clute, though I envy Gardner Dozois masterly statements on writing, industry, and genre. For myself, like I said, I basically know what I like and am looking to share that with others. That's SFRevu's mission and the standard we hold our folks to.
- "We read only good books...over..." I like SF, and want more people to read more SF that turns them on. SFRevu's mission is to connect people with books (and media) that they will enjoy and or be positively affected by. I'm happy to include works that aren't uplifting, but have some other message of value, though personally, and I've got witnesses, I'm a positivist and the futures I'm looking for tend to have more happy people than miserable ones. Though I admit I've enjoyed being miserable on occasion and have been known to wear black.
- We're not here to punish bad writers. For one thing, I'm not at all sure I'd know a bad writer when I saw one. The only thing I'm sure of is that I can tell if I'm enjoying a book, movie, TV show or whatever, or if I'm not. Fortunately there's enough stuff out there that I enjoy that I don't need to rant in order to fill up our webspace. Even if we did find a writer that we thought had a lot to learn, and we thought they could benefit from our wisdom, it's highly unlikely that they'd be interested in learning from us. Though we have made observations that authors have taken to heart, but I firmly believe that we are able to have an impact because we first show affection for the works we review.
- Do we ever run negative reviews? Rarely. It's just not something that appeals to me. Ironically, the most likely scenario would be if a well known author came out with a title that I felt fell off their standard. I might feel that the reading public might benefit from a cautionary review...but well, see the next item for why even that might elicit silence rather than criticism.
- Not all readers are alike. We actively try to match reviewers with books, and we try to match them up for good reviews. One of the things we're working on is better ways to profile our reviewers for you so you can compare your preferences with theirs, but the bottom line is that what one person may find a great read another may find dull beyond belief. Personally, I like a certain amount of exposition in my storytelling. Honest, I learned a lot of basic science reading SF as a child. At the risk of digressing, I'd like to say that if I don't feel I'm learning from a book I feel like I'm wasting my time. When I read SF, I like to get new ideas about culture and technology, and when I read fantasy I like to pick up new insights into mythology and spiritualism. And when I read slipstream, well...I learn what makes me feel weird.
- We're just here for the money. Well, no, not actually. We did recently start selling advertising on SFRevu, but we're not charging much and the odds that we'll ever actually make enough to make this a career choice are pretty incredible. While it would be nice, it's really not why we're here. We do like getting books for free, though "free" means that we put in several hours of work not including reading the book in the first place and it still doesn't keep us from having to buy copies of things we want anyway. Basically we're trying to make enough money to offset our expenses and maybe buy some beer and skittles. Whatever skittles are.
July 1, 2006
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