A sci-fi fantasy smorgasbord

Last weekend’s New York Times Sunday Book Review features sci-fi and fantasy new releases reviewed by Charles Yu. He seems to have spotted an overarching theme:

“So much of this work feels as if it is post-something, pervaded by a sense of living and writing in an era that comes after, of fiction being produced by novelists who can’t help feeling that it’s getting late or, in some cases, that it’s too late.”

Several of these titles sound very interesting and it’s a pleasure to read insightful reviews that are not overly critical even when you get the sense that the reviewer didn’t particularly enjoy the book. Have you read any of these books? Let me know in the comments below!

Fraudulent five-star fakes finally forestalled!

I’m sure those aren’t the only F-words that pop into the minds of honest authors and publishers when they read about their less scrupulous competitors’ mendacious review-buying activities. Now Amazon is taking fake reviewers to court in the US. I’m no legal scholar, but I bet that not only is review-buying cheating, it’s also criminal fraud. Personally, I’d rather a fan illegally download my book than have another author boost their Amazon rating by purchasing fake reviews.

Here’s what real reviews look like, in this screenshot from Silent Symmetry’s Amazon.com page:

Symmetry reviews

Clearly this wasn’t the right book for the 1-star reviewer, and that’s the way it should be for any work, whether lowbrow or highbrow. But I’m proud to have taken the True Review Pledge and encourage other authors to do so.

Amazon isn’t altruistically taking a legal stand on behalf of honest authors, the company also has to protect its brand, and fake reviews make it harder for book lovers to judge before they buy, therefore tarnishing the trust they have in the platform.

Fiction authors lie for a living. But they don’t have to cheat.

Broken Pencil reviews Starley’s Rust

Reviews are always nice. Nice reviews are even nicer! Check out what Toronto indie culture and zine mag Broken Pencil had to say about Starley’s Rust besides this:

Dutton is in his element crafting together a sci-fi adventure with a good blend of sincerity and humour that, without such a fine balance, can be the downfall of any YA fiction.