On the other hand ...

I have been half-following a controversial topic here concerning the freedom of reviewers to review without getting a lot of hassle from, and even stalked by, discontented authors. Of course, all my sympathies are with the reviewers.


Or almost all. It depends on the review and the reviewer.


And with that thought in mind, I'd like to add my two penn'orth.


As readers of my reviews may have noticed, I am a great fan of the Dune series - and that includes all the prequels and sequels written by Frank Herbert's son Brian and his colleague Kevin J. Anderson.


Now, every time they bring out a new book. a few "hate reviews" appear on Amazon which in no way represent the opinion of the vast majority of the readers who, like myself, have been looking forward to the latest addition to the canon and are justifiably confident after all this time that they will not be disappointed.


I just went to Amazon.com to check out the situation regarding the latest novel in the series, Mentats of Dune (which I'll publish a review of soon).




These are the Amazon statistics: 5 stars - 94 people; 4 stars - 40 people; 3 stars - 25 people; 2 stars - 11 people; 1 star - 14 people. So 134 out of 184 people gave the book four or five stars with their review. That's 73%.


If I'd written a book that got that kind of feedback on Amazon, I'd be delighted. Yet - have a look on Amazon - of the seven reviews actually displayed on the book's Amazon page, five are one-star reviews and the other two 2-star reviews. The one I've taken these extracts from is typical; it was written by someone called "M" (a "Top 1000 Reviewer") and is entitled brian and kevin, just stop, seriously (his - or her - lack of capitals)


[...] this is not Frank Herbert's lovingly-crafted Duneverse. It's some... cheap, twisted, McDonald's version of it. Brian and Kevin have thus far penned what... a dozen McDune books by this point? When a ghostwriter (technically this doesn't fit Brian and Kevin since they're using their own names - thank Shai-hulud for small favors, but I can't think of a better word at the moment) writes more books than the original author, then it's definitely time to put the pen (or keyboard) down and walk away.


Frank Herbert's Dune was filled with meaning and hidden messages, meant to provoke our minds. The Dune that Brian and Kevin write is no more than badly-written fanfiction with characters who don't understand what they're doing or why they do it. Honestly, the level of sophistication in this book reminds me of Gloria Tesch's Maradonia books (and no, that is not a good thing!!!)

It was a real chore to slog through this, rarely do I come across a book where I literally have to force myself to turn the page to finish the book.


 It would be a real chore for me to slog through many, many books that other people love - so I don't slog through them and I certainly don't write negative reviews of them. And I certainly don't beg the authors of such books to stop writing them!


There was another reviewer who caught my eye, a certain W. Stacey, who gave Sisterhood of Dune and Winds of Dune two stars each, and begins his review of the former with the following very revealing words:


I've read every single Dune book. This review is not a statement of someone who categorically hates the new authors.


Oh yes, there are reviewers who "categorically hate" certain authors and stalk them.