I Have a Bad Review!

Tonight at dinner my wife casually mentioned this bad review she had seen for my ebook of interviews, thinking I knew about it. I didn’t. To be honest, I had no idea it had ever been reviewed for good or ill. I googled it and turned it up here, written by Deborah Fisher. I don’t agree with it of course because, like, no one agrees with reviews that tell them that they suck (or they shouldn’t if they do). This person really really doesn’t like my book, and uses very loaded language all throughout. For example – “Each interview is preceded by a potted biography, by Slusher, of its subject.” What is a potted biography? They aren’t actually biographies at all, they are mostly little anecdotes about my end of the interview and background of why I care about this author.

This person seems to have reviewed my book based on weird generalizations from reading my introductions. For example, here’s a portion of the review:

According to him, the interview with Michael Swanwick is the first that was conducted with one eye on a future book. This makes it all the more remarkable that he admits to knowing nothing about Swanwick beyond the content of the interview.

Here is my passage from the book that is being referred to:

Beyond this interview, I don’t know much of Michael Swanwick’s personal life. I know his writing well, having enjoyed his novels and his brilliant run of short work that continues to this writing.

The reviewer is misreading what I wrote pretty badly. I said I knew much about his writing but not of him as a person and she took it to mean I am ignorant of all things Swanwick. That’s pretty typical of the stuff in the review. This whole thing is fascinating. I know all kinds of writers who are subject to having their words twisted, their motives questioned and such. This is the first (and only as far as I know) time it has happened to me. It does sting, and the next time I’ll have much more empathy for their feelings. I suspect that she read the book, didn’t like it and now everything in the book is justification for not liking it. Oh well, I’m a big boy and can take it. To quote Paulie Walnuts from The Sopranos – “Welcome to the NFL.”

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father. Member of the Podcast Hall of Fame class of 2022.

One thought on “I Have a Bad Review!”

  1. Ed says:

    I didn’t think it was so bad. It was more condescending than anything. I particularly liked the phrase “endearing self-deprecatication.” And the best was the pondering finish about why the “publisher” did the project. Maybe she missed something. I know nothing of the people who write reviews… though it seems like an “art” that bad – and bitter – authors take up. And to quote Goodfellas – “You popped your cherry!”

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