SUMMARY: My “Short-Story-A-Day” Experiment

For those who haven’t been beaten over the head with it, last year I resolved to read a short story each day of 2004. Well, that quickly became too daunting so I came up with a SF-POINTS plan to weigh each story according to its approximate length as deemed by the Science Fiction Writers of America. So a short story would count as 1 point, the longer novelette would count as two and the still-longer novella would count as 4 points. This allowed me to take a breather and fit in some novels. The goal, then, was to amass 366 points in the leap year of 2004.

Before I anal-retentively list the short story stats, I though I would comment on my experiences with this experiment.

First and foremost, I read way more in 2004 than I’ve ever read in any other year of my life. Setting the goal of 366 points pushed me better organize my time. It kept me away from the useless exercise of TV channel surfing, one of the biggest time wasters. It also pushed me to use stolen moments here and there to sneak in short story readings. Reading off my PDA helped immensely in this area regardless of my earlier misgivings about eBooks.

Having kept up the pace of 30 or so points a month, I subsequently found more time to read novel-length stories. In 2004, I read 48 books. I know this is nowhere near the quantity of Amazon reviews that Klausner posts in a single day, but for me, 2004 was the year of reading.

I was exposed to many more authors than I had ever been before. While that does not in any way help my book buying obsession (“Oh, look! I’ve heard of them!” Cha-ching!), it has broadened my literary horizons. I can’t say that my tastes have changed but I can say that I’ve enjoyed many different writing styles.

Overall, it was just plain fun!

And now on with the stats…

(For individual monthly summaries, pick your month: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12)


SHORT STORY RATING SUMMARIES:

   5/5   46 stories

   4.5/5   23 stories

   4/5   44 stories

   3.5/5   15 stories

   3/5   46 stories

   2.5/5   8 stories

   2/5   31 stories

   1.5/5   4 stories

   1/5   10 stories

   0.5/5   0 stories

   0/5   2 stories

   TOTAL STORIES READ : 229

Reading 229 stories instead of 366 stories gave me room to breathe. Frequent SF Signal visitor Fred K, on the other hand, went all out and read more than one story every day (on average) regardless of the story size. That is a lot of reading, folks.

Here’s a complete list of all the stories I read, grouped by the rating I gave it. Within each group, the stories are unsorted so the order within a group does not imply anything.

  • 5/5 “The Reluctant Book” by Paul Di Fillippo (2000)
  • 5/5 “Behold The Man” by Michael Moorcock (1967)
  • 5/5 “Mother to the World” by Richard Wilson (1968)
  • 5/5 “Paycheck” by Philip K. Dick (1953)
  • 5/5 “Passengers” by Robert Silverberg (1969)
  • 5/5 “A Boy and His Dog” by Harlan Ellison (1969)
  • 5/5 “Pattern” by Fredric Brown (1954)
  • 5/5 “The Awakening” by Arthur C. Clarke (1952)
  • 5/5 “Mute Milton” by Harry Harrison (1966)
  • 5/5 “Close Behind Him” by John Wyndham (1953)
  • 5/5 “Thirty Days Had September” by Robert F. Young (1957)
  • 5/5 “To Cuddle Amy” by Nancy Kress (2000)
  • 5/5 “Regression” by Brian Stableford (2000)
  • 5/5 “Presence” by Maureen F. McHugh (2002)
  • 5/5 “When It Ends” by Robert Reed (2000)
  • 5/5 “The Ladykiller, as Observed from a Safe Distance” by Brian Stableford (2000)
  • 5/5 “In Paradise” by Bruce Sterling (2002)
  • 5/5 “Stories For Men” by John Kessel (2002)
  • 5/5 “Radiant Green Star” by Lucius Shepard (2000)
  • 5/5 “The Little Lamb” by Frederic Brown (1953)
  • 5/5 “Caught in the Organ Draft” by Robert Silverberg (1972)
  • 5/5 “Slow Life ” by Michael Swanwick (2002)
  • 5/5 “Turquoise Days” by Alastair Reynolds (2002)
  • 5/5 “Fermi and Frost” by Frederik Pohl (1985)
  • 5/5 “The Screwfly Solution” by Alice Sheldon writing as Raccoona Sheldon (a.k.a. James Tiptree, Jr.) (1977)
  • 5/5 “A Pail of Air” by Fritz Leiber (1951)
  • 5/5 “Black Destroyer” by A.E. van Vogt (1939)
  • 5/5 “Paying It Forward” by Michael A. Burstein (2003)
  • 5/5 “Diamond Dogs” by Alastair Reynolds (2002)
  • 5/5 “Robots Don’t Cry” by Mike Resnick (2003)
  • 5/5 “Moon Duel” by Fritz Leiber (1965)
  • 5/5 “On the Orion Line” by Stephen Baxter (2000)
  • 5/5 “Light of Other Days” by Bob Shaw (1966)
  • 5/5 “Think Like a Dinosaur” by James Patrick Kelly (1995)
  • 5/5 “The Empire of Ice Cream” by Jeffrey Ford (2003)
  • 5/5 “Downloading Midnight” by William Browning Spencer (1995)
  • 5/5 “Great Wall of Mars” by Alastair Reynolds (2000)
  • 5/5 “Amnesty” by Octavia Butler (2003)
  • 5/5 “The Waters of Meribah” by Tony Ballantyne (2003)
  • 5/5 “Hall of Mirrors” by Fredric Brown (1953)
  • 5/5 “Brooklyn Project” by William Tenn (1948)
  • 5/5 “Allamagoosa” by Eric Frank Russell (1955)
  • 5/5 “The Ice” by Steven Popkes (2003)
  • 5/5 “Calling Your Name” by Howard Waldrop (2003)
  • 5/5 “Anomalous Structures Of My Dreams” by M. Shayne Bell (2003)
  • 5/5 “All You Zombies?” by Robert A. Heinlein (1959)
  • 4.5/5 “Call Him Lord” by Gordon R. Dickson (1966)
  • 4.5/5 “The Prophet Ugly” by Robert Reed (2000)
  • 4.5/5 “To Become a Warrior ” by Chris Beckett (2002)
  • 4.5/5 “One-Eyed Jacks and Suicide Kings ” by R. Garcia y Robertson (2000)
  • 4.5/5 “V.A.O.” by Geoff Ryman (2002)
  • 4.5/5 “Descending” by Thomas M. Disch (1964)
  • 4.5/5 “The Dandelion Girl” by Robert F. Young (1961)
  • 4.5/5 “The Girl had Guts” by Theodore Sturgeon (1957)
  • 4.5/5 “Galactic North” by Alastair Reynolds (1999)
  • 4.5/5 “Shadow Twin” by Gardner Dozois, George R. R. Martin and Daniel Abraham (2004)
  • 4.5/5 “A Crowd of Shadows” by Charles L. Grant (1976)
  • 4.5/5 “Fool to Believe” by Pat Cadigan (1990)
  • 4.5/5 “In Fading Suns and Dying Moons” by John Varley (2003)
  • 4.5/5 “Castaway” by Gene Wolfe (2003)
  • 4.5/5 “Nimby and the Dimension Hoppers” by Cory Doctorow (2003)
  • 4.5/5 “Annuity Clinic” by Nigel Brown (2003)
  • 4.5/5 “The Battle of Long Island” by Nancy Kress (1993)
  • 4.5/5 “3 RMS, Good View” by Karen Haber (1990)
  • 4.5/5 “Hawksbill Station” by Robert Silverberg (1967)
  • 4.5/5 “A Writer’s Life” by Eric Brown (2001)
  • 4.5/5 “The Bear’s Baby” by Judith Moffett (2003)
  • 4.5/5 “King Dragon” by Michael Swanwick (2003)
  • 4.5/5 “Welcome To Olympus, Mr. Hearst” by Kage Baker (2003)
  • 4/5 “He Who Shapes” (a.k.a. “The Dream Master”) by Roger Zelazny (1965)
  • 4/5 “The Secret Place” by Richard McKenna (1966)
  • 4/5 “The Gravity Mine” by Stephen Baxter (2001)
  • 4/5 “Aye, and Gomorrah?” by Samuel R. Delany (1967)
  • 4/5 “Let’s Be Frank” by Brian Aldiss (1957)
  • 4/5 “In the Bag” by Laurence M. Janifer (1964)
  • 4/5 “Homey Atmosphere” by Daniel F. Galouye (1961)
  • 4/5 “The Bitterest Pill” by Frederik Pohl (1959)
  • 4/5 “The Fence” by Clifford Simak (1952)
  • 4/5 “Project Hush” by William Tenn (1954)
  • 4/5 “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1961)
  • 4/5 “The Most Famous Little Girl in the World” by Nancy Kress (2002)
  • 4/5 “At Lightspeed Slowing” by Cory Doctorow (2000)
  • 4/5 “Halo” by Charles Stross (2002)
  • 4/5 “Singleton” by Greg Egan (2002)
  • 4/5 “It’s the Thought That Counts ” by Jerry Oltion (2000)
  • 4/5 “A Message to the King of Brobdingnag” by Richard Cowper (1984)
  • 4/5 “Inconstant Moon” by Larry Niven (1971)
  • 4/5 “War of Nerves” by A.E. van Vogt (1950)
  • 4/5 “Discord in Scarlet” by A.E. van Vogt (1939)
  • 4/5 “Eden Tag” by Stephen L. Burns (2000)
  • 4/5 “Soldiers Home” by William Barton (1999)
  • 4/5 “A Study in Emerald” by Neil Gaiman (2003)
  • 4/5 “Hot Times in Magma City” by Robert Silverberg (1995)
  • 4/5 “A Braver Thing” by Charles Sheffield (1990)
  • 4/5 “The Cookie Monster” by Vernor Vinge (2003)
  • 4/5 “The Day We Went Through the Transition” by Ricard de la Casa & Pedro Jorge Romero (1997/2003)
  • 4/5 “Rabbit test” by Jeffrey Ford (2004)
  • 4/5 “Hexagons” by Robert Reed (2003)
  • 4/5 “The Madwoman of Shuttlefield” by Allen M. Steele (2003)
  • 4/5 “The Albertine Notes” by Rick Moody (2003)
  • 4/5 “On the Nature of Time” by Bill Pronzini & Barry N. Malzberg (1981)
  • 4/5 “A Little Something for Us Tempunauts” by Philip K. Dick (1974)
  • 4/5 “The Chronology Protection Case” by Paul Levinson (1995)
  • 4/5 “Time Travelers Never Die” by Jack McDevitt (1996)
  • 4/5 “Off On A Starship” by William Barton (2003)
  • 4/5 “The Bellman” by John Varley (2003)
  • 4/5 “The Long Way Home” by James Van Pelt (2003)
  • 4/5 “Strong Medicine” by William Shunn (2003)
  • 4/5 “And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon” by Paul Di Filippo (2003)
  • 4/5 “Dear Abbey” by Terry Bisson (2003)
  • 4/5 “Tower of Babylon” by Ted Chiang (1990)
  • 4/5 “Story of Your Life” by Ted Chiang (1998)
  • 4/5 “Liking What You See: A Documentary” by Ted Chiang (2002)
  • 3.5/5 “Starship Day” by Ian R. MacLeod (1995)
  • 3.5/5 “The Potter of Bones” by Eleanor Arnason (2002)
  • 3.5/5 “Snowball in Hell” by Brian Stableford (2000)
  • 3.5/5 “It’s All True” by John Kessel (2003)
  • 3.5/5 “And He Built a Crooked House” by Robert A. Heinlein (1940)
  • 3.5/5 “Gossamer” by Stephen Baxter (1995)
  • 3.5/5 “Coyote at the End of History” by Michael Swanwick (2003)
  • 3.5/5 “Night of Time” by Robert Reed (2003)
  • 3.5/5 “The Man Who Came Early” by Poul Anderson (1956)
  • 3.5/5 “Anachron” by Damon Knight (1954)
  • 3.5/5 “June Sixteenth At Anna’s” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (2003)
  • 3.5/5 “The Green Leopard Plague” by Walter Jon Williams (2003)
  • 3.5/5 “Singletons In Love” by Paul Melko (2003)
  • 3.5/5 “Dragonhead” by Nick DiChario (2003)
  • 3.5/5 “The Hydrogen Wall” by Gregory Benford (2003)
  • 3/5 “The Last Castle” by Jack Vance (1966)
  • 3/5 “Dragonriders” by Anne McCaffrey (1968)
  • 3/5 “No Moon for Me” by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (1952)
  • 3/5 “He Had a Big Heart” by Frank Quattrocchi (1955)
  • 3/5 “The Great Slow Kings” by Roger Zelazny (1963)
  • 3/5 “The Passenger” by Paul McCauley (2002)
  • 3/5 “Lambing Season” by Molly Gloss (2002)
  • 3/5 “Coelacanths” by Robert Reed (2002)
  • 3/5 “Lobsters” by Charles Stross (2001)
  • 3/5 “The Arimaspian Legacy” by Gene Wolfe (1987)
  • 3/5 “Telling Stories in the Dark” by William P. Simmons (2002)
  • 3/5 “The Old Cosmonaut and the Construction Worker Dream of Mars” by Ian McDonald (2002)
  • 3/5 “Winters are Hard” by Steven Popkes (2002)
  • 3/5 “Agent Provocateur” by Alexander Irvine (2002)
  • 3/5 “The Hotel at Harlan’s Landing” by Kage Baker (2002)
  • 3/5 “The Millennium Party” by Walter Jon Williams (2002)
  • 3/5 “Evolution” by Nancy Kress (1995)
  • 3/5 “The Peacemaker” by Gardner Dozois (1983)
  • 3/5 “The Missing Mass” by Larry Niven (2000)
  • 3/5 “Savior” by Robert Reed (1998)
  • 3/5 “Masque of the Red Shift” by Fred Saberhagen (1965)
  • 3/5 “Bernardo’s House” by James Patrick Kelly (2003)
  • 3/5 “Time Piece” by Joe Haldeman (1970)
  • 3/5 “What I Didn’t See” by Karen Joy Fowler (2003)
  • 3/5 “Slow Tuesday Night” by R. A. Lafferty (1965)
  • 3/5 “Wonders of the Invisible World” by Patricia A. McKillip (1995)
  • 3/5 “A Worm in the Well” by Gregory Benford (1995)
  • 3/5 “Glacial” by Alastair Reynolds (2001)
  • 3/5 “In Saturn Time” by William Barton (1995)
  • 3/5 “Microbe” by Joan Slonczewski (1995)
  • 3/5 “Birth Days” by Geoff Ryman (2003)
  • 3/5 “Rogue Farm” by Charles Stross (2003)
  • 3/5 “Four Short Novels” by Joe Haldeman (2003)
  • 3/5 “A Night on the Barbary Coast” by Kage Baker (2003)
  • 3/5 “Bread and Bombs” by M. Rickert (2003)
  • 3/5 “The Great Game” by Stephen Baxter (2003)
  • 3/5 “Ripples in the Dirac Sea” by Geoffrey A. Landis (1988)
  • 3/5 “Time Trap” by Charles L. Harness (1948)
  • 3/5 “Park Polar” by Adam Roberts (2001)
  • 3/5 “Bagatelle” by John Varley (1976)
  • 3/5 “The Fluted Girl” by Paolo Bacigalupi (2003)
  • 3/5 “Dead Worlds” by Jack Skillingstead (2003)
  • 3/5 “Awake In The Night” by John C. Wright (2003)
  • 3/5 “Understand” by Ted Chiang (1990)
  • 3/5 “Seventy-two Letters” by Ted Chiang (2000)
  • 3/5 “Hell Is the Absence of God” by Ted Chiang (2001)
  • 2.5/5 “Family Resemblance” by Alan E. Nourse (1953)
  • 2.5/5 “The Last Sunset ” by Geoffrey A. Landis (1996)
  • 2.5/5 “Coming of Age in Karhide by Sov Thade Tage em Ereb, of Rer, in Karhide, on Gethen” by Ursula K. Le Guin (1995)
  • 2.5/5 “The Three Descents of Jeremy Baker” by Roger Zelazny (1995)
  • 2.5/5 “The Ziggurat” by Gene Wolfe (1995)
  • 2.5/5 “Joyride” by Deborah Wessell (1990)
  • 2.5/5 “Send Me A Mentagram” by Dominic Green (2003)
  • 2.5/5 “Division by Zero” by Ted Chiang (1991)
  • 2/5 “Gonna Roll The Bones” by Fritz Leiber (1967)
  • 2/5 “The King of the Beasts” by Philip Jos? Farmer (1964)
  • 2/5 “Maid to Measure” by Damon Knight (1964)
  • 2/5 “I Do Not Hear You, Sir” by Avram Davidson (1958)
  • 2/5 “Day at the Beach” by Carol Emshwiller (1959)
  • 2/5 “X Marks the Pedwalk” by Fritz Leiber (1963)
  • 2/5 “Final Exam” by Chad Oliver (1952)
  • 2/5 “Love Story” by Eric Frank Russell (1957)
  • 2/5 “The Finer Breed” by Helen M. Urban (1956)
  • 2/5 “The Political Officer” by Charles Coleman Finlay (2002)
  • 2/5 “From Mars and Venus” by Robert R. Chase (2000)
  • 2/5 “The Wurst King vs Aluminum Foil Boy” by R. Neube (2000)
  • 2/5 “The Clear Blue Seas of Luna” by Gregory Benford (2002)
  • 2/5 “The Baum Plan For Financial Independence” by John Kessel (2004)
  • 2/5 “A Flock of Birds ” by James Van Pelt (2002)
  • 2/5 “The Whisper of Disks” by John Meaney (2002)
  • 2/5 “A Desperate Calculus ” by Gregory Benford (1995)
  • 2/5 “…The World, as We Know’t” by Howard Waldrop (1982)
  • 2/5 “Down in the Dark” by William Barton (1998)
  • 2/5 “Agents of the Moon” by Jack Williamson (2000)
  • 2/5 “The Ultimate Earth” by Jack Williamson (2000)
  • 2/5 “M33 in Andromeda” by A.E. van Vogt (1943)
  • 2/5 “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele” by Christopher L. Bennett (2000)
  • 2/5 “The Gardens of Saturn” by Paul J. McCauley (1998)
  • 2/5 “By The Falls” by Harry Harrison (1970)
  • 2/5 “For White Hill” by Joe Haldeman (1995)
  • 2/5 “The Time Telephone” by Adam Roberts (2002)
  • 2/5 “Travelers” by Damian Kilby (1990)
  • 2/5 “EJ-ES” by Nancy Kress (2003)
  • 2/5 “Timetipping” by Jack M. Dann (1975)
  • 2/5 “The Evolution of Human Science” by Ted Chiang (2000)
  • 1.5/5 “The Sword of Damocles” by Bruce Sterling (1990)
  • 1.5/5 “Forever to a Hudson Bay Blanket” by James Tiptree, Jr. (1972)
  • 1.5/5 “The Human Front” by Ken MacLeod (2001)
  • 1.5/5 “Flashmen” by Terry Dowling (2003)
  • 1/5 “Green Chains” by Deborah Wheeler (2000)
  • 1/5 “The Planners” by Kate Wilhelm (1968)
  • 1/5 “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones” by Samuel R. Delany (1969)
  • 1/5 “The Conquest of the Moon” by Washington Irving (1809)
  • 1/5 “Breathmoss” by Ian R. MacLeod (2002)
  • 1/5 “At the Money” by Richard Wadholm (2002)
  • 1/5 “Legacies” by Tom Purdom (1994)
  • 1/5 “The Day the Aliens Came” by Robert Sheckley (1995)
  • 1/5 “Joe Steele” by Harry Turtledove (2003)
  • 1/5 “The Eyes Of America” by Geoffrey A. Landis (2003)
  • 0/5 “Three Limericks” by B. T. H. Xerxes (????)
  • 0/5 “The Violet’s Embryos” by Ang?lica Gorodischer (2003)

14 thoughts on “SUMMARY: My “Short-Story-A-Day” Experiment”

  1. Will you keep it up in 2005? No, not the tracking of points, but reading that much? Will 2005 see you reading the same amount or more?

    And how about a post-mortem on the stories themselves?

    Can break those 46 five-star reviews down further? It’s probably hard to remember all of them to that level, but could you put together a top 10?

    Also, in retrospect are there any reviews that you would change? Are there some that got 5 stars that you’d now feel you were too generous with? Are there ones that you gave 2 stars that contained ideas or concepts that you find yourself thinking about more than others – thus maybe raising the rating a bit?

  2. I will probably continue to read short stories but most likely not strive to read the same amount. As much as I enjoyed it, it did consume time. Not that I have immediate plans for the free time I?ll have. However, JP and I were talking about another reading experiment for 2005.

    One of the reasons for writing reviewlettes of the stories was to jog my memory. If I had to put together a top 10 of the 5-star reviews, I would choose from the stories that I can remember without looking back at the reviewlettes, tweak it so it looked something like:

    • “Downloading Midnight” by William Browning Spencer (1995)
    • “The Waters of Meribah” by Tony Ballantyne (2003)
    • “All You Zombies?” by Robert A. Heinlein (1959)
    • “A Boy and His Dog” by Harlan Ellison (1969)
    • “Diamond Dogs” by Alastair Reynolds (2002)
    • “Think Like a Dinosaur” by James Patrick Kelly (1995)
    • “A Pail of Air” by Fritz Leiber (1951)
    • “Passengers” by Robert Silverberg (1969)
    • “Stories for Men” by John Kessel (2002)
    • “Amnesty” by Octavia Butler (2003)

    (Whew, putting that together was way harder than I thought. They were all so good.)

    I have to stand by my ratings as I stated them. I try to be as honest with myself as possible when rating stories. I try not to let award-wins and other people?s opinions sway my rating. (Just look at all the brouhaha over Blade Runner.) But when you get right down to it, I am reviewing my reading experience, only a part of which (albeit a large part) is the story itself. That said, there are some stories that I know are better than I give them credit for. “Breathmoss” is one example. Conversely, there are most likely some stories that I overrated because they were more in tune with my personal tastes. However, I still stand by my own review ratings – it’s what I thought at the time of the reading. A re-read of some of these stories in a few years might prove a better or worse experience.

    What, exactly, were you looking for when asking for a post-mortem on the stories themselves?

  3. Short Story A Day

    I’d like to congratulate John over at SFSignal for achieving last years New Year’s Resolution which was to read a certain number of stories over the course of the year. I’ll leave the full details of the points system to John, but the main point is…

  4. Bah, I worded the request poorly – sorry about that. I really meant a post-mortem on the reviewing and rating experience. Was it easy to review them and rate them? Are you glad you did it now and will you keep it up in the future? Is the review database something you will keep around into the future?

    One thing I think is interesting is that the reviews where we slam or criticise a book/movie are much more interesting to me (and I suspect others) than the ones where we like the work. In fact, I find it much easier to write a bad review than a good one – the good ones just turn into ‘this was great, this was outstanding, this is fabulous, etc. etc.’ The bad ones generally involve sarcasm and I’m pretty easily able point out specific instances where the item in question was bad (dialog or plot elements, etc.)

    The reason I ask about looking back on the ratings today is that sometimes a little time and perspective can make you think differently about your previous assessments. I remember once seeing that Siskel & Ebert trashed a movie when it first came out (I believe it was E.T., but my memory is fuzzy) but then later both regretted it. I strongly disliked Fargo the first time I saw the film; so many other people (whom I respect) liked it that I have to admit it was probably just a bad day for me – I’m honestly thinking about seeing it again.

    [Aside: After I wrote the 2 paragraphs above I did a search to see if I could find exactly what movie it was that S&E re-reviewed. I happened to find this 1998 interview with Roger Ebert where he comments about how his (and George Bernard Shaw’s) negative reviews are the ones remembered. He also mentioned enjoying a Gamera movie – I just hope he saw the MST3K version!]

    Sometimes you’re in a bad mood or aren’t interested in a work and it influences you. And as we’ve previously discussed sometimes you just get tired of an author’s writing style or characters – a hazard of reading an entire series back to back – and that can influence your final opinion.

    So I don’t believe you have to stand by ratings today that you made a year or 6 months ago. Feel free to waffle!

  5. Yes, I enjoyed the reviewing/rating experience. It will help if I ever feel the need to re-read a story or if I want to recommend a story that I thought was good. I will continue to review/rate and keep local copies. (I?d love to set-up a database of stories/reviews/ratings. It would satisfy both my anal-retentiveness and my geekiness! Alas, I will probably just keep using the same method ? a Word doc.) As for the mechanics of reviewing, it was not exactly difficult, but it was time-consuming. Some book reviews can take 30 minutes or more, as if the reading wasn?t time-consuming enough. It?s not like I?m getting paid for this (like some top-rated Amazon reviewer undoubtedly is).

    I agree that bad reviews are easier to write good reviews. There are only so many ways you can say that a book rocked, had good characterizations; was a page-turner; blah, blah, blah. Writing is a skill no matter what the topic. But writing bad reviews is fun because you get to poke fun and insult. As if we could do better! It is sometimes hard, though, to keep in mind that a book is the result of much hard work on the part of the author and editor. The trick is to criticize honestly and not just needlessly slam the author. The purpose of a review includes helping the reader decide if they would like the book. (A lesson taught to be by John C. Wright concerning my less-than-well-received Blade Runner review.)

    [One of these days, I keep promising myself, I am going to document just how I personally review books and stories. This should be a pre-requisite for all reviewers, I think, because it helps the reader assess how much his own tastes coincide with the reviewer. For example, I dislike politics-laden science fiction. Thus, stories that rely heavily on that will fare poorly. Also, I think people react too seriously to a review (which is, after all, an opinion) that disagrees with their own impression. One of these days…]

    I also think that revising your own ratings is fair game. My only stipulation for myself is that I revise it on a re-read and not from memory. The original review is meant to capture my reading experience for that reading. Revising it months or years later based solely on my Swiss-cheese memory would be silly. Case in point: The Time Machine by H. G. Wells. When I first read it as a teenager I simply hated it. I was tripping over the Victorian writing style like you wouldn?t believe. Then, years later, after reading and liking some of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?s Sherlock Holmes stories, I gave The Time Machine another chance and I loved it! I cannot dismiss that the first reading experience sucked, but I do allow for a revised impression on a re-read.

  6. im looking to send a short story on the web. the stupid computer got me into this! what the hek is this?:^)

  7. I was all set to reply how they are listed in Klausner Order. But if that were true, then nothing would be rated below 4 stars. :-@

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