I’ve been reading a lot again lately, after a few years of reading very little. I had lost interest in most of what I found on the shelves at the bookstores, finding I was disappointed as often as not. Since discovering online fiction and especially webfiction, I’ve found it is possible to read a great deal without the sort of time and emotional investment needed for a really good novel.
Not that there aren’t plenty of exceptional, emotionally involving works available in serial form, but the enforced wait between updates can serve to dampen the effect just as easily as it can heighten anticipation. Which is, of course, the perfect reason to look to the list of 1889 Labs publications; when you have enjoyed the story in episodic form, you can enjoy it all again, differently, with the release of a book.
But, anyway, back to my day to day. I felt it had been too long since I read some really good fantasy – so, off I went to Google up a list of the best in fantasy titles to see what would tickle my fancy. I found an excellent list, which then directed me to a well known online super-marketplace, where I could find reviews on the recommended titles. Once there, I did what I always do. I read a handful of the 5 stars and a number of the 1 star reviews for each title. [I also add up the number of reviews marked 3 stars and under and then compare it to the number of high scores. See, 3 is a fail, for me. Not for the book, it means it is a fair enough read, but I want to find the BEST. There are too many good books out there to waste time choosing something that is just okay.]
What I found reminded me of a comment made by a friend who worked at a pizza chain call centre. She said, “You only hear from the lovers or the haters.” But I wonder how many times lovers and haters are struck by the exact same points. Do the phoner-inners hate their anchovy with a passion as grand as those who were angry there was not enough anchovy? Does an excess of cheese get a poor reception from the diet-conscious and wild applause from the cheese lovers of the world?
In fiction, it seems to happen a lot. [more....]