Remark: In case you wish to contact me, write to "morpheusNN@kabelmail.de". Please change NN against "13". It is a means of anti-spam. This address will be read more often and is more reliable.
My SF Experiences
I have read SF since about 1960 or earlier. In 1972 I participated in a Workshop with the late Dieter Hasselblatt, then managing editor at "Deutschlandfunk" for radio drama. At the end our group wrote our own SF radio drama, which was broadcasted approximately three times in the following years, which earned good money for the author collective considering that we were no professional authors.
Dr. Hasselblatt did employ me from time to time to write an approximately 2-page review of scripts for SF radio drama, so he could choose some of them to broadcast in Deutschlandfunk.
Authors are welcome to contact me, for example, if I am doing their book wrong or they changed a book so my review has ceased to be applicable. I do not believe to be that important, but I consider myself a committed critic and if I am aware that I could improve my view of a book, I will be happy to share the new findings with the readers. (My reviews, however, are *not* for sale).
How do I chose the Books I would like to read?
1. Read the plot, klicking on "more". Is it religious? Does it include magicians? Is it the 1-zillionth "after atomic war" Story? Zombies? Then I would go to the next E-Book.
2. read "about" the author and, if any, the interview? Does he have a scientific education? Is he an experienced author? I will never sort out an author because he's not a pro (imagine, to have ignored the first book Crichton, or Franson, or Brin has ever written, offered for free?!) and the fun of reading e-books is that they are actual. I certainly do not wish to restrict my reading adventures to books from authors who are on the market since 100 or since 20 years, even if Verne or Clarke have been masters ... of their century). But if he is a pro, I will read more sample pages, if I do not like the first two of them.
3. read online, starting with two sample pages, e.g. 10 and 100 (in reality I chose other ones). If an author does not have any scientific or technical education and there are three pages from him explaining gravity or astronomy which everybody learns at school - next book, please. If style is boring - same, for example if there are no dialogues. Even if there are dialogues and the hero explains half a page to his co-pilot why you do not hear sound in vacuum or how huge a distance a lightyear is - thanks for uploading your book to smashwords, next one, please.
4. I never pay for a book from an author I do not yet know. Sometimes, I purchase the sequels and other books of an author I like, if the price is not beyond what I consider appropriate to my living conditions, maybe two or three Euros, same as I paid in earlier years for used books at flea markets or Amazon.
Reviews make sense in the very few cases where I feel I should warn other readers not to waste their time on a really bad book.
I have a problem with ratings, however. In my opinion, five stars should reserved for the best authors of all times (e.G. Michael Crichton, whose Story "Jurassic Parc" I read many years before Spielberg made his Blockbuster film from it) or those SF Authors who have formed our culture, e.G. George Orwell.
Everybody else gives five stars if he enjoyed reading so I would decrease the average review ratings of those Authors I liked most, even if I do award three stars (= worth paying money for) or four stars (= among the best and most enticing SF I ever read) to them. So, I lowered my standards to what everybody else does also apply. Thus, I still might help aspiring writers to promote good books, and readers to find those worth reading.
With more than 1000 E-Books in the database of my software, Calibre, I found I was not able to post a review for every book but I am trying to do as much as possible. When I started reading and reviewing E-books, I tried to understand and appreciate the plot and it's author but it cost too much time, so I postponed and in the end forgot a lot of them.
Now I am trying to do as much as possible, both to help authors as well as possible readers.
(Note to me) I will try to keep to a scheme.
- If it's not mystery or action, but SF: Is it real Science Fiction, an extrapolation from today's ideas, inventions or social conditions, or is it just some cheap imitation of some trapper and injun plot, or man-eating space ants instead of wolves? I can't take serious a plot where the aliens have two arms and two legs, talk with vibrations in the atmosphere like we, weep and love, fly jet airplanes, but have green skin and funny names.
- Important: there must exist an online preview before I download the e-book, even if the download is free. There are so much very bad books, with lots of errors, with a horribly style, written by totally ungifted authors, that I do not want to clutter my hard disk drive with them. So there can not be reviews and ratings from mine about them.
- Is there a bad ratio between advertisements and the total size of a book? I do not want to clutter my hard disk drive with a book containing copyright notes and readers opinions on page 1-20, the content from page 21-70 and reading samples for more books from page 71-99.
- Does the book, first in a series, end with a cliffhanger and the invitation to buy the sequels? That's a no-go and I seem to remember it's not even allowed at Smashwords.
- Is there a Table of Contents, preferably with meaningful headings, something like "13. Success", not only "Chapter 1", "Chapter 2" etc.? Some e-books have only one mysterious chapter heading, "Midpoint".
- are there many errors or typos? Yes, I am aware that in the english speaking area, a few errors like "your" instead of "you're" are not so terribly assessed like in my mother language, which is German. Still, if there is somebody who does have a very bad command of his mother language, English, it is no fun to read him.