divisionsandprecisions: (dry)
[personal profile] divisionsandprecisions
Well, mostly useless. But an equivocal subject line saying "reviews are mostly useless" screams out excruciatingly boring! To make things worse, I will also add a disclaimer that the Hugo reviews I put here were primarily to allow me to record my observations and clarify my thinking as an aid to voting, with serving as a useful review to anyone else a secondary consideration.

I am reading a few reviews on the web of stories I didn't like, to see if I can figure out why so many people adore something I found dull and forgettable. Let me take some examples from a blog which itself won a Hugo, describing such a story: "the charm...is hard to resist" "consider the many themes that run like tendrils between the lines of the narrative" "layered and nuanced" "a masterpiece of character" heartbreaking subtle....

The reviewer used a lot of words with strong, positive connotations, but did nothing to justify them. The review boils down to "I really really like it, so you should read it." But maybe with even a few more really's.

I am willing to believe there are layers and nuance, if someone would tell me what they are. Because I don't see them. I see a one-dimensional story with some pedestrian fluff. I feel like the reviews are saying to me "What? You don't see layers and nuance? Listen to me repeat myself in a LOUDER VOICE NUANCE NUANCE NUANCE. Did I mention I really really really like it? Let me get a thesaurus so I can express my feelings in a more convincing fashion."

So the next time I write a review, the goal I will keep in mind is to be sufficiently concrete and incisive to change the mind of someone who has read the work already and disagrees with me.

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