Thursday, November 30, 2006

Prador Moon Reviews

Other than to say thank you very much every now and again I don’t normally make any reply to reviews. Having seen quite a few of them now I know that every time I come across something negative in one review I can point at a number of others that flatly contradict that negativity in every detail. However (you knew that was coming didn’t you), despite the many positive reviews out there, I am getting a little hacked off with the nature of some of the adverse responses to Prador Moon. It is, apparently a) Too short b) Too expensive c) Too simple.
Now, let me just point out that it is simple because the story … erm, let me think … because it is short? In its way this book is a bit of a reply to those other reviewers who claim my books are far too complex and convoluted (though that wasn’t the intention). It’s a straightforward story with a lot less plot threads than usual something I’ve been aiming at more lately because my plot threads usually seem to proliferate during the writing of the first two thirds of a book and I then spend as much time extracting and discarding threads as I do writing the last third of the book. It’s short because that is what the publisher in this case requested. As to the price let me just say, “What's that got to do with me?”


Authors have as much to do with the cover price of books as the inventor of sherbet dips has to do with what they sell for in the sweet shop. And as for the kind soul who put up a two star review on amazon.co.uk without even reading the book and because of ‘a’ and ‘b’ above … well, the page count is there and the price is there, you either buy it or you don’t, but you don’t put up a negative review of something you haven’t even read!

12 comments:

Jon Jardine said...

Hi Neil,

Just to say I really enjoyed Prador Moon...

Ok, it is shorter than your other books. Ok, the plot isn't as complicated as some of the others. On the otherhand, it's a lot easier to read in bed than a hardback copy of "Polity Agent" :) Funnily enough, I just started re-reading it in bed last night!

As for the cost, if you're going to moan that much, borrow it from your local library!

I don't take much credence from customer reviews on amazon.com, etc - you see poor reviews for unreleased products, DVDs, etc all the time - what arseholes!

Cheers,

Jon

Bob Lock said...

Hi Neal,
I can sympathize with you there, for every good review somewhere along the line a crap one will be waiting to pop up.
I've had the same (on a much smaller scale!)on Youwriteon where I've had comments like
I don't normally read SF and found this story very complicated and using words I don't understand, yada yada...

Umm... why bother reading it then if it's not your genre?

I complained to Amazon actually quite a few months ago about that review you mentioned, stating, how the hell could the guy be allowed to post such a critique if he hadn't even read the book? They didn't bother replying.

Nevermind, my review of Prador Moon on SFcrowsnest is a glowing one :)
my review

Neal Asher said...

Yes, Bob, I liked your somewhat sarcastic reference to the previous review when you stuck a review up on Amazon.

Thanks Jon. I do know plenty of people out there are enjoying the book. I just got a little tetchy when reading a (slightly) negative review of the book, in which the price and length of it mentioned in conclusion. Very often the attitude in reviews, if the reviewer dislikes a book, is one of justification of that dislike, not analysis. In that particular case I felt sure the dislike stemmed from said size and price, not contents.

Jon said...

Hi Neil,

I absolutely understand how negative reviews based on price and size must really piss you off, rather than being based on criticism/dislike of the content, etc.

How about a putting a critic in a one of your forthcoming novels who dies in a spectacularly gruesome and ironic manner?

Incidentally, I'm guessing that the price of Prador Moon is because it's an American edition so is imported? Not that the price bothers me... I always believe in thinking that you could buy four pints and piss it up the wall, or buy a book which you can read and re-read for years...

Regards,

Jon

Kirby Uber said...

well what to say, can't please all the people all the time, and i have a feeling with the jack-off 2 star fellow mentioned, you can't please some people any of the time. from his other literary reviews, i note he just likes to bitch. however, and far more telling, are his glowing reviews for video games. perhaps reading in general just isn't for him if he has so many problems.

not to mention feeling the need to leave a negative review for the content of a book he hasn't read because the idiot didn't like the page to price ratio.

to him, i say, go play halo again.

wanker.

Anonymous said...

Hi Neal

My better half recently introduced me to the pleasures of our local library in Bishop's Stortford (good video rental section) and I snapped up a copy of The Skinner which I had never quite got around to buying. I enjoyed it although not with the same affection as the Cormac novels, all of which I had bought, and just recently I discovered that the library had a brand new copy of The Voyage of Sable Keach. I was extremely chuffed and grabbed this from its prominent display in the sci-fi section – it was there all on its own on a little stand – and I was even more pleased when I saw that I was apparently the first person to get their grubby hands on it. Don’t worry I am not a serial freeloader or anything like that ;)

Right now I am several chapters in and the loan period is due up on Saturday. Sable Keach is going back to the library, unfinished, and a spanking brand new, purchased copy is sitting on my bedside table courtesy of my local Waterstones. Yeah yeah I know I could have extended the loan but it just wasn’t right. I love the gallows humour of the reifs, especially the pun on Taylor Bloc’s name, and all of the associated creatures, characters and tech that are part of the fabric of a Polity novel.

Well I don’t seem to have much reading time on my hands these days due to a silly commute I am driving, but what time I can spare I do really enjoy. Keep up the good work Neal, I appreciate the way that your writing style has developed over the last few years and the way that the suspense builds in the layered plots and the pages just keep on turning and turning. I suppose writing is an ongoing learning process and I hope you have plenty of miles left yet.

MR

Joe said...

Amazon reviews are something else. I remember Richard Morgan telling me he looked his first book up on Amazon to see what folk were saying. A hardboiled SF detective noir, one person left a poor rating because of the sex, swearing and violence... Presumably they also complain about how Singing in the Rain was a nie movie but spoiled by all the singing and dancing...

Incidentally, I was in the supermarket last week and in the freezer section they had transparent plastic boxes of crabs. Entire crabs, not bits, two rows of them in each box all lined up in their box filling the freezer chest and suddenly I'm thinking 'little baby Prador'.... Ladies and Gentlemen, the new Neal Asher ready Prador meals range. You can eat 'em or if you are sick of Jamie Oliver you can re-animate them and have them chop up Jamie with their claws and eat him...

Maynard1977 said...

Neal let me just say,

I Loved Prador Moon. I will be honest and say that when I started Gridlinked I had a little trouble with the complexity but thats only because I have not read a lot of hardcore science fiction. However, I quickly became familiar with the concepts and the technology and that has furthered my enjoyment of your other works.

Prador Moon was a nice refreshing quick read, and a great companion piece to The Skinner. It had a rapid run-at-the-seat-of-your-pants tempo that added to the enjoyment. I mean come on, humanity is in danger of being exterminated! Space battles, planetary invasions, AIs scrambling to defend the Polity, all of this screams fast and fun and thats what you delivered. Not to mention, for me personally, The Skinner, IMO, is your best work so far and Prador Moon gave me more of what I wanted, namely - The Prador!

As for reviews... I'm not an author, but I'm sure its frustrating to be given negative criticism from someone who is either not into the genre or only into what they like (regardless if they have read it or not). Pricewise its simple: If you really enjoy reading you dont care about price. I have Polity Agent on order and i had to buy it at the UK price (dollars to pounds = 1 to 1.8 or something) but it doesn't bother me a bit. Because I enjoy reading your work.

Just know that you have your fans and that they (myself included) will continue to read your stuff regardless of what the critics say.

Neal Asher said...

Jon, yup, the price reflects the fact that Prador Moon is imported, and yes, equivalent to four pints pissed up the wall. I guess it depends on how much you value books.

Kirby, I agree utterly. Okay, give me a bad review, but at least read the fucking book.

MR, well, obviously I prefer that you went out and bought the book! Yes, it is an ongoing learining process. Since Gridlinked I've turned in a million words to Macmillan, all meticulously edited by one of the best old-school editors in the game (Peter Lavery) and I've learnt a lot from him.

Joe, I guess reading my stuff will give people a whole new attitude to sea food, probably to swimming in the sea as well.

Maynard1977, so Prador Moon has had entirely the effect I wanted it to have, working as an introduction to my stuff.

Ach, bollocks to that review. My sales just keep on increasing so an increase in the proportion of nay-sayers is inevitable.

Drake Bodan said...

Hi Neal,
Well I'm afaid you just have to swallow bad reviews with the awards.
Every author I like writes books I don't. I didn't like Sable Keech or Cowl but I am currently loving Polity Agent. It's just the nature of the beast, total pot luck if what you write catches the imagination of the reader.
As long as someone likes it, hell your doing better than 99.99% of the rest of us.

Neal Asher said...

Ah but Drake, people are quite within their rights to dislike my books and say so. But really, they should read them first before coming to that decision.

Bengt said...

Well, a book review to me is an opinion on the quality of the contents. Thus, without reading the book first all you can bring to the table is bias.
How long must a book be to be good? How long is a piece of string? The book is only the instantiation of the story, and the story is everything. It might require many words to relay, or it might need only a few. Some stories like to be pertrayed as images, some as words.

You, as a writer, presents the story and only the story reflects back on you.

Me - I found prador moon good, solid straightforward fun. Exactly the thing I needed. That I prefer your more complex work does not in itself detract from prador moon, it just places it in another category of litterature.