Reviewing the Amazon Reviewers: I know this book has the word “Apocalypse” in the title, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be shitty sci-fi (even the sci-fi in it is really good) so if all you want in life is shitty sci-fi, do us both a favor and buy a different book.
The Apocalypse Reader just got its 8th review on Amazon the other day. One Michael J. Mason of Orlando, Florida, wrote a review entitled “The only book I have ever disliked so much that I destroyed it!” Wow. Okay, well, I can take my lumps. Democracy is great, blah blah. In fact to be totally honest, there was something about the sheer vehemence of this headline that got me really, really excited. As Jesus puts it in the Good King James: “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:16.) This guy seemed like he was fixing to boil. Oh boy!
But as I read MJM’s complaint, my heart sank. Turns out he was just another lukewarm asshole, who talked big in his headline but couldn’t sustain his concentration long enough–over the course of his one-paragraph review–to (A) actually describe for us the manner in which he destroyed the book, which would have been interesting, or (B) realize that that sound of one hand clapping was actually me hitting myself in the fucking head, because despite all his bluster and bullshit, he actually liked some estimable (albeit unspecified) percentage of what he read. I’m the last person to bristle at negative reviews, but it drives me insane when people take to a public forum and attack something they didn’t like, not because there was anything wrong with the thing itself, but because the thing itself wasn’t what they wanted. Imagine giving a 1-star review to a portable hard drive because it’s not a dishwasher. Now one of the things I’m proudest of about The Apocalypse Reader is that it happily blurs/ignores/defies the boundaries between genre-lit and mainstream-lit, in the name of Good Lit, period. But the price the book has paid is that it has been consistently plagued by incensed genre-monkeys, for whom I don’t doubt experimental literature (or literature, period) begins (and ends) with Terry Pratchett. (And at the risk of re-starting the Genre Wars that raged recently on this site, I’d like to point out the total number of “literary elitists” who have written in complaining about the book’s genre quotient is ZERO.)
September 4th, 2009 / 10:51 am