I’ve still got my party hat on and I’ve been reminiscing about all the little steps up to this point. Between patting myself on the back and stopping to allow a single-tear to roll down my cheek, I ran across something that I thought a few of you might get a kick out of… the very first reviews Stars Rain Down ever received.
Some background: before heading down the road to self-publishing, I entered Stars Rain Down (then called Legacy Undying, which still sounds like a weepy vampire romance novel if you ask me… which you didn’t, but I thoughtfully answered anyway… no need to thank me… wow, this aside has gotten mighty long) into the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award competition. I passed the one-page pitch round, and then moved on to the second phase of the competition, in which two randomly selected Amazon Vine Reviewers take a look at a 3,000 word excerpt of the novel. Find out what they had to say after the jump.
I’m not normally a fan of space opera, but I have to say that in this case I was drawn into the narrative. It is, in places, awkward but on the whole, competently written. It drops the reader right into the action and provokes all the right questions.
The alien names, so often a fudge factor in a piece of science fiction or fantasy, are simply rendered here, making it easy to remember the important ones without losing their essential otherness. This is no small feat. Too often stories in this genre are peppered with names that look as if they could be vocalized only with grunts and whistles.
Overall, I’d say that this story has a lot of potential.
“Coordinates locked and ready to initiate scan, sir.” That phrase tells you this writing is from a science fiction story, sort of “Star Trek” meets “Contact” meets “The Right Stuff”. I liked “The Right Stuff” and have no interest in “Contact” or “Star Trek”, so now you know what type of books I read.
Writing was mildly interesting but because of the subject matter, it didn’t pull me in. I didn’t think it was too original, but the characters are well developed. But the concept is just not what I usually read and the characters didn’t overcome my bias towards science fiction. But for a sci-fi fan, it would probably be good.
Needless to say, I didn’t win the contest and subsequently failed to spend the rest of my days swimming in a giant pit full of money and barely-legal bikini models. However, aside from one very upbeat rejection letter from a literary agent, these were essentially the first scraps of feedback I ever received about the novel, and I think it could’ve gone a lot worse.
Hindsight is always 20/20 of course. At the time, this was simply a great excuse to drink. Heavily. For days.
I’ve since forgiven the reviewers and their senseless, barbaric prejudice against science-fiction. To date, my poor cirrhotic liver has not yet forgiven me, though.