Insights from My Book Reviews
First, it is worth noting that early book reviews sometimes influence later ones. The influence appears in the similarity of the topics mentioned and even the phrases used. Still, there is collective value in the insights the reviews provide.
It is also worth noting that Corr Syl is my first novel. I have much to learn, and the value I derive from reviews will probably increase as my knowledge and experience increase.
Most of the 17 book reviews of Corr Syl has received mention the book’s conservation theme. I had worked to keep the theme firmly in the background, and expected that Immediacy, the Tsaeb philosophy of consequences would receive more attention. Immediacy indirectly explains humanities many flaws. Didn’t happen, but I am relieved that none of the reviewers felt that the way I presented the conservation theme was so didactic that it interfered with their enjoyment of the story.
One of the book’s other themes is Corr Syl’s “coming of age” experience. This is a steady influence throughout the novel, and it is one of the factors in determining the conclusion. Nevertheless, only one reviewer picked it out as a principal element, and most don’t mention it. It is a common story element, however, and is probably essential even if not remarkable.
Reviewers mentioned some of the other important elements of the story–the nature of perception and of intelligence, and Corr Syl’s plan for repairing human society–but they said little about them. I am eager to see what other reviewers will say about these topics.
Some of the reviewers noted that the story is hard science fiction, but others called it fantasy or mixed the two types. The difference, of course, is that all the propositions contained within a science fiction story must have explanations that meet the testability criterion. If the events and features have no testable explanations, they aren’t science, and the story is fantasy or magic. Stories often contain a mix of testable and untestable ideas, and are properly called “science fiction and fantasy.” Unlike hard science fiction author, Robert Forward who commented that his story provided a basic lesson in physics, I did not try to explain the evolutionary processes that could produce my principal story elements. But I tried to stay within the limits of what was actually possible.
Another interesting thing about these first 17 reviews, is that most of them mention that Corr Syl and the other characters are well-developed. As I worked on the story, I learned that I am more of a plot than a character writer. I always felt that the characters needed better back-stories and traits of their own, or as Kris Neri says better “hidden” stories. Nancy Kress teaches that back-stories determine character traits and reactions. The back-stories need to be clear in the writer’s mind. If not, inconsistent behavior can occur and distract readers. Since my characters are acceptable to some critics, I am further convinced that Roy Peter Clark must be right, writing can be learned.
Read the Latest Book Reviews of Corr Syl the Warrior
Readers’ Favorite sent Corr Syl the Warrior out for review in September. The five reviews received include three 5-star and two 4-star reviews. Click here to read Lit Amri’s review and the comments by Bill Howard and others
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